Arian Foster established himself as a strong breakout candidate.
To some, it is the best day of the year. To others it’s the real “New Year’s Day.” To most, however, it is simply NFL Opening Day. The NFL Season opened up with a rematch of the NFC championship game, pitting two likely playoff teams against each other in a prime time matchup on national TV. That game between the Vikings and Saints wasn’t as exciting as some had hoped, but still every football fan across this great nation enjoyed themselves because it was the start of this country’s greatest sporting schedule.
It wasn’t only the opening day for the NFL’s regular season, but also for the Fantasy Football regular season. Whether you wrote your own or found them online, fantasy team owners across the nation had set power rankings at each position. Now that we are through week one, and some players have established themselves as studs and others have fallen victim to injury, our rankings are changing. Here is a list of the positional power rankings after week one has come to a close.
I won’t include each player’s rankings from the preseason, as we all likely had them ranked differently. Instead we will start from scratch and go as the season progresses.
John Kasay could have had even more points if the offense didn't break down in the redzone.
It isn't the sexiest position on your team, but these five could have sealed your victory.
1(N/R) John Kasay, Panthers: The Giants pass defense kept Kasay from getting three more field goal attempts, if not extra point attempts. If the Carolina passing attack continues to struggle but the running game is still alright, the Panthers will have to rely on a strong kicker. (1 20-29, 1 40-49, 1 50+, 1/1 XP)
2(N/R) Mason Crosby, Packers: The Packers’ offense shouldn’t struggle quite like they did this past weekend, but it’s nice to know you have a kicker that can hit the long kicks. (1 40-49, 1 50+, 3/3 XP)
3(N/R) Neil Rackers, Texans: The offense looked very strong, and that was without Andre Johnson breaking out. The Texans offense will be very high scoring, which means Rackers will score his share of points too. (1 30-39, 1 40-49, 4/4 XP)
4(N/R) Nick Folk, Jets: The offense looked terrible, sorry Jets fans. The Jets won’t always have to play as tough of defenses as Baltimore has, so they should be within field goal range more often. (2 20-29, 1 40-49)
5(N/R) David Akers, Eagles: I guess the Eagles didn’t quite have that quarterback situation figured out after all. Until they do, they might have to rely on their consistent kicker to get them points on the board. (1 20-29, 1 40-49, 2/2 XP)
on the cusp: Matt Bryant, Falcons; Jeff Reed, Steelers; Rob Bironas, Titans; Mike Nugent, Bengals; Graham Gano, Redskins
The Patriots' defense put up points against a good offense
Defenses can sometimes get you negative points and could single handedly lose you a week. Here is a list of five that did the opposite:
1(N/R) New England Patriots: With the exception of allowing 24 points (to a good offense I must say), the Pats D looked very strong. They changed up their formation nearly every possession, and they confused Carson Palmer who is supposed to be an elite quarterback. (24 PA, 1 int, 1 fr, 2 td, 1 sack)
2(N/R) New York Giants: The knock on the Giants’ defense in 2009 was that they allowed way too many touchdowns via the pass. They seemed to shore that up this year so far, intercepting the Panthers in the end zone three times. (18 PA, 3 int, 2 fr, 4 sacks)
3(N/R) New York Jets: There was much to talk about the Ravens’ offense before the start of the season. The Jets didn’t seem to hear all of that. Anquan Boldin did have some impressive stats, but couldn’t get in the end zone. In fact, take away a bogus roughing the kicker penalty and the Ravens may have gone the entire game without a touchdown or a victory. (10 PA, 1 int, 2 fr, 2 sacks)
4(N/R) Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers secondary was atrocious in 2009 and they gave up way too many leads at the end of their games. In week one they faced a very strong offense and held a very good Michael turner to under 100 yards. The secondary also didn’t (9 PA, 1 int, 2 sacks)
5(N/R) New Orleans Saints: They were able to hold the reigning NFC North champs to only nine points. The Saints defense relies on forcing turnovers, and the one the forced against the Vikings this year was four fewer than last year. (9 PA, 1 int, 1 sack)
on the cusp: Seattle Seahawks; Arizona Cardinals; Washington Redskins; Detroit Lions; Tennessee Titans
Dallas Clark is one of the most consistent options at his position.
The tight end position can be a tough fill for some fantasy team owners, check out the PPR to see who is a worthy pickup:
1(N/R) Dallas Clark, Colts: Clark remains the best tight end in fantasy as long as Peyton Manning is under center. The two work seamlessly together and that won’t change any time soon. (11 rec, 80 yds, 1 td, 13 tar)
2(N/R) Antonio Gates, Chargers: Without Vincent Jackson, the Chiefs focused their secondary attention on Gates. Despite being triple teamed in the red zone on occasion, Gates still came through with a touchdown. His 76 yards were a regular occurrence, although Gates does have a rough schedule as a tight end, and the Chiefs were supposed to be on of the easy games. (5 rec, 76 yds, 1 td, 6 tar)
3(N/R) Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings: He was Favre’s favorite target in the red zone and that didn’t change against the Saints. Although his touchdown actually was outside of the red zone, it didn’t stop Favre from targeting him their often. Shiancoe should continue to be Favre’s favorite target if the quarterback’s struggles continue. (4 rec, 76 yds, 1 td, 7 tar)
4(N/R) Vernon Davis, 49ers: He was the 49ers’ best receiver last season and he was again in their home opener. After becoming the richest tight end ever Davis showed that there was no hunger loss. The only thing that hurts Davis more than a hard hit across the middle is the fact that Alex Smith doesn’t look any better this season under center. (8 rec, 73 yds, 12 tar)
5(N/R) Chris Cooley, Redskins: I called it at the beginning of the season, and Cooley did end up being McNabb’s favorite target. The Cowboys defense was too stingy to give up a touchdown, but they did allow Cooley to get open too often. With the easy schedule that Cooley has a head of him, his appearance in the top five could be a regular occurrence. (6 rec, 80 yds, 9 tar)
on the cusp: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals; Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars; Evan Moore; Browns; Todd Heap, Ravens; Jermichael Finley, Packers
Miles Austin is trying to prove last season wasn't a fluke.
The top five look a little different than we may have thought going in to the season:
1(N/R) Miles Austin, Cowboys: Austin quickly showed that 2009 wasn’t a fluke season. Despite a slumping offense that was hurt by penalties and miscues, Austin shined. He was the most targeted receiver for the Cowboys and the most reliable. (10 rec, 146 yds, 1 td, 11 tar)
2(N/R) Reggie Wayne, Colts: Wayne is just too reliable as a double digit receiver to not be near the top. No matter how many receivers Peyton spreads the ball around to, Wayne is the best and will likely have the targets that matter the most. (7 rec, 99 yds, 1 td, 10 tar)
3(N/R) Chad Ochocinco, Bengals: In the preseason it looked like TO would be getting all of the targets, but the added skill on the other side only helped Ochocinco. Carson Palmer faltered some, but #85 still had a great game against a defense that changed their scheme nearly every possession.(12 rec, 159 yds, 1 td, 13 tar)
4(N/R) Hakeem Nicks, Giants: Despite only catching four balls, Nicks had the most points of all receivers this week. Why isn’t he the top receiver? Because Nicks only recorded four catches, which was half of his targets. The Panthers have strong pass coverage, yet Nicks was able to get behind them in the end zone. Nicks could either stay as the top red zone target in the coming weeks, or defenses could shade to his side when the Giants get there. Only time will tell. (4 rec, 75 yds, 3 td, 8 tar)
5(N/R) Roddy White, Falcons: Many thought that White would have an even better against the Steelers’ secondary. The Steelers bent (111 yds) but didn’t break (longest catch was 18 yds), which kept White out of the end zone. Whit had the most catches out of our top five and by far the most targets. Against a less stingy secondary, White will certainly garner more than 11 points in fantasy. (13 rec, 111 yds, 23 tar)
on the cusp: Austin Collie, Colts; Wes Welker, Patriots; Legedu Naanee, Chargers; Greg Jennings, Packers; Steve Smith, Panthers
Are back to back 2,000 yard seasons possible?
Chris Johnson is still at the top of the list, but can Arian Foster keep it up?
1(N/R) Chris Johnson, Titans: Defenses are going to key on Johnson all season, and it will play in to Vince young and the Titans offense’s favor. The team relies on play action passes to get to its receivers, so when the safeties play up to stop the run there are holes deep. Even when the safeties do play up, however, Johnson is still just too fast to stop. (142 yds, 2 td, 4 rec, 8 yds)
2(N/R) Arian Foster, Texans: When Ben Tate went down it became anyone’s guess as to how the Texans running back situation would look come week one. Foster looked great in the preseason and earned the respect and trust of his head coach. Steve Slaton was still supposed to get some chances at running back, but the Texans forgot about Slaton after about the 150 yard mark for Foster. The Colts weren’t the best rushing defense in the league so it will be interesting to see if Foster can stay near the top. (231 yds, 3 td, 1 rec, 7 yds)
3(N/R) Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers: Rashard was one of the bright spots for the sputtering Steelers’ offense despite losing their starting left tackle Max Starks about half way through the game. The Falcons are a good team that could win their division, and the defense is greatly improved. It took his final rush of the game to break the 100 yard mark, but it is just a testament to Mendenhall’s home run ability especially when needed the most. (120 yds, 1 td, 2 rec, 15 yds)
4(N/R) Matt Forte, Bears: Forte didn’t have the best day running the ball, but looked like a pseudo Marshall Faulk in his new Mike Martz offense. Forte had a great day catching the ball out of the backfield and ended the game as the leading receiver for the Bears. (50 yds, 7 rec, 151 yds, 2 td)
5(N/R) Adrian Peterson, Vikings: Few will argue he is one of the best backs in football, and although his stats weren’t anything great I just can’t take him out of the top-five. It seemed like the Vikings offense wasn’t as well tuned as last season, which means there were less offensive plays and less opportunities for Peterson. Peterson should rebound in his upcoming weeks. (87 yds, 0 tds, 3 rec, 14 yds)
on the cusp: Darren McFadden, Raiders; Ronnie Brown, Dolphins; Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars; Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
Peyton is this week's best QB.
Peyton Manning can dazzle even when his team is getting beaten:
1(N/R) Peyton Manning, Colts: Peyton is usually a consensus #1 on anyone’s rankings, although this year found him self at #2 behind Drew Brees. Despite a crushing loss to Houston in the season opener, Peyton still looked sharp, spreading the ball around to many different receivers. The Texans pass coverage surely is weaker without Dunta Robinson, but Manning still looked too perfect on his passes for any defender to get close. (40/57, 433 yds, 3 td, 0 int)
2(N/R) Tom Brady, Patriots: The Patriots are falling under the radar this season and were expected to lose their home opener to last year’s surprise, the Cincinnati Bengals. Brady didn’t get that memo, however. Despite not hooking up with his favorite target Randy Moos too often, Brady spread the ball around accumulated steady stats you can expect just about every week. (25/35, 258 yds, 3 td, 0 int)
3(N/R) Philip Rivers, Chargers: Rivers needed a little more help from his receivers, and he could have had at least one more touchdown to his stats. Rivers looked on point in the Kansas City rain, and in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. His best receiver, Antonio Gates, was often double teamed in the red zone but Rivers was still able to find the opener receiver. The Chargers were supposed to try and become more balanced, but after Ryan Mathews struggled in his debut, they stuck with the pass. (22/39, 298 yds, 2 td, 0 int, 5 rush yds)
4(N/R) Drew Brees, Saints: Last season’s best quarterback is the only one of two in the top-five to record a win. Brees wasn’t even close to recording the most points for a quarterback in week one, however. Brees did play a very solid Vikings defense, although the Vikings were not that strong against quarterbacks, fantasy wise. (237 yds, 1 td, 0 int, -6 rush yds)
5(N/R) Tony Romo, Cowboys: The entire Cowboys’ offense looked out of sync in their opening loss to the Redskins. Romo made a poor decision to throw a shuttle pass to Tashard Choice on the team’s hail mary pass attempt to end the half, but luckily for Romo owners, it didn’t affect his fantasy points. Romo still has an easy passing schedule ahead, so he will stay in the top-five. For now. (282 yds, 1 td, 0 int)
on the cusp: Jay Cutler, Bears; Carson Palmer, Bengals; Eli Manning, Giants; Michael Vick, Eagles; Aaron Rodgers, Packers