BITTER BIRDS
Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings
By James Worthington What an exciting start to the NFL and fantasy seasons! There were many huge individual performances and a lot of close games! Some guys like Antonio Brown and Brandin Cooks were expected to have big games, while others like rookie Will Fuller, burst onto the fantasy scene! It will be tough for this week’s slate of games to follow last week’s act, but nonetheless every fantasy owner’s eyes will be on the scoreboards come Sunday. Here are my positional rankings for Week 2. Quarterbacks: 1. Cam Newton, Carolina 2. Eli Manning, New York Giants 3. Drew Brees, New Orleans 4. Carson Palmer, Arizona 5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit 6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay 7. Russell Wilson, Seattle 8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh 9. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville 10. Derek Carr, Oakland 11. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis 12. Kirk Cousins, Washington 13. Philip Rivers, San Diego 14. Joe Flacco, Baltimore 15. Matt Ryan, Atlanta 16. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati 17. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay 18. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets 19. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee 20. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo 21. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England 22. Alex Smith, Kansas City 23. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia 24. Brock Osweiler, Houston 25. Dak Prescott, Dallas. I absolutely love Cam Newton against San Francisco this week. He played decently last week before his injury, and with some extra rest, he will put up big numbers against an untested 49ers defense. Eli Manning and Drew Brees will engage in a major shootout Sunday. Start both with confidence. I am not very high on Andrew Luck or Jameis Winston this week. Both face stout defenses with great corners. Luck and Winston are extremely talented, but if you have a better option, do not be afraid to bench the young quarterbacks. Winston looked phenomenal last week, and I definitely think he has taken a step forward, so it will be interesting to see how he plays against Arizona. Running Backs 1. David Johnson, Arizona 2. CJ Anderson, Denver 3. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh 4. Lamar Miller, Houston 5. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota 6. Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas 7. Mark Ingram, New Orleans 8. Spencer Ware, Kansas City 9. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee 10. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles 11. Latavius Murray, Oakland 12. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants 13. Matt Forte, New York Jets 14. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay 15. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina 16. Jeremy Langford, Chicago 17. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay 18. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta 19. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo 20. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia 21. Thomas Rawls, Seattle 22. TJ Yeldon, Jacksonville 23. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 24. LeGarrette Blount, New England 25. Danny Woodhead, San Diego 26. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit 27. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati 28. Frank Gore, Indianapolis 29. Arian Foster, Miami 30. Melvin Gordon, San Diego 31. Justin Forsett, Baltimore 32. Matt Jones, Washington 33. Theo Riddick, Detroit 34. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta 35. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland 36. Christine Michael, Seattle 37. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati 38. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland 39. Derrick Henry, Tennessee 40. James White, New England 41. Terrance West, Baltimore 42. Shane Vereen, New York Giants 43. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay 44. Charcandrick West, Kansas City 45. Bilal Powell, New York Jets 46. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia 47. James Starks, Green Bay 48. Devontae Booker, Denver 49. Chris Thompson, Washington 50. Shaun Draughn, San Francisco David Johnson is the safest play this week, and thus he tops my running back rankings. Arizona should be able to move the ball against Tampa Bay, so Johnson will have plenty of scoring opportunities. CJ Anderson had a great game against Carolina, and gets the Colts this week. Indianapolis scares nobody on the defensive side of the ball, and in Gary Kubiak’s run-first system, Anderson is in store for another big performance. Adrian Peterson does not have a great matchup facing the Packers, but I expect him to have a much better game than his 31 yard output against the Titans. He is still one of the best backs in the NFL, and as a first round pick in drafts this year, he is a must start. Similarly, Todd Gurley gets the Seahawks on Sunday. Although I am not nearly as high on him as AP, he is a must start given you likely spent a first round pick on him. Three backfield situations to monitor this week are Atlanta, Seattle, and San Diego. Although Melvin Gordon scored twice, it was Danny Woodhead who got the most carries and dominated the receptions out of the back field. Gordon played more while San Diego was ahead,and Woodhead played while they needed to score. I expect San Diego to have to score a lot to keep up with Jacksonville, so if I had to choose one, I’d choose Woodhead. Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman looked better than Devonta Freeman, and although Freeman is the starter, it will be interesting to see how the touches are divvied up over the next few weeks. And lastly, Seattle’s Thomas Rawls is said to be a full go against Los Angeles, but I expect Christine Michael to get about 10 touches which limits Rawls’ value. Wide Receivers 1. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants 2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh 3. Julio Jones, Atlanta 4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston 5. AJ Green, Cincinnati 6. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville 7. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago 8. Amari Cooper, Oakland 9. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets 10. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans 11. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay 12. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina 13. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay 14. Demaryius Thomas, Denver 15. Dez Bryant, Dallas 16. Doug Baldwin, Seattle 17. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo 18. Randall Cobb, Green Bay 19. Julian Edelman, New England 20. Eric Decker, New York Jets 21. Jarvis Landry, Miami 22. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona 23. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia 24. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City 25. Golden Tate, Detroit 26. Michael Crabtree, Oakland 27. Marvin Jones, Detroit 28. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis 29. Desean Jackson, Washington 30. Willie Snead, New Orleans 31. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver 32. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants 33. Travis Benjamin, San Diego 34. Michael Floyd, Arizona 35. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis 36. John Brown, Arizona 37. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville 38. Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee 39. Will Fuller, New Orleans 40. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta 41. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota 42. Mike Wallace, Baltimore 43. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay 44. Kevin White, Chicago 45. Tyler Lockett, Seattle 46. Victor Cruz, New York Giants 47. Tyrell Williams, San Diego 48. Corey Coleman, Cleveland 49. Terrell Pryor, Cleveland 50. Tavon Austin, Los Angeles The big three remain in OBJ, Antonio Brown, and Julio Jones. I like Beckham Jr. better this week given he is facing the Saints. AJ Green absolutely torched Darrelle Revis and the Jets last Sunday, and I expect more of the same against the Steelers. Cincinnati will have to score a lot to keep up with Pittsburgh’s prolific offense, and Green is by far the best receiving option they have. Alshon Jeffrey will likely take advantage of Philadelphia’s weak cornerbacks. The Eagles do not have a solid corner to matchup with Jeffrey, so they will most likely give their corners a lot of safety help. Against a defense that allowed a couple big plays to Cleveland’s receivers, start Jeffrey with confidence. Kevin White is a sneaky flex play for many of the same reasons I like Jeffrey. San Diego’s receiving corps is worth monitoring as they lost their number one receiver for the season in Keenan Allen. I expect Travis Benjamin to get more targets, but teammate Tyrell Williams may be the one with the most to gain for fantasy purposes. Tight Ends 1. Rob Gronkowski, New England 2. Jordan Reed, Washington 3. Greg Olsen, Carolina 4. Delanie Walker, Tennessee 5. Travis Kelce, Kansas City 6. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville 7. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland 8. Coby Fleener, New Orleans 9. Antonio Gates, San Diego 10. Eric Ebron, Detroit 11. Jason Witten, Dallas 12. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis 13. Zach Miller, Chicago 14. Charles Clay, Buffalo 15. Jesse James, Pittsburgh 16. Clive Walford, Oakland 17. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota 18. Martellus Bennett, New England 19. Virgil Green, Denver 20. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta 21. Vance McDonald, San Francisco 22. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore 23. Jimmy Graham, Seattle 24. Jared Cook, Green Bay 25. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Rob Gronkowski is expected to play Sunday, and thus he returns to the top of the tight-end rankings. Right behind him, however, is Jordan Reed. Reed saw a lot of targets last week, and he is clearly Washington’s number one receiver. Expect him to continue to produce at a high level. Gary Barnidge will see more balls in his direction with RGIII’s injury. Josh McCown looked his way often last season, and that trend will continue on Sunday. Barnidge owners have to be happy about McCown starting. Jesse James is a sneaky play against the Bengals. DSTs 1. Seattle 2. Carolina 3. New England 4. Denver 5. Baltimore 6. New York Jets 7. Arizona 8. Houston 9. Kansas City 10. Green Bay 11. Buffalo 12. Philadelphia 13. Cincinnati 14. Oakland 15. Minnesota 16. Pittsburgh 17. Los Angeles 18. Jacksonville 19. Detroit 20. Miami Perhaps the best defense in the NFC gets perhaps the worst offense in the NFL on Sunday. The Rams looked pitiful against the 49ers, just imagine how bad they will look against Seattle. The Seahawks DST is a must start every week, with owners drooling over their matchup Sunday. New England’s defense looked good against a formidable Cardinals offense in week one, and they get the Dolphins Sunday. This unit is extremely talented, and I expect a top five performance. The Eagles DST performed well against Cleveland, and while I think it is a solid fantasy option given certain matchups, the Bears offense will surely fare better than the Browns did. On the road on Monday night, this unit may give up some big plays. Kickers 1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England 2. Steven Hauschka, Seattle 3. Mason Crosby, Green Bay 4. Dan Bailey, Dallas 5. Josh Brown, New York Giants 6. Graham Gano, Carolina 7. Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona 8. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis 9. Justin Tucker, Baltimore 10. Blair Walsh, Minnesota 11. Matt Prater, Detroit 12. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh 13. Brandon McManus, Denver 14. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland 15. Josh Lambo, San Diego 16. Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay 17. Will Lutz, New Orleans 18. Cairo Santos, Kansas City 19. Matt Bryant, Atlanta 20. Jason Myers, Jacksonville As I said last week, and will every week, don’t get cute. Kickers are the least important fantasy play, and that will never change. Start those on teams you expect to have plenty of scoring opportunities, and start the good ones despite matchups. That’s all for week 2, good luck to everyone!