Robert Griffen III, QB, WAS – This is a limited love and probably not as outlandish as some other people might have this guy. I’ve got him 6th this week in my QB rankings because I would still be starting each of the top 5 guys from draft day over him. Each of them has had at least one very mediocre week and Griffen hasn’t yet, statistically. To me, two weeks is still a pretty small sample size and while I am being impressed by the week, I still think it is important to keep expectations manageable so that you don’t get burned. I see a lot of Rodgers and Brady owners panicking and making trades so this creates a nice opportunity for Griffen owners to upgrade their team and, in my opinion, eliminate risk by getting rid of him. I’ve heard of offers like Brady and Lloyd for Griffen and think they are an absolute steal.
Frank Gore, RB, SF – I personally believed that Gore and Turner still had what it takes to be an RB1 for fantasy owners. Thankfully I was at least right about Gore! He’s been a powerhouse so far and this team looks almost unbeatable. They are playing an old-school defense-first style that relies on the run game to wear opponents down. They are passing more this year with Smith progressing beautifully in this offense but they revolve around Gore and the ground game.
Victor Cruz, WR, NYG – Well, it might not be clear in my rankings because after I had published the receivers, I found out that Hakeem Nicks will be inactive in this game for the Giants. The defense is not one that scares me for the Panthers and if Nicks isn’t there, the sky is the limit for targets going Cruz’s way.
Alfred Morris, RB, WAS – Another week of primary work and he looked good doing it. His stats won’t knock you out of your chair but the game-film sure impressed me. He was quick through the hole, which is important but the two things that caught my eye the most was his vision and how he finished the runs. He did a phenomenal job of seeing holes before they opened as well as found his cut-back lanes. I’d like to see him get more carries still but this game became a shoot out and Griffen was able to keep up right up until the end. I normally wouldnt have loved him against Cinci but after last week, I’m just not scared of them at the moment.
Dez Bryant, WR, DAL – I know that your looking at the box score against the Seahawks and asking how I can love this guy but guess what, I love Austin too! They play Tampa who is fresh off of allowing 500+ yards to Eli Manning and sits as the NFL’s worst ranked pass defense. I used to give a lot more respect to Talib but he didn’t finish last season strong and Nicks destroyed him last week.
Martellus Bennett, TE, NYG – I said in my weekly pickups list this week that Bennett was the #3 option in the passing game for the Giants. I said in the Cruz section of this column that Nicks is out. BIG boost to Bennett here because he is the best red zone threat and now the #2 option in the passing game.
C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF – Who isn’t in love with this guy right now? I don’t know but he’s putting up unbelievable stats and I’ve been saying it a lot but he’s the first guy since Jim Brown to average over 10 yards per carry over multiple weeks. The Bills o-line is playing some REALLY good football thus far and Spiller seems to be breaking out and is showing the potential that Buffalo saw on draft day. On top of all that, they play Cleveland who is short Joe Haden on defense and this will make it a lot harder to get that 8th guy around the line of scrimmage. The Browns have allowed an average of 115 yards per game on the ground over the first two weeks and Spiller simply CAN NOT be benched.
Peyton Manning, QB, DEN – This isn’t due to his first quarter on Monday. This is because of the opponent, Houston. The Texans defense has been great thus far and with the running game firing on all cylinders, I do not think that the Broncos D-line will be having a very good week. If the Texans can control the ball as well as the clock like I think they will, Peyton will spend a lot of time watching from the sidelines. If you’re in a 12 team league, he rates as a starter but barely. I assume you drafted yourself a competent back up and this is a week you should try and use them.
Chris Johnson, RB, TEN – Seriously, what the hell CJ. You show a ray of hope in the preseason and get me to buy in on you. He was a first round pick! Now that the season has started, the line can’t block even a little and he just seems to being going for the home run on every play at the cost of quality 5 yard rushes that he could have if he’d hit the hole and lower his head to initiate contact with the defender. If anyone in your league still believes, trade this guy away because I’m finished if he doesn’t succeed this week. He’s outside my top 20 already and falling fast.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE – The Ravens are on the schedule for Brady and the Pats and this is definitely a cause for concern for the Pats, who just lost to the Cardinals. Lloyd is now the top fantasy-WR on the team in my eyes but I still have Welker higher for this week alone. Lloyd wants to work vertically but the Ravens pass rush is going to reach Brady and I think Welker gets back on the field more without Hernandez out there to play a possession-receiver role from the TE position. You can use him this week but I ranked him as a mediocre flex-play.
Steven Jackson, RB, STL – There is just something about what happened in that game that has me really nervous here. Jackson attempted a goal line rush and after his elbow touched the ground, the ball came out and it was ruled a fumble. It took a challenge to get it right and on the next play, he felt he was in the endzone and was ruled short by an inch. He got up and spiked the ball out of frustration and got a 15 yard penalty and all they could get was the 3 points. Jeff Fischer never put him back in and Richardson ran well after Jackson was pulled. You can tell me he has a groin injury but I still saw him standing next to Fisher for 2 series with his helmet under his arm. Exactly like I did in High School every week with hopes it might mean some playing time.
Torrey Smith, WR, BAL – The Ravens, unlike the Pats, will do a decent job giving the QB time to throw. Boldin is becoming invisible fast and Smith’s targets are on the rise. The Pats secondary is still weak, despite containing Larry Fitzgerald in the Loss to the Cards.