Our trio of experts — Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings — publish their first rankings of the week every Tuesday, and Chris Towers is here to break them down for the week ahead.
1. Which bottom-15 QB finisher from Week 1 is highest in your rankings?
- Dave: Russell Wilson
- Jamey: Kirk Cousins
- Heath: Russell Wilson
|Jamey: QB14||Dave: QB11||Heath: QB11|
Wilson really didn’t look right after his ankle injury last week, and there have been rumblings he could sit out Week 2. The Rams gave up 28 points in Week 1, and were gashed on the ground at times by Blaine Gabbert, hardly the league’s most notorious playmaking quarterback. If Wilson proves healthy, he could have a nice day against this defense, though he wasn’t his typically efficient self against them last season, as he picked up only 6.6 yards per pass attempt in two games. If his mobility is limited, the Rams’ strong defensive line could collapse the pocket, making for a long game for Wilson. To my eyes, he looks like a risk without a clean bill of health.
|Jamey: QB13||Dave: QB14||Heath: QB18|
Second-half Kirk Cousins did not show up Monday night. He racked up 327 yards on 7.7 yards per attempt, solid numbers, but had no touchdowns and was picked off twice. Cousins attempted only three passes of 20 or more yards downfield, and 35 of his 43 pass attempts did not travel farther than 10 yards. Washington limited Cousins’ risk taking last season and it worked out for him, but the poor decision-making that dominated his career before last season’s run crept in Monday. Still, Jamey has Cousins 13th for Week 2’s matchup with the Cowboys, who Cousins torched for four touchdowns on only 46 pass attempts in two games last season.
2. Which QB jumped the most from Week 1 to Week 2?
- Dave: Jameis Winston
- Jamey: Cam Newton
- Heath: Eli Manning
|Jamey: QB11||Dave: QB8||Heath: QB16|
Winston looked awfully good in Week 1 against the Falcons, and it might be fair to ask if Dave considers the second-year passer matchup-proof, as he has a tough one this week against the Cardinals. The Cardinals didn’t look so tough against Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday, but this fearsome defensive unit should be able to turn things around, so Winston may struggle to be as efficient as he was in the opener — though he might still get his numbers if Tampa Bay has to pass early and often to keep up.
Newton was a popular pick to bust last week and, though he finished as a top-10 Fantasy quarterback, it wasn’t crazy to consider sitting him in the opener. It’s much tougher to justify that this week, however, as all three of our experts have him as the top quarterback against the 49ers. San Francisco’s defense dominated in Week 1, but there’s a pretty big gap between Newton and Case Keenum.
|Jamey: QB3||Dave: QB2||Heath: QB4|
Manning didn’t just move up for Heath; he is a top-four quarterback across the board this week. He got to spread the ball around in Week 1, tossing three touchdowns to different players — none of whom was Odell Beckham! — but ended up with only 207 yards on 28 pass attempts because the Giants didn’t need to air it out. Don’t expect that to be the case this week, as Eli goes up against a Saints defense that just gave up 35 points and 300-plus yards to Derek Carr.
4. Which top-10 running back looks most risky?
- Dave: Todd Gurley
- Jamey: Todd Gurley
- Heath: Todd Gurley
|Jamey: RB8||Dave: RB9||Heath: RB7|
One of the key questions after Week 1 was whether the seemingly rejuvenated 49ers defense is actually as good as it looked. The Niners absolutely dominated the Rams in all facets, and particularly along the defensive line. We aren’t that far removed from San Francisco possessing a dominant defense, so they might still have the talent to push teams around.
That would be the good news for Gurley, who really couldn’t get much of anything going Monday. He had to fight hard on seemingly every single carry to get back to the line of scrimmage. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Gurley ranked eighth among all running backs in yards after contact in Week 1; he ranked only 25th in rushing yards overall. Gurley rushed for 47 yards from scrimmage, but picked up 52 after contact, breaking seven tackles on his way there, the second-highest total in the NFL.
I’ll let that sink in for a second.
Gurley can make most of a bad situation, and Week 2 looks like it is going to be very, very bad, as the Rams face the Seahawks. The Rams should be better in Week 2. It would be hard to be worse. Given his guaranteed workload and immense talent, you can’t think about sitting Gurley, but his slow start may continue this week.
4. Which running back will you start in Week 2 that you didn’t in Week 1?
- Dave: Jonathan Stewart
- Jamey: LeGarrette Blount
- Heath: Rashad Jennings
|Jamey: RB14||Dave: RB18||Heath: RB20|
Stewart predictably struggled to get going against the tough Broncos defense, but actually wasn’t bad, averaging 4.3 yards per carry on his 15 touches. Fifteen carries seems like the floor for Stewart, who has little competition in the backfield in a run-heavy offense, so it was nice to see him get that work in a tough matchup. San Francisco squashed the Rams’ running game in Week 1, but Stewart should have more room to operate than did Gurley, given the presence of an actual NFL-caliber passing game around him. He is never a particularly exciting option, but Stewart can get back into your starting lineup across the board this week.
|Jamey: RB20||Dave: RB20||Heath: RB30|
Jamey and Dave agree on Blount, both ranking him 20th at the position for the week, but Heath isn’t quite so convinced; he has Blount 30th, behind the likes of Isaiah Crowell, Matt Jones, Christine Michael and Danny Woodhead in standard scoring. The Dolphins’ defense looked solid in Week 1, but still gave up 4.4 yards per carry to starter Christine Michael, so Blount could have room to operate. You can never predict how Bill Belichick will use his running backs, but Blount should get plenty of work as long as Tom Brady remains out.
|Jamey: RB15||Dave: RB23||Heath: RB18|
Jennings got a very healthy workload in Week 1, with 18 rushing attempts and playing 31 of the team’s 57 offensive snaps. For a back who has often had an inconsistent role, you would take that every time, especially against a Saints team that looked equally inept against the pass or the run last week; the Raiders rushed for 167 yards on them in Week 1, with three touchdowns. He should make for a fine No. 2 running back.
5. Which WR fell the most from Week 1 to Week 2?
- Dave: Sammy Watkins
- Jamey: Dez Bryant
- Heath: Donte Moncrief
Moncrief is more of a short-term fall, as he has to face a tough Broncos defense. His fall makes sense, and should be temporary. The other two … maybe not so temporary.
|Jamey: WR39||Dave: WR36||Heath: WR33|
Watkins and Bryant may be a bit more trouble. Reports surfaced that Watkins’ foot remains an issue four months after surgery, and he did not look great in Week 1. Even if he plays through the issue, it looks like it could limit him enough to knock him out of the top-20 permanently. This is something to keep an eye on.
|Jamey: WR18||Dave: WR12||Heath: WR16|
Bryant, who can likely sympathize with Watkins’ pain, is not concerned with his health. His concern is at quarterback because Bryant had only one catch Sunday, and has averaged just 7.5 standard Fantasy points in 15 career games without Tony Romo. The Cowboys likely will look to get Bryant more involved in Week 2, and Dak Prescott should grow more comfortable airing it, but if Bryant has another poor game this week, he’s going to tumble down the rankings.
6. Which Week 1 surprise WR (outside top-30) has the best chance to sustain it in Week 2?
- Dave: Sterling Shepard
- Jamey: Will Fuller
- Heath: Willie Snead
|Jamey: WR22||Dave: WR22||Heath: WR25|
Shepard and Fuller have the pedigree Snead does not, but I’m with Heath here; Snead is in a much better position than either of the other two. He was targeted nine times in the opener, and plays with by far the best quarterback of the trio. Maybe he doesn’t have the physical tools of Shepard or Fuller, but give me the guy who gets to play with maybe the most accurate passer in the league, especially with that Saints’ defense forcing Brees to throw early and often. Snead will be a must-start option at home, and even on the road, he looks like a solid WR2 to me.
7. Who’s the top TE to stream?
- Dave: Clive Walford
- Jamey: Kyle Rudolph
- Heath: Eric Ebron
|Jamey: TE6||Dave: TE17||Heath: TE8|
I’m not sure Ebron is going to be a “stream” tight end option, because he might just be a top-10 player at the position the rest of the way. Even coming off a preseason where he was limited by injury, Ebron was a part of the Lions’ offense, hauling in a touchdown in Week 1, while playing a whopping 60 of 66 offensive snaps. He is only 50 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues, however, so if you’re looking for tight end help for Week 2 against the Titans and beyond, he’s your guy.
Source: CBS Sports / Fantasy Football Week 2 Rankings Review: Things don’t get easier for Todd Gurley