|Philip Rivers threw for 335 yards with two touchdowns in the Chargers' Week 1 win over the Vikings.|
Michael Fabiano: I have told anyone who would listen that Stafford is going to have a breakout season in 2011. So far, so good. With that said, I still wouldn't start him over an elite quarterback like Rivers when the matchups are favorable. The Chargers quarterback heads to New England in Week 2, where he will face a Patriots pass defense that made Chad Henne look like Dan Marino on Monday night. This is one of the few situations where I would sit Stafford, even though he has a tremendous matchup against the Chiefs -- the same defense that surrendered four touchdown passes to the Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick in their season opener.
M.F.: Both runners were in similar situations, as their teams fell behind and were forced to abandon the run in the second half. I think it's too soon to give up on a player who cost you an early round selection as well, unless you have major backfield depth. So for example, if you landed someone like Beanie Wells or Tim Hightower, I'd be putting Blount and Greene on the sidelines in Week 2. If you're rolling with them, the matchups are good on paper. The Vikings allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team last week, though a lot of those points came on receiving statistics from Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews. Still, Bucs coach Raheem Morris wants to win games using Blount often to create play action in the pass attack, so expect a greater attempt to establish the run against the Vikes. Greene faces the Jaguars, who didn't see much of Chris Johnson in his first game back from an extended holdout. Unless the Jets fall behind, I'd expect 18-20 carries for the Iowa product. One thing is for sure -- Blount and Greene are going to see a major uptick in carries this week.
What are your thoughts on Knowshon Moreno after Monday night's game? -- marshallum (via Twitter)
M.F.: It wasn't a promising performance, and I was surprised to see the Broncos throw the ball so much in the first game under coach John Fox. Part of that was due to the Raiders' lead forcing the Broncos to abandon the run during the second half. The bigger issue is that Moreno's status for Week 2 seems to be up in the air. He appeared to pull a hamstring during the fourth quarter of Monday night's loss, and that is problematic when one considers Moreno has had these sort of issues in the past. If he is active against the Bengals, I think he needs to be active as a No. 2 fantasy back or flex starter. Again, you can't give up on a player you drafted in the earlier rounds after one bad week. You should be looking to add Willis McGahee as insurance off the waiver wire, though, as Moreno hasn't been the most durable runner in the world.
Should I be worried about Matt Ryan, Peyton Hillis and Ryan Grant after Week 1? -- T. Patrick
M.F.: It's funny how the NFL has changed so much that a quarterback can throw for 300-plus yards and be seen as having a bad game. Ryan will bounce back and have a solid season overall, though he does have a tough matchup in Week 2 against the Eagles. No team allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks in Week 1. Still, the numbers could go out the window in what has all the look of a shootout at the Georgia Dome. Hillis was never going to produce the same totals he did last season, but don't think that one bad week makes him a bust candidate. In fact, the Arkansas product is a great option in Week 2 against a Colts defense that allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to runners in the opener. As for Grant, I do see James Starks pushing him out of the prominent backfield role in Green Bay. We saw that against the Saints, as Starks saw 45 snaps compared to 16 for Grant. Even with a good matchup against Panthers next on the slate, I would be afraid to start Grant as more than a flex option (at best) in a league with 12-plus teams.
Which running back should I start in Week 2 between Wells and Fred Jackson? -- G. Honeycutt (via Facebook)
M.F.: I've been talking about Wells for weeks, and I'm not about to jump off the bandwagon after his solid performance against the Panthers. The Redskins will offer a more formidable opponent, but I still see him as the better option in most leagues. Remember, he'll continue to see the lion's share of the carries for coach Ken Whisenhunt in an offense that is far more well rounded than it was last season. Kevin Kolb makes this team a threat through the air, which does nothing but help Wells. Jackson should be seen as a viable flex starter, though, as he will face a Raiders run defense that isn't as solid as it looked with a lead against the Broncos.
Obviously, all rookies have growing pains. But is Cam Newton now a viable fantasy starter? -- D. Zachary (via Facebook)
M.F.: Clearly, Newton is worth a look as a fantasy starter when the opponent is favorable. That was the case in Week 1, as the Cardinals offered little resistance to the Panthers pass attack. The true litmus test will come this weekend, though, when Newton goes up against Charles Woodson and the Super Bowl champion Packers. This defense will be out for blood after getting ripped by Drew Brees and the Saints in the opener, so Newton should come crashing back to earth. In fact, I still wouldn't start the Auburn product in Week 2 outside of deeper leagues or those formats that require owners to start two signal-callers each week. Until he proves he can be reliable and productive against the league's better defenses, Newton will be relegated to No. 2 quarterback status in most leagues.
I need a flex starter from Reggie Bush, Cadillac Williams and Mike Williams (TB). Thoughts? -- K_Vens19 (via Twitter)
M.F.: I don't think Bush will make it a full season as the featured back in Miami, but I'd ride him while he's on the field and seeing a prominent role. While his yardage totals were mediocre against the Patriots, the fact that Bush scored a touchdown and saw tons of red-zone work raises his value. The Texans run defense isn't as good as it looked last week against the Colts, who abandoned Joseph Addai and Delone Carter in an effort to erase a huge deficit, so I like Bush's chances of putting up a nice stat line. He could also have a little motivation to play well against the team that passed on him in the 2006 NFL Draft.
M.F.: I saw Henne as a deep sleeper in the preseason based on his schedule, which is one of the easiest in the league among quarterbacks. With that said, he's certainly a player to grab off the waiver wire if you need help at the position. Attractive matchups include games against the Patriots (2), Cowboys, Redskins, Raiders, Broncos and Texans -- all of those teams all struggled to stop quarterbacks in 2010. What's more, Henne is certain to throw the ball more in the offense of coordinator Brian Daboll, who will take more chances downfield.
M.F.: This is a classic case of the Week 1 panics. Chandler had a huge week, but I'd be shocked if he's reliable enough to be considered a viable fantasy starter the rest of the season. Dickson is someone I would watch, but like Chandler he doesn't have the same level of value as Daniels. Remember, the Texans whipped the Colts and leaned on the run to burn the clock. That left Daniels with fewer opportunities to produce. His totals will increase as the season wears on, and I'd continue to start him as a No. 1 fantasy tight end. This week, Daniels faces a Dolphins defense that allowed 30.90 fantasy points to the Patriots tight ends.
What happened to Chad Ochocinco in Week 1? Is he even worth owning in fantasy leagues? -- BijonLB (via Twitter)
M.F.: Ochocinco played a mere 18 of 80 snaps against the Dolphins and was clearly the fifth or sixth option in the pass attack all night. While his snap totals should increase as he develops a better rapport with Tom Brady, Ochocinco was never going to make a Randy Moss impact with the P-Men. At this point I'd keep him on your roster, but out of your starting lineup until he shows some signs of life.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com or tweet it at Michael_Fabiano!