By Kenn Ruby
With Kevin Jones and T.J. Duckett out with injuries, Tatum Bell was expected to carry a heavy load against the Vikings. But Bell gained only 14 yards on a team-high nine carries. Detroit is airing the ball out, and with Jones possibly due back this week, the window is closing fast for Bell.
Tampa Bay had four snaps inside the 2-yard line Sunday, and Carnell Williams got the ball each time. There were rumblings in camp that Michael Pittman would get the goal-line carries, but it looks like the Bucs will rely on Williams near the end zone this season.
With Vernand Morency inactive again Sunday, Brandon Jackson carried the ball 17 times for just 35 yards. Jackson is averaging a paltry 2.3 yards per carry in two games and might find himself backing up DeShawn Wynn if he's not careful. Wynn gained 50 yards on 10 carries Sunday and scored twice.
In a reverse from Week 1, LenDale White -- rather than Chris Brown -- was the more valuable Tennessee running back. While Brown struggled in gaining just 34 yards on 12 carries, White had 64 yards on 15 carries. More important, White got the ball at the goal line.
Julius Jones struggled in Week 2, carrying 15 times for just 32 yards. Meanwhile, Marion Barber had 89 yards on 14 carries and scored twice. Even if they continue to split carries evenly, Barber continues to look much better than Jones as a fantasy commodity.
Despite a strong game from Ahman Green (15 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown), Ron Dayne got a whopping 18 carries Sunday. Dayne only gained 44 yards, and got many of the carries late in the game when Houston was eating up the clock and Green was "cramping." Green has always been a bit fragile, so there's no reason to suspect the Texans were doing anything other than protecting Green.
Carolina abandoned the running game Sunday, calling only 17 rushes. DeAngelo Williams, with eight carries for 31 yards and five receptions, outplayed DeShaun Foster (nine carries for 22 yards and four receptions), but not by much, and he lost a fumble for the second week in a row. They'll continue to split time evenly until one clearly becomes better than the other.
So much for Reuben Droughns getting more reps. Derrick Ward got all 15 running back carries for the Giants on Sunday, gaining 90 yards. Ward also caught four passes for 35 yards. The job appears to be his until Brandon Jacobs' knee improves.
Warrick Dunn once again led the Falcons in rushing Sunday, with 13 carries for 50 yards. Jerious Norwood saw a little more action than he did last week, but with only nine carries for 30 yards against a defense that gave up 282 rushing yards last week, Norwood owners have to be a little disappointed. Dunn got the one goal-line carry as well, scoring from 4 yards out.
Adrian Peterson's second effort wasn't as explosive as his first, but 66 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving isn't chopped liver. Chester Taylor was inactive, giving an opportunity for Peterson to carry 20 times. As long as Peterson continues to gain yards, Taylor's health won't matter much.
There is no controversy in New England –- Laurence Maroney is clearly the starter and potential workhorse –- but Sammy Morris has 21 carries for 105 yards in the first two weeks. The Patriots have been handling Maroney with kid gloves since training camp began, and with two blowouts under their belt, continue to play it safe with him.
The trade of opening-day starter Charlie Frye opened the door for Derek Anderson, and Anderson didn't disappoint. Facing a suspect Cincinnati defense, Anderson threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns. Brady Quinn will get the keys to the franchise at some point this year, but Anderson's performance Sunday should be enough to keep him in the starting lineup for awhile.
Despite some doubt about his shoulder, Eli Manning was effective Sunday, throwing for 211 yards and a touchdown. With the game no longer in doubt, backup Jared Lorenzen came in and sprained his ankle after only seven plays. Anthony Wright moves up the depth chart if Lorenzen misses any time.
An overtime groin injury knocked Tarvaris Jackson out of Sunday's game, but not before he threw four interceptions against the mediocre Detroit defense. Brooks Bollinger replaced him, but Kelly Holcomb is probably a more likely replacement should Jackson lose his job. Neither Holcomb nor Bollinger (nor Jackson, for that matter) is worth picking up.
Despite being hobbled by foot and hand injuries all week, Josh McCown was the surprising starter on Sunday. He only threw 16 passes, completing eight, and was intercepted three times. If McCown, who was listed as doubtful two days before the game, still starts against the tough Denver defense, it looks like Daunte Culpepper won't be starting any time soon.
Jon Kitna missed two quarters Sunday after suffering a concussion, but he returned to play in the fourth quarter and overtime. Kitna reported no lingering symptoms Monday, so he's not expected to miss any time yet. But if he does, J.T. O'Sullivan will take over the fantasy-friendly Detroit offense.
Although Chad Pennington was active Sunday, Kellen Clemens started and was respectable against the tough Baltimore defense. Clemens threw for 260 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions while Pennington watched from the sidelines. When Pennington's ankle is 100 percent, he'll probably be back in the starting lineup, but Clemens could still win the job outright.
Steve McNair sat out Sunday's game with a sore groin, paving the way for Kyle Boller. Boller threw for 185 yards and two scores. However, McNair was in uniform Sunday and expects to return to the starting lineup for Week 3.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
After hauling in seven receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns, Andre Johnson sprained his knee late in the game and is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Colts. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones, the next two wide receiver options after Johnson, combined for just one catch against Carolina. Whoever fills Johnson's void should see his value skyrocket. Tight end Owen Daniels, who had five receptions, should also benefit from Johnson's absence.
For the second week in a row, Randy Moss and Wes Welker played well, combining for 16 catches, 196 yards and two scores, and Donte Stallworth struggled. Some experts envisioned Stallworth to be more valuable than Moss going into this season, but with only three receptions in two games, it looks like Stallworth is just not clicking with Tom Brady. However, Stallworth was on the field much more in the second game than in the first, so it's likely only a matter of time before he starts becoming a bigger part of the offense.
Eddie Kennison missed the Bears game (and should be out at least another week), giving rookie Dwayne Bowe his first career start. Bowe was impressive, scoring one touchdown and having another called back due to a penalty. The Chiefs will be behind a lot this year, so Bowe, as well as Samie Parker and Jeff Webb, should make the most of the opportunity to impress Kansas City coaches during Kennison's absence.
Roydell Williams caught four passes for 72 yards, including a 48-yarder and a 1-yard score. His rapport with quarterback Vince Young appears to be strong, and he could find himself the most valuable receiver in the Tennessee offense this year, as opposed to current starters Eric Moulds and Brandon Jones.
Seattle's receivers were much more productive in Week 2, with starters Deion Branch and Bobby Engram combining for 12 receptions for 193 yards, and No. 3 receiver Nate Burleson catching a 24-yard touchdown. It looks like the troika will be able to hold down the fort while D.J. Hackett nurses a sprained ankle.
Keary Colbert had three receptions on Sunday, but he also dropped the ball twice. Dwayne Jarrett was inactive for the second straight game, but he could see some action soon if Colbert continues to struggle.
Glen Holt, the No. 4 receiver in Cincinnati, had five catches for 52 yards and a score on Sunday. With the Bengals losing No. 3 receiver Tab Perry to a hamstring injury Sunday, Holt or Antonio Chatman could see a lot of action next week. The Bengals won't always be playing Cleveland, so neither is worth picking up.
Terry Glenn will miss up to six weeks recovering from his Sept. 13 knee surgery. Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd will try to replace his production, but neither did much against the Dolphins Sunday. Terrell Owens looks like the only Dallas wide receiver worth owning.
Josh Scobee will miss about a month with a strained quad. Jacksonville signed John Carney, who converted on both field goal attempts Sunday. Carney isn't a bad short-term pickup.