Turner, McNabb shine in Week 1; Palmer, Bengals hurt owners

The loss of Tom Brady for the rest of 2008 was without question the most notable event of the opening week, but it wasn't the lone event that affects fantasy football.

In fact, there was a significant trend that was the exact opposite of how a lot of drafts transpired: Running backs once again ruled the roost.

A total of five running backs finished in the top 10 in fantasy points on NFL.com, and that's in leagues that reward six points for passing touchdowns. Furthermore, there were no wide receivers in the top 10 and just two in the top 20. One of those wideouts was Hank Baskett, who was active in 1 percent of leagues.

To further hammer home this point, the top five runners averaged an impressive 26 fantasy points. On the other side of the coin, the top five wideouts averaged 15.6 points. While it's too soon to determine whether or not this trend will turn into the norm for the entire season, we might have been a little premature to de-value running backs.

Here's a look at the five best and worst performances from Week 1:


Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta (34 points): Turner led countless owners to a win with his incredible 220-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Detroit Lions. Sure, the Lions have a bad run defense. But Turner broke tackles, burst through defenders and showed some real explosiveness. He's a must-start runner in Week 2 against Tampa Bay.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia (32 points): Who needs wide receivers? Not McNabb, who threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns without starters Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown. If he can avoid injuries (which has been a huge problem in his NFL career), McNabb could re-emerge into one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football.

Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh (31 points): Parker's draft value took a hit after he broke his leg late last season. It dropped even further when the Steelers drafted Rashard Mendenhall. But Parker showed he's still the main man in the Steel City, rushing for 138 yards and three touchdowns. That's more scores than he had all last season.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans (29 points): Brees didn't have the greatest matchup in Week 1 against Tampa Bay, which finished with the No. 1 pass defense last season. But his 343-yard, three-touchdown stat line proves that owners should stick with their studs regardless of the opponent. Brees is going to have a monster season. Bank on it.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego (26 points): Rivers was active in a mere 35 percent of NFL.com leagues in Week 1, but he played like a quarterback who should start all the time. The Chargers quarterback threw for 217 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a loss to the Carolina Panthers. He faces the Denver Broncos in Week 2.

Other notables: Marion Barber, RB, Dallas (22 points); Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans (22 points); Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia (21 points).


Willis McGahee, RB, Baltimore (0 points): There's nothing worse than having one of your top running backs be declared active only to sit on the sidelines the entire contest. That's what happened with McGahee, who didn't see a single carry against the Bengals. However, he is expected to return in Week 2 against the Houston Texans.

Braylon Edwards, WR, Cleveland (1 point): Edwards saw his first game action in several weeks after missing time in the preseason with a gash in his foot, and he looked very rusty. He dropped several passes and finished with a mere two catches for 14 yards. Look for him to rebound this week at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati (2 points): The odor that emanated from the Baltimore area on Sunday afternoon came from the Bengals offense. Palmer was particularly dreadful against the Ravens, throwing for 99 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. His Week 2 matchup against the Tennessee Titans doesn't bode well, either.

Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans (2 points): How in the world did Brees throw for 343 yards and not find Colston more than three times? Well, that's what happened in Week 1, as Colston finished with three catches, 26 yards and no touchdowns. Still, the talented wideout from Hofstra should remain active this week against the Washington Redskins.

Chad Ocho Cino, WR, Cincinnati (2 points): Should we call him Ocho Stinko after Week 1? He would deserve the moniker, as the veteran wideout hauled in one pass for 22 yards. His shoulder wasn't a concern, but the ineffectiveness of the entire Bengals offense was surprising. Ocho Cinco is no more than a No. 2 fantasy wideout at this point.

Other notables: Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis (4 points); T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Cincinnati (4 points); Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville (4 points).

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