Terrelle Pryor, the NFL’s leading rusher. (Ben Margot, Associated Press)
Week 1 of the fantasy football season is now in the books, and we saw a couple of surprises throughout the week. Peyton Manning kicked the NFL season into high gear with an insane 462 yards passing and 7 touchdowns, ending the week as the highest scorer with 46 standard scoring points. The only other entrants with 400 yards passing were Colin Kaepernick and, surprisingly, Eli Manning who also threw 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in a Sunday night matchup with the Cowboys. Speaking of Kaepernick, the dual-threat quarterbacks that tore the league up on the ground last year were all limited. Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton all totaled just 91 rushing yards total…which was lower than the 112 yards on 13 carries amassed by the Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor.
I’m going to throw Pryor a little extra spotlight as the surprise quarterback of the week. Indianapolis isn’t known for having the most fearsome defense, as they are still acclimating to Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 scheme. But I don’t think anyone expected Pryor to go for 329 total yards. Passing 19-of-29 with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions isn’t anything to write home about, but Pryor has some nice matchups before his Week 7 bye (this week @ Jacksonville, Week 4 vs. Washington, Week 5 vs. San Diego) so if you’re lacking quality starting or want to improve your backup quarterback situation, Pryor would be an excellent pickup.
Now onto my top 5 options at quarterback for fantasy football’s Week 2:
5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit (at Arizona)
(AP Photo/Matt York)
It appears that I had Stafford a bit high at #2 overall against Minnesota last week, but that could be more due to the fact that running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell stole the show. The two of them accounted for 14 targets on Stafford’s 43 passes, showing that he trusts these dynamic playmakers out of the backfield as teams start to key in more and more on Calvin Johnson (4 catches, 37 yards on 9 targets). Stafford should be anxious to challenge new Arizona starting safeties Rashad Johnson and Yeremiah Bell, and should be able to create some big passing plays. If not, he’ll be more than content to get the ball to Bush and Bell and let them do work.
4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (vs. Miami)
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Luck is showing week in and week out why he was viewed as a surefire prospect coming out of Stanford. Paired with his college offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Luck only threw 23 times last week, completing 18 passes for 170 yards and 2 scores. This week against Miami, I think they’ll have to be a bit more one-dimensional. Cleveland’s Trent Richardson is a much better back than Vick Ballard or Ahmad Bradshaw, and the Dolphins forced Brandon Weeden to throw 53 times, as opposed to Richardson’s 13 carries. I don’t think Luck will be throwing more than 35 passes this week, but for a player of his caliber that will be enough to do some serious damage in the passing game.
3. Peyton Manning, Denver (at NY Giants)
(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
It’s a Manning Bowl in Week 2 as Peyton’s Broncos hit the road to face Eli’s Giants. Between the two brothers, I think Peyton has the bigger game. That’s an easy assumption to make following his Week 1 performance, but considering Tony Romo had a better game against the Giants’ secondary than Joe Flacco did against Denver’s, I trust Peyton to put up the bigger numbers this week. 325 yards and 3 passing scores should not be too risky an estimate for Peyton Manning.
2. Michael Vick, Philadelphia (vs. San Diego)
Wow, Chip Kelly’s offense. The Eagles ran an insane 53 plays in the first half against the Redskins in Week 1, but slowed down considerably in the second half after entering halftime with a 26-7 lead. With Chip Kelly making comments about the offense being slow in its first game, I think we could see Vick’s biggest game in arguably his best matchup before Oakland in Week 9. San Diego couldn’t slow down Matt Schaub as Houston rallied for a huge Monday night comeback victory, so I’m inclined to say they won’t stand a chance against Kelly’s blur offense. As long as Vick is healthy, it seems he will be a candidate for the top five week in and week out.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Washington)
Oh, the poor Washington secondary. After getting schooled by the Eagles in their first game, they get to go to Lambeau Field and face off against Rodgers and the Packers’ high-flying passing attack. The Redskins’ secondary gave up 203 yards and 2 scores through the air on just 25 passes, but I think we can count on Rodgers to dole out at least 40 pass attempts this week. DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Brandon Meriweather, and rookie Bacarri Rambo will have their hands full trying to keep Rodgers in check. If he can get his receivers involved early and often, Rodgers might be checking into grill class a bit early this week.
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