- Nate Ravitz, Fantasy
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Week 1 of the NFL season is (almost) in the books, and, as usual, there were plenty of surprises. Eli had more fantasy points than Peyton, Hines was only the second-best Ward, and LaDainian Tomlinson was a more effective passer than rusher. On the other hand, Joey Harrington, Rex Grossman and the Browns still stink. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Top 10 Headlines
Jacobs sprains knee
The man faced with the gargantuan task of filling the shoes -- but luckily not the column inches -- of Tiki Barber left Sunday night's game in the second quarter. Jacobs will have an MRI on Monday, but The (Newark) Star-Ledger reports that early indications are he suffered a strained MCL. Derrick Ward carried 13 times for 89 yards and caught four passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. He, not Reuben Droughns, is the guy to get in fantasy leagues. Luckily, Ward is available in 99.9 percent of ESPN.com leagues. By the way, congratulations to the 0.1 percent of you who already had him.
Taylor injures hip, Peterson stars for Vikes
Chester Taylor left Sunday's game in the first quarter with a hip injury. He felt well enough to stand on the sideline in uniform in the second half, but he's still a questionable proposition for Week 2. Meanwhile, rookie Adrian Peterson took advantage of the opportunity to be the workhorse and carried for 103 yards on 19 carries while also turning a short pass into a 60-yard touchdown reception.
Moss explodes in Pats debut
So much for the preseason hamstring injury. Randy Moss abused the Jets for nine catches, 183 yards and a 51-yard touchdown. The yardage total was Moss' highest since he blew up for 204 against the Bears in 1999. Unlike my colleague Eric Karabell, I'm not selling Moss right now. He's healthy, motivated and playing with a superstar quarterback, and he also has a terrific upcoming schedule. After next week's matchup with the Chargers, he gets the Bills (allowed 300-plus yards to Jay Cutler), the Bengals, the Browns (allowed four touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger) and the Cowboys (allowed four touchdowns to Eli Manning).
Eli Manning has huge game, then leaves with shoulder injury
For the second time in his career, Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes in a game on Sunday night, completing 28 of 41 passes for 312 yards. He left the game with a shoulder injury, but it doesn't appear to be serious; Manning actually suffered the injury on the play prior to his final TD pass. In a news conference after the game, Manning said he'd undergo an MRI, but that's probably nothing more than a precaution.
• Editor's note: Eli Manning will miss one month of the season with a separated shoulder reports Chris Mortensen.
Brown beats White for Titans
LenDale White and Chris Brown both started and both saw plenty of work for Tennessee, but Brown left little doubt about who should get most of the work next week. While White ran for just 66 yards on 18 carries (3.7 yards per carry), Brown racked up a career-high 175 yards on 19 carries (9.2 YPC). All of this came against the supposedly stout run defense of the Jaguars. I was under the impression that the Jags released Byron Leftwich, but apparently they suited him up at all three linebacker positions in this game.
Edwards keeps promise to limit LJ
We all should have believed Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards when he said he planned to limit the carries for Larry Johnson this week. Johnson carried only 10 times for 43 yards, though he also caught seven passes for 44 yards. The Chiefs fell behind 17-0 in the opening minutes of the third quarter, and Johnson carried the ball only twice after halftime. At the end of the day, that's the bigger concern for Johnson owners: the fact that his team was beaten handily by the Texans. Johnson has three brutal matchups on deck; the Chiefs face the Bears, Vikings and Chargers before the month is out. I've been saying this for a few weeks now: Johnson could be a tremendous value as a trade target around Week 5 or 6.
Lions roar on the road
The Raiders had the No. 1 pass defense in all of football last season, which caused many -- including yours truly -- to downgrade Jon Kitna for the opener. But if Week 1 was any indication, Kitna is well on his way to surpassing last season's 4,208 yards and 21 touchdowns. The veteran quarterback shook off the obligatory pair of interceptions to throw for 289 yards and three touchdowns, including one to rookie Calvin Johnson. The Lions didn't commit to the running game, but Tatum Bell was effective, nonetheless, carrying 15 times for 87 yards and a touchdown. Bell also caught four passes. The 6 yards he gained are pretty much worthless, but point-per-reception players should be happy, especially since Bell has never caught more than 24 passes in a season.
We still know nothing about the Carolina/Washington timeshares
In Washington, Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts each toted the rock 17 times; that's nice symmetry, but it doesn't help fantasy owners. Portis rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown and gained 5.98 yards per carry to, for now, erase doubts about the condition of his knee. Betts managed only 59 yards rushing and added one catch for 16 yards. For now, consider Portis a decent No. 2 running back and Betts a solid flex option. Like Joe Gibbs, Panthers head coach John Fox decided to spread the love. DeShaun Foster carried 17 times for 94 yards and DeAngelo Williams had 15 carries for 62 yards. Foster averaged 5.5 yards per carry after posting a 6.1 YPC in the preseason, and he continues to look like the better short-term fantasy option.
Luckily, the Cowboys are much easier to figure
It's the same old story in Dallas: Julius Jones gets more touches, Marion Barber scores more fantasy points. Jones actually had a decent game, rushing for 66 yards on 16 carries (4.1 YPC) and catching one pass for 11 yards. He just wasn't as good as Barber, who carried 11 times for 65 yards (5.9 YPC) and a touchdown and added 29 yards on one reception. The bottom line here is the same as in Washington, but in reverse. Despite being the starter, Jones should be seen as a flex player in fantasy, while Barber is a No. 2 starter at running back.
Benson struggles in debut as No. 1 back
For the last two years, Cedric Benson has been waiting to escape the shadow of Thomas Jones. Now that he has, he might be longing for the protection Jones provided him. Either that or a warm blanket. Benson carried 19 times for just 42 yards, averaging just 2.2 yards per rush. Now, LaDainian Tomlinson averaged just 1.5 yards per carry in the same game, and the Chargers have a terrific run defense, so if you want to give Benson a mulligan, feel free. The schedule gets much easier over the next couple of weeks, but Benson did nothing to dispel the notion that the only reason he's starting over Adrian Peterson (seven carries, 38 yards, 5.4 YPC) is his lofty draft status.
Chris Brown, RB, Titans: He's owned in 31 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Teammate Chris Henry is owned in 78 percent. Think that might change this week?
Ronald Curry, WR, Raiders: After catching 33 passes in the final four games last season, Curry picked up where he left off with 10 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. He's currently owned in just 63 percent of ESPN.com leagues, but look for owners to get their Curry fix this week.
Kenton Keith, RB, Colts: He beat out DeDe Dorsey for the backup job behind Joseph Addai, but half of us assumed the Colts would eventually sign a veteran castoff, and the other half were trying to trying to figure out how we ever believed in a guy named "DeDe." Meanwhile, Keith showed vision, cutting ability and burst in rushing for 32 yards on five carries in the Thursday night opener. Addai owners shouldn't be the only ones looking to pick up the former CFL star this week.
Eric Johnson, TE, Saints: This came up on our Fantasy Focus podcast last week: Did you realize that Johnson, at 28 later this week, is younger than Alge Crumpler and Randy McMichael? I would have sworn he was at least 30. Maybe that's because he has the lower back of a 75-year-old woman, and the knees of her husband. Nonetheless, he was clearly a favored possession target of Drew Brees in the opener, and if you're into carrying a second tight end, he could be a better guy to have than someone like Owen Daniels.
Shaun McDonald, WR, Lions: Sure, the Lions have a crowded receiving corps, but McDonald served notice that he could be this season's Mike Furrey by catching six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Remember, he was drafted by Mike Martz in St. Louis and had an impressive preseason, averaging 19.9 yards per catch while pulling in 13 passes.
Jason Avant, WR, Eagles: His alma mater had another rough weekend, but the former Michigan star caught three passes for 54 yards and a TD in Week 1. Avant, in his second season, had a strong training camp to beat out coaches' darling Hank Baskett, and could be the real deal.
Mason Crosby, K, Packers: After winning a "battle of the no-names" competition with Dave Rayner in the preseason, the Packers' rookie kicker didn't find himself on many fantasy teams. That figures to change after he went 3-for-3 on field goals, from distances of 53, 37 and 42 yards. Now he just needs a catchy Chris Berman nickname. I nominate "Perry" Mason Crosby.
Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers: Sure, he had plenty of touches (15 carries and four receptions), but 2.7 yards per carry against an Eagles' defense that gave up 4.5 yards per rush last season? I keep saying it: A bad player with a job is still a bad player. Don't be surprised if Vernand Morency gets another shot at this job when he's fully healthy.
Maurice Stovall, WR, Buccaneers: Beating out Michael Clayton made him a "fashionable" sleeper. But after coming off the bench in favor of Ike Hilliard (yep, still in the league), he might as well be wearing plaid pants and a pink turtleneck.
LenDale White, RB, Titans: And not just because he looks like he ate Eddie George.
Matt Jones, WR, Jaguars: Free advice to the 89 percent of the ESPN.com players who own him: This is your first drop. Jones, who lost his starting job to Dennis Northcutt, saw only two passes thrown his way and caught none, which gave him two fewer receptions than rookie John Broussard. Who? Exactly.
Donte' Stallworth, WR, Patriots: He saw just two targets from Tom Brady. Compare that to nine each for Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
Tony Hunt, RB, Eagles: Remember all that talk about Hunt being the short-yardage back (and, therefore, the goal-line back) for the Eagles? The rookie didn't even see the field, despite the fact that the Eagles found themselves in third-and-1 situations four times. If you're looking touchdowns, hunt elsewhere.
Mike Bell, RB, Broncos: I was holding out hope that Mike Shanahan might have been fooling us and Bell really would be the backup tailback, but Cecil Sapp and Selvin Young each had a few carries and Bell had none. Of course, Lucifer Shanahan will probably wait until every last fantasy owner has dropped Bell and then insert him as the every-down back.
Studs and Duds
Stud: Tony Romo (345 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 rushing TD)
Honorable Mention: Eli Manning (312 yards, 4 TDs)
Dud: Drew Brees (192 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs)
Dishonorable Mention: Philip Rivers (190 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)
Stud: Travis Henry (183 total yards)
Honorable mention: Chris Brown (175 rushing yards)
Dud: Steven Jackson (58 rushing yards, 1 reception)
Dishonorable mention: Fred Taylor (16 rushing yards)
Stud: Plaxico Burress (8 catches, 144 yards, 3 TDs)
Honorable mention: Randy Moss (9 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD)
Dud: Deion Branch (0 catches)
Dishonorable mention: Lee Evans (2 catches, 5 yards)
Stud: Jason Witten (6 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD)
Dud: Chris Cooley (1 catch, 10 yards)
Stud: Lawrence Tynes (3-for-3 FG, long of 48, 2 PATs)
Dud: Sebastian Janikowski (0-for-3 FG)
Team Defenses/Special Teams
Stud: Minnesota Vikings (6 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 TD)
Dud: New York Jets (0 sacks, 0 takeaways, 38 points allowed)
Quick thoughts on injuries not covered elsewhere. For detailed injury analysis, check out Stephania Bell's injury blog.
Chad Pennington twisted his lower right leg in grotesque fashion but somehow was able to make it back into the game. However, Newsday reports that he'll undergo an MRI on Monday. Heads up here, as Kellen Clemens would be a pickup if Pennington misses significant time.
Cadillac Williams took a hard shot to the ribs and left the game in the third quarter. I'm pretty sure his entire body is predisposed to bruising, but hopefully nothing is broken.
Orlando Pace suffered a shoulder injury and will undergo an MRI, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Pace missed much of last season with a triceps injury, and his absence didn't seem to hurt the offense much.
Jon Jansen suffered a broken ankle. There's no word on whether he'll miss the entire season, but the immediate impact was that Chris Cooley was forced to spend more time blocking, which could be a problem going forward.
J.P. Losman will have better days.
So will Charlie Frye but probably not in the NFL.
The Vikings have a really good run defense again.
LaMont Jordan caught 70 passes in 2005, then averaged barely a catch per game last season. It looks like Lane Kiffin will get him the ball this year; Jordan caught nine passes for 89 yards.
The Falcons wish they still had Matt Schaub
or D.J. Shockley.
or Chris Chandler.
The Dolphins might have the worst non-Cleveland offense in football this season, and I'd deal Ronnie Brown straight up for a decent No. 2 receiver right now.
I'm not worried about Thomas Jones.
I'm not worried about Jamal Lewis but only because I didn't draft him in any league.
Five early trends for Week 2
Marc Bulger had only two touchdown passes in two games against the 49ers last season while averaging just 193 passing yards per game.
Rudi Johnson has a five-game scoring streak against the Browns, with seven touchdowns in that span.
Anquan Boldin has neither a touchdown nor a 100-yard game in his last three versus the Seahawks.
Santana Moss had just 51 yards in two games against the Eagles in 2006, and has been held scoreless in his last four versus Philadelphia.
Devery Henderson caught three passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns at Tampa Bay in Week 9 last season.
Nate Ravitz is an editor and analyst for ESPN.com Fantasy
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