Alone on an Island: Defending rankings
Wondering what these guys were thinking when they broke from the pack in the Week 1 rankings? We like to call that being "alone on an island." Here's what our castaways had to say.
Ranked: 35 Composite Rank: 22Matthew Berry on Joey Galloway
Well, while it may look enticing at first glance, I don't believe Galloway has a big game on Sunday. I believe Tampa Bay tries to establish the run on the road and controls the clock. I also think Galloway is not a good match with Jeff Garcia. Among the reasons why Garcia is good in the West Coast offense is that he dinks and dunks. Galloway is a speed guy who needs to get deep to be a fantasy stud, and I just don't see Garcia chucking it down the field a lot. With no other legitimate receiving threat established for the Buccaneers, the Seahawks will focus on shutting down Galloway. Oh, and finally, there there were 34 guys I liked more this week.
Ranked: 7 Composite Rank: 11Eric Karabell on Jon Kitna
I admit my Kitna ranking seems a bit high, but he kept moving closer to the top as I dropped others. For example, I didn't like Vince Young's matchup, so he left my top 10. I wanted to be more cautious on Matt Hasselbeck, because I see Shaun Alexander getting a ton of carries. I know the Raiders played the pass better than anyone last season, but this isn't last season. I don't trust the Detroit running game, so Kitna will be throwing. Also, Calvin Johnson might not start, but he will create matchup problems and help his teammates. Kitna closed last season with seven touchdowns against the Bears and Cowboys, so I don't think the matchup, in a new season, is as important as the motivation this team feels and the addition of a top rookie wideout. I think a 300-yard day with two scores is coming.
Ranked: 8 Composite Rank: 14Scott Engel on Jay Cutler
While there has been much hoopla surrounding Travis Henry, the running game won't be the focal point of the Denver attack early against Buffalo. The Bills' secondary looked awful during the preseason, and their struggles will continue right into the regular season. The Broncos will exploit the weaknesses on defense with multiple-receiver sets, and cornerback Terrence McGee will have his hands full with Javon Walker. Cutler will use his top wideout and a variety of other targets to move the ball easily, and I expect at least two touchdown passes from him in the season opener. Tight end Daniel Graham is also a good bet to catch some key passes from Cutler. The young Denver quarterback will struggle at times this season, but not in Week 1.
Ranked: 18 Composite Rank: 27Hector the Projector on Brandon Jackson
Nobody agrees with us on Jackson, the rookie running back for the Packers. We're not saying he's going to end up in Hawaii, and we realize the Eagles defense can be quite impressive. Still, we ranked Jackson 18th because he's all by himself in the backfield. Yes, he's coming back from a concussion, and that's a concern, but Vernand Morency has been very limited with a bad knee. Given that Philadelphia will be preoccupied with Brett Favre, we believe Jackson should be able to sneak in just enough solid runs to be very productive, possibly even managing a touchdown, to boot.
Ranked: 30 Composite Rank: 20Christopher Harris on Ahman Green
I'm not out of order. You're out of order. This whole court's out of order. I know Ahman Green is a starter in the NFL. I know he's been reunited with Mike Sherman. I know the Houston offense supposedly has new life with the evil David Carr removed and the princely Matt Schaub in charge. But pardon me if I've seen this movie before. Green is aging and injury-prone, and he has 1,871 career regular-season rushing attempts. Worst of all, he's got an offensive line that routinely got quarterbacks killed for all five years of the franchise's existence, and frankly doesn't look any better in '07. I know, I know, Ron Dayne rushed for over 87 yards in four straight games to end the 2006 season, but three of those games were against Tennessee, Oakland and Indianapolis. I'm simply not a believer. I understand that Green is low on a lot of season-ranking lists because people think eventually he'll get hurt, and that before his injury comes, folks think he should be higher. I simply don't subscribe to the theory. If Green is your No. 2 fantasy back, I think it could be a long season.
Ranked: NR Composite Rank: 41Nate Ravitz on Eddie Kennison
It didn't dawn on me to rank Eddie Kennison because, really, I never considered even drafting him. A steady veteran is one thing, but a veteran whose skills are eroding while toiling on a team with a highly suspect offense led by a highly suspect quarterback behind a highly suspect offensive line is another. Kennison has always been an upside player, the kind of guy you start hoping he'll break for a long touchdown, but those days are over. Last season, he only had three 100-yard games, and scored touchdowns in just two of them. If I'm rolling the dice, I'd rather roll it on Patrick Crayton or Brandon Marshall.
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