Friday, September 17, 2021

Los Angeles Rams Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Los Angeles Rams rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 3.4 (3rd)
  • Best ranking: 3rd (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 4th (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Rams in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 4

Top rookie: CB Robert Rochell

Only two rookies saw action on offense or defense in the Rams' opener. Receiver Tutu Atwell, the Rams' second-round pick, played two snaps on offense, while Rochell played 27 snaps on defense. Rochell was inserted in the third quarter when starter David Long Jr. went to the sideline because of cramps. The fourth-round pick had an outstanding pass breakup in the fourth quarter when Bears quarterback Andy Dalton attempted a fourth-and-15 throw to receiver Darnell Mooney. He finished with a tackle and a pass deflection. "[Rochell] came in and held his own," cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. -- Lindsey Thiry

NFL.com -- Rank: 3

Pretty much a perfect opener for the Rams, who executed on both sides of the ball in a blowout win over the Bears under the lights at SoFi Stadium. The breathless offseason hype around the new Sean McVay-Matthew Stafford partnership counts as one summer narrative that was worth all the honking. Stafford looked extremely comfortable running the Rams' offense, throwing three touchdown passes while returning the deep-strike element that went M.I.A. from McVay's scheme in the final years of the Jared Goff era. Late in the fourth quarter, with the game well in hand, NBC cameras caught a beaming Stafford working his way down the Rams' sideline. The man had a glow. This is a career rebirth with championship-level upside.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 4

Matt Stafford showed in the opener that he will liven up the passing game for this Rams team with the deep shots. The defense was its usual stout self against the Bears.

USA Today -- Rank: 3

The Matthew Stafford-Sean McVay marriage appeared all it was cracked up to be -- through one game anyway. Stafford's Week 1-best 156.1 QB rating is the highest in league history for a player debuting with a new team.

The Athletic -- Rank: 3

Overreaction: Sean McVay is the early leader for Coach of the Year. Few coaches put as much of themselves on the line heading into this season as McVay did in orchestrating the megatrade to acquire Matthew Stafford and cast away Jared Goff. The early returns are excellent, and after averaging more than 16 air yards per attempt in his Rams debut, Stafford looks like the perfect quarterback to elevate McVay's offense. -- Jones

Reality check: This was a six-point game late in the third quarter against Andy Dalton. But the Rams pulled away impressively, and zero turnovers and one punt looks sharp for anyone in Week 1. Not much to the Goff-Stafford "who won the trade?" debate so far. -- Auman

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Los Angeles Chargers Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Los Angeles Chargers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 12.8 (13th)
  • Best ranking: 11th (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 15th (CBS Sports)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Chargers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 14

Top rookie: LT Rashawn Slater

The 13th overall pick in April's draft stood his ground against Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young in the Chargers' 20-16 win over Washington. QB Justin Herbert threw for 337 yards and Slater ranked 20th among tackles in pass block win rate. It was a solid performance for a guy who had not played in a year after he opted out of his last season at Northwestern. -- Shelley Smith

NFL.com -- Rank: 11

Justin Herbert was an absolute savage from the pocket when the Chargers needed him most on Sunday. The second-year QB delivered laser strikes for first-down completions of 17, 19, 20 and 9 yards -- all of them on pivotal third-down plays -- to seal a hard-fought 20-16 win over the Washington Football Team. Herbert wasn't perfect, committing two turnovers with L.A. in scoring range, but his incredible arm talent, combined with a gutsy self-belief in the opportunities that golden right arm gives him, separates him from so many of his peers. The Chargers, at long last, have a closer.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 15

Winning on the road on the East Coast to open the season is a good look. The defense looked much improved from a year ago.

USA Today -- Rank: 13

Pretty impressive 16-game start (4,673 passing yards and 32 TDs) for QB Justin Herbert ... and he's even winning close games now!

The Athletic -- Rank: 11

Overreaction: Left tackle Rashawn Slater was the NFL's best offensive rookie in Week 1. Slater, drafted at No. 13, didn't allow a pressure in his NFL debut. And considering he lined up against Chase Young, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, that's extremely impressive. It's just the kind of protection Justin Herbert needs. -- Jones

Reality check: Not much to check here. Chargers went 14-of-19 on third downs Sunday. That's the most conversions in any NFL game in 10 years, against what should be a stout defense. Los Angeles' next two will be telling: vs. Cowboys, at Chiefs. -- Auman

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Arizona Cardinals Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Arizona Cardinals rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 9.6 (10th)
  • Best ranking: 5th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 14th (NFL.com)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Cardinals in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 12

Top rookie: WR Rondale Moore

Moore proved the hype about his speed was real during his NFL debut on Sunday. He finished with four catches for 68 yards in the Cardinals' victory over the Titans and returned three kicks (two punts and one kickoff) for 46 yards. But every time Moore touched the ball, he gave the feeling that something big could happen. It felt like there was always a possibility that he'd break a big play. In future weeks, he very well might. -- Josh Weinfuss

NFL.com -- Rank: 14

Maybe the Cardinals heard all the talk this summer about how they were the only NFC West team we shouldn't expect to make a deep playoff run. Arizona came out on Sunday and played like one of the best teams in football, embarrassing the Titans in a 38-13 road victory that recalibrates expectations of what this team can be. Kyler Murray (five total TDs) looked like a QB ready for a run at MVP, while Chandler Jones delivered one of the best defensive performances in franchise history: five sacks and two forced fumbles, both of which led to Arizona touchdowns. Said wideout Christian Kirk: "I haven't seen this team with such a big chip on their shoulder before in years past of my three seasons of being here so far."

CBS Sports -- Rank: 5

If Kyler Murray plays like he did against the Titans this season, the Cardinals will be a Super Bowl contender. The defense also impressed.

USA Today -- Rank: 7

If we're crowning offensive and defensive players of the year after Week 1, good chance Arizona would have both given the opening day performances of QB Kyler Murray (5 TDs) and OLB Chandler Jones (5 sacks).

The Athletic -- Rank: 10

Overreaction: Kyler Murray is the MVP favorite. Did you watch him? Stop what you're doing and get to NFL Game Pass immediately. Murray was electric, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another, while the Cardinals' offense was explosive in a way we have not seen in the Kliff Kingsbury era. -- Jones

Reality check: So we had all four NFC West teams in the top 14 last week, and we still undersold them. The Cardinals could easily be 3-0 when they go to the Rams in Week 4. Since the dawn of the current divisional look in 2002, we've never had a 9-7 last-place team. Six have gone 8-8. Stay tuned. -- Auman

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New York Giants Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the New York Giants rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 28.0 (T-27th)
  • Best ranking: 27th (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 30th (USA Today)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for the Giants in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 28

Top rookie: OLB Azeez Ojulari

Ojulari registered a sack and three tackles in 34 defensive snaps -- more snaps than the other five rookies combined -- in Sunday's loss to the Broncos. He had his ups and downs in his NFL debut. First-round pick Kadarius Toney was on the field for just five plays, and sixth-rounders Gary Brightwell and Rodarius Williams played 22 combined snaps, half on special teams. The Giants' third and fourth-round picks, Aaron Robinson and Elerson Smith, are on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform lists. -- Jordan Raanan

NFL.com -- Rank: 27

Daniel Jones keeps doing it. The third-year quarterback has struggled with inconsistency throughout his short NFL tenure, and we saw more of the same in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Broncos. Jones moved the Giants well at times, connecting on a handful of downfield strikes against a Denver secondary that's notoriously stingy when it comes to surrendering chunk plays. But the game turned late in the third quarter, when Jones scrambled inside the Denver 15 and lost the football as he went to the ground. The resulting turnover short-circuited a promising drive and pretty much sealed Big Blue's fate. Jones is good until he's not ... and that's the problem.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 27

The heat is already on this front office and coaching staff. The first game was a not a good look for Joe Judge and company and now they play on a short week to turn it around.

USA Today -- Rank: 30

QB Daniel Jones coughed up the ball for the 40th time. Joe Judge tossed away timeouts. RB Saquon Barkley isn't himself (yet). Even the defense stinks. Otherwise, everything is fine for a team that hasn't crept above .500 since 2016.

The Athletic -- Rank: 28

Overreaction: So Saquon Barkley's back, but Daniel Jones was the team's rushing leader with 27 yards, and Barkley got 2.6 per carry. The Giants got a meaningless touchdown as the game ended to make the score a little kinder. They also gave up 165 yards on the ground. Can you write them off in this division already? -- Auman

Reality check: Barkley's return was a dud, but if I'm the Giants, I'm more concerned about getting shredded by Teddy Bridgewater. Rough start heading into a short week. -- Jones

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Washington Football Team Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Washington Football Team rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 20.8 (T-21st)
  • Best ranking: 17th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 22nd (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 2 roundup for Washington in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 22

Top rookie: RT Sam Cosmi

In truth, it was not a great day for Washington's four rookies. Cosmi had a tough first assignment: Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa. "Baptism by fire," coach Ron Rivera called it. Not all of Bosa's pressures came vs. him, and Cosmi at least showed flashes of what he can become. He ranked first overall in the league in run block win rate, but was last overall in pass block win rate. It was not a great day, but the other rookies made it tough to look elsewhere. -- John Keim

NFL.com -- Rank: 22

The news on Ryan Fitzpatrick is not good. The veteran passer was moved to injured reserve on Monday after suffering a hip subluxation in Sunday's loss to the Chargers, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the possibility of Fitzpatrick missing the rest of the year is "on the table." Obviously, this is a crushing setback for both Fitzmagic and the Washington Football Team, which simply cannot find stability behind center. Taylor Heinicke had some moments against Los Angeles, but you have to wonder if Ron Rivera is truly serious about not bringing another veteran into the building. The fact that Cam Newton isn't already on a plane to D.C. makes you wonder about how Rivera really feels about his former MVP.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 17

They lost Ryan Fitzpatrick in the opening loss to the Chargers, and he will be out for three weeks at least. That means it's Taylor Heinecke time against the Giants Thursday night.

USA Today -- Rank: 21

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick set a record by making a Week 1 start for his sixth different club before sustaining a hip injury likely to cost him at least half the season. But it could be a silver lining for the WFT as it takes an extended look at Taylor Heinicke, who could have a long-term future here.

The Athletic -- Rank: 22

Overreaction: Were Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke really the answer? WFT led a good Chargers team in the fourth quarter, but Heinicke (who has as many career regular-season TD passes as Trevor Lawrence) doesn't seem like a full-season NFL starting quarterback. The defense giving up 424 yards is even more discouraging. -- Auman

Reality check: Justin Herbert is going to make a lot of defenses look silly on third downs, but man, that was a tough debut for what we thought would be one of the best young defenses in the NFL. Playing Daniel Jones and the Giants might be just the fix Washington needs. -- Jones

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Fantasy Football TE Waiver Wire Week 2

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some tight end waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 2 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (34%)

In Week 1, Kmet had five catches for 42 yards on seven targets. Going back to last season, Kmet has a minimum of six targets in five of his last six games. The second-year tight end has averaged only 7.64 Y/R during that six-game stretch (25/191/1 on 37 targets), but there is a lot to like about that consistent volume.

If he maintains a similar per-game target average (6.17/G), he would finish the year with 105 targets. Only five tight ends -- Travis Kelce (145), Darren Waller (134), Logan Thomas (110), Evan Engram (109) and T.J. Hockenson (101) -- exceeded 100 targets last season. While there is one extra game this season, only one other -- Eric Ebron (91) -- exceeded 90 targets.

2. Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints (11%)

Adam Trautman (six) doubled up his targets, but Johnson (three targets) made the most of his opportunities as converted his three catches into two touchdowns and 21 yards. Given the buzz that Johnson generated this offseason, he appeared on our preseason list of fantasy football sleepers and he's at least worth monitoring in standard-sized leagues. Johnson should be rostered in deep leagues and/or TE-premium formats.

3. Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (26%)

Cook began his age-34 season with five catches for 56 yards on eight targets. The veteran tight end has 16 touchdowns in 29 games over the previous two seasons and should be heavily involved in the red zone for the Bolts. Beyond the top seven options, there are plenty of tight ends that are in the mix for back-end TE1 production and Cook is in that mix.

4. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (1%)

Michael Gallup's multi-week injury will certainly lead to a significant bump in snaps for Cedrick Wilson, but he's unlikely to absorb all of the targets that would have gone Gallup's way. It's possible that the Cowboys utilize a few more two-TE sets along with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.

Both Schultz (six targets) and Blake Jarwin (four) were plenty involed in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Jarwin offers more athletic upside, Schultz was productive last season as he racked up 63/615/4 on 89 targets (TE12 in half-PPR) and more involved than Jarwin, who made his return from last year's torn ACL, in Week 1.

Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 2

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Fantasy Football WR Waiver Wire Week 2

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some wide receiver waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 2 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Rondale Moore, 4. Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (27%, 14%)

Arizona's offense was clicking on all cylinders in Week 1 as Moore ended the day with four catches for 68 yards on five targets. On the other hand, it was a disappointing debut for A.J. Green (2/25 on six targets).

While Christian Kirk (5/70/2) had a monster game, we've seen up-and-down performances from him. During a five-game stretch from Weeks 4 to 9 last season, Kirk totaled 20/343/6 (17.15 Y/R) as he performed as fantasy's WR7 during that stretch. He finished as the WR50 (or worse) in eight of his other nine games last season.

If I had to rank the non-DeAndre Hopkins receivers in Arizona for the rest of the way, I'd rank them Moore (1A), Kirk (1B) and Green (distant second). On a positive note for Green, he played 55 snaps (80%), which was significantly more than Kirk (39, 57%) and Moore (20,29%).

2. Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina Panthers (20%)

With Christian McCaffrey missing almost all of 2020, the Panthers had three highly productive wide receivers. In fact, all three of Robby Anderson (WR22), D.J. Moore (WR23) and Curtis Samuel (WR25) finished as top-25 wide receivers in half-PPR scoring.

That likely won't happen in 2021, especially given that CMC is healthy (knock on wood), but it's conceivable that Marshall outperforms his ADP and returns flex value for his fantasy managers. Longer-term injury concerns may have led to a draft slide to the end of Round 2, but many viewed Marshall as a first-round talent and he joined the team having familiarity with Joe Brady's offense from their days at LSU. Marshall had just three catches for 26 yards on six targets in his debut, but I expect better things to come from the promising rookie.

3. Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (2%)

Jerry Jeudy (high-ankle sprain) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which is obviously disappointing for those that roster a receiver that seemed destined to breakout in 2021. With the injury, however, it opens up opportunities for the team's other pass catchers.

While K.J. Hamler may offer more weekly upside, Patrick is the more consistent option. Patrick had a relatively quiet breakout season in 2020 as he finished with 51 catches for 742 yards and six touchdowns. In fact, Patrick (WR41) scored more fantasy points than teammate Jeudy (WR44) in 2020.

4. Kirk (see above)

5. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (39%)

Shepard was one of Week 1's top-performing wide receivers with a 7/113/1 line on nine targets. Kenny Golladay had noted that the offense could take some time to develop chemistry due to injuries, so it wasn't necessarily surprising that Daniel Jones found comfort targeting Shepard as successfully as he did.

Golladay should emerge as the team's No. 1 receiver, but Shepard has some extra short-term value since the Giants have a quick turnaround with a Thursday Night Football matchup against WFT. Not only is Saquon Barkley still at less than full strength, but Evan Engram earned a projected DNP on Monday after sitting out Week 1.

6. K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings (0%)

In an OT shootout against the Bengals, Osborn ended Week 1 with seven catches for 76 yards on nine targets. It was a nearly even three-way split between Adam Thielen (10 targets), Justin Jefferson (nine) and Osborn (nine). That is unlikely to happen very often and the Vikings want to run the ball as much as possible, but they face a couple of offenses -- Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns -- that could force the Vikings to keep their pass attempts high over the next few weeks.

Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 2

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Fantasy Football RB Waiver Wire Week 2

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 2 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Eli Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers (8%)

When the 49ers traded up in the third round to draft Ohio State's Trey Sermon, many jumped to the conclusion that Sermon would earn a substantial Day 1 workload. With Sermon a (surprise) healthy scratch, it was another rookie that had a massive workload and productive day.

It's unclear how much work the team would have allocated to Mitchell, the 194th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, if Raheem Mostert (knee) didn't exit the game early. With Mostert leaving after two carries, however, Mitchell carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. While JaMycal Hasty also had a three-yard touchdown, it was his only carry.

Mostert will miss the rest of the season and Mitchell should be in line for the largest share of the workload (at least, in the short term) even assuming that Sermon would be active.

The 49ers will head to Philadelphia for a Week 2 matchup against the Eagles.

2. Tony Jones Jr., New Orleans Saints (23%)

In two seasons with the Saints, Latavius Murray averaged 11.26 touches per game and he finished as fantasy's RB33 (2020) and RB29 (2019), respectively, in half-PPR scoring. In the first game with Murray no longer on the roster, Jones assumed the complementary role to Alvin Kamara and handled 12 touches.

Jones racked up 53 scoreless scrimmage yards (50 rushing and three receiving), but that level of workload would likely yield flex-level production for those that roster Jones this season. And if Kamara were to miss any time, there is enormous weekly upside for Jones. In the two games that Kamara missed and Murray was active, Murray had a total of 62 touches, 307 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns.

3. James White, New England Patriots (33%)

In the opener, White had six catches for 49 yards on seven targets and four carries for 12 yards. With Mac Jones taking the reigns from Cam Newton, there will undoubtedly be more running back targets in 2021 than in 2020.

Before hauling in 49 receptions for 375 yards on 62 targets last season, White had a minimum of 95 targets, 72 receptions and 645 receiving yards in each of the previous two seasons with Tom Brady under center. Perhaps a return to that level of receiving production is unlikely, but he's a viable RB3/flex, especially in full PPR formats.

4. Mark Ingram, Houston Texans (19%)

Unanimously ranked 32nd in our consensus NFL Power Rankings, the Texans may not jump out to such a commanding lead again like they did in this one -- 27-7 lead at halftime -- for the rest of the season. That said, Ingram had 26 of the running back's 41 touches (63.4%) Sunday for 85 yards and a touchdown.

Perhaps he never sees north of 25 touches again, but it's difficult to ignore that kind of workload. Heading into Monday Night Football, only Cincinnati's Joe Mixon (33) and Christian McCaffrey (30) had more touches on the week. Minnesota's Dalvin Cook also had 26 touches.

Game script for next week's matchup against the Cleveland Browns could force the Texans into catchup mode early, but if Ingram continues to handle Houston's largest share of the workload, he may enter the flex range in more competitive matchups.

5. Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (8%)

Philadelphia's 30 running back touches were allocated, as follows: Miles Sanders (19), Gainwell (11) and Boston Scott (zero). Based on Week 1 usage, Gainwell appears to be well ahead of Scott on the depth chart. The rookie from Memphis surprised many when he slipped to the fifth round, but it may not surprise many that he's carved out a signifcant role as a change-of-pace option to Sanders. In his NFL debut, Gainwell had nine carries for 37 yards and a score plus two receptions for six yards on three targets.

Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 2

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: QB Options Heading into Week 2

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be rostered in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some quarterback waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 2 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (44%)

Two years removed from his 2019 YOLO campaign of 5,109 yards and 30 interceptions, both of which led the NFL, Winston has begun his tenure as the Saints starting quarterback with elite efficiency. Despite what should have been a difficult matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Winston and the Saints made it look easy as he threw five (yes, five!) touchdowns on only 20 pass attempts. Obviously, his 25.0 TD% will regress. While he only threw for 148 yards, Winston also added six carries for 37 yards.

The overall talent level of the pass catchers is a concern, especially while Michael Thomas is on the PUP list. But all of their games won't be 35-point victories either, so this week could mark his season low for pass attempts in a game. Winston is in the top-15 mix the rest of the way.

2. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (44%)

The same applies to Justin Fields, rostered in 51% of Yahoo! leagues and therefore ineligible for this post, but Lance's value increases weekly as we continue to move closer to a likely transition to the rookie as the starter. Lance took a few snaps and threw a touchdown on his only pass attempt in Week 1. Even though he gained only two yards on three carries, Lance has elite dual-threat upside that will allow him to become a weekly top-10 option once he replaces Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter.

The 49ers have a Week 6 bye, the earliest possible bye. Perhaps that makes for the most logical transition point. The only concern is the 49ers continue to employ a rotation where they use Lance on occasion, as the 49ers have one of the league's best rosters and Kyle Shanahan may prefer to keep the steady hand of a veteran quarterback until next season.

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (39%)

Roethlisberger had a quiet Week 1 performance -- 18-of-32 for 188 yards and a score in an upset win over the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers may not lead the NFL in pass attempts again this season, but Big Ben has one of the most talented WR trios (Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster) at his disposal and he will get softer matchups coming up. The Steelers will face the Raiders, Bengals and Packers in their next three games.

4. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (7%)

While there may be no such thing as a moral victory, it surely was an impressive near comeback for the Lions on Sunday. Down big, Goff needed to sling it 57 times; only Dak Prescott (58) threw it more this week. The former No. 1 overall pick finished with week with nearly 30 fantasy points as he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers. The Lions are going to be big underdogs most weeks (double-digit underdogs vs. GB in Week 2), which could lead to many more high-volume outings for Goff.

Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 2

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Green Bay Packers Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Green Bay Packers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 4.0 (4th)
  • Best ranking: 4th (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 4th (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Packers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 4

Person on the hot seat: QB Aaron Rodgers

As absurd as it might seem on the surface, yes, the reigning NFL MVP is on the hot seat. He put himself there -- perhaps unwittingly -- with the way he approached this offseason and essentially tried to leverage control over his future. If he wants this to be his last dance with the Packers, then it would help his legacy to go out a winner. Anything short of a Super Bowl might tarnish his legacy, at least among some Packers loyalists. -- Rob Demovsky

NFL.com -- Rank: 4

Star left tackle David Bakhtiari will miss at least the first six weeks of the season as he continues his recovery from an ACL tear, so it will fall on Elgton Jenkins to protect Aaron Rodgers' blind side for the start of a Super Bowl-or-bust season in Green Bay. Jenkins earned Pro Bowl honors at left guard in 2020; if he thrives in Bakhtiari's place, the third-year pro will set himself up for a huge contract down the line. Last November, Bakhtiari signed an extension that made him the league's highest-paid offensive lineman.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 4

Surprise, surprise. Aaron Rodgers is back. Since he is, they are once again a team that can win it all. This is another team that has to make strides on defense to get to a Super Bowl.

USA Today -- Rank: 4

"The Last Dance" vibe around this team would be cute ... if there wasn't such a junior high overtone about it. Unlike the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, the Pack haven't been prom kings in a decade.

The Athletic -- Rank: 4

Why they're ranked here: Perhaps this is a bit of a surprise, but eight of our voters had the Packers outside the top five and one person had them at No. 9. Their offense ranked No. 1 in the NFL a year ago and returns all the important contributors, even if the offensive line might be slightly worse. But the big story is that the drama has subsided in Green Bay: 2020 MVP Aaron Rodgers is back as the Packers try to not just reach the NFC Championship, as they've done four of the last seven years, but return to the Super Bowl.

One big question: Rodgers and Davante Adams both posted pictures of "The Last Dance," a nod to the potential that this is their final year in Green Bay. But their success could hinge on the defense. The offense will again be very good. But can new defensive coordinator Joe Barry do enough to complement the Packers' high-powered offense?

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Miami Dolphins Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Miami Dolphins rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 14.4 (T-13th)
  • Best ranking: 11th (USA Today)
  • Worst ranking: 16th (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Dolphins in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 16

Person on the hot seat: QB Tua Tagovailoa

This is low-hanging fruit, sure, but Tagovailoa is absolutely under pressure to perform in his second NFL season. The team around him is built for success, and although Miami's offensive line still has room for improvement, the Dolphins expect to see a more confident, aggressive quarterback in 2021. He gets somewhat of a pass for last season, coming off a debilitating hip injury and entering the league in a pandemic-ravaged offseason. But in a year when the Dolphins should expect to make the playoffs, Tagovailoa must rise to the occasion. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

NFL.com -- Rank: 14

Brian Flores reportedly used a team meeting last week to tell Dolphins players that Tua Tagovailoa is unquestionably "our quarterback." The support comes as rumors continue to swirl around a possible Miami pursuit of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. It's a thorny issue on multiple levels for the Dolphins, but ultimately it's up to Tagovailoa to make this story disappear. If the second-year passer thrives in the season's opening weeks, any hypothetical pursuit of Watson should end. But if Tua's play resembles what he put on tape in 2020? The outside noise will only grow louder.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 15

It's all about Tua Tagovailoa. If he makes the strides, they will be a playoff team - and maybe more. If not, there will be changes coming.

USA Today -- Rank: 11

Brian Flores' team has won 15 of its past 25 games, yet Miami's coach continues fielding questions linking his club to Houston QB Deshaun Watson. The group Flores will take into Week 1, including sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa, certainly appears playoff-caliber.

The Athletic -- Rank: 16

Why they're ranked here: This feels exactly right for the Dolphins. It's not too difficult to make the case for Miami as a wild-card playoff team, if Tua Tagovailoa has a breakout season, the revamped receiver corps is explosive and the pass defense is one of the best in the NFL. But you can also look closely at the Dolphins and see holes and reasons why it could all fall apart (see below). So, right in the middle of the league rankings is appropriate.

One big question: Can they protect Tua? The Dolphins' offensive line is far from settled. Miami traded for two linemen in recent weeks (tackle Greg Little from Carolina, and guard Greg Mancz from Baltimore) as it tries to figure out the five best players to put in front of its new starting quarterback. Tagovailoa is far enough removed from his college hip injury to worry about his health, but he's going to need competent and consistent play from that line, both to establish a running game and to give him time to actually throw downfield. That was missing from the Dolphins' passing attack once Tagovailoa became the starter in the second half of last season.

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New Orleans Saints Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the New Orleans Saints rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 17.2 (T-18th)
  • Best ranking: 15th (NFL.com)
  • Worst ranking: 19th (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Saints in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

People on the hot seat: QBs Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill

Both QBs have a great opportunity to inherit a playoff offense in the wake of Drew Brees' retirement. And both have shown enough growth through three weeks of training camp to prove they deserve a legitimate shot at an NFL starting gig. But the runner-up in this battle will face a very uncertain future. Both are scheduled to be free agents after this season, and it's hard to imagine either one of them will find an opportunity this good on the open market next year. -- Mike Triplett

NFL.com -- Rank: 15

The damage caused by Hurricane Ida has forced the Saints to open their season in Jacksonville instead of New Orleans, an undeniable competitive setback for a team that has historically enjoyed one of the better home-field advantages in football playing under the roof at the raucous Caesars Superdome. Consider it just one more layer of uncertainty for a Saints team that has more question marks than perhaps ever before during Sean Payton's long and successful tenure with the team. One of those question marks surrounds Jameis Winston, whose golden opportunity for a career rebirth begins in earnest against the Packers.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

Jameis Winston opens as the starter at quarterback in the post-Drew Brees era, but you know the Taysom Hill gimmick will be a big part as well. Sean Payton loves the makeup of this team, but will the fallout from being displaced by a hurricane impact their start?

USA Today -- Rank: 16

Who wasn't a little jazzed about watching new QB1 Jameis Winston slinging it deep downfield in preseason, something we didn't see retired predecessor Drew Brees do effectively in recent years? But also hard not to be concerned for a team again relegated to itinerant status as it waits for New Orleans to become habitable following the wrath of Hurricane Ida.

The Athletic -- Rank: 17

Why they're ranked here: Our panel apparently has quite different opinions on the Saints: One person put them at No. 7 and another at No. 26. Some have faith Sean Peyton can deliver another high-powered offense, now with Jameis Winston at the helm. Others aren't buying Winston and fear the defense could regress after an impressive 2020.

One big question: Can Winston clean up the turnovers? We all remember his 30 interceptions in his final year as a starter in Tampa Bay, but he ranked in the top 20 of passing DVOA in each of his four years as a starter before that. So can he get back to playing like he did in 2017, when he averaged 7.7 yards per attempt?

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San Francisco 49ers Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the San Francisco 49ers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 8.6 (8th)
  • Best ranking: 6th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 10th (ESPN)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the 49ers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 10

Person on the hot seat: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Realistically, this decision was made once the Niners traded up to No. 3 and drafted QB Trey Lance. But Garoppolo is still clinging to his starting job, and the longer he does that -- and stays healthy -- the better it will bode for his future. It's unlikely he could do enough to stay beyond this year, but either way, this is a huge season from a career standpoint. Garoppolo is under contract for just one more season after this, but a big year would undoubtedly increase his trade value and could put him in position to land another sizable contract as a starter somewhere else. -- Nick Wagoner

NFL.com -- Rank: 9

The training camp QB competition played out like a soapy FOX prime-time show of the '90s, but credit Kyle Shanahan for keeping things from becoming a capital-D Distraction in Santa Clara. Everyone knows Trey Lance will have a role on this team -- Shanahan has said as much -- but the obvious question remains unanswered: When does Lance's role exceed Jimmy Garoppolo's? Shanahan will likely begin the season implementing both QBs in game action (and have some nerdy offensive-genius fun while he does it). Lance's role will blossom in accordance with how many splash plays he can deliver when given the opportunity.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 6

No matter who plays quarterback, this is the team I think will win the NFC West. Jimmy Garoppolo will likely start the season, but Trey Lance will get snaps as well. They are healthy again, which is bad news for the rest of the division.

USA Today -- Rank: 9

If you're a West Coast team opening with a pair of 1 p.m. kickoffs in the Eastern time zone, you want them -- this year, anyway -- in Detroit and Philadelphia.

The Athletic -- Rank: 9

Why they're ranked here: Our panel has the 49ers as a fringe top-10 team, with 56 percent slotting San Francisco between spots 8 to 11. The 49ers should again boast a good defense, but the optimism lies in the fact they will almost certainly get better quarterback play than they did a year ago.

One big question: How will the offense change with Trey Lance? The rookie may not be the starting quarterback Week 1, especially amid his finger injury. But Lance will eventually get the call this season, and it'll be fascinating to see how the offense changes at that point. Kyle Shanahan is great at scheming up quick, easy reads for quarterbacks, which could work well for the rookie.

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Houston Texans Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Houston Texans rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 32.0 (32nd)
  • Best ranking: 32nd (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 32nd (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Texans in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 32

Person on the hot seat: RB David Johnson

Johnson's spot on the Texans' roster is safe for this season, but his future in the NFL likely hinges on having a productive year. The Texans clearly want Johnson on the team in 2021, as they doubled his guaranteed money when they restructured his contract this offseason, but going into the season, they don't expect him to play nearly as much as he did in 2020. Johnson, who is making $4.7 million in 2021, is a free agent after this season. -- Sarah Barshop

NFL.com -- Rank: 32

The Deshaun Watson situation will continue to hang over the Texans, perhaps for the entirety of the season. It will be David Culley's job to shut out this booming outside noise and try to field a competitive team in 2021. Most peg the Texans as the heavy favorite to land the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft, but let me leave you with a dollop of optimism via an anonymous quote from one NFL coach (per The Athletic): "I think people are going to play (the Texans) and think they are sh****, and they'll surprise some people." Slap that on a billboard!

CBS Sports -- Rank: 32

They might not be as bad as some think because of all the veterans on the roster. They will be a feisty team, even if they don't win a lot of games. The problem is they just don't have a ton of top-level talent. The Deshaun Watson situation also hangs over this team.

USA Today -- Rank: 32

If newly announced starting QB Tyrod Taylor's recent luck is any indication, then rookie Davis Mills will be playing by Week 3, when Houston is scheduled to make its only prime-time appearance of the season on a Thursday.

The Athletic -- Rank: 32

Why they're ranked here: There was little disagreement among our panelists, as the Texans received 22 of 25 last-place votes. There's just not much to be confident about when you look at their roster (with 21 players on one-year contracts and a noticeable void in defensive star power) and consider all of the drama thanks to the ongoing legal situation with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson made the 53-man roster but is unlikely to play.

One big question: Who will be the Texans' quarterback in 2022? Is it too soon to think about it? Yes, probably. But the months of speculation ahead should help Texans fans get through a potentially rough season.

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