Six weeks in and we are starting to distinguish the contenders and pretenders. The Vikings and Patriots are the clear favorites in their respective conferences, while the Browns and 49ers might as well be mathematically eliminated already.
This week I’ll give you my power rankings for all 32 teams and I will give you my answer to some pressing questions in the league right now, including the Josh Brown situation and the Romo/Prescott debate. Then we’ll finish it off with who you should start and sit in fantasy this week. Let’s not waste anymore time, here’s this week’s Power Rankings.
- Minnesota Vikings
- New England Patriots
- Seattle Seahawks
- Atlanta Falcons
- Dallas Cowboys
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Buffalo Bills
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Green Bay Packers
- Arizona Cardinals
- Oakland Raiders
- Washington Redskins
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Houston Texans
- San Diego Chargers
- New York Giants
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Los Angeles Rams
- Baltimore Ravens
- Detroit Lions
- New Orleans Saints
- Indianapolis Colts
- Carolina Panthers
- Tennessee Titans
- Miami Dolphins
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Chicago Bears
- New York Jets
- San Francisco 49ers
- Cleveland Browns
Question & Answer
Q: What is wrong with the New York Giants/NFL?
A: Boy do I wish I knew the real answer to this question. For a short recap, Giants kicker Josh Brown was arrested in 2015 after an incident with his wife, Molly. As part of the investigation, she told police that he had been physically violent with her more than 20 times over the last several years. As of September 2016, no charges had been filed. Due to the domestic violence arrest, the NFL suspended Brown for ONE game. ONE! It was an absurd suspension compared to what other crimes/arrests/rule breaks have been punished with. For example, Le’Veon Bell served a three-game suspension for a marijuana arrest. Yes, the possession of marijuana was a crime, but compared to domestic violence, I’d say it’s pretty harmless.
It was revealed yesterday that Brown admitted to being abusive towards his wife in letters, emails and journals. The NFL and the Giants claim to have no prior knowledge of these documents. That begs the question “How?” How did the Giants and/or Roger Goodell not know about these confessions? The league claimed that it was working closely with investigators, which makes this inexcusable.
On top of this, in a press conference this morning, Giants’ HC Ben McAdoo claimed that the team will not turn it’s back on Brown. WHY? He does realize what is wrong with that statement, right? I guess not. This is just a massive failure on all terms. I am embarrassed by the Giants, I am embarrassed by the NFL, and I feel absolutely zero remorse for Josh Brown. I hope he never plays another snap in the NFL.
Q: When he’s healthy, should Tony Romo take over for Dak Prescott?
A: Now on to something a little more light-hearted. This is a difficult question to answer, and if I would have been asked last week, I would have had a different answer. I totally understand why the Cowboys will want to start Romo. Yes, he’s not the same player he once was, and his body is breaking down on him quickly. That being said, when healthy, Romo is still a top quarterback in this league, and the Cowboys are still his team. Jerry Jones said that it’s Romo’s team, Jason Garrett said that it’s Romo’s team, even Dak Prescott has said that it’s Romo’s team.
Despite that, after last week’s performance, the answer to this question is clear. Dak Prescott must remain the starting quarterback for the Cowboys. Last week I would have said that they should start Romo, but give him a really short leash. Then last week, despite committing his first two turnovers of the season, Prescott led his team to a decisive victory over the Packers in Green Bay. The Packers aren’t the same dominant team they once were, but they are still extremely tough to beat at home, and the Cowboys made it look easy. Prescott is second in the league in Total QBR, behind just Matt Ryan, who many believe is the MVP of the league thus far. He’s doing everything he needs to do to make the Cowboys successful, and they are 5-1 and at the top of the NFC East. As long as they continue on this path, they cannot make the switch to Romo. Prescott has to stay the starter.
Q: Are the Vikings a legitimate Super Bowl contender?
A: Simply put, yes, they are. Here’s why. Their defense is dominant. They are second in the league in yards allowed per game, behind just Seattle. They lead the league in points allowed per game, giving up just under 12 points a game. They have yet to give up more than 16 points in a game this year. That is incredible. They are tied for third in sacks, and the two teams ahead of them have played six games, compared to just five so far for the Vikings. The Broncos went to the Super Bowl last season led by their defense, but between Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning, their offense did enough to allow the defense to do the dirty work. The Vikings have been successful this year in a similar fashion.
Nobody is calling Sam Bradford one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but he is controlling the game masterfully so far this season. He isn’t turning the ball over, and that is the biggest thing. The Vikings’ offense has coughed the ball up just once this season, and that was a fumble. Bradford has yet to throw an interception. They are +11 in turnover differential, good for first in the league. Last season, the Panthers led the league in turnover differential, and they represented the NFC in the big game. In 2014, the Seahawks and Patriots were in the top-4 in the league in that category en route to the Super Bowl. We’re just six weeks into the season, but the Vikings are a clear Super Bowl contender, and they need to be taken seriously.
Stafford has been inconsistent this season. It’s been either high or low, with very little in between. Last week was a high against Los Angeles, and I think it’ll be another high this week against the Redskins. The Lions are very thin at running back due to injuries, and I expect them to throw early and often, taking advantage of a poor Washington secondary.
I highlighted a few weeks ago how Mariota’s schedule is incredibly favorable in the middle of this season. He had a coming out party last week against Cleveland, and I predict more of the same this week against the porous Indianapolis defense. Mariota could be a Top-5 quarterback this week.
Odds are you don’t have a better option, but don’t expect much from Brees this week. He historically tends to struggle on the road, and the Chiefs have one of the best secondaries in the league led by Marcus Peters and Eric Berry. It could be a long day for the Saints offensively.
He had a cushy matchup on Monday night against the Jets, and he performed accordingly. This week he has a brutal matchup against the Seahawks, and I expect him to again perform accordingly. There are lots of better options this week.
Spencer Ware/Jamaal Charles
It will be impossible to predict how many snaps and touches these guys are going to get, as the Chiefs continue to ease Charles back into it, but against the Saints, I think they are both worth a start. Ware was the lead back last week against Oakland, but Charles was able to find the end zone. If they produce similarly this week, they should both be in lineups.
When Tom Brady plays, the passing down running back produces. It was Dion Lewis at the start of last season, then James White at the end. This year it’s flip flopped. White may only have value until Lewis returns, but they face the Steelers this week, and their defense is among the worst in the league in giving up receptions to running backs. I believe White should absolutely be started in PPR, and this week he should be started in standard scoring leagues as well.
After a 200-plus yard performance last week, I know Ajayi owners will be tempted to start him this week. I’m telling you that you should definitely rethink that. The Bills defense has been stellar as of late, and they held Carlos Hyde to just over 50 yards on the ground last week. This is not a good matchup for Ajayi.
Gore has been solid once again this season, continuing a streak of being undervalued during the preseason. The Titans have been terrific against the run this year though, and if the Colts want to win this game, they’ll do it with Andrew Luck’s arm. I don’t envision a big game from Gore.
Finally! Finally Golden Tate produced how everyone expected him to before the season! I’d like to see him do it again before I truly trust him again, but I think he’s set up for a big game. The Washington secondary can be suspect, and with the Lions’ run game struggling, Stafford is going to throw the ball a lot. Tate and Marvin Jones are both good plays this week.
The Jaguars are playing the Raiders. That’s probably all you need to know. They are dead last in the league in passing yards allowed, and we know the Jags want to throw. Slot receivers have had a lot of success this year against Oakland (Willie Snead and Tyrell Williams come to mind), and I think that will continue this week with Hurns.
There is something wrong with the Texans’ offense, and a road matchup with the Broncos probably won’t do them any favors. The Broncos’ secondary is one of the best in the league, and they should keep Hopkins under wraps all night long. I don’t expect much from Hopkins this week.
*Insert wide receiver facing Patrick Peterson here* Baldwin should be shadowed by Peterson, and that does not bode well for him. Peterson is one of the best press man-to-man corners in the league, and I don’t think Russell Wilson will want to challenge him much. I’d start somebody other than Baldwin this week.
Jordan Reed is out for a second straight week. I was curious last week how Davis would do filling in for him, and he found the end zone against a good Philly defense. The Lions have a bad defense, and I think Davis could have more success this week as Reed’s replacement.
Dwayne Allen is out with a sprained ankle, and Andrew Luck loves his tight ends. Doyle has put up good numbers in the action he gets. He’ll see a lot of snaps this week with Allen out, and I expect Luck to look for him early and often.
See: Brees, Drew. It’s going to be a rough day for the Saints’ offense (in my opinion), and I think that will lead to a poor game for Fleener.
Surprisingly, Hunter Henry has taken full advantage of the opportunity he’s been given and has become one of Philip Rivers’s favorite targets. The odd man out in this situation is Gates, especially given that he’s still not 100% healthy. Henry is the Chargers’ tight end that you want.