These top five fantasy football quarterbacks are the premiere ring leaders in week two.
5- Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals, $13,150
Palmer was brilliant in week one, as he was the fifth highest scoring quarterback in DraftDay contests. The Chargers didn’t disappoint, and they were a giving defense to the veteran signal caller. He has another soft matchup this weekend against a Giants defense that got torched by Matthew Stafford. It’s easy to overlook, but the putrid Giants offense could also play into the hands of the Cardinals by providing great field position. Palmer took care of the football, for the most part, losing a fumble but throwing no interceptions. With a pair of very talented receivers and a top notch pass catching back, the Giants defense will be having flashbacks of their matchup with the Lions.
4- Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, $13,350
The only thing that prevented Kaepernick from a monstrous week one point total was a huge early lead and the 49ers being able to take the air out of the ball. He was brilliant in his 23 pass attempts. The dual threat quarterback posted the fourth highest Pro Football Focus QB Rating in the season’s opening week. The strong armed passer also didn’t just rely on his talented pass catchers to do the work piling up yards after the catch either. According to Pro Football Focus, 65.6% of his yards came at the spot of the catch, the fourth highest total of any quarterback. The Bears biggest weakness defensively is against the run, as Football Outsiders ranked them 26th defending the run in week one, but they were no great shakes against the pass either ranking 17th. Jim Harbaugh will get his running backs the rock with regularity, but Kaepernick’s wheels are more than capable of exploiting the soft Bears defense too. The Bears made E.J. Manuel look competent for goodness sakes, and the Bills second year signal caller beat them for a score on the ground. The 49ers are a full touchdown and PAT favorite in a game with a 48.5 total according to Vegas Insider’s VI Consensus, so in other words, they’re projected to hang a big number on the Bears.
3-Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, $11,700
Could last week mark the beginning of a coming out party for Locker? It might, but even if it doesn’t, another soft matchup makes the run-pass threat quarterback a slick bargain at under $12,000. Pro Football Focus stuck the worst pass coverage grade of week one on the Cowboys, and Football Outsiders ranked the Cowboys 31st defending the pass. America’s Team’s secondary is laughably bad, and even attempting to defend a lesser group of pass catchers than the one boasted by the 49ers in their season opener will prove too difficult a task for that group. It’s not all about the Cowboys being terrible either, Locker earned the fifth highest Pro Football Focus quarterback rating in week one. He completed a healthy two-thirds of his passes in his first game of the season, and that percentage would be even more impressive if he hadn’t had two balls dropped. An added benefit of using Locker is that he can add points on the ground as well since he’s an athletic, mobile quarterback who has run for 516 yards on 79 career attempts per ESPN.
2- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, $15,200
I highlighted two of his receivers in my piece earlier in the week, including ranking Jordy Nelson atop the heap, so seeing Rodgers among the top five fantasy football quarterbacks for week two should come as no surprise. Rodgers didn’t have a banner game against the Seahawks at Seattle, but few quarterbacks do, so let’s give him a pass for that. He’s a stud by standard measures and advanced metrics. He was the top ranked quarterback in Pro Football Focus quarterback ranking in 2012 and 2013, and he ranked third last year. The Jets run defense is superb, and even a healthy Eddie Lacy (the Packers are hopeful he’ll play after sustaining a concussion in week one) will find the sledding tough. That means Rodgers will need to air it out, and with the Jets secondary featuring a starting cornerback in his first season converting from safety, and three others in the rotation that have bad coverage grades, that should come easy for an elite passer like him. The Packers are the second biggest betting favorites this week laying at least eight points in a game with a total of 46, give or take a half-point depending on your preferred betting outlet. Rodgers will have a field day.
1- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, $16,150
Brees is the second most expensive quarterback this week, but he’s well worth the money. The Browns were spanked by Ben Roethlisberger in week one, and Brees and his pass catchers are a far better group than the ones that made easy work of the Browns secondary. The guys in orange accumulated the fourth worst pass coverage grade at Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders ranked them 29th defending the pass. Joe Haden is an elite cornerback, Justin Gilbert was their first pick in the draft, and Donte Whitner was one of the biggest pass coverage assets at safety in 2013, so it’s possible it was a one game falter. However, Gilbert has yet to prove anything in the NFL, and in 2012 Whitner graded out as one of the worst safeties in coverage, so it’s unclear what the Browns secondary truly is beyond Haden. Like Rodgers, Brees is an elite quarterback by standard and advanced metrics, and Haden can’t take away all of his receivers, especially his best one, Jimmy Graham. If the Saints defense remains giving, as they were in week one, that will help Brees as well since Sean Payton will have no choice but keep his foot pressed down on the accelerator. The Saints are 6.5 point favorites in a game with a 47.5 point total, so like all of the other passers that cracked the top five fantasy football quarterbacks for week two, Brees is on the betting favorite side of a solid point total.