Week 2 fantasy picks

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Ahman Green will likely see more carries going forward this season.

Week 1 of the HoustonTexans.com Home Team Challenge is behind us. I hope you all fared better than I did; I felt good about my roster until I shook it up at the last minute and ended up doing silly things like replacing Tony Romo with Drew Brees. I'll just leave it at that.

But it's a long season. Here's my advice for Week 2, with pride and an Anthony Weaver autographed mini-helmet on the line:

NO THANKS RB Larry Johnson, RB, KC 44 (@ CHI): This one should be easy for Texans fans who saw Johnson limited to 43 yards on Sunday. It appears LJ still has plenty of ability, but not plenty of opportunity (see: 10 carries in Week 1). That may change, but he's still running behind a line that lost three starters from 2006 and against a

Chicagos defense that held LaDanian Tomlinson (25) to less rushing yards than Matt Leinart (35) last week. LT mustered up two TDs, but the Chargers' more proven QB and defense helped with that. And Johnson's certainly not going to throw a TD pass like LT did.
Alternatives: Frank Gore, SF, 42 (@ STL); Willie Parker, PIT, 37 (vs BUF). WR Plaxico Burress, NYG, 48 (vs GB): The Packers' defense shut down the Eagles' passing game last week. Eli Manning has a bum shoulder and 285-pound Jared Lorenzen, who has zero career starts and three career pass attempts, is likely to be the Giants' starting quarterback on Sunday. Even if Manning plays, he won't be at full strength and he'll be working with a gigantic question mark of a backfield with RB Brandon Jacobs out of action. Add it all up, and Burress' price tag as the most expensive receiver in fantasy this week is downright preposterous. If you pick Burress and he has a week worthy of the 48 points it costs you, well, you can e-mail me and tell me you told me so until you can't type any more, and it won't bother me one bit. There's no reason to have him this week.
Alternatives: Anybody SIGN ME UP QB Carson Palmer, CIN, 66 points (@ CLE): Easily my favorite match-up of the week.

Cleveland 's defense gave up four TD passes to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger on opening weekend. And while Roethlisberger is no slouch, he's also no Carson Palmer. Palmer threw two TDs against the ridiculously talented Ravens defense; just sit back and imagine what he'll do against the Browns. And then consider the four QBs at or above Palmer's 66-point asking price: Eli Manning, 66 (injured); Tom Brady, 73 (vs. the tough San Diego defense); Tony Romo, 77 (facing a

Miami defense that was seventh-best against the pass in Week 1); and Peyton Manning, 80 (worth the 14 extra points?).

WR Marvin Harrison, IND, 42 (@ TEN):I'll let his numbers do the talking. Week 1 vs.

Tennessee (12/3/06): 172 yards & a TD. He's scored a TD in five straight games against the Titans. What's not to love?

WEEKLY CONUNDRUM RB Steven Jackson, STL, 41 (@ SF):Can the back widely regarded as fantasy's second-best player rebound from a poor Week 1 performance? Let's look at the pros and cons.
CON:* *All-world left tackle Orlando Pace is sidelined with injury and the Rams were sluggish without him last week.
PRO:

Jackson excelled without Pace against the 49ers last season, gaining 191 yards from scrimmage and a TD.
CON: The 49ers' D has several new pieces and looked much improved against

Arizona on Monday night.
PRO:

Jackson costs 41 points. That's 22 points less than in Week 1 and cheaper than eight other backs.
ASSESSMENT: This is why it's a conundrum. That bargain basement value is either a dream come true or a nightmare waiting to happen. I'm leaning toward the former and expecting Jackson to have a good week.
TEXANS FANTASY SPINAhman Green had 16 carries against the Chiefs and Ron Dayne had 13, prompting many fantasy pundits to label the Texans' backfield a dreaded "running back by committee." Don't be so sure. This is what Green told me today after practice when I asked him about the luxury of having a back like Dayne to spell him late in games:

"It's more of a level of insurance to know that we can alternate like the way we did. I came out with cramps. If I didn't have that, I probably would've been in there a little bit longer. But you know, cramps overtook me, and just knowing I could feel comfortable where the ball keeps moving and there's no drop off in game play when Ron goes in there, it's a real good feeling to have that."

Calling it a committee might be a little bit of a stretch. Dayne will get a fair share of carries each game and is invaluable to the Texans' real-life offense, but in terms of fantasy, this is the Ahman Green show. You can be fairly confident that he'll get a higher percentage of the carries in future weeks.

To register for the Home Team Challenge, click *here. Make sure to set your lineups by Sunday, Sept. 16 at 12:00 p.m. *

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