Fantasy Clicks
By David Sabino
Risers and Fallers: AFC East and AFC North
Benjamin Watson :: AP

We're only between Weeks 1 & 2, but every week matters in a short season. And we learn more during Week 1 than we do throughout the rest of the year. That's why this week I'm taking a look at players whose fantasy value rose and fell on opening weekend. In the print version of Sports Illustrated , I'm limited to just a few recommendations each week, but here, anything goes space-wise (see P.K.'s MMQB) so here are a riser and a faller from each of the 32 NFL teams.

New England Patriots

On The Rise

Benjamin Watson, TE
Without Tom Brady last season Watson became nothing more than an afterthought in the Pats attack. However after just one game, he's already equaled his '08 TD total and placed fourth on the team with seven targets which he converted into six catches.

On The Decline

Joey Galloway, WR
After a quiet preseason, Galloway began the regular slate of games by being kept off of the stat sheet completely. Brady did look his way twice, but the two have yet to develop any chemistry. Even in this recent offensive explosion, Pats' third wideouts haven't produced the way that other high-octane attacks' slot men have.

Miami Dolphins

On The Rise

Davone Bess, WR
There's been a ton of speculation about the Dolphins' second starting wideout situation, but the stocky sophomore from Hawaii did his best to quell those by catching all team-leading seven balls thrown his way in a loss to the Falcons.

On The Decline

Anthony Fasano, TE
The quickest way into a coaches' doghouse is by committing turnovers. Not only did Fasano cough up both of his receptions, the Falcons stripped him as Miami was about to score, swinging the momentum of the game entirely around, and putting Fasano, who made his biggest TD impact last season on plays where all he had to do was catch the ball in the end zone without running at all, on notice.

New York Jets

On The Rise

Mark Sanchez, QB
Say what you will about Mark Sanchez, but there was no indication that he was a rookie starting in his first NFL game as the Jets dismantled the Texans. He's got a solid running game, excellent outlet receivers in Leon Washington and Dustin Keller and decent yet inexperienced wideouts. But as he's proving, who needs experience?

On The Decline

Shonn Greene, RB
Inactive for Game 1, Greene couldn't have liked seeing Thomas Jones explode for 107 yards and 2 TDs. He'll be useful later as the 31-year old Jones slows down, but for now, there's no reason to play him.

Buffalo Bills

On The Rise

Fred Jackson, RB
Filling in for the suspended Marshawn Lynch, Jackson combined for 20 touches, 140 yards and a score against New England. His 83 yards receiving tied his career high, and was the most for a Buffalo back since 1997. He's earned more touches even after Lynch returns.

On The Decline

Terrell Owens, WR
Whither T.O.? In Monday Night's heartbreaker, Owens caught just two passes for 46 yards, which couldn't have sat well with the outspoken receiver. The Bills are a blue collar team and coach Dick Jauron isn't one to take much talk from someone who seemingly puts his own stats ahead of the team concept. This could get ugly.

Pittsburgh Steelers

On the Rise

Santonio Holmes, WR
Coming off a Super Bowl MVP performance, Holmes looked like everything that a top NFL receiver should be, making tough catches, running great routes and getting open constantly against one of the NFL's toughest pass defenses. I wasn't high on him in the preseason rankings, but admit that I should have been.

On the Decline

Rashard Mendenhall, RB
Perhaps the worst thing to happen to Mendenhall's fantasy value was that he actually ran with the ball, although falling is a better description. With just six yards on four carries, Mendenhall didn't show anything that would persuade anyone to activate him to their lineup anytime in the near future.

Baltimore Ravens

On The Rise

Joe Flacco, QB
So much for the Ravens being strictly a running, ball-control team. Flacco aired it out on Sunday's win against the Chiefs, throwing 43 times for 307 yards and three TDs-all career highs. Granted, he did it against the Chiefs, but having a healthy Todd Heap in the mix will go along way to Flacco having more success this season.

On The Decline

Le'Ron McClain, FB
McClain had a good game, rushing for 19 yards on six tries with a TD, but his lack of carries and the excellent showings of Willis McGahee (44 yards, 1 TD) and Ray Rice (108 yards) mean that the man who ran for 902 yards last season, is the riskiest of plays any given week.

Cincinnati Bengals

On The Rice

Andre Caldwell, WR
The team's fourth best receiver is actually playing more than perhaps the theam's most gifted wideout Chris Henry, adding to his value. Carson Palmer found Caldwell a team-high six times, trying for him eight in total (also a team high) against the Broncos while Henry got just two looks, grabbing one of the, for a modest 18 yards.

On The Decline

Chris Henry, WR
See above

Cleveland Browns

On The Rise

Joshua Cribbs, WR
At the start of his fifth season, the former Kent State quarterback displayed his moves taking a punt back 67 yards for a score in the loss to Minnesota. Cribbs, the Wildcat option for Cleveland, is one of those players who could go all the way with any ball in his hands.

On The Decline

Braylon Edwards, WR
He should be a star by now but a dark cloud continues to shroud his career. Last week, he lost a touchdown because he wasn't able to reestablish himself in the playing field after being forced out of bounds along the sidelines. He's just not good karma for your team.

AFC South and AFC West

Indianapolis Colts

On The Rise

Dallas Clark, TE
One of the Top six TE's already, Clark just became more valuable with the injury that could sideline WR2 Anthony Gonzalez for weeks if not months. Clark is one of the league's best catch and run tight ends and should see at least six balls per game the next few weeks.

On The Decline

Joseph Addai, RB
Sure he was the lead back, rushing 17 times for 42 yards and a score against the Jaguars, but rookie Donald Brown also got double-digit touches and will be playing his way into an equal split before long.

Tennessee Titans

On The Rise

Kenny Britt, WR
The rookie from Rutgers made the most of his opportunity to start in place of the injured Nate Washington. He hauled in four balls for 85 yards, carrying over his success in camp into real action.

On The Decline

Bo Scaife, TE
After starting the year off strong with five grabs for 48 yards, he left the season opener after taking a shot to the knee from Steelers linebacker James Harrison and is questionable for this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars

On The Rise

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
As if his value could get any higher, MJD basically monopolized the running back touches against the Colts, out-touching his fellow backs 26 to 2. Only Montell Owens (one rush, 3 yards) and Greg Jones (1 catch, nine yards) took away any plays that would've potentially gone to Jones-Drew.

On The Decline

Troy Williamson, WR
The preseason superstar reverted back to usual regular-season form, making only one catch for 10 yards. The good news is that he's one third of the way to his 2008 yardage output (30 yards in eight games).

Houston Texans

On the Rise

Rex Grossman, QB
Should Matt Schaub continue to struggle this season, don't be surprised to see the strong-armed ex-Bear take over at some point. With Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels at his disposal, Grossman would be quite a pickup.

On The Decline

Steve Slaton, RB
Houston's running game was supposed to be a strength, but Slaton managed just 17 yards on nine carries against the Jets who were playing without two members of their starting front seven. Add in that Chris Brown might leech goalline carries, and Slaton becomes less and less attractive.

San Diego Chargers

On the Rise

Darren Sproles, RB
An all-around threat on offense and special teams with a nose for the end zone, Sproles will be asked to do even more than he has in the past in an effort to keep LaDainian Tomlinson on the field for as many games as possible. He and Tomlinson tied for the team lead with 14 touches apiece and with Tomlinson already banged up, Sproles will be the leader in Week 2.

On The Decline

Chris Chambers, WR
Everybody's looking at the decline of LaDainian Tomlinson as a big issue, but decling even faster is wideout Chris Chambers who caught one ball at the line of scrimmage for no gain in the Bolts win in Oakland. Chambers has now extended his scoreless streak to 10 games, dating back to last October 5.

Denver Broncos

On The Rise

Brandon Marshall, WR
So much for all of the turmoil surrounding Marshall, he was in plenty of the Broncos offensive plays, and was the intended target on Brandon Stokley's miracle deflection catch and run for the game-winning score. He's safe to use again on a regular basis.

On The Decline

LaMont Jordan, RB
Virtually non-existent in the game plan, the veteran is doing little other than keeping a roster spot from someone else at this point.

Oakland Raiders

On The Rise

Louis Murphy, WR
The rookie from Florida made an immediate impact in Oakland's passing game by taking a JaMarcus Russell toss 57 yards to the house. He was thrown to nine times (with four catches) against the Chargers, which ties him for 16th in the entire NFL after one week. Chaz Schillens is still shelved, so Murphy's run should continue.

On The Decline

Justin Fargas, RB
The emergence of Michael Bush has all but ended Fargas' fantasy relevance. Barring an injury to Bush or Darren McFadden, he's not someone who should see the light of day on your roster.

Kansas City Chiefs

On The Rise

Ryan Succop, K
Nothing too good to choose from here, although the Chiefs punt rush team did a heck of a job to keep them in the game. Although they won't be scoring many touchdowns this year, Succop should get enough field goal chances to be an injury or bye-week replacement at some point.

On The Decline

Larry Johnson, RB
Sure, he was the last man to run for over 100 yards against the Ravens, but that was a long, long time ago when it comes to football age. Johnson could plow ahead for just 20 yards on 11 carries with no first downs. The one bright spot for him was that his backup, Jamaal Charles, didn't fare much better with four rushes and eight yards.

NFC East and North

Philadelphia Eagles

On the Rise

LeSean McCoy, RB
A cracked rib will at least limit starting QB Donovan McNabb if it doesn't keep him out altogether, so look for Andy Reid to rely more on the ground and short passing game, giving added value to both Brian Westbrook and his backup, McCoy.

On The Decline

Kevin Kolb, QB
Not that he has much value anyhow, but the signing of veteran Jeff Garcia and the presence of Michael Vick all but relegates Kolb to the bench if not the practice squad even if McNabb's holding a clipboard.

New York Giants

On The Rise

Mario Manningham, WR
The second-year man finally reached the end zone on a pass to the flat and an impressive run down the sidelines. He's going to have his number called a lot more with Hakeem Nicks nicked up and out of action.

On the Decline

Domenick Hixon, WR
The team's top WR on the depth chart, he's battling for catches with a much more talented group of young receivers. His one catch, 10-yard showing in Week 1 doesn't bode well. He'll quickly be replaced as a starter.

Dallas Cowboys

On The Rise

Patrick Crayton, WR
Crayton made a statement in the opener in Tampa Bay by hauling in four balls for 135 yards, including an 80-TD connection from Tony Romo. Roy Williams also had solid numbers (3 catches, 86 yards. 1 TD) in his first game post-T.O.

On The Decline

Dallas Defense/ST
The Bucs ran all over the Cowboys, racking up 174 yards and two touchdowns. The league's top pass rushing team in '08 failed to record a single sack or snare an interception against the immobile Byron Leftwich running an offense in turmoil.

Washington Redskins

On The Rise

Antwaan Randle-El
He may have lost his starting job to Malcolm Kelly, but it's not who starts who's important, it's who produces, and Randle-El put up great numbers against the Giants, catching seven balls for 98 yards. He'll be back as a starter before long.

On The Decline

Ladell Betts, RB
Clinton Portis' backup saw limited action in the first game, touching the ball just three times for 22 yards (including two rushed for negative-one yard). A third-down specialist, Betts can't be used unless your league is abnormally large.

Green Bay Packers

On The Rise

Packers Defense/ST
Here's a sneaking suspicion that Dom Capers' 3-4 defense had a lot to do with how terrible Jay Cutler and Matt Forte looked in Sunday night's game. Four interceptions and two sacks contributed to a lot of fantasy wins last week.

On The Decline

Brandon Jackson, RB
Still sidelined with an ankle sprain, Jackson had already fallen behind DeShawn Wynn on Green Bay's depth chart. The Packers most talented players are in the passing game so any backup running back is nothing more than insurance against a Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings

On The Rise

Percy Harvin, WR
Overshadowed by Adrian Peterson's huge game, Harvin came up big in his NFL debut by catching three passes, including one for his first NFL TD, while rushing twice and averaging 33 yards on kickoff returns. The future is bright here.

On The Decline

Bernard Berrian, WR
A sore hamstring wasn't to blame for Berrian, the team's top receiver on paper, being completely shut out by the Browns. It was more a result of terrible timing between Brett Favre and his receivers. You have to give Berrian one more try against the Lions this week, but if he comes up short again, you may be forced to look at alternatives.

Chicago Bears

On The Rise

Earl Bennett, WR
Only Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Tim Hightower and Reggie Wayne saw more balls thrown their way in Week 1 than Bennett. The Vanderbilt connection between the second-year man with no career catches entering the game and Jay Cutler looks like it will be strong all season.

On The Decline

Bears Defense/ST
Brian Urlacher is the heart of the Chicago defense and with him out for the year with a dislocated wrist the Bears lose a lot of their bite.

Detroit Lions

On The Rise

Calvin Johnson, WR
Worries that Megatron would be limited with Matthew Stafford at the helm were quieted in New Orleans as he put up solid stats (3 catches, 90 yards) while his rookie QB struggled (16-for-37, 3 INT)

On The Decline

Matthew Stafford, QB
If Stafford was on Broadway he would've been closed after one performance, completing just 43.2 percent of his throws, but Jim Schwartz is committed to the youngster who will continue to give any unsuspecting fantasy owners who play him a beating.

NFC South and West

New Orleans Saints

On the Rise

Mike Bell, RB
Bell's 143-yard game was overshadowed by Drew Brees' six TDs, but was impressive nonetheless. With Pierre Thomas still in doubt for this weekend's game in Philadelphia, Bell is worth a look. Honorable mention goes to Jeremy Shockey who was truly an asset for the first time as a Saint.

On the Decline

Lance Moore, WR
Last season's top receiver will be squeezed out by a healthy complement of wideouts that include Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meacham not to mention Reggie Bush. Moore becomes nothing but a changeup option and too inconsistent to play regularly.

Atlanta Falcons

On The Rise

Tony Gonzalez, TE
The reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. No matter how much the Falcons want to run the ball, Gonzo will still be one of the most important parts of the offense.

On the Decline

Jason Elam, K
He's questionable for Week 2 with a bad hamstring following two missed field goals and a missed extra point. At 39, it may take awhile to get healthy again.

Carolina Panthers

On The Rise

DeAngelo Williams, RB
Williams barely outrushed his backup, Jonathan Stewart 37 to 35, but Stewarts failure to convert at the goal line should lead to continued calls for last season's touchdown leader in scoring position.

On the Decline

Jake Delhomme, QB
The signing of A.J. Feeley is the writing on the wall for Delhomme who threw for just 73 yards and gave away four interceptions in a game for the second season in a row.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On The Rise

Carnell Williams, RB
Cadiallac came out of the shop and ran all over the Cowboys, gaining more yards (97) in a game than he had since November 2006. He now has scored three touchdowns in his last two contests dating back to before his second catastrophic knee injury last December.

On the Decline

Earnest Graham, RB
Williams and Derrick Ward carried the ball a total of 25 times, leaving just a single carry for Graham who most believed to be a full partner in the Bucs' timeshare backfield.

Seattle Seahawks

On The Rise

Julius Jones, RB
You've heard it so many times before that you didn't want to believe it this year, but Jones really is the featured back in a good run offense. If you had the guts last week, playing him paid off handsomely. It's safe to continue to do so.

On The Decline

Seneca Wallace, QB/WR
Wallace is a fine football player who's taken full avantage of the Seahawks misfortune over the last few seasons. However Matt Hasselbeck looks healthy and the wide receiver corps looks deep, meaning that Wallace goes back to his role as an occasional contributor from down the depth chart.

San Francisco 49ers

On The Rise

Isaac Bruce, WR
The old man was supposed to be phased out this season, but with no end to the Michael Crabtree saga expected anytime soon, Bruce stays in the starting lineup and continues to produce. Last week he was instrumental in a big upset over the Cardinals, catching four passes for 74 yards, including a 50-yard bomb that set up a Frank Gore TD run.

On the Decline

Glen Coffee, RB
Gore's backup saw just a single carry and lost three yards in the win against the Cardinals in Arizona. He's going to contribute at some point, but may need a Gore injury to be lineup-worthy.

Arizona Cardinals

On the Rise

Tim Hightower, RB
As a rookie Hightower caught just 34 passes for 237 yards in 16 games. Last week against the 49ers, he has 12 grabs for 121 yards causing a some Cardinal observers to think of Larry Centers. That much production can't be a fluke. Look for Hightower to continue to pick up receptions while stealing some goalline chances from Beanie Wells.

On the Decline

Jerheme Urban, WR
Urban had a great opener catching five balls for 74 yards filling in for the injured Steve Breaston, and that's the point here. Breaston is expected to play this week in Jacksonville, so Urban slides down a notch on the Cards pecking order.

St. Louis Rams

On The Rise

Laurent Robinson, WR
In just one contest, Robinson out-produced his entire 2008 season while he a member of the Falcons. Robinson accounted for 87 of Marc Bulger's 191 yards through the air.

On the Decline

Josh Brown, K
The Rams didn't muster a single point against the Seahawks, and Brown missed his only field goal try. With one of the ugliest offenses seen in the NFL in a while, the Rams and Brown won't score much so stay far away (and that goes for virtually the entire team).

The Tweet Beat

Apologies in advance to those looking for lineup answers on Sunday but this week I'm listed as out. Please continue to send questions throughout the week and again on the Sunday morning of Week 3 at @SI_DavidSabino.

Have A Link, Comment or Question For Us?
Your name:
Your E-mail Address:
Your Hometown:
Paste URL below:
SEND IT

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.