The debate rages on about who is the best weapon in football. Is it the flashy quarterback who lofts deep touchdown passes or is it the dynamic backfield option that always seems to have the ball in his hands? For that matter, what about that receiver who always seems to be doing some type of end zone dance? In what follows we will attempt to answer the question of who is the most valuable fantasy player at each position in our weekly column dealing with the Player Rater Tool.
What is Player Rater tool you ask? It is an emotionless, statistically driven model that takes into account your leagues rules and tells you which players are performing at the highest level. For the sake of the analysis that follows, here are the "rules" that we will be using.
Touchdown pass: 4 pointsRushing or receiving touchdown: 4 pointsPer 25 yards passing: 1 pointPer 10 yards rushing or receiving: 1 pointPer field goal: 3 pointsPer extra point: 1 point
26.4 points -- Donovan McNabb
McNabb paced the league with 361 yards passing as he also tossed three scores without throwing an interception. While completing 21-of-33 passes against the Rams, McNabb ended up with a superlative QB Rating of 131.0.
25.7 points -- Drew Brees
Brees posted a 124.9 QB Rating as he was extremely efficient (23-of-32) for 343 yards and three scores, which rendered his single interception relatively unimportant.
20.7 points -- Philip Rivers
Rivers tossed three scores and completed 17 passes for 217 yards. This was the eighth straight game in which he has tossed a touchdown (14 total).
20.0 points -- Jay Cutler
Cutler was without his top option with Brandon Marshall suspended, but he still threw for two scores and 299 yards. Over his last four appearances dating back to last year, Cutler has a 90.9 QB rating with an average of 239 yards passing per game.
18.5 points -- Jon Kitna
Jon had a typical Kitna afternoon with 262 yards passing, he averaged 258.6 yards per game the past two years, and he tossed one interception (he had 42 the past two years).
18.0 points -- Chad Pennington
He had a solid first game for the Dolphins against his former team tossing for two scores while completing 26 passes on his way to 251 yards, a mark he only surpassed three times last season.
16.8 points -- Tony Romo
Romo completed 75.0 percent of his tosses (24-for-32) for 320 yards and a score for the Cowboys. In eight career games against the AFC, Romo has just 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
15.8 points -- Brett Favre
Favre failed to record 200 yards through the air (194 yards), but he threw two scores without tossing an interception. He did fumble twice, losing one, so his day would have been a bit less effective if your league penalizes for that.
15.2 points -- JaMarcus Russell
Russell threw two scores including one during garbage time after the Broncos had already annihilated the Raiders. Still, in fantasy it only matters that you put up the points not when you accomplish it, and in Week 1 he threw for 180 yards with no interceptions.
14.3 points -- Peyton Manning
Though he was a little rusty after missing the preseason, Peyton still completed 30 passes, the most of any signal caller in Week 1, on a week high 49 pass attempts. Very rarely will you see a guy throw for 257 yards and a score an walk away feeling slightly disappointed.
30.6 points -- Michael Turner
For one week at least he made all those who wagered on him on draft day look like geniuses as he burned the Lions for a massive 220 yards and two scores. Heck, he even added six receptions for 60 yards through the air in the best performance of his career.
25.8 points -- Willie Parker
Who said he was going to lose goalline carries to Rashard Mendenhall? On this day at least he certainly didn't as he plunged into the end zone three times as he also racked up 138 yards on the ground. Parker has gone for 100 or more yards in three of his last four regular season games, only missing out when he broke his leg.
20.3 points -- Reggie Bush
Bush had a highlight real score on a short pass that he turned into a 42 yard score with a dive to the end zone as overall he caught eight passes for 112 yards. On the ground he was once again barely average with 14 carries for 51 yards.
19.1 points -- Frank Gore
Gore's line in Week 1 is about what you should expect most of the time when he is going well as he carried the ball 14 times for 96 yards while hauling in four passes for 55 yards. Toss in his rushing touchdown and you have one heck of an effort.
18.1 points -- Matt Forte
Forte showed what a real back could do, something they haven't had in years, for the Bears. In his first NFL game he carried the ball 23 times for 123 yards and a score. Through the air he also snared three balls for 18 yards in a masterful first effort.
18.1 points -- Marion Barber
Barber carried the ball only 16 times on Sunday but he was able to produce 80 yards including two touchdown runs of one yard. He did suffer a rib injury, but reports are that the injury was minor and that he should be fine this weekend.
17.2 points -- Brian Westbrook
What do you know, another game, another big time effort for this fantasy stud. Though he caught only two passes for a single yard he scored on one of the receptions. On the ground 19 carries resulted in 91 yards and another score in the Eagles route of the Rams.
16.7 points -- Chris Johnson
LenDale White scored a touchdown, but it was Johnson who handled the rock with aplomb on his way to 15 carries and 93 yards of his own. Johnson also pulled in three passes including one that went for a score in his first NFL game.
15.4 points -- Adrian Peterson
Peterson racked up 103 yards and scored a touchdown for the Vikings. Peterson caught a single pass (11 yards) and carried the ball 19 times, but with the way he was running it was a bit surprising that the club didn't try to get the ball in his hands more often.
14.3 points -- Thomas Jones
Much maligned, it just seems like this guy quietly goes about his business each week, and in Week 1 that effort amounted to 101 yards on 22 carries and three receptions for just two yards. He also scored once matching his total from 16 games last season.
18.6 points -- Eddie Royal
Royal led the position with 146 receiving yards in Week 1 as he really stepped up in the absence of Brandon Marshall. Royal caught nine passes, one for a score, in the victory over the Raiders.
15.6 points -- Randy Moss
Moss caught six passes for 116 yards in Week 1, and, of course, he found the end zone as well. How will he function without Tom Brady the rest of the way?
15.6 points -- Hines Ward
Ward had a huge week with two scores in the Steelers thrashing of the Texans. In three games against the Texans in his career, Ward has 21 receptions for 236 yards and four scores.
14.2 points -- Hank Baskett
With seemingly every other wide receiver on the team injured, Baskett had a huge game with 102 yards and a score. Of course, almost all of that value was on the 90-yard score, but if you were "stuck" and had to play him, you certainly aren't complaining that he had only two receptions after this effort.
13.3 points -- Plaxico Burress
One of three wide receivers who caught 10 balls in Week 1, Burress was second at the position with 133 yards gained. This is a great sign that he might finally be healthy after limping home down the stretch last season with eight receptions and 125 yards in Weeks 15-17.
12.7 points -- Terrell Owens
Owens did his normal end zone dance as he caught five passes for 87 yards as the 'Boys defeated the Browns. In three career games against the Browns, Owens has three touchdowns and 286 yards.
12.6 points -- Reggie Wayne
He led all receivers with 17 targets in Week 1, as he hauled in 10 of the passes for 86 yards and a score. Dating back to last season, this is the third straight effort for Wayne with at least 10-receptions.
12.4 points -- Devery Henderson
Almost never will you see a player with one reception have such an impact. Henderson took his one reception to the house on what was an 84 yard score. Over his last four games by the way, he has four receptions.
12.0 points -- Jerricho Cotchery
He didn't have as big a reception day as many believed he would with Brett Favre at the helm (three receptions), but he posted 80 yards and a score to have a nice day.
11.2 points -- Andre Johnson
Ten receptions for 112 yards give AJ a stretch of 6-straight games with at last six receptions and 74 yards.
13.6 points -- Dante Rosario, Carolina
One of the breakout stars of the first week, Rosario nearly duplicated his production of last year (six receptions, 108 yards, two TDs) against the Chargers (seven receptions, 96 yards, one score).
12.4 points -- Anthony Fasano, Miami
The first of two Dolphins tight ends to post big numbers in Week 1, Fasano caught eight balls for 84 yards and a touchdown, numbers that were roughly have of his production in each of his previous two seasons (14-126-0 and 14-143-1).
10.5 points -- Bo Scaife, Tennessee
Scaife led all tight ends with 105 yards in Week 1 on six receptions. Scaife had 46 receptions last season, but in no game did he record more than six receptions (he had two games with six).
10.1 points -- Antonio Gates, San Diego
Gates struggled a bit with his toe, injured his hip and lost a fumble. He did haul in four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown to help out fantasy leaguers who don't record negative points for fumbles.
9.6 points -- Jason Witten, Dallas
Steady as she goes for Witten who caught six passes for 96 yards in the Cowboys opener. Dating back to last season, Witten has hauled in at least six passes in five of the last six games.
9.3 points -- David Martin, Miami
On many sleeper lists last season, Martin thoroughly failed to impress. However, he started out well this season with four receptions for 53 yards and a score as each of his receptions resulted in a first down.
9.2 points -- Robert Royal, Buffalo
In his 68th career game Royal had his first six reception effort. Royal also scored a touchdown while racking up 52 yards, though surprisingly he had only one first down.
8.7 points -- Kellen Winslow, Cleveland
Five receptions for 47 yards isn't overly exciting for Winslow, but he did reach the end zone and that makes Week 1 a fine outing for the Browns stud.
7.9 points -- L.J. Smith, Philadelphia
With five receptions and 30 yards Smith was but one of many successful Eagles players in Week 1. He also scored once matching his total from all of last season.
7.7 points -- Randy McMichael, St. Louis
Looking to put last seasons failures behind him, McMichael started off on the right foot with five receptions that went for 77 yards in the Rams 38-3 loss at the hands of the Eagles.
14 points -- John Kasay, Carolina
Four-for-four on field goals in Week 1, including one of 49 yards, Kasey also converted each of his two PATs.
11 points -- Neil Rackers, Arizona
Rackers made 3-of-4 field goals in Week 1 though all three conversions were kicks of 31 or fewer yards.
10 points -- John Carney, NY Giants
Carney made a 47 yarder amongst the three field goals he kicked against the Redskins.
10 points -- Rian Lindell, Buffalo
He kicked two field goals while missing one of over 50, and he also converted four PATs in Week 1.
10 points -- Jason Elam, Atlanta
In his first NFL game for a team other than the Broncos, Elam was perfect going 2-for-2 on FGs (including a 50-yarder), and 4-for-4 on PATs.
9 points -- Robbie Gould, Chicago
Gould was 3-for-3 on PATs and has missed only one of 103 career attempts.
8 points -- Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh
Reed hit a 47-yard kick and converted all five PATs he was presented in Week 1.
8 points -- Matt Bryant, Tampa Bay
Bryant was 2-for-2 on two kicks of with 30-39 yards, and is now 24-for-24 over the past four years from that distance.
8 points -- David Akers, Philadelphia
With the explosive offense led by McNabb, Akers was relegated to one FG attempt, which he made, and five PATs.