A.J. HOFFMAN

NFL fantasy football rankings for Week 1

Aaron Rodgers is always a top QB option. Andy Lyons

Week 1 is upon us, and everyone wants to start off the year with a win. Here are the positional rankings for Week 1:

QB

1. Aaron Rodgers vs. CHI

2. Cam Newton vs. DAL

3. Tom Brady vs. HOU

4. Deshaun Watson @ NE

5. Drew Brees vs. TB

6. Kirk Cousins vs. SF

7. Philip Rivers vs. KC

8. Russell Wilson @ DEN

9. Matt Stafford @ NYJ

10. Ben Roethlisberger @ CLE

11. Marcus Mariota @ MIA

12. Andrew Luck vs. CIN

13. Jared Goff @ OAK

14. Matt Ryan @ PHI

15. Andy Dalton @ IND

16. Jimmy Garoppolo @ MIN

17. Patrick Mahomes @ LAC

18. Alex Smith @ ARI

19. Dak Prescott @ CAR

20. Nick Foles vs. ATL

RB (standard scoring) 

1. Todd Gurley @ OAK

2. David Johnson vs. WAS

3. Ezekiel Elliott @ CAR

4. Alvin Kamara vs. TB

5. Leonard Fournette @ NYG

6. Melvin Gordon vs. KC

7. Joe Mixon @ IND

8. Kareem Hunt @ LAC

9. Saquon Barkley vs. JAX

10. Christian McCaffery vs. DAL

11. Devonta Freeman @ PHI

12. Jordan Howard @ GB

13. Dalvin Cook vs. SF

14. Alex Collins vs. BUF

15. Kenyon Drake vs. TEN

16. Derrick Henry @ MIA

17. LeSean McCoy @ BAL

18. Royce Freeman vs. SEA

19. Jay Ajayi vs. ATL

20. Lamar Miller @ NE

21. Peyton Barber @ NO

22. Adrian Peterson vs. WAS

23. Rex Burkhead vs. HOU

24. Jamaal Wiliams vs. CHI

25. Dion Lewis @ MIA

26. Carlos Hyde vs. PIT

27. Marshawn Lynch vs. LAR

28. Chris Carson @ DEN

29. Kerryon Johnson vs. NYJ

30. James Conner @ CLE

31. Alfred Morris @ MIN

32. Jordan Wilkins vs. CIN

33. Isaiah Crowell @ DET

34. Tevin Coleman @ PHI

35. Matt Breida @ MIN

WR (standard scoring)

1. Antonio Brown @ CLE

2. DeAndre Hopkins @ NE

3. AJ Green @ IND

4. Michael Thomas vs. TB

5. Davante Adams vs. CHI

6. Julio Jones @ PHI

7. Keenan Allen vs. KC

8. Chris Hogan vs. HOU

9. Stefon Diggs vs. SF

10. Odell Beckham, Jr. vs. JAX

11. JuJu Smith-Schuster @ CLE

12. Larry Fitzgerald vs. WAS

13. TY Hilton vs. CIN

14. Tyreek Hill @ LAC

15. Adam Thielen vs. SF

16. Mike Evans @ NO

17. Golden Tate vs. NYJ

18. Jarvis Landry vs. PIT

19. Marvin Jones vs. NYJ

20. Demaryius Thomas vs. SEA

21. Corey Davis @ MIA

22. Amari Cooper vs, LAR

23. Emmanuel Sanders vs. SEA

24. Brandin Cooks @ OAK

25. Allen Robinson @ GB

26. Marquise Goodwin @ MIN

27. Doug Baldwin @ DEN 

28. Robby Anderson @ DET

29. Nelson Agholor vs. ATL

30. Cooper Kupp vs. OAK

31. Devin Funchess vs. DAL

32. Robert Woods vs. OAK

33. Michael Crabtree vs. BUF

34. Will Fuller @ NE

35. Kenny Stills vs. TEN

36. Kenny Golladay vs. NYJ

37. Josh Gordon vs. PIT

38. Jamison Crowder @ ARI

39. Pierre Garcon @ MIN

40. Keelan Cole @ NYG

41. Mike Williams vs. KC

42. Sammy Watkins @ LAC

43. John Ross @ IND

44. Sterling Shepard vs. JAX

45. Rishard Matthews @ MIA

TE (standard scoring) 

1. Rob Gronkowski vs. HOU

2. Zach Ertz vs. ATL

3. Travis Kelce @ LAC

4. Jimmy Graham vs. CHI

5. Kyle Rudolph vs. SF

6. Trey Burton @ GB

7. Jordan Reed @ ARI

8. Greg Olsen vs. DAL

9. Delanie Walker @ MIA

10. Evan Engram vs. JAX

11. Jack Doyle vs. CIN

12. David Njoku vs. PIT

13. Tyler Eifert @ IND

14. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins @ NYG

15. George Kittle @ MIN

D/ST

1. Baltimore vs. BUF

2. New Orleans vs. TB

3. Jacksonville @ NYG

4. LA Rams @ OAK

5. Detroit vs. NYJ

6. Denver vs. SEA

7. Minnesota vs. SF

8. Carolina vs. DEN

9. Pittsburgh @ CLE

10. LA Chargers vs. KC

11. Philadelphia vs. ATL

12. Tennessee @ MIA

13. Green Bay vs. CHI

14. NY Giants vs. JAX

15. Atlanta @ PHI

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Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March. Photo via: NRG Park/Facebook

Football players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but only one person has been running the business side of the Texans, well, even before they were the Texans. Jamey Rootes has been President of the Houston Texans since 1999, when an NFL team in Houston was still just a gleam in owner Bob McNair's eyes. That's before the team adopted the name "Texans" in 2000, before there was NRG Stadium, which opened as Reliant Stadium in 2000, and before they became serial champs of the AFC South, six titles between 2011-2019.

The precise date was Oct. 6, 1999 when NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the NFL's 32nd and newest franchise to Houston. Not only that, Houston was awarded the 2004 Super Bowl. Rootes, 34 years old with no NFL experience, had his work cut out for him. Before taking the job in Houston, Rootes was team president, general manager and CEO of selling peanuts and popcorn for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer, with all due respect, is not nearly a national obsession like the National Football League.

"I wasn't intimidated," Rootes said. "There's a quote that I love, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' I've always been a purpose-driven person. As for the step up to the NFL, I went from knowing nothing at the start of my time in Columbus to five years later thinking, OK, I've got this sports thing down. Actually, I had a very significant reduction in my responsibilities in Houston. When I was in Columbus, I ran the stadium, I ran the team's business, I was the general manager so I did the talent side of it, too. When I came to Houston, all I had to do was the business, so that was great."

Rootes has captured his remarkable journey from the soccer team at Clemson to grad school at Indiana University to the business world at IBM and Proctor & Gamble to the Clemson Crew, to ultimately being named President of the Houston Texans in his new book, The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success, available next week.

I've known Rootes from his day one with the Texans, but I still had to ask: everybody knows what the general manager does, and what the head coach does. What exactly does the President of an NFL team worth $3.3 billion do?

"I like to use the parallel of a pharmaceutical company to describe my job. There are two sides to that company. First you put scientists in one building and you leave them alone. They create products, which is what our football team is. The football side has a coach and general manager and all the people who prepare the team to play on Sunday. But getting that product to market is done by the business side, traditional business disciplines. Those are the things that fall to me. Basically, everything between the white lines is run by the football side. Everything outside of those lines, I do," Rootes said.

Between 1999 and 2002, when the Texans played their first game (let the record show the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboy, 19-10), the team was essentially a massive start-up project. First orders of business for Rootes involved building a new stadium, developing relationships with suppliers, contractors and government officials, preparing for a Super Bowl and, most important, developing a relationship with fans.

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March, but it's really an accumulation of lessons learned and behind-the-scenes stories about building the Texans from scratch into one of the most admired and valuable franchises in all of sports.

"I've always been a meticulous note-taker. I've kept every presentation I've ever done. I took all of my notes and concepts and put those down on paper," Rootes said. "To be a good leader, you need a wild imagination. You can show me a blank piece of paper, but I don't see it as blank. To me, it's a finished product that hasn't been created yet," Rootes said.

Rootes lays out his leadership strategy in seven chapters: Are You a Manager or a Leader, Get the Right People on Your Team, Build a Winning Culture, Create Raving Fans, a Winning Playbook for Adversity and Success, Your Leadership Playbook and Play to Win.

He learned lesson No. 1 the hard way. A friend once counseled Rootes, "your staff doesn't like the way you're all up in their business, you need to back off." Rootes took that advice to heart.

"It was an epiphany. I wasn't a leader. That's when I truly began thinking about leadership. I say this all the time, I don't do anything. All I do is create an environment where exceptional people can be their very best self. I know what's going on. I'm fully informed. I leave every game day exhausted. I get there early. I do the things I need to do. I kiss babies. I shake hands. I present checks. I entertain clients. I'm dialed in. It absolutely wears me out because I love this organization so much. I am so proud of what we've been able to do for this great city of Houston."

I asked Rootes, as someone who lives for Game Day and a packed NRG Stadium, are you devastated by 2020, the year of COVID-19 and small crowds limited by Centers for Disease Control guidelines?

"I don't look at it that way. I think there's a song by 10,000 Maniacs that said, these are the days that you'll remember. I told my staff, I know you're all going through hell right now, but later on in life, you'll talk about this year. Things that are important are memorable, for the positive and those things that leave a scar. You learn from adversity and you're a better person for enduring it. Victor Frankl said 'We can discover meaning in life in three different ways, by creating a work or doing a deed, experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Suffering is part of life. He should know, he survived a Nazi concentration camp," Rootes said.

H-E-B President Scott McClelland wrote the forward to The Winning Game Plan. Rootes dedicates the book to late Texans owner Bob McNair. Rootes' book is a fun read. All I kept thinking was, where was this book when I needed it? And before you buy too much into Rootes as a leader, consider that Rootes admits that he had to ask for wife Melissa's permission before he could accept the Texans job.

Personal note: I believe that a big part of leadership is the ability to keep a promise. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle with my dog Lilly on a leash. It was the only way I could keep up with her. Well, one time Lilly saw a squirrel and pulled me off my bicycle. I tumbled a few times and rolled next to the curb. When I looked up, there was Jamey Rootes. I told him, "There's no need for you to tell anybody about this." He never said a word.

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