Fantasy Football Frenzy - Week one

by Hal Bent,

I figured, first and foremost, with a Fantasy Sport/Fantasy Football category that I first needed to be actually winning, rather than just saying "I used to manually track Fantasy Baseball League stats in 1988 with my buddies" as my disclaimer to be qualified to write it.  Fortunately, my teams went a collective 4-1 this week, and my Survival League pick won as well.  We'll completely forget about my Fantasy Pick 'em league results (reason #24 why I don't bet real money on football).  So here goes the quick recap and thoughts on week two:

For one week at least, my decision to pass on a big-three quarterback (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers) and going with Tony Romo in three leagues.  Romo put up a huge numbers week one (I'm ashamed to say my first thought was thinking about trading him) and carried me in all three leagues.  My other two starting quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Eli Manning, had down games for them, but no one is over-reacting after week one.  Those two should always be penciled in for 16 games. That said, back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick (in two leagues) has a tenuous grasp on the bye week fill-in job.  If there is a good quarterback that someone gives up on, or is still out there, don't hesitate to make a move.  Even for one week (and injury insurance), quarterback  is your most important position each week.

At running  back, the big break-out stars were Steven Ridley in New England and Alfred (I am not Batman's butler) Morris in Washington.  I got Ridley as a mid-round pick in a few leagues (and had him starting in one, fortunately!). Danny Woodhead and Brandon Bolden are not going to steal any carries, but fellow 2011 draft pick Shane Vereen will start taking some from him starting this week.  Expect Ridley to run the ball in the end zone a lot, but 12-15 carries is what offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is looking for from him. 

Alfred Morris is the reason why I absolutely refused to draft a Redskins running back. Washington Coach Mike Shanahan has been driving fantasy football owners for the past twenty years.  Heck, I remember the days of thinking "Clinton Portis? This guy's never gonna play out there in Denver."  Grrrrr.  Morris is it for this week, but will he last? It makes sense to grab a handcuff running back (back-up to keep for injuries/lack of production: i.e. pick up Vikings back-up Toby Gerhart if you have Vikings starter Adrian Peterson at running back) from Washington.  

The running back crap-shoot I appear to have lost is in Pittsburgh.  I got Isaac Redman (who ran well late last year) in a couple of leagues with Rashad Mendenhall out injured.  He rewarded me by playing terribly and anchoring himself into the third running back spot. have take chances sometimes.  Put him on the bench, and chase the next sleeper. 

Defense can be a crap-shoot each week. I have gotten to the point (in unlimited transaction leagues) of picking my defense each week based on match-ups.  Whoever is playing Cleveland, Miami, Jacksonville, Tennessee, or Buffalo is good enough to start for me.  Those teams are interceptions, fumbles, and field goals waiting to happen.  

Kickers are even more random.  It is almost impossible to grab that one guy head and shoulders above the others.  Grab someone on a high-scoring team (Dallas, Green Bay, New York Giants, New England, Denver) and ride them if possible, otherwise, take a shot on a team with no red zone threat and pray for long field goals (Oakland, for example).

This week, keep an eye on your players who under-performed.  I try to make  my decisions at week four (1/4 of the season) at the latest.  By then, if a player I picked has not stepped up, it's time to cut bait and scramble for the next big thing.  Also, it is interesting to how games get called by the replacement referees.  Last week, some teams were buried under flags, others didn't call holding all game.  Are the receivers able to run free, or are the defenders free to harass down the field without a flag.  This year has extra uncertainty, so looking at patterns and trends in how the passing game (i.e big points to be made) early on may pay dividends later.  

Good luck this week to all (unless you're matched up against me!) 


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