Before we get into what one can potentially recognize from the 1st week of football. I want to stress that- just like the real NFL – a week 1 win, or loss does not set up/or ruin your 2013 fantasy season. Sure some of you may have more work to do than others, but if you follow along with what’s happening in the NFL there’s always waiver work to do, and potentially even trades to make.
The NFL has changed, preseason doesn’t help starters out the way it used to – and as a result some of your fantasy players may have let you down this week. On the other hand some players may simply have been benefits of unique situations that temporarily inflated their value.
Sure, we’ll have weekly articles on who to grab from your waiver wire, or who to trade for/away – but really the most important part of being a fantasy owner is to evaluate your players and the NFL trends weekly – and then to put those in the proper context.
So for our 1st weekend of NFL football I’m gonna put out there some of the bigger potential fantasy stories and what I think is really going on with them. Then using this analysis, I’ll attack my league’s waiver wire – or my week 2 starting lineup, or my trade offers (you shouldn’t do a lot of trading early in the year unless you feel like you’re getting overwhelming value).
1.) The Eagles Offense will be a hot spot for everyone as long as Michael Vick stays healthy. I wrote about this a lot this preseason – and this is a very tough game to truly evaluate if the Eagles will have the league’s best offense or whether several early Washington mistakes inflated the stats. What is undeniable though is that this offense fits their skill players perfectly. WR Desean Jackson and TE Brent Celek can now safely be thought of as fantasy weekly starters, while QB Michael Vick and especially RB Lesean McCoy can now be thought of as fantasy MVP caliber players.
2.) QB Colin Kapernick is not a one year fantasy wonder, and the Niners will continue to open up their offense for him. Sure, it was against the terrible Packers D – but the trend for Harbaugh to allow his QB to throw has to make fantasy owners happy. And they should continue to do this even against better defenses. Kap’s chemistry with WR Anquan Bolidn (208 yards!) may have been the story of the day, but I think the story of the 2013 season will be his emerging connection with TE Vernon Davis. The Niners will not be a pass 1st team by season’s end, but it is safe to throw out the notion that their passing game will be conservative.
3.) Pittsburgh’s rushing attack, if not their whole offense looks headed for disaster. Again, everything depends on your league size and team needs – but I would be getting out of the Steelers backfield as soon as possible. The passing game may still provide moments and stars this season – but the running game is going to be dead in the water for most or all of 2013. Losing their all-pro center Maurkice Pouncey for the season was the deathblow. A final stroke that was set up for a team that lost RB Le’Veon Bell for 2 months earlier in the preseason, and a team that lost scat back RB LaRod Stephens-Howling in this one also for the season. Starter Isaac Redmon – got all of about 9 yards before fumbling problems had him on the bench. How bad is Pitt’s RB situation? They brought back Jonathan Dwyer – a guy they cut only a few days before b/c he lacked dedication to the job. Isn’t that inspiring? If you own a Pittsburgh back in fantasy they are at their lowest value, so you either drop them for a promising player, or you wait til they have a good week and move them…if any one of them ever has that good week.
4.) New England’s offense is still very much in flux. Paging super sleeper (for some) TE Zac Sudfeld? Are you awake Zac? Are you alive? Yeah, after 1 game the next move TE in the New England offense has as many receptions for as many yards as I do. And now he seems to have hamstring problems. RB Steven Ridley a very popular RB2 choice for fantasy – and likely a 2nd round pick in most formats – was clearly outplayed, and seemed to have quite literally fumbled away his job – with an early fumble. Unfortunately for the Patriots when RB Shane Vereen came in and went for an all purpose day of over 150 yards – he broke his wrist and will miss the next 4 games. Likewise WR Danny Amendola who caught 10 passes, also got hurt for the 1,000th time in his career and looks to be unavailable for week 2. Nothing is settled for workload or targets right now, and the biggest winners this week are probably Steven Ridley owners who will get a 2nd chance on life.
1.) RB David Wilson will lose his starting RB job any time soon. I know I’m not his biggest fan – and fumbling, especially twice is a good way to get benched. But when RB Andre Brown went down the reality is the Giants had a bare cupboard behind Wilson. Now I know the big story is who the Giants will bring in this week (as we mentioned in our preseason articles) – and whomever they bring in is worth a look in fantasy on the waiver wire (depending on the talent of the guy they are bringing in)…but the reality is, whomever comes in will be competing only to take some of the workload away, not the job. Not yet anyway. The Giants have been very publicly supportive of Wilson after the game – b/c they know that they need Wilson’s speed in the offense. For now and for the 1st half of the season he should be safe and is worth a buy low trade offer if you can grab him…..but, it does come with the risk that he continues to shot himself in the le…umm foot. Sorry I confuse that saying when it comes to the G-men).
2.) The Seattle Offense will under perform vs expectations this year. Right now, file this under fiction. People will look at Kapernick, Luck, and Rg3’s (who got most of his in garbage time) stat sheets for week 1 and be ready to dump on Mr Wilson. Personally, and this is no slight to Russell Wilson, but I think his fantasy ceiling is naturally the lowest of those 4 anyway – and this game did nothing to change that opinion. And it shouldn’t change anyone’s opinion that Wilson can still very easily be a top 8-10 fantasy QB. Likewise, owners have to be upset with RB Marshawn Lynch’s 40 something yard effort. It’s gonna be ok – and believe me you will be able to start them in road games, even on the east coast. The problem in this one, (aside from opening week rustiness) was the Carolina front 7. Carolina’s front 7 are very talented and they play the run game especially well – in boxing “styles make fights”- and in this one the Panthers just matched up very well with the things Seattle likes to do. There will be much bigger fantasy days ahead for the Seahawks.
3.) It’s panic time on RB CJ Spiller, WR Dez Bryant, and WR Calvin Johnson. I lumped these guys together – 3,2, and 3 would be their week 1 point totals in most leagues, and I really added Johnson to highlight the absurdity of worrying about these 1st and 2nd round fantasy picks. These guys had bad weeks due to schemes and due to circumstance – no one wants this to happen, but it does. There are some guys like maybe WR Mike Wallace and WR Kenny Britt that you can start looking for the red flag, but even on them – after one week it’s not time to raise it.
And so these are just a few of the Week 1 fallouts – whether you won or lost in your week 1 matchups, just like the real guys it’s on to week 2 and planning for that. We’ll have some waiver articles up soon for you to help with that plan.