By King Cool (formerly M3Swagger)
The best way to distinguish between fantasy football’s week 1 winners and losers is to judge their mannerisms near the water-cooler. Winners express witticisms and are the life of the water-drinking party. Their high equates to having been hoisted on the imaginary shoulders of their fake team in victory. Losers say very little. Their deafening silence speaks a desire to erase their team and its name, while going all Steinbrenner on their roster and firing, trading or cutting every player.
Both of you relax. It is just one game. Be cool because some of last week’s duds will probably make a difference in 13 weeks or so. But you have to stick around long enough to use them in the playoffs. That is when cooler heads – not water-cooler heads – truly prevail.
There are no better examples of week-to-week highs and lows than the Bears’ Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, who opened week 2 with Thursday night flops. Next week could be very different with the Rams coming to town.
Matt Forte’s injury will be assessed by the Bears and his fantasy owners in the week ahead. Many fantasy players draft two running backs from the same team. It is not a bad idea because adjusting to injuries is a huge part of the game. One must actually anticipate the worst. You are wise indeed if you had C.J. Spiller waiting in the wings after his Bills’ teammate Fred Jackson went down with injury. Also, if you had Rashad Jennings and Maurice Jones-Drew, or vice-versa, your foresight will soon pay off. The Texans’ Ben Tate is iffy, but a gamble worth taking considering Arian Foster’s hamstring history.
Now that weekends start a few days early (Thursday games aren’t just for Thanksgiving any more), the likelihood of needs for running back depth will rotate from team to team. Looking ahead to week 3, expect Giants’ rookie David Wilson to make a significant contribution.
And then there are mystery teams, like the Redskins, who have mystery backs week after week. If he’s not already taken, stop reading this now and go get the Redskins’ Alfred Morris off the waiver wire.
It’s a quarterback’s league, which means it is also a receivers’ league. Starting three receivers in fantasy was once a sign of weakness. It is now the norm. So Randy Moss is a wise and viable option for now, but keep tabs on his off-field demeanor as well; he can be mercurial. Also, consider the Cowboys’ Kevin Ogletree (many have held off on acquiring him, thinking his game one numbers were a fluke), the Colts’ Reggie Wayne (a veteran presence for the young QB), and the Redskins’ Aldrick Robinson. As for rookie quarterbacks, consider their needed comfort in throwing to tight ends, such as the Colts’ Coby Fleener, the Dolphins’ Anthony Fasano, and the Seahawks’ Zach Miller, who is effective if healthy.
On the Johnson Watch, Chris should have a slightly better week than he did in the opener. There is nothing to suggest slippage among the other Johnsons – Andre or Calvin – but the latter will likely score more in week two.
In fantasy football, defenses and kickers are often afterthoughts and usually discarded and switched weekly. You can – and should – go all Steinbrenner on them. Or, while in a New York frame of mind, go all Parcells on the kickers. The coaching great once said: “Kickers are like light bulbs. They can be replaced, and who cares if you break one.” And he was talking about human beings, not cyberspace names on a virtual fantasy chart!
How about those Patriots? Whether truly tested or not, the defense turned in better stats in week 1 than did their offense’s receivers. This week, with the Cardinals coming to town, expect more of the same. As for defenses that may be available, the semi-surprise pickup for the week would be Cincinnati. Yes, they were shredded by Flacco and Co. last week, but they are now playing Cleveland! Also, Buffalo isn’t as bad as the Jets’ greatest game since January 1969 would lead one to believe.
Now about those kickers: say for example you have a decision between Garret Hartley of the “Dey Aint No” Saints and a guy like Connor Barth of the Bucs. The “Dey Aint Nos” will probably score a lot of touchdowns, thus limiting his field goal tries. The Bucs will probably have to kick a lot of field goals because on offense, dey really aint no Saints, so the nod sort of goes to Barth by a 3-1 margin. The Texans’ Shayne Graham is kind of on the edge in that regard. They will probably score a lot of TDs, but you never know what one injury will do to a team like that.
Above all else this week, stop holding court and stop moping; just be cool. It is its own reward.