Fantasy Devil's Advocate: Don't overreact to Week 1
We’ve only seen one week of football, ergo one week of fantasy football, and already assumptions have been made far and wide.
Let’s all come together and agree that you can’t call someone a bust or a stud based on one week of usage. Let’s also accept the fact that some of these teams faced tough defenses and others didn’t even seem to have an opponent. Knowing that a variety of factors affect a game, and that those factors will change week to week is imperative.
But right now, I’m here to poke the beast and play the devil’s advocate. These are things I’m hearing accepted as fantasy truths this week, and I’d like to at least pose the idea that … they aren’t.
“Player X is a bust.”
There were some disappointing performances in Week 1. Some of them have fantasy players running scared.
If your player is now on IR, then you can bite your pillow. That sucks and yes, you’ll have to scramble.
If your player got beaten up (i.e. Russell Wilson or Sammy Watkins), you need to play close attention to your bench, but don’t completely lose your cool. Watkins is seemingly a more severe situation, but none of the players who got hurt lost their talent. They just need to heal and this is a long season.
And I know this sounds conservative, but don’t trade away your studs. You built your team around certain players and we do not have enough information for you to blow up the foundation of your team. This kind of kneejerk reaction rarely leads to a championship. Keep your eye on the prize.
You can check out some detailed, stats-based thoughts in my Relax or Panic column, but here are some initial reactions to some bad performances:
Tyrod Taylor: Don’t stream again until we learn more about Sammy Watkins.
Dak Prescott: You mean the team was conservative when starting two rookies in a home opener against a division rival? Say it isn’t so!
Kirk Cousins: That last interception was garbage, but I actually think Cousins is a buy-low candidate with a terrible defense prime for junk time production. They just didn’t know how bad their defense was until Monday night.
Russell Wilson: Hurt.
Jonathan Stewart: Got 15 carries and averaged 4.4 yards per carry against one of the best defenses in the league. He’ll be fine against other teams.
Duke Johnson: Wait and see how the team looks with Josh McCown.
Todd Gurley: Okay, I’d feel panicky. That team is terrible, but you drafted him. And so did I.
Adrian Peterson: He’s had slow starts before. Still a bell cow.
Devonta Freeman: Was put in terrible situations all day. Better luck next time.
Odell Beckham Jr.: I said a month ago they would try to get their rookie wideout and Mr. Salsa in the end zone against that weak Dallas defense. That happened. Now defenses have to respect the other receivers and Beckham will open up. Enjoy the rest of the season!
Allen Robinson: Still had 15 targets and is the No. 1 guy on the team.
Brandon Marshall: Still getting into sync with Fitzpatrick, but will be fine.
Dez Bryant: They didn’t win. Do you think they’ll lean on Beasley again? No…
Demaryius Thomas: Watch that hip issue, but it was Trevor Siemian’s first NFL start and they played against the Panthers. We knew it would be tough, but on tape, it didn’t look that bad. The turnovers killed them.
Golden Tate: A lot of dink-and-dunk in Detroit. Tate was questionable all week with an ankle injury, so that probably held down his YAC, which is usually his specialty.
Gary Barnidge: Wait and see how the team looks with McCown.
Clive Walford: He wasn’t the starter on the depth chart going into Week 1. The fantasy community can’t will people into roles. Watch to see if his placement on the depth chart changes.
Coby Fleener: He struggled all preseason. That was well-publicized.
Antonio Gates: Worried about his lack of involvement. Not going to lie about that.
Martellus Bennett: Is not Aaron Hernandez. Is a great blocker.
Jared Cook: Is not Jermichael Finley. Is a great blocker.
“Save your waiver position in Week 1.”
If you have a healthy team, I would save my waivers, that’s true. Too many people are desperate and are going to overpay in Week 1 out of necessity. There are a lot of injured players out there, so I get it. If you made it through this week unscathed, I’d save you waiver position and FAAB money.
But if you drafted Keenan Allen or Zach Ertz or Sammy Watkins or any of the number the injured players, then go pick up someone on waivers.
It’s hard to know if a player is “worth it” because each league is different. Someone reached out to me on Twitter and asked if they should pick up Theo Riddick. Yes, he was available! Don’t overpay for unproven talent, but you’ll certainly need to insert yourself into the game. These injuries are real and are affecting top players. It’s a bummer, but it’s true.
“Jeremy Hill is touchdown dependent… and that’s a problem.”
Hill has scored at least one touchdown in six of his last nine games. At some point we need to accept that part of his game is getting the goal line look and you know when you play him, he has to score to get you the fantasy points that you need.
And he will score in 66 percent of those outings. He scored 8 or more fantasy points in eight of his last nine games.
Last week he went up against the stout New York Jets defense and no one expected much from him in terms of fantasy production. They only gave up two rushing touchdowns all last season. Well, sure enough, Hill carried the ball nine times for 31 yards and a touchdown.
You got him in the fourth or fifth round of the draft, so that’s okay. I’m okay with that.
“Ezekiel Elliott is the next Adrian Peterson.”
Actually, Elliott was fine.
He carried the ball 20 times. Good!
For 51 yards and averaged 2.6 yards per carry. Not so good.
He scored a rushing touchdown. Good!
He caught his lone target for one yard. Not so good.
In other words, he’s a young player with a ton of potential and raw talent. You should feel fine about having him on your team, but you should also take the good with the bad while he’s getting used to being in the NFL.
Should he have been an undisputed first-round pick? Time will tell. But for now, sit tight and let that Dallas offensive line do the work.
“Jimmy Garoppolo will have a tough time leading the Patriots.”
Ah, Bill. It’s black magic. We’ve all accepted that. And it works.
(Yes, maybe this should have run before Week 1, but the point is still true, and there are still Garoppolo/Patriots doubters.)
No one, and I mean literally no one, can create an effective, winning game script like Bill Belichick. In this particular game, he decided to come out of the gate with a bunch of pass plays. Sure, he’d go to LaGarrette Blount, but in his own time. He forced the Cardinals to respect the pass.
On defense he took away the downfield plays. John Brown was rendered ineffective. Although, if you watch the tape, Palmer was to blame on a lot of those throws. His arm strength and accuracy is something to monitor.
In terms of fantasy, this team will use Blount and Edelman. A lot.
Edelman caught all seven of his targets for 66 yards and then carried the ball three times for an additional 16 yards. The fantasy production was modest, but the usage was promising.
Blount carried the ball 21 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. That’s only a 3.2-yard-per-carry stat line, but the real value was controlling the clock and serving as a steady crutch for a new quarterback. It was successful.
“Kickers don’t matter.”
I played in 10 redraft matchups this weekend. And I saw a ton of people with kickers who didn’t play. Yep, kickers who were cut during preseason.
If you play with a kicker, please pay attention to them. You are missing out on points and look/are lazy.
Cody Parkey, no team. Robbie Gould, no team. Kai Forbath, no team. Shayne Graham, no team. Josh Brown, suspended in Week 1.
Ten kickers scored double-digit fantasy points: Dan Bailey, Stephen Gostkowski, Nick Novak, Jason Myers, Blair Walsh, Dustin Hopkins, Matt Bryant, Mike Nugent, Cairo Santos, Adam Vinatieri. Only four tight ends scored double-digit points in standard scoring.
I’m not saying that kickers are more important (or predictable) than tight ends, but I am saying that if you play with kickers you need to pay attention. Points are points.