Fantasy Football Mailbag: Week 1
It’s here. Week 1.
Now the real difficult decision making begins: setting your line-up.
Before the season even started, fantasy owners found themselves faced with difficult decisions, from worry over Peyton Manning to whether they should sit their studs against the Steelers.
I know, it’s a tough life being a fantasy owner….
As always, thanks to all of you who submitted questions for this week’s mailbag. Don’t forget to set your line-ups BEFORE kick off on Sunday!
I drafted Peyton Manning as my starting QB, now what should I do?
My friend who is new to Fantasy Football this year asked me the same question. He called me very upset that his first season was over before it had even begun. I promised him it was not.
Don’t panic. You’re season isn’t over. It’s going to be okay.
Truth is, we still don’t know with absolute certainty (as of Saturday) what Peyton’s status will be for the remainder of the year.
That being said, it is likely he will be out at least 3 months (mid- December). There is a possibility he could return for the end of the year and be Peyton Manning. There is also a possibility the Colts opt not to break him back for the end of the season or he comes back and he is not quite himself right away.
You have to decide if you want to stash him away or not and that is your decision to make. Hopefully your league has an IR spot for this very reason. If not, then I would advise you to drop him and make the best of it.
Now on to alternative options. Here are a few guys I like that might still be available:
Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler (and I have a well documented history of disliking Cutler so that is saying something), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton
For deeper leagues (or if the above aren’t available) or to play match-ups:
Mark Sanchez, Chad Henne, Colt McCoy (who has a pretty easy schedule this year, BTW).
Should I start Reggie Bush?
Oh, Reggie Bush, you have me stumped.
I think Reggie is a special kind of player and now that he is headed to Miami he may actually be slightly more valuable as a fantasy running back than he has been in previous years.
This week the Dolphins face the Patriots. I’m anticipating that the Patriots defense is going to be improved from last year but it’s not as if we are talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers run defense. Someone is going to be running the ball on Sunday and that person is Reggie.
Reggie could potentially have a decent week and here is why: The team has already stated that they would like to use Reggie in the primary back role, Daniel Thomas is injured and the other option at running back is Larry Johnson (ick). Add to that Henne likes to check down more than Drew Brees which will add receiving yards to his total. I definitely see him scoring a touchdown and probably combing for some nice yardage rushing and receiving.
With all of that in mind, I would still only use him as a flex play this week. Give him a little more time to show us exactly how is going to be used in his new offense and then play him against the softer match-ups at a #2 RB.
What should I be looking at when I am deciding who to start and who to sit?
I use several tools (aside from my intuition, obviously).
Rankings, Projections (but don’t get too stuck on the projections), role they play in their respective offense and the most importantly, match-up.
ESPN has a nice feature called OPRK, or opponent ranking, that tells you how the opposing defense is ranked against the run or the pass. I really like this tool a lot because it’s breaking it down more specifically to your player. For example, in 2010 the Houston Texans were the worst secondary in the NFL (ranked 32nd in OPRK), so starting your WRs against them was a must. On ESPN, a tough opponent is marked in red, while an easier opponent is in green. Other sites have similar tools so check out what yours has to offer.
If you are someone who really likes to use projections, just keep in mind that projections can vary based on how an analyst decides if they are going to get a touchdown or not. Don’t let it be the only thing that influences you.
Flacco vs Pittsburgh or Orton vs Oakland?
I’m going to go with Orton.
Flacco does not have a good history against the Steelers. He will probably throw for at least one touchdown but the issue here is sacks and interceptions which can cut into your total for the week.
The Raiders aren’t a terrible defense, contrary to popular opinion, but Nnamdi is now in Philly so at least you don’t have to worry about him completely taking away your receivers. It’s still hard to say exactly what this Broncos offense is going to look like under John Fox but I still see Orton throwing a fair amount.
I checked the rankings of all the major sites and every one of them has Orton ranked slightly higher, which supports my argument. Play it safe and go with Orton.
Austin Collie vs. Houston or Mike Thomas vs. Tennessee?
I don’t love either.
Austin Collie will be playing his first game with Kerry Collins, due to Peyton Manning’s injury. So much of what Peyton does is about timing and rhythm with his receivers and I don’t know that Collie will have that with Collins right away. In addition to that, Collie is also recovering from a knee (and foot) injury he suffered during the preseason, so I don’t know that I would even start him anyway (he apparently says it’s fine). He is listed as Questionable, which is very typical of the Colts.
Mike Thomas will also be playing his first game with quarterback Luke McCown, who was named the starter on Tuesday. It remains to be seen what this offense will even look like, let alone how Mike Thomas will factor in. We do know that Thomas is the #1 WR on this team, and that receiving touchdowns will be mostly split between him and Marcedes Lewis. So with that, I am going to go with Thomas, if I must choose one.