Week 1 of fantasy football is in the books, and chances are you either won big and think your team is headed for the championship, or you took a beating and already have your sights set on the 2013 season (also known as Drew From Jersey Syndrom). Whichever side of the fence you may be on heading into week 2, my advice is to not get carried away. Don’t let one week of action affect your judgment too much when it comes to your players. In fact, the next week or two are the perfect time to take advantage of that sap owner in your league who does just that.
For example, if you have someone like Alfred Morris on your team, now would be the perfect time to talk him up to your competition and then pawn him off on a running back-needy team (we’ll get to him later). It’s just the way it works: If a guy performed well, you think you have a superstar on your hands. If you’re first round pick played poorly, then you hate him and already want to send him into exile (and I do hate you very, very much, Chris Johnson). So who are the guys you should be targeting after a slow start? Who are the guys you should be selling high on? Glad you asked…
(I also suggest checking out my Pre-Season Fantasy Draft Column, which still has some relevant information about which players are due for declines, and which you may want to target. Just skip past that part where I recommend not drafting Adrian Peterson.)
Buy Low Before It’s Too Late
QB: Matt Ryan – I tried to tell you Ryan was poised to join the big boys this year as the Falcons move to an up-temp passing attack, so I hope some of you listened. He has three legit targets in Jones, White, and Gonzo, and an emerging pass-catching back in Jacquizz Rodgers. He had a huge week 1, so this could be tough, but if you treat him as a top 5 QB while the guy who has him doesn’t, you can still nab your stud QB.
QB: Mark Sanchez - Am I a homer? Perhaps. He’s not going to dominate all year like he did in week 1, but after a few rough games coming up (Pitt, SF, Houston), the schedule is littered with defenses he can absolutely exploit. I’m not saying pick him up as your starter, but if you don’t have an elite QB, playing the weekly matchups with Sanchez and one or two others is the way to go.
RB: Jacquizz Rodgers – I love Jacquizz. Michael Turner is being phased out of the Falcons offense, and Rodgers is going to see more and more time. If you’re in a PPR league, don’t wait any longer — Go get Jacquizz.
RB: Shonn Greene – Like Sanchez, Greene has some tough games coming up, but now many other backs are there that are pretty much guaranteed 20 touches per game? If he’s owned by someone who doesn’t believe in the Jets offense, you can still nab him and have your RB2 in the bag.
RB: Mikel Leshoure – Kevin Smith is 100% likely to get injured in the coming weeks. Not 50% or 75% or 99.9%. It’s 100%. When that happens, the Lions are going to lean totally on their 2nd round pick from a year ago to carry the load. Hell, even if Smith is healthy, Leshoure will get the goalline carries, and with that passing attack, will have plenty of running lanes.
RB: Trent Richardson – After watching T-Rich stumble his way to 2.1 yards per carry in the opener, while Brandon Weeden showed himself to be the worst quarterback to start a season since… well… ever, the Richardson owner in your league may already be ready to cut the cord. He (or she) won’t trade him to you for peanuts, but if you value him as a top 20 RB while they’re already discouraged, a deal can be arranged.
RB: Knowshon Moreno – Just a hunch, but I don’t see Willis McGahee lasting through the season. Take a flyer on Knowshon.
WR: Julio Jones – I was scoffed at by many after ranking Jones as my #2 WR heading into the season, but who’s laughing now?! (Ok, done patting myself on the back). This won’t be easy after Julio’s 2 TD performance on opening day, but if the Julio owner in your league only values him as a top 5 or 10 WR unlikely to keep this up, you can make your move. Think of him more like you would Calvin Johnson (yes, Julio can be that good this year) and organize your trade as such. Trust me.
WR: Antonio Brown – The results may not have totally been there in week 1, but we saw all the signs for a breakout season going forward. Big Ben targeted Brown a ton, including several attempts in the end zone. He’s clearly their #1 WR in Pittsburgh, and he’s PPR gold.
WR: Braylon Edwards – More of a deep sleeper option, but Braylon is moving up the Seattle depth chart and is going to get plenty of looks. Could be a very solid WR3 for you.
TE: Kyle Rudolph – He’s most likely on a team in your league, but if he’s a free agent, go and get him. If someone has him, value him as a top 10-12 TE and make your offer. There’s a good chance his owner in your league doesn’t think of him so highly.
Sell Now Before You Have Enron On Your hands
QB: Robert Griffin III – (Ducks) Ok, no need to throw things. I know full well what RG3 did this week, but all I’m saying is it’s not going to be that easy every week. There’s a good chance you or I could get out there and throw for 200 and 2 TD’s against the Saints. If RG3 is your backup and you can pawn him off on someone who saw his week 1 performance and considers him a top 8 or 10 QB, make the move. That’s all. (Please note, this doesn’t apply for keeper or dynasty leagues. If you are in one of those and consider trading him, please get your head examined before rejoining society. Thanks)
QB: Cam Newton – Again, I’m not saying Cam is bad or going to be a bust. He’s going to be quite good. But if you can send him away for top 5 QB value, you should look into it. I think he’s going to end the season as a fringe QB1, in the 9-11 overall range. The Panthers are going to be more competitive this year, so that will eliminate lots of the garbage time stats. Plus, they’re trying to limit his rushing attempts.
RB: Marshawn Lynch – Another guy I was very down on heading into the season, and he didn’t do much to change my opinion in week 1. His value is down, but I’d still suggest trying to move him. You won’t get his pre-draft value in return, but that’s ok because in a few weeks you won’t be getting top 20 RB value for him.
RB: Alfred Morris – If you have Alfred Morris, congratulations on picking the right Redskins RB for week 1. Unfortunately, there is no telling what week Mike “the Fantasy Football Hater” Shanahan will sour on Morris and just decide on a whim to use someone else. Trust me, you want no part of the Redskins backfield. Trade Morris now, or pray he has a solid week 2 and do it then. His value will never be higher.
RB: Kevin Smith – See Mikel Leshoure section.
RB: Michael Turner – See Jacquizz Rodgers section.
WR: Roddy White – If you can trick someone into thinking White is still an elite WR option, then do it now. Like, right now. By the end of the season, White will be more of a WR2 than the top notch player you drafted him to be. It’s Julio’s show now in Hotlanta.
WR: Pierre Garcon – Like with RG3, Garcon won’t get to torch the Saints Swiss cheese defense every week. He’s a major injury risk (already hurt his foot), he’s inconsistent, and his value will never be higher. Send some feelers out asap for a trade.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald – Poor Larry Fitzgerald. John Skelton is/was absolutely awful, but at least he knew to just throw the ball up for Larry and he’ll catch a few. Now Skelton is out, and Kevin Kolb, who never learned the “throw to Larry” lesson takes over. There are few more depressing players to own in fantasy than Larry Fitzgerald. You watch all the boring Cardinals games screaming “THROW IT TO LARRY!!”, and then when they finally do its 17 feet over his head. Sigh.
WEEK 2 START AND SITS ONE-LINERS
(Here’s my Week 1 column, so you can see whether or not you want to take my advice. Sure I sold on Flacco and Peterson, but RG3 and Ridley? Boom!)
Play ‘Em If Ya Got ‘Em
QB Andrew Luck vs. Minn – Vikings Pass D is terrible while Luck gets Collie and T.Y. Hilton back.
QB Jay Cutler vs. GB – The aforementioned Green Bay defense makes Cutler a top-8 option this week
RB Stevan Ridley vs. Arz – Week 1 was no fluke; Ridley is the real deal.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Den – Look for Rodgers to play a role in this shootout.
WR James Jones vs. Chi – Greg Jennings is likely out, which means plenty of targets for Jones
WR Braylon Edwards vs. Dallas - Look for Dallas to clog up the run and give Braylon plenty of 1-on-1 opportunities.
WR Percy Harvin @ Ind – Percy is gonna go off in Indy; he’s a top 12 option.
TE Kyle Rudolph @ Ind - Harvin’s teammate is also going to go off in Indy, taking apart the middle of that Colts defense.
DEF NY Giants – Sure they didn’t look good in week 1, but they’re going to put a hurting on Josh Freeman and the Bucs.
Play ‘Em… if You Like Losing
QB Tony Romo @ Sea – Seattle is an awfully tough place to play. Wouldn’t recommend benching him, but don’t expect big results.
QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. NYJ – The Jets have perhaps the best pass defense in the NFL, and Ben is going to take an awful lot of hits behind that o-line.
RB Michael Turner vs. Den – The Falcons-Broncos game is likely to be a fast-paced shootout, and Michael Turner doesn’t factor into a game like that.
RB Marshawn Lynch vs. Dallas - Dallas will stack the line against Lynch, so he’s likely to struggle. Can you tell I’m down on Lynch this year??
WR Wes Welker vs Arz – Welker sure seems like he’s being phased out of the offense, and with a potential blowout on the horizon here, don’t expect him to play a major role.
WR Lance Moore @ Car – Quite simply, Lance Moore stinks when he plays outdoors.
TE Jacob Tamme @ Atl – A preseason favorite of many, I don’t think he’s going to put up the big numbers many expected.
DEF Baltimore Ravens - Just a hunch, but I could see the Eagles team speed giving Ray Lewis and the Ravens a ton of trouble.