See my Intro to understand what this is all about.
See my Draft Recap to see where we are heading into the first week of the season.
I’ll be the first to admit I obsess WAY TOO MUCH about fantasy football. Thinking about my roster, listening to podcasts, reading articles, pouring over the rankings of other people, scouring the waiver wire for potential pick-ups, conjuring trades to try and swindle my friends out of their elite players. My productivity in general takes a HUGE hit during the football season for those reasons and many others, but I’m no more insane than I am in the lead-up to Week 1.
It’s no more or less important than any other regular season week, but it FEELS like the most important game of the season. At the same time, I’ve been trying my best in recent years not to tinker too much with my roster before I’ve actually had a chance to see these guys play. I mean, if I liked these guys enough to draft them a week ago, why am I sitting here second-guessing myself before they’ve done anything to convince me they’re no good?
Last year, I think I managed to go all the way through the first week before making a roster change; this year I wasn’t as strong. But, I feel I had a good reason: the Bears made a huge trade for Khalil Mack over the weekend – the day AFTER I drafted Baltimore’s defense – so I used my relatively high waiver priority (3rd in the league) to swap defenses.
My draft strategy this year was simple: wait until the very last minute to draft a defense. There are a few you have to feel good about – the Rams, the Jags, the Vikings, maybe the Eagles – but a lot of the time, defense is about matchups. Likewise, there are countless stories of defenses that came out of nowhere to lead the fantasy league in points, just as there are countless stories of supposedly-elite defenses succumbing to age or injury or simple over-rating. Why get caught up in the fervor of taking one of the top pre-season defenses early in the draft when you can get one pretty close to just as good at the end of the draft or on waivers after the first week. So, in this league, I picked up the Ravens’ defense, because they’re going up against Buffalo in Week 1, and that felt like a good one to stream against until some other team popped out as one to go with from Week 2 onward (or, if I got lucky, and the Ravens’ defense was really good in general – and not just against the Bills – then I just got them in the next-to-last round while the suckers in my league wasted precious earlier draft picks on the same quality).
The thing is, even heading into the draft, I liked Chicago’s defense as a possible sleeper. I think Vic Fangio is an excellent defensive coordinator – on a tier just below Wade Phillips – and I seemed to remember them really going hard after young talent in the draft on this side of the ball. They seemed poised like a breakout candidate BEFORE trading for Mack; now that they have him, and his sack potential, I like the Bears enough to make them my ONLY defense.
Also, not for nothing, but I like my bench players an awful lot (heading into Week 1, my bench includes: Greg Olsen, Carson Wentz, Robert Woods, Adrian Peterson, and Kenny Stills). I don’t want to drop ANY of those guys at the moment, as I feel like they could all play important roles on my team this year. If I did have to drop someone, it would likely be one of those two receivers, so seeing how they both look in the first week is going to be critical in my line of thinking going forward (gun to my head: I’d probably choose Woods over Stills, as I like the Rams’ offense more than Miami’s; but Stills could end up as the Dolphins’ best receiver this year, while the Rams have a lot of guys who will divide Goff’s attention).
Anyway, how I plan to do this is I’m going to write up my thought process heading into the week ahead of time, that way my rationale won’t be tainted by events that already happened. You’re going to know exactly what I’m thinking heading into this week, because I’m writing it before the games start. Then, I’m going to write a section after the fact, letting you know how my week went. So, without further ado:
My Rationale Beforehand
Here’s my roster for Week 1:
- QB1 – Derek Carr vs. LAR
- QB2 – Andy Dalton @ IND
- WR1 – Tyreek Hill @ LAC
- WR2 – Adam Thielen vs. SF
- RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott @ CAR
- RB2 – Leonard Fournette @ NYG
- TE – Jordan Reed @ AZ
- FLEX – Demaryius Thomas vs. SEA
- K – Robbie Gould @ MIN
- DEF – Chicago @ GB
Obviously, if Wentz was healthy, he’d be my QB1 and I’d probably end up sitting Carr this week. On waivers, the available QBs (at the time of this writing) are Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and both Bills quarterbacks. Of those guys, I might marginally prefer Taylor to Carr based on matchups (I could see Carr getting in trouble against that Rams defense, while Taylor is always careful with the football and the Steelers don’t really pose much of a threat to make his life miserable), but not enough to make a roster change. I have a lot riding on Carr this year, based on the fact that I drafted him so high and because I believe the Raiders will be throwing a lot, so I kinda need him to work out for me early in the season.
I don’t have a lot to say about my starting WRs and RBs; they seem pretty self-explanatory. I will say that I’m pretty confident about my FLEX guy as well, as I think Thomas could have a field day against this Seahawks defense. For what it’s worth, I like Emmanuel Sanders a lot this year, but not particularly in this game. The Broncos tend to move Thomas around quite a bit, and honestly I don’t see him going to Griffin’s side as much as Sanders. I don’t think they play Thomas in the slot very much, so that negates Justin Coleman’s impact. If I’m right, and Thomas is lining up opposite of Griffin’s side on the other end, I think 150 yards and a TD or two is well within his capabilities. If I wasn’t playing Thomas, I would’ve gone with AP, but I’d like to take a wait-and-see approach with the veteran running back before I commit to giving him regular time in my fantasy lineup.
My biggest sticking point is in my TE spot, where I’ve already waffled once and it wouldn’t shock me if I waffled again.
Here’s the deal: I drafted Olsen in the 8th round. As I noted previously, I didn’t intend to use that high of a pick on a tight end this year, seemingly content with taking the leftover scraps. But, Olsen was sitting there, and I would’ve felt like a fool if I’d let him drop any further. He’s obviously a tremendous talent, both in fantasy and in real life, and in a usual circumstance, I’d be happy to start him against the Cowboys. But, then in the 12th round, Jordan Reed was sitting there. He’s got Alex Smith throwing to him. He’s in an offense that utilizes the tight end to a great extent even before Alex Smith got there. And, it’s week 1. He’s healthy! He’s probably as healthy as he’s ever going to be. Indeed, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the last chance I got to start him, that’s how fragile he is! He’s going up against the Cardinals, which feels like a juicy matchup, and they’re on the road, so I expect the Redskins will need to throw the ball more than they would if they were at home and more likely to be sitting on a lead in the 4th quarter. Ultimately, I feel like there’s better touchdown potential for someone like Reed over someone like Olsen, factoring in everything around both players. The Panthers just have more weapons on offense, and I don’t believe Cam will be as inclined to look for his TE in the red zone as Smith will be. We’ll see; I have a feeling I’m going to regret whatever I do here.
Also, thinking long term, I fucked up when I took Reed, because both players have Week 4 byes, which means if they both stay healthy between now and then, I either have to drop a really productive guy, or I’ll have to roster a third tight end for a week (or I guess I could take a 0 at that spot for one game, but that seems idiotic that early in the season).
Anyway, that’s that. Below, read about how my fantasy week went.
Week 1 Results
Well, I didn’t want to believe it, but Derek Carr fucked me ALREADY!
I had a 20-point lead heading into Monday Night. I had Carr left to go; usually, when you’re winning and you have a quarterback still to play, you’re in pretty excellent shape. I want to say I was an 80% favorite heading into the night. My opponent, Crazy N8’s Prostates, had Marvin Jones and the Rams’ kicker. It was a lock, right?
Not so fucking fast.
If Carr had just thrown a single TD, I would’ve won. If he’d just thrown TWO interceptions – instead of three – I would’ve won. If Legatron had just missed one of those field goals (he ended up with 17 points in total), I would’ve won. Instead, I’m a 3-point loser and everything is meaningless.
For a while there, I was looking like a genius with the Bears defense. I also looked like a fucking boner, because remember how I had to drop Baltimore’s defense to pick up the Bears? Well, not only did they go off (to the tune of 31 points in our league, way over their expected 17.12), but they went off FOR MY OPPONENT (who picked them up and played them against me!). At one time, with Aaron Rodgers out of the game, the Bears had 35 points, but then the Packers started scoring, so that total fell to 20 (still well above the expected 9.06 Yahoo projected).
My big decision of Jordan Reed over Greg Olsen ended up panning out somewhat, with Olsen being the one to leave his game with an injury. Reed beat Olsen by 9.5 points, so bully for me.
That Fournette injury is obviously a concern. He was on his way to a monster day, but I guess his injury woes aren’t behind him. Now, every time I have him in my lineup, I have to wonder if he’s going to get me 30 points or 3 points. As long as Adrian Peterson is healthy – and in a plus matchup – I really have to consider putting him in there more often.
Demaryius Thomas acquitted himself well as my FLEX guy. Predictably, the Seahawks’ defense posed little threat. The bigger threat is Keenum’s rapport with Emmanuel Sanders, who went OFF in that game. Still, my value pick is looking solid so far.
My biggest shining star was Tyreek Hill, who blew up to the tune of 46.10 points this week (he led all non-Fitzmagic players in my league). He almost pulled my ass out of the fire, but you just can’t overcome a 3-point week out of your top available QB.
Crazy N8’s Prostates’ lineup looked like this:
- QB1 – Kirk Cousins vs. SF
- QB2 – Alex Smith @ AZ
- WR1 – ODB vs. JAX
- WR2 – Keenan Allen vs. KC
- RB1 – Shady McCoy @ BAL
- RB2 – David Johnson vs. WAS
- TE – Travis Kelce @ LAC
- FLEX – Marvin Jones vs. NYJ
- K – Greg Zuerlein @ OAK
- DEF – Baltimore vs. BUF
I ended up being the highest scorer of all the losers and had the third-highest points in the league this week. Pretty sad state of affairs, all things considered. Carson Wentz can’t come back soon enough. Starting to think about picking up Fitzpatrick. Things are looking bleak already!