Week 1 of regular season is always crazy, and it will definitely mess with your mind and roster if you let it. It’s enough to make you question yourself about everything you studied in the preseason.
Don’t let it get to you, it’s not worth it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this week; after all, it is week 1 of the regular season that inspired this column for me. Every year I’d watch owners study so hard for the draft. They would build a nice draft strategy and then follow that draft strategy with precision during the draft.
Then week 1 would come around and unexpected players would put up Hall of Fame numbers, and solid can’t miss players would suffer season ending injuries, etc. Panic would then ensue and all that time and effort spent into developing a draft strategy gets blown out the window once the waiver wires open up and those owners would get rid of part of their line-up for the “flavor of the day”.
This article was born as a way to help you take a deep breath and seriously consider that move you are about to make. I’ll show you why some of the big waiver wire moves this season are fool’s gold and should be left for the other owners of your league to waste their waiver wire position on. I will also be giving out a better alternative then the flavor of the week if one exists, but mainly I will try to keep you from pushing your line-ups off the proverbial ledge.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you suffered an injury in your lineup and you are looking to grab the backup, or if you are playing defenses week-by-week then attack the waiver wire with gusto, but don’t just grab and drop for the sake of doing it. I have people in some of my leagues who had made double-digit waiver wire moves before the beginning of Sunday’s games. I guarantee some of them dropped players they will regret later. Don’t be that owner.
Also, as you are reading my column I often use the phrase, “Nice line, last time”. Take note, to put it simply it means that the player we are talking about had a nice stat line this week but this week is most likely the last time you will see a stat line like that from them this season, as in, Lamar Jackson had 324 passing yards with 5 touchdowns for 32 standard league fantasy points, in this opening week of 2019, nice line, last time. Got it? Good.
With that in mind let’s get started with this week’s second thoughts, and as always, let’s start with.. Quarterbacks.
Andy Dalton sure performed better than a man who is available in 96% of leagues this last week now didn’t he? The version we call “Good Andy” showed up in Seattle on Sunday and threw for 418 yards and a pair of touchdowns. What’s even more amazing is that he had NO interceptions.
With numbers like that, playing in a division that is in decline this year, if you had Nick Foles then grabbing Andy Dalton seems like a no-brainer right?
On second thought, no.
Dalton did take to the air as the Bengals fell behind the Seahawks, finishing with a new career high in passing yardage. Adding to this is the fact that Joe Mixon got a little banged up and only if he were to miss more time will Dalton be called upon to air it out again. Do not be fooled. Bad Andy lurks around the corner, he’s like Pennywise in the gutter just waiting for naive little you to look his way. His career has shown that he is wildly inconsistent and prone to multiple mistakes per game.
Trust me when I say you have better options for your fantasy team, for example Matt Stafford.
Stafford is a guy that with few exceptions, last year and his first two, will play all 16 games and will give you 4000+ yards and 25-30 TD’s. Yet he is still available in 84% of leagues.
This last week Stafford was on the weird end of a tie ballgame against the Arizona Cardinals. In that game he threw for 385 yards and 3 TD’s.
This is not abnormal for Stafford as he’s built a career on games with lines like that and not being on fantasy teams rosters. The knock on him, and the reason he’s not on rosters, is that sometimes he disappears. Which is hard to argue but I can tell you that this week he faces the Chargers at home. The Chargers are a team that will put up points and Stafford will have to try to stay with them. That is always what you want out of your fantasy QB. Stafford is in his first season under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and so far they seem to be working as a team.
If Stafford is not your cup of tea then maybe you should give Case Keenum a whirl.
To me there is no better player to have in your lineup than a player who is fighting for a new contract or his job. Keenum is the latter. The prevailing thought in D.C. was that Keenum would be giving way to Dwayne Haskins very soon. With a stat line of 380 yards passing and 3 touchdowns it seems that Keenum is not going to go quietly into the night. Keenum was outstanding early on against a strong Eagles defense. He did slow down in the second half but still managed one of his best stat lines ever.
Keenum, who is available in 99% of leagues, faces another tough match-up next Sunday at home against the Cowboys which should mean that he will be called upon to put up some numbers in order to keep up with a Dallas team that seems to have little problem scoring. If you pick up Keenum you will want to keep an eye on match ups and rumors about Haskins but for this next week he is a fairly safe bet.
The first week of the NFL season is always interesting for running backs. You typically have some injuries and some backs suddenly in a lineup that you were not expecting. For example, Rex Burkhead of the Patriots.
Burkhead, who is available in 98% of leagues is getting a lot of talk around the fantasy water cooler right now. Deservedly so as the Patriot RB ran for 44 yards and caught 5 passes for 41 yards in his teams romp over the Steelers on Sunday night. With dual production like that some are saying that there is no reason not to pick him up if you have a need in your lineup.
On second thought, steer clear of Burkhead.
We’ve seen this before with New England running backs haven’t we? Quite frankly there are just too many mouths to feed. Sony Michel was on the field for 23 snaps, and James White was out there for 33 snaps. That is just snaps we are talking about, once Burkhead is actually in the lineup he is fighting for touches with Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, oh, and a receiver who just joined the team by the name of Antonio Brown who we all know will make a stink if he doesn’t get his touches.
Burkhead’s touches are limited at best. On the flip-side of that is a backup running back whose touches are increasing due to the fact that the main RB is coming off of an injury, he is worth a look, he is Malcolm Brown.
With a coach that seemed to want to keep the weight of the world off of Todd Gurley‘s shoulders, or more precisely, knees, Brown found himself getting 11 carries that he was able to turn into 53 yards rushing but most important 2 touchdowns. Both of which were short yardage sprints. It seems that Sean McVay wants to keep Gurley’s knees from taking any unnecessary pounding early on, so he was giving short yardage and goal line carries to Brown. The Rams offense is going to put up numbers so it would reason that the short yardage/goal line back is a good person to have from this team, think LeGarrette Blount from a few years ago.
It also seems that the Rams will need him heavily next week as they will be playing the Saints in a game that should feature quite a few scores. If you pick up Brown, who is available in 93% of leagues, keep an eye on his touches as the year goes on, but do not worry in the short term, you should be able to put him in with confidence over the next few weeks.
Another running back that just gained considerable touches in the short term was San Francisco RB Raheem Mostert.
Mostert, who is available in almost every single league moved into the number 2 spot after Tevin Coleman left the game due to an injured ankle that is going to keep him out for a few weeks. Mostert, who ran for 40 yards on 9 carries and caught one pass has shown flashes of brilliance in the past when called up and he seems to be the fastest back the 49er’s have. The other thing working in his favor is that the now #1 running back Matt Breida has shown injury proneness in the past and even left this game for what appeared to be a need for an IV. Signs point to Mostert getting up to 40% of the touches and, of course, most of them if Breida breaks down. You can pick him up with fairly strong confidence going forward for the next few weeks, at least until Coleman is back.