So week one of the NFL season has come and gone, and you’re feeling sad, confused, and desperate. Maybe you got stuck with one of many bad players in week 1 – Donovan McNabb, Marshall Faulk, Brett Favre, Curtis Martin, Trung Canidate, Jake Plummer, and a host of others all had bad days. Maybe you watched Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson being carted off Lambeau field, or wondered where Brady, Troy Brown, and the Patriots disappeared to. Maybe you’re trying to size up the skid marks left on your mighty Dolphins or Ravens defense by the likes of the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers. So what? Forget about it. That’s ancient history. Sharks do not hit the panic button when a few scores come in low on week one.
The first game of the fantasy season doesn’t always go the way we’d like it to. Believe me, I can sympathize. Most of the guys mentioned above are on one of my fantasy teams this year. Considering I only have two teams (the Tiger Shark League and my private league) that’s not a good track record. I am now the proud owner of matching 0-1 marks to start the season. But it’s not the end of the world. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this: don’t freak out. One week, and especially week one, does not make or break your entire fantasy season. Let’s look at a few examples of week one weirdness from 2002 to demonstrate my point:
- In the Colts’ 28-25 victory over the Jaguars, backup Qadry Ismail caught 6 passes for 84 yards and 2 TD’s while superstar Marvin Harrison had only 4 catches for 34 yards and 1 TD. Many fantasy owners picked up Ismail in that first week, but his first game turned out to be his best, and his only other touchdown came two weeks later against the Texans. Ismail is now retired and the Colts rely on Reggie Wayne as their #2 guy. Harrison, of course, went on to set the single-season record for receptions and was the league’s highest-scoring fantasy receiver by far.
- The Patriots posted a convincing 30-14 victory over the Steelers in week 1. Deion Branch looked like the next rookie WR sensation, leading the team with 6 catches for 83 yards and a TD. Branch even continued his hot streak for the next 3 weeks, peaking in week 4 with a 13-for-128 performance in a loss to San Diego. However, after week 4, he had only 15 catches for 180 yards the remainder of the season.
- The 49ers started the season with a dismal offensive performance, barely eeking out a 16-13 win over the Giants. Terrell Owens caught only 4 passes for 41 yards and never saw the end zone. In fact, Owens got off to a slow start in all three September games, but returned to his old dominating self by week 5. He finished the season with 100 catches for 1300 yards, despite missing the last two games of the year.
So studs like Faulk and Harrison who had bad weeks are likely to snap out of it soon. And week one wonders like Anquan Boldin will likely come back to earth, sooner rather than later. This is not the time to be turning over your entire roster. Don’t drop or trade your starting players just because they had one bad week. If you make a bad trade now to get rid of a Faulk, Favre, or Harrison, you’ll probably be regretting it by week 3. And if you must grab a player who had a good week, like Boldin or Ladell Betts, make sure you only drop your least important player to get them. Especially in Boldin’s case, his first game will probably be his best.
Making a hasty series of moves in the first week is always a recipe for disaster. Beware another owner who comes to you with a big trade, trying to get your best RB over to his team. No matter how tempting his offer, you want to wait a few weeks before you can really start to size up your roster. Resist the urge! It’s week one – don’t freak out!