Take a Deep Breath, It’s just One Week
After a dozen years of playing fantasy football it doesn’t surprise me that I lost more games this past weekend than I won because it happens almost every season. The best explanation I have for this is that team defense as a whole is further along in development than team offense in week 1. It takes offenses around the league a little more than a half hour worth of pre-season games to start to click, and so usually week 1 fantasy #’s are not indicative of anything really. The point is, it’s not time to trade Shaun Alexander for Frank Gore. and its not time to give up on your Tampa Bay players, Bledsoe, Droughns, or the Indy’s Running game. Have a little patience!
A couple of trades were recently triggered so let’s delve into that first:
Branch goes to Seattle- The biggest impact of this move might be on what this does to the Pats offense (more on that below), but as far as Seattle goes, this should help bolster their passing game. Assuming Darrel Jackson is healthy for most of the season, Branch will probably be the ease into the #2 WR role for Seattle and should put up decent stats, but not as good as what he would have had for the Pats this year. I wouldn’t change D-Jack’s value because having Branch will help take away some double teams, so I still like him as a good #2 WR when healthy. I see Branch as more of a #3 WR because it will take some time for him to learn the offense and he’ll be the team’s 3rd weapon after Alexander and Jackson. Burleson’s value takes a huge hit here because he won’t be on the field enough to produce.
This week I have some thoughts about some players whose value needs adjusting one way or the other.
Tom Brady- moves down 6 spots on the QB cheat sheet.
I think the definitive loss of Branch moves Brady down from a top flight starter to a lower end starter, just inside the top 10. Brady is great and the Pats are well coached, but point blank, there are no receivers on this team. Watson is getting better, but he doesn’t have it in him to put up Gates-like #’s and there are no wide outs on this team capable of putting up big #’s either. The Pats are going to use their two headed RB monster all season and to make matters worse for Brady, neither of their featured backs are going to catch many passes.
Bottom line- The Bills have an underrated secondary and Brady is good enough to find ways to have decent games, but if you were counting on him for a big season, its time to come up with a contingency plan.
Ravens receivers – move them down the lists
Clayton, Mason, and Heap might very well be innocent fantasy bystanders this season of being on a great team. The Ravens D is healthy and the Ravens offense isn’t going to have to score too many points to win games. McNair hit 7 different receivers this week, so it’s clear that he’ll spread things around and it really might contain a couple of very good receivers from having big seasons. I had Mason and Heap higher on my boards than most, so realizing their diminishing value hurts, but its important to see it.
Bottom line– Its going to be tough for Clayton to get his this year, so the idea of him being a breakout sleeper is squashed. Mason should still produce as a decent #2 WR, but big games might be few and far between. Heap is a good TE starter, but not in the same tier as Gonzo, Gates, and Shockey whose teams rely on them more.
Ben Roethlisberger – could be big when he gets healthy
Since no one actually started Batch this past Thursday, the best thing about his 3 TD performance was realizing that Roethlisberger is coming into a very good situation when he’s healthy. The Steelers were passing more at the end of last season so it was obvious that trend would continue, and without Bettis it makes sense that there will be more passing TD’s this season too. Looking at Roethlisberger’s #’s last season is misleasding because he missed a handful of games, and his injury this year slammed his value yet again.
Bottom line- If you have concerns about Plummer, Bledsoe, or Simms, you might want to think about dealing for Big Ben sooner than later.
Troy Williamson – potential as dark horse sleeper confirmed
The Vikings frequently tried to get Williamson into the action on Monday. This makes sense as they need his vertical threat to help open things up for the running game that they are very committed to. Williamson still dropped passes he shouldn’t be dropping and he’ll need to progress as the season goes along before he has any significant fantasy starter value.
Bottom line- Since there’s a good shot the Vikings will try to get him the ball downfield each game, Williamson makes a good bye week replacement for the upcoming weeks and if can improve during the season, he could become valuable down the stretch.
Well, that’s about it for this week; Lets all hope we have a more exciting Sunday of football this week than last. As always, thanks for reading.