The draft has passed for most of us Sharks, and with it so has the exhilaration of preparing for hours of mental battle against the rest of your league, then picking a team that will throttle them and take their money. All those cheat sheets, spreadsheets, magazines and other draft prep tools have been thrown into the trash, not to be seen until next year. But is the work over? Not by a long shot, and FantasySharks.com is here to keep you ahead of the competition all season. This site provides a variety of articles to help you tweak or improve your team from week to week, such as Free Agents, Waiver Wire, Start/Bench, SeaDog for IDPs, Progno, and even Vinnie’s Picks for all of us degenerate gamblers out there.
During the regular season, the majority of auction leagues revert to normal snake leagues in terms of the waiver wire—although some leagues do feature a $100 waiver salary cap for the season. Unfortunately, this means we have to scratch the “Auction” from the title of this column until next preseason. But it doesn’t mean we can’t look to the events of the week to discover who got ripped off (if only on a weekly basis) and what it means to your team going forward. By doing this, you can also determine what positions or players your opponents might need to bolster before your weekly battle. Following the storylines can help you swing that trade or pick up that free agent who will put your team over the top. So let’s see what we’ve got going on into Thursday night’s opener.
Big Ben’s Summer of Pain continues
Not many Sharks have Ben Roethlisberger as the starting QB for their squads, especially in yesterday’s opener against the Dolphins. So the appendicitis is no big deal…at first glance. But if you have Hines Ward (and his bad hamstring), Fast Willie Parker or Heath Miller, you may have been affected this week and maybe again in Week 2. Charlie Batch, while an adequate backup QB, will surely face defenses with eight in the box daring him to throw. But will he able to make the plays? If he’s not, the value of those players mentioned above will plummet just as you’re trying to get off to a good start.
Houston has several problems
Well, if you drafted Domanick Davis, you obviously weren’t following his story in the Shark Tank up until your draft day. Therefore, you get what you deserve—which is an empty roster spot. For the $8 auction value, you could’ve had a quality WR or another #3 RB who will get quality playing time. It’s even a worse sin if you didn’t handcuff Wali Lundy to him, as it seems the former UVA star is the starter, at least for this week. I like Wali, he’s got a little Tiki to him. However, the plot has thickened with Ron Dayne coming over from Denver, which seems logical, as he knows Gary Kubiak’s system and has shown flashes in it a couple of times. Oh, I’m sorry; he’s shown a flash once (on Thanksgiving last year). Common knowledge says rookie RBs are slow to recognize blitz pickups, so it looks like Dayne will see more time than first thought. But before you go to the waiver wire for the former Heisman winner, remember that Dayne has always flashed from time to time, mostly on plays where he can run downhill. The rest of the time he’s crap. Also remember that Houston’s line is a sieve. I think you get the picture. And what happened to Vernand Morency?
Steve Smith currently scaring the bejeezus out of his owners
The wide receiver hammy plague begins to spread throughout the NFL. Nice of this news to occur on a Wednesday, so at least you have 3+ days to enjoy the nausea of deciding whether to start Smith (who went for more than $20 in some leagues) or go with a backup. As with Roethlisberger, the ripple effect of the injury affects Delhomme, DeShaun/DeAngelo, Keyshawn, even the DST. My bet is that he will play, but will be covered like a blanket by DeAngelo Hall, who fancies himself the next Deion Sanders. Speaking of wide receivers and hammys…
T.O. and Bledsoe
Get ready for reality TV’s newest odd couple! Along with their surly drunken sidekick Mike Vanderjagt! For around $18, T.O. owners are looking forward to a phenomenal first 5-7 weeks of the season. After that, all bets are off. At some point, they may begin to feel dizzy and not know where they are or how they got there. Last year, Kerry Collins was the ultimate boom-or-bust QB prospect. I feel that way about Drew Bledsoe ($6) this year, especially if neither Julius Jones nor Marion Barber establishes himself as the #1 RB. With T.O., Glenn, and Witten, Bledsoe has one of the best starting receiving corps available—and history has shown that Parcells is not afraid to have Drew throw the rock. On the other hand, the possibilities for the Cowboys’ implosion are endless: Bledsoe holding onto the ball, taking sacks or forcing the ball and getting INTs; the offensive line (which still isn’t any good) underperforming again; T.O. being T.O.; Vanderjagt continuing to miss clutch kicks; Witten’s value plummeting in the two-TE set; Parcells punching Jerry Jones in the facelift. The sky is the limit for Dallas-related hijinx. Then again, with that defense, they’ll be in every game. As I said, boom-or-bust.
It was all a dream about Tennessee
That high-octane Billy Volek-to-Drew Bennett combo is all set to go for a full season! And Ben Troupe is going to break out with Erron Kinney acting a little gimpy! Wait, what do you mean, Kerry Collins? KERRY F’N COLLINS? Damn you, Norm Chow!
The Mannings are boring; their teammates are not.
It’s time to take a deep breath before we’re deluged with endless Manning vs. Manning profiles, led by our pals at ESPN. Thank God I’m actually going to the game, so I don’t have to see any of the pre-game crap. But this game is very interesting, fantasy-wise. For the Colts, I think the fantasy season comes down to three basic questions:
· Can they establish a running game with either Rhodes or Addai, or will Peyton have to throw the ball 40+ times a game?
· Will Harrison or Wayne post the better numbers?
· How will the injury affect Vinatieri as the season progresses?
The G-men are even more interesting, especially considering their brutal schedule. Many fantasy sites have been high on all of their skill players, but they disregard the fact that they start with the Colts, at Philly and at Seattle before an early bye week. Not to mention games against defenses like Dallas, Washington, Chicago and Jacksonville. Does Eli go to the next level? Can Tiki Barber (the real face of the franchise) keep putting up huge stats? How many touchdowns will Brandon Jacobs take from Tiki? Which receiver has the first meltdown when Eli has a spotty game? Is the DST improved?
A couple of other quick things to watch in Week 1:
Which RBs can stay healthy—and thus productive?
You know the list of players: Portis, Dillon, Westbrook, Foster, C. Brown, Fragile Fred, the Jones boys, Benson, Green, Deuce. Don’t forget the highest ranked of all of them, Cadillac Williams, who I believe has only made it through one year of college and pros unscathed. And that was when he was splitting carries with Ronnie Brown. Just as a couple of the top 10 backs are always due for a bad season, one of the backs from the above list will stay healthy for the whole season and put up big numbers…or they’ll get hurt and their backups will (i.e. Reggie Bush and Samkon Gado).
The Mr. Random phenomenon
Every year, a player comes out of the woodwork of the waiver wire to post up big numbers, whether it is a current stud like Larry Johnson or Antonio Gates, or a flash in the pan like Gado. In addition, there are touchdown eaters like Brandon Jacobs (present) or Moe Williams (past). This year, the good feelings in the Shark Tank center on Green Bay’s new #2 wideout, Greg Jennings. The guy has shown some brilliance in the preseason, and with Donald Driver likely seeing double-teams all season—as well as the Packers getting the crap kicked out of them repeatedly—Mr. Jennings should see ample opportunity to produce solid stats.
Fantasy Sharks Pick’em selections for this week: Miami, Denver, Tennessee, NE, TB, Cincy, Seattle, Atlanta, Philly, Cleveland, Dallas, Chicago, Arizona, Indianapolis, Washington, San Diego.