The NFL season has arrived.
Fantasy team owners love Week 1 because it is a fresh slate. Everyone is undefeated, has the best roster in their league, and has a great new reason to ignore their significant others for 12 hours every Sunday.
The entire week really should be observed as a national holiday.
Opening week is also one of the hardest weeks to predict of the NFL season.
Last year in Week 1 the Bills won in a blowout, the Jaguars won, and the Redskins beat the eventual Super Bowl Champion NY Giants.
There isn’t really much info to be gained in Week 1 so DON’T FREAK OUT if one of the players you are counting on doesn’t perform or if your favorite team loses on opening day…again…for the 8th year in a row.
Fantasy Football Week 1: Sit ‘Em!
Peyton Manning – QB – Denver Broncos
It is pretty odd seeing Manning suited up in a Broncos uniform. The QB obviously isn’t expected to produce as much as he has in the past for fantasy owners. The Sheriff is still being drafted around the fifth round in most 12-team leagues though (right behind his little brother Eli).
Peyton’s week 1 opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, had the best pass defense in the NFL last year. The Steelers’ D is a veteran group that has seen Manning a few times before. There are also reports that the QB is having problems throwing to his right.
This is why it would be a good idea to sit Peyton in Week 1 if you have another viable option at QB.
In fact, the Broncos’ early season schedule is pretty rough. Drafting Manning will pay off later in the year though as the schedule gets a little softer and he gets more comfortable in Denver driving a Subaru Outback and going snowboarding.
Maurice Jones-Drew – RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
It was initially unclear what role the Jaguars would be using MJD in due to his hold out during the offseason, but it was recently reported that MJD would be used as the third down back this weekend.
This does not bode well for fantasy owners with MJD on their team.
While I foresee the Jags getting into a lot of third down situations, I don’t see them being running situations. You may be thinking “but my league is PPR.” Okay…great…but the person throwing him the ball is Blaine Gabbert, so you get a point or half a point every time Blaine Gabbert throws an accurate pass.
Owners might want to wait on MJD until he factors a little more into the Jags’ game plan. That won’t be a long wait, considering the wealth of offensive weapons the Jaguars don’t have.
Cedric Benson – RB –Green Bay Packers? (….really?)
I guess the Green Packers need a running back since all the other teams have one. But their quarterback is Aaron Rodgers, who should throw the ball about 90 times a game this season.
I especially don’t see the Packers running the ball a lot against the 49ers this weekend. San Francisco did an amazing job stopping the run last year giving up less than 80 yards a game on the ground and giving up only three rushing touchdowns all year. San Fran didn’t allow their first rushing touchdown until week 15.
Benson isn’t exactly lightning in a bottle, and sometimes he is pretty high…so I wouldn’t expect much from him this weekend.
Fantasy Football Week 1: Start ‘Em!
When it comes to Week 1, don’t be the GM that tries to get creative with their starting roster. There is a reason that you drafted the players early that you drafted early: it’s because they are expected to put up big numbers.
So, why not count on them in the opening week?
We don’t know who this year’s Victor Cruz is yet. And we don’t know which QB might endure a Josh Freeman-like tumble in value. And no big injures have hit yet to shake the fantasy landscape.
So play your supposed studs this week. And probably next week too. Then you can start thinking about reassessing values.
[Editor's note: Our fantasy coverage will be a bit different this year. Due to time constraints, I have to take a bit more of a backseat this year, which will likely include not being able to answer questions in the comment section. I simply won't have the time to study/research, so you don't want my uninformed opinion anyway!
But, we are very fortunate to have guys like Nick, Pat, and Kurt, along with many others, who will be providing weekly fantasy football coverage you can count on. And if you ask nicely, they might help out with your questions...]