Many postulated Week 1 of the NFL would be an interesting one with multiple records tied and even shattered – it certainly did not disappoint. Now that Fanagers have the first match up of the year under their belts, it is time to prepare for Week 2. Whether Week 1 left you with woes or wins (I locked down 3 of the latter; that’s right 3-0 to start off the year!), there are several lessons that should be taken away from last week, and more than a few that should not as you set forth in your line up determinations this weekend.
Veterans still deserve the benefit of the doubt. Sure, some players did disappoint, including some of the most historically productive and reliable players (I’m talking to you Chris Johnson), but this is a new week and Week 1 performances should be taken with a grain of salt. There are a variety of reasons that may have kept your studs from delivering their typical noteworthy peformances last week that are not likely to have the same effect this week, e.g. reprimand for contract hold-outs (still talking to you Chris Johnson) or an apparent unawareness that the season has started (Pittsburgh Steelers). Big Ben (Roethlisberger) started the season off with an abysmal performance against the Ravens last week, but I think it is fair to say that the odds of the Seahawks coming into the Steelers’ house and shutting them down in the same fashion are unlikely. So, just because one of your normally high-scoring players may have “dropped the ball” last week (pun totally intended), doesn’t mean that they should ride the bench this week.
By the same token, a solid performance in Week 1 does not guarantee equal or greater success in Week 2. I am not just talking about Cam Newton’s record-breaking rookie debut against a questionable Arizona secondary. Injuries, previous performances, opponents, and game strategy will factor into whether or not repeat performances will be seen. Arian Foster looks to be back for the Texans this week (although how big a role he will play will depend on how thoroughly he has recovered from his hamstring issue), which will likely reduce the productivity of Ben Tate as well as Derrick Ward. Moreover, I think we can all agree that we would be shocked to see Chad Henne come through with the second-best Fantasy performance again this week, no offense to Dolphins fans.
Also, if you are going to start using statistics this week to plan your line up, be sure that you incorporate last year’s numbers or rankings into the equation as a single game will not be an accurate predictor for most teams’ success thoroughout the season. Houston was ranked 30th in overall defense last year, but after their Week 1 match against a Peyton Manning-less Colts team, they now are ranked 5th for the 2011 season. Whether their jump from the worst ranked passing defense in 2010 to the 9th ranked PD last week was due to Manning’s absence or substantial improvements made by the Texans in the off-season will be left for Houston to decide this week (although I think we know this answer).
Be conservative on the waiver wire, especially if waiver order is determined based on the number of player additions. Don’t forfeit a great waiver position unless the player you want to add is really worth it. You never know how an unknown player will consistently compete; plus, someone new may emerge this weekend who you want even more, but if you give up the early waiver preference then you may have to wait in line.
Finally, keep watching. The first 4 weeks are critical to select supplemental players that will help you make it through the upcoming Bye weeks (starting in Week 5), or possibly sooner in the unfortunate case that your team is riddled with injury or unproductive players. Just as the sun will rise, so will new talent in the NFL, and just as certain, old talents will fall.
As you head into this weekend, don’t be discouraged no matter where you stand after Week 1. As Malcolm Forbes said, “Failure is success if we learn from it”; perhaps someone should have passed that along to the Vikings.