If there’s one thing you can take away from Sunday’s games, it’s that over-thinking your lineup decisions can be detrimental to your fantasy success. I’ve received numerous emails throughout the week with all sorts of inane lineup questions that, pretty much, revolved around benching studs who were drafted within the first four rounds of nearly every fantasy draft in favor of a player who had a great game in Week 1 and became a hot waiver wire add when pick-ups started last Tuesday. Come on people. Get it together. Get out of your head and stop creating mountains out of molehills.
Case in point: I received one email where the owner was struggling with the decision of benching Victor Cruz this week in favor of either Arizona’s Andre Roberts or Cincinnati’s Andrew Hawkins. Cruz had an incredibly disappointing first game and was listed as probable for Week 2, citing a personal issue for the appearance on the injury report. Meanwhile, both Roberts and Hawkins posted solid -- not great, but solid – weeks in their respective season openers and each appeared to be ready to act as their team’s number two guy behind elite wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and A.J Green. It took everything I had not to reach through cyberspace and slap this guy upside the head.
One week does not a season make and a year’s worth of fantasy deliciousness from Cruz does not get erased due to one poor game. Conversely, unproven, secondary receivers who have one good week do not automatically deserve consideration to start the following week and they certainly don’t get consideration over a stud like Cruz here in Week 2. There is a reason that Cruz was drafted as high as he was and there is a reason that both of these other receivers were left on the waiver wire after most drafts. That’s not to say that they can’t be productive throughout the season, but pick them up and leave them on the bench until you see some consistency.
I know we’ve got some situations out there right now that are frustrating to fantasy owners. Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jamaal Charles have all been disappointments through the first two weeks. But show some patience here, people. You have to give it at least another two weeks before you start benching your number one draft choice. It sucks, yes, to have to endure such crappy weeks and lose some of your games here in the beginning of the season, but with most leagues having a regular season that lasts until Week 11 or 12 (and even Week 13 in some cases), you can stand to lose your first three or four games and still go on a winning streak and find your way into the playoffs. Obviously that’s not ideal, but it’s better than benching – or worse, trading or cutting – one of your studs, only to see him perform like a beast later on.
Here are some other happenings from Week 2 that have me thinking…
If there was any question as to whether or not the Jets are a flawed team that just seemed to catch the Bills defense off-guard, it looks like a substantial amount of doubt was taken away. The shored up their run defense but are obviously lacking in the secondary without Darelle Revis. And offensively, they can be manhandled by the tougher defenses out there. What’s worse is that as Sanchez struggled, the Jets threw Tim Tebow a play that saw him gain 22 yards on a bootleg. It’s just a matter of time before that becomes an issue/hot media topic and becomes a divisive force in the locker room. I say Week 4, Week 5 at the latest for this to become a bigger problem.
Someone needs to clue in Raiders coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp that they are not a pass-first team. Carson Palmer should not be throwing the ball 45-plus times in a game when he has a running back like Darren McFadden on the team. Run DMC should be getting at least 20 carries a game and they should be establishing the run right from the onset. That’s what Miami did and look at how Reggie Bush’s first quarter opened up the passing game for Ryan Tannehill and Brian Hartline. The Raiders should have done the exact same thing rather than stupid long passes on first down that inevitably led to them abandoning the running game completely the further they fell behind on the scoreboard.
Brandon Marshall or no Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler is still a choke artist. If you’re putting your fantasy trust in Cutler, you’re in for a very long, a very frustrating, and a very disappointing season.
C.J. Spiller is obviously a must-start in all leagues right now, but the real story is going to be what happens come Week 4 or 5 when Fred Jackson comes back. If Spiller does this kind of damage over the next two weeks, how does Chan Gailey even consider reducing his workload?
Is it just me or does anyone else feel like New England’s loss to the Cardinals makes the NFL look as fair and on the up-and-up as the world of boxing?
PPR giants to watch and target over the next couple of weeks include: Michael Crabtree, Danny Amendola, Dennis Pitta, Donnie Avery, and Martellus Bennett.
I can’t wait to see Ryan Mathews return, possibly/hopefully in Week 3, as the running game in San Diego is a crapshoot without him. Anyone in the world have Jackie Battle starting this week? I doubt it.
And finally, Robert Griffin III is looking like the real deal right now and is going to garner a number of fantasy starts next week. I wouldn’t go benching any of the elite quarterbacks out there, but he’s certainly going to start getting the nod over several, usually reliable gunslingers out there.
I’ll be back later on to discuss the Atlanta/Denver game as I’m hoping to have plenty to say about a number of players involved.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. For questions, thoughts or comments you can find him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.