It was bittersweet for my Fantasy Football teams this first week.
I’ll start with the good: I had a clean sweep in my Yahoo! leagues at 3-0 (thank you Broncos offense), setting single-week point records in 2-of-3 (217 and 162), and hitting on my late Friday night pickup of Kansas City’s D/ST (26 points!). Now the bad: My dynasty league team faced Peyton Manning’s onslaught (hey, gotta take the good with the bad) and couldn’t overcome it. Not only that, I bet big on Shane Vereen this offseason (acquired via trade when everyone thought I was nuts to do so) and he suffered a wrist injury that has him out about four weeks (will get to this later in this post).
So when you break it all down not a horrible first week, but where were the bright spots? Obviously we have to consider Peyton Manning the star of the first week. His seven touchdowns tied an NFL record that had not been accomplished in more than 40 years. My second game ball would have to go to his wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (5 rec., 161 yards, 2 touchdowns) for carving up the Baltimore Ravens Secondary. Let me not downplay the performance of Anquan Boldin (13 rec., 208 yards, 1 touchdown) who made the Ravens look like fools for allowing the 49ers to trade him for a sixth-round pick (although this performance could be viewed more as anomaly than the norm).
Some of the players who shined Week 1:
- Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns– 108 yards, TD
- LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles– 184 yards, TD
- Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots– 101 rushing yards, 58 receiving yards
- Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants– 118 yards, 3 TD
- Desean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles– 104 yards, TD
- Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers– 412 yards, 3 TD
- Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos– 110 yards, 2 TD
- Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions– 90 ru. yards, 101 re. yards, TD
Obviously I’m forgetting someone, but those were the immediate names that popped to mind. But, where there are risers, there are those who fall. Hard. In fact some players turned in such underwhelming performances it can cause you to quickly reconsider your decision to draft them.
Take, for instance, the inexplicable disappearance of Zach Sudfeld. Many fantasy owners were wondering what happened when their starting tight end finished with zero fantasy points. It can be explained away with a hamstring injury he suffered early in the game. The question many fantasy owners are asking is: who do we turn to? Well, considering everyone and their uncle will no doubt be putting a waiver claim in on Julius Thomas, I would consider Kellen Winslow (yep, that Kellen Winslow) of the New York Jets and Charles Clay of the Miami Dolphins. If you remember the question at the start of the season whether there were any draft capable Jets I think you have your answer. Geno Smith is going to need a safety net, and with neither of his backs performing consider Winslow a safe bet as long as he remains healthy.
The same can be said for Charles Clay. When Dustin Keller went down with an ACL injury not many considered who would fill the necessary role of tight end in South Beach. I think they’ve found their answer. It might be easier to go for Jermaine Gresham (no doubt still available in standard leagues) but I would look at teams who will be playing from behind a lot.
Another disappearance was that of offseason fantasy darling Lamar Miller. I’ve got two theories on this: 1.) head coach Joe Philbin really is content getting in his own way by not allowing this kid to run free and putting him in position to succeed on his opportunities. 2.) that whole “no one has set himself apart” spiel wasn’t just talk. I’m going to assume the former because anyone who has seen Daniel Thomas run can tell you who should be the man in this backfield. So don’t give up on Miller, but if you need someone to set your mind at ease, take a chance on Da’Rel Scott of the New York Giants or Knowshon Moreno of the Denver Broncos. The Giants are working out Willis McGahee and Brandon Jacobs, but if neither seem like a better option than Scott could spell fumble-prone David Wilson and be what you expected Andre Brown to be before his leg injury.
Some other players who disappointed week 1:
- Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs– 30 yards
- Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns– 47 rushing yards
- Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers– 71 yards
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts– 20 yards
- Steven Ridley, RB, New England Patriots– 46 yards, fumble
Shane Vereen injury causes Dynasty League headache, a Standard concern for everyone
I mentioned earlier that Shane Vereen was someone I went aggressively after (secretly) in my dynasty league over the summer. How aggressively? The trade was Tony Romo and Rob Gronkowski for the Cincinnati Bengals and Shane Vereen. At the time, commentary on Vereen was he was “at best” a back-up. I also heard the term “low-end throw-in” or “bye week RB3 option”. I didn’t see it that way for a couple of reasons, chief among them was his performance at the end of last season in the Patriots win against the Texans in the AFC Divisonal Round (41 ru. yards, 83 re. yards, 2 TD). Once the Patriots receiving corps became a question mark I had a hunch that the reliable Vereen would play a bigger role. His performance on Sunday was proof that was the case.
Then he broke his wrist.
Vereen is still worth holding onto once he returns in a few weeks (especially if Ridley continues to have issues holding onto the football), but a look at some of the rookies (Patterson, Hopkins) week two could give you an enticing flex play. If you’re looking for running back help, don’t shy away from Legarrette Blount, a former 1,000-yard rusher in Tampa. He doesn’t possess the PPR value of Vereen, but he rushes for tougher yards than Ridley, who with every fumble is moving himself closer and closer to Belichick’s doghouse.