Hold onto to your stocks and your players
When I first signed up for a retirement fund, I found myself staring at my statements every quarter to see how much money my investments had gained or lost. I would freak out if my account was losing money or not gaining very much at the time.
Mind you, I was 25 and had another 35 years of work ahead of me. I didn’t need to worry about the investment now but rather what it would provide for me in the long term.
The same is true in fantasy sports, particularly fantasy football. If the guy was good enough for your draft two or three weeks ago, he’s still good enough to be on your team now.
The point is, after one week, don’t panic. In fact, week one is the best week to lose because depending on how your league is structured, in many cases, it puts you in a better waiver spot to pick up those Week 1 surprises.
Let’s talk about some of those Week 1 surprises.
The Patriots had fun playing with fantasy owners’ minds. Danny Amendola filled in nicely in the Wes Welker role. Julian Edelman lived up to some of the potential we’ve heard about for years. Stevan Ridley, who was a stud last year, was benched midway through the game. His replacement, Shane Vereen, busted out for 159 yards busting his wrist and landing on the eight-week IR. And then there was super sleeper tight end Zac Sudfeld, who did just that Sunday: slept on owners and the New England passing attack, getting just one target and no catches.
As a former and current Amendola owner, Sunday was rewarding, but today is reality. He’s not playing against the Jets and that’s what you get with Amendola ? continual injuries. But in the games he plays, he’s like pass-catching Pac Man, gobbling up balls like an arcade machine gobbles quarters. Just know that every week he’ll be on the injury report and every week, you’ll be paying attention to reports leading up to gametime.
Edelman is a good pick-up. While he doesn’t play the slot like Amendola, he snagged seven of his nine targets Sunday and with Rob Gronkowski still unlikely to play, he still should still be a go-to option for Tom Brady.
Ridley now has eight weeks to prove/solve his fumbling problems and keep the job away from Vereen. Sudfeld can’t control targets and if you grabbed him as a sleeper, don’t bail on him just yet. The Patriots led the NFL over the past three seasons in passes to tight ends. Just a shot in the dark, but Gronkowski wasn’t catching all those balls, and so someone would have to pick up the slack to make up for that.
Speaking of tight ends, Julius Thomas continues the long line of tight ends that Peyton Manning has made look good over the years. Just ask Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme. Five catches, 110 yards and two scores is a heck of a way to debut. I wouldn’t expect that kind of production in the TD department, but the catches are legit and as an owner, you should expect that to continue.
A former wannabe soldier and fantasy performer, Kellen Winslow, made a solid 2013 debut with seven catches for 79 yards and a score. One of the reasons I like him is because he has a rookie quarterback throwing to him. More often than not with a rookie, the tight end stands to prosper because he becomes the safety valve when the QB is under pressure. Winslow won’t be elite like he was for a couple of seasons but he certainly stands to benefit from Geno Smith being under center and could prove to be an every-week starter if you didn’t get one of the big three.
Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, or close enough, every Ohio State fan’s favorite quarterback after Art Schlichter, Terrelle Pryor, started just the second NFL game of his career. Someone find me my gold pants. Troy Aikman was a great NFL quarterback but a terrible fantasy one because he didn’t do enough to score fantasy points.
Pryor is just the opposite. With him starting for the Raiders, let me prepare you for what you’ll hear Roger Goodell say next April. “With the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select (insert fastest guy from the combine here).”
But Pryor threw for a paltry 217 yards and a score against two interceptions. Where he stands to pay dividends for fantasy owners is with his legs, where he rushed for 112 yards. Don’t expect that every week but 50 yards and an occasional rushing touchdown is certainly possible. He’s not a starter yet but worth a stash and definitely a matchup play in certain weeks, including this one against the Jags.
With all the notoriety that Reggie Bush got in his dazzling Lions debut, lost on the stat sheet was the play of Joique Bell, who had 25 yards rushing on six attempts, five catches for 67 yards and a pair of scores. Bell was the pass-catching back for the Lions last year and had value as a flex play. He’s picking up where he left off from last year.
David Wilson owners had their share of ups and downs in the news department the last week. First, the Giants chief competition for carries, Andre Brown, breaks his leg and goes to the 8-week IR. Then Wilson bombs in the opener, getting replaced by Da’Rel Scott, who was 5 for 23 in his limited carries. Then the Giants had tryouts Monday for free agent running backs and brought back Brandon Jacobs. Anyone else would have been a better signing for Wilson owners than Jacobs. Last year, Jacobs spent the season with the 49ers after spending his career with the Giants prior to that. The reports were that Jacobs was in shape and still knew the Giants offense. Will Jacobs be the starter this weekend? No. But would I be surprised if he’s the team’s starting RB three weeks from now? No. If you are a Wilson owner, you best handcuff him. Scott was hurt Wednesday in practice, which improves Wilson’s stock for the time being. Just have Jacobs ready if Wilson continues to dribble the football on the turf.
The takeaway this week kids is treat your players better than David Wilson treated the football this past weekend. Hold on to them.
Aaron Korte is The A-T fantasy football writer. You can reach him with your questions at email@example.com.