OK, maybe overreact would be a better word. It’s the second week of the season and this is where a lot of fantasy teams and NFL teams alike start to get concerned, or overjoyed, with the first two weeks of their season.
In the NFL, teams like Tennessee and Carolina are starting to really worry about what this season may have in store for them (Tennessee will probably still make a run, Carolina maybe not so much). At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got teams like the New York Jets and 49ers who are starting to think that maybe this season won’t be like all of the other seasons recently, maybe we really are returning to our past glory.
The same thing can happen in fantasy football circles. Anybody who owns Tomlinson worried right now? The Patriots were supposed to threaten the scoring mark that they set two seasons ago. Tom Brady and Randy Moss owners, nervous at all? Then again, how about all of you Drew Brees owners? Making room on your shelf for your championship trophy this season?
Having played fantasy football for over 20 seasons now, I’ve learned the same thing many head coaches strive to drill into their players: it’s a long season, don’t panic and don’t start getting measured for ring sizes.
Anybody who is 0-2, the temptation is to run out and grab every hot player off of the waiver wires ASAP and cut that deadweight from your team. Sometimes it works, but more often than not the guy you cut winds up being what you initially thought he was going to be, a decent fantasy player, and the guy who had a “breakout” game Sunday night disappears back into the shadows for the next 12 weeks. There is nothing more important in fantasy football than your draft. Waiver wire players can only do so much.
And just like in the real NFL, everybody that is 2-0 or leading their respective leagues in overall points needs to keep in mind that they are one play away from losing that stud running back, flashy wide receiver or golden armed quarterback. In many cases, the waiver wire can be of more use to a team that is doing well. While you might not find a dozen game changers on the waiver wire, you are going to find a couple of dozen decent backups. Your main guys are doing well, you’re in first place after all. But is Jemarcus Russell your backup quarterback? Sure, you might be very happy with Aaron Rodgers, but that doesn’t mean you should count on him being your main guy all season. This is the time to see if maybe you can grab a Sanchez or Stafford.
Whichever end of the spectrum you fall on, remember that it really is a long season. Last year our eventual league champion lost Tom Brady in the first few minutes of the season. A lot can happen, so don’t panic, don’t assume that you are set for the season, take your time when making roster moves and everything will be just fine… well, for the champion anyway, the rest of us are screwed.
Now, last week I went with a couple of players who are secondary type players that I thought were going to have good weeks. Another thing I have learned is that doing this sort of thing has become increasingly difficult in the NFL today. The Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams? Really?? Sure, they both still lost the game, but I don’t think anybody thought those two games were going to be as close as they were. So, I’m starting out 0-2. Realistically, I only hope to end up somewhere around 500 in these suggestions since every single one of them is going to be “against the grain” in one way or another.
So, who is going to do to be the surprise this week? I think I am going to go with a couple of night games this week. The obvious choice is Felix Jones. Barber has been surprising some people by still working out this week despite his leg injury. However, odds are he is going to be limited even if he does play, so expect to see Felix Jones get some significant points Monday night.
And on Sunday night, I’m thinking we see Chris “Beanie” Wells get into the end zone for the first time in his NFL career.
As for sure fire starters who I think might have difficulty this week. I know Chris Johnson owners are ecstatic after last week’s performance, but expect a big drop-off this week against a tough New York Jets defense at home.
And now for the ever popular and increasingly controversial power rankings!
1. Evil Midnight Bombers (1) – another decent performance by the Bombers, but nothing too outstanding. I’m not ready to knock them off of the number one spot though. I think we have been seeing what will be the standard performance out of the Bombers on an average basis, in other words, I don’t expect many sub 60 point weeks. I do however still believe that they have a roster that can and will explode from time to time. They may be forth in overall points right now in the league, but I still believe this is the strongest roster from top to bottom
2. MM of M (4) – the Monkeys campaigned for a higher ranking, I think they may have taken out some billboard space. However, campaigning gets you nothing in the power rankings! Performance on the other hand, does. I still think quarterback is their weak spot even though both of them performed adequately this past week (the outstanding coaching did cost them two points though, I’m just saying). This team will certainly be challenging for the number one spot if the quarterbacks continue performing well
3. Team Eagles (3) – yes, they are number one overall in points scored so far, but they hold steady at number three in the power rankings. There’s really not too much in the way of bad news for this team right now. Drew is a fantasy God, Tomlinson’s decline is a bonus for Darren, they have Willis who seems to be finding his stride once again in Baltimore, and they have a good set of wide receivers provided they are able to stay healthy. There is still a depth issue, but for this week the Eagles are solidly in the top three
4. Team S (2) – they have the number one player in fantasy football at the running back position, and last week I said that their obvious weak spot was quarterback. Well, I’m starting to wonder if maybe it isn’t a weak spot so much as a fatal flaw. Despite what appears to be a pretty decent roster, S hasn’t really been able to score much of anything the first two weeks. The injury to Pierre Thomas isn’t helping them either. They slide down two spots this week, but it might be the beginning of a big fall if the rest of the team doesn’t start supporting AP
5. Dreaded Mercenaries (7) – word from the West Coast is that the owner of the Mercenaries perceived their initial ranking as a bit of a slight, feeling that their debut performance warranted a higher ranking. Well, I still don’t have any faith in Jackson and now Barber is injured, although it doesn’t appear to be anything serious. However, even though they are remarkably thin at running back right now, they do appear to have sufficient depth then they may be able to sustain a higher level of scoring the next couple of weeks until Barber is back to 100%. If they can, they will continue climbing the power rankings next week.
6. The Bloodsuckers (5) – a slight drop in the rankings this week. Big Brother Manning showed that he doesn’t really need to have the ball for any length of time in order to score decent points. However, there is still no solid option at running back and they have to be getting a little nervous about Randy Moss.
7. Farva’s Shovelheads (6) – dropping down one spot this week is more of a result of the teams around them. Nothing has really changed, the chances that they took at running back still seem on course to pay off and they have a top-of-the-line quarterback, as starter anyway. I’m not sure if they have the roster to challenge the top three right now, but if the running backs continue to advance throughout the season, they might be able to take down anybody by the end of the season
8. Mopar’s Marauders (12) – Matt Ryan could wind up being the savior for this team! So far they have been able to alternate between the two main running backs having huge performances. Chris Johnson should wind up being more reliable than Thomas Jones, and they are playing against one another this week, so that’s going to be a big game for the Marauders. They have major problems at wide receiver, but if Ryan can be the number one guy, Cutler can be a decent backup and as long as the running backs can keep it up, this team has a chance to make some moves
9. Amateur Pharmacists (9) – the Pharmacists hold steady at number nine. Right now Michael Turner needs to pick it up. He was a top three pick in almost every league I was in this season, and with some more points out of him the Pharmacists would easily be a little higher on the rankings. They still have the potential to explode, but this isn’t the “potential rankings” it’s the power rankings, so until they show that they have not acquired a bunch of players who are going to have off years, they will continue hanging around the middle of the pack
10. Heavenly Rampagers (11) – a decent performance out of the Rampagers this week moves them up one spot. But, the main concern right now has to be Tom Brady. The owner of the Rampagers was looking for a big game out of Brady last week against the Jets. Instead, what everybody saw was at Patriot offensive line that continues having trouble giving Brady time and a quarterback that is clearly doing his best to put the knowledge of the damage that was done to his leg last season out of his head
11. Damages (8) – they dropped three spots, but that’s once again as much a result of the teams around them as their own performance. Very little has changed here as there are still significant questions at running back and the potential for the wide receivers to explode on any given week. Right now everybody from number 6 All The Way down to number 13 is relatively close in terms of their ability to compete. What the Damages need more than anything right now is to see Willie Parker return to his form of two seasons ago. Being a Steelers fan myself, I have to say I’m kind of pulling for that as well
12. Team Falk (13) – two weeks in and it’s looking more and more like Tomlinson might be the deciding factor for this team. They still have very explosive wide receivers, Brett is still going to get consistent points in Minnesota, but if Tomlinson can’t return to at least get the goal line carries then there could be trouble in this team competing down the stretch
13. Legion of Doom (10) – my own team is clearly out to drive me crazy this season. Warner bounced back last week, so if he continues to throw the ball that effectively and stay healthy, that’s one less concern. Wayne is going to get his points, and Williams has been consistent so far. However, no secondary receiver has stepped up and so far none of the rookie running backs have broken out. If both of these problems persist, it’s going to be a very difficult time.
14. Mr. Al Davis (14) – they holds steady at number 14 this week, but there are major concerns throughout the roster for this team, and after last week there might be some question about ownership as well seeing as how they started Welker when it was known before the game that he would not be playing.. Driver showed that he still has some gas left in the tank, and Jones-Drew is a legitimate threat, but overall this team has a long way to go
15. Gaul Village Asterix (16) – oh, the wonders of fantasy football. The Asterix remain unbeaten even though they have scored the third fewest points in the league. There are still loads of questions, but there is some potential. Westbrook has always been a solid fantasy performer, and even though I’m not sold on him this season, I could be wrong. Kevin Smith would be a great addition, if he played for anybody except Detroit… and maybe St. Louis. This team might wind up being a perfect example of why people love, and hate, fantasy football. Right now, this team is in the running for the Super Bowl even though, according to the points, they shouldn’t be competing with anybody
16. Shelby Township (15) – ew. Steve Slaton cannot be high on a list of favorite people in Shelby Township right now. This team is 0-2 and they have major dilemmas at every position. Is Cassel really a franchise quarterback? Will Brandon Jacobs stay healthy? Was Slaton a flash in the pan last season? Is there any legitimate wide receiver on this team? As I said earlier, it’s a long season and a lot can happen, but if I was going to bet on one team not being able to compete this season, right now it would be this one
So, two weeks in and I’m sure there is a good mix of panic and confidence throughout the league. But there are another 15 weeks to score points and we are still 10 weeks away from the playoffs. Regardless what your emotional state is this week, keep on playing and have fun!