“I’ve Drafted My Team, It’s Week One, Now What, Fantasy Greek?”
This is the most logical question right now. In part, The Fantasy Greek will tell you who to consider playing or who to consider not playing, as well as what to look for in each of the sixteen games you will see in the next five days. The goal this week is to look for how teams are playing and how certain players are playing so you cant start to get a feel for which players on your roster are your starters and which players on your roster are more than likely, match-up or bye-week plays. Put another way, evaluate each game’s “story line” and see how it plays out.
As to who to play this week, The Fantasy Greek would not blame anyone for starting the starting roster they drafted just days ago, or even a week or so ago. In many instances, it is very difficult to tell how players will play this week because there is no real history, besides last season, to gauge a player’s and team’s future performance. Frankly, teams are also different from last season based on their roster turnover as well as the mere passage of time. Nonetheless, there is no reason not to consider the match-up and how things could or should play out. If this means you feel more comfortable playing one player over another, by all means, go right ahead.
Lastly, before getting onto the match-ups, now that you have drafted your team, go check your league’s recent add-drop, waiver wire activity!!!! Already, players are being dropped from rosters and added to line-ups. Who knows, you might be able to pick up the next Arian Foster before the Week 1 games even begin? So, just because someone else in your league isn’t bright enough to hang onto valuable players doesn’t mean you shouldn’t recognize the need to capitalize on their error.
The goal in “Fantasy Football Choices” is to provide you, the fantasy football owner, with enough information to make sensible and reasonable choices in setting your line-up this week by reviewing the weekly match-ups and identifying which players are “On the Gridiron,” a “Coach’s Decision,” or “On the Pine.” For many of you, the information provided simply provides affirmation to the decisions you have already made. If you like, skip the fluff, and find your player’s match-up for analysis. We also provide a down & dirtly listing of players listed in each category within the Quick Hits. If you are looking for a waiver wire pick-up, then look for those players still on your waiver wire, and you can read that analysis too.
Onto the fantasy match-up and your choices!
ON THE GRIDIRON: Identifies players you should play because of their match-up or because of their role on their team’s offense.
COACH’S DECISION: Identifies players who you normally would play but whose match-up this week is not very good; identifies players who you normally would not play but whose match-up this week is good; or identifies players who are injured that you, the fantasy coach, will need to make the call on whether or not to play.
ON THE PINE: Identifies players who you should likely avoid unless there is no one else on your roster or on the waiver wire that can help your team win.
NOTE: Since kickers’ weekly performances are difficult to predict, kickers will not be categorized but defenses (DST) will. As to kickers, just get a good one on a team that will give the kicker an opportunity to score points.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
8:30 p.m. E.S.T.
SAINTS v. PACKERS
Saints’ Story Line: In 2010, the Saints were a shell of their former self having come off their 2009 Super Bowl victory last season. A large part of the problem was the Saints couldn’t quite get a running game going in 2010 with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, and Chris Ivory all spending some time sidelined due to injury. This season, the Saints drafted RB Mark Ingram and added Darren Sproles in free agency. In the preseason, they have looked awfully good. The question remains, will they be able to get their running game going against a stout defense like the Packers. Also, the Saints defense should be one of the better ones in 2011 especially against the rush, but can it handle the array of weapons the Packers are fielding in this all important first game of the season. In 2010, the Saints finished with a strong road record of 6-2.
Packers’ Story Line: Last season, the Super Bowl Champ Packers dominated their home games at Lambeau Field and finished with a home record of 7-1. The concern for the Packers is whether they suffer from a post Super Bowl hangover. However, the Packer’s roster is still stacked and several player like Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley have returned from early season ending injury in 2010. Fans and fantasy footballers alike are looking forward to seeing how Finley and Grant bounce back in 2011. Fans and Fantasy footballers alike are looking forward to seeing if the Packers still field one of the most potent offenses in the league and one of the best defenses in the league. In both both cases, they should.
The Bottom Line: This will be a battle where at times the respective offenses take over the game, and at other times the respective defenses take over the game. But, the Packers seem slightly ahead of the Saints in game readiness and shouldn’t let down the hometown faithful. The Fantasy Greek sees this as a close game, but a Packers win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: Both Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees should be on the gridiron as two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL who are always up for the challenge. It bears noting that both the Packers and the Saints were two of the best at defending against the pass last season. If one had to consider which would have the better game, it would likely be Rodgers given that he will run the ball if he has to. Given both teams respective pass defenses, Marques Colston could struggle but remains a decent WR2 play. As for Greg Jennings, while he could struggle too, the fact is he and Rodgers have had some chemistry in the preseason and therefore, Jennings is worth being on the gridiron regardless of the match-up this week. If there is a week to see how good TE Jimmy Graham is, this is it. Besides putting in a solid preseason, the Packers have had their share of problems defending opposing tight-ends who are pass catchers so Graham can be on the gridiron too this week. TE Jermichael Finley in The Fantasy Greek’s estimation is a must start. Even though facing the Saints high octane offense, the Packers DST is too good not to be active in fantasy football play.
COACH’S DECISION: The Packers have been a great rush defense so rookie RB Mark Ingram could struggle this week. If you drafted him as a No. 3 RB, this might be the week to consider benching Ingram for another RB. If you drafted him as a No. 2 RB, you may have no choice but to play him depending on what your other options are. As for Ryan Grant, if this were last season, he would be a must start against the Saints. However, the Saints beefed up their defensive line in free agency, and he may be splitting carries with James Starks, so this could be a week he struggles. Again, depending whether you drafted him as an RB2 or RB3, consider your options. WR Jordy Nelson has been special since last season’s Super Bowl and into the preseason. If the Saints lock Jennings or Jermichael Finley down, Nelson could have an opportunity to do something here. But, since he was likely drafted as a low WR3 or WR4, this might be a week to place Nelson on the pine until further notice. If you own the Saints DST, they were likely one of the later-drafted defenses in your draft. There is nothing wrong with starting them this week, unless you have a much better second option, but keep expectations tempered.
ON THE PINE: Because it looks like their roles will be reduced in the offense, and both the Packers and Saints look to have solid rush defenses, both RB Pierre Thomas and RB James Starks are candidates to be on the pine this week. Likewise, while Darren Sproles could do something this week, he was likely drafted as a No. 4 or No. 5 RB for fantasy, and one would think there are better options. Because their roles in the offense are unclear, you can likely do better than considering to start WR James Jones or WR Donald Driver this week. While both WR Lance Moore and WR Robert Meachum’s roles should only grow this season, Brees does a good job spreading the ball around among his receivers, it’s anyone guess which one would be the better fantasy wide-out, if at all, this week. Remember, Kicker Garrett Hartley is out the next few weeks due to injury and John Kasay should be kicking in his stead. No other player for the Saints or the Packers is worth fantasy consideration this week.