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 six 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 Weekly Choices” is to provide you, the fantasy football player, 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 (coming out by Wednesday). 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.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
8:30 p.m. E.S.T.
Cowboys v. Giants
Cowboys Story Line: In 2010, the Cowboys pulled up lame at the end of the season losing a critical, late season game to the Giants which sounded the death knell of any possibility of the Cowboys advancing to the playoffs. In fact, it raised questions and discussions if the present Cowboys team (including Tony Romo) had what it took to not only make the playoffs, but go on a Super Bowl run. In The Fantasy Greek’s estimation, a large part of the problem has been the offensive line’s inability to protect Tony Romo. So, on Wednesday night, the Cowboys offensive line needs to stand up to what can be a very good Giants pass rush. Conversely, Tony Romo needs to handle the pressure and perform.
During the off season, the Cowboys gave up a couple of early round draft picks to move up in the NFL draft and pick CB Morris Claiborne. However, it seemed to The Fantasy Greek that the Cowboys gave up a lot with the move, including one or even two offensive linemen that they desperately needed. Still, so far this pre-season, the Cowboys pass defense (which gave up the twenty-third most passing yards in 2011) has looked fairly stealth. This week, the Cowboys DST would impress by locking down or slowing down a Giants pass offense that was top-ten in the league last season.
Speaking of pass offenses, fantasy footballers who have Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten on their teams would sure feel a lot better if all three played this week, especially since all three are recouping from one injury or another of varying degrees.
Giants Story Line: The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants! Well, there’s little time to reflect much on the accomplishment with the division rival Cowboys coming to town. The most obvious story line here is for Eli Manning to prove that last season’s 4,900-plus yards passing was no fluke and that he deserves to be named among the elite quarterbacks in the league. Likewise, Victor Cruz should be seeking to put all his off-season nay-sayers in their place with a positively good performance. Certainly, the Cowboys pass defense will provide such a challenge. In addition, there has been some excitement brewing to see the Giants new dynamic duo — Ahmand Bradshaw and David Wilson — on the gridiron together. The reviews onWilson have been particularly positive and many fantasy footballers are hoping he can establish himself as something more than a bye week replacement or match-up based play.
For all the talent that the Giants DST has along the defensive line and in the linebacker group, it’s been awhile since the defensive unit has been considered one of the featured defensive units in fantasy football play. It would be nice to see the unit bounce back for fantasy football purposes.
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 Cowboys seem slightly ahead of the Giants and should have a better all-around game. The Fantasy Greek sees this as a close game, but a Cowboys win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: The Giants secondary was beatable last season and the unit has sustained some injuries this off season. As such, The Fantasy Greek would not hesitate to start QB Tony Romo, WR Dez Bryant, and WR Miles Austin this week. While you will need to double check the injury reports, Bryant and Austin are fully expected to play this week. RB DeMarco Murray was an absolute beast on the gridiron last season, and while the Giatns rush defense was pretty good last season, it wasn’t that great either. As for the Giants, unless the Cowboys pass defense morphs into a top-five unit, QB Eli Manning should be good to go this week as should Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks (if healthy).
COACH’S DECISION: Cowboys TE Jason Witten’s status is all contingent upon his health. If he is a full-go, Witten is a MUST-START against a Giants defense that was among the worst defending the tight-end position in 2011. If Witten is deemed out this week, consider his back-up TE John Phillips who has shown he has been more than capable of filling in. The match-up is just too good. Likewise, the Cowboys have struggled defending opposing tight-ends which makes Giants TE Martellus Bennett a fantasy football option. Yet, it would be nice to see a bit more of Bennett in the offense before recommending him for a start. The Cowboys actually had a pretty good rush defense last season and things shouldn’t be different this season. RB Ahmad Bradshaw remains a decent (not great) RB2 start, and RB David Wilson a decent (not great) flex start. Consider your other options if you have them.
ON THE PINE: While The Fantasy Greek is looking forward to seeing who between Cowboys WR Kevin Ogletree and WR Dwayne Harris steps up as the more effective receiver, this is not the week to take any chances in fantasy football. The same can be said about the other Giants wide-receivers, Ramses Barden, Jerrel Jernigan, Domenik Hixon, and Randle Reuben. Believe it or not, the Cowboys and the Giants did a decent job protecting the ball as the season progressed last season. This would be a week to avoid both the Cowboys DST and the Giants DST if you have a better option. Frankly, even though the defenses can play well, so can their respective offenses.