The first NFL Sunday of the regular season is easily my favorite day of the year. It’s the day I must begrudgingly wait seven months to enjoy, but my goodness when it comes around I enjoy the heck out of it! I’m sure all you fantasy football players out there feel the same way. Those last few days before the start of the regular season but after your fantasy draft always seem to be longer than the other days of the year. Your mind just polluted with any number of different scenarios as to how your fantasy season could begin to unfold. So, today I wanted to talk about some of the different things to watch out for in week one, from a fantasy perspective:
1. Watch your bench, not your starters
It’s important to watch your bench players carefully and see what kind of role they are getting on the team. I’d suggest trying to watch games of the bench caliber players that could overtake starting jobs rather than watching starters. This works because it allows you to enjoy the game with a little more objectivity, and it gives you a chance to see how your bench players fit on their NFL team. This will give you a better understanding of their value to your fantasy team. With your starters you know what you’re getting more so. Watching them play just makes you focus too much on them, and basically their play dictates how much you enjoy the game.
Guys you drafted as stash picks like Ronnie Hillman, Devonta Freeman, David Cobb and the like. What are their roles, are they producing, etc? Keep an eye on which way these guys are headed and be ready to use them as soon as the following week if necessary.
2. Don’t give up on sleepers after one week, especially if they are rookies!
There are a number of players that have the potential to be great down the line in the fantasy season, but may not have the proper cohesion developed with their teammates just yet. A prime veteran example of this could be Mike Wallace. I like Teddy Bridgewater, and Mike Wallace has a ton of potential, but it’s possible they haven’t been able to really establish a connection with one another, and it could take them a few weeks into the regular season to do that. The same could be said about any rookie player, especially with so many potentially strong rookies suffering limiting injuries throughout training camp. Like DeVante Parker, Todd Gurley, and Duke Johnson have been dealing with. Make sure you give a guy a few weeks before abandoning ship, as the first week especially won’t tell the whole story right away.
3. Old faces in new places
Key veterans that have been proficient in fantasy football in the past have found themselves in new places this year, and they are going to be fun to watch in week one. It will be interesting to see how they can adapt, and how they are used within their new systems. A couple of quarterback examples are Sam Bradford and Nick Foles. Bradford has obviously struggled with injuries, but playing in such a fast paced high powered offense like the Eagles is going to be interesting to see. The Eagles made Mark Sanchez a viable fantasy option so if Bradford can stay healthy who knows where his ceiling is in Philadelphia. Running back examples are Frank Gore and DeMarco Murray. Both of them are joining crazy talented offenses and while I don’t feel Murray can improve on his numbers from last year, it will be fun to see how the Eagles use him. Wide receiver examples are Steve Johnson and Andre Johnson. Steve Johnson is being dramatically undervalued in fantasy football rankings this year. Finally having an A-list quarterback throwing him the ball makes for a very high ceiling for the once highly touted receiver.
4. Bills D vs Colts O
This will be one of the most important match ups of the weekend. The Colts are probably the favorite to win the AFC, and definitely have one of the most high-powered offenses in the league. The Bills on the other hand are one of the hottest prospects in the AFC and they are looking to push for a playoff spot this year. The Bills strongest team attribute is that they have such a potentially devastating defense. So this game will be a clash of two of the AFC’s best trying to make a statement, and help their team establish a strong reputation early in 2015. It will be very exciting to see how the Bills D stacks up against the Colts O. If the Bills defense can hold up then they are obviously a top notch defense and should live up to their very high fantasy defense ranking. For the Colts offense it will be very important to see how Andre Johnson and Frank Gore do from a fantasy perspective.
5. Tennessee vs Tampa Bay
As soon as the NFL schedule was released this game was circled. Obviously this game is one to watch because it will be the top two picks from this year’s draft playing against each other. The fact that both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are quarterbacks, and they are both starting for their teams makes for one of the most interesting week one storylines in the history of the NFL. Winston and Mariota both want to start their careers off on the right foot, and both player’s teams are going to want to see their rookie signal caller devastate the other to reinforce that they made the right decision on the NFL’s draft day. Both players are sure to make mistakes, so this game could really come down to the wire with one rookie having to come up clutch for the win. This game will probably have more anticipation than any other Buc’s or Titans game this season.
6. Sophomore signal callers
I actually think this is going to be a big year for second year quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, and Teddy Bridgewater. Out of the three of them Bridgewater is the only one I say with real fantasy potential this year, but it will be very interesting to see how the three of them progress this season anyway. The Raiders, Jaguars, and Vikings are all teams that are being dismissed, but I feel like all three have the potential to turn heads this year. All three teams, especially the Jaguars and Raiders, have a TON of youth and potential, and they are teams I’m really looking forward to watching closely to try and poach some fantasy players from. If not this year, then next year, all three of those teams will have a solid stable of fantasy players to offer. Don’t overlook them just because they aren’t on a sexy team.
What are you looking out for week one? Is it $100k? Because if you missed the banner up top, you should know that DraftKings is hosting a FREE DFS fantasy football GPP for anyone and everyone. You should join, unless you hate a free chance at a $10,000 top prize.