This is the second blog in a series that will carry on until the end of the regular NFL season. Read part 1 here.
The NFL is back, and how! On Thursday, Sunday and Monday I spent quite a lot of time watching the first week of action and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Alright, I went 3-4 in my first week, but that’s not concerning what so ever. There is a ton of variance involved, and how bad some of my teams are. But let’s be honest, there’s always something fun to talk about!
“What an amazing first week!” a friend said in one of my fantasy football group chats this morning. I nodded in agreement sitting at the kitchen table eating my Tuesday morning breakfast.
“The NFL is always awesome, I can’t remember ever being disappointed,” another member of the group chat said. I couldn’t agree more.
The NFL is one of those sports that never disappoints, and therefor it’s so easy to love. Sure, I’m still a soccer fan at heart, but to be fair a 0-0 game has its downsides. The drama that goes into the NFL makes even the worst of games (I’m looking at you Jets and Bucs) very interesting and fun to watch.
Let’s start off with that, how insanely dumb is Lavonte David?
Mister David is a linebacker playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he single handedly cost his team the victory in last Sunday’s game. For someone like me, who’s only followed this game for three years, it might be understandable not to know that there’s a 15-yard penalty attached to pushing someone after they step out of bounds. For someone who gets paid handsomely to run around, and has been playing this game since his age was still in single digits, it’s not. It’s almost as dumb as Clay Mathews’ move against Colin Kaepernick, but at least that wasn’t in the dying seconds of the game.
Photo credit: TampaBay.com Lavonte David pushing Jets QB Geno Smith
Anyway, I’m not a Jets or a Bucs fan, but it’s just very hard to understand certain childish mistakes being made on the football field.
Oh, and let’s just leave all the safeties for what they are. It’s embarrassing enough for those players already.
The Big League
My week first week of the new season was mildly successful. Before the weekend started I had some pickup problem as I noticed that, just like every year, the benches aren’t deep enough.
Obviously this is just a result of my inability to drop players because I see upside everywhere, and I rather get burned by not picking someone up, than dropping a player I drafted.
The two big moves I did make on Wednesday night were as following. In my biggest league ($300 buy in) I dropped Shonn Greene for EJ Manuel and Percy Harvin for Julius Thomas.
I’m not convinced the Titans are going to do everything and with Eli Manning as my QB I like having the Manuel upside on my bench. Manning will start every game unless he gets hurt or really underperforms and I don’t think I’ll need to start Manuel until Week 9 when Manning is on a bye. In that week Manuel plays against the Kansas City Chiefs, and the upcoming weeks will give me plenty of info on them to be confident about either dropping of playing Manuel that week.
During the draft for this league I grabbed Zac Sudfeld for $1 thinking he would be a great value this season. As the week went on I read more about Thomas’ future usage and I picked him up before the Thursday night game. In hindsight starting him would’ve turned out great, but I went with my initial idea of playing Sudfeld. Going into Week 2 I like Thomas (vs Giants) a lot better than Sudfeld on Thursday against the Jets. If Sudfeld has two more useless weeks I’ll happily drop him since Rob Gronkowski will most likely be back taking away most of his value.
In my big league I managed to notch up a win in the first week. My overall points total was 6th out of 12 teams, and that’s a pleasing thought, as Sudfeld scored 0 points and Stevan Ridley had just 2.6. I’m still very weak at WR3 with Darius Heyward-Bey (4.8 points), but I’m looking to improve there this week. I could start Nate Burleson over him, but it’s likely I’ll look into some trades for a better WR3.
The Dynasty League
The closest game I played this week was in my beloved Dynasty League. This league shows why Fantasy Football is so much more than just a game. In this league there are three players I know personally, the other eight are friends of them I do not know. As this league is in the second you I now have everyone on Facebook, and the banter, trade talk and general football gossip that goes with it really makes the experience of playing fantasy football that much better.
I had a very close game this week, but for the longest time it didn’t seem to be like this. Lamar Miller turned out to be a total dud, and I might even bench him this upcoming week to play a WR at my flex. Russell Wilson did very well considering he had almost no rushing yards and just one passing touch down, but of course I’m looking to get more from him later on. Doug Martin had a surprisingly weak game, but I’m sure he’ll bounce back too. My main concern in his league remains the RB2 spot as Ryan Mathews’ not going to catch a touchdown every week, that’s for sure.
I lost the close battle 182.5-186.8, but at least my team performed quite well overall. I feel like I have the best chance of winning this league with a ton of upside on my bench and overall a very young roster. Thanks Owen Daniels for ruining this match up with that late score!
Thanks Owen Daniels
14-Team and Keeper
Finally I would like to touch on my 14-team PPR and standard scoring keeper league. In the keeper league I kept Darren McFadden and AJ Green this year as I saw no trade good enough to improve on McFadden. Only two players are kept, but they have to be drafted outside the first two rounds in the previous year.
I ended up drafting really well getting LeSean McCoy in the first round. I won this week easily, but the number three WR spot is also something to look at for improvement. With Rueben Randle, Josh Gordon, Michael Floyd and Lance Moore to choose from I’ll most likely go with the latter, as he has more touchdown upside in this league without a reception reward.
In the 14-team league I had a battle with one of my close friends. My team in this PPR format looks great with LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe and Jordy Nelson as a core. My QB Sam Bradford is a bit of a stretch, but I’m confident he will pan out just fine. I won my match up by 12 points, but there is definitely room for improvement. I’m not happy with Jermaine Gresham as my TE and I’ll look for other TEs to pick up or trade for. My score in this league was second overall and that’s a very pleasing number going into Week 2 as I play the number one. I’m coming for you Kibbles and Vicks!
As far as final words go, I’ll have to give a shout out to my girlfriend. I’m in a league with her called the WAG League. It’s a 10-team league with a trophy for the winner purchased by the $10 entree fee everyone put up. It’s safe to say my girl does not know a single thing about football, but of course we were paired up in a match up right away.
“I'm ahead baby!” she yelled after a Demaryius Thomas went off for 30.6 fantasy poins on Thursday.
With the ESPN Fantasy Football app on both her iPhone and iPad she was well aware how to make sure I was up to date on the scores at all time.
Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick after their match up last season
“Brady, do I have Brady?” she asked in excitement as she saw the tall Thor-like QB throw a passing touchdown to Julian Edelman when she looked up from her game of Candy Crush.
She does not have Brady, and I explained that 'her' Kaepernick is playing later tonight.
Later that night...
“That’s mine right?” She then asked when Keapernick threw one of his three touchdowns.
“Yes baby, that’s him,” I sighed as my teams went down 142.8 to 114.1 this week against her.
My girlfriend beat me in her first ever Fantasy Football game. Oh, and she also had the highest score of the entire league.
This league is all in good fun, but it makes my Sunday that much more of a sweat for in-house bragging rights!