As for my own lineups? I missed all of the Sunday morning scrambling. I didn’t get to hear what the experts said on my TV station of choice. I didn’t get to read all the updates and agonize over who to start and who to sit. I had to make a lineup decision and stick with it. For better or worse. I made some good calls and I made some bad calls. But the point was: I chose that lineup and I stuck with it. I didn’t waiver because my favorite Fantasy analyst was talking up a certain player or because the scrollbar along the bottom on the TV had my tight end on their “sit ’em” list. The lineup was all my call and I got to live with it. So my advice for the week, before we get to the predictions, is to own your lineup. Own your calls. You’ll be right on some and wrong on some, but at the end of the day it feels nice to know it was just you. After all, the point of Fantasy is being able to manage your team. You’ve already picked the guys, now set the lineup. And as always, good luck.
Or, consult the pink football:
1. The Denver running game will be a mess all season, but they don’t need a running game to succeed. Look for Wes Welker to be the “running back” for the Broncos.
In New England last year, Steven Ridley was the No. 1 running back with 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. Shane Vereen only added 251 rushing yards and 149 receiving yards, while Danny Woodhead added 301 rushing yards and 446 receiving yards. Overall, there was not a ton of rushing offense. Look for Denver to have similar stat lines for their running backs. I’m not even going to try to figure out who will be the No. 1 back. Rather, if you’re in a PPR league, look to get Welker on your team. While there will be weeks when Demaryius Thomas is the guy, others when it’s Eric Decker and still others when it’s Julius Thomas, Welker will consistently get your points on receptions alone. He’s not going to get in the end zone twice each week, and Peyton Manning isn’t going to throw seven touchdowns each week. But in order to move the ball down the field, Manning is going to look for Welker. They’ve already established their connection, and Welker finds ways to get open. He’ll get little chunks of yardage and it will be enough to move the chains. He may not end the season with the most Fantasy points out of the Denver receivers, but he’ll be the most consistent. And he’ll be in the running for the most points.
2. You’ll be able to buy low on Trent Richardson after Week 2.
While I can’t speak for all of the running backs that fell below expectations in Week 1, Week 2 continues to looks challenging for the No. 1 pick for most Fantasy owners. Here are the facts: Miami’s rush defense is legit. Last season, they only allowed 10 rushing touchdowns all season (the eighth best in the league) and only allowed four yards per attempt on average. This season, they look to be just as tough. Cleveland faces Baltimore in Week 2. While Denver didn’t really test the Baltimore rush defense that much, it was mostly because they had success in the air and didn’t have a ground game. The Baltimore defense is just as tough as Miami’s. However, looking back at the game tape for Week 1, the Browns would be foolish if they didn’t see that T-Rich should have gotten the ball more. He had 13 carries and caught two passes on six targets. Only calling for 13 running plays was a fault of the Browns, and one that will likely be corrected in Week 2. However, against a tough defense Richardson still might not put up the numbers you expect. After two frustrating weeks, the T-Rich owner in your league might be looking to trade. However, look at the schedule. Week 3 is against Minnesota, followed by Cincinnati, Buffalo and Detroit. While it’s still early to judge those defenses, Richardson should have easier running. Stick with him for another week; it will be worth it.
3. An overreaction and an under-reaction: Terrelle Pryor is not the next Cam Newton or RG3; LeSean McCoy, in Chip Kelly’s offense, will finish the year in the Top Three for Fantasy points for running backs (potentially No. 1 in PPR leagues).
Prior to Monday night’s game there were only two players that had over 100 rushing yards. Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster? No, that would be Shane Vereen, playing with a broken wrist bone (and now out until at least Week 11) and Terrelle Pryor, the quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. Fantasy owners are likely rushing to the Waiver Wire, looking to grab the next Tim Tebow/Cam Newton/Robert Griffin III type of quarterback. This guy will get you yards on the ground and in the air. What’s better than that? Well, a few things, before the Fantasy world completely overreacts to Pryor. First, Oakland is not a good football team. Their offensive line is terrible. They already have an elite (when healthy) running back in Darren McFadden. A mobile quarterback can help, but it’s not going to solve all of their problems. Now that Pryor has a game on tape for opposing defenses to watch, he’s going to have more difficulty moving the ball. He only completed 19 passes out of 29 attempts for 217 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He’s going to need to have better passing numbers if he’s truly going to be a threat. I know the argument: Tebow couldn’t throw and he was serviceable in Fantasy. True, but he also got the red zone work. Pryor wasn’t running the ball in the red zone. In two-quarterback leagues he’s worth rostering and starting, but in standard leagues don’t go crazy with spending your FAAB on him.
Odds are if you have McCoy, you’re starting him. He’s thriving in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. The receiving yards weren’t there in Week 1, but they’ll come. The questions facing McCoy are his durability and the quarterback he plays with. It’s almost inevitable that Michael Vick won’t play in all 16 games because of injury. Will Nick Foles be able to run the offense as effectively? Will McCoy lose his opportunities once defenses realize Foles can’t throw like Vick can? I’m giving Kelly a lot of credit here and saying that he’s game-planned for Foles as much as he has for Vick. He knows McCoy is his stud and the offensive line has been creating holes for him. Somehow, they’ll find a way to get him the ball and he’ll succeed. In standard leagues, I’m predicting McCoy to finish in the Top Three for Fantasy points among running backs. In PPR leagues, he’s going to challenge Reggie Bush for the top spot, but I think he takes it.