Don’t lose faith if the fantasy world doesn’t fall into this guy’s arms in Week 1.
NFL Week 1 and the kickoff to the fantasy football season is always exciting. All of the research and preseason watching has come down to the ball getting kicked off and the truth being revealed in the reality of the box scores.
Is this true? Most of it. The guessing is over, the coaching tactics are revealed and the playing time becomes clear. But there are some things in Week 1 that are as anomalous as a Devery Henderson touchdown in Week Whatever in seasons past.
These are the two-touchdown receiving games from fourth receivers or a backup running back or fullback running three touchdowns in rather than the stud RB you took in the first few rounds of your draft. These empty touchdowns can cause havoc on a league’s waiver wire and tempt good fantasy owners down a path that leads to a season’s worth of overreaction, the ditching of a once-good fantasy roster construction strategy and the inevitable regret when someone else benefits from your impatience.
Calm Down, Don’t Tilt
The concept of tilting is explained in a few Daily Fantasy Sports books, including C.D. Carter’s “How to Think Like a Daily Fantasy Football Winner“. The temptation to ditch your entire draft/roster strategy can come to pieces when Sports happens. Over the course of 16 games, anything can happen and, sometimes, the right decisions and the right plays don’t come to pass on the real gridiron. When it happens in Week 10, after over two months of validation of your strategy, you wouldn’t think of making a move like releasing the rookie running back you believed in and drafted. But after Week 1 — after not immediately seeing the fruits of your labor blossom like Alfred Morris in 2012? Well, you might just be tempted to toss aside your guy and latch onto Mr. Twelve Yards, Three Touchdowns.
You have to tell yourself not to panic. Literally. Look in the mirror if you have to or write it down before the games and read it to yourself when you are poised to hit the submit button on the ridiculous notion that Johnny Fullback is going to score 20 more touchdowns like the ones he got in Week 1.
Patience Pays Off
2013 Example. Player X:
First Seven Games: 43 carries, 139 yards, 2 catches, 27 yards and zero total touchdowns. PPR Total: 18.7 points (2.67 PPG)
Boy, what a stinker, huh? Why in the world would you carry a dope like this one around for even one week, much less two months?
Last Nine Games: 77 carries, 420 yards, 18 receptions, 118 yards and four touchdowns. PPR Total: 95.8 points (10.64 PPG)
Now, he was only tied with Frank Gore in terms of production over those last nine games, but owners who held onto Montee Ball got some tasty reward. It’s not always the home run but significant fantasy value. If you invest in these lottery tickets, you have to be willing to wait for the numbers to be called. To give up after Week 1 on a player like Bishop Sankey if, say, Shonn Greene gets two touchdowns is kin to tearing up your lottery ticket after the first number is called.
An even better example of a more home run-ish patience:
2013 Example Player X, Take Two:
First Two Games: 3 receptions, 30 yards and zero touchdowns. PPR Total: 3.3 points (1.15 PPG)
Last 14 Games: 68 receptions, 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. PPR Total: 217.6 points (15.54 PPG)
Keenan Allen was the 21st best wide receiver in PPR leagues in 2013. He was the 14th best from Week 3 until the end of the season. Imagine the angst you’d have felt if you let him go after Week 1. Or imagine keeping him after Week 1 only to let him go after being convinced Allen was not going to work out after Week 2 and dumping him for Charger teammate Eddie Royal who, after scoring five touchdowns after the first two weeks, scored three more the rest of the way, gaining half the points per game from weeks three to 17 that Allen did as he took over. Now picture someone else with Allen beating you twice with the guy you liked, but lost patience with.
Roster Size Matters
I get it if your roster size is slim and you can’t hang on due to bye weeks. Allen doesn’t fall into that category last year but players that are carrying running backs with the hope of them taking hold during the season may be hard pressed to reserve patience when they are forced to start that guy because everyone else is on a bye week.
To this I say, first and foremost, add depth to your league. Challenge yourself beyond the top 100 players in football and you might find yourself with the roster spots to hang onto Montee Ball or, this season, DeVonte Freeman. It’s easy to add bench spots, so push whoever is setting up your leagues to do just that.
Now, that die has likely already been cast for this season so the RotoAdvice here is really weigh the point value of your guy versus the waiver wire pickup you’d be filling in that week with. You would feel like a real jerk if your guy, the guy you’ve been holding and believing in, ended up outscoring waiver wire fodder, leaving you lighting candles and asking for prayer that you get your guy back on next week’s wire. Take great caution in looking at the big picture before hitting submit. And then get on the project of more roster spots for 2015.
Take it easy. It’s one week. It’s likely that you didn’t miss Adrian Peterson 2 or the amazing reincarnation of the career of Jim Brown. You spent the offseason watching, scouting and researching and you landed the player you wanted. Don’t abandon ship the moment a wave arises to challenge the course you’ve chosen. Stay your course and reap the harvest your research seeded during the offseason.