Let's say – maybe the other owners in your auction league were asleep at the wheel, or you've carefully crafted your dynasty league team, or you're playing in a weekly cash contest where you pick a new line-up every week – you managed to enter Week 1 of the 2014 fantasy football season with the following line-up: QB Aaron Rodgers, RBs Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson, WRs Demaryious Thomas and Dez Bryant, and TE Jimmy Graham.
Chances are, you would've been the envy of everyone who has ever competed in our fake football game. And chances are, when last Monday morning rolled around, you were pretty grumpy, because chances are, your fantasy football team was losing. Big time.
Had you rolled out that six-pack of fantasy studs, they would've gotten you a grand total of 41.8 points in Yahoo! standard scoring leagues. The combination of kicker Matt Bryant (18 points) and the Houston Texans defense (24 points) would've outscored them.
Anyway, my point is, don't panic because your stars didn't produce and try to trade or, worse, drop them. If anything, once the dust settles from week 2, try to find a star on someone else's team who hasn't quite produced up to snuff just yet, and see if you can pry them from their roster for shells and beads. (Think Chargers WR Keenan Allen, who likely will struggle again this week against Richard Sherman and the Seattle defense, but who should round into form against the Bills, Jaguars, Jets, Raiders and Chiefs over the next five weeks.)
Speaking of Allen, you'll notice a theme in this week's edition of sits and starts, and it's one that will probably carry through most of the season until proven otherwise.
START Jake Locker (TEN) and Tony Romo (DAL) OVER Robert Griffin III (WAS) and Philip Rivers (SD).
Last season, Locker started to play some really good football before injuries cut another season short. Right now, he's healthy, he looked sharp against Kansas City in week 1 under new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, he's got decent weapons around him and he's got a great match-up playing at home against the Dallas Cowboys defense.
Opposite him will be Romo. Offense wasn't supposed to be the problem with the Cowboys this year, yet, Romo was in mid-season form in the opener, throwing three interceptions. The Titans D isn't as good as the 49ers and the Cowboys have too much talent to stay down for long.
Perhaps you see Jacksonville on the scehedule and are thinking this is a good opportunity for RG3 to bounce back from his lackluster week 1 and preseason performances. The Jags D might actually be pretty good, and I'm not trusting Griffin until he proves he's still got that rookie year magic.
I like Rivers this year. But need I remind you the Seahawks defense rendered Aaron Rodgers ineffective last week. I don't care that it isn't a home game for Seattle, I'm looking elsewhere.
START Rashad Jennings (NYG), Toby Gerhart (JAC) and Shonn Greene (TEN) OVER Ryan Mathews (SD), Zac Stacy (STL), Steven Jackson (ATL) and Chris Johnson/Chris Ivory (NYJ).
The Giants offense stinks, but against Arizona's stingy secondary, they'll have to get the ball in the hands of Jennings often. Gerhart, assuming his ankle is OK, should get a lot of carries against a Redskins's front 7 that made Arian Foster look 3 years younger last week, and we've already addressed Dallas' defensive issues, which means Greene should have a few opportunities to cross the goalline.
Mathews faces Seattle. 'Nuff said. Stacy could be maddening to own this year, with Benny Cunningham getting a series here and there and the disaster that is their quarterback situation. S-Jax is in a true running back by committee (RBBC) situation and can't be relied on, especiall against tough defenses like Cincinatti. And the Jets likely won't be able to give Johnson and Ivory as many touches as last week against the Raiders playing catch-up after Green Bay lights up their defense.
START Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller (BUF) OVER Reggie Bush/Joique Bell (DET).
Jackson and Spiller both ran well against Chicago last week and the Miami defense opposing them will be banged up in a big way, especially at linebacker. These guys get an even bigger boost in a PPR, as they should be able to exploit holes in the middle of the field.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers defense hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in its last seven games. They lock down on opposing running backs and while both Bush and Bell should get a few targets through the air, neither is going to get enough volume against a tough defense for me to start them with confidence.
START Colts receivers OVER Chargers receivers.
Indianapolis is going to air it out quite a bit, making Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton and Hakeem Nicks much better plays than Keenan Allen and Malcolm Floyd (and just never start Eddie Royal) against Seattle (noticing a theme yet?).
START Mike Wallace (MIA), Brandin Cooks (NO) and Justin Hunter (TEN) OVER Dwayne Bowe (KC) and Victor Cruz (NYG).
Against New England, Wallace looked like the No. 1 wide receiver Miami signed him to be. He should be better against Buffalo. Cooks was awesome in his debut and even if he draws Joe Haden, Antonio Brown proved last week that Haden struggles against speedy, smaller WRs. Hunter was a buzzy player in the offseason and, like other Titans I'm recommending, should do well against the Cowboys' shaky defense.
Cruz was cover-your-eyes bad against Detroit. What's he going to do when Patrick Peterson is shadowing him. Avoid until the Giants offense proves otherwise. As for Dwayne Bowe, he might make the Chiefs offense a little better in reality, but in fantasy, unless you like 3 catches for 40 yards on a regular basis, I'd look elsewhere.
START Delanie Walker (TEN) OVER Antonio Gates (SD)
Walker is going against Dallas. Gates is going against Seattle. You know, in case you hadn't figured out the theme yet.
START Dwayne Allen (IND) and Jermaine Gresham (CIN) OVER Jordan Cameron (CLE) and Jordan Reed (WAS) if they don't play
If you own one of the Jordans, hopefully you backed them up. If not, you might have to dig deep on waivers to find a replacement. Both of these guys should get some opportunties.
START Green Bay OVER Carolina
This might end up biting me, but I'm not sure if Carolina's defense is as strong as it was a year ago, especially facing a potent Lions offense. Meanwhile, the Pack, embarassed from getting drubbed in the season opener, will likely get to tee off on Geno Smith after Rodgers and company rack up some points, meaning sacks and turnovers should abound.
Got a fantasy football question for Wayne?