Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Week 1 – Time to Panic?

Steve SlatonUnless you drafted Adrian Peterson or Drew Brees, your Week 1 of Fantasy Football was likely a bust. FF Players plan all year for the fantasy football season from draft guides, cheat sheets, to crafting the perfect lineup. All of that work means nothing when it comes to NFL football. Is it time to panic? For some of you, yes it is.

I can’t remember an NFL Week 1 like this one. Never in my fantasy football lifespan can I recall so many top 10 ranked fantasy players who didn’t produce. We all knew Adrian Peterson was going to produce, but we forgot about one simple component to NFL football, defense. NFL Week 1 was all about defense which is death for fantasy players, highly ranked or not.

Unlike the NFL season, the fantasy football season is 13 weeks plus playoffs. Going down 0-3 could be the absolute end of your season. The key is getting a good mix of starting and finishing strong. That in mind, you are probably driving yourself crazy as to whether you should panic and make trades that you otherwise wouldn’t make. For some of you, I would highly recommend making that trade and playing the waiver wire. For others be patient because talent will eventually reach its potential in the NFL.

So let’s take a look at a few fantasy football players from Week 1 that came up short. Panic or don’t panic? Let’s check them out…

Don’t panic.

Steve Slaton – Maybe this is wishful thinking since I took him with my first pick in my keeper league. Keeper leagues or not, Slaton has been a top ten and at times a top five pick going into this season. Slaton was a sleeper last year who gave fantasy football owners an edge in the running game. Slaton caught balls which can be like having an extra receiver in the game. Slaton also plays in a highly potent offense that has done nothing but put up points for the last few years.

Slaton was a complete and utter bust on Sunday. Slaton averaged 1.9 yards a carry and wound up with more receiving yards than rushing. I nervously tell you not to panic. For one thing, you can’t just abandon your top pick that quickly. I am going to chalk this one up to Slaton playing a great defense. The kid has talent and is going to bust out soon enough. Unfortunately he is in Tennessee next week. However, he has Jacksonville and Oakland the following weeks. If we are looking at 1.9 yards a carry through Week 5, it is time to panic.

Matt Forte – Matt Forte was an arguable number one going into this year’s draft. That means you took him over Adrian Peterson which is probably driving you nuts this week. Forte had a disappointing 55 yards on 25 carries against Green Bay. This is one guy you absolutely cannot give up on. You’ll never get value if you trade him. You also can’t sit him. I am going to chalk this one up to playing a rival, being on the road, and Jay Cutler’s terrible performance. Forte has some good matchups in the next few weeks. Unfortunately he is playing the Steelers on Sunday. Be patient because it won’t be pretty.

Aaron Rogers and Matt Schaub – Neither guy was likely picked in your first four rounds, so you don’t have that going against you. Unfortunately both guys were seen as offensive quarterbacks and were probably drafted higher than most quarterbacks. Both guys had below average days, with Schaub looking absolutely horrendous. Is it time to pick up Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford on the waiver wire? I wouldn’t pull the trigger just yet.

For Rogers, he played a very aggressive Bears defense. Rivalry games are tough, because a bad team can be your worst enemy with the right speech. For Schaub, you just can’t discount the ankle injury. Schaub also didn’t have Kevin Walter which made Andre Johnson unavailable for most of the game.

The experts seem to think that Schaub’s ankle will be 100% by Sunday. It will need to be as he plays the Titans. For Rogers, I would have a longer leash on him. The thing going against Rogers is that the Packers are a very trendy Super Bowl pick this year. Those things generally never work out well for anyone.

Panic!

Willie Parker – I loved Willie Parker going into this season. He is in a contract year and Mike Tomlin said he wouldn’t be giving up many carries. That all changed in the opener. Parker was horrendous. The thing that worries me is that Parker usually starts hot and fades. Tomlin’s vote of confidence lasted all but two quarters as Mewelde Moore was the full time back by the third quarter. Parker was either a high game or a low pick so there isn’t a whole lot invested. Unfortunately he isn’t going to be the steal any of us thought he was. One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Pick up Mewelde Moore off of waivers!

Carson Palmer – Every year Palmer is projected to be a big breakout quarterback. Going into this season, he was a trendy pick as comeback player of the year. Unfortunately people quickly dismissed the presence of T.J Houshmandzadeh. If Palmer can’t throw on the Broncos, who is he going to throw on? Chad Ocho Stinko tweeted that he had a great game so who cares if they lost. This is a team in complete disarray. It is time for a complete overhaul on the Bengals and that includes Carson Palmer. I would start looking for better options if you are counting on Palmer leading you to the promised land.

Jay Cutler – I haven’t bought the hype on Cutler since his first start and I certainly wasn’t buying it this year. For one thing, he was in a new offense which will take some adjusting to. More importantly, who is he going to throw to? Cutler is a much different quarterback when he doesn’t have Brandon Marshall to bail him out of some bad situations. This team desperately needs an elite wide receiver. Until then, Cutler is going to try and force throws and turn over the ball. Cutler owners drafted him with the intention of stating him all season. I would rather take a shot on Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, or Matt Stafford at this point.

Frank Gore – Yes, it is time to panic on Gore. I know he had two touchdowns but I am starting to worry. His average yards per carry were abysmal and yet he had 22 carries. The thing with Gore is that he is young and he should be getting better. Gore’s stats have dropped every season following his breakout year in 2006. Gore was ranked in the top three going into some fantasy drafts. When a guy’s production drops that much, continues in Week 1, and is only 26, it is time to panic.

The upside here is that you can probably get some good trade value for him. The two touchdowns were a mirage in my opinion. Someone is going to be willing to give up some good players for Gore. Take advantage of the trade, upgrade your team, and forget the day you used your first pick on Frank Gore.

So there you have it. Those are just a few of the highly touted fantasy players that came up short in Week 1. Remember, it may be a 17 week in the NFL but it is only a 13 week season in fantasy football. Yes, anything can happen in the playoffs but you can’t make something happen if you aren’t there. Play the waiver wire wisely, trade with caution, and just remember…you can’t hold back talent.

And hopefully you only have to play Drew Brees or Adrian Peterson once a year.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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