Not a bad start in full-season fantasy for the SPM Goo-Roo. Five money leagues, and a 4-1 record after Week 1, and the one loss came in the league that pays off the least – but that team got shellacked, which to me was one of the biggest surprises for the week.
DFS was a break-even proposition with a late-Sunday move into the top half of a 50/50 game and late surge on a much larger big-money contest.
And if you’re into sports gambling or Pick ‘em games we had you covered there, too. A 7-2 weekend against the spread with our MLB, NLF and college football picks. Our Pick 6 picks for the week went 4-2, and overall picking all Sunday/Monday NFL games against the spread we went 10-5.
Often in the NFL the first week can be an anomaly, and we all know that it leads to gross overreactions. That said, it’s good to know that the research you did and the information you gathered – along with your gut feel and understanding of the sport – made for a good Week 1 showing and optimism going forward.
We had more hits than misses, although Sammy Watkins was a BIG miss. Our spreading the wealth and not relying on the same players for every team and not forcing high picks into games where the matchups were bad just because they were high picks proved to be the right way to go.
Also drafting and playing consistent, guaranteed high-volume, high-touch players early and then filling in with varying types of pass catchers later on also helped us get out of the gate quickly.
Here’s a look at how Week 1 shook out for us.
Full Season Fantasy
Going 4-1 in pretty large money leagues is always a good thing. If you do that every week, you’re probably going to make it to the postseason a lot more than you don’t.
Here were some keys for us:
Consistency is King:
You never know how offenses are going to perform in Week 1 coming off very few preseason reps and with new personnel coming into the fold. They say that defenses are ahead off offenses this time of year, but that’s not always the case when defenses may not know what to expect from teams with new players in key roles or new coordinators.
So, it was our strategy to go with guaranteed high-volume touch guys whenever possible and create lineups that would have strong guaranteed floors and maybe not take so many chances on guys with upside or big-play threats.
Looking at our running backs, you’ll see players like this:
James Conner – (2 teams) RB
Leonard Fournette (3 teams) – RB
Saquan Barkley (2 teams) – RB
Mark Ingram (3 teams) – RB
Derrious Guice (2 teams) – RB
Marlon Mack (1 team/deep league) - RB
At the running back position, you can see we drafted guys who were projected to be the No. 1 guys. Conner, Fournette and Barkley are going to get volume. Ingram should, too, although the way the Ravens threw all over the Dolphins and with the game being a blowout early, we might have gotten lucky with his production.
Guice was the only real miss, with 10 carries for 18 yards, but as it turns out he probably played most of the game hurt. We got him later than his ranking in many drafts, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said the offense was going to run through Guice and Adrian Peterson was inactive. And who knew the Redskins would throw for 260 yards in the first half.
We benched Damien Williams on our losing team with LeSean McCoy coming in and threatening to take carries and Andy Reid having a past propensity to have RB-by-committee situations. Phillip Lindsay played in his place. Williams did just fine, and Lindsay who saved a couple of our teams last year, was better than Guice.
All things considered I would still go with the volume guy, Guice, in Week 1 if I had to do it again over guys whose roles aren’t as well defined. Our strategy worked well for all but one team. You can’t win them all.
Other benched RB’s for our teams included guys like Nyheim Hines, Chris Thompson, McCoy, Frank Gore, Giovanni Bernard, etc. These are all quality players with either smaller or more undefined roles. They are great depth guys and players who can help you win during a bye week, but they just didn’t make the cut. Of that group Thompson had a pretty big day catching the ball later in the game, which will be the case when the Redskins are down, and McCoy put up solid points.
The McCoy/Williams situation will be an interesting one to watch, and may change week to week based on matchup and player health, and Bernard might take on a larger role now with Joe Mixon possibly hurt.
Marlon Mack is another volume guy who should start anytime you don’t think the Colts will be playing from behind all game.
Our drafting strategy leaves us with more WR1 and WR2 types who get consistent targets since usually the superstar-level guys are off the board when we pick. Ironically, our higher-end guys like Tyreek Hill and Mike Evans were some of the bigger busts, while Michael Thomas played pretty much like he always does. Going with the volume plays again, we only used WRs as Flex players on one team.
Although James Washington looked great in preseason and we had two shares of him, we resisted the temptation to use him instead of Hilton on one team strictly because of the consistency and guaranteed targets. Washington did crack the lineup on our team that is in a 20-team league. We also chose to only go with Emmanuel Sanders on one of his two teams just because he was coming back from injury and playing with new coaches and a new QB. Both decisions worked out, although Sanders put up decent numbers with a strong second half and the Broncos playing from behind.
Here’s a breakdown of who played:
Ty Hilton (3 teams) – WR
Emmanuel Sanders (2 teams/1 start) – WR
Tyreek Hill – WR
Michael Thomas – WR
D.J. Moore – WR
Mike Evans – WR
Larry Fitzgerald – WR
Adam Thielen – WR
Calvin Ridley – WR
Alshon Jefferson – WR
Julian Edelman - WR
James Washington (2 teams/1 start) – WR
What do all those guys have in common? With the exception of maybe Washington and Ridley, they all are going to get plenty of targets and have high floors. Several of them are lower upside guys, but Thomas, Hill, Moore, Ridley, Sanders, Thielen and Edelman can all go off on a given week.
Of the guys who didn’t play, Sammy Watkins was the biggest mistake, but he was not a slam dunk. Now that he looks healthy and Hill is injured, in that high-octane offense, he is an every week start for the foreseeable future until he proves not to be. Terry McLaurin of the Redskins proved to be a great late-round pickup for two of our teams. He was a low-risk, bottom-of-the-draft depth guy, but now is a potential WR2, WR3 or Flex when the matchup is right. Another guy in hindsight who we should have played because of the numbers he put up is John Brown, but Brown is a big-play guy who didn’t fit our model for Week 1. You can’t second guess every move, but it was great for Brown to show he deserves starting consideration based on his matchup and is a big part of Buffalo’s offensive gameplan.
Of our other receivers, Corey Davis is a pretty consistent decent-floor, low-ceiling kinda guy, Tyler Boyd should be consistent on weeks when top guys have byes or bad matchups, Golden Tate was selected on multiple teams late in drafts to help with late-season depth and to provide a spark, and guys like Ted Ginn, Mohamed Sanu and Nelson Agholor are consistent decent-floor players who you need in emergency situations.
As we mentioned last week, tight ends are never high draft priorities. Eric Ebron was the only higher-end potential tight end we took on more than one team, while high upside guy Jordan Reed was taken more than once. We stuck with consistent guys who get targets on a weekly basis and will always get some points mixed in with an occasional big week. As it turns out, Ebron was a disappointment for us, while guys like Austin Hooper, Jared Cook and Greg Olsen got the job done. This allows us to keep higher upside players on our rosters and pick up the best tight end on waivers the week that our starter is on a bye without getting crushed production-wise.
With Deshaun Watson being the lone exception, we waited for consistent guys who are going to generally put the ball In the air 30-plus times a game and who have multiple weapons to throw to. Watson was our only higher-end pick, and he helped carry one of our teams to victory. That’s what your QB has to do if you draft him that early.
As for the others, the numbers weren’t amazing, but other than Roethlisberger, none was a dud. We considered Big Ben a must start on both teams and he contributed to our only loss. Matt Ryan didn’t have a good enough matchup to start three times, so he started once while Kirk Cousins started over him in one game and Russell Wilson did so in another. With this strategy you aren’t devastated if one of your consistent starting QBs has a seven- or eight-point showing.
The strategy doesn’t change much in Week 2. Running backs will pretty much be the same, although the injured Guice will be moved out with Adrian Peterson a likely waiver wire pick up when possible. Chris Thompson may get a look on teams that had Guice, but more likely a wide receiver or RB with a great matchup could be used as a Flex in his place. Barkley, Fournette, Conner and Ingram will be staples until there is reason to believe they shouldn’t be.
We will look more at matchups this week. Teams that couldn’t cover anyone in Week 1 may open up opportunities for guys like McLaurin, Brown, Washington, etc. The Redskins are likely to be chasing the Cowboys and showed they could throw the ball last week. That bodes well for McLaurin. Washington still probably needs to have a breakout game. Watkins should start no matter what, and Brown now gets consideration.
At QB, it’s probably a risk to start Big Ben or Cousins for two teams given that the Vikings threw the ball 10 times last week. Roethlisberger did not look confident running more of a quick-game offense, and the Seahawks don’t figure to be a walk in the park this week.
As for the Vikings, of course, they got up 28-0 and were without Stephon Diggs. Cousins has too many weapons to not throw the ball all year. Still, this week you can’t play him once against a Packers D that was tough on the Bears. Matt Ryan, who ended up with good numbers playing from behind vs. Minnesota, may be a solid play as many times is you have him this week against an Eagles team that gave up 380 yards through the air vs. Case Keenum. It’s not often that Ryan throws up a complete stinker, so figure on him to be in the 17- to 25-point range and to be a solid play in almost all situations.
Last week the Jameis Winston/Mike Evans/O.J. Howard combo really hurt us in some contests, but Deshaun Watson/Will fuller worked out pretty well – although Fuller disappeared after the first half. David Johnson, Austin Ekeler and Chris Carson were strong multi-game picks for us.
Cousins and Thielen were okay picks in more than one lineup, but didn’t produce up to expectations, which hurt those teams along with Kyle Rudolph’s big goose egg. Kenny Golladay was solid at 12.2 points for multiple teams when you consider his reasonable pricetag.
Mark Ingram at 22.7 and Mark Andrews 20.8 were strong selections on more than one squad, but Alvin Kamara at 20.4 was a tad disappointing for his high-end salary. And even with those guys, the Tampa Bay busts killed those lineups. The Redskins defense, which appeared to be a bargain at $3,500, also contributed literally zero in a few contests. Todd Gurley made it onto a couple rosters and didn’t contribute much for his salary with a total of 10.6.
Pick 6 Recap
We went 4-2 last week. Our selections:
Tampa Bay -1