1. DON’T Forget That There Are Games On Thursday Night
Last night, the Bears played the Packers. Last night was a Thursday. While you were out eating at restaurants or getting YOLO tattoos, Jay Cutler was throwing four interceptions and Aaron Rodgers was underachieving. And if you FORGOT TO START him or Brandon Marshall, then — well, actually, that would be a good thing. But most of the time it would be bad. So remember to check your lineup on Thursday, because there’s football EVERY Thursday this year.
3. DO Start Matt Ryan And Julio Jones
In Week 1, these two dudes showed that they could be one of the most potent QB/WR tandems in the league this year: Ryan threw for 299 yards and three scores and ran for another, and Jones accounted for 108 and two of those. Both of these guys are way too inflated to trade for right now, but if someone’s stupid enough to give them up, go for it — Matt Ryan’s Average Draft Position (ADP) in ESPN leagues has him as the 11th-drafted QB, meaning that some people might have him as a QB2. This week, they’ve got the Denver Broncos, who appear to have a middle-of-the-road pass defense. Sure they sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times last week, but that has a lot to do with the fact that his offensive line is five subway turnstiles wearing Steelers jerseys. Go with Matty Ice and Julio “Keg Stand” Jones.
5. DO Trade For Doug Martin
Martin’s the rookie running back for the Tampa Bay Bucs, and they’ve made it clear that he is the guy right now — he touched the ball 28 times in their win over the Panthers in Week 1. (If you have LeGarrette Blount on your roster, sit back, pour a drink, and ask yourself why.) Even in the rare position of being a clear #1 running back, Martin’s still pretty undervalued, with an ADP of 66 — the 25th(!)-highest running back — that probably stems from a lack of familiarity among fans, since he is a rookie. If you can, grab him before the game on Sunday; facing a Giants run D that got trampled by DeMarco Murray in Week 1, he could go off.
7. DON’T Blow All Your Waiver-Wire Money Early
Sit down, I’m going to tell you a story. Do you have a snack? I can wait. OK, great. My story’s about a boy named Jack. Jack wasn’t happy with the team he drafted, which is understandable, because it sucked. And after he only scored 70 points in Week 1, his worst fears were confirmed. Jack didn’t know what to do. He knew he had to do something. But what? Jack’s in one of those leagues that has a budget for waiver-wire acquisitions. He looked at all that money. $100. That’s a lot of money — more money than he’d ever seen in his life. (Maybe not.) Jack, inspired by his hero Guy Fieri, decided he’d do something bold, something that would show the rest of his league that he wasn’t laying down without a fight, even though his cause was hopeless and his team had less potential than a cup of instant ramen.
What he did was: he spent $70 of his $100 on Kevin Ogletree and Stephen Hill.
12. DON’T Neglect WRs In Favor Of RBs
The fantasy-football mentality generally begins and ends with running backs, who, because they’re more or less guaranteed a certain amount of touches each week, tend to be more consistent than receivers. However, in case you haven’t heard, the NFL is a quarterback’s league now. And quarterbacks need someone to throw to. In Week 1, 28 wide receivers produced 10+ fantasy points vs. only 20 running backs. And, more personally, I lost a game because I (idiotically, stupidly, moronically) started (injured rookie) Trent Richardson instead of Demaryius Thomas just because he was a running back.
14. DO Keep Faith In Mike Vick
Yeah, Vick was terrible against Cleveland, throwing four interceptions and generally getting harassed thanks to Philly’s abysmal offensive line. But remember: fantasy football isn’t real football. Between pass attempts and carries, Vick was statistically involved in a remarkable 63 plays, and he threw for 300+ yards and two TDs, and he still managed a respectable 15 points — not exactly what you’re hoping for from Mike Vick, but good for 15th-best QB performance. And it’s hard to imagine him playing much worse than he did against the Browns.
16. DON’T Go Crazy Trying To Add Alfred Morris
The Redskins’ second-biggest surprise in Week 1, following the masterful performance by Robert Griffin III, was running back Alfred Morris’ 21 points, leading to a 80.5% rise in the percentage of leagues where a team has him on their roster. But it took Morris 28 carries to get those points, which came from his two touchdowns and 96 yards, good for a miserable 3.4 yards per carry. (Like, seriously: that’s really terrible.) And in Mike Shanahan’s running-back roulette, there’s a good chance that his low YPC will be enough motivation for Shanny to go with Helu or Evan Royster as the primary RB in Week 2. Last year, four different guys had games where they led the team in rushing. Even if Morris does start, it’s unlikely he’ll get that many carries again — his 28 was the most in the league by an individual last week.
18. DON’T Give The Keys To Mark Sanchez Just Yet
On a similar note, don’t buy into Mark Sanchez as a QB1. His 20 points against Buffalo were impressive, but the Bills’ pass D looked like a broken clock, and it isn’t like Sanchez has never had individually impressive performances before. In fact, he played just as well opening day last year, going for 335 yards and two touchdowns, and we know how that worked out. Sanchez is a solid contingency plan or QB2, if that’s how your league rolls — you weirdos — but he’s pretty likely to come down to that 10-15 number this week against Pittsburgh.
That being said, do feel free to grab Stephen Hill if he’s still available. Hill’s two touchdowns last week showed that he can play, and Sanchez seems to have a rapport with him; with Dustin Keller hurt, he should be a favorite target in Week 2. Just don’t spend $35 on him (*ahem* Jack).
20. DO Start Anyone On The Saints’ Offense
Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles — you name it, and if he’s on the Saints’ O, he probably had a respectable performance last week. Even better, the Saints are facing the Panthers, one of the NFL’s worst passing defenses in 2011. Forget that they held the Bucs to 128 yards passing in Week 1 — the Bucs didn’t even try to throw.
22. DO Start Andrew Luck Over Robert Griffin III
Yeah, I know, I know — RGIII is God’s gift to football, the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl, and Dan Snyder’s going to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016. Both guys have good match-ups this week, with Griffin taking on St. Louis and Luck against the Vikings, but I like Luck better. RGIII picked on what’s looking to be a dreadful New Orleans secondary in Week 1, and the Rams actually did a respectable job against the Lions, picking off Stafford three times. (Stafford had 346 yards, but that’s more because of the Rams’ dismal offense, which, unable to hold possession, had him on the field often enough to throw 48 times. Stafford’s 7.4 yards per attempt was middle of the pack.) Meanwhile, the Vikings D got carved up by BLAINE GABBERT, and much of Luck’s difficulties could be attributed to the skilled Bears defense, which also stifled Aaron Rodgers last night. Neither’s a bad play, but I like Luck better in Week 2.
Oh, and if you have Brandon Weeden or Ryan Tannehill on your roster — change that. (Russ Wilson can be stowed.)
24. DON’T Tweet At Players Complaining About Their Fantasy Performances, You Jerk
Pictured: Charles Woodson chewing out Jay Cutler for killing his fantasy team this week.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified this week’s game as RGIII’s first on the road. He played on the road against New Orleans last week.