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Fantasy Analysis: NFL Review - Week 1

It's go time, Chicago Bears
It's go time, Chicago Bears

The best part about my two articles? The headline - I only have to change 1 letter, and maybe 1 number, and that's all of my work for the week...If only everything was that easy in Fantasy Football, eh? First off - I ran a poll asking which Bears players we thought would rank highest at their position this week. After the jump, we will gather how that looks as of 8 PM EST Monday night (and thus subject to change after the Monday double header)...

ESPN Standard has Jay Cutler as the 8th QB, Matt Forte the 7th RB, Michael Bush the 9th RB, Brandon Marshall as the 6th WR, Bears D/ST as 7th among D/ST units, Alshon Jeffery the 12th WR and no Dane Sanzenbacher to speak of.

Stop for a moment and soak that in - Cutler a #1 QB, Matt Forte & Michael Bush #1 RBs (this week), Marshall a #1 WR, Jeffery a #1/#2 WR, the Bears D/ST a #1 unit..... What other team does that? (New England with Brady, Ridley, Gronkowski, Hernandez, and D/ST? Maybe). Welcome to 2012, Chicago.

Quarterbacks: We mostly saw Matt Ryan (1), Drew Brees (5), Tom Brady (10), Aaron Rodgers (4), Tony Romo (3) and I did call Cutler (8) as a #1 this week. What we (or I) didn't see coming in week 1 at least was RGIII (2), Mark Sanchez (7), Blaine Gabbert (9), Alex Smith (11) or Matt Cassel (12). Vick (13), Big Ben (14), Schaub (15), Eli Manning (17), Stafford (18), and Newton (19) let many owners down. I slept on Manning (6) and am sure someone will point that out, but you win some (Cutler) lose some (Manning). This list does not yet include Flacco or Rivers (or technically Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton, based on how this week is going, you never know!)

What did we learn? One year wonders don't always repeat (Stafford, Newton) at least out of the gate; Rookies can contribute (RGIII is #2, Luck is way down there but had a 300 yard game) and are worth bench spots if your starter at QB is shaky. If you trust in Schaub, Eli, Stafford or Newton it might be time to buy low. If you don't trust in P. Manning & Cutler sell now. No one is going to buy Gabbert, Smith, or Cassel yet, sorry..but maybe hold on to one of them, just in case.

Running Backs: C.J. Spiller (1) - if he is a FA, get the claim in now. I'm not saying start him over AP (3) or anything (who is fine, by the way), but get him on your team if you can. Same with Alfred Morris (2), even if Shanahan will make you hate yourself for it eventually. Ridley (5) and Kevin Smith (4) were nice surprises, Foster (6), Forte (7), Gore (8), Greene (10), Bradshaw (11), and Murray (12) shouldn't have been that surprising, but Bush (9) was to me and I think he will keep getting enough touches to keep around for flex options. Sproles, McCoy, Martin, Reggie Bush, Lynch, Steven Jackson, Jamaal Charles, and MJD all showed enough to be kept on the field next week...Donald Brown (17) is looking like he might need time too, since the Colts will run more when not trailing by 100000 points. But what to make of Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, and Trent Richardson? Buy low if you believe, but I am not touching any of them except maybe Johnson, who just has so much potential he'd be great in the flex for the rest of the season.

**Update** BenJarvus and Ray Rice did well, Darren McFadden was a little lackluster but not horrid.

Wide Receivers: Julio Jones, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin we saw you coming. Demaryius Thomas (7), Pierre Garcon (8), a lot of people called you. Ogletree (1), Stephen Hill (2), Lance Moore (4) - just wow. Claim them? I'd get Ogletree. Why Ogletree? He got 11 targets and replaces a Laurent Robinson who got a LOT of targets from his spot last year too. Kerley (9) I am not buying, but you can. Same with James Jones (11).

Jeffery (12), Wayne (13), Austin (14), Calvin Johnson (21...yikes! Still 100 yards though) are all owned already. What to make of Cobb, Shorts, and LaFell? If I had to get one, I'd get Cobb - prolific offense, 9 targets, and he looks like the WCO version of a RB. Don't lose faith in productive but overshadowed guys - Roddy White, Steve Smith, Steve Johnson, Percy Harvin, Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Fitzgerald, Colston, Antonio Brown all got their targets.

**Update** Boldin did well and so did AJ Green. Floyd seems to get the #1 targets in San Diego, which is what I expected.

PPR list doesn't look too different from above this week, to be honest. Top targeted receivers this week? Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin, Steve Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Ogletree, Victor Cruz (buy low), Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Lance Moore, Steve Johnson, Dexter McCluster - all with 10+ targets. If that repeats next week, these guys will all get plenty of chances to hit 100 receptions this year...and most of them will continue to see plenty of chances.

Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham (1) and Rob Gronkowski (2) you say? Weird. Tony Gonzalez (3) I had written off for dead though, and while Hernandez (6), Vernon Davis (7) and Finley (9) were all drafted to start, and I did call Tamme (10) in most of my leagues, I did not see Heath Miller (4), Marcedes Lewis (5), or Martellus Bennett (8) coming. If you don't have a top 10 TE, or don't have a top 5 TE, you might want to gamble on Heath Miller who got 7 targets in that new offense. Fleener, Pettigrew, Daniels, Celek, Olsen, and Rudolph all got targeted like #1 options too (and produced 5+ points in standard scoring leagues).

**Update** Who is Dennis Pitta? Going to watch this one...if you are TE desperate, might want to stick him on your bench just in case he repeats, because everyone will claim him if he has 2 good weeks.

Defense/Special Teams: Jets (1) surprised me like crazy - they have a good Defense, but ST has lacked since they lost their returners and their D usually just gets stops not a ton of turnovers and sacks. Worth owning, but I see a let down coming up soon. I think the Patriots (2) and Texans (3) are really good, even if the bar just got set high. I've been waiting on that Pats defense for 2 years of this rebuild. Broncos (4) were good last year but won't sustain this rank, the Browns (5) are a fluke in my opinion, the Eagles (6) were a #1 this season and the Bears (7) are every year for ST alone usually. Count the Cardinals, Bucs, and Rams (8-10) as teams I don't want anything to do with. Grab the Falcons and Cowboys instead if you need a change up...and the Steelers will recover from Peyton.

**Update** Ravens D/ST is still good, no surprise....San Diego might be okay this year, in match up based plays.

My Leagues: 2-2

CBS 12-Team Money: 1-0: Pulled this one out by a good margin

ESPN 10-Team Prize: 0-1: Lost a nail biter, 118-120, as Rice & BenJarvus pushed him over the edge last night.

ESPN 10-Team Family: 1-0: This one is in the bank with all players done and a 40 pt. lead.

Yahoo 12-Team Writers: 0-1: I am going to lose this game, but at least I scored over 100. Curse you Wells (mine), Nicks (mine), Brees (theirs)...and I can't curse Marshall (theirs) because I loved watching it too much.

By the way - despite my "don't over react in week 1" advice across the board, yes, I am dropping Beanie Wells for other guys this week. I believe in rotating the bottom of my roster, and he lost his starting gig on a team that has no offense. He is about the only consistent drop you'll hear about from me this week.

How did everyone like those value picks in injury players? Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, etc...and soon Mendenhall and Matthews rejoin their teams too.