Fantasy Felony: Take Advantage of First Week (Little Urban) Overachievers
Week 1 -- like every week actually -- produces high-scorers in fantasy football. But the difference between the first week and any other week is that fantasy football owners want to jump on the "next great thing," meaning that if someone blows up randomly, they're a hot commodity off the waiver wire.
With that in mind, let's scroll through the top 30 or so scorers from this week and figure out who is "fa' real" and who is "not fa' real." Or something like that.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys -- Ahhh, everyone's favorite US Weekly coverboy, back in the top fantasy scorers. One problem: Tampa Bay stinks. And they managed to blow coverages all day. However, with plenty of owners sitting on a very weak Carson Palmer or Kurt Warner or Jay Cutler outing, push him hard; people will feel differently about him after the 'Boys lose to the Giants this week.
Thomas Jones, RB, Jets -- As Herrera pointed out, Jones is constantly underrated. And that's not just his Jets homerism, folks -- it's true! Jones wasn't drafted all that high despite a white-hot finish to 2008 and as a result, most owners were starting him as a RB2. Considering how strong Mark Sanchez looked in his first start and how dependent the Jets will be on their defense and running game to allow their rookie QB to mature, it seems like, once again, Jones is going to be nice mid-round value. I'd hold pat unless you're stacked at RB and can shore up other weaknesses.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens -- What the!? Flacco was ignored in a lot of leagues (only owned in 66%). Why? He's the QB for the Ravens, a run-heavy, defense-oriented team. Truth be told, though, Flacco has a cannon of an arm and showed last year that he's more than capable. How-EVA, given the nature of his receiving crew (Todd Heap was called by R.J. White in Passed Out at Your Desk), he's worth the add.
John Carlson, TE, Seahawks -- What the deuce is a tight end doing in the top 10 for the first week? That's because Carlson was Matt Hasselbeck's top target Sunday -- his annoying love affair with Nate Burleson aside -- and proved that last year was no fluke. Which is because it wasn't. If you drafted this guy, you got him late (I was pulling trigger in the eighth or ninth round, just to make sure I didn't miss him), and because the Seahawks running game sucks -- see below -- you're going to love owning him all season. He's their No. 1 red-zone option. Hold steady.
Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks -- If there's one "running back by committee" you don't want to be involved with this year, it's the Seahawks. Which seems silly given Jones' 117 rushing yards on the day. Except for one little thing: he ripped off a 62-yarder. That means if you take that TD away, you're left with 18 carries for 55 yards, which is an extremely paltry 3.06 yards per carry ... against the Rams. Given that Justin Forsett was actually the most effective back outside of one Jones run (Edgerrin James was highly ineffective), you want to sell high on this guy as fast as possible if you can find an owner struggling for a running game.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks -- Holy Seahawk, um, Batman. Yeah, it doesn't hurt that Seattle played the Rams this past week. And while they'll face a tougher matchup in the 49ers next week, this is a bounce-back year for Hassy, with Carlson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and possibly even Burleson providing him actual weapons. I'd hold tight unless I was sitting on someone like Drew Brees and desperately needed help elsewhere.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills -- I've mentioned at the regular NFL 'Haus my random infatuation with Jackson (it's quite odd, too, considering how much I heart Marshawn Lynch) and Monday against the Pats, he proved why, racking up 57 rushing yards and 83 (!) receiving yards on five catches, including a touchdown (Note: R.J. nailed Jackson as well). Now, conventional wisdom would say to trade him while his value is high, but the truth is, I think he ends up taking the starting gig in Buffalo. Given that knowledge, the best move right now is to trade Lynch to Jackson's owner while people still think "Beast Mode" might be the runner of choice for the Bills. If you own Jackson, I think you stand pat and enjoy a surprisingly big year.
Ben Watson, TE, Patriots -- Owned in just a paltry 8% of leagues heading into Monday night's game, Watson shocked all owners with a two-touchdown effort, courtesy of Tom Brady. It's important to note that Brady threw the ball more than 50 times. If that trend continues, there won't be a single receiver in the Pats offense not at least worth owning. But don't do anything silly and drop someone like Carlson for Watson -- the former is the better option; Watson just happened to be the end-zone choice for Brady twice, what with Randy Moss having already caught 46 passes (may be approximate). But if you're sitting on a TE like Vernon Davis (Why is he owned in 37% of leagues people!?), I'd make the swap.