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What we learned in Week 1… That you HAVE to know for Week 2 

It was a Thursday night. It was magical. All seemed right in the world. The 2013 NFL season was about to kick off. Full of  excitement you balanced on the edge of your seat with nothing but optimism for all that this season could bring your fantasy team. Then it happened…

 Peyton Manning and the super human Thomas’ took the field and 7 touchdowns later had dusted the Ravens, your fantasy team and all the great things that could have been.

 How could this happen? How did I not draft him? Why does this always happen to my team?

 Then the blame started…

 Why didn’t one of those “experts” tell me this would happen?

 Panic sets in.

 Don’t panic. As Robin Williams once did for a young Will Hunting I’m here to tell you it’s not your fault. It’s gonna be alright.

 No Really. Listen to me son. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. (Sorry I got sucked in for a moment).

 

Now, let’s take a deep breath, cry it out, and take a look at what we learned from Week 1.

 

To Remember Francis Ford Coppola

 The Godfather, and its arguably even better sequel, have forever identified Coppola as one the most talented film makers to ever live. His run in the 70’s with the first two Godfather movies, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation was a run for the ages. But then 1996 rolled around and with it, unfortunately, came the comedy “Jack”. I’ll spare you the details but it’s the “story” of a young boy whose aging disorder caused him to look like 40 year old Robin Williams. Hilarity did not ensue.

 As a side note I never would’ve guessed the “over” on me mentioning Robin Williams 1.5 times in my first fantasy article of the year would have been the right call.

 

Now my point. Yes, I am actually making a point.

 

Coppola is a Stud. No matter how horrible “Jack” is, because of Coppola’s previous efforts, he is still a stud. When you evaluate the studs on your team after awful Week 1 performances (really after any week) you have got to remember that there is a reason you drafted YOUR Coppola. That is why you are starting your stud in Week 2 with full confidence and you are not entertaining trade offers at this time. I know this point has been made many times but after a Week 1 in which we had pretty bad showings by guys like Megatron, Ridley, MJD and many others it is worth repeating.

 An important distinction here is that while it’s easy to read this and think “Well yeah of course I would still start Megatron if I had him” you must also know that you have to start YOUR studs. Whether you did your research or trusted an expert when drafting at this early stage in the game you are still trusting your roster construction.

 For instance, let’s say a certain fantasy writer, who oddly mentions Robin Williams twice in one article, drafted David Wilson in the 5th round. Despite the fact that Wilson put the ball on the ground twice in Week 1 and managed a “Jack-esque” horrific loss inducing -2(!!!) point performance, he is NOT trading him and Wilson IS getting the start in Week 2 because for better or worse he is one of MY studs. Remember FFC.

 

 That for now it’s pronounced “Dudfeld”

 Though he may certainly deserve it I’m not going to spend the next 250 words simply ripping Zach Sudfeld. The Greater Boston area has been tearing him apart for days and they are doing a solid job without my help. In fact, my hope is that Sudfeld turns it around and goes on to have a great year. However, in the mean time, I am going to use his goose egg of a day to illustrate a bigger lesson we again learned in Week 1. That lesson is that rookie Tight Ends are rarely worth the gamble. If you take the BEST 25 rookie TE season performances since 2002 (for a point of reference that would be Jeremy Shockey to Dwayne Allen, with Gronk in 2010 at #1) and averaged out all their numbers this is what you would get:

 About 40 catches, 400 yards, and 3 TDs.

.The reality is despite weeks of hype and a juicy matchup against the Bills, Sudfeld was most likely never the statistically beneficial or safe TE to have as your starter. As a matter of fact those numbers, which depending on your scoring would give him about 60 points on the season, will more than likely land him outside the Top 25 at his position. So, while I am a huge fan of streaming the TE position, and there will certainly be isolated games that a rookie TE makes waves (the obvious and timely example being Julius Thomas) you are typically better off not relying on their production.

 

Consistent attention to targets early in the season is crucial

 Whether we are searching the waiver wire for a way to bolster our bench or spending hours weighing start/sit decisions being able to make accurate changes in player valuations is key. As most of us know by now one of the variables we have to look at when making these valuations are how many times a player is being targeted by his QB.

 Early in the season monitoring of target numbers can be particularly crucial to making sound player decisions and taking strides toward a successful season. This is because while we draft based on a player’s statistical history, (as well as large number of other variables) as the standard Wall Street boilerplate investment disclaimer says “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” What a potential player and their team is doing for the first few weeks of the season could actually be far more relevant to your overall success.

 Looking at the Target numbers for Week 1 (found here —–) can do several things for us. For instance, it can begin to confirm things we are already banking on like Marshall, AJ, and Fitzy having big target numbers. Though most importantly, to reiterate my opening point, it is giving us the ability to reevaluate potential. For instance,  Thompkins appears to be gearing up for a huge week with no Amendola and coming off 14 targets in Week 1 and  Boldin with his 17 targets looks to be setting himself up for big numbers as the “he’s gotta throw it to someone” WR in San Fran. Going through this reevaluation process after Week 1 (and each week) can also give us red flags to monitor in the coming weeks. Yes, I’m looking at you Mike Wallace… 

 While I am not advising that you run out and chase every guy with 10+ targets each week, I am saying that you should be monitoring the numbers consistently. An awareness of the target numbers going in to Week 2 will help your team and will continue to help you build a better roster as we see patterns begin to take shape.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @Jacob_RyanK