Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books so its time for fantasy football enthusiasts to begin taking stock of their rosters. Inevitably, at least one or two owners in each league begin panicking that they have a weak roster.
With the waiver wire generally still plentiful in most leagues, owners can be reluctant to begin making trades. Unfortunately, that can leave you with a gaping mouth pointing toward your computer screen once the first few trades of the league get sent out by email. Move fast and avoid wondering why you didn’t offer up Thomas Jones for Steven Jackson to an owner who has lost his or her senses.
I’m not going to state the obvious here (move injured players, pick up their substitutes). We’re going to look at players that should be on rosters in all fantasy leagues. These are bargaining chips and trade targets.
Thomas Jones, Jets – Jones looked good last season and he looked good in week 1 against the Texans. If there’s an owner in your league who now thinks that Mark Sanchez is the second coming of Joe Montana and Jones is ready for a repeat of his 1,300 yard, 13 TD season of a year ago, move him. He’s a decent second RB in your fantasy lineup but if somebody’s willing to overpay, take it.
Julius Jones, Seahawks – Let’s include both Jones brothers. There are a couple of bad defenses on the Seahawks schedule but overall it’s not looking pretty. With questions on the offensive line and Jones coming off a solid game against the Rams, it’s a good time to see what he’s worth.
Willis McGahee, Ravens – Ravens won’t be playing the Chiefs every week and McGahee may just have had his last multiple TD game of the season. The Ravens schedule is actually quite friendly over the first part of the season (Chargers, Browns, Patriots, Bengals, Vikings, Broncos, Bengals, Browns, Colts) so there is an argument to be made to hold onto McGahee and watch his value increase. If some RB needy team comes calling, sell high.
Joe Flacco, Ravens – Career day in week 1 for Flacco with 307 yards and 3 TD. The buzz is that the Ravens are going to throw plenty in 2009. Of course, maybe the Ravens coaches figured week one against the Chiefs was just the week to throw plenty. Just guessing.
Mark Sanchez, Jets – If there’s an owner in your league thinking Sanchez is going to put up nearly 300 yards and a TD every week, then it’s time to move him. Rookie QBs generally struggle and the Texans secondary is the weak spot on their defense, especially considering star cornerback Dunta Robinson missed all of the preseason.
Greg Olsen, Bears – Bears offensive coaches have poured over the game film and almost certainly figured out that 13 targets for Earl Bennett and only six for Olsen and four for Devin Hester is just a little out of whack. Olsen has been a bit of a fantasy tease for two years now so his owner just might be in panic mode.
Kurt Warner, Cardinals – Remarkably, the fantasy buzz is that Warner looked bad in week 1. However, 18 fantasy points seems pretty decent given that he was playing against a division opponent without Steve Breaston and with Anquan Boldin struggling mightily with hamstring issues.
Steven Jackson, Rams – Rams offense looked horrible and Jackson remarkably only had 16 touches with none of them coming through the air. Presumably they can’t be that bad and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will give Jackson more touches because, well, these things go hand in hand. Then again, it is the Rams.
Steve Smith, Panthers – Panthers offense struggled in week 1 courtesy of Jake Delhomme‘s five turnovers. Delhomme’s struggles affect Smith’s value but it’s doubtful he will be as putrid going forward as he was in week 1.
Brandon Marshall, Broncos – The fantasy world was down on Marshall before the season began and his stock dropped even further after a poor week 1 performance (4 receptions for 27 yards, 0 TD) against a suspect Bengals pass defense (presumably you saw the last second Brandon Stokley TD). However, Marshall missed most of training camp, wasn’t putting forth much of an effort when he was there and didn’t get a chance to develop any chemistry with his QB, who, by the way, was playing injured in week 1. It can only go up from here.