Fantasy Football Week 2: Last-Minute Advice for Every Position on Your Roster

Alex DunlapContributor ISeptember 15, 2012

Fantasy Football Week 2: Last-Minute Advice for Every Position on Your Roster

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    Before you set your fantasy football lineups, remember that you need to start your studs in Week 2.

    No getting tricky—that is my first piece of advice. 

    My second, equally important piece of advice is to do your research on your flex plays. The web provides you with an abundance of resources to do just that. 

    Every week I create this snap-count reference tool and this matchup tool to aid in these weekly, gut-wrenching fantasy decisions at the bottom of my roster. 

    Fantasy football is a two-sided coin, constantly being flipped to result in exactly one of two outcomes: agony or ecstasy. Even the most scrupulous owners can fall victim to injuries or the misinterpretation of matchups. 

    This week is a must win, just like every other. This is your last-minute advice for every position on your fantasy roster heading into Week 2. 

Running Back

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    1) Fred Jackson owners, I am sorry. Please take solace in knowing that your plight moving forward is not uncommon, and many a fantasy champion has overcome critical early season losses of key fantasy contributors.

    The other good news is that Jackson's knee injury does not appear as serious as it looked, or as devastating fantasy-wise as was originally feared. The MRI came back clean, and I expect Jackson back by Week 5.

    Do not, under any circumstance, drop Jackson. 

    C.J. Spiller was a top-six back in fantasy last season after Jackson went down, and he showed last week that this phenomenon is likely to extend into 2012.

    To be honest, I thought that the 31-year-old Jackson might have lost his job for good after going down last season only to see Spiller go absolutely bananas. I thought there was no way that the Bills could keep the absolutely electric Spiller out of game plans in 2012, and that we would begin to see a changing of the guard coming into this season in Buffalo, a torch being passed from Jackson to Spiller. 

    Although that never occurred this preseason and Jackson opened up as the outright starter, I feel this injury will force my initial expectation to come to fruition. You are holding on to Jackson at this point to dump him when his value reaches its highest point right before his return.

    You won't get back the same value that you gave up to draft him, but be prepared to cut bait. Just don't do it now while his value is at rock bottom. 


    2) Keep wheeling and dealing. This advice will be the same for all positions. Fantasy football is a dynamic marketplace, and owners' ideas and values vary greatly.

    I don't like to accept trades this early in the season, but I like to offer them. I like to offer lots of trades that I feel are terribly lopsided in my favor, even borderline insulting. Mark Ingram and Anquan Boldin for Julio Jones, deals like that.

    You never know when a league member will be stupid, drunk or bored enough to actually take you up on one of these, and it happens more often than you would think, even among good players. 

    Here are the running backs I am looking to buy low this week:

    a) Willis McGahee

    b) Peyton Hillis

    c) Chris Johnson

    d) Jamaal Charles

    Here are the running backs I am looking to sell high this week:

    a) Alfred Morris

    b) Kevin Smith

    c) Shonn Greene

    d) Frank Gore

     

    3) Matt Forte owners, I am sorry. "High-ankle sprain" were the last three words you were hoping to hear in reference to your RB1/high-end RB2. Well, besides "Dr. James Andrews," at least.

    Add in that Michael Bush has already vultured two TDs that would have been all-Forte last season, and I can imagine a pretty bleak picture is emerging in the minds of those who selected Forte in Round 2 of their fantasy drafts. I avoided Forte in all drafts this season (as you should have), so my advice is for the non-Forte owners in leagues: 

    Fleece the Forte owner, and do it now before someone else does.

    Find out who it is and take a look at every spot on his roster. Hopefully, he has been left incredibly thin at RB and is already off to an 0-1 start. That is your perfect potential sucker.

    See if you can cook up a silly package deal involving your flex RB and a high-end, throw-in-type player for one marquee player from his roster. Think Donald Brown and Justin Blackmon for Brandon Marshall, etc. 

Wide Receiver

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    1) Do all you can to buy low on Brandon Marshall.

    We learned this week that the Bears offensive line is still complete garbage, and Jay Cutler still whines like a baby and is a horrible teammate.

    This whole team is going to be leaving a bad taste in owners' mouths after a monstrous Week 1, and the Marshall owner may be getting an itchy finger on the "accept" button when looking to deal Marshall.

    He could be thinking that Week 1 was the outlier and we are in line to see a lot more of what we saw Thursday. He could be just stupid enough to think that Marshall's value is the highest it will be all season based on Week 1 alone. Take advantage of that. 

    2) Here are the other WRs I am targeting to buy low this week:

    a) Larry Fitzgerald

    b) Greg Jennings

    c) Hakeem Nicks

    d) Brandon Lloyd

    There is one WR I would attempt to sell high this week, and that is Anquan Boldin. If I am a Boldin owner, I am trying to upgrade at another position by using Boldin as a high-end throw-in in a package deal. 

    3) Pierre Garcon looked poised to have a fantasy monster game in Week 1 versus the Saints before leaving RG3's unbelievable debut with a foot injury.

    The $42.5-million man will be a game-time decision Sunday, and it is very likely that he will not go. If you are a Garcon owner, hopefully you have picked up Aldrick Robinson. He was very effective in Garcon's absence in Week 1, catching four passes for 52 yards and a score.

    Robinson was on the field for 86 percent of Week 1 snaps and was targeted a team-high six times. He represents a high-upside stop-gap for your situation and possibly a high efficiency-yield type of handcuff. 

    4) Don't freak out and bench Wes Welker for some scrub. You drafted Welker to be your WR1, and yes, it is awful to see Tom Brady's former "main man" only in on less than two-thirds of the offense's Week 1 snaps, but realize this: Bill Belichick does not play fantasy football, he plays the matchups, and in this case, RB Stevan Ridley was effective enough running the ball in two-tight end sets that the Pats simply did not need Welker as an extension.

    That will not happen every week, and overreacting will cost you weekly wins sooner or later. Keep Welker in your lineup until further notice. 

Tight End

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    1) There are a load of TE targets who have made their fantasy presences known after Week 1. Now it is up to us to sort through the wire.

    Many very good fantasy players drafted Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham early in their drafts. Those who didn't generally waited until the skill-position run in rounds 4-9, which featured excellent WR and RB value, before nabbing their starting TE.

    This usually ended up in rostering players like Greg Olsen or Brent Celek as your TE1.

    If you are in this situation, you will be ill-advised to not play the matchups weekly with another serviceable option. If you waited until after Brandon Pettigrew to draft a TE, I would suggest picking up one of the following widely available players and stashing them on your bench as spot-plays:

    a) Kyle Rudolph. He's of only five non-QB skill players to play in 100 percent of his team's Week 1 snaps.

    b) Martellus Bennett. Mike Pope is the best TE coach in football and Bennett, while wacky, is the most athletic specimen he has had to work with in many years. 

    c) Dennis Pitta. He was in on 80 percent of Week 1 offensive plays and is the obvious TE recipient of Baltimore's new-look, no-huddle offense, rendering Ed Dickson virtually useless.

    d) Marcedes Lewis. Blaine Gabbert's turnaround as a QB from Year 1 to Year 2 has been nothing short of amazing, bordering on ridiculous. The TE in that system is an obvious recipient of fantasy production that could continue to develop. 


    2) I sense a little blip on the radar coming from Owen Daniels this week as the Texans will be playing in Jacksonville, likely in a monsoon.

    Daniels was targeted eight times last week and seemed more involved in the offense during training camp than the player we saw recovering from injury in 2011.

    I think the weather bodes well for both teams' running and intermediate passing games. The Jaguars present the ninth-best matchup for opposing fantasy TEs, according to my system, rain or shine. 

    3) I do not have any "sell high" candidates at the TE position this week. So you don't want to be selling on any of the TEs who had big weeks or are big-name guys.

    I do have two buy-lows that I am keeping my eye on, however:

    a) Antonio Gates

    b) Jason Witten

    If you can manage to snake away one of these guys from a worry-wart owner, put on your ski mask and make a steal. 

Quarterback

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    1) I hope you are not in any kind of QB pickle this early. I don't know what advice to give you if you are, because I don't know how you possibly ended up in a desperate situation at the most important position on your roster after only one week. 

    2) Don't create a pickle for yourself, either. I think that Robert Griffin III's Week 1 performance might be tempting some owners to do just that.

    The Redskins face the Rams this week, who are a much, much worse team than the Saints who RG3 eviscerated for a fantasy explosion in Week 1. Yes, RG3 has made a living proving people wrong. Yes, he could be this year's Cam Newton and ignite that offense to new levels.

    Now is the week we find out. Now is not the week to gamble. We know what happens to gamblers. They hit sometimes, but they end up missing enough to build beautiful casinos for other people. 

    If you have a mediocre QB, it is fine to roll with Griffin at this point. I cannot advise benching a guy like Matt Stafford or Peyton Manning for Griffin, though. If you have Griffin on your roster, be pleased with yourself for having a potential top-10 QB in your back pocket, but I will advise a wait-and-see approach. 

    For as bad as the Rams are, they are a nasty, dirty, filthy and physical team in the secondary. The first part of a master plan for The Mustache was obviously a dirty secondary.

    Bring in Cortland Finnegan. Draft two supremely gifted corners who were both tasered by law enforcement officials during college.  

    They got in Lions receiver Titus Young's head so badly last week that he head-butted Janoris Jenkins and almost got dealt a suspension.

    They have a week of tape on Griffin now, and those screens are not going to be as easy, especially with Garcon looking so iffy. 

    I have Griffin as a borderline top-10 QB this week, which is about industry average, according to the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings. So as mentioned, I would advise to start Griffin appropriately within this slotting.

    Matt Schaub or Griffin? That is when you go Griffin and roll the dice. Someone asked me on Twitter if they should bench Drew Brees for Griffin. I asked if I could join his fantasy league.