Anyone who has played fantasy football long enough knows how mind-bendingly unpredictable it can be.
Trying to forecast games accurately week-to-week is like relying on a fortune teller with short-term memory loss and attention deficit disorder.
“I see in your future … WAIT. Why am I holding a glass bowling ball? Hey, I found some gum!”
The early parts of the season are especially hard to find lasting trends.
Is 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick the guy who threw for 412 yards and 3 TDs in the opener? Or the guy who stunk up the joint with 127 yards and 3 interceptions Week 2?
And which Jared Cook is real? The tight end who looked like the second coming of Antonio Gates in Week 1 with 7 receptions, 2 TDs and 141 yards? Or the dude who looked like the second coming of Kyle Brady with 1 catch for 10 yards Week 2?
Chances are good both guys are closer to their Week 1 numbers, but it will take a few more games to be sure.
In the meantime, there are a few trends that are quickly turning into facts after the first two games. The smart fantasy owner will look to capitalize on them now and beat your opponent to the punch.
1: This one’s obvious, but the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy should have been the first pick in the fantasy draft. He is made for that Chip Kelly offense and the offense is made for him. Only injury will slow him down.
2: The Redskins defense is bad. Bad, with a capital awful. Take a look ahead on Washington ’s schedule and rejoice if you have any Lions, Vikings, Bears, Chargers or Chiefs. Double rejoice if you have players from the other NFC East teams because you get to face that revolving door to the end zone twice.
3: The Chiefs defense may be a Top 5 fantasy unit. They’ve held two potent offenses (Dallas, Philly) to 17 and 16 points respectively, and one terrible offense (Jacksonville ) scoreless (But no shutout. Thanks, safety). They get lots of sacks and force turnovers. None of this should be a surprise considering it’s a defense that had four Pro Bowlers last year.
4: Trent Richardson’s trade from the Browns to the Colts should mean better days for him and the Colts offense. Richardson has a bit of an injury history, so that’s not a fact you can set in stone. But, a running game should open up more room for QB Andrew Luck.
The hard fact to take out of the trade, is that if you jumped to pick up Richardson ’s replacement with the Browns, you wasted a waiver move. Willis McGahee is turning 32 and has not been a reliable fantasy back for years. (If he ever really was one)
Ask yourself this: If the Browns offense was struggling with a talented 22-year-old running the ball, what do you think it will do with a 32-year-old retread in the backfield?
5: The Chargers Philip Rivers is back to being a No. 1 QB. This team has an offense again thanks to head coach Mike McCoy. That should surprise no one considering McCoy called the shots for Peyton Manning in Denver last year, and turned Arena League castoff Jake Delhomme into a Super Bowl QB when he was in Carolina.
Chances are good that Rivers isn’t even your starting QB. So that leaves you a nice option: Keep Rivers and spend the year with a potent 1-2 QB punch, or trade him for some help at another position.
QUICK HITS FOR WEEK 3
Start ‘em: Take a look at Rams QB Sam Bradford vs. the Cowboys. Bradford looks like he’s ready to have a breakout year and games against Dallas usually lead to shootouts.
Titans RB Chris Johnson. It still confounds me how Tennessee forgets about its best player at times. It’s almost as if their philosophy is, “The other team THINKS we’re going to run Johnson, so we’ll fool them! Throw the ball!” This week though, at home, with the possibility for a high-scoring affair, CJ2K should thrive.
Take a flier on Cardinals WR Andre Roberts today against the Saints. Larry Fitzgerald has been battling injury and Roberts has seen the most targets from QB Carson Palmer over the first few weeks. And any game against the Saints will involve many footballs being chucked about thought the air.
Any and all Lions – except the defense. Get them off your bench and into your lineup. If you’re in a league that starts a waterboy, get him in there this week
Sit ‘em: Just for this week, sit Trent Richardson. Traded players often need a week or so to adjust to new offenses. Unfortunately, this adjustment week comes against the 49ers defense.
Last year, Panthers QB Cam Newton was off to a slow start and had his worst game of the season against the N.Y. Giants. This year, Newton is off to a slow start and here come those Giants again. Can you say déjà vu all over again?
By the end of the year, you will thank the draft gods that you got WR Cecil Shorts on your team. You will not be thanking anyone today. Jacksonville travels to Seattle in a hide-the-women-and-children matchup. That Seahawk defense eats ornery for breakfast and spits out nasty. Avert your eyes during this one.