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Cut Down Saturday and Week 1 Fantasy Football Plays/Stays

fantasy-football-week-1As a kid, one of my favorite five-minute spots on Sesame Street was when The Count would show up somewhere, count random stuff, laugh hysterically, and disappear into the mist. Little did I know that he would follow me into adulthood, dropping the monocle and numeric wizardry in exchange for a creepy little buddy and knowledge of the top 300+ college football players who have decided to turn professional.

Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay consume our lives between February and May talking about 40 yard dash times, the shuttle run and Wonderlic test scores in attempt to accurately project how the NFL Draft will go. Kiper and McShay actually remind me of Screech trying to replace the 6’10” Gary after he dropped a square (?) bottle of water on his foot, severely hurting Zack’s chances of winning the company volleyball game and Mr. Carosi’s car.

This past Saturday was a pretty hilarious cut-down day in the NFL, as some big-name players were left trying to find new jobs faster than the Micro Machine Guy hocking two separate pocket play sets.

Among those looking for work as of Saturday were ESPN darling Tim Tebow, 2005 National Title Game opposing quarterbacks Vince Young and Matt Leinart, and survivors of Charlie Weis’ front-butt Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen. These quarterbacks (with the exception of Tebow) received high grades from Kiper coming out of college, with Leinart even being considered the “best” QB in the draft class; a true “Big Pete”. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, Alfred Morris and Brandon Marshall all slipped outside of Kiper’s peripherals, were drafted after the first two days had passed, and are now among the fantasy football studs we revere today.

The point is that you can’t truly analyze a draft class until it has had time to become something, just like you can’t analyze the success of your fantasy draft until you’ve given it a few weeks. Don’t overreact if your team doesn’t win Week 1. Don’t trade your stud wide receiver because he only had two catches in a really tough match-up. Don’t trade for a guy no one has ever heard of because he scores two touchdowns in the Thursday Night opener (see Kevin Ogletree). Here are three players I have strong feelings about for Week 1.

DeAngelo Williams, RB Carolina Panthers

I actually really like DeAngelo Williams in 2013. He has a legit shot at being a Top 15 running back with the backfield to himself for the first six weeks as Jonathan Stewart nurses his pretzel strong ankles. He is going seven or eight rounds deep in drafts, so the price tag is not too high.

He draws a ferocious Seattle Seahawks’ defense in Carolina’s opener, and I’m saying sit DeAngelo Williams this week. Players around that same level who I like better this week who might be available (or that you may have drafted after Williams) include Rashard Mendenhall, Ben Tate and Shane Vereen. STAY

Mike Williams, WR Tampa Bay Bucaneers

I have expressed my feelings about Vincent Jackson in this space before and how much I like Mike Williams from a value stand point. My love affair for Williams gets started right out of the gate.

Tampa gets to be the first team to destroy the Jets this year, and while that should be a reasonably simple task, I look at the one player on the defensive side of the ball for the Jets who strikes fear in his opponents, and that is Antonio Cromartie. He is the Jets’ best cover cornerback and should be the defender tasked with blanketing the Bucs’ best receiver, Vincent Jackson.

With single coverage on the opposite side and a safety lurking in the box to stop Doug Martin, I like Williams to be a Top 15 receiver this week, out-producing fantasy studs like AJ Green, Wes Welker, and Jordy Nelson. I don’t think I’m overstepping my bounds by predicting 6 catches, 97 yards and a touchdown, good for fifteen points from a guy who is being drafted in the ninth round, based on Yahoo! ADP. PLAY

Indianapolis Colts Defense

The Colts “D” typically doesn’t scare anyone, but if you didn’t draft an elite defense, and you’ve decided to stream defenses, you have to play the match-ups. The Raiders will start Terrelle Pryor at quarterback and Darren McFadden at running back. Other than that, there’s a good chance that nine other guys will put on Raiders’ uniforms and get out there to commit a high number of penalties and allow their young quarterback to get sacked frequently.

It’s tough to predict defensive touchdowns, and when you’re looking at defenses, you’re looking for turnover-forcing units with high sack potential. Oakland’s offensive line will allow plenty of sacks, Pryor will make his share of mistakes, and I am putting it out there that Indy WILL score a defensive touchdown. PLAY

Give me a follow on Twitter @BernacK6 to discuss fantasy football on a daily basis.

 

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