Week One Preview

And so it begins.

Week One is nigh upon us, and with it comes the opportunity to preview this first week’s action.

Before we get into it, I have to confess… I’m nervous leading into my first real week as a fantasy owner. I still don’t feel I’m totally comfortable with all the ways the scoring works. I have read over all the scoring opportunities but I haven’t memorized them – I think it’s going to be much more helpful to be watching a game in real time and seeing the scoring in action. Sadly, I won’t really have that opportunity until Sunday night, and even then I might not be watching the game in real time, so… Anyway, the box score afterwards will be illuminating.

But I’m nervous about how my team is going to perform. How I’ve done in assembling a roster, and how I’ve done in assembling my starters vs. my bench. How I’ll stack up against the rest of my league.

My pride is on the line here!

Well, anyway, let’s get to it: a preview of my very first week in fantasy football.

My league is in a head-to-head format, which means every week I will be matched up against one of my fellow fantasy owners, and whoever has the most points wins the week. There are twelve teams in my league, so there are six winners and six losers every week. And after 13 weeks of matchups, the top four teams (by win-loss record) go on into the playoffs. I really want to make the playoffs, so I need to be putting up a solid win-loss record. I need to beat my opponent every week.

The good news here is that, as you can see from the graphic below, my projected points for my lineup is in the top half of my league.

w1-lines-shot

The bad news, as you may have noticed in that graphic, is that I’m projected to lose my matchup by about 5 points.

Ouch.

But I have hope – all is not lost! Here’s the graphic of the head-to-head matchup for me and Team Coleman, player by player.

w1-preview-shot

First thing to know about Team Coleman is that he had the number one pick in our draft last week. That’s how he ended up with the clear overall number one pick, Antonio Brown. That’s how he’s getting so much more production out of his wide receivers than I am. He projects to get 25 points from his two WR slots, and 31 if you add in his flex player who is also a WR (so is mine, so the comparison is apt). I am only getting a projected 17 points from my two top WRs, though it rises to 26 when you add in my flex. My flex WR is better than his, but not by enough to overtake him.

This is a five point swing, and five points is what I’m projected to lose by.

I’m hopeful here though because I think Julian Edelman will be more productive than this projection is giving him credit for. 7 points is not enough for a WR of his caliber, and I expect more from him. That’s seventy yards rushing with no TDs, and I think he can do better than that. The projection has to be depressed because he’s working with a backup QB while Tom Brady serves his suspension. Now I don’t think the world of Jimmy Garoppolo, but I think he’ll do a decent enough job to get Edelman a TD. So I should outperform projections here. Trouble is, I see Team Coleman meeting his projections, as his two top guys are facing soft teams.

So, all in all, the WR matchups are the key here. They’re going to be what I spend most of my time watching.

My running back situation is much more favorable. My two RBs are projected at 22 points to Team Coleman’s 19. Now, I’m counting on a strong performance by a rookie in Ezekiel Elliott… but so is my opponent in Derrick Henry, who is good but not immediately elite the way Elliott is. DeAngelo Williams vs. Frank Gore is a less favorable matchup, but I think I have an ace there too.

You see that red Q next to Andrew Luck’s name? It means Questionable, if you don’t speak the lingo. It means there’s a chance Luck won’t start on Sunday. Now, do I reasonably believe that Luck won’t actually start on Sunday? No, I do not. But he has a sore shoulder that is limiting his practice time. Now, obviously, if that limits his game performance too, then that hurts Team Coleman – and helps me. But less obviously, if Andrew Luck’s shoulder is hurting him and he can’t throw the ball, he’ll be passing it off to his running backs instead… and his running back core includes – nay, is led by – Frank Gore.

Sorry, Andrew Luck. I like you a lot, personally. I hope your shoulder heals up fine. Just, not before Sunday.

Following up on that – I think Andrew Luck underperforms this projection. And since my Tyrod Taylor is projected very close to him, I think I end up winning this category. However, huge grain of salt here as the QB scoring is the one I understand the least at this point – there’s just so many moving parts to it. So we’ll have to see here.

Tight ends are pretty much a wash, 7 projected points vs. 7 projected points. This is the area where I’m going to be mad, I think, because I’m *thisclose* to starting Virgil Green instead of Gary Barnidge, but his projection is lower. Barnidge is facing a much weaker defense this week than Green is, and his situation on the team is more secure (at least for now). I know the smart money starts Barnidge, but I want to go with Green, and if he turns out to outperform Barnidge then I’ll be extra mad at myself. Still, I don’t want to get too creative my first week. Barnidge it is. And hopefully Denver’s defense can keep a lid on Team Coleman’s Kelvin Benjamin.

Defenses and kicker show as almost a wash too. He’s listed as having the edge in both, but by a tiny margin. This, as far as I can tell, is a toss up.

So, in summary: I’m looking for Andrew Luck to be hampered by his shoulder, and for Frank Gore’s performance to peak as a result. I’m looking for Julian Edelman to make Jimmy Garoppolo look good. And I’m looking for Antonio Brown to get stopped by Washington’s defense.

Okay, so only two of those have a reasonable chance of happening, but two out of three ain’t bad, right?

Wish me luck! (See what I did there? With the luck pun cuz I’m facing Andrew Luck and needing luck so that Luck underperforms, and… I’ll shut up now.)

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