It’s the Seven P’s: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I, myself, never knew about that longer version, as most of us only know the one without “planning” and “piss”. Hmm, there is a joke there somewhere. In any case, the saying originated in the British Army and is true in any walk of life.
For example, I could have avoided loads of pain, sleepless nights and hefty bills if I had just flossed regularly and did a better job with my dental hygiene overall. I still have my doubts about flossing’s real impact and whether I just have pansy teeth, but nevertheless, it was supposedly all my fault for not taking the proper steps to avoid a root canal. I don’t know how to describe the experience, outside of an ungodly pain shooting into your skull once the root “breaks bad,” then a continuous sore/ache pain for the next 24-48 hours, as soon as the Novocain wears off after the procedure. Floss kids! Listen to Sparkle Crest crew as they fight away the plaque monster!
Truth be told, this holds true for Fantasy Football as well. You went into your draft half prepared, grabbed a three-month old magazine off the newsstand, and now have a questionable roster that your seven-year old nephew could have drafted. Preparation is vital to Fantasy success.
A similar situation even happened to me this year in my longest-running, local league. We had three guys who needed to G+ video chat for our draft, which also happens to be auction style, and one of those three bums was in a time crunch. –Okay, sidebar, if you can’t spare just 2-3 hours for a draft, don’t bother! Seriously, draft day is supposed to be the single, most-fun day of your league.– Okay, back to our draft; we had it at my deli right after we closed (mistake number one – should have waited at least 30 minutes or so to let me settle in) and used my laptop connected to a monitor so I could have all three of them on screen. That was mistake number two – actually having three members draft via video. I say you need to cap it at two if you are going to do an auction. The third mistake was a combination of trying to enter the picks, run the auction (after all, I am an excellent auctioneer as last year’s draft took one hour and 15 minutes!), check the video feeds, double check the one video feed where the guy had no audio on his end and still pay attention to my needs/team.
Amidst all of the madness, guess what part was left in the dust? My team. My single favorite team that has won four of the last eight years and never finished below third. My team that had DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, Hakeem Nicks, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Lloyd kept for just 96 dollars ($210 cap) prior to the draft. My team that finished the draft with 40 dollars left over. Let that sink in… FORTY dollars. The highest bid player was only $58 and only three RBs topped the 40-dollar threshold. Basically, you could pick about any stud player and plop him on my team if I had prepared for the madness and had a better plan on how to run the draft. I’d gladly take three more root canals if I could redo our draft. Okay… maybe just two.
You need to prepare and plan properly! Drafts are over (for the most part), and you can’t focus on what you can’t change. What you can do is focus on Week 1 and the rest of the season. You likely can’t pull off too many trades before Sunday, and some leagues have even locked already with the opening game in the books. However, you can exploit some tasty matchups and avoid those that will bring disappointment. With that in mind, it’s time to Hold ‘Em and Fold ‘Em for Week 1.
Breakdown: Hold ‘Em – start them and/or players I like more than most rankings have them. Fold ‘Em – outright sit them; don’t consider them start-worthy in standard-sized leagues. Bluffs – still start them, but I like them less than most rankings and they will disappoint.
Philip Rivers, SD (@OAK): I hear your concerns and understand your worries. Rivers hasn’t looked good in the preseason and lost his best receiving weapon with Vincent Jackson now in Tampa Bay. I’m actually not too worried. There have been multiple instances of top-tier QBs struggling in the preseason who then light up the regular season. Rivers, as “bad” as 2011 was, still only had two weeks where he failed to score double-digit points. He also threw for 584 yards and five TDs against Oakland last year; the Raiders defense is not much different in 2012.
Doug Martin, TB (CAR): A rookie RB couldn’t ask for a better start to his career. After all, the Panthers allowed the second most Fantasy Points (FP) to RBs; only Martin’s team was worse. With the backfield his (the Bucs have seen the light and have tired of LeGarrette Blount) Martin is primed for a big rookie campaign and great start to 2012.
Kevin Smith, DET (STL): We’ve seen what he can do when healthy and the backfield is his. He’s actually healthy and Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure are what you’d call unavailable.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR (@TB): This carries a caveat. If Jonathan Stewart suits up, DWill falls way down – as in from borderline RB1 to risky Flex play.
Greg Jennings, GB (SF): Settle down folks; it’s the 49ers RUN defense that you need to avoid. The 49ers pass defense actually finished 20th overall last year. We’re also talking about a matchup-proof passing offense with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. ARod will “Discount Double-Check” with Jennings in the end zone.
Percy Harvin, MIN (JAX): Harvin’s FP totals when Adrian Peterson missed games in 2011: 16, 28, 16, 18. Hmm… need more reason to be excited about his prospects? How about 36 catches in those same games? Can you say PPR gold mine?
Pierre Garcon, WAS (@NO): Yes, it’s just the preseason that we have as a source to judge, but Garcon looks to have great chemistry with Robert Griffin III already. Garcon showed flashes of his upside with Peyton Manning at the helm in Indy, and it was more the replacement QBs than Garcon that kept him from his full potential. The Skins will have to pass to keep up with the Saints, and at least Mike Shanahan was forthcoming about Garcon being one of his WR starters… the RBs however? Well, more on that later.
Brent Celek, PHI (@CLE): There was a reason behind Celek’s improvement around the bye week last season through the rest of the year: the Eagles started using him differently. Celek was used to block most of the time in the first five weeks. Afterwards, Celek became one of the better Fantasy tight ends. Philly has used Celek that same way (the good, pass-catching version) in the preseason. With a soft Cleveland secondary that doesn’t have Joe Haden locking down players single-handedly, which frees up the other defenders, expect a good start to 2012.
Chicago Bears (IND): Top Five Fantasy defense. Check. Anemic running game for Indy. Check. Rookie QB in his first game that is on the road in Chicago. Check.
Andy Dalton, CIN (@BAL): As a game manager, Dalton is a top-notch QB. He also has a terrific young WR in A.J. Green, who he has great repertoire with already. However, the Ravens defense is the toughest against the pass and Dalton had just one TD and three INTs against them last year. Keep Dalton benched in Week 1.
Beanie Wells, ARZ (SEA): The Seahawks continuously seem to be overlooked when it comes to how strong their defense is. If the matchup wasn’t enough of a concern, Wells’ health and shared touches with the more explosive Ryan Williams should have you looking elsewhere. Given all of the RB questions already, you may be forced to start Wells, but he’s no more than a RB3 at best.
Any Redskins RBs (@NO): “I know who the starter is, but it’s a secret.” Is Mike Shanahan trying to be even more evil? Does he get his kicks from frustrating fans and Fantasy Football owners? Seriously, Shanahan must do this every time he announces a lineup: laugh!
Davone Bess, MIA (@HOU): Just because you’re a team’s number one option does not mean you’re guaranteed success, or even quality Fantasy performances. Ryan Tannehill is extremely raw and the Dolphins team is in rebuilding mode – and I’m not positive they are actually building yet.
Laurent Robinson, JAX (@MIN): We knew LRob wouldn’t repeat his TD to reception rate of last season, but we also thought he could maintain some level of success in Jacksonville. There is a problem with that thought though, as Blaine Gabbert has yet to show himself capable of leading that offense, and he and LRob look out of sync so far.
Coby Fleener, IND (@CHI): My hype meter for Fleener has been on a steady decline since Week 1 of the preseason. One would assume Andrew Luck would turn to his college buddy early and often, and that if he were in trouble, Fleener would be his outlet. The number of looks simply has not been as high as hoped. Even being college buddies, the NFL ain’t college, and Fleener ain’t a TE1 yet.
Chiefs (ATL): Kansas City actually had a few serviceable weeks last season. In fact, they hit double digits four times and notched 30 FP against Oakland in Week 7. Unfortunately, they face the Falcons in Week 1, and in case you haven’t noticed, Atlanta looks ready to make the Eli Manning-Hakeem Nicks-Victor Cruz 2011 jump with their own trio of Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones. Oh, and they still have a rather strong running game and one of the best tight ends to ever play the game.
Andrew Luck, IND (@CHI): To quote a radio personality/friend of mine, “a rookie is a rookie is a rookie.” While that’s kind of Yogi Berra-ish, it has a point. Luck has performed better than expected in the preseason, but it’s just the preseason and Chicago is extremely strong against the pass. Don’t expect QB1 numbers from the “next Peyton Manning” just yet.
Shonn Greene, NYJ (BUF): Just not gonna do it, wouldn’t be prudent. Buffalo improved their defense a great deal in the offseason, and even if they didn’t, it’s Shonn Greene. I/we’ve been hoping he would turn into a Fantasy stud each of the past three years. Greene is that hot friend you have who acts flirty with you but never lets things progress any further… just a giant tease!
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN (@BAL): Longest run in 2011 was 18 yards. The Bengals had over 1,700 less yards of offense last season. Their red zone rushing attempts were nearly half of New England’s. The Ravens don’t let anyone run on them and rarely let them find the end zone. Need more reasons why Green-Ellis doesn’t receive RB2 status simply because he’s “the man” in the Cincy backfield?
Kendall Wright, TEN (NE): The hype is getting a bit out of control. Wright has loads of potential – and speed – but he’s raw, has an inexperienced and inaccurate QB in Jake Locker and is still behind Nate Washington and Kenny Britt in the pecking order. Yes, Britt is out this week, but that doesn’t automatically boost Wright into standard-league starter territory. There is nice upside here, especially against the Pats pass D, but don’t go supplanting the likes of Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Bowe for Wright.
Greg Little, CLE (PHI): I actually like Little a good amount for 2012, even more so in PPR leagues. Brandon Weeden is better than Colt McCoy. Then again, that’s not saying much. What do say a lot are Little’s 121 targets from last season. Yes, he only caught about half that (61) but that is more on McCoy than Little – okay let’s be honest, it was mostly on McCoy. While I like his prospects this year, I don’t in Week 1. The Eagles secondary is still one of the better units in the league, and when the second-best option behind you is an oft-injured Mohamed Massaquoi or a supplemental-draft rookie who didn’t play last year (Josh Gordon), you’re going to see loads of defensive attention.
Brandon Pettigrew, DET (STL): Pettigrew is a much better PPR tight end than a standard league one. Pettigrew only topped 64 yards three times in 2011 and had five TDs. Pettigrew’s highest standard league score was 14, he was shut out twice and held under five points seven times. Meanwhile, in PPR leagues Pettigrew never put up a goose egg and had eight double-digit games (five of 17-plus points). That’s caution number one: bump him down if not playing in a PPR league. The second caution is that the Rams are a TE-matchup nightmare. For two straight years, the Rams have finished as the top defense for opposing TEs and only let one tight end (Vernon Davis in Week 17) hit double digits last year. Only twice did a tight end even top five FP! It doesn’t make much sense when looking at this team, but whether it’s because the Rams can’t stop anyone else so the tight end is left out or St. Louis has some secret tight end black hole, you may think twice when playing your tight end against them.