That’s reality, I suppose. Then again, the same can be said for fantasy football. In ESPN leagues according to Mike Polikoff of ESPN’s League Manager, teams that start off the season on a bad note (0-2) make the playoffs 18.9% of the time. Even the fantasy gods don’t reward those who don’t impress early. On the flip side, if you start off hot (2-0) the odds of making the playoffs are far above a 50-50 shot, at 61.33%.
Keep that in mind when setting your lineup for the NFL's kick-off weekend. If you drafted Brandon Marshall early, like I did -- 14th overall in a savvy 12-team league -- don't be swayed by reports of a temperamental Marshall and his Golden Receicer hips. He'll be a golden receiver for you in the early goings.
Now is not the time to get cute. You drafted players for a reason. Play them. Don't be swayed by pundit's predictions and fantasy forecast articles, like this one, and stick to your roots.
However, if you'd like to display you fantasy dominance early on (I mean, who could blame you?) then read on for Week 1's Start 'Em/Sit 'Em!
START ‘EM -- Tom Brady, New England Patriots: I know, I know. Clearly a no-brainer for any week. But if there’s a sure-fire lock to produce against one team, it’s Brady against the Buffalo Bills. In 22 career games, Brady and the Pats boast a 20-2 record while averaging 20.5 completions, 245.77 passing yards/game, 2.3 touchdowns and 0.77 interceptions. In two games against the Bills in 2012 he had 45 completions for 577 yards, 5 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Start ‘em. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.
SIT ‘EM -- Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: This is a weekly column, so for this week I’d say wait a week to see how RGIII looks in his return to the field after a strenuous 8-month rehab process for the torn ACL he suffered against the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional round of last year’s playoffs. Not everyone is Adrian Peterson. And not everyone has had two ACL surgeries on the same knee in a four-year span. That’s math even I can compute. Wait and see how he looks before planting both feet back on the bandwagon.
START ‘EM -- Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins: He’s my “C.J. Spiller of 2013” award winner early on. Miller easily separated himself from backup Daniel Thomas in preseason and he never looked back. He saw limited action as a rookie in 2012, but produced when getting the call (51 attempts, 250 yards, 1 TD, 4.9 yards per carry). Add that with the 4.2 yards per carry he averaged throughout preseason and Miller should enjoy a breakout year. What helps is facing a Cleveland Browns team (re-vamped on defense, I know) that allowed 25 fantasy points per game last year. Miller is a legitimate RB2 option in any league.
SIT ‘EM -- Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals: Like RGIII, Bernard also falls under the “wait and see” category. I believe he’ll eventually overtake starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the team’s primary running back, but the rookie from North Carolina isn’t there yet -- especially facing the Chicago Bears Week 1. The Bears were the second-best fantasy defense against running backs in 2012. I don’t read too much into Bernard’s goal line touches over the LawFirm during preseason as it was preseason. His upside is huge with pass-catching abilities out of the backfield, making him a viable FLEX option. Just any other week but this one.