FANTASY PLAYS: No need to overreact after week 1
PHOENIX (AP) The NFL history book is riddled with examples of dreadful starts that quickly became a distant memory.
The 2003 Patriots infamously got routed 31-0 before finishing 14-2 and winning the Super Bowl. The 1989 Steelers were outscored 92-10 in the first two weeks and went on to make the playoffs (and almost reach the AFC title game). The 1993 Cowboys and 2007 Giants started 0-2 and won the Super Bowl.
All of which serves as a reminder to jittery fantasy owners that there's no need to panic if your seemingly bulletproof lineup ended up firing blanks in week one. Here are a few fantasy plays that fit into the overreaction category after week one:
True, he's 39 years old and questions abound about his arm strength and health after a shaky finish to the 2014 season and start to the 2015 campaign. His ugly first quarter against Kansas City on Thursday, highlighted by a pick six, only added to the chorus of doubts. But his performance after that should give full confidence to Manning owners that he can be a highly productive fantasy quarterback this year. And remember, Kansas City and Baltimore are two pass-rush matchup nightmares for the Broncos with their new offensive lines. Bottom line: This Denver offense isn't built to put up 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns for Manning but it also should lead to plenty of TD options for Manning.
New Orleans was not impressive in a loss to the Cardinals, especially wideout Brandon Cooks (49 yards). But the Saints always struggle on the road (and the Cardinals have a sneaky good home-field advantage), and Tampa Bay comes to the Big Easy after getting smashed by Tennessee. This should make Drew Brees and Cooks owners feel great about their chances for a bounce back. As for the running back position, good luck. Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram split the carries, and C.J. Spiller remains iffy to return. Ingram still should have some value this week against the Bucs.
The rush to snatch up James Jones after his fabulous performance against Chicago makes total sense, but it still may go down as a rash decision. Two teams did cut him in the offseason, and Davante Adams and Randall Cobb (assuming he returns to full health) are obviously the go-to guys in Green Bay. On paper, Seattle is a bad matchup for Green Bay's passing attack, but the Packers are going to be highly motivated in a revenge game. Plus, the Rams put up 34 points on the Seahawks last week.
Let's discuss two tight ends as we analyze knee-jerk reactions: Tyler Eifert and Greg Olsen. Eifert had nine catches for 104 yards in Cincinnati's trouncing of Oakland and Olsen had one catch for 11 yards for Carolina (a little misleading because he had a TD nullified on a questionable offensive pass interference call). Eifert is younger and has upside, but Olsen has more of a track record and is a go-to option for Cam Newton on a Panthers team with few options. Eifert and Olsen are about equally priced on FanDuel and DraftKings, which indicates some value for Olsen in my book.
Owners of Arian Foster who stayed the course - and raised eyebrows when they drafted him fairly high - are starting to look smart. Foster practiced this week, although he won't play this week. Still, it's a good sign for Foster. It's anyone's guess what to think about Jacksonville tight end Julius Thomas. He, too, is practicing but the team's comments on his return are all over the map. Keep a close eye on news surrounding Thomas.
A few thoughts on the weekend's survivor pool matchups. This seems like a really nice board. The Saints will be the top pick by far ... Baltimore will draw some interest, but I have no stomach for playing the Ravens on the road, regardless of opponent ... The Colts and Steelers are solid favorites, but picking them will take some bravery after their 2015 debuts ... If you really want to roll the dice, take a shot on Tennessee against Cleveland.