The start of the NFL season is a magical time. The weather is getting cooler, and summer has ended, but that bummer is nothing compared to the high we get from the return of football.
In anticipation of the season, let's look at a few things to remember throughout the season to help be successful in fantasy football. The draft is the most fun part of the season. The rest is nerves and wondering why the NFL is colluding against you, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it, right?
It's a weekly, season-long game
You will be upset after some weeks and want to tear down your team, and that might happen as early as Week 1. Remember, though, that every week is different, and a loss, no matter how bad it is, only lasts one game. There are 16 (or so) to go, so react, but don't overreact.
The goal in the regular season is to win as many weeks as possible, so make decisions based on what's best for your team's SEASON rather than one week. You may want to hold onto Nico Collins in hopes that he connects with rookie QB C.J. Stroud, but don't drop Alvin Kamara to pick up a tight end because he can't play in Week 2 or 3. Collins must go because Kamara gives your team the best chance in Weeks 4-18.
The NFL season is long, but it's not THAT long, especially when compared to baseball. Games are usually three days per week or less, and you only set one lineup per league. Many people watch a lot of football, but take some time to read about trends, emerging players, and whatever else you can take in to get an edge.
Side note: don't walk away during the season and not check your team; it throws off the league and makes it feel incomplete. Finish what you start, even if you only spend a few minutes per week making sure you have a full lineup.
Watch the waiver wire
Injuries will happen every week, and opportunities pop up out of nowhere. Be aware of who is primed to take over in case of an injury in good situations (like Jaylen Warren in Pittsburgh or Ezekiel Elliott in New England) and pounce when the time comes. There's no such thing as too many good players, especially running backs and receivers.
Also, know how your waiver rules work. If the order resets every week, there is no reason to wait; put in your claims. If you only lose your spot when you claim someone, then it's time to be more selective. No reason to give up your top spot for a kicker; wait for that big injury and use your position to grab a hot pick-up.
Be open to trades
I've been in leagues where the draft happens, there are free agent pickups, and nothing else changes throughout the season. It sucks. You may be happy with your team after the draft, and that's great, but things change. Use trades to upgrade your team and fill weak spots. Also, know when your league's trade deadline is.
If you have a hole on your roster to start the season, you probably have a surplus somewhere else. I like to stock up on running backs, but sometimes that leaves me without a good quarterback option. Trading a running back for someone's second quarterback is a good way to help both teams, which is the point of a trade.
That's a good point to remember: you will be giving up value in a trade. It sucks to lose James Conner, but if filling a hole at receiver is important to your team's success, it's ok to give him up for Diontae Johnson. Don't be so stingy trying to win trades that no movement ever happens. Engage your opponents and take chances to improve your team.
Weekly posting schedule
Each week I will break down the games from the previous week on Tuesdays and talk about what we saw, what was real, and what it means moving forward. I will also hit the hottest waiver wire pickups and preview the Thursday night game.
Fridays I will provide a breakdown of each game upcoming that Sunday/Monday and who is worth playing that week. I will talk about streaming options, who has good matchups, and who is primed to disappoint that week.
Thursday night game: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs
Let's look at the first game of the season, and Thursday can't come fast enough. There's a chance for fireworks with two good offenses who give up their share of yards and fantasy points.
Both the Chiefs and Lions were in the bottom 10 in total fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends in 2022 (meaning they gave up among the most points). Here are their rankings:
These teams are ready to score and give up points on Thursday night. A few other notes about 2022:
There are a lot of fantasy options in this game; some are obvious and others are the beneficiary of a good matchup. Let's look at who should be in your lineup this week:
Let's get through these quick:
Good matchups and streaming options
These players are bennefiting from soft matchups and can be played more safely this week:
Others to consider
Again, there are a lot of fantasy options in this game, so here are some others that are playable if you are short at a position or need a flex option:
Harrison Butker is my top kicker this year, and he will have a lot of opportunities Week 1. Riley Patterson has kicked well for the Lions and Jaguars over the past two years and seems to have a good opportunity this week to score points if you need a streaming option.
We've talked about the offensive production expected in this game, and, in kind, you should avoid both of these defenses in Week 1.