- Bill Barnwell
At Football Outsiders, Week 1 is pejoratively known as "National Jump To Conclusions Week." The reason is pretty straightforward: Although Week 1 isn't any more important than Week 4 or Week 7 or Week 13, the first game of the season often causes fans and organizations to overvalue the information provided by that one contest.
That's no different in fantasy football. Consider that the following things happened in Week 1 last season:
• Aaron Rodgers threw for an anemic 184 yards on 28 attempts against the Bears.
• Matt Schaub could muster only 166 yards on 33 attempts against the Jets.
• Mike Bell ran for 143 yards against the Lions.
• Julius Jones picked up 117 yards against the Rams.
• Chris Johnson was held to 68 total yards by the Steelers.
• Frank Gore ran 22 times for 30 yards against the Cardinals.
• Antwaan Randle El had 98 receiving yards against the Giants.
Some of that information ended up being valuable. Take the quarterbacks, for example. The Jets' performance against Schaub was a precursor to their greatness as a pass defense all season; on the other hand, the Bears shut down Rodgers just as effectively in Week 1 but weren't nearly as good on defense the rest of the way. Both Schaub and Rodgers ended up being fantasy dynamite, but they looked to be struggling because of their matchup issues.
On the flip side, most of last season's surprise fantasy heroes weren't on the radar screen after Week 1. Miles Austin caught a 42-yard touchdown pass against the Buccaneers, but it was his only catch of the day. Sidney Rice had two catches for 17 yards. Jermichael Finley followed a dominant preseason with one catch for 6 yards. Jamaal Charles had four carries for 8 yards. Their stories were yet to be written.
The best way to take 2010's Week 1 into account is as part of the broader picture, incorporating information from last season and anecdotal data from outside the 60 minutes of play last week. If a team that was great in a facet of the game last year retained all its personnel, has stayed healthy and had a bad performance in Week 1, give its players some time. If a player performed extraordinarily well or poorly, look at the context of the matchup to begin forming an opinion on what it means. Was he playing against a defense that was terrible or great last season? Did the weather dramatically affect his matchup? Did his team get five extra possessions from turnovers? Although it's easy to want to make huge changes on your team after one week, chances are that you're better off waiting for more information.
On that note, let's look ahead to players players with particularly good or bad matchups in Week 2.
1dKevin Van Valkenburg