Welcome to the Week 1 Edition of the NFL Fantasy Mailbox! As the 2007 season progress, we will select a few emails to answer in our weekly mailbox column. To be considered for future columns, please send your fantasy football questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your first name, last initial, city & state.
Q : Freak dude,
Why is everyone so high on Andre Johnson?? I realize he is a top talent but Houston's offense is a huge detriment to his fantasy value. Despite his 103 catches, Johnson only caught 5 touchdowns, his normal production. He only averaged 10.5 ypc and 73 yards per game. He finished tied for 35th in touchdown receptions last year and I don't see anyway that he should be placed in the top 10 ahead of proven producers like Driver, Wayne, Housh, etc....
Am I over analyzing this thing?
Mike S. - Otwell, IN
Mike, glad to hear from you! Actually, I don't think "everyone" is so high on Andre Johnson. I ranked him 11th in preseason (http://fantasy.scout.com/2/658593.html) and have him higher than most all other experts. I believe his incredible talent, 103 grabs last season, and the addition of quarterback Matt Schaub to Houston's offense are a recipe for success in 2007. Although I realize I received your email just prior to week 1, Andre Johnson finished his first game with 7 catches for 142 yards and a TD...ranking him 5th of all wide receivers after one week.
Q : Freak, I'm a huge New England Patriots fan and took your advice on Tom Brady and Randy Moss and picked up both of them. Well...maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part and like your stuff since you were so high on both of them and I'm a Pats homer!?! Anyway, it worked and I won my first game. Thanks! Will Dante Stallworth start to get into the act? I like him too, but couldn't really put him and Moss and Brady all on my team.
Brett R. - Portland, ME
Yes, Brady and Moss added a little credence to my preseason picks...but remember it's only week 1. Don't expect this kind of output every week, but I do think both players will continue to perform extremely well (as you're aware, I have Brady ranked as the #1 fantasy QB and Moss at #9 of all WRs). Brady's near perfect outing and Moss' 9 catches for 183 yards (with a TD) certainly didn't cloud any predictions I made.
As for Stallworth, I believe Brady will start to go more his direction in the immediate future. Once teams figure out that Randy Moss is still a dominant force (and who knows how anyone underestimated him in week 1!?), teams will begin to shift their coverages and send more of Brady's passes Stallworth's direction. I expect Stallworth's numbers to increase as early as this weekend.
Thanks for the note Brett!
Q : I'm a Steven Jackson owner and am now worried. Not only did he have a miserable performance, but he also lost Orlando Pace for the season. What do you suggest? Do I trade Jackson?
Brian V. - Shelby, NE
Yes, the Orlando Pace blow hurt Jackson as well as the whole Rams team. But realize that it's only week 1 and the Rams will find a replacement for Pace. SJax is an extremely talented running back in a quality offense...and he'll produce in both the running and passing games. Sure, trading is always an option in fantasy football, but I believe you sit tight at this point and see how things play out with Jackson and the Rams.
Q : Freak. You probably watched the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys game (and may have been there for all I know). The problem is that I have Eli Manning on my fantasy team. Your NFL Top Performers article listed him as 2nd overall for week 1 even with his injury in the 4th quarter. I mean he looks really good and like a different player this season...but now he's hurt. Do I cut my losses and drop him or keep him on my team? I don't think he'll be back for many weeks and I need the roster spots. I'm in a 12 team league and Matt Leinart is my other QB.
Harv S. - Jackson, MS
Yes, Manning looked good on SNF...and he looked good in preseason. As for his injury, mixed reports have him from questionable to missing a month or more. In your case, I believe you have to keep him on your roster. You can't afford to drop him (even if he's gone 4 weeks or more) and go with only Leinart in a 12 team league - since it's doubtful there are quality QBs left on your league's waiver wire. If Manning returns in the next few weeks (and there is a decent chance he will), he'll likely return to form and score some solid points at QB...especially if he continues in the groove he showed with Plaxico Burress against the 'Boys.
Q : Fantasy Freak, I've been offered Laurence Maroney for the Bears Defense. I'm hurting at running back and the other owner I think is bothered by Maroney's lack of production in week one...plus he has LT and Rudi Johnson (12 team keeper league). Do I make the deal? D/ST's in our league are important, but not that big of a deal I don't think.
Juan C. - San Diego, CA
It appears you are already leaning toward making the deal. I totally agree. Never let a defense, kicker, or a tight end be valued over a top 10 running back (or even WR/QB). Yes, the Bears D is an excellent play each week. But top performing defenses typically put up less than 10 fantasy points on a good day in most leagues...wheras top running backs generally produce much higher totals and thus are much more valuable. Make the deal and play matchups with defenses from this point forward. Don't allow a mediocre production (from Maroney) in week 1 influence his value like it did with one of your fellow owners. This trade is a gift and needs to be completed.
Q : I got off to a bad start in week one and probably need to make a few trades to be competitive. Any advice? Thanks.
Dale R.. - Dorr, MI
I can't help you much without looking at your team somewhat.
However, I will offer that trades made in the early part of the fantasy season can make or break your team. Many owners get caught up in early game stats and bail on quality players unnecessarily. Early in the season, look for top ranked players that have games below expectations. This can be bargain time in fantasy football. Even with only one game on the books, some owners start to panic.
Steven Jackson, Donte Stallworth, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Larry Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald are just a sliver of names that may not have produced up to expectations for week 1. Seek out some of these players for guys who may have produced above their expectations. LaMont Jordan, Chris Brown, DeShaun Foster, Ronald Curry, Laveranues Coles, Antwaan Randle El, Shaun McDonald, Drew Carter, Jason Witten, and Ben Roethlisberger all played exceedingly well this past weekend, but are unlikely to keep up the trend all season.
As an example...LaMont Jordan may have put up 159 total yards and a TD in week one, but I'd rather have Larry Fitzgerald on my fantasy team (this despite Fitz' lack of production in the game against the Niners on MNF).
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