FANTASY PLAYS: Add, drop, hold, ignore - making sense of unexpected in game plan

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The week between the first and second games of the NFL season can be one of the nerviest for fantasy owners.

Nobody wants to look back after the season and know that they missed out on a breakout gem who could have carried them through the fantasy playoffs. At the same time, you presumably liked the players you drafted, so is it really worth giving up on them now?

Sometimes, the decisions are easy. Ray Rice has been one of the most dropped players across all fantasy platforms after being cut by the Ravens and barred indefinitely by the league, a reflection of outrage expressed by many fans once video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancee in an elevator. Baltimore is moving on — along with fantasy players — to running backs Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce.

It gets tougher when only judging things that happen on the field and anticipating which players will have that enticing combination of opportunity and ability to deliver. But there's a third variable to keep in mind, too: Your team's particular needs given your roster and your league.

Your record, your team's output and whether you need players to start, all factor into the decisions you'll face this week and each week going forward:


ADD: Forsett has been added in more than 350,000 Yahoo leagues, with Pierce fumbling in the first game and Ravens coach John Harbaugh not naming a starter for Thursday night right away. On CBS Sports, Forsett is owned in 43 percent of leagues vs 0 percent of leagues last week.

The reason is simple. Any running back with a reasonable chance to get 10-15 touches per game belongs on a team in most fantasy leagues. Some others who might do that going forward include Cleveland's Terrance West, who is available in about half of Yahoo leagues and had 16 carries for 100 yards in Week 1, and Tennessee's Shonn Greene, who is still available in many leagues despite a starting job and 15 carries in his first game.

Among wide receivers and tight ends, targets are key to determining opportunities, making Jacksonville's Marqise Lee (10) perhaps just as intriguing as his teammate, Allen Hurns, who made a much bigger splash Sunday with 110 yards and two touchdowns.


DROP: This early in the year, when you're not trying to fill bye weeks for your superstars and less likely to be shuffling several roster spots to fill in for injuries, your team should be filled with players who have the potential for big performances. Sure, that sounds obvious, but it's harder to put into practice by dropping mediocre players or anticipated sleepers who simply are replaceable.

If you can get someone comparable in the free agent pool, that's a good sign you shouldn't bother carrying that player on your roster.

While Denver's Cody Latimer was a popular late-round pick as a rookie working with quarterback Peyton Manning, you probably have better uses for a bench spot than someone who didn't play at all in Week 1.

And if you have Eli Manning in a league that starts one quarterback and not two, you should probably plan to play it by ear based on weekly matchups for the rest of the year.


HOLD: It sounds hasty — because it is — but some fantasy players on social networks are talking about trading away Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy after teammate Darren Sproles' performance in Week 1. You probably spent an early-round draft pick on him, so what kind of value are you expecting in any trade? He'll have better weeks, even if it takes some patience. The same goes for receivers Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas and running back Zac Stacy.


IGNORE: When is a good fantasy day worth ignoring? Usually, when there's a good explanation as a one-time thing or if most of the production came on few plays, like Atlanta running back Antone Smith scoring 11 fantasy points on one 54-yard touchdown catch.

Kansas City's Donnie Avery caught seven passes for 84 yards on 13 targets in the Chiefs' season opening loss to Tennessee. In that game, top wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was suspended and Jamaal Charles had 11 touches (seven carries and four catches). That's not something to bet on happening again.


Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

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