As Wallace Shawn says in The Princess Bride: "So. It is down to you, and it is down to me." I'm here, and I will be here. I promised you a few weeks ago I would help shepherd you through your first fantasy season whether you feel you need help or you don't have the amount of time to devote to it. Well, this is where it begins. Each Tuesday, I'll have everything you need fantasy-wise in this column for the upcoming week. Strategy and free agents complete with pop culture and movie references. That's just who I am.
And I guarantee you it will take you less than 15 minutes TOTAL time to read my column and then go make your appropriate moves.
Hey, we're all about convenience, right? I'm really surprised '6 Minute Abs' never took off like I thought after There's Something About Mary came out. But 'Fantasy in 15 Minutes or Less' has a catchy ring to it. Patent pending, patent pending. You've drafted and you have your team (and hopefully a catchy name like 'What Would Revis Do' and 'The Big Tebowski'. Yes, I'm a Jets fan). So here's what you need to know for Week 1.
Don't get too smart
Like Wallace Shawn's character in Bride, he does exactly that, and (spoiler alert for a movie almost 25 years old) dies due to iocane poisoning. It's the first week of the regular season. Don't get caught up in thinking one of your lesser players has a great matchup and maybe you should play him over one of your stars. There will be plenty of time for that as we see the season unfold. Right now, we don't know what NFL teams will be improved from a year ago and who won't be. So use the K.I.S.S. philosophy (there's a *Love Gun joke in there somewhere) - Keep It Simple, Stupid. Play your best players this week. Whoever they are, they need to play for you no matter who they're facing (as long as they're healthy. Obviously not if they're injured.). I'll tell you when it's time to start finessing the matchups.
Don't make a trade
It's quite possible one of your fellow owners will try to test you and float you a trade offer prior to Sunday's action. They're doing this for one of two reasons: a) they want to see if they can rip you off or b) they want to see if they can rip you off. Unless your entire team comes down with food poisoning this week (I guess I have a non-Bret-Michaels-Poison theme going here) there's no need for you to do this. How to reply respectfully and seem in control? Just send back a note saying "I'm open to trading, but I want to see how my team does for a little bit before I look into it." And that'll do it. They'll back off and believe you're a little more wizened than they initially thought. And if they keep e-mailing you, just delete it without a response, because you already told them once.
Make sure you're lineup is set
Because every web-site is different, make sure your roster has every position filled you are starting for the week. Sometimes you can make moves and forget to hit "Save" or "Change Rosters" or whatever the icon is on your web page, and your moves won't save. Be sure it's got everyone playing you need to. You don't want to start out a week by leaving a player out of your lineup who needs to be in because that's a huge disadvantage. And if you really feel like you're having trouble making sure, or just want peace of mind, then do this - set your lineup and ask someone you trust from your league just to look it over to make sure it's good. *Huge note: If you have any Cowboys or Giants you want to play this week, make sure they're in your lineup like right now, because they're playing the first game this week and it's on Wednesday! You can't go back and retroactively put them in. Your commissioner will not allow it, no matter who they are, or who you are. Even if you're his wife. Or girlfriend. Or mistress.
Check your team Sunday morning before the games start
This will be an every week thing all year long. Just in case someone misses curfew Saturday night or breaks a team rule and gets benched, check your lineup with about ten minutes left to go until the early games kick off. That way you'll see if a player's status has changed since you last looked at your team, and you need to replace them with another player from your reserves.
And that's pretty much it for Week 1. Things are pretty simple right now. Enjoy the games, and your team, and I'll see you Tuesday for a recap of the big stuff and any free agents you might want to pick up. Enjoy the beginning of a beautiful boat ride in the fantasy waters of life. Just stay away from land wars in Asia.
Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. He hosts NFL Fantasy Live during the regular season on the NFL Network, and you can download his weekly Fantasy Podcast at nfl.com or on iTunes. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca or on Google Plus. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.