The start of a fantasy football season is always an exciting time, especially in re-draft formats, where fantasy managers are eager to get those top picks into their starting lineups and see how good a job they actually did on draft day.
Obviously, unless you're aware of a player being injured or suspended to start the season, you're not likely to overthink things too much before lineups lock. If you have Todd Gurley II on your team, you can feel very confident -- proud even -- about placing him in your RB1 slot. However, that's not the veteran move to make.
Relax. I'm not telling you to bench Gurley. However, the smarter move is to place him in a flex spot in Week 1. The same goes for Amari Cooper -- or any other player eligible to fill one of your lineup's flex (or OP) who happens to be playing on Monday Night Football. (And in Week 1, you've got even more of these options, as there are two games on the slate for Sept. 10: Jets-Lions and Rams-Raiders.)
Why does it matter? Let's take a look at what happened just last December. Coming off a game in which he scored a rushing touchdown, I'm sure there were some fantasy managers out there who may have rolled the dice on Tampa Bay's Doug Martin in Week 15, on Monday night, against Atlanta. Unfortunately, Martin ended up as a surprise inactive, due to a violation of team rules.
Anyone who had Martin in their fantasy lineup was likely left scrambling, hoping to pick up any available Buccaneer or Falcon off the waiver wire in the hopes of getting some points, rather than an automatic zero. This could have easily been a blessing in disguise for those whose hands were forced to make such a dart throw and make a last-minute acquisition of either WR Justin Hardy or TE O.J. Howard, both of whom ended up finding the end zone.
Yet, those players were only options if you had placed Martin in the flex. Had you placed him in an RB-specific lineup spot, your hands would have been tied. Of the running backs playing in this game, perhaps only Jacquizz Rodgers and/or Derrick Coleman would have been there for you on the wire. Coleman (one target) failed to touch the ball and Rodgers' only contribution to his team came on a pair of kick returns. Fantasy-wise, you were backed into a corner.
Don't get stuck. When you have players -- even healthy ones -- in action on Monday night and you're pretty solid on the starting status of the rest of your lineup, be sure to use them in the flex. While the odds are good that it won't end up making a difference, on those rare occasions when it does, failing to heed this advice will likely cost you a victory.