An NFL Fan's Survival Guide To Week One.

"Shaw smash."

Forget what you heard, this is the most wonderful time of the year. I don't care what you think you know, football season is the greatest thing there is. Baseball definitely gives it a run for its' money in my book, but the tension and bi-polarness of it all makes the NFL an event instead of just another league. The legions of fans who deck themselves out every week in various shades form a technicolor stampede and a cult-like atmosphere. The energy is electric, the air is so thick with tension you could cut it with a knife and serve it as hors d'ouvres at your tailgating party, and we can't wait to get things rolling again. So light up those grills one more time, the season has officially kicked off and hope springs eternal. Welcome to week one.

First off, remember that this is, at the end of it all, week one. What I'm saying is that the term "midseason form" exists for a reason other than to anger those who dislike sports clichés. There will be some unexpected week one heroes, there will also be some really poor performances by players we expect big things out of. But wait, WHY? WHAT IS PROTOCOL HERE? Because football is a game played by the best athletes on earth and because every single player in the league is probably better at football than you or I will ever be at anything, there will be some truly odd things in week one. Do not be sucked in. Putting too much stock in week one can be fatal. Assume the Titans head into week one with a ton of confidence and thrash the defending conference champions. It's not impossible, the Titans have played over their heads before (see: week two of last year) and they're capable of doing it again. They could sneak a victory in and start the season 1-0. Of course, we'd all be elated and some would start to make some bold predictions. Don't do that. Celebrate the win like it's 1999, but remember that while a week one win represents a sixteenth of the games that the Titans play this year, it's far from predicative of future performance. Winners of week one games last year include Jacksonville (like you need to be reminded), Buffalo, Philly, NY Jets, Arizona, and Washington, over the world champions no less. None of those teams were very good in 2011, none of them figure to be very good in 2012 either. To sum it up with another overused colloquialism: any given Sunday, ya'll, celebrate or lament that it happened when appropriate, but don't dwell on past successes/failures, it's a long season, if you care this much about week one you'll drive yourself insane by week six. There is still time to recover, just as there is still time to falter.

This is especially important to remember for fantasy football. Remember what I said about this game being played by the best athletes in the world? It's true. Guys like Kevin Ogletree are capable of going off at any given moment and torching a secondary. How do I know this? Because he is a professional football player, he kind of has a knack for this type of thing. Yes, there's obviously a talent discrepancy, but know that most any player is capable of having a great game, they all possess the potential to do that. You can probably see where I'm going with this. Basically, I live by a rule in fantasy football: no waiver pickups during week one. I don't care how impressive he looked last night, I'm not second-guessing the moves I made last week just because Player X went off this week. Nobody drafted him for a reason; because he hasn't been very good at any point in his career. This may seem counter-intuitive, a man who makes bold roster moves and succeeds because he adapts generally finds his way to wins, but hold fast. This player may never have a good week again and is now just taking up a valuable spot on your limited bench. If you must make a roster move this early, at least consider flipping the newly acquired waiver-wire superstar. Basic economics here people: listen to offers, buy low, sell high, and don't look back.

In essence, week one is all about avoiding the knee-jerk reaction. Hold the line, after the dust settles and week one is over, we still can't make any definitive statements about the season because only 60 minutes of football have been played. The time to be aggressive and to make bold predictions will come, as for now, relish the highs, simmer on the lows, and remember that it's just seven more days until week two and we do it all over again.

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