I'm sure it will be exciting to see which of your draft choices are big hits, and which were misfires. We want to know which starters have a lock on the position and which look to be supplanted by the guy behind them. We need to see which quarterbacks and receivers have chemistry, which defenses will be on the rise and which veterans and rookies have won their training camp battles.
It will be great to find out all that stuff. It just won't necessarily be this week.
The league calls it week 1, but I think it's more like week zero. The games count, but the depth chart doesn't. There's only so much you can learn from drills and practices. Real game action (or the fake stuff they abandoned in 2020) go a long way in determining who's ready to play and who needs to be on the bench. Nobody had that tool this summer, so there are still a lot of unanswered questions. And the first game is where they'll get a hint of the answers.
What I mean is, your week 1 starters might be on the sideline in week 3. And the guys who you thought "lost" the job in camp might be in the starting lineup after a few games. And different teams have different levels of patience, so some leashes will be longer than others. But right now, headed into the first games of the year, we really don't know where the up-in-the-air positions will land. Nobody knows how some of these players will actually play.
Unfortunately, the two best ways to handle this uncertainty conflict with each other. On one hand, you'll have to be patient with some of your players. They might emerge week 1 looking like they're busts, but end up helping you win a league. The guy who got buried on the depth chart might be a solid starter in October. The recent signing that shook up the team might end up doing nothing at all. And the speed of in-game action might mean injuries that could have been avoided with quality reps in August. What appears to be a bad pick now might look like a genius selection in October.
On the other hand, your waiver wire is deceptive. It looks like it's been picked pretty clean, but there are a few starters just staring you in the face. The problem is that they're week 3 or week 4 starters, and we don't know who they are yet. So you have to be ready to pounce, and scoop up difference-makers who didn't get the chance to shine in the preseason (or the guy ahead of him didn't get a chance to underwhelm).
Sadly, to get some of those guys, or even take a shot with one of them, you have to lose patience with a guy already on your team. You might abandon a player who is about to step in and help your team for a guy who ends up being a legitimate dud.
And you don't have much time to decide. You don't have any, actually. Your waiver wire might already be active, with teams ditching players for guys nobody wanted on draft day. That means there are new options out there, and you'll have to decide (before any games are played) whether they're better than what you already have. With no game action or simulation, everybody is kind of operating in the dark.
On the bright side, at least everyone is on a level playing field. I plan to make as few changes as possible to give my guys a chance to prove themselves. If I feel really confident that a change makes the team better, I'll do it, but exchanging one question mark for another doesn't make much sense. It also doesn't make sense to put too much stock into week zero's depth charts or snap counts. Some traditional preseason decisions might occur during the regular season. It could all look very different after a couple games, so please keep that in mind. Good luck this week.
Are you making any changes before the season starts? How patient do you plan to be with your roster? Are you concerned about any of your starters? Share your thoughts below.