As we open the season, all of our NFL teams have the same goal— to play in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona on February 1. Our fantasy teams have the same goal— to play in our respective league’s Super Bowl whatever week (usually 16) that it falls on. For some of you, getting there will be difficult if not impossible. Others will find the road to be easy, and cruise through the season. For me, I fall in the latter when it comes to getting to the Super Bowl. That’s mainly because I live about 40 minutes north of University of Phoenix Stadium. Getting to the Super Bowl is easy for me, even if traffic sucks.

That’s what I’m here for. To help you navigate the journey from your starting point to your league’s Super Bowl. We’ll help you avoid the roadblocks of poor play, the detours of bye weeks, and the potholes of injuries. That said, let’s turn the key on the season and start giving some recommendations for players who can be picked up now to help you out in the long term.

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It’s been hot as hell for two months here in Texas, but the rest of the country seems to consider Memorial Day Weekend as the kickoff of the summer. The NFL is no different apparently, as it’s using the start of bikini season to get rid of those excess LBs. In this case, I’m talking about Sean Lee and Daryl Washington, but Andy Reid and the Ryan brothers can always stand to drop some weight. Let’s take a look at how the loss of two studs for the season affects the IDP landscape for 2014:

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I already went over my (admittedly vague) definition of a Sleeper and Bust in the Defensive Line version of this article, but it’s worth revisiting. A sleeper is someone who will significantly outperform their draft position, allowing you to improve your team at other positions, while a bust is someone who will essentially do the opposite.

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The 2013 NFL draft was ripe with talent on the defensive side of the ball, and there are quite a few guys picked that should go on to be perennial Pro Bowlers. But even the best defensive players may not start lighting up the stat sheet until the end of their first season, or even later. JJ Watt and Jason Pierre-Paul didn’t take the league by storm until their second year, Ronde Barber didn’t truly break out until his fourth season in the league, and we’re still waiting on Vernon Gholston to show us what he’s got.

From a fantasy perspective, this year’s draft doesn’t have anyone who is likely to match Luke Kuechly’s LB1 output in 2012. In fact, we’ll be lucky to see something like Vontaze Burfict’s LB24 finish. The top talent is probably at Defensive Tackle, and while the big boys are vital to a team’s defensive success, they don’t tend to have much of an impact in IDP leagues that don’t require their presence.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t have any impact rookies this year, it just may take some time to figure out who they are. Here is a look at each position and how relevant the rookies will be in 2013 IDP leagues.

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We’re two weeks into free agency, and things have pretty much been decided on the offensive side of the ball. Mike Wallace is in Miami, Reggie Bush is in Detroit, and Terrell Owens is shockingly still out there. On defense, things are still in a bit of flux. Elvis Dumervil’s contract situation has been well-documented, […]

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If you’re looking for a good way to avoid depression in the month following the Super Bowl, I recommend holding a Winter Meeting for your league. This is a perfect opportunity to meet up with your league-mates, award the championship trophy, and deliver your oft-rehearsed excuse why your team didn’t make the playoffs. (Pro-Tip: If […]

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Fantasy Football thoughts and opinions heading into NFL Week 1.   New Orleans 34, Green Bay 42 I think the NFL should have used this version of an American anthem to kick off the season. Pierre Thomas, not Darren Sproles, was the running back in the first part of the two minute drill. Head coach […]

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