As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
Welcome to the Aftermath of Week One—a time for people
to overreact with jubilance or despair. Personally, my level of
optimism regarding my teams comes around week 4 or 5 because week
one is always filled with surprises. Whether these shockers stem
from the honest-to-goodness unexpected or things we saw coming,
but should have been ignored is the real question.
I’ll tell you one thing, the Indianapolis Cover 2 was generous
to only one player in my fantasy leagues—TE Eric Johnson—and
that was obviously by design. Here’s the aftermath of my
first week in the FFTOC. If you aren’t familiar with the
league concept and rules, look
||A dreadful performance. I probably picked
what will be his worst game.
||Nothing like Musa Smith’s 3rd career
TD in 5 years to happen tonight.
||Not bad, but an extra few yards and
it could have been two scores.
||At least one of my studs had a game
worthy of the moniker.
||A respectable effort, but I’m sure he’ll
have better games this year.
||A disappointing performance for McMichael
and the Rams.
|| This was a gimmee…
|| Think I’m wondering why I didn’t pick
Manning and Addai? You’re right.
Last year I made the finals and my strategy was to simply use the
“brand name” players early, and then filter in the breakout
players and unearthed gems as the season continues. As usual for
the past four seasons, I have little trouble spotting a good match
up for a defense. My biggest issue is avoiding the poor performance—I
tend to hit on 1-2 players who underachieve. This week it was Brees
and Bush—which will be especially costly for me because they
will surely have much bigger games in future weeks, which means
I may have cost myself two good weeks at these positions. On the
bright side, it’s only the opener…
Let’s move on to the week one files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Adrian Peterson Looked Like A Stud—I’ve
been skeptical of Peterson throughout the preseason. If you didn’t
know my take has been that Peterson has unbelievable natural talent,
but he doesn’t run with patience. I said he’d have
some big games and excite owners, but he’ll also be a heartbreaker
several times this year.
This week, Peterson owners are riding high as the former Sooner
showed off his explosiveness, balance, and power with 103 yards
on 19 carries and a Run Forrest, Run, 60-yard scoring
reception. While 11 of his runs were either behind the guard or
up the middle, 5 of these gains were for less than 4 yards. His
biggest gains were on the edge of the defense where he didn’t
have to display as much patience in the hole. Even NBC Sports
and former Steeler, Jerome Bettis, commented on Peterson’s
lack of patience. Despite the take that Bettis and I share, I
have to say it was exciting to watch AD in his debut.
Lesson Learned: Nothing really
to learn just yet if you know Peterson or the Vikings, but in
case you don’t: 1) The Vikings have an excellent offensive
line. 2) The Falcons are an undersized front seven. 3) Peterson
has great raw talent. 4) I’m still waiting to see Peterson
take what the defense gives him between the tackles on a consistent
Lynch Looked Like A Stud—Here’s the rookie
back who I thought was the best all-around rookie at the position
at this stage. Although Lynch averaged less than 3 yards per carry
in the preseason, he had 19 carries for 90 yards, 2 receptions
for 9 yards, and a very strong scoring run of 23 yards that included
him powering through the 3rd level of the defense to get his six.
The Broncos were a pretty good defensive unit, better than the
Falcons, and they limited JP Losman to a mere 97 yards through
the air. This does mean they took away the passing attack and
made the Bills try to beat them on the ground. Plus Lynch only
had 4 attempts between the tackles and was less successful than
the Vikings rookie. Nevertheless, the Bronco front 7 is a better
unit than Atlanta…
Lesson Learned: Don’t give too much credence to preseason
performances! I can certainly do so. In this case, I think the
fact Lynch performed well against Denver is a good sign for things
to come. It was a rough start for the Bills offense, but there
is reason for optimism in future weeks.
Chris Brown Would Blow Up The Jaguars
Defense—Brown, the 2nd banana to Lendale White, had
19 carries for 175 yards against a stout, Jags front seven in
a 13-10 victory. If you follow the Titans, you know that Brown
is kind of like former Viking RB Robert Smith, a long strider
with good acceleration who is capable of ripping off big gains
when there is a hole to hit.
The problem with Brown thus far in his career has been the ability
to put together two halves of great production within the same
game. A few years ago Brown had more than a few 100-yard first
halves, but didn’t return to the game due to injury. He’s
also a bit suspect as a short yardage runner. Today, Brown had
no problem finishing what he started and had the kind of effort
the Titans hoped from him years ago.
Lesson Learned: The reason
lesson here is not to sleep on the Titans offensive line. We often
forget that they paved for the way for Travis Henry to have a
quality 2006. Even Lendale White had nearly 4 yards per carry
and several of his runs were short yardage or goal line runs where
a gain of 3 yards or less is still considered a productive carry.
Center Kevin Mawae isn’t over the hill yet, and Benji Olsen
is a quality lineman, too. The Titans generally have very strong
play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and it
appears they are making a return to prominence.
The Titans Would Shut Down The Jaguars
Ground Game—Didn’t the Gut Check mention last
week the Titans would have a better defense than many would
expect? If not, the fact he put two defenders on his All-Gut Check
team was a definite statement. Tennessee limited Fred Taylor,
Maurice Jones Drew, and the mobile David Garrard to 72 yards on
the ground. The only touchdown was a 55-yard pass where the speedy
rookie John Broussard snuck past the secondary.
Lesson Learned: I’m not sure whether the Titans were that
good or the Jags were this rusty. Remember, Garrard has mostly
played in the 2nd quarter against second tier defenses when he
“beat out” Byron Leftwich in training camp. I realize
Leftwich looked bad, but 17/30 for 204 yards and a score against
one of the worst pass defenses in 2006 isn’t that impressive.
This should lead one to wonder just how bad the Titans will be.
When all-world LB Keith Bulluck only has 3 tackles with all I
mentioned here, you know the Titans defense stepped up as a unit.
If there’s anything to take from this game that you can
use immediately, it is the fact you shouldn’t draft more
than 1 team defense when you can find surprises on the waiver
wire—Tennessee might just be one of those sleeper units.
Randy Moss And The Patriots Were Sandbagging
Us—Although I mentioned this as a possibility last
week, guess what I did in a dynasty league where I had to choose
between Moss and Stallworth? You guessed it. I chose the 19 yards
on one catch over the 187 and a score on 9 receptions.
Lesson Learned: Randy Moss is a great receiver who played in
sub par situations for the past three seasons. He isn’t
a great all around route runner, but the things that are his strengths
make him as dangerous as any receiver in football. Since he runs
a limited number of routes and is a veteran of the league, practice
really isn’t as important. And the hamstring issues? Well,
Bill Belicheck is about as forthcoming as the CIA when it comes
to the status of his players and anything else for that matter
(And to think I wrote this before the NFL confirmed they had to
take action against the Pats for spying on the Jets).
Funny how much he fumed over Matt Schaub starting for the Falcons
last year when he expected Vick. I guess after watching Moss rip
a hole bigger than the one’s in Coach Belicheck’s
sleeveless sweatshirts, it only had to do with the fact the Pats
CIA director didn’t think of it first.
Clinton Portis Would Be Ready For The
Season—Miami’s defense is no pushover and Portis
logged 17 carries for 98 yards and a touch to Ladell Betts’
59 yards on the same number attempts. Case closed? Probably not
for Betts supporters and Portis detractors, but I’m convinced.
Lesson Learned: Portis said all along that he could have played
with the tendonitis if it were the regular season, but why would
he? The same reasons the Chargers won’t play LT or the Niners
rested Gore after he hurt his hand—they want to give Portis
a chance to heal fully so he could be the back we all know he’s
capable of being for the Redskins. Can you say draft day steal?
You might not be now, but it looks like a possibility 6-7 weeks
Lee Evans Would Gain 5 Yards Receiving—Evans
was limited to 2 receptions for a nickel’s worth of yardage
versus the Broncos in their last-second loss. One of the more
dangerous young receivers in football had no room to operate.
Lesson Learned: Here’s a lesson
we’ve known in Athens Georgia for many years…Two-thirds of the
earth is covered by water and one-third by Champ Bailey! Don’t
overreact, Evans will get his—the season is young. But
this is why Evans is better as a #2 WR if you were able to land
him there. Meanwhile pick up a guy like Derrick
Mason who is possibly lounging on your waiver wire—Mason will
provide consistent numbers as a #3 WR if you need to shore up
Nagging Feelings—Week 2
I think the Saints are going to rebound in a big way versus a
banged up Tampa squad. I think Drew
Brees and Reggie
Bush produce with a vengeance. More importantly, I think the
New Orleans offensive line will be awake.
There were two match ups last weekend that seemed like ugly games
between two mediocre teams, but I think the numbers were deceiving
for both. The first was the Eagles-Packers tilt—a contest
featuring two strong defenses. Look for Favre and McNabb to produce
more in coming weeks. Favre needs Vernand Morency to return to
the lineup and produce despite the fact he had a great effort
to keep his team in this game. McNabb just needs to stay healthy.
The other game was the Raiders-Lions contest. The Raiders offense
looked much better this year. I know the Lions defense is nothing
special, but the Raiders were more consistent in their execution
than the last two seasons. The play calling was definitely better
than the Bed and Breakfast Offense of OC Tom Walsh (good term
Nestrick, had to lift it from you) and LaMont
Jordan and Ronald
Curry looked like they are ready for big seasons. Both are
players who can gain yardage after the catch and Coach Lane Kiffin’s
offense is getting these two players into space. Denver will be
a bigger test defensively, in week three they’ll match up with
Cleveland. The Lions face Minnesota and I would say their defense
is not quite as talented as the Raiders.
I know Derrick Ward is the waiver wire flavor of the week, but
if you can’t get him and Droughns is gone you might want
to keep an eye on Ahmad Bradshaw. The rookie out of Marshall had
193 yards on kick returns Sunday night and I believe he’ll
get chances to spell Ward here an there. Don’t add him unless
you are really in a deep dynasty league with a luxury pick, but
watch the box scores or Giants games to see how much work he gets.
Look for LB Karlos Dansby to finally break out this year. Ken
Whisenhunt and company is the staff that finally knows how to
use this speedy hitter on blitz situations. Last night, a Dansby
created havoc with a sack and forced fumble in the first half.
Randle El. Fluke or find? He sure looked like a find in the
preseason through the opener. With teams concentrating on Santana
Moss and Chris Cooley the former Steeler could be poised for a
nice season—700-900 yards and a half dozen scores. Not as promising
as his week one suggests, but surely good enough to add him to
your roster if in need of additional WR depth. Remember, Campbell
is still developing and the Redskins are still a run-first offense.