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20/20 Hindsight - Week 10

As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy Football Confessional.”

I dropped from #17 to #44 after my worst week of the season in the FFTOC, but that still keeps me well within range of advancing to the final stage. Although no longer winning my bracket, I’m still well within range of advancing to the next round.

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB D. McNabb 37.74 I thought about Losman and Warner here, but the decimated Redskins secondary was too good to pass up.
RB C. Benson 15.7 I’m thrilled he had a decent week and I don’t have to count on Benson at the next level of the tourney.
RB W. Dunn 20.0 It was between Foster and Dunn at this spot and the lack of certainty at QB for Carolina this week sealed the deal.
WR R. Brown 11.5 A last-minute substitution that paid off.
WR D. Patten 3.7 Oh well…it’s not like he was a marquee WR like say…
WR A. Boldin 2.5 …I picked the wrong Cardinals receiver this week.
TE V. Davis 0.4 The Niners line was in max protect for much of the game…sucks for me.
K M. Stover 1.0 Wow…I don’t think I ever had a kicker score this low.
DEF Ravens 3.0 I thought for sure Baltimore would rebound…
  Total 95.54 Better effort overall. I could ride this type of effort the rest of the way.

Although the score was just slightly above average, I got this effort out of players I didn’t want to use in the finals. McNabb should continue to get better, but he’s been the very opposite of the most consistent QB of the past 5 years—something he once was prior to the ACL tear. Benson just lacks that special something you see from a lesser physical talent, but better overall player like Marion Barber. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Barber in Chicago or Seattle next season if Dallas doesn’t re-sign him. Warrick Dunn was an ideal match up against a Carolina squad that didn’t have the offensive firepower to build a lead that would force Atlanta away from running the football. Again, the output was decent at best, but the fact I actually hit on a decent week from Reggie Brown is huge.

At this point in the season I’m still feeling good about the remaining players for the final cut:

QBs—P. Manning; B. Favre; D. Anderson; M. Bulger; E. Manning; K. Warner.

RBs—B. Westbrook; J. Addai; S. Jackson; F. Gore; A. Peterson; J. Lewis; S. Young/T. Henry; J. Fargas; L. Maroney; J. Chatman; E. Graham; J. Jones; R. Grant; D. Foster; D. Williams; P. Holmes; C. Taylor; M. Morris.

WR—L. Fitzgerald; L. Evans; Roy Williams; H. Ward; G. Jennings; A. Johnson; D. Driver; C. Henry; J. Cotchery; D. Bowe; R. White; A. Davis; I. Hilliard; I. Bruce; B. Marshall; S. Moss; M. Clayton; D. Mason; J. Porter; D.J. Hackett; B. Engram.

TE—A. Gates; J. Shockey; K. Winslow; G. Olsen; C. Cooley; B. Watson; L. Pope; D. Lee.

Let’s move on to the week one files of 20/20 Hindsight.

Would've (From The Who Would Have Known File)

Clinton Portis Would Be A Second-Half Player: Portis now has consecutive 120+ yard efforts, this time versus an Eagles defense, which is still a more respectable unit than the New York Jets. Despite the fact the Redskin receiving corps had to feature former Eagle, James Thrash, Portis was still able to turn it up a notch and gain 137 yards on 30 carries. This helped the Redskins control the time of possession in the game, but it was Brian Wesbrook’s big play at the end that ultimately did them in.

Lesson Learned: Portis has long been a second half stud. From 2003-2005 he averaged nearly 3 fantasy points more per game during weeks 9-17 than he did in the first eight games. This may be less dramatic a difference than some other backs, but few have played as many games and consistently turned it up a notch down the stretch as often as the Redskins’ starter. No one is really talking about Portis, but he’s the 5th-ranked fantasy RB heading into week 10. All I know is that the RB is dressing up for press conferences again—must be a good sign he’s feeling more like himself. That’s a good thing for fantasy owners down the stretch.

Mark ClaytonMark Clayton Would Have A One Hundred-Yard Receiving Effort: It was the Raven wide receiver’s first good statistical game of the year, but didn’t arrive until week 10. This is a receiver found on most waiver wires and with McNair and Boller throwing the rock his way it’s no surprise he’s been a fantasy castoff. But Clayton was one of the few offensive bright spots for Baltimore this week.

Lessons Learned: Although Clayton has only 8 “second half” games under his belt from 2003-2005, he was only second to Lee Evans as a stretch-run player during that period. Clayton also demonstrated great improvement last season from weeks 9-17. If you want a buy low option with upside, I’d take my risk with Clayton. The Ravens can’t get much worse on offense and it wasn’t as if Buffalo was a juggernaut when Lee Evans was having his typically explosive weeks down the stretch.

Could've (From The Who Could Have Known File)

James Thrash Would Have 2 Scores: The Redskins receiver had 5 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. The 11th-year vet was a huge reason why Washington stayed in the ball game.

Lesson Learned: Veteran receivers aren’t bad risks to take in a desperate situation. This year we’ve seen surprise performances from Ike Hilliard, Bobby Engram, and Andre Davis. None of them were counted on to be starters at the top of the season but they have faired admirably well in spot duty.

Should've (From The I Knew I Should’ve File)

Selvin Young Was A Guy Not To Sleep On: Here was my take on Selvin Young in July’s Rookie Impact Series.

Selvin Young has two ifs attached to his reputation as a football player. If #1: Injury concerns—he tore his ACL in 2005. If #2: He has shown repeated difficult protecting the football. These were enough for Young to go undrafted, but the Denver Broncos thought enough of Young to sign him as a free agent and let go of journeyman Cedric Cobbs—a player who actually looked good enough at times last preseason to warrant a serious look at starting in 2006.

I liked Young’s quickness, elusiveness, and receiving skills. I watched the Texas Longhorn runner make some impressive catches in coverage—even on a deep, wheel route 20-30 yards downfield. Young split time with Jamaal Charles, a player I believe is one of the better runners in college football, at Texas and still acquitted himself well.

Young will be competing with Cecil Sapp and Andre Hall for a post on the Broncos active roster and as the third string back to Travis Henry and Mike Bell. Sapp is a lock because of his proven performance in spot duty and skills as a fullback. That leaves Hall and Young and I believe one—if not both—will see time on the practice squad in 2007. But I believe Young has enough talent to start in the NFL one day and he’s not a guy to sleep on.

Lesson Learned: I’m going to shamelessly plug my Rookie Scouting Portfolio every chance I get. Especially when I continue to give good marks to players that others don’t even consider. The 2008 version of the RSP will be available in April. Here are Selvin Young’s checklists and profiles against two opponents: Ohio State and Texas Tech. The tape rarely lies…and if you ask my dynasty league (where I’m sporting a 7-3 record), they’ll tell you I drafted Young with my last pick in the rookie draft. I believe in my homework.

Brad Childress Suffers From An Ego Too Big To Keep A Head-Coaching Job: Looks like the Jaguars finally gave Maurice Jones Drew the ball enough times to win their game—even against the top rush defense in the NFL. This means I have to pick on someone else and with great pleasure let’s focus on the idiot savant head coach, Brad Childress. Most of us heard about Childress and the Vikings initially docking Troy Williamson a week of pay for taking off work to arrange the funeral of the woman who raised him. That’s clearly idiot move numero uno, but to follow it up with the statement, “Sometimes it’s better to get it right than to be right,” as a response to backtracking on quite possibly the dumbest personnel decision a pro sports team has made this year is insensitive by any standard.

Childress is the same coach that proudly selected and displayed Tarvaris Jackson as his player of the future after getting rid of Daunte Culpepper. If you didn’t know, Jackson was a 2nd round pick with about a 4th or 5th round grade, at best. I graded Jackson two years ago and gave him a rating equivalent of a project; a college star with more than one deficiency in his game that needs development before he can even make the squad. I know I’m just some piddling writer, but even if any of you stupid football fans (I don’t think you are, but Childress acts as if that’s how he views us. If he thinks he was right to dock Troy Williamson for letting the death of his grandmother get in the way of his job then he must think we’re even dumber) observed and graded Jackson’s college film systematically, then you would prefer to be known as a dumb ass when someone of Childress’ ilk is doing the name calling.

But as much a Childress deserves criticism for not using Peterson enough against Dallas, drafting a quarterback who would not make any other NFL roster as even the back up, and docking a player a paycheck for behaving like a decent man, it’s one other thing that solidifies Childress’ place in the Hall of Shame for smooth moves as a coach and personnel man: getting rid of Brad Johnson. I know Culpepper needed to go so that’s not as big a deal as telling Johnson to get lost. Think about Vikings with a quarterback who knows how to manage third downs, two-minute drills, and keep mistakes to a minimum. They already have one of the best offensive lines in the league, the best pure runner in the league and a defense that would perform much better if the offense wasn’t so one dimensional. We also know that Brad Johnson provides that much-needed, veteran leadership and understanding of what it takes to win a Super Bowl.

Lesson Learned: Childress could have looked like a genius this year and made the NFC North a genuine three-team race. Instead, he preferred to let his ego get in the way. He’s got little man syndrome with his football team. Threatened by Culpepper as the old leader of this team? Gets rid of him. Drafts a QB way too high for his skills to get attention from the media and dumps the best QB they had on the roster in 2006 so his first-year starter can waste the talent of the best offensive line in football. Why? Because Childress wants to be known as an offensive genius and wants to be respected as a leader and visionary at the cost of looking like a fool. You can tell just from his quote in response to the Williamson flap that he can’t stand being wrong. In hindsight, it kind of makes you wonder if T.O. bad-mouthing Childress wasn’t warranted a bit, doesn’t it? Probably not, but it did cross my mind after thinking about Childress’ latest gaffe. Then again, the Richard Nixon of the NFL was just as stupid in his first NFL coaching stint in Cleveland and we finally saw him reach the White House three times…

Nagging Feelings—Week 11

I have been saying this for weeks, but did you see Chris Henry’s impact on the Bengals offense? I know Cincy didn’t score touchdown, but the receiver fresh off suspension racked up 99 yards on 4 receptions. This is going to have a huge impact on the Bengals passing game and I believe Carson Palmer and company will lead a bit of a surge in Cincy this month. In other words, your team should have caught the Bungles in October, because the Bengals are making a return to Cincinnati. Not long enough for a playoff spot, but enough to spoil a chance for others.

Nagging feelings about player movement: Marion Barber will be a Bear or Seahawk. It would be awe-inspiring to see McNabb and Barber sign with the Bears, but I doubt Chicago could land both players. The Bears need Barber more, but Seattle would be the best fit for his skills. If Barber becomes a Seahawk and that team stays relatively intact, Barber could make Seattle a co-favorite in the NFC in 2008. Personally, Dallas would be nuts to get rid of Barber over Julius Jones. Romo may be the main event in Dallas, but Barber is the guts of that team.

I believe Priest Holmes will have a decent game this week against the Colts. He only averaged a shade over 3 yards per carry, but the 20 attempts tells me that Herm believes Holmes will get better as the rust wears off. I think we see an 80 or 90-yard game and a score from Holmes this week and a big day against Oakland in week 12 if LJ isn’t ready to return. Running backs need reps and despite what Herm said about 15 touches, I think Holmes will continue to see the ball a lot—especially with Brodie Croyle taking over the job.