As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
The FFTOC Finals have begun and Hindsight wasn’t dogging
me at all as I posted the top-scoring team to begin the postseason.
There are two teams in the top 25 that are starting Brady or Moss
have a chance to overtake my early lead, but this week played
out as well as I could have expected:
||The Jags allow a ton of yards through
the air, the Colts were at home, and Ugoh was back in
the lineup. It was worth the wait to use Peyton.
||I live 55 miles from Atlanta and grew
up there, I knew this was the week Jackson would be
a good play.
||Westbrook has had bigger games, but
he was the safest play with Denver’s uncertainty between
Henry and Young.
||The Titans secondary is no match for
Johnson this weekend. He fit the mold of the player
on a team trying to stay alive for a wildcard.
||Another throwback game this weekend—this
was a no-brainer.
||If this is my worst performance, I’ll
||No score, but I’m happy with this production
from a TE.
||Folk has become a scoring machine with
this Cowboy offense.
||I talked a lot about Dilfer making this
49er offense better, but I didn’t have many defensive
choices here, so I hedged by bets!
||One of my three best weeks of the year,
and when it counts most. Going into Monday night, it
was the best FFTOC performance of the week!
The worst pick was Brandon Marshall, considering that Roy Williams
was a consideration and his last game turned out to be Sunday (sprained
knee), but I’m still looking good with three weeks left.
QB (Need 3) — D. Anderson;
D. Garrard; J. Kitna; M. Bulger; E. Manning; J. Cutler; M. Schaub;
It couldn’t be better for me that the referees didn’t
call a force out on the last play of the Browns-Cardinals game,
because it means Cleveland has to play lights out football to
hold off the Titans for the final playoff spot in the AFC. So
as tempted I was to play Derek Anderson this week, I still had
Peyton Manning and his final regular season, must-win game. If
Kitna and Bulger can regroup from lackluster play and injuries,
respectively, I like my remaining choices
RBs (Need 6) — J. Addai;
F. Gore; Peterson (Minnesota); Peterson (Chicago); R. Grant; E.
Graham; R. Droughns; F. Jackson; T. Henry/S. Young/A.Hall; J.
Fargas; D. Foster; L. Maroney; J. Chatman; K. Smith; M. Morris;
The Colts face Baltimore this week, but half Oakland in week
15. It’s a bit of a dilemma with Addai, considering the
Colts strengthened their lead in the division and may consider
resting players by the time they face Oakland. I don’t think
Addai will be on the bench against Oakland, but there’s
a chance. Gore faces Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Cleveland in two
of the next three weeks and A.D. and his broken-in brace take
on San Francisco this week with the playoffs in the balance. I
may not have all the marquee names, but I do have 8-10 runners
playing very well lately.
WR (Need 9) — L. Fitzgerald;
L. Evans; D. Driver; J. Cotchery; D. Bowe; R. White; A. Gonzalez;
J. Gage; M. Jenkins; I. Hilliard; S. Moss; D. Mason; B. Engram;
J. Porter; M. Muhammad; M. Furrey; S. McDonald; N. Burleson; A.
Toomer; E. Wilford; K. Robinson; J. Jurevicius; K. McCardell;
J. Reed; D.J. Hackett; D Henderson; A. Davis; B. Wade; S. Rice;
D. Northcutt; V. Jackson; M. Booker; T. Ginn; S. Morey;
This is my weakest position on paper, but I’m confident
I can get enough production from nine of these players.
TE (Need 3) — A. Gates;
J. Shockey; D. Lee; J. King; G. Olsen; B. Watson; T. Scheffler;
L.J. Smith; Z. Miller; M. Lewis.
Gates, Shockey, and Lee aren’t bad remaining options.
Let’s move on to the week thirteen files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Rex Ryan Would Beat The Ravens:
Willis McGahee and the offensive line pounded the Patriots all
night. The wind prevented Brady from beating New England deep,
although Randy Moss got open—Moss even dropped two touchdown
passes. Kyle Boller played one of the best games of his career.
But who would have thought on 4th and 1 on the last drive of the
game, Rex Ryan would call a time out just as the Ravens defense
stuffed a Tom Brady sneak to end the game and upset the undefeated
Lesson Learned: I didn’t know whom to cheer in this game.
I needed Moss to catch one of those two touchdown passes, but
the Ravens defense played great and I like that they confused
Brady when Peyton Manning dissected them twice in two seasons
(yes, another reason why Manning is better than Brady) with greater
ease. Still I had to cheer for Brady so Moss could get more chances.
But next thing I know, I’m cheering for the Ravens offense
to tie the game and they nearly did with that Hail Mary throw.
If they only had enough seconds on the clock to call a timeout.
My lesson learned? The great thing about fantasy football is that
you can appreciate good football and cheer for both teams in a
game you otherwise wouldn’t have more than a passing interest
because you’re not a fan of either team.
Adrian Peterson Would Play This Well With
A Knee Brace: I’m sure Kenoy Kennedy didn’t
imagine he’d be on the receiving end of the NFL equivalent
of getting posterized by a runner with a brace the size of a shark
cage attached to his knee. Can you imagine what A.D. might do
without a knee brace? If you saw him against Chicago and San Diego
in November, yes you can.
Lesson Learned: Seems like paralysis by analysis can occur when
the media has a coach they have had an easy time second-guessing.
I’ve been critical of Brad Childress repeatedly this year,
but when the Vikings staff came under fire for potentially rushing
Peterson back to the field, they apparently knew what they were
Josh Mccown Would Have 3 Scores And A
66% Completion Percentage: If anything, we thought Culpepper
bought one more week of play before JaMarcus Russell saw time.
Instead, McCown put them ahead early and they never trailed against
the Broncos. Russell did see time and went 4/7 for 56 yards with
3 rushing attempt for 4 yards.
Lesson Learned: “Seeing time,” is a relative term
for a rookie quarterback. If we heard the phase, “Get his
first start,” then we’re talking something different.
The Rules Would Have A Huge Impact On
The Last Play Of A Game, Part I: Kellen Winslow catches
a last-second pass, but has two defensive backs push him out of
bounds and the Browns lose. The refs could have changed the outcome
of this game by calling a push out and awarding the touchdown
to Winslow and Cleveland. Winslow made an incredible catch, but
not an incredible completion due to the way the rules are currently
Lesson Learned: In my opinion, there is no controversy here.
As I watched this game, I personally wanted to see Winslow be
rewarded for an incredible, clutch-grab—the kind of plays
he made on 4th downs as a Miami Hurricane—but I understand
the logic of the NFL’s rule for push outs. If the on-field
refs at the University of Phoenix Stadium called a push out, the
ref in the booth could not review the play because it was a judgment
call. Remember, if there is not clear evidence to overturn the
play, the booth cannot overrule it. Unfortunately, everyone is
looking at the great play Winslow made and wants to see him rewarded
despite the fact the booth does not have enough hard evidence
to overturn the call. We really don’t know whether Winslow
would have gotten both feet in bounds. I want to believe he would.
I would have even placed money on it, but it doesn’t mean
it clearly would have happened. There’s too much speculation
involved in this play and all the critics are overly emotional
about the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve involved
with the outcome and standings if catch were ruled a completion.
The Rules Would Have A Huge Impact On
The Last Play Of A Game, Part II: Joe Gibbs calls a time
out to ice the Bills’ Ryan Lindell on a 51-yard field goal
attempt that he follows through and makes as the refs blow the
whistle. This was his second straight time out before the same
play—a penalty that allowed Lindell to win the game from
a much closer range.
Lesson Learned: I’m a critic who only knows what he observes.
I admit it. I wish the rest of the critics on television would
admit it, too. Joe Gibbs is the manager of 53 players and 15-20
assistant coaches and trainers. Should a manager of a 73-person
team know the moves of every employee at every moment during work
hours? In theory yes, but it’s not likely in reality. Should
a CEO know the decisions of all 10,000 of his employees at every
moment at work? I don’t think so and most business analysts
would give you the same answer.
I’d consider Gibbs and other NFL coaches more akin to a
high-level executive. They have as much, if not more media exposure
and pressure as executives. NFL coaches get paid like high-level
managers. Heck, they even get hired to speak to executives when
their careers are over (or at least have some CEO quoting him
at motivational meeting)! Cut Gibbs some slack. He lost one of
the best two players on his squad in a tragic shooting and his
team still played well enough to make the game close.
They also talk about Gibbs not knowing about Greg Williams’
plan to start the first defensive series with 10 players on the
field and pair it with the fact he’s lost this team and
lost touch with the game. Does Tony Korhneiser, Bob Ryan, or any
other columnist have a clue what their spouses and children are
doing every moment while they are on TV talking about this stuff?
Does it make them bad parents if they don’t? Should we judge
them? I’m just not buying it.
Gibbs is a Hall of Fame coach who took responsibility for his
mistake. He’s a leader with accountability and players have
sworn by him as a coach and human being. The media likes to set
up heroes and goats. They did this conveniently with Gibbs and
the Redskins. You could almost hear them all week long, saying
things with the same subtext of Lou Holtz talking up a division-II
opponent: The Redskins aren’t going to be anywhere ready
to play this game (But we’re setting them up so we can
cover this great story about them heroically winning one for Sean
Taylor) and Joe Gibbs is a great leader and will rally this
team (But we’re setting him up to fail if he or his
team makes a mistake). No leader is previously equipped
to handle a situation as unique as what happened with Sean Taylor’s
shooting. Admire the Redskins for playing as well as they did.
It’s just a game—not a war against world tyranny.
If the media really wants to pay respects to Taylor, show some
class and don’t overanalyze the team’s actions in
the wake of his death when no one committed a crime, cheated,
or behaved poorly.
Hines Ward Would Come Up Big In The Rain
Against Cincinnati: With 8 catches for 90 yards and two
scores in a sloppy game against the divisional rival Bengals,
Ward surpassed John Stallworth’s touchdown record.
Lesson Learned: Hines Ward + Bad Weather vs. Bad Pass Defense
= Fantasy Points. Drill it into your head.
Joey Galloway Would Come Up Big Versus
The Saints: Although Galloway’s route adjustment
on a blitz that resulted on a Mike McKenzie interception return
for a score and nearly cost them the game, the Bucs receiver continued
his dominance of the Saints secondary.
Lesson Learned: Pay attention to history. It would have told
you Galloway is a good play versus New Orleans regardless of who
is throwing the ball to him.
Nagging Feelings—Week 14
Fargas may seriously have a shot to start next year. Lamont
Jordan is trying to talk his way out of town after losing his
starting job and Michael Bush is a runner Oakland will evaluate
in the off season. Don’t be surprised if they draft a back, but
Fargas is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and could surpass 1000
yards rushing (he already has 1000 total from scrimmage) with
only five starts in 2007. Don’t look now but Fargas could be that
#3-#4 RB you draft next year between rounds 5-8 who becomes a
strong starter. We’re talking about a 6-1, 220-lb back with speed.
He’s the size of Edgerrin James with great speed! He doesn’t have
James’ vision, but he’s a hard-nosed player. I like Fargas and
he’s a runner I’d consider acquiring either in the mid-rounds
of a re-draft or a draft day trade in a dynasty league. I know
a 4-8 record isn’t impressive, but Lane Kiffin has done a good
job in his first season with the Raiders and Fargas will only
be entering his 6th season. He’s a low risk, high reward option
if you head into a negotiation for him if you understand the landscape
of his competition.
Norwood starting for the Falcons? No disrespect to Warrick
Dunn, who has had a great career, but I thought it was no
coincidence Atlanta seemed to throw better after Norwood saw more
time. When an opposing team such as the Bucs said the player they
feared the most was Atlanta’s second-string halfback, you understand
something is fundamentally wrong about the team. Bobby Petrino’s
party line argument is that Norwood isn’t starting due to his
lack of patience as a runner, but doesn’t one learn a lot more—and
a lot faster—from game experience? It’s a different arena, but
one of the greatest improvisational musicians of our time, saxophonist
Sonny Rollins, said in the December 2007 issue of Downbeat
Magazine that “You can learn more in two minutes on the stage
than from practicing maybe five weeks; in a subliminal way, all
these things happen, and you learn.” The Falcons are now officially
out of contention, this is the time to give Norwood the bulk of
the carries and let him learn from doing rather than the slow
motion pace of practice. The great backs have linked running the
football to an intuitive-improvisatory act and from what I’ve
seen of Norwood, he’s about 150 regularly fed carries from becoming
a top-flight back.