As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
Two rough weeks and forgetting I had Anthony Gonzalez in my
available player pool dropped me from 1st to 27th in the FFTOC,
but in this league it’s still possible to make up a 40-point
deficit with a strong weekend.
||Two by air and one by ground against
Oakland was what I expected. If only the Raiders kept
it closer, I needed every point I could get.
||He was very close to two scores. Too
bad, he was pulled in the 4th QTR.
||Originally had Maroney, but several
factors scared me off—too bad, the stats told the truth,
I just refused to listen.
||Excellent day that almost wasn’t with
the TD reviewed on replay.
||That’s what I get for forgetting I had
him when he was playing well.
||This was just an obvious play with what
I had left at the receiver spot.
||Same for ignoring Lee all this time.
||Divisional rivalries spawn field goals…look
||Just what a few different moves in 3
weeks could have meant!
Any shot at the big bucks went out the window when I inserted Graham
in place of Maroney and this total may not even keep me in the money.
It was a good season overall, but when you can count the moves on
one hand that could have meant the difference between placing in
the top 30 and winning the tourney, it’s a more difficult
pill to swallow.
A Player Could Make $48,235 For Getting
Added From Waivers Prior To The Weekend And Released Afterwards:
That’s FB Zack Crockett’s story. Waived by the Bucs
he was added to the Cowboy’s roster for the weekend while
Roy Williams served his suspension. You can own a house, car,
and support two kids relatively well on that kind of change for
a year in many parts of this country. Don’t you wish you
could get laid off from your job, take a job where you are handed
a playbook, a ticket to Charlotte, and a uniform so you can sit
on the sideline and earn nearly 50 grand for the weekend? Where
do I sign up? Talk about fantasy football…that’s it!!!
Lesson Learned: Crockett has
been playing for 14 years. I hope he had the wherewithal to live
on a third to half his salary…Because he won’t be
picking up that kind of weekend money in the real world.
Laurence Maroney Would Save His Best For
Last: The thing that blows for fantasy owners like me who
were leery Maroney would get enough touches was the guy gained
74% of his yardage on five touches—including the touchdown!
How do you account for five touches? Of course, I played Earnest
Graham how wound up with five touches all game. We all knew Maroney
was a good runner and the Dolphins defense was a great match up.
What we second-guessed was whether the Richard Nixon of the NFL
would pull his henchmen in the 3rd quarter or if the predicted
storms for the second half would make offense more difficult to
Lesson Learned: Sometimes fantasy football is as crazy as the
The Brady And Moss Couldn’t Beat
The Records Of Manning And Rice Despite Running Up The Score Of
Games All Year Long: There were at least 3 passes where
Brady threw the ball in triple coverage to Moss as the duo attempted
to break the individual records they have been chasing. The results
were penalties, interceptions, and nearly a knee injury for Moss.
Lesson Learned: Personally,
I think it would be divine justice if Brady and Moss didn’t
get the individual records they were so clearly pressing to achieve
in the second half of the Miami game. Brady is always telling
the media that this is a team game and no one cares about records.
Bill Belicheck looks like he’s in a room with a bunch of
continuously flatulent, old, and white men as he answers every
question in the weekly press conferences—okay, maybe this
is true. Still, Belicheck knows that we know his intentions: he
wants dictate his will upon the league although he plays dumb
about it in his petulant and smug manner. This is a team game
and what we saw in the second half was not team football. As much
as I like Randy Moss, Jerry Rice’s 22 scores in a strike-shortened
season is still a phenomenal achievement beyond what Moss may
surpass in week 17. Maybe both of these guys know they won’t
be playing much next week, so they were trying to get theirs early.
Bill, Tom and Randy, Merry Christmas and congratulations on your
impending regular season record—may justice be divine.
Who Would Have Known The Longest TD Run
Of The NFL Season Came From… Not Adrian Peterson.
Not Reggie Bush. LT? Nope. Brian Westbrook. Nada. Maroney? It
probably feels that way for most of us who didn’t start
him. Frank Gore? Okay, sorry I’m getting carried away. How
about a 7th round pick, I profiled
as a long shot in June? Bingo. No one in his right mind would
have started Bradshaw on Sunday, but if you are looking for a
potential dynasty bargain, look no further.
Lesson Learned: The best players aren’t always on the field
right away. Look at David Garrard toiling behind Byron Leftwich
until Del Rio had the guts to make the move. I think the same
can be said about Bradshaw behind Jacobs and Droughns except that
Bradshaw really hasn’t toiled much. Seriously, he’s
had issues with fumbling kickoffs while showing flashes of excellence.
I’m sure Droughns, Jacobs, and even Ward also knew the pass
protection schemes better than Bradshaw. But as a runner, he might
be the best of the three in terms of vision and elusiveness.
David Garrard Would Be Money: Did
you learn your lesson about the Raiders’ misleadingly lofty
pass defense stats and start Garrard in a game the Jags needed
to win in order to clinch a playoff spot? If you did, you were
rewarded with three scores in three and a half quarters of work.
If you didn’t, I hope you didn’t use one of these
guys over Garrard: Romo, Favre, Anderson, Palmer, or even Brady
(in leagues with penalties for turnovers).
Lesson Learned: He may not be a big name, but he’s had big
game in 2007. If you had not realized the Raiders were a great
match up through the air as well as on the ground, then you aren’t
looking at stats—and you probably aren’t reading this
column with a week 16 match up in the books.
Nagging Feelings—Week 17
The fantasy season is over, but here’s my chance to get back
on my soapbox for a holiday sermon on judgment. Specifically,
the media’s thoughts on when a player should retire from the game
of football. I just listened to ESPN’s Dana Jacobson and another
commentator—whose name I didn’t catch (an African American female,
not Bayless)—explain why they admired Barry Sanders. One of the
reasons was the fact he retired while still at his athletic best.
Jacobson talked about him leaving because he was tired of playing
on a team that wasn’t a winner. Then they compared him favorably
to someone like Brett Favre, who, they predict won’t know when
Athletes are admired throughout their careers for their determination
and grit. Football players in particular play through injury and
get unfairly praised and criticized for events that often occur
with the influence of 21 other teammates. The best don’t give
up when play after play nothing goes right, but they still find
a way to make something turn their way and come out victorious.
So why am I going to expect a pro football player - trained to
overcome physical, psychological, and mental obstacles to know
when to quit?
I admit, it’s ugly to watch those great players trying
to keep alive the magic that has clearly faded. Ever see Joe Namath
and Johnny Unitas trying to eke out those last years when their
body’s betrayed them? How about Dan Marino in the Jimmy
Johnson era or Emmitt Smith with the Cardinals? Not pretty. What
about Terrell Davis after multiple surgeries or Priest Holmes
coming back in 2007? Pitiful, right…but let’s consider
a few things.
Favre quit last year or two years ago, would we have seen
the Packers win the NFC North and have a strong chance to return
to the Super Bowl? Maybe Aaron Rodgers will be a good player,
but whether he could do the same things Favre can is irrelevant.
The fact Favre can still do it is the point.
If Gale Sayers quit after shredding his knee rather than return
in record time to rush for 1000 yards he wouldn’t have inspired
other athletes to fight through injury to get back on the field.
What about Jack Youngblood playing the NFC Conference Title game
with a broken leg? What bout T.O. playing, and playing well, in
the SB on a still-healing leg? What about Ronnie Lott having part
of his finger amputated to keep playing in a game? Or Emmitt Smith
and gutting it out against the Giants with a shoulder separation
and Marino still contending despite his Achilles-shorn leg looking
more like a baby’s arm in subsequent seasons. It’s the same mentality
that allowed these players to excel that prevents many of them
from knowing when to give up.
I’m not saying Barry Sanders or Jim Brown weren’t
wise to leave at their best. These were incredible well made decisions,
but why should you stop admiring a player who continues to try
to help his team win if the team is still going to let him start?
Blame the teams not the player. San Francisco let Joe Montana
go when they felt they had a better (because he was good and younger)
option in Steve Young. Montana nearly led the Chiefs to a Super
Bowl, but the Niners made a good decision.
So when you see an aging player still giving his all, but looking
all too human, try admiring him for his will to win and criticizing
management and coaches for not recognizing the problem. It is
their job to evaluate talent, not the player.
I don’t believe Peyton
Manning will play more than a series or two, next week. Tony
Dungy knows the Titans play the Colts tougher than most teams
and will be particularly concerned with Tennessee’s front four
versus the Colts offensive line. If you can keep Manning healthy
in a game that has no implications for the Colts, he’s not going
to see much time.
think as much as the Bears want Donovan
McNabb to be in Chicago in 2008, he’ll remain in Philly. Although
McNabb has been inconsistent this year and has experienced difficulties
remaining health, he is still good enough lead Philly to a Super
Bowl. The key reason I think he stays is Brian
Westbrook. The Eagles’ runner is in the prime of his career
and Philly’s front office will likely realize that pairing the
RB with a healthy McNabb gives this team the best chance to keep
the window open for the next few seasons. If McNabb and his receivers
had two better performances, they would be a playoff team. If
McNabb were healthy enough to go, he might have been the reason
the Eagles beat the Patriots. If McNabb is sent packing, Kevin
Kolb better be a quick study…The Vikings have the best combination
of need and match for his skills, but its clear Brad Childress
has anchored his coaching career in Minnesota to their titanic
Jackson. If McNabb goes to Chicago, the Bears could easily
challenge the Packers for the NFC North title.