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20/20 Hindsight - Week 2

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.”

Does week two clarify anything for fantasy owners? If you watched Derek Anderson out-duel Carson Palmer for the victory, the answer is no. Still, there were quite a number of things from week one that gave us a clue about what might happen in week two. If I only had enough of a clue to keep Palmer in my lineup Sunday morning I might be ranked in the top 5 for week two of the FFTOC.

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB V. Young 18.66 Not bad, but originally had Carson Palmer hereÖ
RB R. Johnson 21.1 Although I picked the wrong starter in this match up, Rudi did okay.
RB C. Brown 3.6 Definitely on the wrong side of the wave here.
WR J. Galloway 25.5 Heís huge versus the Saints and every talking head mentioned it Sunday.
WR T.J. Housh 18.9 My worst WR performance and Iím very happy with it.
WR S. Smith 33.3 Houston can score, but they still have trouble versus the pass.
TE B. Scaife 0.8 I tried to go the TE vs. Indy Cover 2 route, but no dice.
K J. Wilkins 10 Niners-Rams have been FG matches as of late, I guessed well.
DEF Bears 17 Devin Hester topped off a must-start game versus the hapless Chiefs.
  Total 148.86 Excellent week despite the fact with Palmer it could have been spectacular.

Young was a counterintuitive move on my part. Originally I selected Palmer after watching Roethlisberger riddle the Browns secondary in week one, but changed my mind because I thought the Browns’ offense wouldn’t play any better in week two and this would limit Palmer’s chances to have a huge week. I’m not sure if asking Bill Beclicheck to do a PSA on sportsmanship would be a worse move than my last-minute substitution of Vince Young. The most positive thing I can say about this move is that Young was decent and if the Madden Curse comes into play, at least I got a healthy, productive week from In-Vince-able. I figured Young would have a lot of room to run versus the Cover 2—which he did—but this bend but don’t break style of defense limits big plays.

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

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

Steven Jackson Would Have A Difficult Day Versus The Niners—21 carries for 60 yards is not what you expect from a fantasy stud. Sure, Jackson had another 36 yards on four receptions, but he was kept out of the redzone in a low-scoring battle. The fantasy darling of the 2007 preseason is off to an under-whelming start for the real deal.

Lesson Learned: Orlando Pace is out for the year and Jackson went over the vaunted f/carry stat I’ve been harping on since last summer. With a reshuffled offensive line, the passing attack takes a hit and this will make it even more difficult to complement the ground game. Opposing defenses would rather take the risk on Bulger beating them behind a makeshift line where they can generate pressure than Jackson controlling the clock.

But perhaps what stands out the most is the 49ers defense. Patrick Willis, Michael Lewis, and Nate Clements solidify an aggressive unit that held the Rams vaunted passing offense to a single touchdown. It’s very clear the Niners are heading in a similar direction that the Chargers traveled in recent years: aggressive defense, smart young quarterback, and an amazing feature back.

Lamont Jordan Would Play Like A Top-Tier Back At A Late Round Price—Good call? So far, it looks to be the case. Denver’s defense isn’t bad and Jordan’s 25-carry, 159-yard day was a splendid follow up to his 159 yards from scrimmage (with a score) performance versus a Detroit defense that only allowed 115 total yards from the vaunted Adrian Peterson who got owners excited last week versus Atlanta. One could try to pose the argument that Denver was trying to force the Raiders to the run the ball, but do you really believe Josh McCown is a bigger threat than Jordan? No, I didn’t think so.

Jordan is healthy and as I like to remind readers every once in a while, Colts GM Bill Polian had Jordan rated as nearly as high as LT coming out of Maryland. Remember that Polian opted for Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai. Jordan simply got stuck behind the great Curtis Martin. Ask Larry Johnson what it was like being stuck behind a great runner.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes the preseason really does tell you something worthwhile. While it is still debatable that the Raiders offensive line has improved, it is clear Jordan is healthy and ready to perform like he did in 2005. If you picked the player Polian called a “master blaster” coming out of college, congratulate yourself on an apparent steal (I’ll trade you Maurice Jones-Drew for him).

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

Derek Anderson Could Throw For 5 Touchdowns—Heading into Sunday if you were to bet there were a team that would allow multiple scoring passes, the Bengals were on the short list of candidates. Certainly Cleveland would be another on this list, but for the two teams to combine for 11 touchdowns through the air is crazy. What’s more insane to me is that thought that Derek Anderson lost the starting job on a coin flip??? The Oregon State Beaver who came to the Browns after a stint with the Ravens absolutely shredded the same defense that put the cuffs on Steve McNair. I wonder if Brian Billick will give this any thought, considering Boller’s contract expires next year and McNair is literally being held together by duct tape…

Lesson Learned: If the Bengals defense is this bad, what does that say about the Ravens offense? Then again, what does his say about the Jets defense that gave up their fair share to Baltimore this week? Can you see why this train of thought will not get you to a logical stopping point? Still, you can bet the Ravens had an off day in week one and the Browns were clicking on all cylinders in week two when the Bengals blew a coverage several times. If you own a quarterback facing the Browns or Bengals defense, he earns serious consideration.

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

Joey Galloway Would Burn The Saints (Yet Again)—Did you look at the player history stats FFToday provides you on a weekly basis? Including Sunday, Galloway has 9 career scores versus the Saints as a Buc alone! That’s 1.5 tds per contest, folks. He and Jeff Garcia may be over the hill, but they sure looked like they were running downhill all day today. I’m not pronouncing the Bucs playoff contenders, but they only need a few games to go their way in what looks like a weak NFC South to actually make some noise. If Garcia and Williams stay healthy, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Lesson Learned: Garcia was on his way to a decent day in week one before a concussion derailed him. This week he picked up where he left off and looked every bit like the second coming of Rich Gannon in Gruden’s Florida panhandle offense. As for the Saints, they are in a funk. This team has too much talent to continue performing this poorly on offense, but I’m more inclined to believe the ground game will jumpstart the aerial attack. So if you plan to bench any Saints offensive players next week, consider the receivers first.

The Chicago Bears Defense Would Post Good Fantasy Stats Vs. KC—If not for a holding penalty Devin Hester would have had two kick returns for a score, but the rest of the Bears defense did more than enough to give fantasy owners what they sought. Chicago’s monsters of the midway had 4 sacks and forced two turnovers en route to a 20-10 victory.

Lesson Learned: Kansas City’s offense looked pretty bad against the up and coming Texans defense, so even with the absence of Dustin Dvorcek and Mike Brown in the middle of the Bears defense you had to think Chicago would have this kind of game. All the Chiefs have at this point is LJ. Kennison is the Chiefs only consistent option (Dwayne Bowe will develop, but not soon enough for an impact this year) in the passing game, but he’s in the training tub with a partially torn hamstring. So if you’re keeping track, the Browns, Bengals, Saints, Jets, and Chiefs are good defenses to face as a fantasy owner (in that order of preference), but the Chiefs also own the indignity of being an offense you want your defense to face in any given week. If you plan on playing the waiver wire with your team defense, follow the Chiefs, Jets, and Browns schedules.

Nagging FeelingsóWeek 3

Roydell Williams is a receiver I touted as a sleeper and he had a few key receptions to keep the Titans close. He made an excellent double move on Kelvin Hayden in the first half for a huge gain, made a diving td reception, and had a great catch where he tight-roped the sideline for a first down. With 4 grabs for 72 yards and a score, look for the Titans to make Williams a bigger part of the offense in coming weeks. Itís clear Young looks to Williams whenever the third-year receiver is on the field. Eric Moulds got the nod to start the season because heís a veteran, but I think heís already looking over his shoulder for his spot on the depth chart.

LaDanian Tomlinson will be just fine. If youíre worrying about his lack of production, may I remind you LT faced the Bears and Patriots after not playing a single snap in the preseason? Furthermore, LT has a history of slow starts. Since 2001, LTís totals for the first two games of each season are 1062 yards on 273 carries for an uninspiring 3.89 yards per attempt. Considering his career average per carry is nearly 4.5, relax and enjoy the fact you have a great player with an easier schedule on the horizon.

Will Byron Leftwich be a good fit in Atlanta if the Falcons choose the sign him? You all know Iím a fan of the Marshall-alum because of his toughness in the pocket. Although Leftwich didnít look show a lot of accuracy in the preseason, heís actually known as a very on-target passer, especially with the deep ball. If you didnít know, the Jacksonville Jaguars receiving corps was on par with the Seattle Seahawks with dropped passes. In fact, Iíd argue the Jags corps was even worse because they lacked the experience route runners that the Seahawks had on their squad in Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson. If Leftwich has time, he can pick apart a defense. Joe Horn and Alge Crumpler could really gel with the former Jags starter. The problem is Leftwich is far less mobile than Harrington and a crash course in Petrinoís offense isnít going to help him. Unless Lefty gets 5-6 weeks before he leads the huddle, donít have high hopes for him in 2007.

The Packers can easily be a playoff team if they can get Vernand Morency back soon. The Giants defense is playing uninspired football and Iím convinced thatís the only reason rookie Deshawn Wynn averaged 5 yards per carry in this contest. Brandon Jackson looks lost half the time. If Morency is on your waiver wire, grab him. And if you really want to shoot for the stars, Ricky Williams might not be a bad mid-season signing. He may have social issues, but Norv Turner said Williams was one of the smartest football players he ever coached. Itís a distant consolation prize for missing out on Randy Moss, but Brett Favre could deal with a former 1800-yard rusher with excellent receiving skills.

Anyone else beginning to believe Jason Avant might be the best fantasy wide receiver on the Eagles? I know he has mismatches as the slot receiver, but after watching balls repeatedly bounce off the mitts of Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, the sure-handed Avant, who made a beautiful, diving sideline grab in the first half of Monday Nightís game, is looking more appealing by the week as a bye-week fantasy option at the receiver position. See the problem? When your best fantasy receiver is no better than a bye-week player, thereís not much offensive (in the best sense) in Philly.

I rebounded with a win in several leagues this week, but I had two match ups with extremely different results. The first is an FFToday-compiled team where Mike MacGregor is the owner, Iím the GM, and three of my friends are coach and coordinators. This is a very intricate league set up. Despite a 195-pont performance (200 points is a respectable weekly total) we lost to Fantasy FanBase and Carson Palmer. Hereís the damage.

FFToday FantasyFanBase
 Player  Pts  Player  Pts
Garcia, Jeff TBB QB 24.75 Palmer, Carson CIN QB 62.05
Brown, Chris TEN RB 4.6 Parker, Willie PIT RB 26.3
Portis, Clinton WAS RB 16.6 Williams, DeAngelo CAR RB 10.1
Driver, Donald GBP WR 23.3 Colston, Marques NOS WR 21
Randle El, Antwaan WAS WR 10.1 Smith, Steve NYG WR 2
Gates, Antonio SDC TE 20.7 Clark, Dallas IND TE 19.9
Nedney, Joe SFO PK 6 Rackers, Neil ARI PK 14
Turk, Matt HOU PN 16.2 Kluwe, Chris MIN PN 31.5
Dockett, Darnell ARI DT 11 Anderson, Mark CHI DE 4
Rice, Simeon DEN DE 1 Cole, Trent PHI DE 6
Fujita, Scott NOS LB 10 Ruud, Barrett TBB LB 32
Morgan, Dan CAR LB 9 Tatupu, Lofa SEA LB 32
Williams, DJ DEN LB 16 Jones, Sean CLE S 21
Huff, Michael OAK S 18 Page, Jarrad KCC S 9
Wilson, Adrian ARI S 8 Whitner, Donte BUF S 17
Total 195.3 Total: 307.9

300 points? What kind of league has this kind of high scoring? Look at the linebackers for Fanbase! Forget offensive players in this league…

On the other hand, I set a scoring record in my dynasty league—a .5-point per reception league with individual defensive players. In this league 120 points is a good game, but Ocho Cinco, Randy Moss, and Brett Favre have me experiencing a little Back to the Future:

Gobi Gargoyles Out To Lunch
 Player  Pts  Player  Pts
J. Cutler QB 15.45 B. Favre QB 25.3
S. Jackson RB 11.1 F. Gore RB 21.5
E. James RB 24.9 B. Westbrook RB 20.2
A. Johnson WR 29.6 B. Berrian WR 6
C. Johnson WR 14.8 C. Johnson WR 49.4
H. Ward WR 8 R. Moss WR 27.1
T. Heap TE 17.1 J. Shockey TE 8.5
A. Vinatieri K 6.5 J. Feely K 10
D. Ryans LB 8 K. Bulluck LB 10
T. Spikes LB 5 Z. Thomas LB 11
R. Mathis DL 1 P. Kerney DL 2
W. Smith DL 3 S. Rice DL 0.5
R. Barber DB 7 S. Jones DB 10
L. Landry DB 6 A. Wilson DB 4
Total 157.45 Total 205.5

Does anyone else play in a league with these strange variants of scoring systems where 100 points is a below-average day? Let me know…Good luck this week!