As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
Did you zig when you should have zagged? If you’re not
paying attention, fantasy football will leave you feeling like
a Ravens cornerback seeing the wrong end of a Browns receiver
in a game you were supposed to win. Or like a practice dummy for
||C’mon, they were playing the Bengals!
||LT was due for a good game after his
“warm up” carries from weeks 1-3.
||Typical day if it weren’t for the missing
||Play him while he’s hot…
||The Bills defense was better this week,
but I still got a td out of the deal.
||Better with Griese…
||A good day for the Atlanta QB, but bad
for Crumpler. Times have changed…
||My logic: no GB ground game + decent
Vikes Def = stalled in redzone.
||Changing times part two—starting a defense
against the Rams offense!
||Brady, Tomlinson, and Moss did their
duty this week.
Some of these plays are a good reflection of understanding how the
league looks now; not the league based on someone’s preseason
strength of schedule. The Rams offense was in sorry shape heading
into this game and didn’t have enough firepower up front to
expose the vulnerable Cowboys pass defense for big plays. Tomlinson
was a good choice against a division rival in what had to be a must-win
game they ended up losing. Alge Crumpler is not a top tight end
this year, due to Harrington’s higher comfort level with WR
Let’s move on to the week one files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Culpepper Would Light Up Miami For Five Scores: Whether
you believe in Divine Justice or Hellish Retribution (depending
on your status as a Dolphins fan), Daunte
Culpepper got his Sunday afternoon—two by air and three by
ground en route to a 37-17 victory. The signature moment came
after Culpepper beat the Miami defense to the corner and dove
into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown. The former
Dolphin quarterback looked into the stands and pointed repeatedly
at his knee, indicating he was ready to resume his career as the
prime time signal caller Miami thought they had, but weren’t patient
enough to see through fruition.
But Culpepper’s numbers looked more like the quarterback version
of one of Jerome Bettis’ late-career stat-lines: 5/12 for 75 yards
passing with 2 scores in the air and 7 attempts for 28 rushing
yards and 3 touchdowns. This isn’t quite the statement game fantasy
owners can look to as a sign of Culpepper’s revival. Miami’s defense
has been a disappointment and for the second straight week, they
were without linebacker and captain, Zach Thomas.
Lesson Learned: Some situations in life seem specifically meant
for the individual to prove himself. Culpepper’s chance
against the Dolphins was definitely one of these moments. Although
this makes a great Monday morning story, you would be best served
to remember that Culpepper only attempted 12 passes, the opposing
defense was very weak, and the Raiders were running at will. If
anything, the lesson here is that Oakland’s offensive line
is looking better than expected and the Dolphins front seven on
defense has been a disappointment despite the addition of Joey
Porter. Still, a good offensive line helps all the skill players,
so Culpepper deserves serious consideration for as long as he
starts in Oakland.
Trent Edwards Would Perform Well In His
First Rookie Start: The
rookie out of Stanford made his first start in place of an
injured J.P. Losman and beat the Jets with a performance where
he completed 22 of 28 passes for 234 yards with a touchdown and
a pick. Edwards did a nice job distributing the football, completing
at least 3 passes to five different Bills receivers. Whether by
an improved design or just better recognition on Edwards’ part,
Lee Evans also got more involved this week—a good sign for Buffalo
and their lone game breaker.
I’m a big fan of the Bills rookie quarterback, who quietly performed
well enough this off-season to assume the back up spot on the
depth chart. I honestly believe Edwards and John Beck are the
top two rookies at the quarterback position. If you haven’t read
my analysis of Edwards’ game, check it out here.
As I mentioned in the 2007 Rookie
Impact Series, I think the Bills knew they got a quarterback
who could lead this team and his former Stanford teammates swore
Edwards was the most competitive athlete they ever saw. According
to a report from the Associated Press, Edwards showed the presence
and leadership of a veteran from the onset of his first practice
as the starting quarterback and this transferred to the field
on Sunday afternoon.
Lesson Learned: It’s only one game, so Edwards is likely
to have some really bad games down the line. But you can’t
help but notice that the Bills rookie was poised, accurate, and
in control during a game that could have gone to either team.
The lesson here about rookies is there are often really great
prospects that play on squads with inferior talent. The best way
to discover these players is to watch them against superior talent.
I watched Edwards do an amazing job versus a USC squad that overwhelmed
his supporting cast. His stats weren’t amazing, but his
mechanics, consistency of play, and toughness in a difficult situation
were highly telling of his potential. I think J.P. Losman will
be elsewhere within 2 seasons.
Patrick Crayton Would Have Such A Huge
Game: It’s expected for T.O. to catch 7 balls for 184 yards
and two scores, but not former college QB, Patrick
Crayton who is starting in the place of the injured Terry
Glenn. The first of Crayton’s scores was a 59-yard catch and run
where he covered ¾ of the distance after the reception, outrunning
the secondary down the sideline. The second touchdown grab was
an over the shoulder reception where he soundly beat his man by
Lesson Learned: When an overmatched defense such as the Rams
has to devote so much attention to Terrell Owens and Jason Witten,
a good quarterback will spot the single coverage opportunities
very quickly. That receiver with the single coverage in Dallas
was Crayton. You should expect the same from receivers such as
Donte Stallworth or Wes Welker, Chris Henry when he returns to
Cincinnati, Shaun McDonald or Mike Furrey, Anthony Gonzalez, and
Bryant Johnson. The problem is predicting when these receivers
will have this kind of game.
Justin Fargas Would Riddle The Dolphins
Defense For 179 Yards On 22 Carries: What’s more impressive
is this included 100 yards in the 4th quarter alone—if you don’t
think the absence of Zach Thomas made a difference, here’s exhibit
A folks. Fargas
has always been an explosive back with a fearless running style.
With a better offensive line, the Michigan alumnus took over for
an injured Lamont Jordan, who was having a good day, and guaranteed
Daunte Culpepper an easy opportunity to look good.
Lesson Learned: Although Fargas was impressive the Raiders offensive
line deserves the credit. If Jordan can’t return soon, look for
Dominic Rhodes and/or Fargas to continue having nice days against
all but the toughest defensive fronts in football. If you really
need a back in the coming weeks and Rhodes is on your waiver wire,
Oakland just demonstrated the prowess of their offensive line
for you to seriously consider the former Colt coming off suspension.
Baltimore’s Defense Would Look Pedestrian
Versus Cleveland (Or How Braylon Edwards Kicked Them In The Groin):
I’d say Edwards
kicked my analysis of his future ‘07 performance in the groin,
but it wasn’t like his long td came on a reception in tight coverage.
Nor did he tear through the field on a great run after the catch;
the Ravens had an involuntary BM (Bengals moment, which guess
could be synonymous with an involuntary bowel movement) and blew
a coverage scheme.
Lesson Learned: Others may tell you Braylon Edwards will be a
top tier receiver for the rest of the year. He has top tier talent,
but I’m still not convinced he’s been the beneficiary
of poor defensive play more than offensive excellence. It seems
Cleveland’s offensive line is improving, which is affording
the skill players better opportunities. Stay tuned on this front.
I’d still consider trading away Edwards, but that could
change if he keeps this up.
There’s A Factory Recall On The
#24 Cadillac: The injury Williams sustained Sunday afternoon
looked painful and if early reports are true, the Buccaneers leading
ball carrier is done for the season. Looks like Earnest Graham,
Michael Pittman, and possibly Ken Darby—if they promote
him from the practice squad—will take his place.
Lesson Learned: Some players are just more injury prone that
others. Cadillac Williams reminds me of Greg Pruitt, the former
Oklahoma star running back that the Browns drafted in the 70s.
Pruitt was the runner up for the Heisman and he had terrific vision,
cutting ability, and elusive moves in the open field. Although
Pruitt had a lengthy career as a part-time runner and return specialist
for the Browns and Raiders, he couldn’t stay healthy enough to
fulfill his extraordinary talent.
Unfortunately, Cadillac can’t seem to avoid the injury
bug. I don’t think he’s more brittle than other players,
but he does seem to get into more contact in an unprotected state
than his peers. At this point, I think Cadillac’s future
days as a fantasy starter are remote.
Chicago’s Defense Was Vulnerable
This Week: This was a game ready made for the Detroit offense.
They took advantage of an injury-riddled, Chicago defense en route
to a division win.
Lesson Learned: The Bears had six starters on the training table
heading into the weekend. If you don’t think the absence of more
than 50% of your starting defensive line up won’t change the balance
of a match up, look at the Rams offense without Orlando Pace and
Steven Jackson. Missing two players has been a huge blow for them
and the Bears are in three times more trouble. Throwing on Chicago
won’t be too difficult if they don’t get these players back soon.
Arizona Could Beat Pittsburgh:
The Steelers entered this match up looking like one of the elite
teams in the league. Arizona dominated this game from the second
quarter through the fourth quarter and despite a Pittsburgh comeback,
held on for the win despite the absence of Anquan Boldin.
Lesson Learned: Former members of a team’s coaching staff
often play their previous squad tough, at least for the year after
leaving the original team. Eric Mangini’s Jets played New
England hard. This time we saw the same from Ken Whisenhunt and
Russ Grimm, two viable candidates to replace Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh,
but wound up in Arizona. Mike Tomlin’s decision to keep
the 3-4 defense and Dick LeBeau in charge actually made it easier
for the Cardinals to game plan, considering how much they faced
this defense in practice for years as a part of the Steelers offensive
Nagging Feelings—Week 5
It is almost a shame that Dallas
Clark doesn’t play for the Chargers, Chiefs, or Ravens. The
Colts tight end is such a good receiver but if it weren’t for
Marvin Harrison bruising his knee this weekend, we wouldn’t have
the pleasure of watching Clark score two touchdowns and work with
Peyton Manning to make all-world corner, Champ Bailey, to bite
on a route. He also came out of his breaks like a wide receiver—just
ask Domonique Foxworth. If Marvin Harrison has any lingering effects
with his injury yesterday, Clark could become a more central figure
in the Colts aerial attack.
Every year there are teams off to poor starts that rebound after
the bye week. Candidates include the Saints, 49ers, and Chargers.
Where does Ricky
Williams go if he’s granted reinstatement? One guess is the
Bucs, but I think they would shy away from Williams after giving
David Boston another chance. They just saw the former Cardinals
receiver self-destruct just as he was on the verge of breaking
into the starting lineup. Chris Mortensen also mentioned the Saints,
but I think that idea is preposterous. Williams wore out his welcome
long ago in the Crescent City. I know there is a different coaching
staff and player personnel crew in place, but I believe they give
a true shot before adding another veteran of Williams’ caliber
of talent. The team that really is in the best situation to play
for his year is Green Bay. If the Packers could generate a ground
game, they could play with just about anyone.
This week, the FFToday squad dominated week four with the help
of Osi Umenyiora’s gem of a game. Although it is the first win
of the season for this squad, the general feeling among the members
of this coaching staff is the team is beginning to hit its stride.
The problem is we’re 0-3 in the division—a huge hole. But with
Clinton Portis(bye) and Daunte Culpepper (lack of foresight) on
the bench this week, there is promise for a mid-season run.
|Garcia, Jeff TBB QB
||Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB
|Brown, Chris TEN RB
||Jones, Kevin DET RB
|Portis, Clinton WAS RB
||Galloway, Joey TBB WR
|Branch, Deion SEA WR
||Walker, Javon DEN WR
|Driver, Donald GBP WR
||Williams, Roy DET WR
|Gates, Antonio SDC TE
||Clark, Desmond CHI TE
|Nedney, Joe SFO PK
||Brown, Kris HOU PK
|Turk, Matt HOU PN
||Jones, Donnie STL PN
|Dockett, Darnell ARI DT
||Freeney, Dwight IND DE
|Young, Bryant SFO DE
||Schobel, Aaron BUF DE
|Fujita, Scott NOS LB
||Brooks, Derrick TBB LB
|Morgan, Dan CAR LB
||Colvin, Rosevelt NEP LB
|Williams, DJ DEN LB
||June, Cato TBB LB
|Huff, Michael OAK S
||Hobbs, Ellis NEP CB
|Wilson, Adrian ARI S
||Taylor, Ike PIT CB