As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday's "Fantasy
With two weeks left to get into the top 200 and qualify for
the grand prize, I'm making my move in the FFTOC. Last week, I
compiled nearly 125 points and moved up 47 spots in the rankings.
I projecting I'll need to average 119 points per game between
weeks 10-12 in order to make the top 200. How did I do this weekend?
It was my best week of the year.
|| After starting Manning vs. Minny last
week, starting Favre made sense.
||Terrific opponent for the #2 RB to get
some injury time.
||Needed to play the best fantasy RB in
the NFL to stay alive.
||Decent week, but not the elite week
I hoped for from the top FF WR.
||Was expecting Walker to put up these
numbers and vice versa.
||Was open deep a few times, but overthrown.
||A TD would have been nice, but the yardage
kind of made up for it.
||A nice total, considering they all came
off extra points.
||Even without Porter, the Steelers defense
The total would have placed me in the top ten for last week, so
I expect this total should be close to a top ten performance for
week 10 (I won't officially know until publication). Regardless,
I'm moving in the right direction.
Yet in hindsightof course, that's the purpose of this columnI
still didn't make the best decisions in a tournament that requires
me to maximize my opportunities. I originally had Jerome Bettis
as my #2 RB, but with Staley having an outside chance to play, I
didn't want to take the chance. Unfortunately, starting Bettis would
have earned me nearly 4 additional points and I would have saved
another starter. Now, Duce Staley is likely to be back next week
and if I intend to use Bettis I'll have to hope he gets multiple
touchdowns from the goal linenot exactly the best strategy in comparison
to the opportunity I had to use him as a starter for the last two
On to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight
Drew Bennett would go off this weekend?
Mike Krueger took the recommendation to start Bennett in the FFTOC,
and benefited nicely. Why Bennett? I learned the lesson from Santana
Moss last week. Both receivers have been playing with injuries
and have finally recovered. Bennett was playing with injured ribs
since the beginning of the season. If you've watched any Titan's
games early in the season, you probably noticed Bennett consistently
beating defensive backs by at least two steps but unable to catch
a perfectly placed ball from McNair. It's painful enough to breathe
with injured ribs much less raise one's arms while running at
Sure, as a pro, Bennett is supposed to make these plays if he's
healthy enough to take the field. But let's be realistic for a
moment, the Titans were so thin at receiver (Calico out, Berlin
inconsistent, and Schifino cut) that they needed Bennett out there.
When healthy Bennett has been known to be able to get deep and
make the big play as evidenced by his game winning touchdown bomb
from McNair as time expired against the Texans last season.
This week, Bennett lived up to expectations against the Bears
secondary as he gained 148 yards on six receptions, including
a 47-yard touchdown. It's likely going to be too little too late
for the Titans, but expect a healthy Bennett, Kinney, and (when
healthy) McNair to play spoiler in the AFC South as they play
for pride and a long shot at a wild card berth.
Lessons Learned: Consecutive
weeks where a receiver that has fully recovered from an injury
he played with earlier in the season has lit it up. Don't shy
away from Moss or Bennett down the stretch if they remain healthy.
Rod Coleman was so important to the Falcons
Defense? Coleman, the former Raider, returned to the lineup
after getting injured in an automobile accident and recorded two
sacks. But it was the double teams Coleman commanded that helped
the rest of Atlanta's defensive unit sack Brian Griese an additional
four times and hold Michael Pittman to 62 yards on 20 carries.
Lessons Learned: Coleman is
a great example of why the middle of the defense is such an important
building block. Look at the better defenses in the NFL and you'll
notice they have top personnel at the positions of defensive tackle,
middle linebacker, and safety. The Baltimore Ravens have this
combination and are a championship-caliber defense. The Patriots
had this combination and are hoping Vince Wilfork and Keith Traylor
can replace Ted Washington. The Eagles just replaced their middle
linebacker with Jeremiah Trotter with the hope of shoring up a
defense that the Steelers manhandled.
The Falcons aren't a great defense, but with Coleman applying
pressure up the middle they are good enough to keep their team
in the game as long as Mike Vick cooperates.
Detroit's Team Defense/Special Teams was
this good of a play? I picked up Detroit's defense in a
showcase league while the Titans were on bye, but promptly dropped
them for additional receiving help heading into this week. Although
the Titans put up more than respectable numbers, Detroit has consistently
been a terrific unit for fantasy football purposes. This week,
thanks to Eddie Drummond's two punt returns for touchdowns, Detroit
continues to be a top unit.
Lesson Learned: The best fantasy
defenses/special teams units aren't always the best NFL units.
Detroit has been highly opportunistic and they are improving,
but no one would mistake them for the Baltimore Ravens. Nevertheless,
they are approaching that level (still a ways to go) as a fantasy
unit. The Cinncinati Bengals are another defensive-special teams
unit that fits this category. The Bears are in this category with
the recent play of Alex Brown and R.W. McQuarters.
Michael Pittman would return to earth:
As I mentioned last week, Pittman averaged a very pedestrian 3.57
yards per carry against the Chiefs if you didn't include his 78-yard
touchdown run. Facing the Falcons defensethat won't be mistaken
for the Chiefs defensePittman only managed 3.1 yards per carry.
Although I'm still wary of Pittman, next weekend's contest versus
the 49ers might warrant a start. Just don't go overboard on the
guy. In most leagues, he's a decent #3-#4 option.
Lesson Learned: Michael Pittman
is an average NFL starter. Against a good defense he'll struggle.
Against a bad defense, he'll shine.
Derrick Blaylock was a good start.
As long as Blaylock was the clear-cut starter against the Saints
this week, you could have counted on a good day. This is a back
with a running style very similar to Priest Holmes and he is running
behind the same great line. Plus, he's running against an underachieving
defense. 120 yards on 18 carries was certainly criteria for a
good start from any back, but that was just the first half! 186
yards and a touchdown with another 38 yards through the air was
better than any fantasy owner should expect.
Lesson Learned: Sometimes back
ups make better fantasy starts than other every week starters
when the match up is right and the offensive line is one of the
best in the league. More examples? Jerome Bettis, Mewelde Moore,
Reuben Droughns, Lamont Jordan, and Najeh Davenport all are all
good examples of backups that should outplay many starters whenever
they get a chance to be the main man for their team.
For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations.
For those of you that didn't: Hindsight's a...