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 qualifying rounds for the FFTOC are near completion and
after last weekend I'm going to need a big, week 12 to make the
|| Not too bad.
||Original choice was Curtis Martin, but
the Bus had a better game.
||The same total I was hoping from Bettis…
||Horrible game, but my alternative was
Roy Williams…only 0.4 points more.
||Lelie has taken his play up a notch
||Stokely was my alternate-should have
||I didn't think Gates would burn Oakland
again in the same month.
||Changed from Ravens when I heard McCallister
and Sanders were out-my bad.
I was hoping to score at least 17 points above the 102-point average
I determined in week 9 that I'd have an easy time making the top
200. After three weeks I've averaged 131 points per conteststill
more than 17 points above the 102-point average. It's too bad I
couldn't capitalize on week 10's performance where I moved up from
414th to 226th and only 3-4 points away from the top 200, but I
still have a decent shot at qualifying for the big money.
Even if I make it to the next round, I've made too many early-round
mistakes that have limited my roster and I'll need to make some
incredibly astute choices (and get lucky) to be a factor for the
big money. With this in mind I thought I'd share some things I've
learned in my first season of participation in the FFTOCespecially
for those of you considering it for next year:
Don't pay any attention to your ranking for the first six to seven
weeks of the season: The difference between being ranked in the
top third of the tournament and being in the bottom two thirds isn't
as much as it may appear. My rating has fluctuated from 120th to
488th to 226thand in two weeks I moved up from 488th to 226th!
It really takes one consistently good month to pull your self into
the top 200. This is the most important insight I can provide you.
If you get caught up in your ranking early, you become more apt
to ignore this rule and do what I'm about to tell you not to, which
Don't start your elite players for the first six to seven weeks
of the season: Your elite players are the ones that have highest
consistency percentage for scoring fantasy points. You may be tempted
to play these guys, especially when they are having great performances
early in the season. Unless you just have the luck of Job, you are
going to score points with players that aren't considered the best
fantasy options. In fact, you'll have some surprisingly good weeks
and based on performances we've seen from players such as Mewelde
Moore, Michael Pittman, Derrick Blaylock, Jake Delhomme, Muhsin
Muhammad, Dan Campbell, and the Lion's defense it's very likely
you could close to or among the top 200 without starting your best
players. Another point is that the injury bug always strikes and
generally there are at least a few marquee players that get bitten.
If you don't save as many elite players as you can, your choices
get more limited when you really need them. For instance, I saved
Priest Holmes for the stretch run, but now that he's hurt, the Chiefs
most likely out of contention for a playoff spot, and I've used
enough top RBs too early in the tournament, I never got to benefit
from one of the best players in fantasy football. This leads to
my next point
Start the following players early:
- RBs filling in for injured startersOnterrio
Smith, Mewelde Moore, Reuben Droughns, Deshaun Foster, Derrick
Blaylock, Nick Goings, Amos Zereoue, and Sammy Morris were all
"injury substitutes" this year and had some excellent
games. These ten players represented five weeks worth of starting
RBs. I'm sure you can list ten RBs that you wouldn't mind saving
for later in the season.
- High-performing veterans with injury
historiesTerry Glenn, Deion Branch, Rich Gannon,
and Marshall Faulk are good examples of players capable of excellent
numbers on any given week, but have a history of missing several
weeks at a time. Injuries will automatically narrow the talent
pool you'll be choosing from and you'll want as many choices
as possible. Starting players like these will not only expand
your future roster options, but you'll also have the chance
of getting great performances out of them as a bonus.
- Veteran/Journeyman/Lame duck QuarterbacksVinny
Testaverde, Drew Brees, and Kurt Warner are all good examples
of quarterbacks that had good games during the first six weeks
of the season but weren't expected to finish the season as starters.
All three had at least two, excellent fantasy performances early
on and would have been well worth a start.
- What to do after week sixdetermine
the average points per week of the 200th ranked team and use
this as the baseline score for your next six weeks. You should
start using more established stars depending how far above or
below you are from the 200th ranked team. You'll also get to
see which players are having breakout years and that may also
help you determine whether you want to save some of these starters
for later as well. I believe week six is the point you want
to strategize because you'll need one good month's worth of
games over the 200th ranked team's average to make the cut.
This will give you extra weeks in case you are either that far
behind the 200th ranked team or if you have a couple of bad
- Don't be afraid to use some of your
elite players between weeks six and twelveRemember,
every year owners run the risk of watching the best players
get time on the pine as the best teams in the NFL have their
playoff spots wrapped up and don't want to take any chances.
That means you should consider starting a player like Ladanian
Tomlinson to either help you qualify or very early in the FFTOC
playoffs because if the Chargers wrap up the division, Tomlinson
could see significant bench time so he'll be well rested for
the NFL playoffs. You don't want to wait all year to use a player
only to see him get benched in the second half of a game when
you need him most.
On to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight
Michael Pittman would have a two-touchdown
performance? As I said about Pittman for the last two weeks,
he's an average running back in the NFL. Pittman
warrants a start against run defenses that are below average,
but against better units he's an average play at best. San Francisco's
defense is decimated from injuries and Pittman was certainly able
to exploit this opportunity.
Lessons Learned: It's best to
reserve some players for optimal match ups. Michael Pittman is
a perfect example.
Nick Goings would score three touchdowns?
A 3-TD performance against a pretty good Cardinal's defense seems
like a surprise. Especially for a back that has neither gained
100 yards, nor scored a touchdown in an NFL game during his 4-year
career. I still have a tough time believing anyone would play
Goings over most starting running backs unless in a desperate
Lesson Learned: In hindsight,
Goings is a great example of how a limited talent familiar with
the system can have a good day.
Mark Campbell would score 3 touchdowns?
Campbell matched his season-best total (3 tds in 2002 as a Cleveland
Brown) in his game versus the Rams.
Lesson Learned: If it weren't
enough of a surprise that Buffalo trounced the Rams, they did
it with their tight end leading the way! What is there to learn?
You certainly won't see me starting Campbell next week. Then again,
if he puts up even half his totals from the Rams game next week
I'll re-address it.
Thomas Jones wasn't a good start this
week. Jones earned 8 points in one of my leagues. I inserted
him into my lineup as a last minute start over Brian Westbrook.
Westbrook had over 100 yards from scrimmage and two receiving
touchdowns. It was pretty obvious that the Redskins' offense wasn't
going to do much but the Colts' prolific offense would keep Jones
from making a huge impact on the ground, and Craig Krenztel would
keep Jones from doing damage as a receiver.
Lesson Learned: When deciding
between two players of equal caliber look at the match up against
the opposing offense.
For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations.
For those of you that didn't: Hindsight's a