As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday's "Fantasy
It was a great weekend for watching pro football and an even
greater season for surprises in the NFL. The unpredictability
has made lineup decisions for the playoffs an even more difficult
undertaking. I'm still alive in one league: a performance-based,
contract keeper league with both individual offensive and defensive
|Performance Based - Keeper
||3 Ints and 1 Fumble lost cost me big…
||Nice game as usual.
||Still did better than alternatives:
Suggs or T. Jones
||That 82-yd TD reception was a sight
for sore eyes.
||2 receptions for 10 yards--ouch!
||Great example of the right "weather
||Those two near-miss TDs really hurt.
||His worst game of the year. No FG opps,
|| Not much this week.
||After some mid-season monster weeks
is cooling off.
||Played hurt this weekend.
||Not much of a running attack for him
||A bit of a letdown vs. “Vinny Int.”
||Decent game with an INT and FF.
Unfortunately, 128.95 points weren't enough to win it. My opponent
wisely started Antwaan Randle El and the former QB from Indiana
had a 30.4 point effort-which was the difference maker in a 145.2
I had to rely on Corey Dillon last night to stay in the hunt,
but with two excellent teams ahead of me in our power-rating poll
(head to head, breakdown schedule, and cumulative season points
to date), I'm going to need some major help with just two weeks
left. My season in hindsight came down to two things: two losses
by less than three pointsone of them by less than .5 of a pointand
not shoring up my defense until halfway through the season.
Speaking of "shoring" up a team, 2004's fantasy season
was truly the season of the waiver wire. Here are my waiver wire
gems in 20/20 Hindsight:
|2004 Waiver Wire Gems
||Un-drafted in many leagues and not expected
to finish the season. Now he's finishing off fantasy
||Maybe the best deep-ball thrower in
the NFL this year. Maybe a practice squad player on
dynasty squads at best.
||A rookie an 4th on the depth chart.
With Vikings' RB situation, maybe a late pick.
||The biggest fantasy surprise of the
||See this week's files…
||Are you kidding? I actually was in a
league with a guy that drafted him early? Dumb, rookie
||Tell me anyone thought he'd be the Viking's
best receiving threat for a stretch for a stretch of
||Although his potential was known, he
was 2nd on the depth chart to begin the season and seemed
a year away.
Honorable Mentions: Derrick Blaylock,
Larry Johnson, Nick Goings, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Ronald Curry, and
Onto the penultimate week's files of 20/20 Hindsight
If I had known, I would have started Jamal
Lewis despite coming off an injured ankle. Other than receivers,
is there any other position that relies more upon healthy ankles
than running backs? Lewis averaged over 10 yards per carry with
just over a half dozen carries in the first quarter against the
Colts. Although this total for a back isn't surprising against
the Colts defense, it is for a back of Lewis' dimensions and running
style that was questionable to play after a few weeks of inactivity
after a sprained ankle.
Lesson Learned: Three to four
weeks is more than enough time for a sprained ankle to heal, but
until he takes the field, you never really know if a player is
trying to gut it out or is fully healthy in that period of time.
I would have started Warrick Dunn against
the Panthers. Dunn was a simple choice this weekend with
T.J. Duckett out and the Falcons' opponent. If you know anything
about the Falcons-Panthers rivalry over the past two years, you'd
realize why Dunn was such an obvious start:
- They share a history of tightly contested gamesSaturday
was no different.
- Both teams needed to rely up on the run to slow the opposing
defenses' strong pass rush.
- Dunn rarely has a bad game when he's the sole option of the
ground game and actually gets fed the ball.
Dunn's 130+ yard, 1 TD effort is just another game in the RBs
career that demonstrates his underrated and under-utilized talent.
When you're a 180-pound back that tends to happen, but it's still
a shame because Dunn is a terrific inside runner. Even opposing
defenders are routinely fooled when Dunn breaks one through the
middle. They understandably anticipate Dunn to bounce the play
outside, only to watch him keep it inside for large gains. If
Warrick Dunn were an inch or two taller and twenty to thirty pounds
heavier with the same skill, he'd be an elite back. Even as is,
I wish a team gave him the chance to be a 20-25-touch per game
back for just a season.
Lesson Learned: It's best to
use historical tendencies with divisional rivalries. This was
an easy pick.
Who could have known Drew Bennett would
be fantasy playoffs MVP? Even if Bennett doesn't do anything
against the Broncos in week 16, you can't deny that the Titan's
secondary option has provided a huge lift to many teams over the
last three weeks. We're talking over 500 yards and 8 touchdowns
in three games!!! Although I didn't predict Bennett would be this
good, I did point out earlier in the season that the Titans made
the right choice to chose to keep him over Justin McCareins. But
I thought Tyrone Calico was going to be the catalyst for the Titans'
Lesson Learned: You just never
know which player is going to get hot down the stretch. One would
think teams would begin double covering Bennett after his Monday
Night masterpiece against Kansas City, much less the three touchdowns
on three catches effort he had versus Indy.
I knew I should've paid attention to the
Sunday morning weather report in Green Bay. Actually I
did, but I know many that ditched the idea of starting Jimmy Smith
due to the sub-freezing temperatures. On the surface this makes
sense, but the cold isn't that big of a deal if the wind isn't
much of a factor. Week 14's strong winds in Lambeau Field had
a greater effect on the game than the cold weather. When I read
that the wind was around 11 mph, I knew it made more sense to
start Smith over my secondary choice: Anquan Boldin. Although
Boldin had much nicer weather and was threatening to breakout
in recent weeks, the Packer's secondary is significantly worse
against the pass when it comes to receiving touchdowns allowed,
receiving yards allowed per game, and 40+ yard catches allowed
Lesson Learned: The only two
weather conditions that generally have a serious effect on a passing
game is strong winds (over 20 mph) and sustained, heavy rain.