As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday's "Fantasy
Great players make big plays in big games. Who said this?
I don't know whom to credit, but to an extent it's true. I'm starting
to realize that one of the more common mistakes with Start'em/Sit'em
decisions is to start playmakers in games against really bad teams.
It's either that, or Michael Vick's guardian angels have taken
an extreme disliking to me and are making sure I will never benefit
from his best efforts in a fantasy football situation. Since I
tend to believe mistakes result from my own misguided decisions
rather than some spiritual entity's vengeance, let's use an error
I make this week to unearth a better strategy in the future.
is a great vehicle to discuss lineup decisions, because the structure
provides an owner the ability to use any player in the league
once during the season. Here's the roster I chose for week three:
Week 3 Lineup
||My greatest mistake and the subject
for the remainder of this segment. Originally started
||Not great, but was a yard short of a
touchdown and a respectable day--I can live with the
||Was off to a slow start then rolled
his ankle a couple of times. Good choice--bad result.
||Satisfactory choice against KC's defense.
Would have liked a TD, but can live with the result.
||Originally had Koren Robinson, but changed
to Jackson when Robinson fell ill.
||Never wavered and I am happy with the
||Was on his way to a terrific game before
getting banged up. I'm still happy with his production.
||Gave someone from my email bag advice
to start Carney…still did well with this selection though.
||I originally had Pittsburgh's defense,
but the possibility of losing out to a postponement
resulted in a great adjustment.
My defense and kicker saved my lineup from being a total disaster,
but my point total has decreased for the second consecutive week.
In hindsight, the decision to start Vick was clearly the worst choice.
Although neither of my running backs selections panned out, I felt
my logic for selecting them was sound and I will continue to attempt
to exploit a defense that is weak in a specific area until that
defense shows improvement.
Starting Vick was a total lack of judgment. Vick came off an
impressive performance against the Rams in week two where he threw
for 179 yards and a td plus another 109 yards on the ground. I
completely misread this situation in the scheme of things and
figured that Vick was starting to come to life as a fantasy player
and the San Francisco game was just attributable to a slow start.
The fact of the matter is that San Francisco and Arizona are
bad teams on both sides of the ball. St. Louis isn't the team
they used to be, but is still capable of winning every week against
any opponent. The Falcons still view the Rams' as a "big
game," on their schedule.
Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. It's not that Vick
plays only to the level of his competitionalthough someone might
create a justifiable argument here. It's that the Cardinals' offense
did not do enough for the Falcons' offense to respond with their
A-game. Atlanta is not a team with the total talent and understanding
of how to put teams away early in the way Philadelphia is learning
to do (and Tennessee is forgetting-much to my regret) when they
get a lead.
In contrast, anyone could have predicted that there was about
to be a shootout between Favre and Manning. Both teams' have excellent
offenses and inferior defenses. Did I expect, 9 touchdowns to
be thrown between them? If I did, I wouldn't have even entertained
the idea of starting Vick. The problem is I didn't look at this
decision with the right perspective. Top name quarterbacks put
up good numbers when facing an opposing quarterback of similar
or greater talent. Let's just look at this year alone This is
based on a standard scoring system of 4 pts per passing td, 6
pts per rushing td, .1 pts per rushing yard, and .05 pts per yard
QBs vs Top QBs
|| FF Pts
|| FF Pts
These quarterbacks averaged nearly 26.5 fantasy points in a "marquee
match up." Would you have considererd Vick vs. McCown a potential
shootout? Absolutely not!
From an FFTOC perspective, I would have earned 38.32 fantasy
points with Favre under center, rather than the pedestrian 11.2
points I got from starting Vick. That's nearly twenty-seven points
that I lost in week threeenough to keep me in the top two hundred
and possibly move up in the rankings. Unfortunately, it doesn't
look like week four has any clear-cut, quarterback match ups of
The closest appear to be Jacksonville-Indianapolis, Oakland-Houston,
and Carolina-Atlanta. Leftwich is gaining confidence and playing
against a decimated Colts secondary. Manning will likely force
the Jags into a more aggressive game offensively. In Oakland,
the passing game looks like it's gaining momentum with either
Collins or Gannon under center. Plus, Houston's secondary made
Trent Green a fairly productive option in week threesomething
he hasn't been as of late.
The Falcons-Panthers match up is a big divisional game. The Panthers'
front seven should stop Warrick Dunn and force Vick to throw (and
scramble). Although Delhomme isn't an elite fantasy option, he's
proven to be a productive quarterback. He and DeShaun Foster to
keep Atlanta's blitzing defense more honest. In hindsight, I would
have started Vick this week for my FFTOC lineup.
Now, to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight...
Onterrio Smith would have such a great
all around game:
The signs where there for the first two
weeks of the season. Smith has already proven in 2004 that he
is an excellent runner, but his receiving stats against Dallas
and Philly show that he's an every-down option. The Bears were
even more vulnerable to the run with Brown and Urlacher out. After
his 94-yard rushing and 104-yard receiving performance, one can
understand why Mike Tice would want to strangle the former Oregon
star. Smith ruined the Vikings' ability to make a trade involving
him or Michael Bennett the moment they learned of the failed a
drug test and imminent suspension. If you had Smith for the first
few weeks of the season and didn't get any use out of his skills,
you might as well say goodbye for the rest of the season unless
Bennett goes down againwhich isn't out of the realm of possibility.
Chris Brown would gain a C-Note against
the Jaguars' defense:
Brown now has three, 100-yard games in his first three startstying
former Cardinals' back, Stump Mitchell for the NFL record. I still
can't believe I got this guy in round eight of a draft. In this
particular league my choice was between Brown and Onterrio Smith
as my second RB this week (Tomlinson was my #1 RB). I chose Brown
because I trusted Jeff Fisher to find ways to utilize Brown more
than Tice would use Smith. Obviously I was right and wrong. Brown
did get some short passesone long gain was called back on an
Erron Kinney holding penaltyand the Titans did a good job exploiting
the weak areas of the Jacksonville run defense (the left side).
But the Vikings got it right and exploited Smith for all that
he was worth this week.
Lessons Learned: Chris Brown
is a rapidly entering must-start territory for a fantasy RB. Some
day, Onterrio Smith will be a must-start player if he keeps his
Domanick Davis would score less than three
points against the Kansas City Defense:
Talk about a player
poised for a big day that didn't deliver! Davis may have been
the most disappointing player for fantasy owners this week. I'll
be very interested in finding out if he was one of the higher
percentage starters for FFTOC owners
Lesson Learned: The injury
bug can strike at anytime.
Aaron Stecker would have been a good start:
The former World League MVP had 18 carries for 106 yards-including
a 42-yard touchdownand added 20 more yards through the air. From
a glance at the last two weeks of results, I can't say Stecker
was a more attractive RB option than Emmitt Smith or Warrick Dunnboth
players that didn't do as well as the Saints' backup. I thought
Kijana Carter would be more likely to surprise than Stecker.
Lesson Learned: It's always
worth taking a chance on an RB that's replacing an injured starter.
Started Brett Favre against the Colts
Other than 358 yards and 4 touchdowns against a Colts' secondary
that is second to none in giving up passing yardage, what else
is there to say?
Started Peyton Manning against the Packers
Other than 393 yards and 5 touchdowns against a Packers' secondary
that is second to none in giving up passing touchdowns, what else
is there to say?
Lesson Learned: Although neither
secondary looked as bad statistically entering week 3 as they
do leaving it, the numbers weren't good. This was prime shootout
material and lived up to the promise.
Fred Taylor would finally wake up against
Edgerrin James looked good against the Titans and the Dolphins
were actually in the game for most of the opener. With this in
mind, the Titans let Fred Taylor run over and around them in the
second half. This opened things up for Leftwich and cost Tennesse
the ballgame. This was slated as a tight game, and running backs
usually thrive in these types of contests where they can make
an impact in the fourth quarter.
Lesson Learned: The Titans
are no longer the defense they were. The starting LB's are banged
upPeter Sirmon was a big loss in the preseasonand Odom while
learning fast, still has a ways to go. If Schluters is out for
an extended length of time, the defense could be in big trouble
because as talented as Lamont Thompson is, he doesn't have the
veteran experience. This makes the offense easier to run on, and
I wouldn't be surprised if Tomlinson has a big game next week
with Brees playing decent football. The Titans will be better
next year but teams will begin to take advantage now.
For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations.
For those of you that didn't: