As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday's "Fantasy
This week's 20/20 Hindsight starts off with the topic of luck.
I didn't think this would be the subject. In fact, the plan was
to lament my waiver wire misfortune in The
Fantasy Auctioneers Expert League. This league held its auction
in late July and my original starting running backs are Ahman
Green and Michael Bennett. I was wise enough to acquire Onterrio
Smith and Najeh Davenport in the late rounds and Smith proved
to be an excellent fill-in for Bennett.
Two weeks into the season, I acquired Mewelde Moore off waivers
just in case Onterrio Smith's suspension happened sooner than
later. But Smith kept playing and Bennett was slated to resume
practicing, so I dropped Moore just a week later in favor of receiver
help. Then Bennett got hurt again and Smith decided to end his
appeal and begin serving his suspension. After a 2-0 start, the
FFToday team has dropped two straight and to make matters worse,
I lost in a waiver wire bidding war for Moore and my second choice
Amos Zereoue. Now I was beginning to regret nixing a deal for
Pittman or Steven Jackson in exchange for Tyrone Calico and Michael
Bennett that was offered to me just a week ago.
But I got lucky. My definition of luck might be different that
yours. I grew up on the sportscasters' common explanation of luckbeing
at the right place at the right time. My selection of Reuben Droughns
off the waiver wire is a perfect example of this view of luck.
As much as I'd like to say that I knew all along Droughns would
have one of the best days of any running back in the NFL this
weekend, I've already made it clear that he was not only a waiver
wire consolation prize after losing bids for Moore and Zereoue,
but also a reluctant one. What I haven't mentioned is that I promptly
dropped Droughns for Verron Haynes the very next day when Duce
Staley was downgraded to questionable! When the news came out
that Droughns would get increased carries regardless of Quentin
Griffins' injury status, I decided to give the Broncos' fullback
a shot. But that's not really the point.
The real question is why did I pick up Droughns before it was
announced he would get a chance to play tailback this weekend?
He certainly didn't seem like a safe play in comparison to other
choices. Heading into the week the smart choice appeared to be
picking players that at least got onto the field regularly so
I could get whatever crumbs of fantasy points I could manage.
Verron Haynes a player that has received consistent opportunities
to spell Staley and scored a touchdown last week looked like a
guy that had the best chance to at least get me some points. Same
with Larry Ned, Garrison Hearst, or Tatum Bellall players that
were all available on the waiver wire and on paper seem like more
logical choices considering my situation.
So why Droughns considering his best fantasy game actually game
First Full Season As A Starter
|| Rec Yds
|| FF Pts
In fact, it took all of 2002 and through week 13 of 2003 for Droughns
to even exceed the attempts he got in this one game versus the Buccaneers!
Outside of desperationwhich it was to pick up any of these
backsit pays to follow players that are Under The Radar.
Three years ago, I wrote an article for another online fantasy publication
that profiled future talent at the running back position. Believe
it or not, Reuben Droughns was one of the feature players. Here's
what I knew about the Broncos' fullback that wound up gaining over
200 total yards from scrimmage against the Panthers on Sunday:
- Droughns has always been a tailback.
The Detroit Lions selected Droughns in the third round out of
Oregon, where he gained over 1200 yards as a senior and had
an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. Droughns is 5-11
and 207 pounds and known for his speed. He was actually a track
star that made the transition to football and scouts had repeatedly
documented this fact as explanation that Droughns was a physical
talent that would need more time to really learn his position.
In hindsight, Droughns was the first of three impressive backs
to come out of OregonMaurice Morris and Onterrio Smith
are the other twoand was known for his impressive burst
through the hole. The Sporting News War Room actually
had him rated as the 7th best RB prospect in their draft guide
and slated him as a 2nd round talent and a sleeper pick for
the position: "Sprinter who can contribute as a speed back
and a receiver out of the backfield. Has skills but needs more
polish." The analysis went on to say that Droughns has
natural hands, but needed work with route running, blocking
technique, and inside running. Overall the final analysis was:
"Instincts as runner are underrated; development as all-around
back has him projected as one of top backs. Still has a long
way to go before developing into premier back at next level
but has skills and seems extremely coachable."
- The Lions organization was in transition
when they picked Droughns. Barry Sanders had retired,
head coach Bobby Ross was rumored to be falling out of favor
with the organization, and the front office was one year away
from an overhaul. Droughns most of his rookie year due to a
shoulder injury. He played sparingly in his second year and
entering his third season he was nursing a hamstring injury.
This did not sit well with the Lions' new GM Matt Millen, a
man that was about a year away calling out players on sports
radio. In hindsight it's clear Millen, a former middle linebacker
known for his grit, takes a very cynical view towards players
with lingering injuries. Millen voiced his displeasure with
Droughns' injury in the media and put pressure on the second
year player. By the time Droughns was healthy enough to play,
it was the last week of the preseason and it wasn't enough for
him to make the team. Remember it was Millen's first year in
Detroit and neither Bobby Ross nor Droughns were his guys. Marty
Mornhinweg was installing the West Coast offense and Droughns
hadn't been healthy enough to show his potentialso the
Lions cut him. But Millen wrote Droughns off too early because……
- Droughns' reputation has always been
built on his toughness. Although a track star, Droughns
never shied away from contact. His running style was always
built on breaking tackles. If you saw Sunday's game, then you
noticed the number of runs where Droughns refused to go down
after the first, second, and even third hit. While I don't know
if Deshaun Foster and Reuben Droughns were friends before college
I do have feeling why they were seen hugging each other at the
end of this game: Foster was at UCLA when Droughns rushed for
176 yards against Fosters' team on a fractured ankle!
- Droughns has always wanted a chance
to be a tailback in the NFL. After the Lions cut him,
Droughns was placed on the Dolphins practice squad at the beginning
of the 2001 season. This is when I originally profiled Droughns,
because his only apparent competition was Travis MinorLamar
Smith just came of a huge year but was not awarded a contract
extension and J.J. Johnson never demonstrated the ability to
fulfill the promise the Dolphins saw in him. But a year later,
Ricky Williams came to the Dolphins and Droughns eventually
wound up in Denver where he learned to play fullback.
- Playing fullback helped Droughns career.
Not only did playing fullback keep Droughns in the NFL, but
it also helped him improve his blocking and receiving-two areas
suspect in his game when originally drafted. It also demonstrates
how determined Droughns was to become a better player. At the
end of 2003, Droughns was a free agent and tried to find a team
that would promise him more opportunities as a tailback but
didn't find any takers. Denver liked what they saw of Droughns'
running skillsShanahan was quoted in an ESPN article this week
as saying Droughns' style was similar to Mike Anderson's but
with more speed. Since I originally drafted Anderson late in
this league, I figured Droughns might be a worthy flier.
So when you add it all up, Droughns is known as a physical talent
with toughness, good instincts, and determination, but needed
to learn the techniques of the game. In hindsight, it makes sense
why Droughns is just the guy to make the most of an opportunity.
The match up was also favorable to take a chance on Droughns.
The Panthers rush defense hasn't scared anyone over the course
of the last three weeks and both DL Brentson Buckner and LB Mark
Fields were slated to miss the game. Tatum Bell doesn't appear
ready to handle the nuances of the position that keep the quarterback
safe and productive (pass blocking and receiving) and Garrison
Hearst would have gotten more chances already if he displayed
any of the form he once had in San Francisco. So I got luckyin
hindsight, I'm glad I lost out on Zereoue and Moore.
Although Moore had a terrific game in his own right, Droughns
might be in a position to keep the job. He should at least get
another extended look against the Raiders in week six. Moore on
the other hand has a greater chance of having to give the starting
role back to Michael Bennett than Droughns. This surely could
become another RBBC headache, but coach Shanahan's history is
to stick with a player if he takes advantage of an opportunity
when another player has faltered. If Griffin performed over the
last three weeks like he did in the opener, Droughns would probably
be put in the Mike Anderson-first off the bench-role. But Griffin's
play of late suggests, Droughns style could wind up a better fit
for the play action game.
On to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight
Drew Brees would continue his impressive
start to the season. If you read last
week's column, you would have known about Brees. Now, ESPN's
Len Pasquerilli is reporting that the Packers are interested in
Brees when he becomes a free agent next season as a possible successor
to Brett Favre. The fact that Brees is sporting a 100.0 QB rating
and is fifth in the NFL in touchdown passes doesn't hurt either.
Mewelde Moore would roll up nearly two
hundred yards of total offense in his debut. This was a
perfect game for Moore and that's why he was one of the most popular
waiver wire acquisitions in many leagues last week. The Texans
defense was going to have enough of a time keeping up with Moss,
Robinson, and Burleson. Moore may actually be a better receiver
than Onterrio Smith, a player that posted impressive receiving
performances in two of his first three games.
Lessons Learned: Most talented
players eventually make the most of their opportunities.
Jesse Chatman would pile up 103 yards
and a score against the Jaguars defense. As a Ladanian
Tomlinson owner, it was pretty disgusting to watch Tomlinson soften
up the defense with 19 carries for 56 yards and a measly 2.9 ypc
and then sit on the bench as Chatman rolled up over twice that
total on nearly half the attempts. Is Tomlinson's groin injury
worse than reported? I think so. He didn't look nearly as explosive
through the hole and his long speed seemed to be lacking even
when he got into the secondary. Maybe Tomlinson will be healthier
next week and as nice has his 20-pt fantasy total was for my team,
I would be much better off if was still the one carrying the ball
for those long runs in the fourth quarter.
Lesson Learned: None. You can't
Benched Kerry Collins against the Colts.
I went into this week's FFTOC with the thought of starting Byron
Leftwich or Matt Hasselbeck, but decided even Kerry Collins couldn't
have less than a good day against the Colts secondary. Guess what…
|| Avg. FF
|| Max Pts
|| Min FF
|| Sub Par
|| #1 QB
|| #2 QB
Historically speaking, Collins doesn't even turn out to be a worthwhile
starter. Nearly half his games aren't even good enough for Collins
to be considered a #2 fantasy QB! What makes Collins situation better
in Oakland than in New York? Come to think of it, I'd rather have
Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey, and Tiki Barber over Zereoue/Wheatley/Fargas,
Jerry Porter, and Doug Jolley/Courntey Anderson. Talk about a vastly
overrated situation! Although I added Collins to my roster when
Gannon went down, I still don't see how anyone could make Collins
out to be a better all around quarterback. Someone please explain
this to me
For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations.
For those of you that didn't: Hindsight's a