I confess I was a Homer this weekend. I almost stayed on the
wagon, but I succumbed to the urge the night before my match up
with my archrival, Bentley. We all have an archrival in fantasy
football. It isn't just limited to the NFL. Bentley vs. Wildman
in the two leagues we participate is like Parcells vs. Gibbs.
Everyone is friendly and talkative until the week leading up to
the gamethen it becomes a cold war. Conversations occur
through intermediariesBentley's wife or mutual friendsand
rarely is the game watched together. Depending on your perspective,
this is what makes fantasy football competitive and exciting,
or incredibly pathetic.The Chiefs' had improved performance on both sides of the ball
in consecutive games (Houston and Baltimore).
This weekend the match up was in our dynasty league. The line
was even, but I knew I needed a big game from a quarterback because
Bentley was starting Daunte Culpepper. My choices were Byron Leftwich
and Steve McNair. Leftwich has been my 2nd year QB Breakout Poster
Boy since the conclusion of his rookie year, but McNair is probably
the only player I favor more as a fan. Leftwich had just thrown
for consecutive three hundred yard games. McNair had a nice effort
against Green Bay on Monday Night.
Statistically, the opposing secondaries for Leftwich and McNair
in the last couple of weeks were NFL versions of a cupcake schedule:
Green Bay, San Diego, and Indianapolis. Passing games thrived
against Kansas City and Houston heading into week six, but Houston
seemed like the more logical choice because their pass defense
was statistically worse and it still seemed like Jacksonville
was trying to be a run-first team.
But my desire to stick with McNair violated one of the 20/20 Hindsight
rules: ride the trend. There were three trends I ignored:
Instead, I tried to guess when the trend would end. So I went
with McNair and benched Leftwich the night before the game. Not
only did Leftwich have a terrific day, but also in a league where
negative points are scored for interceptions McNair's performance
was just plain bad. It cost me nearly 19 points.
|| J. Foreman
To add insult to injury, my bench (Brandon Lloyd, Mewelde Moore,
Corey Dillon, and Lee Suggs) outscored many key starters. True,
I didn't have a bye week option at TE, but to know that I could
have withstood a 5-TD day from Culpepper and still win by nearly
13 points is a disappointment. Making matters worse, this league's
title is based on a power rating compiled from head-to-head record,
total season points, and overall record versus the league over
the course of the season. So starting Leftwich would have resulted
in a four-game winning streak and vaulted me to the top of the
league in the all-important power rating system. It is some consolation
that the season is far from over, and Leftwich is playing the
Colts in week seven
On to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight
Mewelde Moore and Rueben Droughns would
roll up nearly two hundred yards of total offense-again!
How many players like Moore and Droughns is it going to take
for teams to realize there is something wrong with their evaluation
process? Looks like Len Pasquerilli of ESPN quoted an
unidentified scout that shares a similar sentiment:
Every time I watch (tailback Mewelde) Moore (of Minnesota),
I want to puke. I loved the kid when he was at Tulane, but our
coach is one of those 'speed is everything' guys, and Moore
doesn't run well. He's like a 4.6 guy, you know? But the kid
was productive, one of the top all-purpose yardage players in
the history of college football. In two starts for Minnesota,
he's got 54 'touches' for 369 yards. He catches the hell out
of the ball, can return kicks, and just knows how to play the
game. I could see, given the way he's played, Minnesota dumping
one of those backs before the trade deadline. The problem is,
I don't think that they're allowed to trade (Onterrio) Smith
while he's suspended.
This that the oft-reported problem that scouts miss out on talent
may be inaccurate. Good management values the opinions of those
they employ and trust their research. In the NFL these are probably
the organizations that value scouts' opinions and will take a
chance on players that don't have the optimal measurements but
have the proven performance. If the organization isn't very good,
then employees may not share their true opinions because the coach
or GM might question their judgment if they are wrongor they
are just immediately shot down when the player doesn't fit a very
When you can look at the game film and see speed, burst, hands,
power, and incredible game awareness, that's a greater document
of the truth than a guy running in a straight line without pads
for a stop watch. Priest Holmes was not a scouting combine stud,
but many players have commented on Holmes being the one of the
fastest guys in pads with the ball in his hand that they've
played against in the NFL.
Seriously, how smart can the teams in the NFL be when the same
organizational structures didn't think African American athletes
were equipped to play quarterback for so many decades that it
took Doug Williams to win a Super Bowl to just make these people
think twice about their ignorance? Even when this happened it
wasn't like the floodgates opened within the next few years.
Lessons Learned: Watch college
football, learn more about the game, read as many scouts' takes
as you can, and understand the frame of reference behind the
hype. If you can't do all that, then find a source you can trust
that does. With this in mind, don't be afraid to start Chester
Taylor while Jamal Lewis is out on suspension. He's another
quality college back than ran a 4.6 in the 40 and his stock
dropped as a result.
If you haven't figured it out yet, Ozzie Newsome is no dummy.
Yes, Boller doesn't look good but remember, Newsome was trying
to trade up for Leftwich before former assistant James Harris
beat his old team to the punch. I truly believe the Ravens would
be a better version of the Jaguars if Leftwich were under center
in Baltimore. Not only that, but Terrell Owens just might have
accepted his trade to Baltimore if Newsome could have gotten
the QB he really wanted in 2003's draft.
Jonathan Wells would lead the Texans
in rushing this week. Domanick Davis has been a huge
disappointment this year. The Gut Check has a theory he's working
on that involves Davis. It's loosely coined as the "RB
Bloody Mary Theory." You know that urban legend where if
you standing in front of mirror and repeat the phrase "Bloody
Mary," three times you're basically doomed? Well, the same
goes for running backs that declare to the media their goal
is 2,000 yards rushing. Corey Dillon, Fred Taylor, and Domanick
Davis all did this at some point during their careers, and suffered
the consequences. This week, Davis left the game with a bruised
thigh and Wells wound up with a respectable 73 yards and a TD.
Lesson Learned: If any of
you know an NFL running back or NFL prospect, please tell them
to put a restraining order on their mouths when they decide
to discuss statistical goals when a reporter is within a 40-yard
Started Corey Dillon against the Seahawks.
I rated Dillon as the 7th best fantasy back heading into the
season. Many people wrote me about this pick. My explanation
went like this: Dillon has something to prove. He was considered
an elite back on a horrible team for most of his career. Dillon
knew what he was doing when he went to the media last year.
He had seen enough of Cincinnati and as much of a surprise as
the Bengals were, he didn't believe in the organization any
longer. Although Dillon took the immature approach, it's hard
to blame the guy. The Bengals were possibly the most ineptly
managed franchise in the NFL for the past decade. Dillon doesn't
have much time left and considering Cincinnati's performance
thus far, it's even more understandable why he wanted to play
on a winner, now.
Dillon is smart enough to know that he has to be everything
the Patriots ask of him. He's gone from what was possibly the
worst situation in the NFL to the best. He can't screw this
up and find another team that will want him as their starter.
He's proven he can put up excellent numbers with fewer carries
than many feature backs.
|| FF Pts
Carries: per game by career and Fantasy point ranking among RBs
- 1997: 14.5 (8th)
- 1998: 17.4 (16th)
- 1999: 17.5 (13th)
- 2000: 19.7 (9th)
- 2001: 21 (6th)
- 2002: 19.6 (15th)
I didn't include 2003, because that's basically a lost season,
but half of his career he's been a top ten back and twice he
achieved it with less than 20 carries per game.
Dillon is averaging 4.9 ypc and 21 carries per game through
week six. The Patriots' are hurting at receiver, and had to
resort to using Bethel Johnsona guy in Belicheck's doghouse
(great catch notwithstanding)against the Seahawks. The receiver
shortage bolsters my opinion that Dillon's carries per game
will be over 20 in 2004. Considering his career ypc is 4.3 and
the Bengals were a horribly unbalanced team until 2003, one
can reasonably project at 20 carries over a 16-game season he'll
reach at least 1376 yards. The Patriots will continue to be
a more balanced offenseeven with health issues at receiverthan
the Bengals were during Dillon's tenure.
If Dillon just puts up 86 yards per game, he hits that number.
He's currently gaining 104 yards per game.
Over the year many people talk about Dillon as a great back
on a horrible team, but after one bad (and no excuses for himhe
behaved poorly towards the Bengals organization) year and suddenly
everyone thinks he's lost his talent when athletically speaking,
he is in the prime of his career.
In week six, Dillon played a Seahawks defense that ranked 4th
in the NFL in yards per game with an ailing foot and gained
over 100 yards and two touchdownsincluding a game-sealing score
in the fourth quarter. Although his stat splits show he's running
more productively on the stat sheet in the first half of games,
look for Dillon to begin carrying the Patriots' offense in the
My last minute choice over Dillon was Thomas Jones. Not a bad
performance (over 110 total yards), but until the Bears can
establish an aerial attack, Dillon is the better guy.
Lesson Learned: Balanced
offenses generally dictate better stats for the running game
(see Mewelde Moore, Reuben Droughns, and William Green as examples)
For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations.
For those of you that didn't: Sorry to tell you, but Hindsight's