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20/20 Hindsight - Week 7

As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday's "Fantasy Football Confessional."

It's time to look at the NFL in Hindsight now that we're reaching the halfway point of the season.

The WR class of 2003 is as good as advertised. Take a look at the first round picks thus far.

Current Stats
 Player  Rec  Yds  Avg  Lng  TD
M. Clayton 37 505 13.6 51 2
L. Fitzgerald 26 371 14.3 39 2
Roy Williams 24 362 15.1 37 5
L. Evans 10 248 24.8 65 1
Reg. Williams 12 115 9.6 19 0
R. Woods 2 35 17.5 18 1
M. Jenkins 0 0 0 0 0
Projected Stats
 Player  Rec  Yds  Avg  Lng  TD
M. Clayton 85 1154 13.6 51 5
L. Fitzgerald 69 989 14.3 39 5
Roy Williams 64 965 15.1 37 13
L. Evans 27 661 24.8 65 3
Reg. Williams 27 263 9.6 19 0
R. Woods 5 93 17.5 18 3
M. Jenkins 0 0 0 0 0

With a strong finish it's very possible for the class of 2003 to produce three, 1,000-yard receivers. When was the last time this happened? Since 1950 it's never happened.

Keep in mind that Keary Colbert is a productive starter and on track for over 50 catches, 800 yards, and five touchdowns. Darrius Watts and Ernest Wilford are making solid contributions in three wide receiver sets for the Broncos and Jaguars respectively. Throw in talent the likes of Bernard Berrian, Devard Darling, and Derrick Hamilton that haven't seen much of the field in their rookie years and there is a lot to like about this class.

What do Steven Jackson, Kevin Jones, and Mewelde Moore have in common? All three ran slower 40-times than NFL management desire from an RB. All three were pretty much their respective college teams' offense (apologies to J.P. Losman). And all three players slipped in the draft. The coaches of all three players have experience as either an offensive coordinator (Martz), offensive position coach (Mariucci), or experience as an offensive player (Tice). The result? Jackson, Jones and Moore are using their multi-dimensional offensive talents to benefit their teams. Come to think of it, Michael Clayton, Larry Fitzgerald, and Roy Williams have head coaches that fit this profile.

What do Chris Perry and Julius Jones have in common? Both ran 40-times NFL management desire from an RB. Both players were taken higher than expected in the draft. Neither is making an impact for their team and is initially seen as a disappointment to their respective head coach. Speaking of coaches, Parcells and Lewis have defensive coaching backgrounds. Come to think of it, Lee Evans, Reggie Williams, and Michael Jenkins have head coaches with defensive backgrounds.

What do Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, and Tom Brady have in common? Poise. This quality is the major factor that gives a quarterback "It." The coaches of three players have defensive backgrounds—Cowher, Del Rio, and Belicheck. Coincidence? May be—may be not.

Terrell Owens may have won the battle, but Jeff Garcia won the war. As a fan of football players, I like Owens and Garcia. Both work hard year long to be the best. The Browns and the Eagles are better teams with these guys on board. Arguably, Owens and Garcia's performances were about even—although Garcia's required more guts and leadership given the way the game turned out. Owens won the game. But to a man, their actions made the result of the football game less significant in perspective.

Owens bashed Garcia both professionally and personally in the media throughout the off-season and even a week before the game in a local media outlet. Garcia took the higher road. Leading up to the game, Owens appeared noticeably preoccupied and frustrated with the media following up on his earlier statements.

What did he expect? Owens always defends his behaviors by saying that he's not one of those players involved in well-publicized issues with drug addiction, domestic violence, rape, or vehicular homicide. What's so special about him obeying the law? Isn't being a law-abiding citizen something we're all expected to do?

He may not realize it, but he's getting exactly what he asked from the media. He's a great player and when one of the best receivers in the game implies to the media that a pro bowl-quality quarterback is homosexual, that's newsworthy. What it implies about Jeff Garcia isn't as newsworthy as the sheer level of disrespect that Owens shows to a player that undoubtedly helped him become an elite receiver.

But it is funny that Owens is talking about Garcia's sexuality when he seems to fit the very stereotypes that a homophobe would ignorantly and inaccurately attribute to homosexuals:

  • Owens makes his residence a short drive to metro-Atlanta, well known as one of the more homosexual-friendly cities in country.

  • Owens went out of his way to portray himself as a deeply complex, sensitive man in a broadcasted network profile. A story that profiled his strange and close relationship with his over-protective grandmother growing up.

  • Owens is one of the most flamboyant players in the NFL. What other player gets his coach to agree on a performance-based incentive so he can wear form-fitting tights to practice instead of shorts?

  • What other player in the league has created more drama on the field after a touchdown?

    • The Dallas Star?
    • The pom-pom routine
    • The Sharpie

  • His demanding behavior during his last season as a 49er and his refusal to join the Ravens was more akin to a Broadway prima donna than an NFL football player.
So it was fairly telling when Terrell Owens had to go out of his way after a touchdown to rip down a banner that stated "Takes One to Know One." To incur a penalty and risk himself or his team getting hit by projectiles (for which Browns fans are now famous for doing) just to take down a banner makes me wonder if what it said struck a nerve. They say homophobic people are uncomfortable with their sexuality. Owens better be careful about how he chooses to call others out in the media. Does his friend that told him "if it looks like a rat," know the saying about the pot and the kettle? Maybe Donovan McNabb will help Owens learn how to avoid situations like this one. McNabb certainly knows a thing or two about being stereotyped in the media and handling it with class—much like what Owens did to Garcia.

On to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight...

Would've (From The Who Would Have Known File)

Priest Holmes would score 4 rushing touchdowns on the NFL's top rushing defense?
Over 42% of Holmes' games between 2000-2004 produced elite level fantasy totals—at least 19.4 fantasy points. Only Marshall Faulk has a higher percentage of elite level fantasy games with 45%.

Lessons Learned: If means if you needed stats to tell you the obvious—especially after the Ravens-Chiefs MNF match up this month—then now you know you never bench Holmes if he's healthy.

Could've (From The Who Could Have Known File)

Derrick Blaylock would score 4 rushing touchdowns on the NFL's top rushing defense?
We can certainly predict with a decent amount of accuracy that Priest Holmes will be a good fantasy starter every week, but we can't predict his touchdown total, his health status, AND the Chiefs' defensive play. These are the three factors that put him on the bench. I'm sure there's someone out there that started Blaylock last week in a league somewhere—I certainly should have in one league where my only healthy starting RB was Brian Westbrook—but you'll never convince me anyone played Blaylock out of anything but desperation. Considering I could start one running back instead of two, I didn't have to make this move. Just from the hindsight of luck, I wish I did—40 points from Blaylock and winning by 42 going into Monday night is much better than 3 or 4 points from Ernest Wilford and only being up by 2 when your opponent still has Al Wilson and Brian Simmons and you have Reggie Hayward.

Lesson Learned: Luck is what makes Fantasy Football what it is...

Should've (From The I Knew I Should Have File)

Avoided Steve McNair this week.
The forum poster that goes by the name "Clash of The Titans," frequently shares information from an anonymous source in the Tennessee organization. He's been making it known that McNair has been in worse health than the Titans have let on and states some interesting points about his throwing motion as evidence. If you saw the hit Kevin Williams dished out on McNair, you know it wasn't nearly as vicious as the countless hits the Tennessee quarterback has taken throughout his entire career, but it knocked him out of the game. Bad sign. Too bad, I was going to make my move in the FFTOC this week. I decided to hold off on Leftwich until the Minnesota game in week 12 and that left me with Vinny Testaverde, Kurt Warner, Jeff Garcia, and McNair as my week 7 options. The Minnesota defense made McNair the most appealing to me. If I went with any of the other options, I could have been inline for a good week. But I chose McNair and got zero points for a position that should net me at least 15-20. Now, I need excellent weeks for the month of November to qualify for the post season.

Lesson Learned: Trust your sources. Especially when what they say makes sense.

For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations. For those of you that didn't: Hindsight's a …