As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday's "Fantasy
With a month left in the regular season, it's time to do a brief
check-in with the FFTOC.
After a decent start, I wound up starting excellent talent on
off weeks and I dropped out of the top 200 which qualify to play
for the grand prize after week 12. So it's time to pull out the
big guns and hope I can make a move from my lowly 488th place
(out of 600) into the top 200. I'll find out more about the results
after publication of this article, but the numbers look promising:
|| Can’t go wrong with this match up.
|| Historically, Portis turns it up a
notch in the second half of the season.
|| Needed to play the best fantasy RB
in the NFL to stay alive.
|| Disappointing week for a stud like
|| Gates hogged all the scoring throws
|| That fumble on the long reception likely
cost me a touchdown.
|| Thought about Gates or Pollard, and
not going with them cost me.
|| Like Manning vs. Vikings, a can’t-miss
|| Looked like a shut out was brewing
early, then the bottom fell out.
So far this was my best week. Although the low ranking doesn't sound
good, I'm only 68 points away from the top 200. The 200th -ranked
team averages 102 points per contest. In theory if I average 17
points more than the 200th-ranked team for the next four weeks,
I should make it. A 124.79-point effort is a good start. Unfortunately,
I'll have to rely on players I wanted to save for the "money
In hindsight, I would have taken more chances on lesser talents
for the first four to five weeks of the season and then made my
move at that point. This would have afforded me more time to evaluate
how the season is goingwhich players are breaking out and which
ones are disappointments. I think next year I'd like to do a 3-4
year study on average fantasy points scored per week by position
to see if there is any consistent set of weeks where offenses begin
to open it up. Maybe this could help me maximize the times I use
FFToday's publisher didn't appear to concern himself with a slow
start. Entering week 9, Krueger was the 68th-ranked team. Since
Krueger was able to climb from the high 300's to 68th in the month
of October, I still have some hope. So does Mike MacGregorhe's
ranked 414th entering week nine.
On to the weekly files of 20/20 Hindsight
Daniel Graham would go quiet for three
consecutive weeks? Graham scored at least one touchdown
on four straight games to being the season. The last three games,
Graham has had a combined 6 receptions for 66 yards and no scores.
Even more disturbing is the frequency in which Graham has been
designated to block on passing downs. The Patriots even threw
to LB Mike Vrabel before considering Graham in the red zone. What
gives? Injuries are the problem. As mentioned in a thread about
Graham on the message boards, the Patriots TE has been targeted
fewer times each game as a result of injuries to the offensive
line and receiving corps. Plus, Graham accumulated nearly a third
of his season total receiving yards (180) in the first game of
the season (57 yards vs. the Colts).
Lessons Learned: Tight end performance
can be highly dependent on line play. Graham looks like he's fallen
from a must start to a situational fantasy TE against defenses
where the match up is more favorable.
Santana Moss was going to explode?
Benching Moss turned out to be a pivotal mistake for many teams
this weekincluding one of mine. Jets' quarterbacks targeted
Moss seven times (five from Pennington and twice from Carter)
against the depleted Buffalo secondary. Moss wound up with six
catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. To Moss' credit, he has
been recovering from two strained hamstrings for the first half
of the season. But Moss didn't do much last week against Miami
after declaring himself healthy. Plus the wind gusts in Buffalo
certainly didn't look like Moss would have such a good game. Of
course, that's exactly what happened against the Bills.
Moss performance looks like a sign of things to come.
Moss faces two good passing defenses down the stretchBaltimore
and Pittsburgh. The rest of the teamsCleveland, Arizona, Seattle,
New England, and Houstonare ranked no higher than fourteenth
against the pass. That's a good sign. Heading into week nine,
Moss had 14 catches for 290 yards and was only targeted 24 times.
The amount of times Moss was targeted against Buffalo accounted
for more than 25% of the entire season's worth of passes thrown
in his direction. If Moss was average target per game rate was
less than half the amount of times he was thrown to in this game,
it stands to reason that the receiver is healthy enough to make
a major impact and the offense no longer has to pick its spots
to get him the ball.
The second half differentials for wide receivers last year shows
that the highest differential of fantasy points scored in the
second half of the season compared to the first half of the season
was slightly more than 3.5 points per game. That player was Anquan
Bolden. If Moss were to have this high of a differential, he'd
be averaging a little over 8 points per contest. Not bad for a
#4 WR, but still a disappointment for a guy many owners targeted
as at least a quality #2 WR.
It's worth noting that Moss had a nice rate of 0.63 touchdowns
per game last season and his four-year average was 0.44 touchdowns
per contest. His 2004 scoring proficiency rating was zero prior
to this game. Seems like Moss has nowhere to go but up.
Considering that Moss was playing with two injuries, I take a
more optimistic view of the receiver than the 2004 stats may indicate.
None of the receivers with a high second half fantasy point differential
from 2003 missed time or played with a significant injury. It
may be more beneficial for owners to view Moss with a similar
sort of optimism they view Keenan McCardellas if Moss hasn't
even played the first half of the season. I mentioned Moss last
week in my team autopsy as my ultimate bust and I could easily
write off Moss. But the Buffalo game and my options at WR (Moulds,
Gardner, Lloyd, Moss, Gabriel, and Ferguson) are forcing me to
Other than the Ravens, the Jets will be facing offensive unitsyes,
I'm being charitable to the Cardinals and Browns' offensesthat
are capable of keeping their teams competitive for the entire
course of the game. This means Mossunlike his game in Miamiwill
get more opportunities because the Jets will be forced to throw.
With Pennington forced to miss time, opposing defenses will be
more inclined to force Carter to throw. This should benefit Moss.
Plus, the Jets know that defenses have studied their previous
game plans where New York threw more passes to their tight ends
and backs and that's another reason why Herm Edwards wants to
get the receivers more involved. Any way you look at it, I think
Moss has a good chance to be a quality contributor in the second
half of the NFL seasonand possibly much more. If you are in a
league where you start four wide receivers, keeping hope alive
for Moss may be the best decision.
Lesson Learned: Injuries are
dicey situations. Monitoring a players' recovery can be the difference
between making a good lineup decision and a bad one.
Michael Pittman would explode: Pittman
averaged 8.5 yards per carry in Tampa Bay's upset of Kansas City.
Suddenly, people are looking at Griese, Clayton, Pittman, the
defense, and the Buccaneers' schedule and thinking playoffs. Only
the defense and the schedule are quality arguments in favor of
this happening. Clayton is playing well, but he's largely unproven.
Griese is capable of good games, but hasn't strung together quality
performances since the first half of his second season as the
Denver starter. But Griese is young for a quarterback and Gruden
did a lot for Rich Gannon-a similar guy in terms of on field personality-so
I'm still keeping an open mind here.
This brings us to Pittman. Take away that 78-yard touchdown run
against the Chiefs and we're looking at 14 carries for 50 yardsa
very pedestrian 3.57 yards per carry. We already know what the
Chiefs have given up on the ground this year, so don't put a lot
of stock in Pittman down the line. Sure, he'll have some good
games but don't go trading for the guy just yet. His four-year
scoring proficiency is 0.22 touchdowns per game. Over half (52%)
of Pittman's games in that time span have been sub par (less than
8.67 fantasy points in a game).
One thing going for Pittman is the fact he's playing with a decent
defense that should keep the Bucs' in games and that Pittman is
the undisputed starter for the first time in his career. Still,
I'd be wary with this guy. If you can acquire or use Pittman as
a #3-#4 RB on your roster, you are much better off than having
to rely on him as a starter.
Lesson Learned: Everyone in
the NFL is capable of a big game once in a while. The same people
that have been down on Santana Moss might be over enthusiastic
about Pittman. You know, that might not be a bad trade
Pittman for Moss. You might actually get a second player in return
if the guy is desperate enough for an RB.
Brandon Lloyd was a decent start.
Lloyd had 75 yards and a touchdown off a broken play that he helped
keep alive with this hustle. This came off the heels of Fred Beasley
and Kevan Barlow calling him out. Lloyd is a flashy guy, but he's
a team player that will eventually fulfill the promise he's periodically
shown on the field.
Lloyd demonstrated a team-first attitude by not firing back at
Beasley in the press. If anything, Lloyd showed nothing but respect
for Beasley. "Fred has a lot of respect on this team, and
a lot of respect from his peers on other teams," Lloyd said.
"What he says pretty much goes. It would be a bad career
move for anyone to take that the wrong way."
Lesson Learned: It's generally
a smart move to start a player after a teammate calls him out
in the press-especially if that player has demonstrated ability
on the field.
For those of you that made the right decisions this week, congratulations.
For those of you that didn't: Hindsight's a