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20/20 Hindsight - Week 11

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.”

This was a great weekend of football. Reggie Bush out-gains the Colts or Bengals offense. Paying $18 for Larry Johnson to back up Priest Holmes in this showcase auction league is shaping up to be a bargain (and so does drafting him in the 6th round after I already had Edge, Martin, and Cadillac). And the return of Cadillac, Boldin, and Bruce has provided some promise for a stretch run in a few leagues. Unfortunately, you can stick a fork in the practical application of my FFTOC strategy.

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB C. Palmer 25.5 Played to my expectations this week.
RB L. Tomlinson 14.9 In this type of league, this performance can actually be considered a disappointment.
RB C. Portis 8.6 He started strong, but had me wishing I put Alexander in the lineup by the 4th Qtr.
WR L. Fitzgerald 17.3 This was a gimmee…
WR S. Moss 5.3 I liked CB Fabian Washington at Nebraska—unfortunately he had to further impress.
WR J. Horn 8.0 Late-week substitution for Randy Moss.
TE T. Gonzalez 9.8 Pretty good, but not Gonzalez Good.
K J. Elam 9.0 This works.
DEF Panthers 3.0 I clearly picked the wrong defense in this match up! Wow…
  Total 101.4 Unless I have Larry Johnson-like performances at every position next week, I’m done.

Based on a review of my weekly performances, it appears I missed a shot at qualifying for the final phase by five bad picks. As I try to figure out which Turkey Week Lineup I can play that will give me the best shot at scoring 350 points, let’s check out the week eleven files of 20/20 Hindsight.

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

You Couldn’t Go Wrong With Holt, Bruce, Or Curtis In Your Lineup
As I mentioned at the top of this column, I’ve been hoping Isaac Bruce would return to health and he demonstrated that he’s ready to resume his productive career with 83 yards and a score. Torry Holt continues to fight back from his PCL sprain and put up a typical Big Game performance of 129 yards and a score. And Kevin Curtis’ 98 yards and a touchdown send a clear message that he’s the idea slot receiver with these two veterans on the outside. Too bad they can’t defend the pass, because Kurt Warner came to town with two receivers that may not have as much experience, but they can run over you as often as they out run or out leap you.

Lesson Learned: With Houston, Minnesota, an ailing Philly secondary, and San Francisco on the schedule, the Rams look like a team that will not only make a run for a wild card, but also have great match ups for fantasy points as much through the air as on the ground. If you kept Isaac Bruce on your roster and made due until his return, congratulations—you are about to reap the benefits. If Bruce is still on your waiver wire, I hope he falls to those of you that actually have a chance to make the playoffs.

You Couldn’t Go Wrong With Smith, Jones, Or Wilford In Your Lineup
Choosing which WR to start from Jacksonville’s corps were among my most difficult lineup decisions this week. It turns out I was in pretty good shape regardless of the choice. But the best choice was QB Byron Leftwich. The Jaguars QB threw for three scores and ran for another.

Lesson Learned: I’ve been saying this all year, the Jaguars are a going to be an excellent end of the season play with an upcoming schedule of the Cardinals, Browns, Colts, 49ers, and Texans. Leftwich and his three receivers are really developing some chemistry and it’s creating enough problems for defenses that even long silent, TE Kyle Brady got a score this weekend. I’m not sure there’s another QB I’d rather have in fantasy football for the next 5-6 weeks.

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

Michael Vick Would Put Up 300 Yards On The Buccaneers Defense
This may have been one of the more quietly impressive events I witnessed in football all weekend. Although I grew up in Atlanta and don’t live far from town, I’m not a Falcons fan and I’ve been skeptical of Vick’s development as a passer. But when football’s version of the Human Highlight Film has an efficient, and productive game against the NFL’s third-ranked passing defense—a unit that has long-haunted him—I have to give the guy some credit. I have the feeling I was wrong about Vick, and the thought of him becoming a good passer in the next season or two doesn’t look so implausible after this performance in a losing. Still, Tampa’s pass defense padded it’s ranking on an easy first half schedule, so I’m not ready to say Vick has arrived as a passer, just yet.

Lesson Learned: Look out for rookie WR, Roddy White down the stretch. He and Vick are gaining some rapport, and he’s by far the most physically talented receiver on the Falcons. White’s development will make it much easier for Finneran and Jenkins. If you are in a league where the thought of Isaac Bruce languishing on your waiver wire is laughable, maybe White better fits the profile of the type of receiver still a free agent. If so, and you need some help, you may want to look here.

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

Brandon Lloyd Would Once Again Put Up Good Numbers With A Slightly Experienced QB
I benched Lloyd at the last minute in three leagues because I just didn’t have the guts to start him despite the fact I knew his rapport with Dorsey has been solid in the past. Of course, Lloyd racks up over 100 yards and a score and makes two amazing catches—one that counted as a reception. Brandon Lloyd may be the most frustrating fantasy prospect around because of his great talent, and the lack of a consistent passer to distribute the ball. It should be a against the law for a player this adept at catching a ball to be in this offense right now.

Lesson Learned: Is there another receiver in recent memory that has made as many impressive grabs as Brandon Lloyd? Randy Moss had his share in the first few years of his career, but Lloyd’s percentage of great catches to total receptions has to be staggering in comparison to anyone else. In fact, some of Lloyd’s grabs make some of Randy Moss’ look pedestrian. Seriously, put a highlight video together of Lloyd’s acrobatic receptions and put them in the company of the best from Randy Moss, John Jefferson, Lynn Swann, Wes Chandler, or anyone else, and Lloyd still comes out looking great. I’m not talking about the game situation, just purely the physical feat of making a tough catch.

The Titans might be fighting Jacksonville for a playoff spot if they had Lloyd paired with McNair. Do not, I repeat, do not trade this guy if you have him your dynasty league. It would be a shame to watch the Niners finally have someone to exploit this guy’s talent after he’s spent a couple of years languishing on your bench. Be patient, it’s going to pay off.

Nagging Feelings—Week 11

Anyone else notice the volume get turned way down on the Samkon Gado hype machine last night? That’s the power of fumbling. I have the feeling the Packers will resume their regularly scheduled program of Tony Fisher as the primary back until the 2006 draft. Reggie Bush in the Green and Yellow could keep Favre around for a few more years, don’t you think?

I have the feeling Mike Tice has finally come around on Mewelde Moore. Then again, it sure looks like Ciatrick Fason is seeing more time lately…Speaking of the Vikings, Koren Robinson sure saw a lot of time at receiver and actually made some nice plays, too. I hope you picked this guy up for next year because he’s more talented than any receiver they have on their roster if he stays sober.

By the end of 2006, we’re going to realize that a vast majority of NFL teams will have a quality, receiving tight end in their lineup. Joe Klopfenstein, Mercedes Lewis, and Vernon Davis… especially Vernon Davis…are three more top tier pass catching ends ready to make an impact. I’m willing to bet Cincinnati takes a look around the AFC and decides they would like an option like the Colts have in Dallas Clark. As we know the NFL is very trendy.