we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted to
learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
Poor lineup choices are a cruel way for your fantasy team to
die. It’s even worse when you choose someone else over your
absolute favorite player. That twist happened to me this week
in my local league. But first, here’s part II of my receiver
match up nightmare for week fifteen.
|Receiver Nightmare: Part
||A complete bust for all but one game
||Getting a lot of targets and playing
||The primary receiver in an offense likely
playing from behind.
||Great match up, but Jackson would be
starting and fewer targets really hurts.
||Playing well lately, but still the 4th
||Not a lot of targets, but producing
with what he’s receiving.
||Garrard's favorite target, and a good
||He is a step up from Parker, but hit
and miss as the offense's 4th choice.
I pick Bruce, Bryant, Robinson, and Smith. Bruce and Robinson
are complete busts this week. Toomer? He gets that controversial
score where it was argued his knee wasn’t down. Considering
the tackling of the KC defense, they deserved this cruel form
of punishment. Unfortunately, I wasn’t spared either. Parker?
Certainly better than Bruce and Robinson! Even Jurevicius got
a score despite his fewer targets with Darrell Jackson’s
Bennett’s two touchdowns were a real blow, but the worst
was choosing Kerry Collins over Steve McNair. I am not a fan of
Kerry Collins’ game but he’s been a top-5 quarterback
all season for my league and my usual starter. McNair is my favorite
player in football, but he’s had no receivers. In hindsight,
I should have placed more weight on the fact Cleveland’s
defense did such a good job against Carson Palmer the week before.
Instead, I based my decision on the stats for the year, and ruled
out Cleveland’s effort more as an anomaly than a trend.
It cost me fifteen points—the exact amount I needed to beat
my semi-final opponent that got a huge game from Todd Heap last
night. Tough way to lose, but in the playoffs the margin for error
generally narrows as the postseason competition has more comparable
talent. No excuses here, just a bad decision with the quarterback
choice combined with the side effects of acquiring inconsistent
receivers all year long.
|The Original Whizzinators
||The Practice Squad
|K. Collins QB
||M. Hasselbeck QB
|E. James RB
||C. Portis RB
|L. Johnson RB
||R. Moats RB
|I. Bruce WR
||R. Wayne WR
|K. Robinson WR
||K. Johnson WR
|A. Bryant WR
||A. Johnson WR
|J. Smith WR
||M. Muhammad WR
|A. Gates TE
||T. Heap TE
|J. Kasay K
||S. Graham K
|D. Panthers DST
||D. Colts DST
|S. McNair QB
||M. Brunell QB
|B. Volek QB
||W. Parker RB
|C. Martin RB
||M. Anderson RB
|C. Williams RB
||T. Duckett RB
|D. Rhodes RB
||M. Bennett RB
|J. Jurevicius WR
||C. Benson RB
|D. Bennett WR
||T. Taylor WR
|E. Parker WR
||M. Williams WR
|A. Toomer WR
||J. Stevens TE
|H. Miller TE
||R. Lindell K
My friend is the three-time champion of our 11-year old local
league. We’ve been talking about teaming up for a team in
WCOFF some day. His lineup wasn’t very impressive this year,
but he made the right choices. Priest Holmes was his first-round
pick, and Andre Johnson was even worse than Drew Bennett for much
of the year. He’s another example why surviving is a big
part of fantasy football. He made enough good choices to survive
despite a less than impressive roster: A true mark of a skillful
owner in the art of match ups.
Oftentimes the unforeseen has a big impact. I was fortunate to
survive this week in the Fantasy Auctioneer Experts Invitational
League despite what seemed like a crushing blow to my lineup:
losing Kurt Warner after the Cardinals QB went 10- for-10 with
a score. Once again with McNair on the bench, and relatively poor
days from Torry Holt and Terry Glenn, I was only leading by six
going into the Sunday night game. Although I beat the same opponent
last week by a pretty fair margin, Payback was about to take on
the same qualities as Hindsight (if you know what I mean). I was
done for the week, and my opponent was only down by six with Crumpler
and Gado yet to play. This order of players yet to perform was
the same scenario for our game last week, except I had a 43-point
advantage and a lot more confidence in the probable outcome. This
time the unforeseen was in my favor. Crumpler was limited to just
a point, and Gado, like Warner, couldn’t finish the game.
Sometimes you take the win any way you can get it especially when
it leads to a championship appearance.
My opponent in the finals had an even crazier outcome to his
semi-final. He was up by three with all his players finished for
the weekend, but his opponent had Donald Driver going into Monday
night. The Packers receiver was four yards short of earning his
opponent that fourth point for the win. With the score deadlocked
at 81-81, the tiebreaker became the sole factor: who scored the
most total points for the season. My opponent and I had the tiebreaker
advantage in our match ups. And if this somehow occurs again in
our championship game, it could get even nuttier—while I
have one more win (13-2 record to his 12-2-1 season), he outscored
me overall by just a point. As a proponent of total points as
a better determining factor to break a tie than total head to
head wins, this is obviously something I hope not to imagine into
reality. This time of year is as exciting—and harsh—as
it gets. And that ladies and gentlemen, is the draw of fantasy
football at its best.
Steve Mcnair Would Come To Life Against
One Of The Best Teams In The League: Lacking consistent
receivers, an uneven running game, and sporting a bum ankle, McNair
lit up the Seahawks Sunday afternoon for over 300 yards and a
couple of scores. For McNair it is the same song, next verse —hurt
and undermanned, but still capable of keeping a team competitive.
The Titan’s quarterback certainly isn’t a Hall of
Fame candidate, but he’s a highly underrated, clutch performer
throughout his career that I’d argue was only two plays
short of having a vastly different perception among fans and media
What were those two plays that might have made a difference in
perception? The first was obviously the pass to Dyson in the Super
Bowl, who came up one yard short. The second play was Drew Bennett’s
drop against the Patriots during the 2001 Divisional Playoffs
in Foxboro. If Bennett makes the play (a difficult catch, but
the ball hit his hands), it’s a chip shot to advance to
the AFC Championship versus a Colts team with whom they matched
up better than any team not named New England. Plus, Tennessee
wiped the floor with Carolina in the 2003 regular season. I know
the playoffs are a different animal, but you see my point here.
The Seahawks’ clear, defensive weakness is the secondary.
Although the Titans passing offense is highly ranked, the result
is attributable to garbage time where there is little sense to
run the football. So look for Indy to expose Seattle early and
often next week.
Lesson Learned: A very good
veteran quarterback beats a shaky, youthful secondary. Especially
one with enough mobility to make plays on the go.
Kurt Warner And Samkon Gado Would Dash
Hopes As Quickly As They Raised Them: Both Warner and Gado
were turning injury-riddled fantasy squads into contenders down
the stretch, but they both suffered knee injuries after excellent
showings in their respective first quarters. When this happens
to the two highest scoring positions on a fantasy roster, it’s
most likely a deathblow to advancing any further.
Lesson Learned: You can’t
predict injury. Give yourself credit for starting these guys because
they most likely helped you get to the semi-finals and were poised
to do more if health were permitting. Whether you call it luck,
fate, or the unforeseen, there was no way of knowing it would
turn out this way.
Tiki Barber Was Going To Be This Good
In 2005: The Chiefs defense wins the award for best supporting
actor here, but Barber deserves a lot of credit. He’s at
least 50% of the Giants offense this season and that spells fantasy
Lesson Learned: I’ll
believe in Brandon Jacobs as a vulture when it starts to happen.
Ryan Moats Is Very Good: About
the same carries this week against the Rams as he had in the Giants
game (as mentioned here last week) and similar results. The Rams
defense is scary bad against the run, but a healthy and more experienced
Moats in 2006 is going to help the Eagles return to prominence.
Lesson Learned: Take a fast,
shifty player that runs hard and place him on artificial turf
against a defense like the Rams and you can understand why many
hard-up owners took a chance on Moats once again. Arizona has
a grass surface at home, but their defense isn’t awe-inspiring,
either. The rookie is worth another chance, especially if you
are lacking a solid, 4-quarter starter next week.
Nagging Feelings—Week 15
Shaun Alexander is poised to
have consecutive seasons that end in a way that could feed the
perception he’s a selfish player. Imagine Alexander one
score away from the record, but he’s benched due to the
meaningless nature of the game. That’s not going to be a
pretty sight in Seattle—especially with a contract negotiation
still in progress. I can imagine Mike Holmgren doing it, too.
Funny how so many modern coaches want to carry on the tradition
of their NFL fore-bearers, but get it backwards. George Halas
had no problem with inserting rookie Gale Sayers back into a game
to field a punt and get a shot at the single game record for touchdowns—a
game where the outcome was already decided! Maybe Alexander is
a selfish guy in some ways—I don’t know—but
I don’t think his desire to break Priest Holmes’ record
if he’s that close is such a bad thing. Individual goals
help spur people towards achieving the bigger picture, if not
blown out proportion.
Mushin Muhammad owners, many
of us fantasy writers owe you some sort of an apology. In hindsight,
your reasons for drafting Muhammad as a #1 WR, although many of
us viewed him as an overrated prospect in 2005, were good ones.
I say this after watching Rex Grossman
come into the game against the Falcons and immediately show a
rapport with the former Carolina Panther. According to the ESPN
Sunday Night announcers, Muhammad told the media he signed with
the Bears because he’d get to play with Grossman. While
we were technically right about the projected outcome, you were
right about the promising connection.
Anyone else notice the most consistent scoring deep threats at
receiver have mobile quarterbacks? Mike Vick-Donovan McNabb type
of mobility isn’t what I’m referring to, either: Guys
that can leave the pocket when necessary to make the connection
and buy more time for his receiver to get open. Terry Glenn and
Randy Moss had their moments, but Kerry Collins and Drew Bledsoe
have concrete feet. Bledsoe had the better line play, so Glenn’s
totals were better although still spotty from week to week. On
the other hand Jake Delhomme
and Mark Brunell can move around,
and Steve Smith and Santana
Moss took advantage more often. Even McNabb
and Owens were great together when physical and mental
heath wasn’t an issue.