As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
Coming into Sunday, my QB picks for the FFTOC were better than
99% of the tourney. Then I started McNabb against the Cowboys.
||Maybe this was a blessing in disguise,
but it doesn’t feel like it!
||Looks pretty clear that Davis and Foster
are an RBBC.
||Not bad for a #2 RB, especially one
that may cede some time to Ricky beginning next week.
||Gets hurt before he can do anything.
||Sorry Charger fans, but referee Jeff
Tripplette must have thrown a flag in his eye—it was
||Figured Holcomb would hook up with the
veteran. Moulds starts better than he finishes (’03-’04)
||The Packers defense had a nice day for
a change—probably their best day for the year.
||Decent production here.
||Once again, this is why you play a defense
against most first-year starting QBs.
||McNabb and Johnson killed my week, but
overall still sticking with my game plan.
The McNabb pick was really a hedge on my part. The Eagles QB has
been amazing for much of September. Yet, playing a QB in the NFL
with a sports hernia is entering new territory. One has a right
to be skeptical that McNabb will be able to keep up this production,
much less play the entire season. So I figured playing McNabb sooner
would keep me from being disappointed at the more critical point
of the tourney. Plus, the Cowboys pass defense has looked pretty
bad for the opening month. Unfortunately, McNabb didn’t deliver
this week but there’s still one week left in the opening period
of the tournament and I’m still ahead of the curve with player
||A. Randle El
Although I have used the Broncos, Eagles, and Colts defenses thus
far, my defensive strategy is a bit different than what I use for
my skill positions—prey on the weak. In other words, look
at the schedule of struggling, young offenses or erratic quarterbacks.
Three out of my first five defenses were playing the 49ers. My Broncos
pick against Gus Frerotte failed—I should have remembered
Frerotte knows the Denver defense pretty well—but my selection
of the Saints versus J.P. Losman was effective.
The next seven weeks will be crucial for me to make up the gap
between me, and the competition. As for other leagues, this week
was a excellent for me although I had to make several injury and
bye week substitutions. Winning waiver wire plays included Joe
Jurevicius, Eric Moulds, Chris Henry, Mark Brunell, and Jarrett
Now for the week four files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Matt Schaub Would Put Up Great Fantasy
Numbers Against The Patriots
Not that the Patriots defense is nearly as formidable as they
were prior to losing Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Ted Bruschi, and
Ted Johnson, but New England still is one of the more prepared
defensive units in football. Facing a backup like Schaub might
have seemed like an advantage to New England. But in reality,
the unknown of whether the Pats would face Vick or Schaub is more
difficult than it appears.
Schaub has only played in a limited number of games and getting
an effective scouting report on his tendencies is difficult. All
they probably knew was the Virginia alum is already a more accomplished
passer than Vick and he shows a good grasp of the Falcons offense
because it is the exact same system he ran in college. What they
may not have realized until Sunday was that Schaub is very mobile
quarterback in his own right. This tendency clearly caused problems
the Patriots didn’t anticipate—Schaub was able to
routinely roll away from a collapsing pocket and make a play.
This has been discussed frequently on Monday, but I definitely
believe the Falcons effectively used gamesmanship with the Patriots
this week when they discussed that Vick’s injury wasn’t
serious and he’ll be ready to go. The fact that Schaub was
taking reps with the first and second units in practice all week
was made out to be just a precaution. The Patriots aren’t
going to game plan for two different quarterbacks—no team
can do this effectively in just a week. Don’t be surprised
if this is what Falcons coach Jim Mora was counting on to gain
an advantage. Unfortunately for Atlanta, the Patriots offense
found their running game at just the right time, and Tom Brady
is still clutch.
Personally, I think Michael Vick is a good quarterback, and great
runner. Still, I have long-believed there will come a time when
Matt Schaub will
force a very difficult decision for the Falcons organization,
because he’s a better quarterback when it comes to passing
the football. In fact, his progression of growth as a passer has
been greater than Vick at the same stage of his career. That time
may arrive in the off season, and if Vick doesn’t make greater
strides to improve as an NFL passer there will be a lot of “what-ifs,”
when Schaub is successfully leading an opponent.
Lesson Learned: Understand
which NFL teams have the quality backup quarterbacks, and stash
them away on your roster if you have room. Schaub worked wonders
for me this week in one league. Others to consider, other than
Kelly Holcombe, include: Brad Johnson (Vikings), Bill Volek (Titans),
Doug Flutie (Patriots), Jon Kitna (Bengals), and Tommy Maddox
Daniel Graham Would Have A Monster Day
The Falcons are one of the tougher defenses in the NFL, and a
Patriots tight end having this type of game wasn’t something
many would predict. How did it happen? Atlanta lost Edgerton Hartwell
to an Achilles injury and the Patriots were able to run Corey
Dillon better than any time this year. These two things opened
up the middle of the field for Brady to find his tight ends.
Lesson Learned: As long as
the Patriots can run the ball, look for the tight end position
to have better outings—the problem is guessing which New
England tight end it will be.
Chris Henry Would Out-Produce Chad Johnson
The Bengals rookie had 3 receptions for 85 yards and a score against
a Jaguars defense that may just force Chad Johnson to place a
check in the “yes” column of his Who Can Cover #85(?),
checklist, next to Jacksonville CB Rashean Mathis. Although Anquan
Boldin and Michael Clayton had great rookie seasons, it’s
rare for a rookie WR to be a consistent fantasy threat. Henry
shares the elite physical skills of some of the top receivers
in the NFL, but he still needs some polish. Fortunately, his ability
to adjust to the ball in the air and his excellent speed can help
him recover from rookie mistakes.
What is really interesting about Henry’s prospects is he’s
getting targeted close to 4 times per game, and other than week
5, Henry has at best been the #3 WR for the offense. The fact
that in the 4th quarter Palmer actually threw the ball to Henry
in tight coverage in the end zone demonstrates confidence in the
Lesson Learned: As a fantasy
owner, I was fortunate that my waiver wire pick up of Henry couple
of weeks ago paid off handsomely during a bye week. I’m
still not counting on the rookie as a weekly starter, but he makes
an excellent guy to acquire in dynasty leagues. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
is a good possession guy with sneaky speed, but Henry has the
potential to develop into an option 1A receiver for the Bengals.
The best lessons learned are the most trusted ones: watching the
waiver wire and injury reports can be of tremendous benefit to
any fantasy squad—especially and ailing one.
Jerome Bettis Would Be A Decent Fantasy
Most media outlets were reporting Bettis was good to go, but the
likelihood of him getting a lot of playing time was not likely.
I certainly didn’t endorse Bettis this week, except out
of desperation—and that’s exactly my situation in
Auction League. I lost Ahman Green last week, and Priest Holmes
was on bye. Fortunately I had (had being the key word) Najeh Davenport,
but out of desperation I picked up Jerome Bettis off the waiver
wire two weeks ago, just in case I needed more RB depth.
The logic behind this move was Willie Parker’s weight loss
after his first few starts and the Steelers became concerned about
him wearing down too early. I thought at the very least Bettis
would be the short yardage and goal line option. This was exactly
what Pittsburgh fed to the media prior to last night’s game.
It’s difficult to rely on numerous goal line opportunities
to solely gain quality fantasy RB totals, but as a bye week option
I was fortunate. What was even more encouraging was Bettis actually
split time with Parker, and played entire drives. Against an aggressive
San Diego run defense, the 13-year veteran actually looked pretty
Will Bettis have a similar season as 2004? I don’t believe
13 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards are in Bettis’ future,
but I think he’s capable of 600-800 yards and 7-9 scores—enough
fantasy points to make him a valuable #3 RB or bye week option/injury
replacement. Much like real life, you may not want to take The
Bus for the entire trip, but he’s a cheap and convenient
option for shorter trips.
Lesson Learned: Pay attention
to the physical condition of players. Losing weight may not qualify
has an injury, but it is a concern for a player like Parker—an
un-drafted rookie that isn’t a big back in the first place.
View the waiver wire every week—regardless of how well your
team is performing, and try to pick up players with proven track
records of production. The key is timing—I picked up Bettis
two weeks prior to his start, because I knew he’d be gone
last week if I waited for the team to announce he’d be active.
I did something similar with Jarrett Payton—he’s a
player that was best picked up last week, when most owners in
your league would scratch their heads at your choice because he
hasn’t proven anything yet. Now, Payton will be an early
round pick on the waiver wire—not the best value for a player
with a career of 48 yards and a td, and backing up a talented
starter. You may fail with your pick, but at least you are trying
to think ahead—eventually it will benefit you.
Started Joe Jurevicius
One thing the Seahawks backup has that his fellow starters don’t
is consistency catching the football. Jurevicius made one of the
sickest grabs in football history as a Buccaneer, and he his height
is a great red zone advantage. With Engram and Jackson out, the
former Penn State star was the default primary option on the outside.
The Rams have been an excellent team to face when you have receivers
and quarterbacks facing them. A divisional rivalry makes the circumstances
even riper for a lot of points. Jurevicius’ 137 yards and
a score could be a sign of things to come with Houston, Dallas,
and the Rams again on the schedule for the month ahead.
Lesson Learned: He may have
only been a bye week option for me in one league, but Juervicius
performed like a #1 receiver.
Mentioned The possibilities Why Peyton
Manning Could Be Average Against The 49ers
I posted this on a thread about whether this could be the worst
time to face Peyton Manning:
"Actually, there could be...when Manning faces
a team with a better defense and a much better passing offense.
This is one of those games I always get the feeling that Manning
gets 2 quick Tds and then they use James and the running game...especially
if Smith messes up and the Colts defense scores early. I'd be
more worried about facing McNabb as he goes against that Dallas
The order of events in the 49ers-Colts game weren’t exactly
like this, but the result was similar in nature. I was feeling better
about Manning’s chances when Rattay was the starter, because
the 49ers actually have some semblance of an offense with the veteran
signal caller behind center. Smith’s performance was just
ugly. Expect more of the same several times for the rest of the
Lesson Learned: This is possibly
good anecdotal evidence that it is more likely for QBs to deliver
high performances when facing teams with opposing offenses of
similar, or greater caliber. Sounds like a good idea for another
Nagging Feelings—Week 6
The Tennessee Titans are 2-3 although they faced Pittsburgh,
Baltimore, and Indianapolis defense, and had to defend the Colts
and Rams powerful offensive units. The Titans offense has struggled
due to youth at the receiver position, and frankly, some untimely
mistakes from Drew Bennett in
the red zone in games versus Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. On the
other hand, Steve McNair has
put together some nice fantasy games, as mentioned here a couple
of weeks ago. Bennett will continue to get out of his semi-slump—the
past couple of years he’s gotten off to slow starts due
to nagging injuries. Sound familiar? Don’t give up on Bennett,
because he’ll reward you at just the right time this year.
If you’ve been down on Kevin
Jones thus far, don’t trade him just yet. This doesn’t
have to do with his game against the Ravens—that second
score was the byproduct of a fluke play, although Jones gets credit
for having enough awareness to pick up the ball and keep running
until an official blew a whistle. My nagging feeling about Jones
has to do with the Lions making a more concerted effort to exploit
his skills and the fact he’s facing Cleveland, Chicago,
Minnesota, and Arizona in the coming weeks.
Anyone else noticed Chris Perry
playing most of the second half? The Bengals 2004, first-round
draft pick looked impressive as both a runner between the tackles
and a receiver. Perry a 6-0, 224-lb., back out of Michigan certainly
has the experience pounding the ball inside, although he’s
been labeled as a change of pace, third-down option in the Bengals
offense. Perry will be a frustrating play this year, if Johnson
is healthy but he’s great insurance at this point. Most
fantasy teams need this type of safeguard if they want to succeed
at the end of the season when injuries pile up, or better teams
begin sitting their starters.