As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
Second-guessing, and second-guessing my second-guessing is the
theme of my week six FFTOC. Last week could have resulted in a
big move for me, but I decided to save some players at WR. Here’s
the results of my doubts:
||Second-guessed myself on Plummer (23.08
||I’ll take it.
||That’s more like it for an RB.
||Had Derrick Mason here. He had 8.5 points
and I could have saved Harrison for another week.
||Had Keyshawn Johnson here. He had 12
||Santana Moss, but decided to save him
and missed out on his best game of the year (29.3 pts).
||Wrong week for Stevens…
||Pretty good, but I expected more. Joe
Pendry’s adjustments to 1-3 step drops hurt me.
||If I stayed with my first lineup I would
have had 130.88 pts. That’s a rough 44pt swing!!!
An additional 44 points could have meant a great start for my second
phase of the tournament, and a decent climb up the ratings. Instead,
I basically treaded water this week. At least I still have enough
studs for the rest of the season. Although I’m disappointed
by my first week of the second period, I’m still hopeful.
||A. Randle El
| D. Brees
|| J. Stevens
What I have to remember is to quit second-guessing my decisions.
Last year I did the same thing with Brandon Stokely against Detroit
on Thanksgiving. I pulled him from the lineup minutes before the
game and not having his monster game cost me the difference between
being a bracket winner, and a bracket winner in the finals.
Now for the week six files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Antowain Smith Would Have A Quality Fantasy
Start Against The Falcons Defense
Smith, a role player for the Titans and Patriots in recent years,
split time with Aaron Stecker against the Falcons and put up 88
yards and two scores this weekend. As the more football-savvy
fragment of my personality mentioned last week, Smith averages
11.5 fantasy points per game when he as at least 16 carries. He
noted that the Saints poor overall stats versus the run were misleading
because their average yards per carry, and total rushing first
downs were higher than two-thirds of the league while the Falcons
positive overall stats belied the fact they allowed a higher yards
per carry average and first down total than one would think. And
furthermore, he told us the Falcons were missing prized, free
agent linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, among others on the injury
Although Smith shared time with Stecker, he mad the most of his
opportunities and was a terrific bye week option. He and Michael
Pittman saved one of my teams with Cadillac still in the shop,
and Brian Westbrook on bye. Will it continue for Smith? I think
Smith will have some up and down weeks, but he does have some
decent match ups—just pick and choose if you can manage
Lesson Learned: Just looking
at overall NFL rankings versus the run or pass does not tell the
complete story. Drilling down to yards per carry, attempts, and
first downs tell a more complete story about an offense or opposing
defense. The same can be said about examining individual season
stats for a player. Make sure to look at his weekly stats for
at least the past two seasons, especially if he’s not a
Mark Brunell Continues To Look Like A
Good Fantasy Option
In addition to losing 44 potential points in the FFTOC, I lost
by .02 points this week in the SOFA
Auction League. There were a number of players I could have
started to easily win the game, but I thought for sure Kerry Collins
coming off a bye week to face a suspect, Chargers passing defense
would be a more reliable play. But, Brunell’s totals more
than double Collins’ output for the week. I guess I could
just say I didn’t realize Santana Moss was the best WR with
that last name this week, but that’s not going to help me
determine whether in hindsight I had any good reasons for starting
Brunell over Collins.
The first is that the Raiders historically have rough starts
coming off bye weeks. This says a lot about the lack of discipline
in this organization compared other NFL teams. But the stats are
the key indicator here: Kansas City was allowing over 60% completion
rate heading into the game and Oakland’s defense was well
under that figure. Plus, the Chiefs allowed three more touchdowns
than the Raiders.
What worried me was the thought that Santana Moss has been a
one-man receiving corps for the Redskins. It’s true that
Moss accounted for 40% of Brunell’s completions, but TE
Chris Cooley and RB Clinton Portis combined for another other
40%. There’s enough distribution here to keep defenses honest.
Cooley was a guy Gibbs targeted last year in the draft and chose
to forgo TE Kellen Winslow in the first round—looks like
a great decision thus far. Portis has historically been runner
that gets better as the season progresses.
Greg Williams, the former coach of the Bills and defensive coordinator
for the Titans when they had one of the best defenses in the NFL
during the late 1990s has players buying into his system. Of course,
Joe Gibbs—after an adjustment year—is illustrating
why he’s a Hall of Fame coach. The team has figured out
how to get the most of Brunell, and the offensive line is much
healthier. With San Francisco, St. Louis, Arizona, and Oakland
on their schedule, Washington at the very least should be a 9-win
team. Look the Rams, Cardinals, and Raiders to test the defense
and force Brunell to continue airing it out.
Thomas Jones Would Play, Much Less Be
Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson looked like possible sleeper
and deep sleeper picks heading into the weekend against a lackluster,
Vikings defense. Instead, Jones carried the ball 23 times for
89 yards and two scores on a stretched ligament in his knee. Jones
is determined to keep Benson on the bench as long as possible,
and earn him self the opportunity for starter consideration elsewhere
Lesson Learned: Jones really
is a tough football player. He has a reputation for being an underachiever
in Arizona, but he was playing with a painful rib injury that
required surgery to correct. By the time Jones medically addressed
the problem, Michael Pittman became a part of the picture and
a favorite of the coaching staff. Don’t discount a guy with
a chip on his shoulder, and determined to keep his job.
Corey Dillon Would Be Fully Dressed For
The Game, But On The Bench
In comparison to Jones, Dillon seemed like a lock to play this
week. Belicheck decided to go with Patrick Pass and Amos Zereoue.
Certainly this was a tough blow for many fantasy owners this week.
Lesson Learned: First, Dillon’s
status was downgraded to questionable during the week. It was
easy to read too much into this as gamesmanship from the Patriots
in response to the league, and Atlanta’s smooth move with
Vick and Schuab. In hindsight, the Patriots were one week out
from a bye and resting the second-most important piece of their
offense to guarantee his health for the remainder of the season
was a move many could have seen coming. Just look at what the
Bucs decided with Cadillac.
Started Shaun Alexander
It’s expected a back should have a big day against the Texans.
It’s equally expected that Shaun Alexander has huge games
at home on Sunday Night match ups broadcasted by ESPN. Put the
two together, and you get one monster outing from the Seahawks
runner. Heck, Maurice Morris had a 100-yard day in the equivalent
of a quarter’s time.
Lesson Learned: ESPN in Seattle
= Shaun Alexander carrying your fantasy team. Unless his leg has
been ripped out of its socket, start him in every one start per
player, per season fantasy league you’ve joined.
Remembered Greg Jones
The Jaguars fullback got his shot to replace Fred Taylor and pounded
the Steelers for 77 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. While
everyone was hyping Alvin Pearman, including the Jaguars, the
former first-round pick out of Florida State demonstrated why
he was the Blesto Scouting Services top-rated back entering the
2003 college season.
I like Alvin Pearman’s game. He reminds me of Earnest Byner—an
underrated prospect that fell in the draft due to a lack of elite
measurements, but excellent awareness of the game and high quality
football skills (blocking, receiving, vision, etc.). I think Pearman
can develop into a great weapon for the Jaguars. Yet, I also see
Greg Jones as the equivalent of Byner’s counterpart in Cleveland,
Kevin Mack. Jones is a bulldozer that can wear out an opposing
defense. Don’t be surprised with this showing in against
a tough Steeler defense in Pittsburgh, that Fred Taylor gets spelled
more often with Jones in the coming weeks.
Lesson Learned: Fullbacks that
used to be halfbacks with demonstrated talent on a high level
at college should not be ignored in any circumstance where a starter
is needed—i.e., Rueben Droughns, Patrick Pass, and Jones
fit the bill here.
Nagging Feelings—Week 6
Apparently my nagging feeling about Bennett was misguided. A
thumb injury may send the Titans starter to many teams’
waiver wire in the coming weeks, especially if the recovery time
of “indefinite,” becomes a several week process. Brandon
Jones is now the primary receiver. Expecting Jones to be
productive versus the opposing teams shut down corner is too much
to expect. If Tyrone Calico
can improve his play, Jones may at least continue his 50-80 yard
outings. I believe the most likely thing to happen will be a different
receiver with a decent game every week—Jones, Calico, Courtney
Roby, and Roydell Williams. Look for more of the same two-tight
end sets, and RBs catching passes out of the backfield.
Keep an eye on Quincy Morgan.
The former Brown and Cowboy is a cheap waiver wire pick up and
demonstrated the athletic ability to be a top-shelf receiver.
The problem was he fell out of favor with Butch Davis and a coaching
staff that was in too much turmoil to help a player develop or
retain a professional outlook with the organization. By the time
Morgan wound up in Dallas, he was expected to know what it took
to be a pro. Bill Parcells has a low tolerance for behavior that
indicates otherwise. Now that he’s a Steeler, Morgan is
making plays in a variety of ways. If he continues to earn more
opportunities, Pittsburgh may have gotten a steal of a replacement
for Plaxico Burress and the benefits will really show up in 2006.
Antwaan Randle El is best suited in the slot. Morgan has great
speed and can run after the catch—he’s a physical
football player that will likely benefit from being around such
a quality organization, a possibly a mentor in Hines Ward. If
you have room on a dynasty league, grab Morgan.
For right now, the second leading receiver in Pittsburgh may
soon turn out to be rookie TE Heath
Miller. His 4-reception, 72-yard, and a score against a
stout, Jacksonville defensive unit demonstrates the Steelers are
becoming more confident in their first-year player. Expect more
big games from the rookie as the season progresses.