As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
I had a decent week in the FFTOC, but when Ladainian Tomlinson
scores 4 times, you begin to wonder if saving him for later makes
a lot of sense.
||It was going to be Brady or Manning.
I wanted to save Manning. I’m still satisfied.
||Off to a decent start before spraining
||I bet 60% of the teams in the tournament
started Johnson this week.
||Great touchdown catch…about as much
as I could expect to get out of him in the situation.
||Hoped for a bigger game, but decent
||I anticipated a higher scoring game
from this rivalry.
||Finally a better choice at TE this week.
||Generally what I’m earning for a kicker
||Not bad, but time to stop picking on
the Texans. Packers look like a better target anyhow.
||Averaging higher per week in phase two,
but not enough of a difference…yet.
This is closer to the total I’m expecting, but I expect I’ll
need a couple of weeks with 150 points, or more to make a serious
move. I don’t want to count on other teams to falter in order
to advance. Especially when everyone else in my bracket picked LJ,
Porter, Burress, and Eli Manning. Since I’m still looking
up at the rest of the teams, I have few valid criticisms of their
strategies, but I do hope they continue to pick skill players in
the passing game against struggling teams where the game is effectively
over in the third quarter.
Now for the week nine files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Ernest Wilford Is On His Way To Locking
Down The Starting WR Job Opposite Jimmy Smith
While both are coveted qualities, it’s human nature to prefer
talent to work ethic. Especially when it comes to athletes. Randy
Moss epitomizes to us what it means to be blessed with natural
talent. Moss does things on a consistent basis that no one else
on a football field can do, and he makes it look effortless. On
the other hand, Hines Ward is relatively small and slow for a
receiver, yet the Steeler willed his way to becoming an elite
receiver by out working everyone ahead of him on the depth chart.
While there is no way to dispute that a player such as Moss possesses
the most rare form of physical talent, I do believe the talent
to out work one’s peers is a more valuable type of skill.
Especially when the difference in physical skill is so marginally
small as in pro football. Randy Moss may be able to do things
physically that Jerry Rice could not, but few would argue Rice
in his prime was an all-around better receiver in every phase
of the game. There’s no coincidence that the greatest WR
of all time possessed the greatest work ethic.
Ernest Wilford wasn’t a first round draft pick like Reggie
Williams or Matt Jones, but what he lacked in combine numbers
he’s more than making up for in work ethic. The Jaguars
have recognized Wilford as one of the hardest working members
of the team. Byron Leftwich says he and Wilford have a better
rapport than any receiver on the team. What has held Wilford back
from a starting role? Draft status. But after a couple of years,
teams generally don’t ignore common sense. So far, Ernest
Wilford is a better player than Williams or Jones. Some may compare
Wilford to former Dolphin, Oronde Gadsden. Gadsden was a former
Arena League receiver that clawed his way up the Miami depth chart
due to his great hands. Wilford may not be a burner, but he’s
a lot faster than Gadsden.
I believe Jones will eventually replace Jimmy Smith, but Williams
has shown very little so far. I mentioned Hines Ward earlier and
Ernest Wilford is in a similar situation at the start of his career.
Ward was behind Troy Edwards—a first round pick with an
impressive college career. Edwards actually had a better rookie
year than Williams, but Ward outworked him. Wilford’s 4
catches for 89 yards and a score was the type of production the
Jaguars expected from Reggie Williams because teams would be double
covering Jimmy Smith.
It’s true the Texans secondary isn’t much better
than the Rams unit, but Jacksonville still has Tennessee (twice),
Arizona, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Houston one more time on
their schedule. Jack Del Rio is not going to bench the one receiver
that rarely drops the ball, is where Leftwich expects him to be
on every route, and produces in clutch situations. As a Jimmy
Smith owner and regular watcher of Jaguars games, it’s hard
not to miss that as clutch as Jimmy Smith has been in certain
moments in 2005, he’s been nearly as frustrating with false
start penalties, drops, and miscommunications with Leftwich on
routes. Still, Smith has been light years better than Williams.
Lesson Learned: Ernest Wilford
may turn out to be one of those waiver wire picks that can carry
a mediocre team to a playoff berth, and a good team to a championship
appearance. Think Drew Bennett last year or Chris Chambers’
rookie season in 2001, and Wilford could be that kind of difference
maker. If you acquired Wilford during the past two weeks congratulations,
and if he’s still available don’t hesitate.
Lions Receiver, Scott Vines Would Have
A 100-Yard Day And A Score
Vines, an un-drafted free agent in 2003 that bounced back and
forth from the Lions and Packers practice squads, has two weeks
of respectable performances. He has outperformed three of the
great college receivers of all-time that have been ahead of him
on the roster.
Lesson Learned: Honestly, I
know nothing about Scott Vines other than he’s 6-2, 200
lbs., went to school at Wyoming, and he’s producing. The
Cardinals defense is in the same neighborhood as the Vikings’
unit—an offenses vision of Easy Street. I wouldn’t
expect him to be as consistent as Wilford, but he’s still
worth a pick if you’re desperate, and need a 1-2 week fix.
Michael Bennett Would Come Out Of Hiding
Bennett runs for 100 yards and a score in limited carries. Although
Mewelde Moore left the game with a sprained wrist, the Vikings
starter didn’t get hurt until the 4th Quarter.
Lesson Learned: Can we trust
Mike Tice to give either of these backs the majority of carries?
With Ciatrick Fason scoring this week and Bennett playing when
Moore was still healthy, I doubt it. Still, if you are looking
for that player to put you over the top, Bennett could give you
a nice boost if Moore’s wrist injury is serious. If not,
it was still a low-risk investment.
Started Larry Johnson Over Most Established,
Thanks to Ainsley, who regularly fields Who Should I Start
questions from the Help
Board, I got some necessary validation that starting Johnson
over Cadillac and Curtis Martin was the right move. Sure it sounds
like a no-brainer—and it was—but sometimes I tend
to overanalyze my picks and getting solid, objective advice is
Lesson Learned: If he’s
stuck behind a stud running back, but he looks like a stud running
back, and runs like a stud running back…
Nagging Feelings—Week 9
Jerry Porter finally had consecutive,
productive outings. Last week, I neglected to think that Porter
was facing the Chiefs substandard secondary in week nine. Maybe
Porter legs are feeling better after starting the season injured.
If so, Oakland’s remaining schedule is favorable for decent
Don’t expect Larry Fitzgerald
to quiet down any time soon. Arizona’s schedule includes
Detroit, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Houston. Even with Anquan
Boldin out of the lineup, Fitzgerald is on pace for a heck of
Brandon Lloyd’s catch
that was called back on a penalty may have been one of the sickest
grabs I have every seen. Hasn’t Lloyd made more of these
types of catches than anyone in recent memory? I’m telling
you, if he even had a quarterback the caliber of Brad Johnson,
he’d be a fantasy stud—just look at his totals with
Rattay. If you can acquire Lloyd cheaply in dynasty leagues, it’s
worth the risk. Alex Smith should make significant strides next
Anyone else beginning to agree with ESPN’s Mark Schlereth
and his opinion that in Philadelphia the starting RB is good,
but the offensive line’s run blocking isn’t? Considering
the frame of reference (and watching quite a few Eagles games),
the Eagles run blocking is far from physical. If I were Joe Banner
and Andy Reid, I’d spend some of the cap surplus on a high
profile, free agent offensive lineman (or two). Westbrook
and Moats could become a great 1-2 punch—as runners!