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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.”

My famous last words about Chad Johnson were served up for dinner this week—and it was mighty tasty. But before I continue, I want to thank the dozen of you that corrected me about all-time yardage performances for receivers. I failed to include Willie “Flipper” Anderson and Stephone Paige—both receivers topped the 300-yard mark! Of course, what happens after I discuss the rarity of breaking the 200-yard mark? Lee Evans does it in a half! Still, Johnson is pairing up with Frank Gore to bring my dynasty team back from the dead—if this keeps up, I could actually still have a shot to win the league despite being ranked ninth out of ten teams entering week ten.

Here’s a look at my week 11 in the FFTOC as the regular season portion of the tourney winds down:

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB D. Brees 32.4 The mother lode of fantasy points. It helped me this week, but I understand why so many leagues still don’t count against turnovers.
RB J. Lewis 28.8 I’m guaranteed a Falcons game on television nearly every week. I knew all I needed to know, except that Lewis would get 3 TDs!
RB C. Dillon 9.1 Waffled between Dillon and McCallister—this was a good play of Dillon now rather than later.
WR R. Brown 3.1 Disappointing day for Philadelphia as a whole.
WR M. Bradley 14.0 After watching the Giants game I had a hunch about Bradley.
WR D. Branch 12.0 Finally a game where I have as many WRs perform as decently as my RBs.
TE J. Shockey 8.2 Disgusting to see a talented player wasted by his team until garbage time.
K M. Stover 6.0 Can’t believe Stover missed a field goal, but he was due.
DEF Chiefs 3.0 Aaron Brooks made this contest more competitive.
  Total 116.6 Holding steady with two weeks to go.

If I experience any post-season success with this tourney, I’ll have my boy Bentley to thank. Last year, we did a free version of the FFTOC with some guys in our local league. Bentley beat me easily. His method was to keep it simple. He didn’t overanalyze the weeks ahead. He simply picked smart match ups week to week. As a result, he capitalized on opportunities that he couldn’t have predicted at the start of the season. I’m discovering similar opportunities occurring for me every week because I didn’t try to force a strategy. This method also supports my theory that we don’t really know which teams have a strong or weak schedule until at least four to six weeks into the season. Plus, why save your studs for late in the year—a time where many are likely to get rest for the playoffs?

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

The Jags Would Throw More To Their Tight End Than The Giants
Jeremy Shockey has every right to be confused about not getting the football. Even from the limited perspective of television replays, Shockey was open several times in key situations, but did not receive a target. Shockey might be the most talented receiver on the Giants roster. This guy has every bit of the same talent as a Kellen Winslow or Tony Gonzalez, but when the Jaguars—a team that rarely uses the tight end in the passing game—gives theirs more looks than Shockey something is wrong with the offense. Of course the first opportunity he receives is a drop. Then again they don’t use Shockey’s greatest strength—his ability to stretch the field from his position. Does Eli Manning have difficulty seeing the field? It looked like the Jaguars understood how to use an athletic tight end in their offense on third down better than the Giants. Yet to be fair, Shockey garners double coverage far more often than Wrighster.

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

Ocho Cinco Would Put Up Cuarenta Y Seis (Well, With Bonus Points Over 100 Yards), But Lee Evans Would Top Him With 265 Yards And 2 Scores?
I never learn. Just when I start talking about the relative impossibility of something happening in consecutive seasons, much less consecutive weeks, not only does Chad Johnson have another huge day but Lee Evens also has an insane day—with a quarterback that El Ocho Cinco might be doing next to nada if paired with regularly. So here it goes—Chad Johnson should be glad he had two great weeks, because he’ll likely never have this kind of performance for the rest of his career (hey, you can’t blame me for trying—it worked wonders for my dynasty team this weekend!).

Damien Nash Would Put On An Impressive Display As The Change Of Pace To Mike Bell
Last year Nash was an un-drafted rookie out of Missouri sitting behind Jarrett Payton in Tennessee. This year he found his way to running back wonderland—otherwise known as fantasy runner hell. So one would have good sense to conclude that Nash’s nice day demonstrates that Denver can plug any back into its system with success. Not so fast—Nash would have been at least a 4th round pick if his maturity weren’t an issue.

Then there’s the Jeff Fisher-Mike Shanahan relationship. As I mentioned with Jay Cutler in the preseason, these two coaches have regularly discussed personnel and coaching. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Damien Nash’s name came up at some point. Does that mean you should pick Nash up for next week? Not on your life. You could keep an eye on him as a dynasty league player for your practice squad, but the point I’m making is the NFL has a lot of talented players that only need the right opportunity and a system that complements their skills.

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

Frank Gore Would Be A Big-Time Stretch Player
Were you looking at Mike MacGregor’s strength of schedule tables? If not, you at least heard about it here: Frank Gore had a rough stretch early in the second half of fantasy schedules, but if he faired decently, you knew you had something good for the stretch run. The past two weeks illustrated what we’ve been saying around here. Gore has that elite combination of power, moves, acceleration, and receiving skills. He’s a poor man’s Ladainian Tomlinson—not on the same level, but good enough to make any fantasy owner very happy.

Nagging Feelings—Week 11

There are quite a few established players I think will be searching for new teams in 2007. Running backs lead the way: Fred Taylor, DeShaun Foster, Thomas Jones, Corey Dillon, and Ahman Green are some of the bigger names I expect to see mentioned as old faces in new places. The reasons all boil down to age. Taylor and Green will believe they are good enough to be elite starters when healthy and will be playing to prove they aren’t over the hill. This difference of perception between the player and their current organization will likely mean the end to their stint with their respective teams. Foster and Jones will be forced to cede more time to the younger backs behind them on the depth chart. Both will feel disrespected, especially Jones, a player that has earned his starting job. I think Dillon has the best shot at staying with the Pats as a role player because he’s already been through what these other four backs are about to experience. Still, the Pats could decide to cut him loose before his performance goes further downhill. If I were the Cleveland Browns, I’d go after any of those five players and be happy with the depth they provide—or more accurately, the depth Rueben Droughns would provide as a back up.

If you have a good fantasy team last week was likely your last chance to acquire Santonio Holmes off waivers. If you’re lucky enough that your league still has him as a free agent you need to get him on your team for the stretch run. He’s a definite playoff weasel. Roethlisberger was one of those players that some of the more astute fantasy writers in this hobby pegged as a sleeper, but they were a year early. Dynasty owners should be all over Big Ben if they are shopping for a quality starter. Then again my friend Mr. MacGregor made a nice suggestion for a column and cited Holmes as a potential Onterrio Smith-in-waiting as an example of the topic. This could very well be the case—and detrimental to Roethlisberger’s prospects. I don’t agree, but it sounds like the makings of a good argument.

Want of a list of potential fantasy studs that are languishing on benches due to more established players in front of them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Chris Perry: Every time I see him in the game he looks impressive. If Rudi Johnson ever misses extended time, Perry will play well enough to keep the job for good. He’s a better receiver than Johnson and has better acceleration. Health in the preseason has been a huge issue.

Kris Wilson: Gonzalez strikes me as one of those players that will wind up on a contender that needs an aging veteran. If that day comes, Wilson has the skills to step in and produce. I talked about Wilson last week, but it doesn’t hurt to mention him once more.

Ronald Curry: Injuries have been holding back Curry’s progress, but this athletic receiver is bound to get his chance with Moss demanding a trade and Porter on the verge of exile. The former Tarheel quarterback might be more physically talented than the two mentioned above.

Does Michael Turner remind you of Larry Johnson? If I were an NFL team in need of a starting back, I’d forgo just about every back available in 2007 to land the Burner. This hoss of a back returns kicks better than most of the speedy guys you see in this league. He manhandles defenders in the open field. Out of any player that doesn’t get full-time opportunities, he’s the one I’d most like to see earn a starting job elsewhere.