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20/20 Hindsight - Week 14

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.”

Three weeks straight of making the wrong choice at the #2 RB cost me in my local league. This week I went with Marion Barber over Bush, Addai, and Betts. While I still would have lost the opening round of our playoffs, it would have been closer. As for the FFTOC, we’re halfway through the playoff portion of the tourney. I’m in the middle of the pack after great expectations, but a slightly under whelming performance this weekend:

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB T. Romo 16.06 Epitomized my squad’s performance this week.
RB W. Parker 28.3 At least someone I picked went off this week!
RB S. Alexander 8.2 Nothing like saving someone this good for a mediocre day—that’s the breaks.
WR M. Furrey 8.4 Okay effort for a bad day from Kitna.
WR K. Johnson 5.1 All those passing yards and not much for the possession receiver in the offense.
WR D. Jackson 12.0 Decent.
TE B. Scaife 0.8 Yuck!
K A. Vinatieri 5.0 Better than nothing.
DEF Pittsburgh 10.0 Last-quarter score ruined a stellar evening for this defense.
  Total 93.86 Better than last week, but I was expecting a 120-point effort from this lineup.

I will need two huge weeks to ascend to a money spot in this tourney, but I do have enough weapons to make it possible. Do you believe in miracles? I do…but we’ll see if this becomes one of the minor kind.

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

Marion Barber Would Be A Playoff Fantasy Killer
Don’t you just love when everyone is talking about a player being a better player than the starter in front of him? Especially when everyone is ignoring the fact that Bill Parcells never made Barber III the starter! I’m guilty as charged here, and it cost me. Definitely a powerful lesson to consider in the future: It’s still a greater risk than going with a starter to rely on a back up as a fantasy starter. Unless the starter is hurt (Ladell Betts subbing for Portis) or the backup has a clear role lined up at another position when the starting back is on the field (Reggie Bush), opt for the back up (Barber III and even the high-performing Maurice Jones Drew, a player I’ve been starting for weeks in a league I’m having a great season) at your own risk.

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

Artose Pinner Was The Play Over Ciatrick Fason
Fason seemed like the fashionable pick due to his draft status and Taylor’s injury, but Pinner got the rock and the scores. The former Kentucky Wildcat was seen as an underrated prospect when he arrived in Detroit. He’s a better than average downhill runner that plays the game hard. He lost out on any true opportunity with the selection of Kevin Jones and then the change of offensive philosophy that complemented their top draft pick’s receiving and open field skills.

Pinner is a great match behind a Vikings line that emphasizes a more conservative ground game. Fason could develop into a fine back, but he still runs too upright and lacks the patience to exploit his physical talent to its maximum potential. At this point, the coaching staff picked the guy that was going to help them win by doing all the right things that will keep them from losing: running with discipline rather than always trying to make the big play; ball control; and pass blocking. Pinner turned out to be that man.

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

Continued To Start Reggie Bush
As I mentioned last week, Bush looked like he’s finally beginning to “get it.” The fact he lines up in formations with McAllister in the backfield tells you he’s a worthy player to rely upon in some manner. Despite his sub par yardage per carry on the ground and low attempts, Bush has been a consistent performer as a flex option or a low-end #2 RB in most fantasy lineups even in non-point per reception leagues.

Nagging Feelings—Week 15

Vince Young is quickly becoming one of my favorite new NFL players. Sure it helps he plays for my favorite team and has a childhood mentor-relationship with my well-known favorite player, Steve McNair, but I’m especially impressed with his guts and leadership. By the way, did you see Steve McNair knock the helmet off a Chief on a tackle? Great stuff. Anyway, back to Young, he’s a fiery personality that gets his teammates into the game, but he plays with the kind of composure you don’t see from a rookie. Plus, he’s fun with the media—his response to what he was thinking on his 39-yard touchdown run in overtime to run the game was classic: “I was imagining my mom chasing me with a belt.” Well Vince, those comeback victories got my attention and have won over your team. This guy is a star in the making.

Back to McNair, the Ravens have a great shot at a Super Bowl. The Patriots and Colts have clear weaknesses in multiple phases of their game and the Chargers are still vulnerable against a decent passing attack. The most balanced team on both sides of the ball in the AFC is Baltimore. The most important factor is McNair, who is healthier at this stage of the season than at any time since 1999—his last opportunity to win a Super Bowl. The best quarterbacks in the playoffs not only pass well from the pocket, but also improvise effectively in pressure situations. Montana, Elway, Favre, Steve Young, and Bradshaw all had that ability to run or throw on the run. Philip Rivers? I don’t see it. McNair can be effective in any situation. I have a feeling McNair will leave his mark on the 2006 playoffs in a huge way. It might also be why Drew Brees should lead the Saints deep into the playoffs.

I have a feeling David Carr will be on the hot seat in 2007, but it won’t be before Houston selects a high profile rookie receiver to slowly take over for Eric Moulds and complement Andre Johnson. You don’t need a dominant defense to win a Super Bowl, just one that is good enough to keep your offense in the game. Balance is more important and that’s something that is rarely discussed on sports talk media. It’s always the cliché of the extremes: Dominant defense or high-octane offense is the rule according to the talking heads. But look at the Super Bowl winners and other than the beginning of the Steeler Dynasty and the Bears, most of the champions were essentially balanced units that both made huge plays to win games.