As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
A Merry Christmas to Mike
MacGregor for his championship in the Dirty
Dozen Showcase League. What did you get for the holidays?
Among my gifts were two titles and few regrets. Not a bad way
to end the year. For those of you hoping for commiseration, I
have some past horror stories I’m sure will rank with yours
on the misery scale.
“The Chris Warren for a Championship
Years ago in my local league (that has two former fantasy football
website contributors), I was sporting a 3-2 record with a backfield
that included Chris Warren. The one-time Seattle Seahawk was actually
pretty good back in his prime:
Unfortunately, I grabbed him as a hopeful bargain after a down year
in 1996 and Dennis Erickson decided he was going to split Warren’s
carries with Lamar Smith and Steve Broussard in a running back by
committee purgatory. My friend Bill (who by the way just won his
4th title in 12 years in this league—congrats big guy, we
definitely need to consider a WCOFF team—maybe you’ll
fund the trip with all those winnings since neither of my titles
brought me a cent…just kidding) was 0-5 and desperately searching
for something to jumpstart his lineup.
He wanted to make a deal for Chris Warren and offered me a starting
receiver (whom I don’t remember) and a rookie back that
was seeing occasional time as a change of pace back in an pretty
explosive offense that already had a high first-round pick as
the starter. I turned Bill down flat. Big mistake. Warren’s
opportunities continue to decrease and I have to resort to starting
William Floyd or Mike Alstott—yep, that bad—since
Warren’s trade value was in the dumpster.
By week 10, the back Bill offered me gets the start after the
first string guy goes down with yet another season-ending injury
and this rookie looks like Jim Brown’s son. In fact, he
reels off enough impressive games to break one of Brown’s
rookie records. Worse yet, he does it during the fantasy playoffs.
Does 39 attempts for 246 yards and 4 scores ring a bell? If not,
then you weren’t playing fantasy football when Bengal rookie
Corey Dillon pasted the Oilers/Titans in the snow. While I made
the playoffs, my team left in the first round with a whimper.
Bill’s squad ripped through everyone after a 0-5 start and
won the championship. In hindsight, I’d take a championship
for Chris Warren any day.
“Whizzinating My Championship Hopes
Down the Toilet”
My local dynasty league also includes some of these same characters.
And Bill is about to win that one too (come to think of it Bill,
you do need to fund our trip—and I don’t want to hear
the excuse about being a father of two kids…tell your wife
to get her doctorate if the MBA isn’t doing the trick)—good
year for Bill Billy, this will be his first title in this league.
Unbelievable. I win two “expert league” titles and
he makes all the money. I’m playing well in the wrong leagues!!!
Anyway, a few years ago I’m one week away from winning
this league. I’m ahead of my competition in second place
by one half of a power point. This was not a head to head league
but to make the explanation of the situation simple, I needed
to win my match up or outscore the second place guy by a certain
amount of points to win the league. I had to choose between two
players as my second RB: Tampa’s Thomas Jones and Minny’s
Onterrio Smith. Jones had emerged as Gruden’s bell-cow back
towards the end of the season and I was riding the Jones express
with good results. Smith was an iffy play due to the backfield
rotation in place, but the media was reporting the strong possibility
Smith would earn more carries against a porous KC defense.
I decided to go with Smith because I had watched Smith in college,
felt positive about what I saw in him thus far in the NFL, and
believed he’d bet an opportunity to shine against the Chiefs.
But I doubted my decision at last minute and made the switch to
Jones. While Jones had a decent day, Smith blew up for 146 yards
and 3 scores! If I made this move, I win the championship. Instead
I lose it by half of a power point.
“Four Tries at the Goal Line”
I’m sure more than a few of you wish you never had what
I’m about to tell you happen to your team. If it did, I’m
right here with you. In 1997, I had a decent draft in the aforementioned
local league. It’s a deep draft—20-25 players depending
on the year. We’ve cut back to the lower end of the range,
but back then it was very deep. Towards the end of the draft,
I selected an un-drafted rookie that was making some noise in
camp and looked like he’d actually make the squad’s
roster. Everyone said, “who?” when I made this pick,
but I was just beginning to make a reputation for picking players
like this—in contrast, I selected Greg Jennings in round
18 this year and no one batted an eye.
But to be more accurate, this pick was more like selecting Marques
Colston. It turns out I needed this runner and around mid-season
he actually earned a start and looked good. Good enough to keep
playing and lifting my fantasy squad out of a losing streak and
into the playoffs. The player with the last name the matched his
college was none other than the Panthers’ Fred Lane.
When I get to the playoffs, my team is down going into Sunday
night. My opponent’s team is through, but I have Dolphins
receiver O.J. McDuffie on Sunday night and Lane on Monday night.
I believe I was down by more than 30 points, but McDuffie has
a good enough night for Lane to need 120 yards and a touchdown
against the Cowboys for me to win and advance.
I decide to watch this game at a local bar and Lane is doing
little to disappoint. By the fourth quarter, he’s broken
the 100-yard mark and I’m imagining a very possible championship
appearance and at least some runner up prize money. As the game
gets under 4 minutes, Carolina is riding Lane down the field and
he’s at the 120-yard mark as he takes the ball from the
Dallas 10-yard line to the one. At this point I’m talking
to the television screen—well really, I’m moving my
lips but nothing is coming out. Further down the bar is a guy
that’s yelling at the screen because he needs his tight
end to score for him to win a hundred bucks. Little does this
sucker know if Lane scores I win at least 4 times that amount
and get the chance for about 8 times his paltry sum.
So the Panthers have a first and ten at the one-yard line and
I’m praying they don’t use the play action pass. My
prayer is answered, but my hopes aren’t fulfilled—Lane
gets the ball, but doesn’t reach paydirt. Second down and
I’m still thinking there’s a good chance for Lane
to get another attempt. I could have known Lane got another shot
without success just by listening to the drunk, college student
screaming expletives further down the bar.
Third down. If there’s a passing situation inside the one,
this is the time. If you ever wanted to hear Wildman speak in
tongues that was the moment. In fact, stick him in one of those
rural south church services with the snakes and at that moment
he would have fit right in with the congregation. Lane gets the
ball and he’s…the line judge isn’t signaling
touchdown. The drunk is practically bawling at this point. I’m
wondering if I should join him, but I’m against him—screw
this guy, if Lane gets in I’ll give him a c-note just to
Fourth down and there’s no way Lane is going to get the
ball again, but I’ve worked myself into a frenzy of positive
thinking. And unbelievably, Lane gets the ball! At that split
second, I’m elated—I’m coming back from over
30 down because of a late round draft pick that was invited to
the Panthers camp and is about to carry me to my championship
game. It will be a story of the ages. Forget Bill and his Corey
Dillon story, I’ll have him trumped with Fred Lane and huge
comeback! But almost as incredible that Lane actually got four
straight tries from the one-yard line was the fact he didn’t
convert on any of them and I lose by five points. The crying coed
is standing on his chair telling anyone that will listen how he
just lost a hundred bucks. As I pass him, he looks at me and says,
“Can you f$%*ing believe I lost that money because they
gave that guy the ball 4 times?” I keep walking past him
and as I get close to the exit he’s shouts, “C’mon
man have a heart, can you believe it?” So I turn to face
him and say, “One hundred? I would have had a chance 8 times
that amount if that guy could have scored on any of those four
attempts!” That shut him up…
So that was the bad. Here’s the good—the box scores
for my two championship teams:
Fantasy Auctioneer Experts Invitational
|Brees, Drew NOS QB
||Rattay, Tim TBB QB
|Barber, Tiki NYG RB
||Jackson, Steven STL RB
|Tomlinson, Ladainian SDC RB
||Jones-Drew, Maurice JAC RB
|Curry, Ronald OAK WR
||Brown, Reggie PHI WR
|Hackett, D.J. SEA WR
||Clayton, Mark BAL WR
|Harrison, Marvin IND WR
||Driver, Donald GBP WR
|Scheffler, Tony DEN TE
||Heap, Todd BAL TE
|Gould, Robbie CHI PK
||Scobee, Josh JAC PK
|Chiefs, Kansas City KCC Def
||Ravens, Baltimore BAL Def
Fantasy Guru’s owner, Scott Pianowski is a heck of a writer
and fantasy football owner. Scott won the championship in 2004
and he’s been my finals opponent both last year and this
year. The fact he’s made the championship for 3 straight
years says enough. Scott made some excellent lineup choices for
the final week—a difficult time to go with normal starters—his
pick up for Tony Scheffler, Ronald, Curry, and the Chiefs defense
were excellent calls. I opted to stick with most of my starters
with the near fatal exception of taking a chance on Tim Rattay
over Steve McNair, which cost me 14 points! If LT got his normal,
2-score day my victory would have been by the closest of margins.
McNair could have put the game away even if LT had a bigger day.
Fortunately, I did pick Clayton over Santonio Holmes and I got
a gift from Maurice Jones Drew—well more accurately from
Pats linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. This is the first title I’ve
ever successfully defended the following year, so it’s a
championship I’ll savor.
SOFA Auction Fantasy League
|Young, Vince TEN QB
||Cutler, Jay DEN QB
|Jones-Drew, Maurice JAC RB
||Gore, Frank SFO RB
|Tomlinson, Ladainian SDC RB
||Parker, Willie PIT RB
|Driver, Donald GBP WR
||Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
|Holmes, Santonio PIT WR
||Johnson, Andre HOU WR
|Wayne, Reggie IND WR
||Owens, Terrell DAL WR
|McMichael, Randy MIA TE
||Crumpler, Alge ATL TE
|Scobee, Josh JAC PK
||Vinatieri, Adam IND PK
|Patriots, New England NEP Def
||Falcons, Atlanta ATL Def
Rotoworld had the top-scoring team during the regular season
and was a formidable opponent. He clearly did a great job drafting
and managing his team through the regular season and playoffs.
Although he chose to start Parker over Dayne, it only would have
made the contest closer. At the same time, that would have made
my choice of Vince Young over Chad Pennington much more important.
This 11-point swing is something I should thank Doug Orth for
his Inside The Matchup column.
Doug laid out why Young would have the potential for a similar
day as David Garrard’s performance against Buffalo despite
the Bills strong pass defense.
As for the FFTOC, I’ll be somewhere among the middle of
the pack of finalists. A decent effort, but it was not enough
to quality for any prizes.
||I could have gone with Young or Cutler
and been much happier with the result.
||The Rams defense, need I say more?
||And I could have gone with Ron Dayne!
||Not bad for a bum shoulder…
||The passing game is really struggling
not to excel against SD’s secondary.
||The way Indy plays on defense, I’m wondering
how soon they’ll remain in the playoffs.
||I considered Heath Miller…glad I opted
for the rookie.
||This was how I was scoring on defense
to begin the year.
||A very mediocre end to a decent year
in the FFTOC.
No would’ve, could’ve, should’ve situations this
week. I’m trying to end the year right in preparation for
the new year.
Nagging Feelings—Week 17
is going to be over hyped in fantasy leagues next season, but if
you can get him in the late rounds you’ll have a bargain. He’s looking
better every week and has a good chance to be a dominant player.
And I’m only echoing Champ Bailey who, according to FFToday Forum
member Big Pete, covers the remaining third of the globe that the
water doesn’t reach.
Will Ron Dayne be the man in Houston in 2007? I’m skeptical.
Dayne should have a role in the offense, but look for the Texans
to look to Domanick Davis or find another back of Davis’ skill
sets in the off-season.
Anyone notice Reggie Bush keeps looking better as the season progresses?
Maybe he’s getting a healthier (I did mention he was banged
up just before mid-season). Maybe he’s just making the adjustment
to the NFL. Either way, I’ll gladly take my chances drafting
Bush as my number two back in 2007. I’m not giving ground
on my belief he’ll be a great feature back in the coming years.
Top rookies? I’m a Vince
Young fan and believe Maurice
Jones-Drew isn’t far behind, but what about tackle Marcus McNeil
out of Auburn? He’s been so good for the Chargers that he wasn’t
called for a holding penalty for the first fifteen weeks of the
season—did you hear Madden say that last weekend? Pretty amazing
stuff—but one thing Marty Schottenheimer manages to do with his
teams and that’s build good offensive lines. Since he doesn’t have
the same assistants in this role, I’m giving him the credit for
figuring out how to get it done in Cleveland, Kansas City, and San