As we all know Hindsight is 20/20. This weekly column is devoted
to learning from common mistakes and serves as FFToday’s “Fantasy
There were lots of rebound
players in week two—Brett Favre, Joey Galloway, and Larry
Johnson led the way. Unfortunately, none of them were on my FFTOC
squad this week. Although none of my choices in the tourney crashed
and burned, there was a not a single breakout performance in my
lineup last week.
||Epitomized my day: decent, but far from
||Could have been worse…
||Good yardage, but didn’t see paydirt.
||Easy pick, although his shoulder injury
was a scare.
||Didn’t turn out to be the shootout I
expected, but Bruce did well enough.
||I counted on a rebound week from Horn.
Not as good as I hoped, but still a decent effort.
||The touchdown reception saved me from
a disappointing outing.
||At this rate, Matt Stover could be a
fantasy MVP, too bad I already used him.
||A garbage time score ruined a shutout…second
straight good choice on DEF.
||Failed to build on a strong start, but
it’s still early to make up ground.
Other than a last-minute substitute of Hasselbeck for Bulger and
the Chargers for the Bengals, I did little to contemplate other
choices. Too bad I didn’t consider Favre or Brees—neither
the Saints nor Packers could play a lick of defense.
Let’s move on to the week two files of 20/20 Hindsight.
Bernard Berrian Would Become A Viable
The Gut Check had Berrian as a potential preseason breakout candidate
that just missed the cut due to question marks at QB. He said,
“If the Bears young quarterback can remain the starter,
Berrian’s chances for starter-quality production as a fantasy
receiver, increases greatly. Look for a big jump in Berrian’s
numbers, but not enough for the 3rd-year Bear to become a more
than a #3 receiver, at best.” Although Berrian only caught
one ball in week one, it was for a long score. His week two output
was a 5-reception, 89-yard game that included one of the best
highlight reel catches we’ll see in September.
Berrian is clearly a Grossman favorite, and his deep speed has
been evident with his 18.9 yards per catch as a rookie (13 receptions
for 246 yards). Berrian always showed flashes—even when
Chicago was starting Craig Krentzel out of desperation—but
it was his performance against Carolina in the divisional playoffs
that solidified his status as receiver capable of going across
the middle or converting in tougher third down situations.
Neither Green Bay nor Detroit are great passing defenses so don’t
expect Berrian to become a pro bowl receiver. Still, Muhammad
and Desmond Clark are good enough to help Grossman spread the
ball around. Throw in a promising Mark Bradley, who should eventually
challenge Muhammad for his spot in 2007, and Berrian will be a
worthwhile #3 or #4 WR in fantasy leagues for decent stretches
Joseph Addai Would Out Produce Dominic
Rhodes continues to start for the Colts, but it was apparent to
most that watched the first two games of the season that Addai
is the more talented of the two. As with most rookie backs, Addai
is getting eased into the role of the Colts’ primary ball
carrier. DeAngelo Williams had a similar opportunity to outperform
the Panthers’ incumbent, DeShaun Foster, against the Vikings
on Sunday. This kind of gradual introduction for a rookie runner
is not uncommon in recent history. Here are 11 runners since 1990
that averaged less than 15 carries per game in the opening 4-6
weeks of their rookie year, but earned the starting role (and
15+ carries) for the remainder of the year:
- Clinton Portis
- Ronnie Brown
- Terrell Davis
- Corey Dillon
- Robert Edwards
- Kevin Jones
- Julius Jones
- Jamal Lewis
- Willis McGahee
- Rashaan Salaam
- Fred Taylor
That’s nearly one rookie per season that has evolved into
a starting fantasy back after a modest opening month. It stands
to reason that Addai has a very good shot to continue this trend.
His strengths as a player are the very things most backs need
to improve: blocking and receiving. Addai is already considered
the best of the Colts backs in both areas. As Addai demonstrates
increasing comfort with the offense, and better execution with
the stretch play, look for him to earn a greater share of the
opportunities. Don’t be surprised if the LSU alum gives
Bush, Maroney, and Williams some stiff competition for offensive
rookie of the year honors.
Rex Grossman Would Out Duel A Mike Martz
The much maligned, fantasy quarterback pasted the Lions for 289
yards and 4 touchdowns Sunday afternoon. Grossman had a very healthy
10.7 yards per attempt average—about two yards more per
pass than Martz’s offenses in their heyday. Jon Kitna wasn’t
bad—23 for 30 for 230 yards—but the Lions couldn’t
sustain their drives. Grossman was on the waiver wire in many
leagues on opening day, but after leading the NFL in QB rating
and scores while completing 71.5% of his passes, the Bears young
starter will have many fantasy owners considering the Florida
alum as more than a competent backup for their roster.
The downside to Grossman is his lack of experience due to injury,
which still makes him an unknown commodity to the average fan.
The Bears starter was regarded as the only true NFL-quality prospect
to come out of Steve Spurrier’s Fun n’ Gun system
at Florida. Before losing Grossman went down in consecutive years,
he displayed on field leadership, a good arm, and a killer instinct.
One of the better indicators I’ve used to gauge a player’s
talent when there isn’t much of a history of games to study
at the pro level is to see what other players say about him. Muhsin
Muhammad has often stated to the media that he signed with Chicago
because of Grossman. For a veteran receiver coming off his best
year—a 93-reception, 1405-yard season in Carolina—to
sign with the Bears due to the talent of the team’s young
quarterback (big contract aside) is a testament to Grossman’s
potential. Remember, Grossman didn’t play for most of 2005
but Chicago felt he game them the best opportunity to win against
the Panthers in the playoffs.
Although one could argue Grossman was the lesser of two evils
(rookie Kyle Orton was the other choice), in hindsight it looks
like Grossman was the clear-cut choice. Plus, Brian Griese was
enough of a talent to keep Chris Simms on the bench in Tampa so
Grossman had to be showing something in camp. One may argue that
Grossman got the edge due to his draft status and contract, but
it’s clear the team rallies around him and his play is still
a big reason. Can Grossman continue his high level of production?
Based on an early look at the Bears schedule, it appears a healthy
Grossman could find himself as the Cinderella QB of the fantasy
season with several favorable match ups for the rest of the year.
Michael Turner Would Have A Better Game
Than Several Starting Fantasy RBs In Week Two
There is only one frustrating thing about having Ladainian Tomlinson
on your roster: once the game gets out of hand, the backups get
the easier 4th quarter carries against a worn out defense and
compile as much, if not more, yardage than one of the best backs
in fantasy football. Jesse Chatman did it a couple of years ago
and now it’s Michael Turner’s opportunity. “The
Burner,” had 13 carries for 138 yards—including a
73-yarder—in a rout of the Titans. Imagine if LT got at
least half of those carries? It could have been a 4-touchdown
down, 200-yard day. To be optimistic, at least Schottenheimer
is keeping LT fresh…
Antonio Bryant Would Be A Breakout Receiver
This was one of the more obvious calls among the regulars and
staff at FFToday. Bryant was impressive in Cleveland on a moribund
offensive unit in 2005. The move to San Francisco foretold good
results due to the fact the Niners have a running game. Throw
in the fact Bryant worked his tail off to gain some rapport with
second year starter Alex Smith, and it’s no surprise Bryant
is averaging 30 yards per catch on 8 receptions after just two
While this torrid pace isn’t going to continue, don’t
expect Bryant to disappear. He’s a solid fantasy starter
and was a steal of a deal in most leagues. He’ll begin seeing
more bracketed coverage within the next few games, but there is
enough young talent with Davis and Gore to prevent defenses from
totally shutting down Bryant on a consistent basis.
I Should Have Picked Up Desmond Clark
After My Trade With Macgregor
All summer I was trying to land Ben Watson from Mike. I had Desmond
Clark last season, but dropped the former college receiver when
the Bears QB situation looked less favorable than on the kids’
football squad my friend Tres coaches. This summer, Clark reported
in great shape, and made an early impression on coaches that he
was ready to contribute once again as a weapon in the passing
game. I figured, I’d add Clark to my roster during our summer
free agency period to back up whichever starter I landed from
Mike. Unfortunately, I never tried to add Clark to my roster once
I acquired Randy McMichael. Not that it would have mattered this
week, Mike’s team (defending champ of our 40-man roster
dynasty league) steamrolled my squad on Sunday. Unless Matt Jones
gains 150 and 3 scores as a receiver and then plays QB in the
second half and runs/throws for another buck-fifty and 3 scores
or he and Ike Taylor combine for about 85 points, I don’t
have a chance. In other words, there’s praying for a miracle
and praying for the apocalypse. I’ll be buying an underground
shelter if I win this match up.
Nagging Feelings—Week 3
I said this summer that I didn’t believe the Denver Broncos
would perform up to preseason expectations. The reason was the
running game. I just don’t see the combo of Tatum
Bell and Mike Bell being as strong as tandems in the past.
Jake Plummer needs a strong ground attack to be effective. Otherwise,
the Broncos offensive scheme becomes too predictable. If Denver
can’t get consistent production out of the Bells, keep an
eye on your waiver wire for Cedric Cobbs.
Plus, no matter what Javon Walker
tells the media, he won’t be 100% until 2007. How many times
does it take for us to pay attention to the lies players tell
the media regarding their health? A player coming off an ACL tear
always tells the media he’s 90%-95% just months after major
surgery, but the following year he admits he was only 70%-75%.
Just wait, we’ll hear the same words out of Walker’s
The Broncos new primary receiver looks pretty good, but the decline
of Rod Smith (and he left early with a concussion this week),
and the absence of solid tight end play isn’t making Plummer’s
job much easier. Denver may win the division if they can edge
out San Diego. But that means Phillip Rivers will have to disappoint
and I don’t think that is going to happen. With the AFC
North sporting three playoff caliber teams, I doubt more than
one team from the AFC West advances to the postseason and I have
a feeling it won’t be Denver.
If you need a bargain bin quarterback, keep an eye on David
Carr. The Texans starter had a terrific outing against
the Colts, completing 84% of his passes with 3 touchdowns. True,
Indy was up 14-0 in the first quarter, but Carr managed a strong
fantasy performance despite the fact the Colts were able to tee
off on him for three quarters of the game. He’s going to
have some rough spots in the middle of the year, but with a slate
of games between weeks 11-15 that include the Bills, Jets, Raiders,
Titans, and Patriots, Carr could be a nice stretch run player
Lamont Jordan’s value
is likely at the lowest point it will be all season after the
Raiders faced two of the best run defenses in football in consecutive
weeks. Oakland looks like the type of team that will hit bottom
early. While they could stay there, they could have a chance to
improve their production after the bye week when Jordan and company
will face Cleveland, San Francisco, Denver, and Arizona. It’s
probably a good idea to package Jordan in a deal after either
the Cleveland or San Francisco match up and get whatever you can
for him. The most telling aspect of Jordan’s drop in value
is the fact he lacks a single reception in two games. His receiving
skills where his saving grace for fantasy owners in 2005, but
at this point his participation in the passing game has been non-existent.
At this point, I wouldn’t worry if I didn’t get as
good of value as the original spot I drafted the Raiders’