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20/20 Hindsight - Week 7

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.”

You know it’s not going to be an easy season when you have the feeling you might do better picking a winning horse at the track than a productive receiver for your lineup. Especially when you know receivers much better than thoroughbreds. If you think my receiver total is bad with the FFTOC team, you should have seen my local leagues. Of course, who finally has a good game but none other than the Smoothie King, Randy Moss. I know, wrong franchise but when I was reading about Moss manning the blenders at the grand opening of his smoothie franchise, I daydreamed of the Raiders receiver handing me my order and I’d say “I pay when I want to pay,” before heading for the door. Once outside, I’d mock moon him from the display window and as he tried to flag me down for his money, I’d offer him a ride on the hood of my car.

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB J. Kitna 30.46 I thought this match up was a no-brainer, but it didn’t become one until the 3rd – 4th quarter.
RB T. Bell 18.6 A second no-brainer.
RB E. James 3.8 I wish I could thank Ron Jaworski for this one, but I chose James on Wednesday morning, therefore, all the credit.
WR L. Coles 2.9 Really sub-par outing for Coles. Too bad that rainbow in coverage from Pennington dropped perfectly into McCareins’ hands instead.
WR T. Glenn 4.1 With this game, I’ll blame it on his former AFC East ties
WR C. Chambers 2.9 My second true AFC East receiver with the exact same result.
TE R. McMichael 7.7 Respectable effort, although he didn’t find the end zone and hurt Harrington’s stats and the team with his drops/tips.
K J. Elam 5.0 Elam missed a field goal???
DEF Broncos 16.0 I’d trade my proficiency for picking defenses for a couple good WRs every week. I even picked the Vikings and Cardinals two other leagues with Baltimore on a bye!
  Total 91.46 I’m hanging in there, but I don’t want too many of these weeks.

Fortunately, I don’t have receiver problems in my showcase leagues. But I am losing ground to re-take the division lead for this tourney. The key will be to continue to rebound from poor performances with better outings the next week.

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

Corey Dillon Would Have A 2-Touchdown Day
The Patriots starter looked excellent against the Bills after the bye week. This statement should tell you everything you need to know. Okay three words should tell you everything you need to know: starter, Bills, and bye. At this point, Laurence Maroney is more often than not a fantasy football phony for as long as Corey Dillon has the word “starter” associated with his role in New England. Did you pay attention to my tirade about Michael the Burner Turner? If not, pay attention to this and the corollary below…

Chris Chambers Could Have A 29-Yard Performance With Harrington Posting 414-Yards
I’m sure few would think Chris Chambers would have a poor outing if you only saw Harrington’s totals, but that was the case. Here’s the first of two requests for readers to respond: Someone tell me more about the nature of Joey Harrington’s 9 targets to Chambers. Where the passes poorly thrown or did Chambers drop the ball? Was it miscommunications with routes? Nick Saban sounded off on his players and the highlight packages alludes to Randy McMichael’s muffs of passes as one of the targets of Saban’s ire, but was Chambers also a culprit?

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

Wali Lundy Would Rack Up The Yardage Despite Gado Starting The Game
This was a source of frustration for more than a few fantasy owners hard up for a bye week back that picked up Lundy when at mid-week it was announced the rookie would get significant action in the Jacksonville and likely be named the starter. Then on Sunday morning, ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported that Samkon Gado would get the start and the majority of carries only for soon to be frustrated owners to discover by game’s end that Lundy rushed for 93 yards and a score.

What gives, Gado only had 10 carries to Lundy’s 19 attempts? Was this unreliable information or misinformation fed “media insiders?” Not out of the realm of possibility, but I realized it might be better to check the play by play. It turns out Lundy didn’t see the field until the second quarter and it appears Kubiak just stuck with the hot hand. Another factor worth knowing is that Lundy gained 56 of his 93 yards on two of his 19 carries. To me this means, Lundy stayed in the game because of his ability to break longer runs but it also demonstrated the Texans weren’t pounding out 4 and 5-yard gains with every carry, either.

So while it might have seemed the media got it wrong about Lundy, the record of the game demonstrates it’s a coach’s prerogative to make adjustments. In other words, don’t shoot the messengers and don’t try to predict mid-game adjustments whenever you can avoid it!

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

Remained Cautious About Matt Leinart
Hey, I’m not the only one. Steve Young was lauding Matt Leinart as the most NFL-ready rookie he’s seen in years after watching the Cardinals starter from the sidelines against Chicago. At least I didn’t go that far—I still believe Cutler will be better and Vince Young might have more success—and Leinart’s two-interception performance against a Raiders squad that can’t be mistaken for the Bears demonstrates the ups and downs of rookie quarterbacks.

But what it also points out is the reactionary viewpoints of media analysts as well as a method of monitoring player performance that I don’t understand. Steve Young’s observation of Leinart from the sideline is what bothers me. What is the benefit of analyzing player performance from any vantage point other than film? Now I grasp the fact some positions can’t be seen on film unless you have several cameras focused on each individual throughout the game. But the when studying a quarterback, it seems to me the sideline might be one of the worst places to get a good read on a player.

I’m not reverting back to an unfavorable opinion on Leinart, but it’s good to temper one’s enthusiasm for a first-year guy playing the hardest position in football. Then again just don’t get me started on Bruce Gradkowski and his savvy play. He only had 104 yards, but he continues to limit his mistakes and put the Buccaneers in position to win with every start. You know I had to throw that one in there…just wait until Jay Cutler takes the field.

Nagging Feelings—Week 7

When is Joseph Addai going to get the start? It is definitely a notion of the minds of many fantasy owners. This is the third game where the LSU rookie has out-performed his running mate, Dominic Rhodes. I have a feeling it will happen within two games if Dominic Rhodes has a second poor game and Addai continues to run tough. This was the first week where Addai gained significantly more yards on fewer carries than Rhodes. He’ll need to prove it against Denver and New England to win it outright and that will be no easy task.

Will someone that watched the Jets’ game tell me whether Leon Washington’s performance was a product of him gaining a lot of yards after contact or the offensive line blowing the Lions off the ball? I only saw the highlights and the ones NBC showed of Washington were runs where he made it untouched to the second and third levels of the Detroit defense. I watched enough of Washington at Florida State to believe he’d make a fine special teams and change of pace back, but his recent success has been a surprise. I have a feeling the Jets offensive line is making life easy for Washington, but I’d like someone to confirm or deny my impression.

Fantasy owners love to cite the offensive line as an underrated factor to evaluate the prospects of running backs. Trust me, if you ever saw this column from two years ago then you know I experienced that inclination. But how do you predict future success with stats, especially when the offensive line experiences vast personnel changes. Take Ahman Green heading into 2005 with the loss of his two guards or Shaun Alexander losing Steve Hutchinson and Chester Taylor’s subsequent success. Common sense works…well, sometimes—think Larry Johnson with the retirement of Willie Roaf. Or Walter Payton and Ladanian Tomlinson early in their careers. See what I mean? It’s a dicey area to predict.