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20/20 Hindsight - Week 8

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.”

I had a week for the ages in my local league thanks to Larry Johnson, Marques, Colston, and the Ravens defense: 9 starters and nearly 174 points! And despite the fact I am now only 4-4 in the league, I went from 50 points behind the scoring leader to at least 30 points ahead! Here is my line up, if you’re curious:

A Week For The Ages...
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB B. Farve 19.0 Favre versus the Cards or Gradkowski vs. the Giants and 50 mph winds…you tell me.
RB L. Johnson 47.7 I've never had an RB have this kind of game. Feels good. Here's hoping there's more.
RB T. Jones 20.6 Thought about using Addai or Lundy, but this turned out to be the best choice this week.
WR M. Colston 34.7 I thought this kid was going to tail off and become a #3 WR. I'm not complaining though.
WR M. Harrison 3.8 Perfect week for Harrison to face Champ Bailey!
WR C. Henry 14.1 Patience paid dividends--I chose to keep him despite the suspension.
WR J. Galloway 3.2 No other choice with Greg Jennings dealing with injury. Still 3.2 pts better than last week.
TE T. Heap 10.7 I knew this guy would be a relative bargain when I drafted him.
K M. Stover 5.0 No complaints.
DEF Ravens 15.0 I thoroughly enjoyed watching this game on the local station--can't you tell?
  Total 173.8 When your team averages 19.3 points per player, fantasy football is tons of fun.

Now that I made myself feel better, now I can address my pathetic results with the FFTOC. I was 81st overall (within the top 12% of the leagues) heading into the weekend. So I took a few chances at RB that bombed worse than Steve Spurrier and the Fun n’ Gun in Washington.

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB P. Rivers 14.28 I was glad to see Jaworski picked him this week, but it didn’t translate to points.
RB L. Washington 5.1 Yuck! That’s the karma I get for downplaying him, then using him a week later.
RB T. Henry 2.9 What happened? Scary-bad games from my backs.
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 H. Ward 8.1 Not bad, but I expected better despite Oakland’s statistically stout passing defense.
WR A. Boldin 4.7 Mike MacGregor was right to make him a last-minute scratch. I didn’t follow suit.
TE A. Crumpler 13.2 Very sad day when your TE is among your top scorers.
K R. Gould 11 Did I mention I went from elation to depression in the course of two paragraphs?
DEF NY Jets 5.0 My luck with facing the Browns ran out this weekend.
  Total 67.14 Worst week of the season—this one week might put me in danger.

Amazing how one week can kill you. Last week I was only 20 points away from the top 40, now I’ll be lucky to be in the top 200. Hopefully all the wheels didn’t fall off with one bad week. I’m not going to dwell on it. Heck, I’ll just look at the first paragraph of this column—that would cheer anyone one up to have this kind of week—it makes a great buffer for this unmitigated disaster.

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

Mike Bell Would Knife Through The Colts—Much Less Get Another Shot At Extended Time?
As you know, Tatum Bell is on my grudge list. If you watched the un-drafted rookie run downhill on Indianapolis for 136 yards and 2 scores (and gain 109 more yards on just 2 more carries than the former second round pick—and likely former starter) then you got my point about Tatum’s tap-dancing. I’ve been talking about Mike Bell as a downhill runner and potential NFL starter since September of 2005. Although the former Arizona Wildcat looked like he was about to lose his lunch after every few carries (a 9-yard average per carry can do that to you), he wore out the Colts with decisive runs that you didn’t see from Tip Toe Tatum.

It’s not like Tatum Bell didn’t have the same holes as Mike Bell. But to be more than fair, Tatum did have a few outside running plays that the defense handled much better than runs up the middle. Plus, the Broncos’ starter has some ailing feet and he seemed to get pulled after every unsuccessful run (which makes sense, considering you should stick with the hot hand).

David Carr Would Cost Me A Ballgame When I Finally Chose To Start Him Over McNair
Zero points. That’s exactly what I got from Carr this week before Kubiak benched him for Sage Rosenfels. Twenty-three points is what McNair gave me from the bench. This mistake resulted in a 3-point loss and the opportunity to take sole possession of first place in a showcase league. What does this tell me? You can’t trust bad teams, because in the NFL the only thing that separates these great talents is consistency. The best teams are the most consistent. The worst care capable of beating the best on any given day, but they don’t play consistently well enough to do it.

McNair’s game is likely the beginning of a streak of good performances despite a lucky touchdown throw that careened off a defensive back’s hands and into Todd Heap’s grasp. Yeah, I’m buying into Brian Billick calling the plays. The guy was a better offensive coordinator than head coach—that’s how he got the gig in the first place. The one thing Billick did when the Ravens sent Jim Fassel packing was tailor the passing attack to McNair’s strengths. Baltimore used four and five-wide receiver sets to spread the field. This allowed McNair to make more simplified reads as well as exploit the middle of the field with his legs when the Saints did a good job with their pass coverage.

I’ve been saying for a few weeks that I believe McNair would have a strong second half of the season. If you’re buying it, check your waiver wire for a cheap addition that could pay dividends down the stretch. If not, I hope you aren’t buying those analysts that have been saying McNair is done.

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

Michael Vick Could Have A Second, Multi-Touchdown Game As A Passer?
Vick hasn’t been on my grudge list, but sometimes it feels like it. I’ve given the Falcons signal caller his due—especially in my Crank Projections where he’s been a starting-caliber quarterback due to his recent history of top ten quality Crank Scores. But, I always tempered my expectations due to his inability to pass effectively from the pocket.

Well, 20 of 28 for 291 yards and 3 scores is enough of a strong follow up to his explosive performance against the Steelers to remove the governor from my somewhat cautious fantasy perspective on Vick—at least temporarily. It’s temporary because Vick is not on pace for a 3,000-yard season and at best, a 20-touchdown total. At the same time, Atlanta continues a favorable schedule versus Detroit and Cleveland for two more weeks.

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

Taken The Offer Of Acquiring Tomlinson For Addai, Bush, And Harrison
I have Larry Johnson already, but three weeks ago I was offered the above deal. Considering how up and down Harrison has been thus far, I could have made due. In fact, I could have been dominating my league for the past three weeks. It was just the fear of starting Galloway and possibly three rookies as a receiving corps. At this point, Bush is at best a flex option (which my league doesn’t have) and Addai is finally becoming a decent starter-quality #2. If someone told me I could get Tomlinson for Addai and Harrison, I would have taken that deal. That’s pretty much what was I was offered—especially with Thomas Jones and Michael Turner on my bench. The fact I picked up Wali Lundy via free agency last week got me thinking about the deal again. Another reason why hindsight’s a…

Grudge List

WR Troy Williamson, MIN—Until this guy can catch a football on a consistent basis, don’t gush to me about his athleticism. Remember Wisconsin’s Tony Simmons of the Patriots? Mathew Hatchette of the Vikings? Cory Fleming of the Cowboys? James Jett? They were all great athletes that couldn’t catch the football well enough to meet the lofty expectations of GMs. I know he’s not on an active roster, but give me rookie Mike Hass over Williamson 9 times out of 10. This may sound crazy now, but I bet in five years Hass be on track to have a longer career than Williamson. The problem is Williamson has moments where he could be that 10th instance that succeeds—like that nice one-handed grab in the game last night. Of course he lost a great throw in the lights that would have resulted in a sure score. In other words, I believe he’s a tease, but he could prove me wrong…

Nagging Feelings—Week 8

Did you stay patient with Chris Henry? If he’s on your waiver wire, don’t hesitate to grab him. This is the receiver that transforms the Bengals passing game from decent to excellent. As I discussed weeks ago, his production correlates to Chad Johnson’s good days.

Seneca Wallace and Tony Romo were excellent this weekend, but both the Chiefs and Panthers are slightly below average defenses versus quarterbacks. Of course, they are still decent additions if you’re having issues with your starting QB. Romo is clearly the best long- term prospect of the two, but I wouldn’t mind sticking Wallace into the fray if he continues to play like he did Sunday. He’s a heady player that reminds me of David Garrard with more pocket presence.

The biggest rookie surprise for me was none other than Texans tight end Owen Daniels. The Wisconsin alumnus was a player I completely underrated when I observed his play as a senior. The most impressive thing about Daniels is his ability to make the most of his targets and do so regardless of the quarterback throwing him the football. That means the guy is getting open and has good hands. I had a good bead on plenty of guys: Bell, Lundy, Addai, Jones-Drew, Gradkowski, Jennings, Hagan, and even somewhat so on Colston. But I was clueless on Daniels. I have a feeling Daniels will continue to look good with Moulds, Lundy, and Johnson continuing to open the middle of the field for the rookie tight end.

Mewelde Moore is someday going to get a second chance as a runner and make the most of his opportunity. A perfect opportunity for Moore would be in New York after Barber retires. Yes, I know Brandon Jacobs has the chance of being the man, but if the Giants are true to their word about picking up a change of pace runner that can catch the football, Moore is likely a better option than any back they’d acquire in the 2007 draft.