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20/20 Hindsight - Week 9

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.”

Last week was great in my local league, but this week was good enough to post the scores once again. It may seem like gloating, but you might as well enjoy consecutive weeks of 165+ point outings for as long as they last.

Local League
 Lineup  Total  Comments
B.Favre QB 18.3 #1 QB-worthy stats this week for a late round pick.
L.Johnson RB 30.5 Not like last week, but if I get even 80% of this total every week, I’ll have no complaints.
T.Jones RB 9.3 Addai is beginning to get more consideration as the #2 RB.
M.Colston WR 20.7 Wow, I don't think I've ever had such a good waiver wire pick.
J.Galloway WR 21.7 Admittedly, I almost replaced him with Jennings prior to kickoff.
M.Harrison WR 31.1 More on him later…
C.Henry WR 7.9 Almost scored on his second reception.
T.Heap TE 8.4 I'm expecting this to continue with McNair/Billick at the helm.
M.Stover K 14.0 Back to early-season form.
D.Ravens DST 8.0 Ditto.
Total 169.9
 Bench  Total  Comments
B.Gradkowski QB 18.4 If he could only play the Saints every week.
J.Addai RB 10.3 #2 RB-in training.
M.Barber RB 7.3 Reliable #3 RB in a pinch.
L.Betts RB 3.8 Trade bait I couldn't deal, but decent depth if Portis can’t go.
R.Bush RB 2.2 When healthy, he's like Barber III with upside.
W.Lundy RB 5.9 Couldn't resist adding him two weeks ago.
M.Turner RB 2.1 Could be a great fantasy playoff option if SD rests LT down the stretch.
G.Jennings WR 6.9 Excellent depth at this point.
J.Jurevicius WR 7.6 Ditto.
S.Parker WR 4.3 Gives me room to shop on the waiver wire.
Total 68.8

If Joseph Addai can continue producing as a reliable #2 RB, my fantasy squad could be in for a special season. Last week I dropped from 81st to 128th overall in the FFTOC, but I rebounded with a nice game thanks to smarter choices at running back.

FFTOC Update
 Pos  Player  Pts  Comments
QB M. Vick 20.52 Not like the past two weeks, but those rushing yards contributed to a respectable effort.
RB T. Barber 21.5 I figured Barber was due for a score and it was nice the game was close enough for Tiki to get enough attempts for my benefit.
RB C. Taylor 14.1 Not spectacular, but much after last week’s RB choices, no complaints here.
WR M. Jenkins 2.6 Went for the risk-reward choice, but ended up on the bad side of the deal.
WR M. Colston 16.3 An even more impressive effort considering the absence of Joe Horn.
WR M. Harrison 26.5 Big-time player…Big-time game…
TE B. Watson 5.4 Good enough.
K D. Rayner 4.0 Just a poor choice when Atlanta, Detroit, and Jacksonville were all available.
DEF NY Giants 7.0 Decent day, despite Strahan leaving the game due to injury.
  Total 117.92 As long as I keep following up bad weeks with these efforts, I’ll be okay.

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

Ronnie Brown Would Tear Up The Chicago Defense
What a game for Brown—nothing like 29 carries for 157 yards from a player that most owners probably didn’t want to start by choice this week. What was even more impressive is Brown did it with his longest carry coming at the tail end of the 4th quarter for 27 yards. Brown has quietly amassed top ten worthy fantasy totals at his position:

2006 Game Log Stats
        Rushing Receiving    
Week Starter Opp Result Att Yard Avg TD Target Rec Yard Avg TD FFPts %
1 Y at PIT L 17-28 15 30 2 2 3 3 32 11 0 18.2 -28.40%
2 Y BUF L 6-16 15 70 4.7 0 6 6 52 8.7 0 12.2 14.70%
3 Y TEN W 13-10 26 90 3.5 0 2 2 10 5 0 10 36.60%
4 Y at HOU L 15-17 12 49 4.1 0 8 8 62 7.8 0 11.1 -13.00%
5 Y at NE L 10-20 17 39 2.3 1 2 1 -3 -3 0 9.6 -23.60%
6 Y at NYJ L 17-20 22 127 5.8 1 1 0 0 - 0 18.7 40.30%
7 Y GB L 24-34 15 59 3.9 0 5 5 63 13 0 12.2 -11.10%
8 Y at CHI W 31-13 29 157 5.4 0 2 2 33 16.5 0 19 -49.60%

Although Brown had good production against tougher strength of schedule defenses such as Pittsburgh and New England, his actual performance from a yardage standpoint was paltry—no real indicator that the second year back would explode versus a defense of Chicago’s caliber. In fact, there aren’t too many stats that would support a numbers-based prediction for this type of game. Looking at the play by play, it appears Brown’s game was bolstered by Harrington’s effective play. Nothing creates more problems for a defense than a balanced offense, and that was exactly what Miami had on Sunday.

I believe Miami’s offense will continue to gel as they face some vulnerable defenses and get to play at home down the stretch. The key is Joey Harrington’s ability to develop a rapport with Chris Chambers. I believe Harrington will and part of the reason has to do with the former Lion getting a chance to play without any pressure. What does Harrington have to lose? He’s no longer supposed to be the franchise player, the team’s record has been in the toilet, and Daunte Culpepper’s play has been the focus of the media’s ire. It’s quite conceivable that Harrington could be one of those surprise stars of the fantasy playoffs.

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

David Garrard Could Have A 3-Touchdown Day
The East Carolina product entered the league with the confidence that he could become an NFL starter. If you remember, he caused a bit of a stir during his first training camp after telling the media he thought he had a shot at unseating Mark Brunell (in hindsight, that might not seem like such a big deal based on the Redskin starter’s play since that statement years ago), but he never got a true shot to be the starter in Jacksonville. The thing about Garrard is that his individual stats are rarely gaudy. Even with Sunday’s performance he barely completed 50% of his passes and didn’t crack the 200-yard mark through the air. Although the media characterizes Garrard as an excellent runner, it is not as if he’s on par with Vick or even McNair in his prime. His best game on the ground during his starts in 2005 was a 61-yard effort versus the lowly Cardinals.

Garrard’s game is about efficiency. When you combine his strengths with an improved rushing attack in 2006, you get an opportunity to see better production. Yet to predict a 3-touchdown game from a quarterback that has only had more than one passing score in a game just once prior is unlikely.

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

Stuck With Chris Chambers
Did you read the second half splits column on Friday? The Gut Check told you to take a chance on Chris Chambers. While I doubt most of you had Chambers available on your league’s waiver wire, I’m sure some of you have been letting the Dolphins receiver rot on your bench after he’s been such a disappointment to start the year. While I didn’t have Chambers in any of my leagues, I wouldn’t mind trying to acquire him.

The key stat for Chambers has been the fact he has averaged 9 targets per contest leading into Sunday. The guy is due for some big games if Harrington can improve his accuracy. Considering the cast of characters posing as franchise quarterbacks for the Dolphins prior to 2006, you should feel hopeful about Chambers second half prospects. Last year, Chambers had only two games with more than 80 yards receiving prior to week 8—and no 100-yard games.

Chambers actually has one more touchdown at this point than he did last year. Chambers had three, two-touchdown games after week 8 in 2005 and five games with at least one score. Just like I said to stick with Kevin Jones, I believe all the factors are favorable for Chambers to resume his place as a quality #1 receiver for the next two months.

Kept My Mouth Shut About Javon Walker
Both Walker and Deuce McCallister are exploding the theory that you can’t be incredibly productive just a year after an ACL tear. I spent all summer talking about McCallister so I had no wiggle room there, but I was blind to Walker. Three touchdowns versus Pittsburgh later, and it shut my mouth. I like how the Broncos are using Walker in the red zone, but the most impressive thing about this game was Walker’s touchdown run off the end around where he displayed explosive cutback moves. Prior to this game, Walker was on his way to cracking the fantasy top fifteen at his position. After 200+ yards from scrimmage, Walker is sure to crack the top ten and he’s probably just getting started.

Nagging Feelings—Week 10

I don’t know whether it’s the old AFC Central upbringing that has me wanting to say, “I told you so,” but a month ago I said it looked like the Steelers were headed for a rough year. After watching them fall behind early to Denver only to fumble away their chance to get back into the game after a long completion to Cedrick Wilson, I’m convinced Pittsburgh is done. Speaking of this game, if you want an early prediction on a 2007 breakout receiver, my sleeper pick is Denver rookie Brandon Marshall. The former defensive back out of Central Florida is a guy I’ve talked about in this summer’s Rookie Impact Series. He has shown flashes in small moments this year. The one receiver missing from my July preview was Marques Colston. Like most everyone else, I thought he was on his way to becoming a tight end.

One last thought on the Steelers. Despite Santonio Holmes’ miscues in this game, I’m convinced this guy is going to be a big factor in elevating the Pittsburgh passing attack to greater heights in 2007 due to his hands and skills after the catch. In fact, I believe in hindsight Pittsburgh won’t miss Plaxico Burress over the long haul as much as it appears right now that they do.

On a different note concerning the Steeler-Broncos game, did you hear someone hack up and spit out that lung cookie on national television in the second quarter? Based on the audio and timing, I have a feeling Jim Nantz forgot to turn off his microphone. It’s moments like these where you wish TIVO could save short clips you can separate from a longer recording. Then there’s the Direct TV commercial with Jessica Simpson holding the bar patron down with her high heel. Did you notice they digitally insert her lips onto the movie clip to portray her telling her captive audience the message? How freaky and cheap is that? This is not something I want to be watching after a few beers.

What I want to watch every weekend is Marvin Harrison catching footballs from Peyton Manning. Number eighty-eight is my choice as the best receiver in the NFL. Harrison’s second touchdown reception on Sunday night was one I’ve seen him make several times in the past decade and it is the perfect example of how a great pair of hands and body control beats size and speed. I heard Sterling Sharpe talk about Marvin Harrison as if he were more of a role player heading into the game and that Reggie Wayne was the main guy. Unless you define role player as the guy the Broncos shadowed with Champ Bailey, the best cornerback in football, while Reggie Wayne got to beat Darrent Williams like a bass drummer in a marching band, then I don’t know what Sharpe is talking about here.

The Colts-Patriots game was like one of those old-fashioned heavyweight bouts. One rainy day in May or June of 2007 when “juice ball” is in full swing, I’ll pop in my DVD of this game, turn down my thermostat, and pretend it’s early November for a few hours. As long as Bob Sanders can play, the Colts defense will have a fighting chance to be competitive. Although fantasy football is still primarily and offensive game, you have to appreciate the quality of safeties in today’s NFL like Sanders. Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, and Adrian Wilson are at the top of the list. You still have Brian Dawkins playing quality ball in the nadir of this career and Sean Jones, Roy Williams, and Shaun Taylor on the ascent.