Mar 20, 2008
I understand that it’s important to look at a player’s ability to help you all year, and to look at his schedule down the stretch, but another lesson learned this past year is to not underestimate a player’s ability to help you greatly for a spell, if only for a few weeks. Eagle QB Donovan McNabb is always a great example. Sure, it’s hard to rely on him at this point for a whole season, but how many players can we truly rely on for all 16 games? Or even 12-13 games? Not as many as we’d like.
Back in 2006, from Weeks 1-10, McNabb was a beast, averaging 26 PPG and he was the #1 fantasy QB by a fairly large margin. Yeah he went down in Week Eleven, but his domination early in the year was integral in my winning the $5000 Champs Challenge that year (an Expert league that has since ceased to exist, perhaps because I won it two years in a row). I brought two Plasma TVs with my winnings in that league in 2006, and I owe a lot of that to Donnie Mac.
The WW is so prevalent these days, and players come out of nowhere to not only help fantasy owners down the stretch but to help them dominate, so maybe we should focus a little more on the first half of the season. Let’s get ourselves in a position to make the playoffs first, and then work the WW, make trades, and do whatever else we have to do to scratch and claw our way to a fantasy title later.
Here are some good examples of some players who were huge last year in the second half of the season, to put this all in perspective.
- Obviously, Ryan Grant was huge, the 3rd best fantasy back the second half of the season. It’s insane how we agonize over our #1 pick all summer only to see a guy no one ever heard of put up better numbers than Jackson, Gore, Portis, Addia, etc.
- Maybe it is wise to wait on a QB, after all. Guess who the #1 fantasy QB in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16) was last year? Kurt Warner. To finish the season in not only those three games but in the finale, his numbers were sick: 337/3, 233/3, 361/3, 300/3. For the final eight games of the season, Warner was actually the 4th best fantasy QB in the land in 2007, better than guys like Brady, Favre, and Derek Anderson.
- It would be nice to have the league’s #2 fantasy RB for the playoff weeks of 14-16 at your disposal, wouldn’t it? Well that’s what you had if you owned one Aaron Stecker last year. That’s right, Aaron Stecker put up 332 yards and scored 4 TDs Weeks 14-16.
- Najeh Davenport was a top-15 fantasy back those key three weeks, putting up 234/3 as a runner and receiver.
- How about the #3 fantasy wideout for Crunch Time 2007? That would be none other than Anthony Gonzalez, who was a complete non-factor until about Week 12.
- How about this one: Jag QB David Garrard scored more fantasy points in the playoff weeks than Tom Brady, who had the best single season a quarterback’s ever had.
- For the second half of the season, the final eight games of the season, Jag WR Reggie Williams was the 9th best fantasy wideout in the league, putting up 23/473/6.
- Seahawk WR Bobby Engram was 11th, with 56/614/3. Not only that, but Nate Burleson was the 14th best fantasy wideout the final 8 games of the season with 26/387/6.
- Packer TE Donald Lee was a nice WW pickup, and he was a much better option in 2007 than “studs” like Todd Heap, Jeremy Shockey, and Alge Crumpler. Lee put up 23/271/5 for the final eight games of the season.
- I kind of liked Denver as a sleeper defense last year, but they were worthless, right? Well, they were actually the 5th best DT in the league the final 8 games of the season.
- If you didn’t have a stud defense early in the year, you could have picked up Arizona or Tampa Bay, the 3rd and 4th best fantasy defenses from Weeks 10-17.