Should we be short sighted?

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.

Category: Fantasy Football

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11 Responses

  1. jbeau says:

    Focusing on matchups really helped me out this past year. I traded for Lewis, based on his cream puff schedule against weak run defenses. Picked up Grant at the right time. Went from Shaun Alexander and Benson to Lewis and Grant. Roy Williams went down, and I snatched up Roddy white at the right time too. Playing the waiver wire is so integral to winning in leagues nowadays, but I don’t think alot of players look forward and consider matchups in the cold months and make their moves based on that. Guru definitely helped me hone those skills.

  2. tpwaller says:

    The waiver wire helps teams in a crunch. No question about it.

    However, would you really feel good about going into a playoff game with Davenport and Stecker as your RB’s.

    I had Earnest Graham, the #4 RB pick in week 16, going in the championship game. The man scored TDs in 5 or 6 consecutive games. The time bomb went off and I get 2nd place money.

    Sometimes you get lucky as my brother did with Nick Goings and a championship a few years ago, but the key word is luck.

  3. PackFan says:

    Luck can sometimes be defined as the point in time where hard work meets opportunity.

    In these days of running-backs-by-committee, situational substitutions, red zone packages, going with the hot-hand, and so forth, it almost becomes a full-time job trying to keep up with all these happenings as they evolve on a week-by-week basis throughout the league. It’s time that I don’t have.

    This is where a site like Fantasy Guru can really give you an advantage – especially if you suspect you’re the only one in your league that subscribes to the service. Personally, in many cases I believe I have at least a 24 hour advantage on our waiver wire because of what I read here. Much of the work has already been done for us – and it’s just a matter of taking it all in, and then deciding whether or not to make a move on the wire based on the makeup of your team and your situation.

    At any rate, I think the short-term concept that John is promoting here is dead accurate.

  4. tpwaller says:

    PackFan, where do you think that #4 RB rating for Earnest Graham came from?

    I’m glad you’ve had better success with this website. Last year, the advice coming from here hosed me at the draft and in the championship game.

    The Patriots were too good to be true. I bit on that advice and missed out on the most prolific offense ever.

    But yes, luck can sometimes be defined as the point in time where hard work meets opportunity.

  5. PackFan says:

    Well TP … I’m not real comfortable giving advice here, but all I can say is nothing in this old world is ever perfect, and to my way of thinking – I’m not looking for perfection here – just an edge, as I attempt to build my overall roster, and then pick up a guy or two along the way who might have the hot hand.

    For me, I don’t take anyone’s thinking as gospel, I just take it all in (or as much as I can) … mull it over, and use that info to help in whatever decisions I decide to make. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

    The key for me is that they’re MY decisions. As an example … it annoys me when people write in to sites saying they’ve got players A, B, and C .. who should they start this week? Good grief!

    From your previous comment, it sounds like you didn’t do too bad if you finished second. Some weeks it’s just not going to happen … I could put my best lineup on the field, and then I look at my opponent and see that I’m facing LaDainian Tomlinson and he’s running against a very weak defense. Nothing I can do except grit my teeth as he runs for 4 touchdowns and I get beat by five.

    Granted, Graham may not have worked out for you in that instance, but hopefully in the long run, the overall strength of your roster can compensate for that. Defensive coordinators are not dummies, and if one decides to game plan to take away a specific player, there’s a good chance that might happen, and if that was the case during that particular week …

    This fantasy stuff is a crap shoot no matter what … if Peyton breaks his leg on a given snap as an example, (God forbid) there’s going to be a heck of a lot of people that are affected, so you’d better have as deep a roster as you can get. You just never know. My point here is that I like all the various kinds of information I can get from Fantasy Guru, because in the long run I think it gives me a little bit of an edge and that’s all I’m asking for. I’ll try and do the rest myself.

    At any rate, good luck as you prepare for next season!

  6. jbeau says:

    TP, I use this website for information. I agree with PackFan. I don’t follow all the advice, because leagues are set up differently and no one can predict what’s gonna happen in sports. Of course, some things will backfire, but as a whole this league definitely helps me out. Especially, once the season starts and they forecast guys to start looking at based on how the season is going.

  7. John Hansen says:

    No one said the Patriots were too good to be true. In fact, before training camp began, I said the complete opposite, that one would think they were too good to be true but that “they were the Patriots” and “Brady was Brady.”

    I was worried about Maroney and didn’t paint a pretty picture, which was on spot. I was very, very optimistic on Welker’s impact, we just didn’t rank him high enough. I actually think it was gutsy to keep Moss in our top-20 based on him not doing a thing in preseason and rumored to be released days before the final cuts. But any bad vibes were based almost completely on the injury-releted situations with the starting RB and #1 WR. If we ignored them, and they crapped out, then we’d be under more fire for being irresponsible.

  8. tpwaller says:

    I noticed the March 2007 Blog archive was closed down or at least can’t be accessed. That’s where the Patriots were too good to be true comment came from.

  9. tpwaller says:

    Actually, it was in May.

    New England’s offense too good to be true
    Filed under: Fantasy Football — John Hansen @ 9:18 am
    I’ve thought long and hard on this one, and I’ve recently come to the conclusion that New England’s offense is too good to be true this year. Tom Brady is an excellent player; he’s already a hall of famer and one of the best to ever play the position. It’s hard to say anything negative about anything he’s involved in. The guy can even procreate like it’s nobody’s business.

    But what’s interesting is that Brady’s always been able to do so well with a mediocre receiving corps, one void of egos. Now he has some egos to deal with, specifically Randy Moss’ ego. I’m on record saying New England is a great landing spot for Moss because Brady and the rest command his respect, but that doesn’t mean I’m in love with the Patriot offense.

    Obviously, there is excellent potential here, but let me paint the ugliest of pictures; I think you’ll find it to be realistic.

    Moss, who despite running a supposed 4.3 40 in the spring, reportedly has a pair of bad ankles. You may not see that reported, but that’s what I’ve heard. His body is clearly breaking down, and then you have the issue of how he gives minimal effort. Oh, he’ll make some big plays, but he’s not the type of receiver who has flourished in NE. He’s actually the opposite, since he’s never been a good inside receiver. I’ve seen Moss go higher than I thought he’s go, so you can have Randy Moss in fantasy drafts this year. I want no parts of him.

    The Pats throw those tough inside passes all the time, and Donte Stallworth happens to own a pair of alligator arms and has some issues with his hands. He did make a lot of big plays last year in Philly, but what else did he do? Other than showing off those alligator arms at times, he did get hurt, and that’s an issue. Brady can throw the deep ball, but how many bombs have you seen him complete the last 2-3 years? Not as many as you’d like to see with Stallworth and Moss now on the roster. Since there will be comparable players still on the board when Stallworth is drafted, I see no reason to pick him. You can make the argument that the attention Moss commands will greatly help him, but how often has this guy come through when expectations were high? How many times has he not? That’s what I thought.

    Laurence Maroney has usually split time in the backfield, going back to his college days, and injuries are a concern. Maroney’s shoulder was the source of much speculation in the off-season, with one report stating that surgery revealed “significant damage” to the shoulder, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2007 season. He suffered a mysterious injury in Week 13 that was reported as either a concussion or back injury and knocked him out of the last two regular-season games, but he returned for the playoffs. He was on the injury report with a couple other ailments earlier in his rookie season, and that’s sharing the load with Corey Dillon. Clearly Maroney is a talented player with big upside, but there is definite downside. No one will be surprised if he breaks down, and I still question whether or not he’s ready to be a lead back. I’m not avoiding him per se, but I have to say that I’m hoping I don’t have to make what I think is a fairly tough call with him 10-15 picks in.

    Specifically on the receivers, these are some dramatic changes in New England. It’s going to take time for Moss and Stallworth to get into the flow of this offense, and to get their timing with Brady. I believe they will tinker with the offense to cater to their abilities, so there’s another adjustment. They will have to take several weeks, maybe longer, until they can a feel for how defenses work against them now. There will be continuity and consistency issues at least early here.

    You look at all their additions, and it appears this offense is too good to be true. There’s no way Brady, Moss, and Stallworth will get shut down completely, but I think it is too good to be true. NFL football is often ironic and how ironic would it be if Wes Welker leads this team in receiving over Moss and Stallworth.

    Not only am I saying that could happen; I’m expecting it to happen

  10. John Hansen says:

    My bad, if you want to draft in August based on a stream-of-conscience blog written in May, perhaps that’s the issue.

    I said good things about Brady, check. Was worried about Maroney, check. Said I expected Welker to lead the team in receiving, check. Didn’t like Stallworth, check. So basically, I was wrong for doubting Moss, who soiled the bed horribly the previous two seasons.

  11. tpwaller says:

    Not a problem, but your subscribers pay attention to what you say and rely upon your advice.

    Nowadays with keeper and dynasty leagues, fantasy football is a year-round “sport”.

    While you checked off Maroney, you said you’d draft him over a stud WR. Maroney was the only Pat I drafted this season (in the second round over TO). End result was Maroney busted until it was too late and I never recovered at WR.

    I suppose such is life. I only question when I see the crystal ball being rubbed again.

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