Last Week's Question: What were your
best and worst draft-day decisions?
Before I get into the responses to last
week's column, I want to comment on a recommendation from
a reader named CG4Mongo, who vouched for the quality of the inside
jokes on the Living the Stream podcast. Thanks for the
tip, Mongo. I checked out episode #108 and smiled several times.
I even laughed out loud at a terrible pun when one of the hosts
suggested recording a song titled "On the Virgil (of a Touchdown)."
As for my question concerning the best and worst draft-day decisions
of readers, the feedback I received focused overwhelmingly on
the selection or avoidance of particular players.
Thomsoad, for example, is rightly excited about having acquired
Anderson in the 5th round and Spencer
Ware in the 14th. He was one of many Keenan
Allen owners who identified the Charger wideout as the most
disappointing selection of his draft: "I knew he would be a risk,
but REALLY? . . . not even ONE GAME?"
Worse yet, he doubled down on Charger personnel by taking Philip
Rivers as his primary QB. Rivers lost his best WR (Allen) in Week
1 and his best pass-catching RB (Danny
Woodhead) in Week 2, so Antonio
Gates seems like a marked man in Week 3. (Just remember that
Rivers found a way to be productive last year with personnel dropping
like flies around him, so I wouldn't give up hope on him just
Speaking of Woodhead, Jacob thought that his biggest draft-day
mistake was NOT pulling the trigger on the RB in round 7 and then
seeing him taken before he had a chance to nab him in round 8.
But he followed up with a comment after the Week 2 games: "Never
SonofaBolt explained what his worst move was—only to further explain
that it was even worse than it seemed:
Gary emailed me about how happy he is to have acquired both Alfred
Morris and Christine
Michael—not because of what they've done so far, but because
of the satisfaction he takes in having "solid handcuffs on two
run-first teams." I like Gary's perspective because it's more
about the logic behind the choices he made than the actual personnel
But sometimes logic cuts in two different directions.
For instance, Kree posted that his best decision this year was
avoiding players who are injured/suspended at the beginning of
Every year I seem to target a player with an early season "issue"
(injury/suspension etc) because of the perceived value (player
A may have dropped a couple rounds due to suspension etc, so now
I HAVE to draft them). This year I did not do that, and I am very
happy with my team.
But as far as MickinMD is concerned, the suspended players on
his roster might end up being the strength of his team: "My best
decision might be drafting L. Bell or T. Brady. . . . But I won't
know until they play."
The upshot appears to be that two weeks into the season is probably
too early for fantasy owners to know what their best and worst
draft-day decisions were, but I still encourage readers who haven't
already done so to jot down their thoughts on the subject. We'll
revisit these assessments later in the season to see how well
readers are judging their own draft strategies. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, my thanks go out to everyone who emailed me or
posted their comments directly to the column.
This Week's Question: Under what circumstances
do you ignore the fantasy experts you usually trust?
Do you rely on the projections at FFToday when submitting lineups
in your league?
In fact, when I disagree with those projections, my first impulse
is usually to privilege this website's rankings over my own—because
my own experience has demonstrated that Mike Krueger is better
at fantasy football than I am.
So can any of you guess why I disregarded FFToday's projections
for Week 2 and started Donte
Moncrief over Stefon
Diggs in multiple leagues?
Krueger's projections had Diggs a full 22 notches ahead of Moncrief.
They weren't close to each other in the rankings, and they didn't
finish close to each other in reality. Diggs racked up 182 yards
and a TD; Moncrief got 9 yards and an injury.
The projections couldn't have predicted Moncrief's injury, but
they certainly factored in the quality of the receivers' opponents
(Denver's pass defense is strong; Green Bay's is weak).
But as I looked at the rankings, I decided that Krueger hadn't
adequately weighted Minnesota's rapid turnover at the quarterback
position (from Teddy
Bridgewater in the preseason to Shaun
Hill in Week 1 to Sam
Bradford in Week 2).
Sure, the Colts were in for a rough day in Denver. But I reasoned
that a rough day might be just the thing to spark garbage time
production from Andrew
Luck and his receivers. It was easy for me to imagine Moncrief
racking up 65 yards and a score in just the last five minutes
of an out-of-hand game.
It wasn't easy for me to imagine Sam
Bradford establishing any kind of connection with his receiving
corps a mere fifteen days after being acquired by the Vikings.
"How likely is Sam Bradford to have a good day," I reasoned, "against
a divisional opponent that is more familiar with his new team
than he is?"
So even though I know that Krueger is better at these calculations
than I am, I decided that he was wrong in this case and that I
should start Moncrief.
This isn't to suggest that I've never benefited from second guessing
Krueger. Sometimes I'm right—but usually I'm wrong.
I need to do a better job of figuring out when my instincts to
ignore him are justifiable and when they aren't. This week, I
learned that a lack of imagination on my part is a pretty poor
reason to disregard his insights. In fact, no one had to imagine
a connection between Bradford and Diggs because they were happy
to show us all exactly what such a connection looks like.
What about you? How do things work out for you when you decide
to privilege your own take on particular games over the expertise
of the websites you consult? Can you point to a specific insight
that you either overvalue or undervalue? Do you try to track your
results in any way? Do you even know for certain if you're better
or worse off at the end of the season for having disregarded certain
pieces of advice from certain experts?
Whether you usually end up kicking yourself or patting yourself
on the back for your independent thinking, please
email me or post a comment explaining when and why you ignore
your favorite experts.
What's wrong in Seattle? In the post-Marshawn Lynch era, Russell
Wilson was supposed to carry this team on his shoulders. Instead,
Wilson is carrying Ndamukong Suh's footprint on his ankle and
relying on a resurgent Christine Michael. But even though Michael
has outplayed Thomas Rawls so far in 2016, Seattle as a team has
averaged 70 yards less per game than in 2015 and has fallen from
the 4th offense in the NFL to 26th overall. On top of that, the
Seahawks have scored only 15 points and may be chasing the Arizona
Cardinals in the NFC West for the rest of the season. The 49ers
are supposed to be the doormats of the division in this year of
rebuilding, so the odds makers have the Seahawks winning by nine.
The problem with that line is that the Seahawks aren't even averaging
9 TOTAL points per game this season, so it's hard to foresee them
beating any team by such a wide margin. More distressingly, the
49ers put up 28 points against the same Rams team that only yielded
3 to Seattle. Steer clear of this one.
#3: Dallas over Chicago (0-2, JAX, OAK)
I almost put this game as my top pick based on quarterbacks alone.
Chicago's Jay Cutler is out and Cowboy rookie Dak Prescott has
been rock solid in his first two weeks under center (though he
is yet to throw a touchdown pass). The Cowboys might well be 2-0
if not for the last-second gaffe by Terrence Williams that kept
the clock running in the loss to the Giants in Week 1. The Cowboys
may have come up short against Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, and
a smothering Giant defense, but this week they get to face a Bears
team that will be lucky to finish 4-12. Without Matt Forte, Brandon
Marshall, and Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery must be feeling pretty
lonely. Is Brian Hoyer good enough to coax Chicago to a win in
Dallas on Sunday night? Probably not. Look for Prescott and Dez
Bryant to finally connect for a TD or two in a primetime matchup
that Dallas should win.
#2: Carolina over Minnesota (2-0, HOU,
These teams appear to be in similar situations as far as the running
game is concerned. But appearances can be deceiving. With Adrian
Peterson out for the Vikings, it's reasonable to wonder whether
Jerrick McKinnon or Matt Asiata will be the primary rusher for
Minnesota. But with Jonathan Stewart out for the Panthers, it's
not especially important to figure out whether Fozzy Whittaker
or Cameron Artis-Payne will be the primary rushing threat for
Carolina—since Cam Newton is still in the lineup. Newton
will put this team on his back and gut out a victory at home against
a very likely playoff opponent no matter who is in the backfield.
Moreover, the Panther defense (with no AP to worry about) should
manage to contain Stefon Diggs. If you didn’t take the Panthers
last week, it’s safe to take Carolina and look to Week 4.
#1: Miami over Cleveland: (2-0, SEA, CAR)
Let me begin by saying that this game absolutely scares the you-know-what
out of me. Miami's offense is unreliable, but the Cleveland offense
will have to exceed expectations dramatically for the Browns to
win with their third starting quarterback in as many weeks. With
RG III out for the season and Josh McCown out for the time being,
rookie Cody Kessler is poised for his first NFL start. This should
be a sloppy game between two teams that rank in the bottom third
of the league both offensively and defensively. In a situation
as potentially ugly as this one, the deciding factor will likely
be the play of the quarterbacks, so Ryan Tannehill's experience
should give him the edge. Tannehill won't have an easy time without
Arian Foster in the backfield, but he'll have a much easier time
than his Cleveland counterpart. Expect a hostile crowd in Miami
and a lot of disguised blitzes to keep Kessler rattled. This game
won’t be pretty, but as any person who picked Seattle in
Week 1 knows, victory doesn’t have to be pretty to get you
to the next week. Mike Davis has been writing about
fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer
than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped
inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can
be found here.