Last Week's Question: Under what circumstances
do you ignore the fantasy experts whom you ordinarily trust?
In last week's
column, I challenged readers to explain when and why they
disregard the advice of their favorite fantasy experts.
Tellingly, the readers who responded did so via email rather than
by posting comments directly to the column. (I took this feedback
distribution to mean that people prefer whispering to shouting
when it comes to contradicting the experts.)
The shortest (and snarkiest) response came from Marc:
When: Whenever two of my favorite analysts contradict each other.
Why: Do I really need to explain mutual exclusivity to you?
Okay, I get it—but maybe not completely. Do you really ignore
both of them just because they disagree, or do you have a methodology
for privileging one position over the other? On second thought,
I'll withdraw the question so as not to step on your punch line.
One of the more useful responses came from Don, who values the
evidence of his own senses over the hypothesizing of analysts:
I ignore the experts (or should) when I see [evidence] with my
own eyes. I have played in a dynasty league since 1983. I remember
watching Emmitt Smith at the University of Florida. The experts
said he was too slow [for success in the NFL]. What I saw was
he made everyone miss all of the time. So I didn’t trust
my eyes and listened to the experts and passed on Emmitt. Last
year, I watched Spencer Ware play when Jamaal Charles went down.
Charcandrick West got the first shot, so I thought he was the
player to pick and the experts agreed. Then I saw Ware play. He
ran with much more power and had lateral movement as well. So
I trusted my eyes, not the experts. I picked up Ware, and you
know how he has played since. Trust your eyes.
Don makes a great point. And I suspect he speaks for a lot of
Christine Michael supporters who are feeling vindicated just about
now. They always saw what he was capable of doing.
But some FFers can't trust their eyes because they're not sure
what to look for. I'm not being dismissive here; I'm just acknowledging
the fact that a lot of people who compete in fantasy football
leagues don't watch much NFL footage—at least not critically
enough to discern which backs have the best lateral mobility.
Believe it or not, there are thousands upon thousands of FFers
who pick their players based on stat lines and recommendations
from websites without paying very much attention to the games
on Sunday. They participate in their leagues primarily because
everyone else in their workplace does so—not because they
care very much about the NFL. But that doesn't mean they don't
try to win.
Although these folks would do well to heed Don's advice, they
are more likely to benefit from objective guidelines. I was therefore
delighted to receive an extra bit of insight from Q&A's own
Matthew Schiff, who took the time to explain why he sometimes
disregards his favorite experts:
If I can't swallow a projection that an expert is trying to feed
me, I focus on volume. The more touches that ANY player gets,
the more opportunities a player gets the chance to break the big
one. I’d rather take the guy seeing 10 balls thrown his
way than the guy who gets 2 targets each week and converts his
opportunities into a TD and 40 yards. Chances are, the guy who
sees more balls (rushing or receiving) is the better play in any
Unfortunately, no one responded to the hardest version of the
question I posed: "Do you even know, at the end of a season,
whether you were better or worse off for disregarding the experts
on the occasions when you did?"
The silence on that one was deafening. Maybe we all know the answer—and
we just don't like it.
In any case, my thanks go out to everyone who took the trouble
This Week's Question: Is Adrian Peterson
still rostered in your league?
The injured reserve tag isn't what it used to be in the NFL. Thanks
to an offseason rule change, each team can re-activate one IR
player each season just eight weeks after the designation takes
effect. Accordingly, Tom
Pelissero of USA Today has observed that Adrian Peterson
could theoretically return to action for the Vikings in Week 11.
But Peterson isn't what he used to be either. And even though
Pelissero points out that AP has been a fast healer in the past,
it's unrealistic to expect the 31-year-old RB to have fully recovered
from knee surgery by the end of November.
Unfortunately, the medical consensus regarding Peterson's surgery
(which addressed a "bucket
handle tear" of his meniscus) is that he won't be able
to play again before the NFL postseason at the earliest—making
him irrelevant for fantasy owners in 2016.
But here's the thing: It's super-difficult to cut a player that
you took with your first overall pick (as I did in the FFToday
Staff League)—especially when the player is vowing publicly
to get back into action as quickly as possible.
I should have cut him already, but I'm dawdling. I don't really
even understand what's taking me so long.
What about the AP owner in your league? Has that owner already
cut him? If not, is it because hope blooms eternal or because
it's just too painful to get rid of such an expensive player less
than a month into the season?
If you have a minute to spare, please comment below (or
email me) with the name of your league and the date upon which
Peterson was cut. If he hasn't yet been cut, please say so. And
if you know why the AP owner is still holding onto him, please explain
why—even if the explanation is as simple as "We have
an IR category in our league."
With so many close games predicted by Vegas this week, most would
say that there really isn’t an upset pick. I tend to agree.
So instead of giving a specific game, I'll warn readers against
any divisional games with a spread of less than 3 points. In those
games, anything goes. If you love to see the trick play, the special
teams play, the outstanding individual effort that snatches victory
from the jaws of defeat, then focus on the games between teams
that know each other well. So in other words, if you really want
to pick your favorite team when they are at home against their
biggest foe and it’s a tight spread, DON’T (at least
not in Week 4). Instead, consider the three juicy matchups below.
#3: Vikings over Giants (1-2, JAX, OAK,
Don’t look now, but Sam Bradford is leading a 3-0 team that
has lost its star running back and is playing a tough schedule
in the NFC North. This week the Vikings host a NY Giants team
that could easily be 3-0 (instead of 2-1) and is dealing with
RB issues of its own. Shane Vereen is out for what may be the
remainder of the season, so the Giants are eager to get Rashad
Jennings back. If Jennings isn’t available, then Paul Perkins—not
Orleans Darkwa—will carry the rock. The good news for Giants
fans is that Eli Manning has gone from having just one talented
widout in Odell Beckham, Jr. to having three (with the addition
of rookie Sterling Shepard and the return of Victor Cruz). The
bad news is that Minnesota's defense is legit—legit enough
to have limited opponents to the 3rd fewest points (40) so far
this season. Eli Manning is a lock for a handful of atrocious
games each season, and my money is on the Viking defense to extract
such a game from him in Week 4.
#2: Redskins over Browns: (2-1, HOU, AZ,
There is a trend developing in Survivor Pools this year: Pick
against the Browns. While that may not be music to the ears of
Dawg Pounders, it's what they should have expected in a rebuilding
year—especially when injuries have complicated matters.
Combine these negatives with having to play on the road at FedEx
Field where the Redskins return after winning a tight game against
a divisional foe (the Giants). Kirk Cousins will look to make
it two in a row and calm the voices of those who have "lost
confidence" in their 3rd-year signal caller. A solid game
in front of the home faithful will go a long way towards getting
Washington back in the hunt for the NFC East divisional crown—and
solid games are easy to come by against the Browns.
#1: Bengals over Dolphins: (3-0, SEA, CAR,
My #1 pick hasn't misfired yet in 2016. Let’s hope that
trend continues this week as I foresee a loss for the Miami Dolphins
when they visit the Bengals. The Dolphins have actually outscored
their hosts by almost a touchdown in the first three weeks, but
their 28th-ranked defense can't keep up with a potentially explosive
offense featuring A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill. In truth, you don't
even need to expect the Bengals to play well because there's every
reason to expect the Dolphins to play poorly. If Ryan Tannehill
could turn the ball over three times against the lowly Browns,
he should struggle mightily against the other team from Ohio—the
one with some actual talent. And struggle he will. But you won't—because
you're taking the Bengals.
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.