The Village Idiot Cannot Win Your Fantasy Football League
When explaining the difference between fantasy football and fantasy baseball, one of my colleagues, Scott Pianowski, used to say: "The village idiot could win your fantasy football league." And in recent years, that was absolutely true. Be the lucky one to draft Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes, Peyton Manning, Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson or Tom Brady in the right season, and all you had to do was set a full lineup. But in 2009, that's not the case. In fact, there's no one player who particularly stands out, and that makes the game more interesting and more competitive.
Let's take a look at the top players at each position in standard leagues:
As you can see, no one player stands out from the rest at any of the three key positions. That means there are a lot of winning combinations, and making the correct lineup calls and waiver pickups matters each week.
The other interesting thing about these lists is that besides Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, none of these players were projected in top-10 by almost anyone, let alone top five. The running backs are particularly surprising - DeAngelo Williams was a player who couldn't shake the plodding DeShaun Foster for the starting job for two years, and then the team drafted Jonathan Stewart with its first round pick! That Stewart would stay healthy and score eight touchdowns in 13 weeks, but Williams would still be the top producing fantasy back in the NFL is shocking. And Thomas Jones and Matt Forte were two of the starting backs whose ceilings seemed most limited.
It's worth going back and remembering our mindset during the preseason and comparing it to what actually happened. Remember when people thought it was so important not to pick sixth after the drop-off? The things everyone thinks are usually wrong. Try to keep that in mind next August. I will.
Master of the Obvious
In the Bears-Jaguars game, after Maurice Jones-Drew had made a good play, Dan Dierdorf said: "Maurice Jones-Drew is a football player... I don't care how big he is... he's a football player."
In the Giants-Eagles game, a timeout was called a few seconds before the first quarter expired, just before David Akers was set to attempt a field goal. Moose Johnston and Tony Siragusa both praised Tom Coughlin for being savvy enough to realize that Akers would be kicking against the wind, and it was worth calling timeout to make sure he didn't get to kick in the opposite direction. "It's all about attention to detail." Except it turned out that the Eagles called the timeout. After Akers made the kick, there was some muttering about how the swirling winds in the Meadowlands are really tricky - so it's hard to say which side is really advantageous.
Coughlin's earned the "smart coach" narrative, so look for announcers to keep figuring out ways to show you what a genius he is.
Surreal Comment of the Week
During the Thursday night game, Cris Collinsworth suggested Al Davis had to be disgusted with the way the Raiders were playing. As if Davis had nothing to do with it!
Most Lukewarm Endorsement of the Week
When asked whether coach Norv Turner had lost the team, LaDainian Tomlinson replied: "I think we still have the talent."
Most Unenthusiastic Person of the Week
Marty Schottenheimer not even disguising his boredom during Thursday night in-game phone interview.
Some of my colleagues think Tomlinson is washed up, but watching the Thursday night game, I thought he ran pretty well. He actually broke a huge gain that was called back on an Antonio Gates hold, but you could see Tomlinson get around the corner with his trademark quickness. Of course, the announcers were yammering on about how he'd lost a step and didn't get through a hole like he once did, but I think they're doing what most people do - trying to fit the action on the field to the narrative in their heads. In baseball, a few readers told me in April my Carlos Delgado pick was stupid because he had "lost bat speed". Delgado finished 9th in the MVP voting. I'm pretty sure Tomlinson will be fine, though the Chargers offensive line isn't what it once was.
Actually, we knew that already, too. But he looked like Jonathan Stewart on some of those power runs. At what point is John Fox going to apologize to us for keeping DeShaunFoster as the starter for two seasons?
Will the Giants get back on track, or does Dallas salvage its playoff life?
Who has the best defense in the league? The Steelers and Ravens slug it out in Baltimore.
Can Tampa win a big game on the road - this week it's against the Falcons?
Can the Broncos even slow down Carolina's power running game?
Beating the Book
The Lions kept it close enough last week, putting us at 9-5 in this forum. We're 104-99-5 overall.
Titans -3 at Texans
The Titans are coming off two blowout wins, but both were against league doormats, so we don't place a whole lot of value on them. The Texans on the other hand just outplayed the Packers at Lambeau Field in December, and at this point look like they'd be a borderline playoff team had they not lost Matt Schaub and had Sage Rosenfels not absolutely donated the game against the Colts. Laying points on the road is always tough, and we think the quality of these teams is closer than their respective records. Back the Texans who win outright.
Texans 24 - 23
We were 6-10 in this forum last year, but 127-120 on the season overall. From 1999-2007 we're 1184-1018 (53.8%, not including ties).
Last week, all four of our choices (Titans, Colts, Cardinals and Broncos) came through.
This week, we'd take the Eagles first (at home against the Ken-Dorsey-led Browns) and the Colts second (they should roll, but I'm putting them second due to Detroit's desperation factor). If neither is available, we'd probably take the Jets third (coming off two straight losses, they'll be focused) and the Redskins fourth (same situation, though they play a worse opponent, but on the road). We reserve the right to change our minds before the full article comes out Wednesday night.