Friday, October 3, 2008

It's time to admit your drafting mistakes

By Anthony Fenech • Free Press Special Writer

We’re about a quarter of the way through this fantasy football season – which means a lot to most of you and a lot more considering the fact NFL football around here is, well, pretty stale to say the least.

Some of you are 0-4, screening everyone’s calls from Bob in public relations to Uncle Bob. If you’re wondering if you should be in that panic state you’re in, yes, you definitely should be. Early on, your team has either been snake-bitten by injury or snake-bitten by a bad draft but if it’s the latter – it’s time to admit it.

Bad drafts happen. But 10 times out of 10, the owner that realizes that quicker will have a better chance to win. By now, you should be leaning a certain way on which players can still fulfill those numbers you drafted them for.

Take your Cleveland Browns, for example. This year’s sexy preseason fantasy team for their high-powered offense has produced just over 210 yards a game so far, dead last in the league. Derek Anderson hasn’t separated himself from the Brady Quinn rumors with a bye week looming and think about where you would have ranked those players with a bad Anderson or a raw Quinn from the beginning. To make matters worse, they have four bad matchups after the bye. So I guess what I’m saying is, trade your Browns.

And don’t expect to be getting face value for your trade bait. You’re going to have to bite the bullet and make your moves with what you have. If you’re 0-4, chances are those players aren’t as good as you thought and therefore, you will have less interest. The urgency to shake things up only increases in one-divison formats because you don’t have multiple games against your division mates to make up ground.

The sun hasn’t set on your season just yet, but the street lights are coming on. Here are some guy’s I’d target in return for your Big Name, No Gain players:

Your St. Louis Rams – Now for those of you that are desperate for a win, skip to my Lou over to the next one. The Rams are useless this week and another loss will shrink your comeback chances that much more. Jim Haslett is the interim head coach and his teams in New Orleans finished in the top 10 for touchdown passes in four of those five years. They put up pretty good offensive numbers, not including 2005, when they went 3-13 and Haslett was fired. I’d be surprised not to see Marc Bulger back onto the field after the bye and Steven Jackson owners have been rewarded for their patience. For what it’s worth, I’d take Torry Holt with open arms, too.

Ronnie Brown, RB, MIA – Now this is one hits close to home. You could say he’s my fantasy kryptonite. That guy you think of as your fantasy baby. Yeah, that five-touchdown day against the Patriots was an aberration and yeah, the Dolphins might still be bad, but when he is on the field and healthy, he straight up does work. And yeah, again, I can’t convince you that the single wing is going to keep working against NFL defenses, but he was on his way to fantasy player of the year last year before he got hurt without those plays. But I’m just throwing that out there.

Randy Moss, WR, NE – Alright, I’m treading a very fine line here because he fits that big name, no game description. But do you want to see what an owner is really made of? Replace Tom Brady with Matt Cassel and say, “Here’s your first-round pick.” Getting blown out by the Dolphins probably made for a fun New England bye week under Bill Belichick, and I’m not sold that Cassel – or any quarterback, that is – can’t hook up for Moss when all the guy does is get open. Unfortunately, Moss also has time ticking on his fuse ala Terrell Owens, and the more he struggles, the more cause for cover in the once-so-invincible Pats country.

Walking the Waiver Wire:

Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, WR, SEA – All signs point to a return for Matt Hasselbeck’s top two targets in Seattle. Timing might take a week or two but one could argue the passing game will flourish more than in the past with a solid running game thus far.

Mewelde Moore, RB, PIT – Rookie Rashard Mendenhall injured himself Monday night and will spend the rest of the season on the IR, Willie Parker’s status is still in doubt and whoever’s running in Pittsburgh will get plenty of touches, trying to open Ben Roethlisberger’s passing game up again.

Deuce McAllister, RB, NO – Deuce got loose in his first real game back, rushing 20 times for 73 yards and a touchdown, so it looks like he’s going to get his touches following another knee surgery. He could be useful in a flex spot right away but I wouldn’t draft him to handcuff Reggie Bush, because you’d have a hard time starting both running backs in such a pass-happy offense.

Steve Breaston, WR, ARI – If you’re a in a deep league and need a bye-week fill in, keep an eye on Anquan Boldin’s health after the scary helmet-to-helmet hit that had him carted off the field Sunday. If he doesn’t suit up, Breaston could put up decent numbers yet again: He had 122 receiving yards and nine receptions in Kurt Warner’s impressive air (472 passing yards) and ground (three fumbles lost) display on Sunday. And yes, that’s pretty cool that I wrote about Steve Breaston in terms of fantasy worth.

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