Brain and Braun is an article written by two self-proclaimed experts on TV cop dramas, bacon-wrapped scallops, and Fantasy Football; Tom Braun (the Braun) and Chris Dolfi (the Brain). This is normally the part where we share with you the magazines, radio stations, and expert leagues we’ve played in…we won’t waste your time. Bottom line, when it comes to Fantasy Football, let us share the idiot mistakes we’ve witnessed (and made) in the past, and throw in some of the info that has worked for us.
The following is a conversation that actually took place at 2:04 PM, this past Tuesday afternoon, documented for you. (None of the names have been changed to protect anyone…like any good Hollywood tramp, they figure any publicity is good publicity.)
Braun: Dolf… we only do this once a year, can you guess what it is?
Dolfi: Well, unlike you I shower every day, so that can’t be it…
Braun: God, why do I bother? No – it’s time to take someone’s lineup and dissect it in our column. Now, can you guess why we do it?
Dolfi: That’s easy Braun, it’s called CASH. Tell them to deposit the money in my PayPal accou…
Braun: (interrupting) No! We do it so that we can show people how to dissect a lineup and give them some insight into the thought process.
Dolfi: Honestly… I thought it was cash. What a let down…
Braun: (laughter) Focus! This year I want to bring up and email we just received from Greg P.
Dolfi: Is it the Greg P that I owe money to?
Braun: I don’t think so, he just has a lineup question. And if I know you, you’re going to analyze the heck out of the whole thing.
Dolfi: I’m not sure if that was a compliment or a dig, but I’ll pretend it was a compliment.
Braun: Ok, Greg writes that he started off thinking he had one heck of a roster this season, and has hit some snags. Now he’s not so sure. I know the first thing you always say is DON’T PANIC.
Dolfi: That’s true, I always think there is something you can do, no matter how bleak your season is looking.
Braun: Let me start by reading you his starting lineup and bench.
Starters for Week 7:
QB C. Pennington (NYJ)
QB T. Brady (NE)
RB B. Westbrook (Phi)
RB S. Alexander (Sea)
WR H. Ward (Pit)
WR J. Cotchery (NYJ)
WR M. Harrison (Ind)
TE L. Smith (Phi)
RB or WR
RB F. Taylor (Jax)
WR or TE
WR Furrey (Det)
BENCH for Week 7:
RB L. Washington (NYJ)
QB S. McNair (Bal)
WR M. Muhammad (Chi)
WR Ma. Jones (Jax)
Ok – hit me with your first impressions.
Dolfi: Well, I have to say I don’t often see a league where you start two QBs, up to 5 WRs, and no Ks or D/STs. But that is one of the beautiful things about fantasy football; each league is different.
Dolfi: That being said, this actually looks to me like a well-drafted roster for a 10-team league, especially one which starts so many offensive players.
Braun: Doesn’t it worry you that he has a guy like Shaun Alexander that he is really counting on and he’s spending more time on the bench than on the field? I mean, what do you do when you have a marquee player, and you can’t count on him to play every week? Greg P. wrote us that he HAD Maurice Morris, but ended of dropping him when he thought Alexander would be back – and then he heard Alexander would be out for at least another couple weeks.
Dolfi: OK – first off, it doesn’t worry me that Alexander is out right now, he has plenty of good depth to cover for him in the short term – and in the long term, he’s got a great RB. However, getting rid of Maurice Morris before knowing if Alexander would definitely take the field was a big mistake. Even in a league with as small a bench as this, you cannot rely on guessing when a player is going to come back. Before you drop his backup, you better be sure he’s back AND that he’s healthy. Now I know Greg did mention he dropped Morris before he heard Alexander was going to be out until the first week of November, but that just reinforces the fact that you can’t drop the backup until the stud is healthy.
Braun: Ok then, let’s look at his lineup. What can he do now, and going forward?
Dolfi: Ok, he needs to start two QBs, three WRs, two, RBs, one TE, and then two flex players one of which must be a WR or TE, and the other which must be a WR or RB.
Braun: Wow…that’s a lot to think about it.
Dolfi: Actually, it’s not that hard when you break it all down. He has 10 starting spots to fill, and only 14 guys to fill them!
Braun: (Laugh) Well, that is true.
Dolfi: Anyway, he can’t do much about QB because he has to start two and his only other one is on a bye. He has to start two RB and with Alexander scratched, that leaves him with only Westbrook and Fred Taylor. He has Washington, but Westbrook and Taylor are clearly the better 2 backs right now.
Braun: He mentioned he was concerned about starting Westbrook.
Dolfi: I understand that it is frustrating seeing him listed as questionable, pulled out of games early, etc. But for a running back that talented, on an offense that typically scores quite a few points, you have to start him no matter what. And trust me, he’ll play this weekend.
Braun: OK…. let’s move on to WR.
Dolfi: Harrison and Ward are definitely two he’s going to start every week, so that leaves us with only one WR spot to worry about. So we need to make a choice between Cotchery, Furrey, or Matt Jones. Muhammad is on a bye, so he’s a definite ‘no’. Jones is doubtful, and until he takes the field again, I’d be wary of him. So that leaves us just Cotchery or Furrey. I know many would pick Furrey here, but I’d go with Cotchery. Cotchery had a BAD week 6, but I like him to rebound against a weak Lions secondary.
Braun: Well, Greg did also say that he could trade Cockery for Maurice Jones-Drew if that has any bearing on your decision.
Dolfi: We’ll look at the possible trade he’s “thinking” about afterwards, because it’s not a done deal. The other owner didn’t say he will trade Maurice Jones Drew, he said the other owner might be interested in a trade and might be interested in Jones-Drew. So a worse case scenario says he’s stuck with what we see on paper, so let’s stick to that for now.
Braun: Got ya…back to the lineup. TE and flex players are next, and TE is another no brainier since he only has one, L.J. Smith.
Dolfi: Right, so that leaves with just the two flex to decide on. One flex needs to be a WR or TE, and since he only has one TE, it is going to have to be a WR. With Matt Jones still doubtful, I’d pick Furrey here. Heck, even if Jones is upgraded, I’d still pick Furrey, since I expect Jones to easy back into things upon his return.
Braun: OK – last player, it’s a RB or a WR.
Dolfi: Again, easy pick. Jones as I keep saying is doubtful, and Leon Washington is getting work on the Jets, and may take over as the starter fairly soon if Barlow keeps struggling. The Jets haven’t named which will be the starter this weekend, but Washington will get SOME of the carries for sure, so he’s our last starter.
Braun: Gotta say – you were right, easy once you break it down position by position. Ok, last thing… what about the trade he described?
Dolfi: Well, he’s in a tough spot because he wants Jones-Drew to backup Fred Taylor, but he really needs Cotchery in his starting lineup, or he’s forced to play someone like Matt Jones who won’t see the field this weekend. I know Taylor’s injury-plagued past is a concern, and Jones-Drew has put up some decent games so far, even splitting time with Taylor. I might make that trade, but not until after this weekend (if at all possible), and then he’s going to HAVE to find a WR replacement for Cotchery, which will likely entail trading away Leon Washington – UNLESS he gets lucky and Matt Jones finally starts playing again. So my advice is wait ‘til after this weekend, if he can. If not, then he needs to decide just how important a win is to him this week. If he absolutely can’t afford a loss, then he can’t afford to trade for Jones-Drew either.
Braun: Well, I know everyone in fantasy football does this same thing every week, but I’m glad we gave them a chance to see how you would break down a lineup and make your decisions.
Dolfi: I’m glad it was an easy lineup, otherwise I might have had to think about things too hard, and who knows where that could lead…
Braun: (laughter) I bet it would have sounded much the same. Admit it – you love to hear yourself talk about fantasy football…
Dolfi: (laughter) Of course. I didn’t get this job because of my good looks.
Braun: I’ll say…
Dolfi: Ah, shaddap! I just hope everyone gets out there and gives their lineup a good analysis. Oh yeah – and I hope they keep those questions and comments coming. And you can take that to the bank…