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JL’s Observation Deck – Week 12

Every year in August and September, you will read hundreds of different viewpoints regarding the outlook of fantasy players you are considering drafting. You might read four or five articles before something sticks out in your mind that ultimately leads to you pulling the trigger on draft day. Every manager can look back and see where they missed and when they made the right selection. Either way, there is going to be some regret, which just happens to be the key word for the day.

Don’t Regret

Drafting Darren McFadden in the first round. Yea, I know, another year and another stretch run where he is likely lost for the all-important playoff weeks. Even the guy you thought was his handcuff isn’t around to produce for you. Well, let me tell you, he was worth the risk. He was the clear featured back on a team that needed to make him the focal point of the offense. With his talents, it was a relative sure thing that he would finish as a Top 10 back as long as he stayed healthy. There are simply not many situations where you find such a talented player in a situation to thrive. Well things didn’t work out. But, guess what, in years to come there will be plenty of featured backs going in the first round of fantasy drafts that don’t have the talent of McFadden.

Taking Aaron Hernandez one round earlier than your competition. Of course, you can never blame yourself for a player getting injured. Some players may be more prone to injuries than others, but some amount of luck always plays into whether a player stays healthy for the duration of the season. Hernandez dominated in training camp, and would have led the New England Patriots in receptions in 2012. Remember the role Wes Welker played in the offense at the beginning of the season? The Patriots knew they could get away with it because Hernandez was creating plenty of mismatches to make him the focal point of the short passing game. Maybe, just maybe, as I mentioned in my article a week ago, Hernandez can get to a point of health to create those mismatches for the stretch run of the season to help managers who drafted him benefit from his immense talents.

Drafting Philadelphia players at their fair values. If you reached for an Eagle, I would have to ask you why you did so. But, if you took players such as LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin at or around their ADP (average draft position), please don’t beat yourself up. Nobody could of seen this big of a demise coming. Injuries have decimated Philadelphia’s offensive line, and the running game in general has been completely ineffective, sans this past Monday Night. The erratic play of Vick could not be foreseen, especially if you were listening to all the positive reports coming out of Philadelphia. It started with Jason Peters getting injured in the offseason, and it just snowballed to the point of where it is today. If you got trampled by the snowball, just know that there are things that happen in fantasy football that people just can’t predict. This situation as a whole is one of them.

Do Regret

Passing on Doug Martin in the third round of your draft. Sometimes, the mere fact a player is a rookie can drop their value down multiple rounds, which, in turn, makes them a wonderful bargain. Well, if you haven’t noticed, rookies are acclimating to the NFL game faster than ever. And while Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III get all the headlines when it comes to rookie offensive players, Martin is the one that will be drafted the highest in fantasy drafts around the nation in 2013.

Coach Greg Schiano has instilled an attitude in Tampa Bay, and if you knew anything about the program he ran at Rutgers, it should have told you a quick turnaround was about to take place. Martin arguably was the most ready of any rookie to be saddled up with a workload, yet it was almost a sure thing that he fell into or past the third round in your respective fantasy drafts. He wasn’t nearly the ‘risk’ of most rookie runners and if you passed on him to grab Fred Jackson or Steven Jackson, then you definitely should regret it.

Letting Reggie Wayne slip to the 30th wide receiver coming off draft boards. Crazy to think about that at this point, isn’t it? A guy one year removed from having 111 catches and 1,335 yards, all of the sudden becomes so washed up he isn’t even a fantasy WR2? No, it was simply the extremely poor quarterback play in 2011 that caused the dip in his numbers, and nothing more.

With the most pro-ready quarterback to enter the league in a decade throwing to him, that should have been more than enough to warrant a Top 20 wide receiver ranking. With a new coaching staff and a new quarterback, you have to use foresight as a fantasy manager to realize that his 2011 numbers literally meant nothing. Yes, it is hard sometimes not to look at past production, but maybe you were just looking back at the wrong indicators when Wayne was ranked behind 29 other wide receivers in average draft position back in August and September.

Drafting Antonio Gates as your starting tight end in the mid-rounds. Chronic foot problems, a quarterback on the steep decline and a lame duck head coach. It usually isn’t the makings of a top-notch fantasy situation. In fact, it was very likely Gates went higher in your draft than Tony Gonzalez. And probably, most people cited Gonzalez as ‘being old’ as to the reason why that was. Yet Gates has been the one who has historically missed more games due to injury, and nobody takes better care of their body than does Gonzalez.

It’s just an example of the way of thinking that could get you in trouble when you add up all the minor mistakes the ‘consensus’ rankings make. It’s just another thing to consider in 2013 when you take a player in the mid rounds. In this case, likely one of the first five tight ends that was drafted. And now? A dropable player in most formats.

Quick Hits

Know what wide receiver has a great matchup this week, could be available on your league’s waiver wire and has been targeted less than nine times only once in his last six games played? Davone Bess of the Miami Dolphins. He also has a juicy matchup with the New England secondary. The Dolphins will have to throw a lot in this game, especially in the second half when they will be playing catchup.

Only one player in the NFL with 85-or-more targets has caught less than half of the balls thrown their way. Larry Fitzgerald. I never thought I would say that. The year he is having is reminding me a lot of the season Reggie Wayne had in 2011, that I spoke of above. Just something to consider eight or nine months from now.

Dear Mike McCarthy, your team is not built for running the football. Stop running the ball on second down, especially. It is putting too much pressure on your team to pick up third-and-mediums consistently. Be more creative. Stop sending all five skill players out in routes when your tackles can’t block 1-one-1. Design plays to get the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands quicker. When your team is down three touchdowns, use the no huddle offense and pick up the tempo. I could go on, but I won’t. The Green Bay Packers literally have no chance in the 2012 NFL playoffs if they keep implementing their current gameplans.

Follow me on twitter @JLanfranca, fire away with any questions you have regarding lineups or waiver pickups. Good luck in game this week, and hopefully your playoff format starts soon if your league is proactive and has advanced in its format to take some of the luck out of the game. Thanks again for reading.

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