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Article 20

by Steve Stegeman (August 8, 2002)
Guest Writer,

This article is also up at FF Today.  Click here to go there and view it.


     For those not in the know regarding the title hereof, “:rolleyes:” is the message-board code to get the little smiley-face/emoticon with eyes rolling in nettled fashion to appear in your message. It expresses the precise emotion of this article and how I feel about the endless circularity of the arguments that are posted on message boards by fellas who on the surface appear to be well-versed in the many maxims of fantasy football.

     I can recall four incessant, raging debates that went on last year until kickoff of Week 1. The debates all revolved around perceived position battles at the key position, the heart, of a fantasy football team, running back, or in real, specific football terms, tailback. Specifically, these deluded fantasy footballers perceived “battles” between: Priest Holmes and Tony Richardson in Kansas City (:rolleyes:), Ahman Green and Dorsey Levens in Green Bay (:rolleyes: twice and :shakeyourhead:), Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley in Oakland (:rolleyes: and :sigh:), and Tshimanga Biakabutuka and Richard Huntley in Carolina (:rolloneeyegruesomelylikeinTheExorcistcopycatflickBeyondtheDoor:). If you think you can dig up any of these threads, by all means go for it, and, please, forward them to me and bump them to the top of the FF Today message board. I would like to recall some of the handles of these clowns.

     Moving right along, anybody with any fantasy football sense, no, basic football sense, would all but know how these situations were going to pan out…

The KC “Clash”: Last year’s offseason rhetoric aside, Holmes was the guy brought in by the new regime. It did not take much FF savvy to realize that the kind of back Holmes is fits and could thrive in Vermeil’s system and the kind of back that Richardson is does not, not even close.

The “Mêlée” in the Northern Bay: Give me a break! The Levens-to-Green transition of ’01 practically mirrored the Bennett-to-Levens transition back in ’97. If how this situation was going to pan out was not as plain as the nose on your face, you need to find another hobby, one that ideally does not involve forecasting of any kind.

The “Battle” of the Bay area: Though not quite as lucid, it still could be boiled down to some basic facts: Garner was the more complete and better overall back; Gruden handpicked Garner, whom he had coached in Philadelphia and, moreover, liked and, in accordance, was a player familiar with his system; Garner was going to be the sole yardage guy without doubt; Wheatley was at best looking at being one of the (short-yardage) touchdown guys along with Zack Crockett and Jon Ritchie (had he been healthier); Wheatley looked like dog poo last preseason.

Now, to understand the Carolina “Conflict”, one must be a more evolved fantasy football creature, but to sum it up: any football scout with skills knew/would know that Biakabutuka, when healthy, which, granted, was not often, was, in fact, an NFL-caliber starting tailback; Seifert knew this and, if you have any ability to read between the lines, liked Timmy. Huntley, on the contrary, stunk, stinks and will always stink and was brought in simply to light a fire under Biakabutuka’s butt. This strategy was actually working and Tim was holding on to his #1 spot in, moreover, what was a make-or-break season for him. Unfortunately, he “broke.” Huntley still amounted to nothing, evidenced by where he is now, as in not back in Carolina and fourth on the depth chart.

All of these scenarios I stated in elaborate terms again and again on the threads and had to constantly fend off the “geeks.”

     The point of all of this is that every year there are situations that, to the savvy and seasoned fantasy footballer, obviously point in a particular direction and will, in all likelihood, bear out a foreseeable conclusion, yet will have to be fought over with the idiots. Without further ado, here are, in no particular order, some guys set up for success this year, and regardless of the debates that are (being) waged on internet message boards and chatrooms, or on bar stools or living room couches for that matter, do not be conned into believing otherwise:

QB Brad Johnson, Buccaneers – I have beaten this horse dead, through rigor mortis and now on into the decomposition stages. To get my take on Brad, peruse my last piece located at:

WR Terry Glenn, Packers – This guy is so set up to succeed with the master Brett Favre and a franchise known for its rags-to-riches mystique. Terry has skills and has absolutely no competition for his gig as Favre’s #1 “right-hand man.” Do not let anybody tell you otherwise. He has “great value” written all over him this year.

RB Travis Henry, Bills – Do not let the hype about Shawn Bryson fool you. Henry is their guy. Bryson could get traded and have some value, but as it stands now, with the Bills, Bryson = Darick Holmes… remember him? Barely, right?

RB Michael Pittman, Buccaneers – I get a kick out of how guys are reacting to Pittman over at the boards. It is like they have been sniffin’ at the garbage bin and see this one untouched Nutter Butter cookie (Pittman) and do not know whether they should pick it up and eat it or not. Moreover, they are looking over both shoulders trying to make sure they are not seen doing what they are doing… kind of like the way they sniffed and skulked around the Priest last year. Same commentary, same lackluster predictions, same rhetoric! 2,169 yards and 10 TD’s later?!?!?! I am not saying that Pittman will be this year’s Holmes, leading the league in rushing and all. But, let’s face the facts. Gruden handpicked the guy. He has Wheatley 2000 written all over him. Temper your predictions, but know that 1,100 to 1,250 yards rushing and 7 to 9 touchdowns are “in the cards,” now that Pittman is not “with the Cards.”

RB Kevan Barlow, 49ers – Garrison Hearst was thē story… of last year. Now is the time for the 49ers to get on with their future, which at the position of tailback is Barlow. Hearst will still get some, but Barlow will get more TD’s and if any“one” is getting 1,000 yards there, it will be Barlow.

RB Ricky Williams, Dolphins – This is pretty much a no-brainer, but I have seen the occasional thread expressing concern over Williams and how productive he will be this year. Listen, on my main team in my main league, the GBRFL, I have both Holmes and Green, and I will honestly tell you that with Norv Turner in Miami I expect Ricky Williams to be the #2 fantasy back this season! :eek:

WR Raghib Ismail, Cowboys – The ’Boys offense and, moreover, their passing game will improve this year, and Ismail, not Galloway, will be the greater beneficiary. While all the hype continues to go to Galloway, it was Ismail, who put up respectable numbers in ’01, not Galloway, and Ismail actually suffered his ACL injury EIGHT weeks later than Galloway. Do not get very lofty with your projections, but just know that Ismail is the better choice of the two and can be had five to, perhaps, ten rounds later.

     Anybody that tells you otherwise is a fool himself, fooling with you or, worse yet, trying to fool you! I fool you not! ;)



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