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When fantasy football roster construction is taught in schools, alongside Bankroll Management 101 and A History of Vegas Prop Bets 201, a bearded, corduroy jacket-clad professor will begin his lecture on process and results with a little story from yesteryear: The day Michael Floyd put up zero against the Eagles.
“You see, dear students, this Mr. Floyd — a big, tall deep threat in an offense predicated on the long ball — was taking on a defense that had simply bled yardage and touchdowns to opposing pass catchers in that long-ago 2014 season,” the professor says, holding his chin between his thumb and forefinger. “It was that same Philadelphia defense that had most recently allowed an average of 20 — TWENTY — receptions to wide receivers. This Eagles secondary had allowed a combined 485 receiving yards in back-to-back games not too long before their clash with the once-mighty Floyd.”
The students look on, gripped by anticipation of what was to come. Did this Floyd set an NFL record for receiving yards? Did he catch four touchdowns against this abomination of a Philadelphia secondary? Was this the recipe for the greatest receiving performance of all time? The questions burn through their fragile eggshell minds.
“Floyd’s elderly quarterback, a man called Palmer, hit the big receiver directly between the numbers in the very first quarter of play as Floyd streaked into the end zone,” the professor says. “And the ball fell to the turf.”
The students gasp in unison.
“The young Floyd was targeted thrice more after his backbreaking first quarter drop,” the professor says, seizing his students’ attention once more. “And he caught precisely none of those footballs. And he finished the game without a single catch. He posted … a zero, while his fellow wideouts combined for 53 fantasy points.”
Once again a gasp filled the lecture hall, this one laced with horror and dread. One baby-faced student near the front of the classroom wretched on her desk. Another passed out. Yet another screamed uncontrollably, for his grandfather had had Floyd in every daily fantasy lineup on that late October day.
“The shame of my family,” the student wailed. “Will it never end?”
The professor shouted over the chaos that had gripped his students. “This,” he trumpeted, “is the quintessential lesson of process and results. Plugging in Floyd was, objectively, the absolute correct plan of action. To say otherwise would be to stare through the distorting lens of results — the one that will drive you mad and lead you astray. We shan’t chase results, but stick strictly to process, trusting that, in the end, there will be many more triumphs then there will be abject failures. Now go home and read about Floyd’s zero, and know that good process guarantees absolutely nothing in the short-term, but everything in the long run.”
The students shuffle out of the lecture hall, murmuring about the horrors they had heard. The professor hurries to his office, where he collapses into his chair and weeps over Michael Floyd’s zero from all those years ago.
“Oh, Floyd,” he says between sobs. “Oh, Floyd.”
Here are a few things we learned about fantasy football in Week 8…
- I think we learned more about the Colts’ defense in Week 8 than we did about Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ passing attack. I wouldn’t go so far to say that Roethlisberger’s 522-yard, six-touchdown performance was a fluke, but context is critical here. The Colts had allowed the third fewest raw fantasy points to opposing signal callers coming into Week 8. They had shut down the likes of Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Indy, however, had been shredded by Peyton Manning and Nick Foles — the two best passing attacks they have faced in 2014. The Colts had largely played a complex game of keep-away through most of this season, allowing the second-fewest offensive snaps per game to opponents coming into Week 8. Then Pittsburgh ran an astounding 83 offensive plays against the Colts, exposing them for what I think they are: a borderline terrible defense that should be targeted by fantasy footballers. There’s also an upshot for those invested in Indy’s offense: Andrew Luck and company will have to continue to pile up yards and points, making the Colts the most valuable fantasy team not called the Denver Broncos.
- Doug Martin, after taking 10 carries for a grand total of 27 yards, left Sunday’s game against Minnesota with an ankle injury. I would say that we should all make sure that Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims are rostered, but we should remember that an investment in the Tampa Bay offense is an investment in a flaming, nuclear hot dumpster fire. The Bucs have made it known that they’re not interested in scoring points — a staple of a Lovie Smith-coached team. They’ve somehow destroyed Vincent Jackson‘s fantasy appeal. Go in on the Tampa offense at your own risk.
- Denard Robinson continued his impressive run as Jacksonville’s starting running back, collecting 108 yards on 18 carries against a legit Miami front seven. Remember that Robinson, a converted quarterback, just recently learned how to play his new position, and has drawn praise from Jaguars coaches since seizing the starting gig. He’s now averaging 5.9 yards per carry over the past two weeks. Robinson only has two unfavorable matchups for the remainder of 2014. I think he’ll be a factor throughout.
- Brandin Cooks‘ breakout was a tad on the surprising side after a quiet few weeks, though it wasn’t completely out of the fantasy blue. The rookie was still playing the vast majority of the Saints’ offensive snaps; he was simply not getting the looks he had seen in the season’s first couple weeks. I trust the Sean Payton and Drew Brees know how to bets utilize uber-talented guys, which is why I pushed Cooks so hard this summer. It’s not like Cooks had been invisible before he roasted the Green Bay secondary on Sunday Night Football, as he had notched 12.4 fantasy points per game headed into Week 8. He now averages 14.6 points per contest. I see Cooks as a rock solid option who will deliver occasional big-time performances over the final half of the season. More — or consistent — involvement in the Saints’ running attack could make Cooks a league winner in November and December.
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