Fantasy Football Truths
The worst fantasy football coaching move ever: How to learn from my Kevin Kolbdebacle
It happens to us all, but it doesn’t make it easier. No, I’m not talking about death or taxes, painful inevitabilities though they may be.
I’m talking about the dreaded bad fantasy football decision, one that costs your team the game. I made such a decision this past weekend, proving that, even though I try to give advice in these columns, I’m just as much of a moron as anybody else.
The scenario: In my big money league, I gunned out of the gate 4-0, on top of the standings and second in total points. My foe on Sunday was a pretty formidable 3-1 opponent who had put together a team led by Aaron Rodgers, Matt Forte and Calvin Johnson. Needless to say, he’s got a squad that has been clicking on all cylinders.
That’s when I saw the name that would doom me: Kevin Kolb.
The one problem I’ve had with my team so far is the quarterback position, which is odd because my strategy in the past has been to secure one of the top guys early so I could essentially forget about the position for the rest of season. That strategy went out the window when I got the last pick in the 10-team league, leaving me with no crack at either Aaron Rodgers or Michael Vick, but drafting too soon to take anybody else. (I know now that Tom Brady was worth a pick at that point but, hindsight, hindsight.)
Instead, I waited for the fourth round and went with Matt Schaub, thinking that I was still getting a pretty solid guy, not knowing how much the Texans would rely on the running game in the early weeks. I took Ben Roethlisberger as my backup, thinking he’d get a ton of touchdowns, not knowing that the Steelers offensive line would completely implode.
Heading into last week’s games, I was feeling especially reticent about my two signal-callers. Without Andre Johnson, I couldn’t see Schaub airing it out too much. Roethlisberger, on the other hand, was playing on a gimpy foot against a Titans defense that had been stiff against the pass early in the season.
What could I do? I was settled on grinning and bearing it with Gentle Ben, hoping that the Steelers would use the game as a “We’re still here” type of statement. Then, out of curiosity during an idle moment I now wish I never had, I perused the waiver wire. That’s when I saw the name that would doom me: Kevin Kolb.
Anybody who has read this column in the past few weeks or so knows that I’ve been high on the former University of Houston quarterback, loving the fact that he’s playing a soft NFC West schedule and feeling that he’s about to find his groove as a starting quarterback in this league. Moreover, his opponent on Sunday was the Vikings, who were playing without top corner Antoine Winfield and had major problems playing the pass.
My day started good enough with news that Pierre Garcon, a desperation start because of injuries and byes, had scored two touchdowns on bombs early on. I wasn’t even that worried that the Vikes jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Cards, figuring that it would only lead to Kolb airing it out for the rest of the game and amassing huge numbers in the process.
I have a feeling this example might impart the most important fantasy football lesson you could ever learn: Don’t think too much.
Of course, that didn’t happen. With a little more than 200 yards passing, no touchdowns, two interceptions, one lost fumble and more incompletions than completions, Kolb got me negative points. To make matters worse, Roethlisberger threw for five touchdowns, while Schaub went for more than 400 yards. The bottom line: First loss of the season.
Such a demoralizing result would be useless were I to learn nothing from my debacle. In retrospect, I overanalyzed the situation way too much. In my preseason rankings, I had Schaub as my No. 7 quarterback and Roethlisberger at No. 8, while Kolb was down at No. 17. Considering that Kolb hadn’t really done much in his four games, there was no way he should have even been considered as an option over the other two.
Moreover, I let personal feelings get in the way. I’m a Vikings fan, and I’ve been so disgusted by the way they’ve blown every lead this year that it manifested itself as an unrealistic view of their pass defense. In truth, they haven’t been all that bad statistically against the pass, especially considering that they’ve played a solid schedule so far.
I hope that you readers will get something out of my misery as well. For all of the advice I’ve given so far in these articles, with lists of player rankings and sleepers and overrated guys and stuff, I have a feeling this example might impart the most important fantasy football lesson you could ever learn: Don’t think too much.
And don’t ever, under any circumstances, start Kevin Kolb. But I guess that should go without saying.