Fantasy Doctor: Playing the blame game

I’ve made dozens of claims as fantasy doctor, but none more frequent than my weekly picks for your fantasy teams. Whether it’s to sit ‘em or pitch ‘em, pick ‘em up or drop ‘em fast, I’ve been trying all year to construct device based on my observations of each week’s games. But after striking gold some weeks and hitting rock bottom in others, it’s time I took responsibility for some of my greatest and worst pieces of advices.

After part one of following up on my weekly claims, I’ve decided to breakdown my picks into three simple sections in part two — the good, the bad and the ugly. For those standing by my words, whether I’ve helped you or hurt you, it’s time I finally played the blame game.

The following point totals are derived from ESPN standard scoring leagues.

THE GOOD

Knowshon Moreno – Week 8 (Recommendation: Start, Result: 28 points) — Moreno gets a fair amount of action considering his passer is Peyton Manning. He scores double digits most every week, but against Jacksonville, I saw an opportunity for Moreno to go big. Jacksonville was a bad team, which meant there was no need for Manning to throw big on them. Denver had a chance to give its receiving corps a break, and they took it. With the reins in his hands, Moreno took the ball into the red zone three times on the ground while also taking seven in the air for 62 yards. Between air grabs and rushing attack, Moreno roped in 104 yards to compliment his scoring, awarding him a well-deserved, season-high 28 points. Way to have my back, Moreno.

Zac Stacy – Week 8 (Pickup, 13 points) — Stacy was largely available in most fantasy leagues heading into Week 8, and I smelled an opportunity. With Sam Bradford down, the Rams terrible passing game got even worse. Enter Stacy, who had been taking the ball on the ground for over 50 yards per games since emerging in Week 5. As bad as it sounds, Bradford’s season-ending injury was his golden ticket, and he cashed it in starting in Week 8. His 26 carries pulled in 134 yards, which earned him 13 points alone. The next week, he took 27 for 127 and two touchdowns. Since my recommendation, Stacy hasn’t fallen under double digits (fingers crossed Chicago can stop him). If you were lucky enough to grab him like I suggested, you’re likely swimming in the points.

Kansas City Chiefs Defense – Week 11 (Sit, -1 points) — The Chiefs played their first tough offense in Week 11 when they traveled to Denver off their bye week. While the game felt very much alive until the end, the defense seemed to fall victim to Manning’s arm, as I predicted. He simply has too many weapons to give up much to the defense. The lone bright spot on the otherwise terrible performance was the fumble recovery. Still, 27 points allowed and 323 passing yards are enough to cripple any defensive numbers. I called it, and if you took my advice, you saved yourself a great deal of heartache.

THE BAD

Jay Culter – Week 7 (Start, -1 points) — I try to avoid recommending Chicago Bears, mainly because I’m superstitious and believe it would tug on the cords of karmic action. Nevertheless, I claimed Cutler would go off against a weak Washington pass defense. What happened? Cutler was taken down early with a groin injury, successfully halting his weekly stats at 28 passing yards and one interception to put him negative. Since then, he’s barely been able to return. It was bad, but quite frankly can’t be blamed on anyone. It’s very hard to predict the injuries of athletes, even when Cutler has sustained injuries in every one of his seasons with the Bears. Though it’s still my fault, this one was just bad luck.

Eric Decker – Week 3 (Sit, 19 points) — Seriously, Eric? This one was wholly my responsibility, and I underestimated Decker. But when he has teammates like Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, how couldn’t I? It was early, I was being bold, and I thought I knew too much about a Broncos offense that still had so much more to show off. Decker has since developed into a valuable asset, despite his tendency to be extremely hit or miss. His production has been based on fewer than 10 passes in each game this season, but he’s still dangerous. I finally understand that. You won’t be underestimated again, Decker. You’re part of the Denver Broncos. I should have known better.

Rueben Randle – Week 8 (Start, 0 points) — I’ll narrow this down to the unpredictability of the New York Giants. After starting the season 0-6, they’ve rebounded with four straight wins. In their last two losses to the Eagles and Bears, Randle caught three in each for over 40 yards and a touchdown. He looked like he was going to edge out Hakeem Nicks and fall into the No. 2 spot behind Victor Cruz. Sure enough, though, Manning surprised me in the rematch with Philadelphia by throwing to Randle just one time — a throw he didn’t catch. And even though it’s not my fault Eli was Eli, I still made a bad call. I guess Cruz is the only one I can trust in New York.

THE UGLY

Tom Brady – Week 9 (Sits, 33 points) — I don’t have to give you a lengthy explanation for this one. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. I briefly forgot what he was capable and he made me pay for it with 432 passing yards and four touchdowns against Pittsburgh. Sorry, Tom. It won’t happen again.

T.Y Hilton – Week 5 (Drop, 26 points) — Oops, I guess I don’t quite have Luck on my side (get it?). Anyway, I thought Hilton was going to flicker and die out after a strong Week 2 performance, but what I really figured out was that I didn’t understand the Colts pass game. Andrew Luck losing Reggie Wayne didn’t help, either. Hilton has stepped into the top receiving spot for Indianapolis, and he deserves it. All I deserve is a slap in the face for failing to see his potential. This one is easily what I consider my worst piece of advice.

Eddie Royal – Week 3 (Start, 3 points) — It’s fitting, really. After a season-long disappointment with Philip Rivers, I stayed far away from him and usually avoid talking about players that are affected by his performance. And yet, I let Royal lure me in. I thought maybe, just maybe, things could be different, and I was wrong. Dead wrong. After his output in Week 1 (14 points) and Week 2 (27 points), Royal has been a total bust, spending Weeks 3-11 only accruing 35 points. He’s had just two weeks of double digits since his first two and two more with zero points (one without a single catch.) It’s not really your fault, Rivers, but I still share the blame for this one with you. We’re not going to get better if you keep treating me like this.

Yes, I realize the way I divided up these picks makes it look like I’ve done a poor job as fantasy doctor, but these are basically the only truly bad picks I’ve made. And they are heavily outweighed by many more good ones. I just don’t have the ego to write something congratulating myself on doing a good job. Ultimately, though, it comes down to you, my fellow owners, and how I’ve affected your season. I can only hope that my brightest days have been enough to help you forgot about my blackest nights.

See you next week.

J.J. is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Wilsonable07.