Waive the white flag

Two years ago, I learned a lesson the hard way. I discovered that in head-to-head fantasy football, no one is safe. I attended the Monday night game between the Chiefs and the Titans. Yes, fine folks, the Titans once were deemed Monday Night-worthy. It only seems like two years ago. I led my good friend Chuck Hoey by 30 points or so heading into the game. He had been near the bottom of the league all year, but he took advantage by making smart waiver-wire acquisitions. He had to win the game to take the final playoff spot. I had already clinched the division (yes, that was two years ago).

The rest is history. Drew Bennett had the game for the ages, catching 200 balls for 2100 yards and 42 touchdowns. OK, it only seemed like that. Chuck also had Larry Johnson, who had a 100-yard game and two touchdowns. It was week two of the coming out party for both players. Well, Bennett’s ended when he dropped that fourth-down prayer in New England a few weeks later.

Chuck beat me by four, and as the eighth place team in the playoffs swept all the way to the title. I lost in the second round. Head to head is a fun way to play fantasy sports, but it doesn’t always reward the best team. The highest scoring team in one of my dynasty leagues finished 6-7 last year. Stuff happens. Because it’s such a crap shoot, you have to change your thinking. Forget each loss, especially the close ones. Pay attention to your players. Learn your lessons, like David Carr isn’t going to win for you every week.

Finally, never take the waiver wire for granted. I drafted like a dynasty guy in our keeper draft and took Reggie Bush at number three overall. Bush is only valuable in point-per-reception leagues, and ours isn’t one. I left Chester Taylor, Warrick Dunn, and Brian Westbrook on the table, among others. Later I took DeAngelo Williams, which strategically wasn’t the best move. Somehow I ended up taking two of the biggest rookie RB duds out there. I did make amends by picking up Ahman Green last week for the sinking Dominic Rhodes, and this week gimpy Williams left in exchange for Mike Bell. With small rosters you can’t stay in love with your disappointing draft picks.

Two years ago my man Chuck won because he dumped draft-day disappointments like Michael Pittman (no kidding) and picked up Julius Jones and Larry Johnson. I could do worse than to learn from his example.

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