Most owners would say a good fantasy day is any day you get to put another check mark in the win column. They aren’t entirely wrong, but they aren’t seeing the big picture: A good fantasy day should foreshadow more good days to come.
A win is made up of individual performances, decisions on who to start each week, and player trends. All of that information, taken together over a period of a few games can indicate how the rest of your season will go.
After winning three games in a row before last week, you’d think my 84-68 loss last Sunday would have come as something of a surprise. To be honest, it didn’t.
Step into my time machine and let’s travel four weeks into the past to the first win of my now extinct streak. On the surface, it was a very solid 90-80 win in which Hines Ward got me 19 points. But even then I could see the danger signs. Four of my players scored under 10 points, and my second and third top scorers were my defense and my kicker.
When you rely on those positions to win games for you, you are essentially relying on luck and on your opponent’s negligence when it comes to setting his or her roster.
As it happened, luck played a large role. My opponent’s defense got him -3 points after having performed fairly well in the weeks prior, and one of his running backs, LeSean McCoy, had an off day. So even though I got the win, I had little reason to be happy about my team’s performance.
A week later I had another close win, this time 99-87, but the same problems plagued me. My three top scorers were BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who got me 24 points, Calvin Johnson, who got 28 points, and, for the second straight week, my kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, who got 15 points. Five of my nine players scored six points or fewer, and once again my win came down to luck that my opponent chose not to start Matthew Stafford, who got 24 points that day, opting instead to start Tom Brady, who got 13.
The next week it became clear that my luck was up. My top three scorers got me 16, 11 and 10 points and the number two scorer was Janikowski once again. The rest of my players got me eight points or fewer, and the only reason I managed to scrape out a 60-50 win was because the only player on my opponent’s team who got him over seven points was his quarterback.
And that brings us back to the point where my luck finally ran out. I knew it was going to happen eventually. I was not surprised to find that, after getting me a total of six points over the past two weeks, Hines Ward put up a goose egg, or that Larry Fitzgerald, who had one strong showing all season, only mustered 11 points against a decent Seahawks defense.
I saw this loss coming based on the way I was getting my wins. I was riding the coattails of a few players while the rest of my team attempted to drag me down. A winning season is built on consistently strong performances from the entire team. Those days are good fantasy days, even if they result in a loss. A strong loss means you suffered from bad luck, and it is likely that you will rebound. A weak win, however, usually is the result of a weak team, and foreshadows losses.
That is why a win does not always equal a good fantasy day. A good day is made from a strong team performance that does not appear to be a fluke. And if your team can’t give you that, you better hope luck is on your side.
Pick Up of the Week: Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs. He’s available in 60 percent of leagues and is averaging 15 points over the last five games. However, the fantasy playoffs are coming up in a few weeks, and it’s time to start preparing. If you’re in and want to stock up or you’re right on the edge and need something to push you over, then instead of over-searching through a depleted waiver wire, make a trade with a team that is out of contention. It’s more likely that you’ll find what you need there.
Daily Nexus NFL columnist Joshua Greenberg knows just how to judge a good fantasy day, if you know what I mean.