So, week one is in the book, but that does not mean we ignore what happened. Last week we covered some things you should have looked at during the week – targets, touches, snap percentages, red zone touches/targets, goal-to-go plays. This week we are going to do a post-mortem on our teams from last week. With a week between games, we have the luxury of extra time to build our football teams each week. With that extra time we should at least take a bit of time to review how our teams did the previous week and see what lessons we can learn to help us going forward.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Yes, that is a commonly cited quotation, but it is applicable even to daily fantasy. We need to look at our teams after every week. We need to see what worked, what did not work and determine why. Just because a player we chose had a big week, we do not just assume he was a good pick. If a guy had one huge play but limited touches, that is something you need to realize for when making future rosters. To save time each week, it is probably best to break our evaluation into a couple of parts. First, we should look at the players who did not perform – and determine why; next, we look at the players who had good games, and again, look at the reasons they had good games.
Not all bad games are created equal. As we covered last week, a bad game with touches or targets is much preferable to a bad game because of a lack of usage. If your player did not get touches was it because the opposition made an effort to take him out of the game – like the 49ers did with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten – or because another player got his touches – the case with Bernard Pierce. I would be much more hesitant to use Pierce this week than Witten or Bryant – actually I was avoiding Pierce this week. Sure, the Titans will try to take Bryant out of the game, but I doubt they do as good a job as the 49ers did.
Sometimes good players just have bad games – I would put Tom Brady and Tony Romo in that category for week one. It is easy to jump to conclusions, but I am not giving up or shying away from those guys after one game. Part of evaluating your failed player picks for a week is to just acknowledge that a good player had a bad game – it was nothing more or less than that, just a bad game. I would like to tell you there is some magically formula for determining a good player who had a bad game and gets a pass the next week, but that is a judgment call. If a player has been good for years, I need more than one bad game to downgrade him though.
Like bad games, not all good games are created equal. Isiah Crowell had a better game than Montee Ball last week. Crowell’s game came on five touches, two of which ended up as touchdowns. Ball had 25 touches. (If you used Crowell week one, congratulations and perhaps you should use your psychic gift for other purposes?) Despite a huge cost difference, I would much rather trust Ball in week two than Crowell. Perhaps Crowell becomes the goal-line back for the Browns, but you cannot count on that – or the Browns having a ton of goal line carries. Just like it should take more than one bad game to ignore a proven fantasy player, you should be hesitant to trust a guy after one good game, more so if the good game came as the result of a big play or two rather than a large workload.
How you tear apart your teams from week one is up to you, after all, they were your teams. However, I do think that doing so is a critical part of improving your decision making in future weeks. You need every edge you can get in daily fantasy. You need to be able to learn from what you did right and what you did wrong. You need to know the difference between a good move that went bad and a bad decision that turned out well. You want to give yourself the best chance to win each week, and evaluating your teams from the prior week is part of that process.