NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

After a weekend like this one that just past, your perception of what you need to do to win a daily fantasy football tournament, or even to cash out in a more reasonable 50/50 or Triple-Up contest, can become a bit skewed. There were six NFL games where the two teams combined for more than 50 points, four where they totaled over 60, and two where they totaled over 70, including a ridiculous 85 points scored in that Steelers-Colts action. And when that sort of thing happens, fantasy points happen too, in a big way.

This means two things – one, the primary reason you shouldn’t have chosen the guys you did is not always “he didn’t play as well as I thought he would,” but “he was fine, someone else was just better.” Don’t let the fact that a guy couldn’t carry you to a victory this weekend spoil your opinion of him. And two, because you had so many players posting huge totals, the odds of someone in your contest having a whole team full of them were higher. So, just hitting on one or two big performers was not enough to get you over the top, as it is in many weeks, especially in the tourneys where more players are paid out (like 50/50s). So I am sorry if you chose Gronk and Maclin and still lost – you had to be consistent with your picks this week to get into the money.

Ben Roethlisberger ($5,800)

Why You Didn’t Start Him: He finished with 47 fantasy points, on over 500 yards passing with 5 TDs. Someone should have seen that coming, right? Well, no – he was the 14th most popular QB in the Millionaire Maker field, at only a 1.7% owned. The Colts D was playing really well, and it just seemed like there were better options available to you.

20/20 Hindsight: Honestly, you weren’t wrong. This was only his third game on the season with more than 20 fantasy points, and the Colts D is actually pretty good. This one was really, really tough to see coming, and it is hard to know why it happened even with the advantage of already knowing it did.

Going Forward: Maybe Ben becomes a cheap, high-upside consideration now that we know it’s possible, but if we expect anything more than 20-25 points from him on most weeks, we’re going to end up disappointed.

NFL: Chicago Bears at New England Patriots

Tom Brady ($7,200)

Why You Didn’t Start Him: You never know which Patriots team is going to show up, and it is so hard to predict which of their weapons is going to be featured on any given night.

20/20 Hindsight: The Patriots run game is at its most effective when it is setting up, and being set up by, the passing attack. Which is another way of saying that, while the Patriots do spread the ball around among their WRs, TEs, and RBs, when their offense is humming, everything flows through Tom.

Going Forward: When Gronk is looking Gronkish, which he is right now, you have to consider Brady a top option no matter who the Patriots are playing.

Carson Palmer ($6,500)

Why You Considered Him: He was playing the Eagles. Philly scores points, and has a terrible secondary, which is the perfect storm of QB matchups.

20/20 Hindsight: Palmer was fine, throwing for 329 yards and 2 TDs. He just wasn’t Brady or Big Ben.

Going Forward: Palmer continues to be fine, but he has scored between 17 and 25 points in every game he’s started this season. He’s not going to win you any major tournaments – the upside just isn’t there anymore. But in a week where we don’t have two different QBs throw for five touchdowns, he will be the consistent passer you need to move up the leaderboard in your cash games.

Jordy Nelson ($7,700)/ Demaryius Thomas ($7,900)

Why You Considered Them: Jordy was the most widely owned WR out there this weekend. I mean, Rodgers is on fire, and they were playing the Saints. Great matchup. Why wouldn’t you consider him? And all the same applies to Demaryius.

20/20 Hindsight: Cobb has been playing REALLY well over the past few weeks, and Thomas is literally surrounded by weapons out there on the Broncos offensive machine. Sometimes there just aren’t enough points to go around. When you have two complete studs at the receiver position, it gets harder and harder to trust either guy on a week to week basis because honestly, who knows? You’re not in the meeting rooms with the coaches, so you’re just, let’s be honest, guessing.

Going Forward: These guys are studs, and you’re obviously starting them in all your yearly leagues, but unless you’re rolling out one team’s entire offense to try to get into the top half of a 50/50, you’re never going to know which guy is the right choice. You might be right sometimes, but not always.

Lamar Miller ($6,000)/ Jerick McKinnon ($4,900)

Why You Considered Them: They both have been looking really good, and have complete control over their jobs, at least apparently.

20/20 Hindsight: The Jags are pretty terrible, but their woes are primarily on offense. Over the past few weeks, their defense has been sneakily solid. This is not to say you should ever start their defense, or be scared to start your studs against them… so I suppose the lesson is that Lamar Miller is not yet a stud. And I guess the same is true of McKinnon – he might look great in flashes, but he is not a proven commodity yet, and that makes him a risk in this format.

Going Forward: This type of player is going to be a product of game flow – if the Dolphins are playing well, Miller should be productive, and likewise with McKinnon. So rather than focusing on playing them against teams with statistically bad “rushing” defenses,” you should be focusing on teams with bad offenses and bad scoring defenses. That is to say, they need games where they will have opportunities – and that comes when the defense is constantly getting the other team off the field and the offense is regularly in a position to at least threaten to score. If those things come to pass, they will produce much more than they did on Sunday, because they have both looked good, and they are each the man – even if it didn’t amount to much this weekend.

NFL: Chicago Bears at New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski ($5,900)

Why You Considered Him: He’s a beast, and he was cheaper than the other top options. Plus, the Bears D is soft up the middle.

20/20 Hindsight: You were totally right. You should have started him.

Going Forward: He is no longer going to be cheap. You might still want to play him over anyone else at the position, but you’ll be ponying up to do it. Hope you didn’t miss the chance.

If you’re sweating out a key performer or two in tonight’s action – whether you’re rooting for big points to vault you over the guys in front of you, or low points to keep your current position secure, good luck. I wish it could work out both ways to keep you all happy…