NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

This is a week to look back, in more ways than one. If you just got eliminated from your yearly league, or just watched the first round of the playoffs from the sidelines, right about now you are applying your powers of hindsight back as far as your draft strategy. That’s right, you are wondering if some decision you made in an instant, three or four beers in, four months ago, could be to blame for how miserable you are feeling right now. You have sworn off taking a QB early, or, depending on the particular mistakes you made, maybe you’ve sworn off going RB-RB in the first two rounds. Next year, you’re not going to let QB kill you. Or maybe you went DeMarco, Le’Veon, Jordy, Gronk, T.Y Hilton, Justin Forsett, Russell Wilson (a totally possible draft), and you’re undefeated and coming off the bye, and you’re wondering why everyone else thinks this is so hard.

We all hate you, by the way.

There is a real value to looking back – as long as you plan on playing again next season. If you do, there are invaluable lessons you can glean not from individual player performances, but from the wisdom that comes with experience: how early is too early to start trading? How much do you give up to get out from under guys you stop wanting to start? How active should you be on the waiver wire? These are all questions you should be asking yourself. Why repeat the same mistakes next year? Making new ones is a lot more fun.

And much like you can learn from your mistakes in a year-long league, you can do the same by looking back at the daily fantasy action that we just saw in week 14. If you can manage to sort out what happened and analyze it correctly (no small feat), you can then apply what you learned to Weeks 15 and beyond so that even though you’re out of it in your yearly league, you should be in good shape to take down a daily contest or two. And in case you haven’t heard, there are a few big ones coming up.

Le’Veon Bell ($9,400) – You know Bell is nasty, so there were two main reasons you decided not to start him: he was expensive, and you were sure if the Steelers would decide to attack through the air or on the ground. And you figured Cincy might possibly just be good enough not to give it up to both the rushing and passing attacks.

20/20 Hindsight – 50.5 fantasy points kind of speaks for itself, but if you want more, how about this – each of his past three weeks was, at the time, the best fantasy week of his career. The guy is on fire. And again, you know he is nasty.

Going Forward – With the Falcons and the Chiefs up over the next two weeks, you’re gonna have to decide if you want him on your team helping you win, or on someone else’s team, helping them beat you.

Jordy Nelson ($8,100) – Jordy is awesome. He is fast, really fast. And when you’ve got a guy like Rodgers delivering the ball, sometimes fast is all that matters.

20/20 Hindsight – At his price, Jordy is not the most expensive option, but he seems like he should be, so he is always tempting. You mean I can save a few hundred bucks and still end up with a piece of that Packers offesn? It seems like a good plan.

Going Forward – Jordy now has four games this year with more than 30 fantasy points. And when you consider he’s also got a couple with 20+ and a floor in the high teens, that kind of upside is attractive. But here’s the thing, looking back – he has annihilated some truly terrible pass defenses for those monsters games – the Jets, the Bears twice, and now the Falcons. The Bills and the Bucs aren’t bad matchups, but they’re not the Jets, Bears and Falcons either. You might want a different top option these next couple of weeks.

NFL: New York Giants at Tennessee Titans

Odell Beckham, Jr. ($7,700) – He’s got two 30+ point games in his last three. His warm-up routine is more entertaining than at least a handful of NFL games every weekend. And this was your last chance to get him at a value.

20/20 Hindsight – Of course he was going to slaughter the Titans. If you took A.J. Green, kudos – otherwise, what were you thinking? Sometimes these things really do seem so obvious when you’re look back on them, and this was one of those times. The Giants were good enough to jump all over Tennessee, but bad enough that they had no other weapons. Fifteen targets, eleven catches, and 130 yards later, you won your fantasy contest.

Going Forward – At $8,400, he’s the 4th most expensive wide receiver on the board for next week. So, you might not want to spend on him, specifically – your dollars might go towards one of the other top guys, and affording two of them is tough. I’m just laying out your excuses now, because next week he’s got Washington, and when he torches them for the benefit of someone else’s team, you’re going to be glad you have some rationalization all prepped and ready to go.

Julio Jones ($8,300) – He’s so good. It’s nice to see him healthy and running around out there. Those injury risks are the only reason he slipped in your yearly leagues, but when he’s going good, you ride it until he’s not. He has to be on your radar at this point.

20/20 Hindsight – He’s got more than 90 points in his last two weeks. There was nothing you could have looked at to know this was coming, other than his talent. And you had to trust it.

Going Forward – Trusting  his talent just got a lot easier. And up next, he has the Steelers, the Saints and the Panthers. That couldn’t really get any easier, and after seeing what A.J. Green just did to Pittsburgh, maybe you just found the top option you’ll lean towards instead of Jordy next week.

Good luck.