What's with all the second guessing?
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"What was he thinking???" "Moron!" "Clown!" "IIIIdiot!"
These are the kind of reactions we're all accustomed to hearing after NFL coaches make tough, gutsy decisions that fail in a game's key moment.
What kills me is the second-guessing that goes on after the play fails.
Then, everybody's an expert.
Case in point: Two weeks ago, Bears coach Marc Trestman decided to go for a first down on fourth-and-1 from the Lions' 27-yard line in a 7-7 game in the second quarter. Michael Bush was stuffed for no gain and Detroit took over.
Of course, we all remember the final score: Detroit 21, Bears 19.
Those of you listening to the postgame on WSCR 670-AM may recall plenty of moaning and groaning about this decision.
And why? Because it didn't work.
Obviously, if Bush picked up the yard, you wouldn't have heard a peep.
Trestman wasn't any crazier for making that decision than he was making two other gutsy calls earlier in the season against the Bengals and Packers.
Those plays both worked and Trestman was deemed a genius.
Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Form an opinion of the call as it is happening and have the guts to stand behind that opinion whether the play succeeds or fails.
For instance ...
In 2009, when Pats coach Bill Belichick -- leading 34-28 with 2:08 left in the game -- went for a first down from his own 28-yard-line against Peyton Manning and the Colts, I thought, "Great call. New England's defense is never going to stop Manning, and a first down here essentially ends the game."
Well, the play failed, Manning got the ball back and the Colts won. But before the play, my gut said it was the right decision. Just because it failed doesn't mean Belichick was stupid for making that call.
Ex-Bears linebacker and Panthers coach Ron Rivera went from being a conservative, play-it-by-the-book coach to one willing to pull out all the stops. His Panthers are 5-for-7 on fourth-and-1 plays since Rivera played it safe against the Bills in Week 2 and watched Buffalo score the winning TD with two seconds left.
The change in philosophy has earned Rivera the nickname Riverboat Ron, a name he doesn't particularly like but is obviously fitting.
So what does all this have to do with fantasy football?
Well, we've reached the point of the season where I think it's OK to be your own Riverboat Ron, Maniac Marc or Wild Bill Belichick.
While remembering that we never, ever, ever sit our studs, it's OK to take some chances.
Got a gut feeling about Eli Manning, Carson Palmer or Josh McCown? Go for it!
Thinking Shane Vereen might have a huge day as New England tries to catch up to Denver this week? Take a shot!
Have faith in Anquan Boldin, James Jones or Rueben Randle based on their easy-as-pie matchups? Run 'em out there!
If your guy explodes -- or even just outscores your regular starter -- you can sit back and bask in the glow of your fantasy football genius.
If things don't work out, who cares? Nobody will be calling into a radio show screaming, "What was he thinking? Moron!"
Have some fun and roll the dice during the last few weeks because the end is right around the corner.
My teams: The auction-league team (6-5) prevailed 67-59 thanks to nice games from Matt Forte (14 points), Demaryius Thomas (8), Rob Gronkowski (8) and the Giants defense (9). The regular squad (4-7) got thumped 120-93. The issue there is total points for the season, and I'm 11 behind the final playoff qualifier.
•Bucs QB Mike Glennon at Detroit. Since Week 6, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Lions.
•Texans QB Case Keenum and RB Ben Tate vs. Jacksonville. Don't give up on Keenum yet. Yes, he was benched last week in the second half, but this should be a monster bounce-back effort against the woeful Jags.
•Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Jerricho Cotchery at Cleveland. With Browns CB Joe Haden draped all over Antonio Brown, watch for Big Ben to find Cotchery at least six times for 75 yards.
•Giants RB Andre Brown vs. Dallas. Running backs have feasted on the Cowboys. Brown let me down last week, but I expect 100 yards and at least 1 score Sunday.
•Raiders RB Rashad Jennings vs. Tennessee. The Titans are tied with the Skins and Jaguars for most rushing scores allowed (15).
•Niners RB Frank Gore at Washington. Aside from two dud games -- one coming last week -- Gore (873 YFS, 7 TDs) has been awfully solid. He'll plow through the Skins and get you at least 16 points in standard leagues.
•Packers RB Eddie Lacy vs. Minnesota. With Aaron Rodgers out, it's been tough sledding for Lacy (2.63 ypc last two). Three of the last four teams' feature backs to play the Vikings have had huge days, though, and Lacy will make it 4-for-5.
•Broncos WR Eric Decker at New England. Peyton Manning is going to rediscover Decker (55 ypg, no TDs last three) this week.
•Ravens WR Torrey Smith vs. the Jets. New York is allowing the third-most points to WRs and TEs since Week 6.
•Titans WR Kendall Wright at Oakland. Since Week 2, Wright is actually 19th in the NFL in receiving yards with 649. If he had just 3-4 more TDs (he has 1), he'd be on everybody's mind. Not a bad play as a WR3 going forward.
•Giants defense vs. Dallas. I see a pick-6 coming off the arm of Tony Romo.
•Skins QB Robert Griffin III vs. San Francisco. RG3 is 17th among QBs in average fantasy points since Week 3. Jim Harbaugh will have his Niners squad primed and ready for Monday Night Football.
•Chargers QB Philip Rivers and WR Keenan Allen vs. Kansas City. Rivers (6 TDs last five) has struggled of late and now must play at Arrowhead Stadium a week after the Chiefs suffered their first loss? No thank you.
•Colts QB Andrew Luck at Arizona. In five road games, Luck has just 7 TD passes (3 came in one game) and is averaging 224 passing yards.
•Bucs RB Bobby Rainey at Detroit. My guess is there's no way you're going to sit the hottest new name in fantasy. But know this: The Lions haven't allowed a rushing score since Week 4. Rainey gets 95 yards from scrimmage but doesn't find the end zone.
•Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. New York Jets. Hope you enjoyed that mini-resurgence against the Bears last week. We now return you to your regularly scheduled 36-yard game.
•Patriots RB Stevan Ridley vs. Denver. Ridley's streak of five straight games with a TD ends this week.
•Jets RB Chris Ivory at Baltimore. Only the Cardinals allow fewer fantasy points to RBs than the Ravens.
•Raiders WR Denarius Moore vs. Tennessee. Moore's banged up and questionable with a shoulder injury. He also has just 12 catches the last four games. Find another option.
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