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Saturday 21st Oct 2017

1 – Never listen to beat writers. “Calvin Johnson’s ankle is fine. He looks great in pre-game warmups. He’s going to be a factor.” Yeah, how did that turn out? If you drafted Calvin Johnson in standard leagues, you were going to start him no matter what, but for those in daily leagues, how did his one catch for seven yards work for you?

2 – Never, EVER listen to coaches when they address intended player usage. “The roles of Blount and Bell have yet to be determined. Blount is more than a goal-line and red zone back.” Yeah. Sure coach. I even heard a spin that a 60-40 split was in the works. How many of you are glad that you listened to this rubbish and stopped drafting LeVeon Bell in the early 2nd round?

3 – Take what players say with a grain of salt. In fact, take 3-4 tablespoons of sodium chloride when it’s Joe Flacco. The self-proclaimed greatest quarterback in the NFL decided to imitate something else on Sunday. His fantasy production is up slightly this year due to the presence of Steve Smith, but his inaccuracy on throws greater than 20 yards was on display yet again in Indianapolis, missing would-be touchdowns to Marlon Brown and Torrey Smith. It’s the same old Flacco who will be feast or famine this year dependent on Steve Smith’s YAC-ability and blown coverages.

Ben Tate expressed his concern that his knee might not be healthy enough to play against the Titans. How many Ben Tate owners were glad they heard that report after he toted the rock 22 times for 123 yards, or the Isaiah Crowell owners sucked into starting the Crow over other flex options?

I’ve mentioned only a couple examples, and yet there have been dozens of times this year alone when “being informed” simply meant being deceived, tricked, or at least led astray. The fact is I would have been far better off both on draft day and with weekly lineup decisions having ignored just about all news and updates with the exception of official game day active/inactive reports and preseason injury reports. With the latter, you still have to be extremely careful and interpret them the right way.

So what is the answer then? Stick our heads in the sand and arbitrarily set lineups? There is a better way, but it takes a lot of work. Get NFL Game Rewind and watch condensed games, full games or the coach’s film. You can even drill down into individual plays from a menu to scout particular players. All games throughout the season are archived so everything is at your disposal. No, I don’t get paid for the plug, just presenting a way to get an edge. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction that your own two eyes helped build your team. Win or lose with YOUR GUYS and YOUR DECISIONS. Not someone else’s. It’s something I have to keep reminding myself of, as it’s all too easy to be influenced. I’ll even watch games with the volume off sometimes so as not to be swayed by the commentary.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t good writers out there with useful fantasy info. There are, but you have to set your filter on high. If you can help it, don’t heed anyone else’s take on a player without first scouting them yourself. Fade the hype (3rd round Cordarrelle Patterson anyone?).

Some players that I’ll be scouting this week:

Running Backs - Travis Cadet, Chris Ogbonnaya, Juwan Thompson, George Winn, Shaun Draughn.

Wide Receivers – Taylor Gabriel, Brandon Lloyd, Preston Parker, Adam Thielen, Odell Beckham, Louis Murphy.

Tight Ends – Tim Wright, Chase Ford, Benjamin Watson.

Quarterbacks – Austin Davis, Kyle Orton, Brian Hoyer, Michael Vick.

Which of these players should be picked up? Let the game film decide.

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