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Getting Off of a Player's Bandwagon

At this point in the preseason, we've seen 2 or 3 games from all of the NFL teams, and we're starting to see how the various teams' starting lineups may shape up. For many of us, the hardcore fantasy football players who have been discussing, arguing about and anticipating the 2005 regular season since the NFL draft in April, it's also time to reevaluate our opinions about some of our favorite players. Maybe you've been a Tatum Bell booster since last year, or were a big Kyle Boller believer - the point is, you've invested a lot of time and energy arguing the best case for certain NFL players, probably on the Shark Pool message board here at Footballguys.com as well as elsewhere.

Now it is gut-check time: in certain cases, it is time to admit that certain players are, disappointingly, not living up to expectations. There are a lot of examples of this phenomena right now (David Terrell has yet to catch a pass in his "new start" at New England - only one case in point), but no team in the NFL this year has produced more examples of once-highly-thought-of fantasy prospects that are currently fading than the Denver Broncos.

Tight end Jeb Putzier was given a big raise when the Broncos matched an offer sheet from the New York Jets that was reported to be $12.5 million over 5 years to retain his services, yet now TE Stephen Alexander has been elevated to the top of the depth chart and is seeing a lot of action with the first team in preseason Reportedly, the coaching staff considers Alexander the more "complete" player.

Running back Tatum Bell was once widely expected to win the coveted "Bronco Back"/featured tailback job, but Mike Anderson is above him on the depth chart after 2 preseason games, and there are whispers in the local press of a possible running-back-by-committee in Denver this year - with Anderson garnering the lion's share of goalline opportunities. During May and June almost no one expected Bell to be the #2 option in Denver - but in August it sure looks like that's where he's going to end up.

Maurice Clarett has been an abominably disappointing player, widely regarded as "dogging it" during training camp by his teammates - he may not survive even the first cut-down date at this point.

As fantasy football fanatics, we all invest significant amounts of time and research in player analysis, and we all love to talk about our favorite fantasy prospects. However, if you're going to win your fantasy league, you have to know when to cut your losses - and admit that you were wrong. It happens to all of us, even the very best of us - a website that will remain anonymous was very high on San Francisco's Kevan Barlow last season, you know...

Now is the time to pull out your projections and to adjust them to reflect the current realities in the NFL as you see them - do try to be objective and give credit (or don't give credit) to the players who have earned it (or have not earned it) during training camp. Overhauling your projections and your expectations may be uncomfortable, even painful, but you'll draft a better team if you can grit your teeth and admit "I was wrong about X".

Happy Drafting!

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