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Reality Conflicts with Fantasy

Bill Belichick

Fantasy Football players and analysts always amuse me especially after roster cut weekend in the NFL. Some of their favorite players get cut but don’t worry they will find another reason to still support their opinions against guys they don’t like. The thing that gets lost every year on cut weekend is that in the NFL, reality always conflicts with fantasy.

Carlos Hyde Truthers

Earlier during draft season I was astonished how early Carlos Hyde was being drafted in redraft PPR format drafts. In some drafts he was going in the 8th round even though much of the smart money in the Chiefs’ analyst world were saying he might be lucky to make the final roster, unless the team had some injuries at running back. Hyde is not the kind of guy who would double-duty on special teams and he should be fourth in the pecking order behind the two guys named Williams and a promising rookie. Thankfully his Average Draft Position has been rising quickly since then. Yet on a recent radio show 2 weeks ago I said he wasn’t even worth drafting. Instead of abandoning Hyde the minute he was cut, the Hyde Truthers now think he will win the starting job in Houston! Hyde has value in real football but that reality conflicts with his fantasy value.

D-Will Haters

Damien Williams is the starter with the Kansas City Chiefs until either his performance or health removes him from that role. The same D-Will haters who projected Carlos Hyde to beat him out for starting running back duty, are now suggesting that newly acquired Shady McCoy will send him to the bench now. Damien Williams IS being drafted too early if you grab him early in the second round but not because of who is behind him on the roster. D-Will is a risk because he is a 27 year old running back who has never played a full season as a starter in the NFL for a variety of reasons. But many of those same people discounting a 27 year old having a breakout season, which is a rarity, are making other against-the-data bets. If you are going to go against the numbers, those same D-Will haters would not be Kyler Murray supporters, because rookie quarterbacks seldom have great seasons. Small quarterbacks are also a risk.

Hate him all you want but Damien Williams is the starting running back for the Chiefs for now. The other Williams is more of a threat to him down the road than Shady.

More Money More Carries?

Why would a team sign a running back for more money if they weren’t planning on using him? That was a question that Fantasy Football Twitter loved to ask once again after the signing of Shady McCoy. Yet remember that same argument didn’t work that well for Carlos Hyde either. Shady McCoy got signed for more money than D-Will because he had leverage on his side. The Chiefs wanted an experienced guy as insurance and they didn’t want Shady McCoy being a “Plug and Play” option for the Chargers until Flash Gordon returns (if he ever does). Latavious Murray is being paid more than Alvin Kamara with the Saints. Do you REALLY think Kamara is going to suffer in touches because of that money difference?

Conclusion

It’s not just Bill Belichick who coaches in a way that kills your fantasy football dreams. Each and every coach is going to do what he has to do to win real football games. Having only a 53 man roster to field an offense, defense, and special teams doesn’t allow for NFL Coaches to have four or five reliable running backs on their roster. If a team does carry a fourth running back, that guy better also be a beast on special teams. Young guys with no track records can often sneak through waivers and be added to the practice squad unlike veteran players. Coaches also do not care about how much money a guy is being paid or where he was drafted or how he was acquired. That is the job of the General Manager. A coach only cares about winning and often his roster decisions and game day decisions will show that reality often conflicts with fantasy in football.

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