You're not that bad / You're not that good
Posted Sep. 22 at 06:37 AM
The Tennessee Titans went into Pittsburgh, shut down the Steelers' run game and battled into overtime. The following week, they held serve against superstar Andre Johnson by unleashing their own superstar (Chris Johnson). They proved they can compete with an offensive team and a defensive team.
Yet they're 0-2.
On the other hand, the Denver Broncos are atop their division with a 2-0 record. Now, which team do you think is better? Should Jeff Fisher adopt Josh McDaniels' philosophies? Should the team panic since their off-season strategies aren't working?
Of course not. The Titans are better than their 0-2 record, and that should show as the season progresses. And if you're 0-2, you might be in the same boat. The question is: Are you a Titans 0-2 or a Buccaneers 0-2? If you're the latter, then go ahead and panic. Here in Tampa, we're doing just that. But if you have a good team, be careful about blowing it up. Only you know what you have.
By the same token, if you're a Broncos 2-0, you can't feel as good as if you're a Ravens 2-0. One team is good, and the other has a good record. Again, you need to determine which one you are.
The difference is, of course, how you treat the waiver wire, trades and your upcoming bye week issues. If you're 0-2, I suggest the following:
* Take advantage of your waiver priority, but only pick up a flyer by dropping another flyer. If you want to take a chance on Johnny Knox by dropping Earl Bennett, that's fine. You shouldn't rely on either as an every-week starter. But I wouldn't bail on Laveranues Coles to do it, though. Not yet, anyway. If he develops a rapport with Palmer and the team is in the playoff hunt (they look pretty decent), Coles would be more valuable than either of those guys later in the year.
* Be wary of low-ball trade offers. If your team is so terrible, how come people want your players? Maybe they're not so bad after all. You might get some fair proposals, but you're likely to get a lot of insulting offers as well.
* Check the schedule. It's possible that your best players have had some unfavorable match-ups. You might feel better seeing the Browns or Lions on the schedule and you might be surprised how tough the early going was for your guys. You might still have good players who will perform when things get easier.
And if you're 2-0, try the following:
* Pretend you're 1-1. If you were just .500 you'd feel okay but would be actively looking to get better. Do that now. Use the waiver wire; don't think your team is good as it is. Maybe nobody out there is worth an add, but always be looking like you need to fill a spot. The best NFL teams are always looking to improve, and so should you.
Even if you know that, there's a tendency to avoid fixing what isn't broken. Well, a 2-0 record doesn't mean nothing is broken. If you could play with the schedule and make yourself 0-2 by facing different opponents, you still have work to do.
* Make low-ball trade offers to desperate teams. Why not? Maybe the Steven Jackson owner is panicking, or the Ray Rice owner wasn't expecting Willis McGahee to steal so many carries. If you can get those guys at a deep discount, you could improve your team dramatically.
Normally I'd say it's too early to trade, but I'm talking about low-ball offers here. Even if they don't pan out, you didn't give up anything substantial. You might not get any interest, but it's worth a shot.
* Expect to lose. It's going to happen eventually. How will you handle an injury to a starter? A streak of tough defenses for your best players? Bye week problems? If you don't have a good Plan B, try to get one. Maybe you'll never use it, but if you do you'll be better off than the guys who thought they were as good as their record.
By this time next week it might all be different. A 2-1 record isn't as impressive as a 2-0 record, and 1-2 sure feels better than being winless. But if the "zero" in your record is affecting the way you play today, it could hurt you in November and December. Good luck this week.
You can reach Michael Murillo at email@example.com.
Posted by Scott Florence | Sep. 22 at 07:07 AM
I'm 2-0 in one league and 1-1 in the other. I usually catch myself working the waiver wire in the league that I'm performing worse in and forgetting that I should be doing the same thing in the 'good' league. Sage advice, to be sure.
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