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The Gut Check No. 426: Midpoint Lessons and Confirmations

Matt Waldman takes stock of what's transpired this year and shares what he's learned. 

I've spent 45 years playing, watching, and reading about football as a fan, but I've only spent 23 of those years playing fantasy football and only 13 studying football with the commitment and effort of a full-time job. It's why I may be closing in on 50 in life, but I feel like an adolescent in my profession. 

As much as I have fond memories of being a teenager, it's not a phase of life that I thought I'd be reliving in any respect. However, my professional development has some parallels to the adolescent experience.

I vacillate between feeling like I can take on the world with what I've learned one day and wish I could hide in my room and play video games all day the next. There are moments where I discover that I know more than I thought and other instances where realize that I still have a long path ahead and it's filled with dues-paying work that makes me want to skip school, go to the local park, and spend the afternoon with my girlfriend. 

Since I'm embracing my career adolescence, it seems appropriate to examine what's happened after eight weeks of the 2017 season, share the lessons I've learned, and whether they've changed or confirmed my point of view about football—especially fantasy football. 

Lessons Learned

Scheme Fit Determines Fantasy Value More Than Player Skill

Repeat after me: Most of these players are highly skilled.

Please remember this as we look under the microscope because it's easy for the fanboy/fangirl side of our personalities to feel slighted when an analyst says that our current new favorite player is benefitting from a scheme. Next thing you know, folks are ranting about how a terrific talent is under-appreciated and then stretch analysis out of proportion to fit their arguments. 

Kareem Hunt is a fine talent. It's also unlikely that he would have earned the volume to produce as anything more than a mid-range RB2 if Spencer Ware remained healthy. The reason is pass protection. Hunt has made two notable cut blocks that have fans using them as examples as to why he's a good blocker. 

This is like saying a quarterback is an accurate passer because he can throw the screen with touch. While part of the equation, it's not enough to make that determination. 


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