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The 1999 NFL Season in Review - What Went Wrong

As every fantasy football owner knows by now, the 1999 NFL Season was really screwy. I am currently reviewing two fantasy football publications that I purchased to see how well they did it predicting the season. This is something I highly encourage. After all, if a magazine or web site has a track record of not being accurate, why bother spending the money. The two magazines in question list the following as their top ten players for 1999 in TD-only leagues:

Position

Magazine #1

Magazine #2

1

Randy Moss

Terrell Davis

2

Terrell Davis

Randy Moss

3

Fred Taylor

Jamal Anderson

4

Randall Cunningham

Fred Taylor

5

Brett Favre

Brett Favre

6

Antonio Freeman

Antonio Freeman

7

Steve Young

Randall Cunningham

8

Terrell Owens

Vinny Testaverde

9

Vinny Testaverde

Steve Young

10

Curtis Martin

Joey Galloway

 

These lists are in no way atypical of the cheat sheets of most prognosticators last year. Of these players, most did not live up to expectations. Let's examine why.

Injuries - Terrell Davis, Jamal Anderson, Vinny Testaverde and Steve Young. Each of these suffered injuries near the beginning of the season. Fred Taylor was hampered by his hamstrings for most of the season.

Holdout and Ineffectiveness - Joey Galloway and Randall Cunningham. Galloway sat out most of the season and then was never a real factor. Cunningham did not show the same ability as last year and lost his job.

Decline of Team - Brett Favre, Antonio Freeman, Terrell Owens. While the jury is still out if the Packers offense can regain its form as seen under Mike Holmgrem, Farve and Freeman had sub-par years by their standards. Owens and the other 49er WRs simply never had anyone to throw them the football.

Actually only Randy Moss had a season close to deserving of being on a top ten list and there were four other WRs who scored more then he did in a TD only league. Curtis Martin had an acceptable season in performance leagues (#8 RB), but very few TDs.

Examining history is only helpful if we can apply the lessons learn from it to the present. Can we predict injuries? Almost always no. Though I have been avoiding drafting Steve Young for several years because of his concussions. Can we avoid holdouts? Usually yes. As a fantasy football owner, it is your job not to blindly follow a cheat sheet through the draft. You should know the status of players you are about to draft. Can we foresee players becoming ineffective or teams declining? This is a craps shoot. Hindsight is always 20-20. The signs were there to indicate that the Packers and 49ers might slide, but who thought it would happen. Therefore, be leery of aging teams and teams who have lost their offensive play caller.

In the next article we will examine what went right in the 1999 NFL Season to see what we can learn from that.

 

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