Fantasy Football

1998 Fantasy Football Flashback: Manning-Taylor-Moss

Sometimes we put too much faith in scouts, NFL braintrusts and the media that covers the league. As Fantasy Football writers, we sometimes get caught up in it (see Trent Richardson), and we further the hype. The following is one of those cases.

The Fantasy Football Index magazine has always one of the best around — despite gems like these in their 1998 issue:

The top rookie quarterback for Fantasy that year, according to them, was Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning.

“[Leaf’s] bigger, stronger and more mobile than Manning, and he doesn’t get enough credit for his smarts.” — 1998 Fantasy Football Index

Their top rookie running backs entering 1998? They ranked Curtis Enis and Robert Holcombe over Fred Taylor. The weird part is that they knew picking Enis was a mistake.

“The last three Nittany Lions runners selected in the first round have all been busts — Ki-Jana Carter, Blair Thomas and D.J. Dozier.” … “[Enis] is a less-certain prospect than Lawrence Phillips or Garrison Hearst, who both bombed as rookies.” — 1998 Fantasy Football Index

Randy Moss, 1998 Fantasy Football FlashbackThey made up for their earlier transgressions by saying that Kevin Dyson was the top rookie Fantasy wide receiver that year … ahead of Randy Moss.

But before we hang these guys out to dry, 14 years later, let’s read their quote from Jimmy Johnson, the Dolphins head coach at the time, who passed on Moss with the 19th pick of the first round.

“I want to talk to people who say Moss is going to be a great player, and I’d ask them how many films of him they broke down. The answer I normally get is, they saw a couple film clips of him on TV, and that’s how they formed their opinion. And these people know more than people in the NFL who spend our lives doing this stuff and it’s our job to know?” – Jimmy Johnson

Yes, Jimmy. Yes, they do.

Moss’ statistics through the 2011 season: 954 catches, 14,858 yards, 153 TDs.

Meanwhile, the top TWO Dolphins receivers since the 1998 season – over 14 seasons — have only caught 115 touchdowns.

Stick to trading with the Vikings, Jimmy.


So to recap – the magazine picked Leaf, Enis and Dyson – over Manning, Taylor and Moss.

I’ve had drafts like that, so I really can’t judge.

My point in posting this is NOT to take shots at Fantasy writers — lord knows, we get enough of that, myself included — but to say that as a reader, you still have to use some of your own judgment when reading Fantasy articles. The best we can do is give our prediction based on stats and trends, and share any knowledge we might have.

In Vegas, an NFL handicapper is considered a superstar if he has a 60-percent success rate, he’s a huge success. Keep that in mind when you are upset that we thought Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno and several other rookie running backs were better than Arian Foster.

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