A 2023 Self-Appraisal: Transparency, Accountability, and the Pursuit of Betterment, Part 3 – Weeks 9-12
Image Credit: Rich Graesel/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Daniel Jones.

“Self-examination, the observation of one’s own experience, is the very root of the intelligence.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Using self-examination to accept the person you are could be worthwhile for your mental health, but it can’t generally improve your performance at a craft. Using self-examination to become better requires action. And it begins with an honest evaluation of what you have been doing and what results those methods produce.

The first step for me in the 2023 chapter of my coming-of-age story as a fantasy football analyst is to review the things I’ve been most convicted of regarding fantasy football to see how the things I valued aided or failed me. Fortunately for me, as a person who states his convictions openly on a public website several times a week, I have a built-in journal already recorded and easy to access.

I put many things on paper, so I will break this down into five parts. There will be four like this one, breaking the data down into chronological quarters, in which I will dissect all the calls I’ve made and categorize them. Then, there will be one more at the end to sum up what it all means. This fifth article will be the most critical piece, as it will explore how and why the what came to be. Only then can we seek to identify lessons from a season’s worth of observation.

The point is to be honest and start with my defenses down. The data may lead me right back to a defensive posture, and that’s because, inevitably, some of the misses will be justified, just as some of the hits will be fortunate. But I want to be clear that while the first four articles will explore the results, they are not to imply that the process is less valuable than the result. The key to fantasy football is ultimately finding a reliable way to untangle what is predictive from what is random, and that begins and ends with process.

But we’ll dig into process more at the end of the series. For now, here we go. Let’s continue working through every call I’ve made in 2023, picking it up with Weeks 9-12.

INDIRECT HITS AND NEAR MISSES – A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT, FULL OF SOUND AND FURY, SIGNIFYING NOTHING

Whether it ended up incomplete or didn’t pass or fail in any particular way, these are the ones where the tree fell in the woods with no witnesses — nobody got hurt, and nihilism won the day.

The Call When I Made It Why I Made It The Result
Josh Dobbs may provide a lifeline for the Minnesota pass catchers. November 7, 2023 With less talent on other teams, Dobbs had been merely passable. An incredible debut with a better team with no prep time was exciting. Presented as more possibility than probability. Dobbs was fantasy-relevant through W11 but was eventually benched after two straight stinkers. Justin Jefferson never got back in time to overlap. T.J. Hockenson was in the top 13 in every game with Dobbs, and W10 was his best game of the year.
The Ravens might be too good. November 7, 2023 Constantly front-running, they played smash-mouth while leading, making players like Lamar Jackson and Zay Flowers tenuous. The Ravens didn’t smash quite as hard after this, but more than that, the results were simply mixed depending on the player.

THE GIANTS WON’T LOOK ANY DIFFERENT AFTER DANIEL JONES’ INJURY

When I called it: 5 Things that Matter from Week 9, and 5 Things that (Probably) Don’t, November 7, 2023

What I wrote:

“Veteran backup Tyrod Taylor had shown signs of life — even a possible upgrade for the Giants’ offense — but he was placed on IR on Saturday, so he has a minimum of three more absences. That means the only two QBs still on the roster are Tommy DeVito and journeyman Matt Barkley, who was signed to the Giants’ practice squad a week ago (a little Barkley-to-Barkley connection out of the backfield, y’all?).

In dynasty leagues, the implications are significant. With only two wins, the Giants are certainly in the running for Caleb Williams at the top of the 2024 draft, especially now. Jones’s contract is structured so the team can move on. It feels like a rebuild might be coming. Stay tuned to see if Daboll makes it through the cuts.

But as for how it affects the fantasy season right now? It probably doesn’t do much. At this point, Giants pass catchers are droppable, but if we are being honest, they kind of always were. Saquon Barkley is destined for constant runs through barbed wire and minefields as he presents the only genuine threat the Giants have on offense, but thus far, his usage has only increased with 58 touches in the past two games. He may be able to keep a sustainable fantasy value if the entire offense funnels through him. As for the tide-to-lifted-boat ratio, Jones was not doing much to keep his receivers particularly viable already. Darren Waller is already out with an injury for at least three weeks, and Taylor, who has been just as good, if not better, than Jones, may be eligible to return from injury in three weeks. Not much is different today in New York than if Jones were still healthy.”

How it came out: As a team, the Giants enjoyed more success whenever Jones was not on the field, scoring nearly seven

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Mat Irby

RotoViz contributor since 2023, fantasy player since 1991, and someone who occasionally dabbles in full-time film work when no one's looking - even on a thing or two you've seen. Atlanta is for sleeping, but Dallas will always be home.

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