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Scouts (St)Inc.

I received my latest ESPN the Magazine on Friday... turned out to be both its Fantasy Football Preview and Summer X Games Preview issue. Pop quiz: Which of these previews will deliver better draft results for your Fantasy Football team? Answer: Neither.

After quickly flipping through the Magazine (I usually just skip straight to the last page to see the photoshopped image), I thought it might make more sense from a fantasy perspective for me to dig up last year's Fantasy Football Preview issue. Their '04 Crib Sheet blurb reads:

"... That's where we come in. We asked the geniuses at Scouts, Inc. to ID the latest trends, the biggest sleepers and the big names most likely to take a bigger fall..."

Let's review some of the Scouts, Inc. geniuses' highlights:

  • #4 QB Matt Hasselbeck, "a top-five fantasy passer in contract year. Ka-ching!"
    -He finished 12th overall among QBs and scored more than 160 points fewer than top 2 QBs. Ka-ching!

  • #6 QB Steve McNair, "great fantasy production and you can trust him to stay on the field."
    -Oops. McNair finished 31st among QBs because he played in less than half of his team's games due to injury.

  • #15 QB Jake Delhomme, "Repeat after us: Carolina's a running team."
    -The Panther QB finished as the 7th ranked QB and attempted 36 more passes than Peyton Manning.

And those are just the Quarterbacks. Sure there were some predictions that landed in the vacinity of reality. For the most part, I would say the geniuses were around 50-50 in terms of accuracy. For example, their "Good to Go?" column on injured players most likely to come back: Rich Gannon (no), Warrick Dunn (yes), Willis McGahee (yes), Charles Rogers (no) and Dallas Clark (somewhere in between).

The bottom line is, there really is not an exact science to projecting the fantasy football success of NFL players. And to make the claims that some publications and web sites do, well it's Merrill Hoge-like (ESPN NFL analyst who predicted that the Eagles wouldn't make the playoffs last year). Their rankings are no more worthy than mine or yours and its proof that "the plan" is more important than "the players" in the world of fantasy sports.

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