Fantasy Football Owners: Step Away From The Panic Button

Rory BrownSenior Writer IOctober 13, 2008

Wall Street bounced back on Monday, but those weren't the only stocks that recovered after weeks of decline.

In a 2008 NFL season full of the improbable, the fantasy football stock of Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis jumped dramatically as the Cleveland Browns thumped the visiting New York Giants 35-14 on Monday night.

All three players were key to the 7.5-point underdog Browns getting the win, with Lewis running for 82 yards and a touchdown, Anderson throwing for 310 yards and two scores, and Edwards hauling in one of those scores on his way to 154 receiving yards on five catches.

Fantasy owners who waited for the Browns to produce were finally rewarded. Those who traded any of the three players at lower values earlier in the season watched fellow owners reap the benefits.

Let the Browns victory, a host of surprising Week Six wins, and a vastly unpredictable NFL season serve as a warning to fantasy owners: Do not panic.

Fantasy football is a game built around predictions—predicting what teams will efficiently move the ball and score, and predicting which players will score more than others. Fantasy owners rely on statistics and trends from the season's previous games to make those predictions.

Here's the problem: 2008 has been a wild year, so it's also been a tough one to predict.

Underdogs went 8-7 against the spread in Week Six, with several underdogs outright beating favorites, including Arizona over Dallas, St. Louis over Washington, and Cleveland over New York.

Four of the week's games were decided by last-second field goals, and Arizona beat Dallas with a touchdown off a blocked punt in overtime.

And Week Six hasn't been the only week full of surprises.

The Dolphins' (1-15 a year ago) only two wins have come against last years AFC Championship teams (New England and San Diego); The Saints are among the top four scoring teams in the league, but are only 3-3; and the Tennessee Titans, playing with their backup quarterback, are the only undefeated team in football.

For lack of a better term, the 2008 season has been weird.

And maybe weird will become the norm in 2008, or maybe things will start to resemble previous years. Regardless, it's just too early to tell what teams and players will be the standouts of the year, and it's too early to give up on your big fantasy investments, no matter how far they've fallen since draft day.

The Browns hadn't done much heading into Monday night, but they showed they're a team that can score five touchdowns against a Giants team that was giving up just 12 points a game. If the Browns, on the brink of a quarterback switch and a 1-4 hole, can turn things around, so can other teams.

If you need something to worry about, there's a mortgage meltdown and a roller coaster of a stock market. When it comes to your fantasy investments, wait a couple of weeks and see what happens before hitting the panic button.