Black Monday (blak mən-dā) noun. The day immediately following the first full Sunday of regular-season NFL games, on which fantasy football team owners panic following the perceived under-performance of their higher-caliber players and/or the apparent over-performance of mediocre players, and subsequently make one or more roster moves that may be unnecessary, short-sighted, or just downright stupid.

Usage example: On Black Monday this year, I had to talk my friend out of benching Matt Hasselbeck in favor of Chad Pennington simply because Pennington had scored a few more points the day before.

Word Trivia or History: The origins of the term Black Monday may, of course, be traced back to the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. (For the sake of historical accuracy, it is worth noting that the original "Black Monday" was actually in 1209 in Ireland, when the O'Byrne clan massacred a group of recently-arrived Dublin settlers. But that, like a Tavaris Jackson pass of more than 15 yards, is neither here nor there.) On that infamous Monday, following a downturn of unprecedented magnitude in the stock market the Thursday prior, investors rushed to pull their money out from the market and thus sent the country's economy careening into the Great Depression, from which only World War II and the spunky, can-do attitude of Shirley Temple would ultimately save it.

The parallel, of course, is that it's all too common among fantasy owners to make foolish, panic-induced moves following the Week 1 games -- moves that leave their teams weakened and betray a remarkably low sense of self-confidence. The easy brashness with which said owners had defended their draft selections right up through Sunday goes out the window and is replaced, instead, by a seeming desire to craft an entire team based solely on Week One performances.

This season was no exception. Here are some notable examples I observed in my own leagues and on various message boards following this season's Black Monday, along with my patented Reasons Why That Was Stupid(TM):

* Dropping the Seattle D. Sure, it was downright shocking to see the heavily-favored Seahawks lose in definitive fashion to a Bills team that has little going for it apart from Marshawn Lynch. However, Seattle's D-line will remain a consistent producer in all those tasty defensive categories that fantasy owners love: forced fumbles, sacks, and INTs. Oh, and THEY'RE IN THE NFC WEST.

* Bemoaning Rashard Mendenhall. It was widely anticipated coming into the season that Steelers standby Willie Parker would be doing the majority of the grunt work at RB, only to be replaced by Mendenhall for the goal-line carries. This past weekend, however, Parker exploded on offense for 138 rushing yards and 3(!) TDs. Much wringing of the hands over whether or not Mendenhall was really worth that 7th-round pick has since ensued among fantasy owners, but let's get smart: no rookie is going to get all the carries in Week 1, and Mendenhall will only get more carries as the season goes on.

* Switching out Matt Hasselbeck. Again, the Seahawks looked considerably messier in Week 1 than most had anticipated; moreover, a string of injuries to Seattle's wide receiver corps threatens to significantly diminish Hasselbeck's passing stats. Hasselbeck is a top-ranked QB for a reason, though -- he's incredibly consistent, and excels at locating receivers in the end zone. Hass's overall yardage may take a dive, but he'll still pass for at least 1-2 TDs in each game (come on, with Julius Jones as your top RB and rookie John Carlson at TE, would YOU try to run it in?) and will doubtless find countless ways to take advantage of new starting split end Logan Payne for big plays.

* Picking up Matt Ryan. Odds are, unless you're in a league with a die-hard BC homer in it, that Ryan is still available at QB, but don't let his big debut win bamboozle you into thinking that he's a long-term solution for your Tom Brady or Derek Anderson woes. Remember: he was playing the Lions.

* Benching Randy Moss. "WOE IS ME!" went the cry from Randy Moss owners across the board following Tom Brady's [sniffle] season-ending injury this past week. Buck up, kids: Randy Moss is still THE BEST WIDE RECEIVER IN THE GAME. Whatever the Patriots' [sniffle] quarterback situation winds up being this season, you can bet dollars to donuts (mmm) that Moss will continue to play a huge role on offense. But go ahead. Bench him. Just don't come crying to me when he posts a 160-yard game and you had him seated in favor of Anquan Boldin.

* Trading away a top-10 wideout for Hines Ward. Look, Ward is a very gifted player, and he posted huge numbers while Santonio Holmes appeared to be a virtual non-entity this past week. In continuation of the don't-bench-Randy-Moss theme, though, it's not wise to tear apart your wide receiver corps to pick up a wideout based on one game of over-performance. Don't rush to sell your 1st- and 2nd-round investments. Do you REALLY want the collapse of the fantasy football economy weighing on YOUR conscience?!

* ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO DROPPED/BENCHED THEIR STARTING QUARTERBACK IN FAVOR OF MATT CASSEL.
The lessons of Black Monday are simple but crucial: DO NOT RUSH TO OVERHAUL YOUR TEAM BASED ON WEEK ONE PERFORMANCES. You drafted well. You pre-ranked your players. You read the expert projections. You studied depth charts. You know PERFECTLY WELL that the Colts' defense is still better than the Eagles', and that trading away all of your rookie running backs for Brian Westbrook in your keepers league is ultimately going to make you a very grumpy cookie down the line. Resist the panic: it's a long season. You don't want to spend the rest of it regretting a few foolhardy moves you made back in Week 2.

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3 Comments:
Anonymous Jonny Drama said...
Randy Moss should be good each week, but whoever benched him for Boldin did pretty good yesterday.

Blogger Starting Aces said...
I benched Bryant Johnson and bemoaned Rashard... but Jonathan Stewart certainly made me feel better.

Yeah, and Logan Payne is now injured too... while some of my predictions were proven inaccurate this weekend, though, I maintain that we must all stand strong in resisting the lure of Black Monday!