- Tim Hasselbeck, NFL
A major theme in the NFL for as long as I can remember is that not everything is as it seems at first glance in preparation for the season. A particular story from my playing days comes to mind.
I had always worn No. 8; it was a number that had some sentimental value to me, and it's the number my brother also wore. You could definitely say that I was attached to that number.
Well, heading into my second season with the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs was coming back to the team as the head coach. Any time there's a head-coaching change, you know there are going to be some personnel changes too, but I was pretty sure I was on good terms with the new staff for what they wanted to do in 2004.
The team ended up signing Mark Brunell, and I understood the decision -- Brunell had played a long time, he'd been a good player and had been ousted from his starting job in Jacksonville in kind of a weird way. No one needed to call me to explain things. I got it.
Fast-forward to the news conference, and all of a sudden, there's Brunell holding up a No. 8 Redskins jersey. My No. 8! Maybe the new coaching staff didn't feel all that great about me, after all.
In the end, we had a conversation and worked things out, and Mark actually became a good friend of mine. But I'll never forget the feeling I had when I saw that someone else had taken my number (and my spot).
What I'm seeing
Looking back to the preseason, there was a certain class of quarterback that we put into the pile of high-level fantasy QBs -- guys such as Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, etc. Meanwhile, there was another group that was more of a middle class, guys who would be good second starters in two-QB leagues, or bye-week fill-ins.
That second group included Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Andrew Luck. Despite his performance last season, there was a lot of apprehension about Luck this season. Instead, he has pretty much taken over a spot in that top-flight group; while he hasn't taken anyone's jersey number, he definitely has bumped a lot of players down the fantasy rankings.
This season, Luck has really had only one bad outing, and that was the San Diego game where everyone on Indy's roster had a bad game. Even without Reggie Wayne, Luck has found a way to perform well. From what he has shown on tape, he's just that good.
ESPN Insider Tim Hasselbeck runs through what he's seeing, what he's hearing and what he's thinking for Week 10 of the fantasy football season.