Seizing on player value spikes

Michael Crabtree (left) has the potential to make a lot of fantasy owners happy. AP Photo/Kevin Terrell

The whole controversy involving Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's stepping on the field last week (Was it on purpose? Was it not on purpose?) got me thinking about a situation I found myself in back with the New York Giants.

To set the scene: It was Jan. 7, 2007, and we were in the wild-card game against Philly. The night before each game, Tom Coughlin would give us a rundown of the officiating crew, whether they were more lenient on holding or pass interference, etc., but also if they had a tendency to call certain unusual types of penalties that were rare.

Pete Morelli and his crew were assigned to the game, and Coughlin mentioned in the meeting that they'd called bench-misconduct penalties for players standing too close to the white stripe in the past. So the message was clear: Stay off the field!

Well, during the game, I'm talking to someone about the previous play or what we're going to do next, and I'm quite engaged in the conversation. All of a sudden, I realize I'm standing on the sideline. A moment later, an official literally runs into me.

I'm panicking at that point; I don't know whether I should cry, vomit or just go back to the locker room and start taking my gear off. I head over to the bench to try to hide out a bit, because I know Coughlin is going to be furious. Well, Coughlin comes marching over toward me, and I was right about his emotional state. He absolutely annihilated me!

The point here -- as we start the fantasy football playoffs in many leagues this week -- is to pay attention. And what I mean by that is you need to check out which players are playing really well right now, have a great situation and can maybe step in for a guy on your roster who's injured (or not playing well as of late). You made it this far, which is great, but sometimes you need to make the final tweaks to push you over the top.

What I'm seeing

Some folks out there clearly aren't paying attention, because Michael Crabtree is owned in only 23.9 percent of ESPN leagues. I know a lot of teams are out already, but that still seems like a really low number to me, even for a guy who's just getting back.