Fantasy Football: The Agony Of Defeat
There are plenty of ways to lose your Fantasy week that will drive you crazy, but having a DST return two interceptions for touchdowns in the last five minutes of a game is a new one for me. That 14 points was enough to beat me. Not only that, but it’s probably also enough to eliminate me from the playoffs in that league unless I win out, something that looks unlikely at this point in time. Then again, these are the breaks when we play Fantasy Football. We don’t know how the games will shake out; weird, strange, and sometimes unfortunate things will happen, but that is why we love to play. We all have sad or horror stories. How many of us have missed the playoffs despite scoring the most points in your league? Maybe you lost because of that meaningless Hail Mary interception at the end of a game, or because when the winning team performs the victory formation, your quarterback took a couple of knees and therefore lost yardage. I could go on and on, but it’s these crushing defeats that make the victories taste all the sweeter.
[caption id="attachment_81956" align="alignright" width="300"] Ronnie Hillman, well, it was nice while it lasted. Photo Credit: Football Austria[/caption]
I almost had to laugh while watching the Browns’ game last Thursday. No, not because of the play of Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton (that was just sad), but because of how the Brownies decided to use their running backs. All week long I had been answering multiple questions about which RB to start, mainly in PPR leagues. It was an impossible question to answer. Tate is the free agent, who was considered to be the starter from Week 1. West was supposed to be the backup but fell out of favor, then back in again. Crowell was thought to possibly the most skilled of the bunch, but fumble problems had him in the doghouse up until Thursday. So how did the game go? West had the most touches, 26 compared to 12 for West and Crowell, but they each had similar Fantasy points, 15 for West, 13 for Tate, and 12 for Crowell. Good luck trying to play this game week in and week out.
Should the Bills have played WR Sammy Watkins and RB Fred Jackson yesterday? Watkins suffered a groin injury earlier in the week during practice, and although an MRI came back negative, he still didn’t practice Thursday or Friday. His stats Sunday: four receptions for 27 yards on 10 targets. Jackson was coming back from a groin injury that had seen him miss almost a month’s worth of action. He only had seven touches, three rushes for 10 yards and four receptions for 27 yards. Those are pretty obvious signs that neither of them was truly ready to play. What’s going to make life more difficult for Fantasy owners is what to do this week. Not only could you have a decision to make about starting either of the Bills, but you will have to make it quicker, as they play Thursday at Miami.
Sometimes when we analyze our options we come to the correct conclusion, but then the games are played and an incorrect result occurs. The Cowboys game in London yesterday was one of those games. I had Tony Romo ranked outside of my Top 12 QBs for the week. The logic was sound. He was coming off two broken bones in his back, had missed a game, Dallas has the best rushing offense in the league and they were playing the 1-8 Jags. There was no reason to start Romo, assuming you had a decent backup. Dallas would surely run the ball all day. As a matter of fact, the only Cowboys I was starting were RB DeMarco Murray and WR Dez Bryant (never sit your studs). So what happens? Romo looked fine and threw for three touchdowns and 247 yards, most of that in the first half. Live and learn.
The never sit your studs mantra can also be said for WR Calvin Johnson owners. They had to breathe a sigh of relief yesterday when their bell cow returned with seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. His lone score came when he was one on one with a DB in the end zone and QB Matthew Stafford just threw it up for Johnson, assuming he would make a play over the DB, and he did. He’s back.
What has happened to Ravens WR Steve Smith? He looked all world earlier this season but has now turned back into a pumpkin. The decline of one Smith has been good for the other Smith, however, as Torrey’s play has picked up of late. Torrey was never really having as bad a season as some had said early on. Sure, he wasn’t getting the catches, but part of that was because defenders were taking penalties to prevent him from making a big play. From this point forward it looks like Torrey will be the better play than Steve, but with Joe Flacco at the helm, neither one is anything more than a low end WR2.
Whereas Lamar Miller owners may have been burned with his performance yesterday due to a bum shoulder, Mark Ingram owners were not, as he once again rushed for over 100 yards even with his bad shoulder. Should you look to trade Ingram? I would certainly see what the market dictates his value is. Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas will be back shortly, and although neither is going to take the starting job from Ingram, they will eat into some of his touches. He would seem to be the definition of a sell high player.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became everyone’s must play yesterday and it’s once again hard to argue with this line of thinking. He had come off back to back games of throwing six touchdown passes and now was going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, the Jets. While he did still manage to throw for a boatload of yardage, turnovers ended up being his undoing. If not for a late coverage breakdown by the Jets that allowed an 80-yard bomb to WR Martavis Bryant, there would be quite a few angry Fantasy owners out there, myself being one of them.
I’m not sure what Tampa coach Lovie Smith is thinking by re-installing Josh McCown as the starting quarterback. What is the point? The season is over; they were 1-7 entering the game Sunday, so all that is really left is evaluating the players on the roster. Don’t the Bucs need to know if Mike Glennon is the QB of the future or not, or perhaps maybe that decision has already been made? This would also lead one to believe that RB Charlie Sims should get more and more carries as the season moves along to see if he can be the lead back next season.
Has the ankle injury to RB Ronnie Hillman opened the door for Montee Ball to take back the starting job? We had already been hearing rumors that the Broncos were unhappy with Hillman’s blocking and are worried he might get QB Peyton Manning killed. Still, he has been performing well when handed the rock. What could muddy the waters even further is that in Hillman’s absence, C.J. Anderson rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries. This all has to make you wonder why Ball wasn’t productive earlier this season when he had the starting job; everyone else has been productive. I’m feeling some kind of committee going forward.
The Cardinals can say over and over again how they are still a threat with QB Carson Palmer out for the season with a torn ACL, but the truth is their title hopes, and possibly those of quite a few Fantasy owners, have gone bye bye. Drew Stanton is a nice backup QB, but not someone you want starting for your Fantasy team, and if you hadn’t already dropped WR Michael Floyd, you can feel safe in doing so now, assuming you have another option on your roster or the waiver wire.
The Seahawks may have blown the Giants out yesterday but they still have some issues to work out. The main issue being what is wrong with QB Russell Wilson? Sure, he had a decent Fantasy day but that was because of his rushing ability (107 yards). His passing accuracy has taken a nose dive of late and it has coincided with the trade of WR Percy Harvin. This could just be a coincidence, but defenses did have to pay attention to Harvin, even if he was rarely more than anything but a decoy.
That was six touchdown passes Aaron Rodgers threw last night, in the first half. This was against the Bears in what is supposed to be one of the best rivalries in the NFL, yet the Bears just laid down like dogs, barely putting up a fight. It’s going to be next to impossible not to start just about any offensive player going up against Chicago for the remainder of the season.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz
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