The Fantasy Football Playoffs began this week. Most of you are no doubt aware of this, and have been looking forward to having your roster’s performances really count. The rest of you either don’t play fantasy football (nerds!) or you gave up on your team a long time ago because of all the suckitude.
But now that we’re headed into the home stretch, we figure that we ought to pay tribute to the players that got us into the playoffs in the first place. Here, in GIF form, are tributes to some of the year’s fantasy studs:
Let us begin with Doug Martin. Just like IRL, fantasy is all about momentum, and nobody knows this better than the folks that own Mr. Martin in fantasy. The rookie had been averaging a good-but-not-great nine fantasy points per week before his bye. Since then, the dude has gone off, averaging a rather Bearodactyl-like 23 points since then:
Speaking of running backs, can we talk about Arian Foster? This fantasy season has been defined, in large part, by running back failure: guys got hurt, guys underperformed, guys suffered behind terrible offensive lines. But Foster, who most of you drafted pretty high, got bellcow carries all season and was basically just a rock, week in and week out:
Speaking of rocks (or similarly indestructible things), now’s a good time to give Adrian Peterson his due. After more or less destroying his knee at the end of last season, people weren’t exactly excited about AP’s prospects this season. Hell, there were folks who thought his career prospects were bleak at best. But the guy came back stronger than ever, and has been charging through gaps, arm tackles and naysayers like so:
There were really just a handful of guys who played at that kind of level all year, and if you had one of ’em on your roster, it imbued everybody with a sense of calm. Pretty much no matter what an opponent’s players came at you with, you were basically like:
Most of those guys were quarterbacks, and most of them – your Tom Bradys, your Aaron Rodgerses – were known quantities. But Peyton Manning, who was the subject of SO MUCH speculation that nobody quite knew where to take him in their drafts, ought to have been on this list too. Of course, before that Week One game against the Steelers was over, this was painfully obvious, and Manning owners across America celebrated thusly:
But let’s not get it twisted. Your big guns aren’t why you’re in the playoffs right now. The difference between making em and missing em is the little guys, the mid- to late-round picks that punched above their weight. Like James Jones, who was such a preposterously nice late-round pickup thanks to Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings’ injuries that it just defied description. Rather like this:
Jones was a beautiful third receiver to have for almost half the season, but there were plenty of one-week heroes this season too, yer Brian Hartlines, yer Justin Blackmons, yer Cecil Shortses, all those guys you’d grab on Wednesday on a whim and who’d proceed to just make you so. damn. proud:
We salute and congratulate you playoff contestants on your fantasy excellence, but don’t worry, the Rest of You: we haven’t forgotten. Next week, we’ll go over the folks that did you wrong.