Play Spoiler, and Bryce Brown in All Leagues
It was because of spite. A former friend/acquaintance, let’s call him Mark, screwed me over just out of spite and to have fun at my expense.
It was 2005. Doesn’t sound that long ago? Well, George W. Bush was in the first year of his second term, Harry Potter had yet to defeat “he who shall not be named” in the books, and Eminem was topping the charts with Encore. It was also the fall when Microsoft released their new gaming system, the Xbox 360!
Being in my 20s at the time, I was much heavier into video games, Halo LAN parties and other all-night gaming sessions were a regular occurrence. Of course, that meant I headed to my local Electronics Boutique (remember them?) to preorder my console months ahead of time. EBGames had actually limited preorders, so I instead went 20 feet across the mall walkway to GameStop. Yes, there was a GameStop and EBGames straight across from each other! I put down my 50 bucks and smiled as I received my preorder receipt.
Well, one week before I was supposed to pick up my 360 at midnight on launch day, GameStop called to say they ran into supply issues and only about 20 units would be available at launch. I was 31st on the list. Say what?! I was 20 (something) years old, and I always love having the latest tech toys (yes, I own a 3DTV and the newest iPhone). I wasn't sure what to do at that point.
Impatient, I decided I’d be one of the crazies outside of BestBuy to wait in line and get one at launch, then just sell the other one on eBay. It’s too bad Mark heard through the ol’ grapevine about this and decided he would do the same, even though he made the cut over at EBGames. However, I didn’t know about this until afterwards – that he thought it would be hilarious if he possibly beat me to one that morning…
I woke up at 2am the day of the release, drove to BestBuy and found many more people in line than I expected, 66 to be exact. I know the exact number because the blue-shirted employee wrote 67 on my hand. Hours later (around 5:45am) a lady asked for our attention. “Thank you all for your excitement over the Xbox 360 release. We want to let you know that we have 65 systems available. Everyone in line might not be purchasing one, so you shouldn’t leave if you are close, but that is all we were allotted.”
Sixty.stinkin.five. Two less than I needed to ensure mine. And, to tell us “not everyone might purchase one” was just idiotic corporate nonsense to keep shoppers in line. What else would people be there for? So, I left. After three-plus hours in the cold, I headed home with no shot at a 360 until my delayed system arrived.
Later that day, a friend of that former acquaintance called to see if I got one at BestBuy. “Nope! I missed it by two,” I tell him. He replies, “What?! No way! Two? Please tell me you’re kidding!” “I’m not. Got there at 2am and was number 67.” “Duuuude. Mark went with his dad, brother and his dad's friend and they all bought one. He’s just going to resell them, but he was about 15th in line and thought it’d be funny if he got an extra one, and you didn’t get one at all. I won’t tell him though.” Let's just say I can’t legally type out what I said next.
So, I was cheated out of fun just because someone got their kicks from screwing me over. But wait, isn’t that what Fantasy Football is about during this time of the season? For more than half of the owners, the season is over. Playoffs are a forgotten dream. However, the fun isn’t done. We’ve all been fighting to make the playoffs, struggling to get every win that we can, only to see a 2-10 team put up their best effort to give us a crushing loss and even knock us out of the playoffs.
Admit it though; when you’ve been the 2-10 team, you know that you have enjoyed playing the role of spoiler. Why is that? Is it because we’re all as cruel and spiteful as Mark? Nah. We’ve just all felt the sting from a bottom-feeding team, and that makes it somewhat rewarding to do the same to someone else.
That’s why you don’t bail on your team now. Keep making waiver moves, put together the best team you can, and maybe – just maybe – you can spoil a team’s chances at the playoffs. If nothing else, don’t be the deadbeat team who leaves injured or demoted players starting for you. A cheap win for playoff contenders is no less aggravating; we’ve all been there too. But, in truth, being the backbreaker is a lot more fun, so go for it! Even create your own victory dance when you win.
ACES IN THE HOLE (Guaranteed a Good Week): Cam Newton, CAR; Arian Foster, HOU; Dez Bryant, DAL – That was the type of performance Cam can dish out any given week, and it’s why his draft price was so high. It’s just too bad games like that have been few and far between in 2012... Hi, my name is Arian Foster, I’m the best RB in Fantasy; I think we’ve met... Like Cam, Dez has the talent to do this more often than not, but inconsistency will continue to keep him from locked-in WR1 status.
RIVER RAT (Surprising Top Performances): Eli Manning, NYG; Bryce Brown, PHI; Chris Givens, STL – This is only somewhat surprising if you follow me (here or @allinkid, or even hear me on Sirius/XM with Scott Engel and Adam Ronis). I called for a bounce-back week for Eli and the GMen, yet some still doubted. Bet they don’t doubt the bye week was a welcomed sight for both... We knew Bryce had talent, but not one person expected Week 12’s leading RB to be LeSean McCoy’s replacement... Hard not to be surprised by a Rams WR not named Danny Amendola and one that had one FP in the previous week.
GUT SHOT (Let Everyone Down): Carson Palmer, OAK; Marshawn Lynch, SEA; Randall Cobb, GB – Not only was Palmer in the Top 10 for QBs, he was facing his former team, which seems to up the ante for most players. Too bad Palmer posted his worst Fantasy Point (FP) total of the year... Sure, the Dolphins are strong against the run, but Lynch ran through a much tougher 49ers defense earlier this year... The Giants secondary is one of the weakest in the league; meaning Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb should have had a field day. Nelson had one big-play TD, but Cobb was nowhere to be found – mainly because the Giants defensive line hounded Aaron Rodgers all day.
Breakdown: Hold ‘Em – start them and/or players I like more than most rankings have them. Fold ‘Em – outright sit them; don’t consider them start-worthy in standard-sized leagues. Bluffs – still start them, but I like them less than most rankings and they will disappoint.
Robert Griffin, WAS (NYG) – My Ranking 6: Two things about the Giants defensive performance last week: they had Kenny Phillips back, and they were all over Aaron Rodgers. Two things about the Giants defense this week: Phillips aggravated his MCL injury and won’t play, and that is significant because it severely weakens their three-safety setup. Second, and more importantly, RG3 already proved he could run away from the entire Giants defense. He also notched 22 FP in the first meeting and has just three games under 21 FP on the season. I wish I could have ranked him higher.
Eli Manning, NYG (@WAS) – MR 9: The Redskins pass defense can’t stop anyone. They just let Tony Romo throw for 441 yards and finish with 27 FP in a game where Miles Austin left early due to injury. Manning threw for 337 yards last time, and he looked fresh and back on track after the bye in the win over Green Bay. He’s back to must-start status.
C.J. Spiller, BUF (JAX) – MR 6: Apparently, the Bills want to increase Fred Jackson’s share again. This team continues to baffle the mind.
Even with Buffalo limiting one of the NFL’s most explosive RBs, it won’t stop Spiller from posting big numbers against Jacksonville. Spiller has three straight weeks of 10-plus FP with an average of 121.3 combined yards per game, and that’s on just 53 touches – good for a 6.9 YPT clip!
Bryce Brown, PHI (@DAL) – MR 15: Only one team hasn’t seen their RBs reach the end zone versus the Cowboys since Week 4, and that was Cleveland who still had Trent Richardson rack up 144 total yards. The Cowboys have allowed seven running back TDs in the other six games and an average 16.6 FPPG since Week 4. With LeSean McCoy likely out again, Brown should dazzle us once more.
Beanie Wells, ARZ (@NYJ) – MR 24: I know, I know. He’s always a risk to get hurt… even one play into the game. However, the Jets allow the sixth most FPPG to RBs (18.6 per game) and have only held two teams (PIT and IND) under 101 rushing yards. They’ve also allowed 10 rushing TDs, and as seen, Wells can still find the end zone with two scores last week. Given the RB landscape, it’s hard not to like Wells as a solid Flex option.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG (@WAS) – MR 7: Due to an injury, and his long road back to 100 percent, Nicks took nine weeks to reach and eclipse his one-game total in Week 2. That said, Nicks has 14 catches, 152 yards and a score over the past two games. One of those games was prior to Eli reinvigorating himself with a week off. As mentioned earlier, Washington can’t stop the passing game, and that means Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are in store for a nice Week 13.
Cecil Shorts, JAX (@BUF) – MR 18: What does it say about you when Chad Henne is a significant upgrade at QB? I tried to tell people Blaine Gabbert wouldn’t be any good when he came out of college. If only more had listened. In fact, I said, “Too often, Gabbert gets ‘happy feet’ and is rattled under pressure.” In spite of that, Shorts put up good numbers before the QB change and now has great numbers with Henne at the helm. Buffalo has allowed a WR TD in all but two games and has let five teams top 20 FP. Rock some Shorts, even in November!
Ryan Broyles, DET (IND) – MR 27: You ever get that feeling after you’ve said something and everyone just stares at you? Like you said something outlandish, and everyone disagrees? That’s sort of how I feel right now.
The point is... why don’t more people like Broyles this week? Sure, Titus Young returned to practice, but the Lions are still on record saying his demotion is real, and that Broyles is the new starter opposite Calvin Johnson. On top of that, the Colts allow the fifth most FPPG to WRs and have let four teams top 30 FP! One just missed at 29 (JAX). After 12 targets, six catches and 126 yards against a strong Houston pass D last week, seriously, how can we not like Broyles as a WR3?
Aaron Hernandez, NE (@MIA) – MR 5: Hernandez looked a bit less than 100 percent last week, but he now has some extra rest and still no Rob Gronkowski to deal with. The Dolphins are a middle-of-the-pack defense against the TE, and that’s with only facing one real top-end threat: Owen Daniels in Week 1. Hernandez busted up the Dolphins for 103 yards and a TD last season and is a good bet to match those numbers.
Dallas Cowboys (PHI) – MR 9: The Eagles are allowing the third most FPPG to opposing defenses and gave up 23 to Dallas just three weeks ago. That was also the game where Nick Foles took over for Michael Vick due to injury. Even if Bryce Brown plays like he did last week, the Eagles are too limited without DeSean Jackson and too turnover prone (second in the league only to the Chiefs with 27 turnovers).
Russell Wilson, SEA (@CHI) – MR 26: Let’s try this again. I wasn’t a fan of Wilson’s last week given his poor yardage numbers all year, but he found a way to have a respectable day with two more TDs. That won’t happen against Chicago. Why? The Bears have allowed just 10 passing TDs all year and just four in all six home games. I feel safe betting strongly against another solid Wilson Fantasy day.
Pittsburgh RBs not named Jonathan Dwyer – and maybe not even him (@BAL) – MR 32/45/46: So now it’s back to Dwyer being the starter, and the team claims he’ll see the majority of the work? Are the Steelers just throwing darts to come up with gameplans now?
Just recently, we were hearing Mendenhall would lead the way once back. So, after a game with eight RB fumbles, one lost by Mendy, Dywer and Isaac Redman each, we’re to believe Dwyer is the man in Pittsburgh? Let’s just say he really is. The Ravens defense has stepped it up again with an average of just 11.8 total FPPG to team RBs the last four weeks, and we know Dwyer won’t carry the ball 22-plus times like in each of those games. Forget Mendy and Redman, and if you can, do the same with Dwyer.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, ARZ (@NYJ) – MR 49: Where I like Beanie, I certainly don’t like “The Hyphen.” Wells was supposed to be eased back into the gameplan, but LSH was held to one carry due to some sore ribs… and it cemented the changing of the guard back to Beanie. LSH would be lucky to touch the ball five times this week, and that includes the special teams opportunities.
Andre Roberts, ARZ (@NYJ) – MR 53: I wasn’t a fan of Roberts last week with Ryan Lindley at QB, and even after 92 yards, I still am not. I just don’t seeing the Cards A) letting Lindley throw the ball 52 times again, B) the Jets allowing the Cardinals offense much time to pass, and C) Roberts being able to haul in 69.2 percent of his targets again. Seriously, some of those Lindley passes seemed as though he was blind folded and spun around in preparation for a pinning a tail on a donkey.
Chris Givens, STL (SF) – MR 56: I simply can’t recommend a WR who caught four balls for 19 yards and then five for 115 and a score, especially not against the 49ers. Givens is as “boom or bust” as they come and only Amendola topped three catches against the 49ers the first time. Feel free risking Givens, but I always get queasy asking for a hit with a Four-Two-Nine on the table (see what I did there? Four-T-Nine-rs? Yea, not that funny if I have to explain it, huh?).
Scott Chandler, BUF (JAX) – MR 24: I feel as though I say this every year, and yet owners continually ask me about Chandler. I even mentioned this same fact earlier this year. Chandler relies on TDs way too much for Fantasy worth. Without a TD catch, Chandler has not topped three FP this season. THREE. In addition, 46.2 percent of his entire FP total is due to TDs. You can’t rely on that ratio. In fact, the Jags have only let one team score via the TE all year, and in the rest of their games, they’ve held team TEs to six FP or less.
Buffalo Bills (JAX) – MR 18: Remember, these aren’t the Blaine Gabbert Jaguars anymore. In fact, the Jaguars forced the Texans defense into a negative four-point performance two weeks ago, and that defense is worlds better than Buffalo’s is. Find your Week 13 defense elsewhere.
Jay Cutler, CHI (SEA) – MR 24: I could have easily slid Cutler in alongside Russell Wilson, and if you read Given Up, you know why. The Seahawks allow just 10.8 FPPG to QBs and seven of their opponents haven’t cracked double-digits. Add in the fact that Matt Forte is likely out, and you have a situation where Cutler will be asked to do too much against a defense that is too good.
Vick Ballard, IND (@DET) – MR 36: At least 12 or more carries in six straight games. Okay, good. Four of those games were with Donald Brown playing. Alright, better. Just an average of 60 rushing YPG? And boom goes the dynamite.
The Colts just don’t run enough, and Ballard doesn’t do enough with his chances, especially score – his lone TD came via the pass. On top of that, only four teams have topped 12 FP for their RBs, and they include Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. Ballard would be lucky to carry any of their… well, you know.
Packers RBs (MIN) – MR 40/44: The Packers just don’t run the ball much or that well. Green Bay has the 20th most rush attempts in the league and is tied for 23rd at 3.8 YPA. Not only that, when it comes to goal line rushing, many times it’s Aaron Rodgers or John Kuhn getting the opportunity. Forget about James Starks and Alex Green. If the Packers are going to beat the Vikings, it’ll be via the pass.
Jeremy Kerley, NYJ (ARZ) – MR 46: Hey Jeremy, Mark Sanchez is your QB. Enough said. Okay, well that and the Arizona pass defense is a decent group, and you haven’t found the end zone since Week 3.
Kenny Britt, TEN (HOU) – MR 47: It’s truly disappointing when one of your draft values disappoints so immensely. All we needed for Britt to explode was Britt to be healthy. Well, either that hasn’t happened completely, or it’s more than that. Britt has one game with over eight FP, and it may be the one game where he flashed a bit of his big-play ability. Oh, how I miss the late 2010 season and early 2011 version of Britt. Where have you gone?!
Dwayne Allen, IND (@DET) – MR 25: Coby Fleener is back, and while Allen has taken the lead role at TE, he didn’t score once with Fleener out and totaled just 19 FP in those four games.
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