FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary From The Edge: Week 10
Kevin Ratterree
November 5, 2013
 

I was a skinny kid whose father had a penchant for changing addresses about once a year. I was the “new kid” a lot in my young life. I know about “hazing” and being the new guy. And in our own way, most of us have encountered bullying in our lives. I have encountered bullies in my life. And still do to this day.

But most of us learn to cope with the bully. To in effect “punch him square in the face” and find the depths of his convictions to be lacking. When I was a kid, if I couldn’t joke my way out of a situation, I eventually learned confrontation was sometimes necessary. I realized early in life nobody was going to fight my battles. Sometimes you must confront the bully to quiet him. Most bullies don’t really want trouble. They just want control. I overcame. Some are not so well equipped.

Richie Incognito was one of those not so well equipped. Incognito had a similar static lifestyle as a child, but instead of the new “skinny kid” he was the new “fat kid.” His coping mechanism was obtained from an “old school” father that prodded Incognito to become the bully, rather than being bullied. That is an option when you are much larger than everyone else.

Every kid probably had an Incognito around at some point. I don’t know Richie Incognito, but I don’t need to. I know his game. Chromosomes all out of whack or some such deficiency.

But Incognito isn’t the only real issue here. The real issue is a locker room full of guys that allowed Baby Huey to ply his terrorism. Incognito can’t really help himself. He is a defective and broken human being. We may be drawn to hate him, indeed I have hated him for years simply because I always thought he was a player with very limited ability who survived on dirty play. The football version of hockey’s “goon.” An irritant to inflict on opponents.  And paid handsomely for his imitation of an actual football player.

But when the irritant is directed inward at one’s own teammate? The Miami Dolphins and their locker room devoid of leadership is the real culprit here. They all knew better. But mob rules. So throw some disdain their way while you are barbecuing the meathead Incognito. Teams police themselves. Well, real teams do.  Winning teams do.

Joe Philbin tried to talk tough in his presser yesterday. Too bad his team wasn’t privy to his thoughts on the subject prior to the implosion. Tannehill wouldn’t be facing the prospect of weekly beatings behind a nonexistent offensive line.

I think I saw a feature on NFLN early this season featuring Incognito and how he had “changed” and “matured” and finally become a real football player instead of depending on stepping on opponents hands, pulling facemasks, twisting sacks at the bottom of the pile, and targeting knees and gouging eyeballs at every opportunity.  I didn’t buy it. I make it a policy to disregard any comments from the mouth of a sociopath.

When queried is September by Andrew Siciliano as to whether his teammates were buying it, Incognito said his teammates had seen his growth. “As long as my teammates are happy, and my coaches are happy, then I’m happy.”  

Richie, one of your teammates is not happy. Well, former teammates. Too bad you played this card, I was anxiously awaiting hating you as a TV analyst, rather than pitying you as the bitch of some inmate. Sorry sports networks. My crystal ball tells me he’s probably going to be taken. 

Isn’t it fitting that in a season like this, where we wake up in a new world every Sunday morning, the backup quarterback for the Eagles ties the record for TDs in a game. And that huge pile of fantasy points falls harmlessly to the ground on benches and waiver wires across the land. Barely a blip on the fantasy radar.

Outside of 16 team leagues or two QB leagues, Nick Foles and his 50 points were not a part of the equation. I actually had picked up Riley Cooper a few weeks ago as a speculative add, but left him on the bench because I just didn’t trust him against the Raiders. Not yet said I.  Why the hell would I?

I keep sniffing around “right” this season, and then end up doing wrong. Rostering Riley Cooper in an almost telepathic vision of some future value? Right. Benching him in favor of Ted Ginn based on a perceived matchup? Gut wrenchingly wrong. Another single roster decision that could in itself keep me out of the playoffs. Why do I continue to plot against myself with logic and thinking?

In any case, the Eagles offensive explosion was mostly muted and inconsequential, which fits in perfectly with this madhouse known as the NFL.

Honestly I think it takes a fair amount of talent to win this season, but luck will be needed. More so than usual I mean. There is just no sure footing. I am not absolutely positively sure about anything in this 2013 season. Very unsettling waking up in a new world every Sunday. They had a show like that. It was called the Twilight Zone.

For instance, Andre Johnson owners. Yeah, he has been a decent enough pick this season. But with Keenum behind center AJ owners are now in overdrive. Sleepy little AJ team looks to make life miserable for someone. Boom. New quarterback. New receiver. Dude actually scores touchdowns it turns out. Who knew?

When leagues are running tight like many are, streaky players like AJ will make the difference. Great timing for his owners who may have been feeling somewhere between uneasy and grim just a couple of weeks ago. You have to like the way Keenum looks. Another QB to consider on the wire. He almost got the Chiefs on the road, and made a mockery of the Colts in the first half. Dynasty alert.

And terrible timing for Darren Sproles owners who were already suffering through sub-par stats from the diminutive one. Bump Graham. (oh my God!) Bump Pierre Thomas. Bump Lance Moore. Do not bump Ingram. Well, go ahead and bump him.  But don't start him.   

We have a situation in fantasy right now that could shape the playoffs. I mentioned earlier the Eagles explosion, and the fact that the main stars in Sundays show were on the waiver wire. Poo-poo if you must Nick Foles and Riley Cooper as a flukes. But do so knowing the past of football lore. Their names were Billy Volek and Drew Bennett. Never heard of them? They led me to an unlikely 6th seed Championship in 2004. They are the stuff of fantasy football legend.  Waiver wire gods.

Over a 3 week period during the fantasy playoffs these previously unknowns destroyed the league.

Volek hit Bennett 28 times for 517 yards and 8 touchdowns. Billy Volek set a record for most passing yards ever in his first 7 starts. Neither were ever heard from again.

Some will probably tell you to pull in the reins on these guys, (Foles and Cooper) that they are unlikely to repeat this performance. And that most certainly is true. But if you are looking for a lifeline at QB, I think you have to roll the dice on Foles right now. (Aaron Rodgers owners - I am talking to you) And if you are looking for a receiver, I see no reason you shouldn’t plug in Cooper as long as Foles is behind center. 

And if you need neither of them I would think long and hard about blocking any potential threats in your league from obtaining them, if that is your game. These guys have a creampuff playoff schedule, so if preventing opponents from kicking your ass in the playoffs is of interest to you, you might feel safer come December with these guys on your roster.

Foles is the potential lifeline for every desperate Rodgers owner, followed closely by Keenum. Two ready-made replacements with high ceilings. You can’t get much more fortunate than to lose Rodgers on this week in particular.  The irreplaceable player for the Packers may be replaceable for your fantasy team.

Am I telling you to go break the bank on these guys? Depends on your situation. But in a season as crazy as this one has been, it would be foolish to discount these guys going on a tear. If you are hanging on by your fingertips, and need to hit one out of the park, why wouldn’t you try to catch a ride on a pair of Eagles that appear to be taking flight?

If they flame out next week we never had this talk. Hell, I’m trying to figure out how to pump my stones up big enough to actually start Cooper. So don’t listen to my chicken ass. All I am saying is I don’t really give much fantasy advice in this column, with so many other writers here to cover that. But just in case some of them aren’t as enthusiastic as I am, I thought I would bang the drum. Get these guys. I am as absolutely positive of it as I am of anything in the 2013 season!  

What’s John Fox say? Aaaaaarggggghhhhhhhh!  Aaaaaarggggghhhhhhhh! Aaaaaarggggghhhhhhhh!

Too soon? Yeah. Too soon.

Misery Index

10) Giants: While you were off feeling good about yourselves, everyone else in the division woke up and ran away from you losers. But let’s get real. Even your sorry asses could still sweep the division. Here, you have another fresh running back. Try not to break this one.

9) Dolphins: Some players take young players under their wing. Other players kick young players to the bottom of the birdcage and shit on them. I’m guessing Tannehill didn’t feel comfortable enough as a team leader to keep his offensive line from imploding? He is going to be extremely uncomfortable with 700 pounds of humanity piled on his chest after being pile-drove into the turf repeatedly for the next 7 weeks. He’ll not be so afraid to speak up next time. Assuming he can still speak I mean.
 
8) Ravens: On the Sunday Countdown show, Ray Lewis predictably predicted a Ravens victory. “We don’t lose after a bye.” Lewis said confidently. I guess we just ain’t who we used to be.  

7) Bills: The Chiefs were just hanging around waiting for you to hand them the game, and I’ll be damned if you didn’t. But Spiller is back, and E.J. is coming back now. Give him a few weeks to shake off the rust and we will be right back on track to wherever the hell we were headed. Oh yeah. 6-10.

6) Raiders: Okay, so a few weeks from now you may just be remembered for being the first victim of the legendary Foles to Cooper express. But until we get confirmation of that, you are just a rare, sad victim of the dregs of the NFC East. Next dreg: NY Giants. If you make Foles look like Manning, who the hell are you going to make Manning look like? Manning I‘m guessing?

5) Texans: I have to admit, I dozed off about halfway through the third quarter. I woke up near the end of the game to find that the Texans had done the same. “What the hell happened?” I wondered. Then the TV cameras showed a dejected Wade Phillips walking off the field, and it all made sense. Déjà vu. 

4) Falcons: Gather round o’ Roddy White owners and rejoice. For here in week 10 Roddy White is allegedly healthy-ish and ready to contribute. Of course we all thought that when we wasted an early draft pick on him, damning our teams to eternal hell-fire. But he’s back and ready to face those double covers now. And it probably doesn’t matter because our teams are in about the same shape as the Falcons. But it’s great to have him back anyway. Pardon me if I wait a week to start him. Maybe three.
 
3) Vikings: You took a semi-tough team that plays down to its competition to the wall on the road, and almost pulled off a win, save for allowing a length of the field game-winning drive. Jerra would call that a moral victory. So congratulations on that.

2) Buccaneers: You guys did a hell of an impression of a football team in that first half at Seattle. Kind of like the Jags did up there as well. It’s almost like the Seahawks take you horrible teams as some kind of joke. Let you think you have a chance, like a cat that lets a wounded mouse drag his wounded carcass a few feet away before yawing, stretching, and gutting it. 

1) Jaguars: I understood the potential of drafting Justin Blackmon in the 10th round. I also understood the risks. Apparently Blackmon is more into risk than potential.


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