FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary From The Edge: Week 13
Kevin Ratterree
November 26, 2013
 

Did you see the look on Peyton Manning’s face in the cold and windy conditions at Foxborough? It’s the same expression I have when I am outside in the middle of winter without a huge coat on. Miserable.

The Super Bowl could well be played in the same conditions. Cold. Windy. Nighttime. The location of the big game virtually assures Manning (should he get there) will face a handicap that he has rarely been able to overcome. Sorry Peyton. This may have been your last chance. Too bad the league didn’t opt for a reasonable weather locale for the biggest single annual event on this big blue marble.

But will Manning even get there? It seemed a given before what we saw Sunday night. But when Belichick gave Peyton Manning the ball in overtime, choosing the wind over possession of the ball, I think that was all the confirmation we needed. When the move paid off that was more confirmation than we needed.

Lex Luthor put the chained kryptonite necklace around Superman’s neck for the overtime. Helpless.

So basically if you thought you knew anything about how this whole thing is going to shake out, I think Sunday dinged those notions. The Patriots overcame a bizarre rash of boneheaded mistakes and slippery ball syndrome, to erase a 24 point deficit against the frontrunners. There haven’t been that many balls on the ground since they put in a steam-room down at the old-folks home. No problem.

The Chargers decided the Chiefs weren’t so badass, hit the jackpot when Hali and Houston left the game, and racked up 41 at Arrowhead. I’m dumping my stock in both those teams.
 
All this in a conference where a sub .500 team would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Hmm. Maybe a futures bet on the NFC to win the Super Bowl would be an appropriate consideration at this time. Of course, that is probably what we thought about this time last year.

I’ve done a lot of bitching about the new rules and their implementation this season. But watching the Missouri game Saturday, suddenly the answer to the problem hit me in the face, when Mizzou receiver Ladanian Washington took a direct helmet blow to his nuts. Crunch.

It was like the clouds parted, and the light consumed me. An epiphany. You can’t hit ’em high. You can’t hit ’em low. Hit ‘em square in the nuts. It’s perfectly legal. and it is one of the only areas you can tackle a quarterback. If you want to see the target area expanded, just let Tom Brady get his sack splattered on national television.

Little girls crying, men throwing up all across the land and what-not. I’m just saying. There are tragedies waiting to happen in all areas of the body. Let’s keep it real.

So we had a tie. I hate ties. I hate suits of all kinds, but ties send me over the edge. Aren’t we supposed to be better than soccer? Hell, even hockey figured it out and they don‘t have a clue.

Geez, I hate to say this. Because I just sound like a broken record. But I am going to blame the officials for this atrocity. The Packers opening drive of overtime was extended due to a “phantom” holding call. It was horrible. Yet another case of an official in a critical situation flagging what he “thinks” he sees instead of what he actually sees. That should have been a punt, and likely a different outcome. Sigh.

Okay so I am a little cranky. I only have one fantasy team left and now I have set out to sabotage it like the others. Like a reasonable person, I decided maybe the Patriots were putting Brandon Bolden on the back shelf. It certainly appeared so leading up to week 12. He was only my 4th RB, but I had a bye situation with Bernard, and a scratch situation with Sproles. So I swapped out Bolden for Fozzy Whittaker for an emergency start. Wow.

So Wittaker is trying to lasso 100 MPH passes at 10 feet away from the “touch-less” Weeden. Ball bouncing off his hands like ricochet bullets. I don’t know how many times he was targeted, but he had himself some sore hands on Monday morning, and me a lousy 3 points. Meanwhile Ridley fumbles his way into the dog-house, and Hoodie dusts off Bolden and makes him a star. Couldn’t have played out any worse if I had tried. A virtuoso in sewage.

And I’m not even going to bore you with the details of one Scotty Tolzien, nabbed off waivers for a plug-in start. Yank! Smooth move. I should buy myself an Ex-Lax T shirt just for Sundays.

Despite my efforts to blow any chance of winning, my opponent proved just as futile, and I went into Monday night 5 points up with my Morris against his Gore. Well, that turned out to be the battle of the tortoise against the tortoise. Amazingly, I still won the game, simultaneously knocking my opponent out of the playoffs. Yes, there is some poor bastard out there who got taken out by a moron in week 12. I can’t imagine the pain.

Some of you may be inclined to make wagers on this Thanksgiving holiday. That is, those of you who have not been wagering all season long, and still have a bankroll. I’m not much on giving gambling advice, but odds are you suck at it just as much as I do so why shouldn’t I share what I think I know for this holiday slate.

The first game up is the Lions and the Packers. Now this is a morning game for everybody west of the Mississippi. Some of you are a long way from eating yet. And the last thing you want to do is upset your stomach in advance of a large meal. This game is such a question mark, I don’t even have a number for it yet. But it doesn’t matter. You probably shouldn’t be betting this game.

Yeah, I could see why you would automatically want to bet the Lions in this spot, what with the Packers trying their 4th QB this season. But we are talking about the Lions here. Before you plunk down coin on the Lions, keep in mind they haven’t won even one of these turkey day games since 2003. Most of the time they haven’t been close. Are you really going to try to bust that streak? Along with their current losing streak? Against sub .500 teams? That would take some stones, I don‘t care if Errol Flynn is starting for the Pack. Packers + whatever

Next up is the Cowboys hosting the Raiders. Okay. This seems easy. The Cowboys are clearly a superior team, playing at home on a short week, coming off an inspiring win on the road. Everything looks rosy. Of course we all know this is when the wheels usually fall off.

Oh, I hear you out there. But Ratterree, it’s against the Raiders. We had this same game a few years ago and the Cowboys blew them out as expected. That was a rarity. The Cowboys are notoriously bad bets as a home favorite, and though I don’t have the numbers, I do know their record as a home favorite of 7 points or more is scarier than a “friend“ invitation from Richie Incognito . Both of these teams have been good against the spread this year with only 3 losses against the number each. Hard to believe but true. A tough call.
  
Will the Cowboys win? It seems extremely likely. Will they cover the massive 10 point spread? History tells us it is extremely unlikely. Go ahead and enjoy your ham with those stupid pineapple slices on it, secure in the knowledge someone else, and not you gives a damn how this game turns out. Raiders +10

And finally the night-cap, an AFC showdown between the Ravens and the Steelers. If you want the home favorite Ravens you have to drop 3 and the hook. Usually when I see 3 ½ I’m thinking, “yeah, they are just begging me to take those points. But why would they beg me to take points against a team as offensively inept as the Ravens? Let me tell you, I think the best play on this game may be the under. A typical Thursday night stinker. Under 40 1/2

The perfect environment to drift off in your easy chair, and make a few bucks while you sleep, and dream sweet dreams about all the charges your wife is racking up, now that the retailers finally figured out they could get at her money a day earlier. God bless America.

Misery Index

10) Packers: Tolzien got pulled at halftime, I think partially because of the last play of the 1st half. The Packers needed about a 15 yard pass plus and out of bounds to get a chance at a field goal. Tolzien takes a look and decides to tuck it and run, giving his team no chance to convert. Hero. So now it is likely Matt Flynn on a Thanksgiving day showdown with the Lions. This could end as badly as sampling the green bean casserole from the relatives with 3 dogs, 4 cats, a couple of ferrets, and a monkey running around the house.

9) Rams: After beating down two opponents in a row, you are 5-6. In the AFC that would make you a playoff contender. How fortunate you are in the NFC. I have a question. Salary-wise, how much less is Clemens than Bradford? Just curious. No reason. Just asking.

8) Raiders: I don’t know if it is more sad that you were playing for the 6 seed position, or that you couldn’t figure out a way to get it done against a team that inexplicably still allows Kenny Britt on the football field.

7) Browns: Last week I spent an inordinate amount of space on the “Brees clothesline incident.” And then this week I watched Jason Campbell get punched in the face by a defender. He lost the ball, and the Steelers, rather than facing a 15 yard penalty, recovered the fumble and drove down the field for the touchdown that was pretty much the final nail in the Browns coffin. But Drew Brees is a star, and people were actually watching that Saints game, so it was a totally different situation I suppose.

6) Giants: Oh, okay. So it was the pathetic string of second stringers and first timers you faced that led to your brief disappearance from this tribute to the turds. You had us all worried for a second. Go back to your losing and failing to complete passes to Victor Cruz. Bastards.

5) Redskins: So let’s revisit the trade. The Rams have Zac Stacy, Michael Brockers, and Janoris Jenkins, and what appears to be a very juicy 2014 draft pick. The Redskins have the same problem they have had since Theismann’s leg went snap. And no first round 2014 pick. And now you are going to have to fire the coach, and pay a boatload of money to convince some other coach to come in and let RGIII undermine his authority for awhile. Happy holidays!

4) Falcons: How ironic it is that Gonzo sidestepped the Chiefs horrific 2 win season last year only to meet the same fate himself in this one. I need to get in a fantasy league with that dude. He’s my kind of people.

3) Vikings: Congratulations! You didn’t lose to the shell of what used to be the Packers. All you need is a huge handicap and you can get right in there and scrap with ’em. Good for you. I hate ties. I usually just spin the loaf and tuck the end of the wrapper under the bread. The wife gets pissed. But I figure the toilet lid was compromise enough though, don’t you?
 
2) Jaguars: I have to tell you, I thought the one win was going to be it. Luckily you found a more pathetic wretch than yourself to abuse right in your own backyard. It’s like a trailer park love story.

1) Texans: “We suck” were the post-game words of Andre Johnson. We concur. Welcome to rock bottom. You overcame huge odds to get here, so while your record may not be the stuff of Misery Index legend, your journey of underachievement to get here is certainly noteworthy, and one for which we can all give thanks. We are also thankful that you are not on any of the Thanksgiving games, as we would hate to have our children negatively influenced by witnessing you suck.


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