FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary From The Edge: Week 15
Kevin Ratterree
December 10, 2013
 

Have you ever been in a relationship where you seem to give more than you receive? And for a while that is fine, because you really love this person, and you are willing to sacrifice little pieces of yourself to make it work. But after a period of time, resentment begins to set in. You are in an unhealthy relationship. You aren’t getting what you need to continue on. You wonder if it is all worth it.

That is kind of how I feel about fantasy football right now. I have a terrible problem. I am addicted to a substance that is harmful to me. I am in an unhealthy relationship with my drug of choice, fantasy football.

No, I haven’t mortgaged my future flooding entries into major contests, looking for a big score. I would be foolish to even try with the well funded fantasy football corporations out there such as former attorney turned fantasy lottery player, Chris Banks.

I feel that I am a very good player. I am not interested in playing with those that are not. Because let me tell you something. Losing to a perennial basement dweller in fantasy football is a real ego-masher. This has happened to me in my keeper league. Just this weekend. My dreadful, frustrating, hair-pulling, teeth gnashing, would have thrown a hammer through the wall if I didn’t hate drywall repair so much, loser of a season is over. At the hands of a guy that actually uses “Losers” as the name of his team. The Losers smacked me like the ugly stripper that tries too hard, smacks her grim reaper tatted ass. The final insult, to an emasculating season.

That’s right, I said emasculating. I have a foolish notion. I feel like I should win once in a while. I’m not in this to donate to the likes of the “professional” fantasy players with their piles of money and enormous egos. I am supposed to be taking their money. Robin-Hood style. That’s what the script said anyway.

When I discovered Chris Banks was entering 230 teams in the FFPC Players Championship, there was one thing of which I was certain. He wouldn’t be stuffing his coffers with my league entry fee. And he didn’t. Some other guy did. But Banks out-drafted me. And did make the playoffs in my league. And has teams littered across the championship round. This newbie to the format. But how?

Well the simple answer would be superior drafting. Julius Thomas for him. Andre Brown, Roddy White and Marques Colston for me. But beyond that, he had an advantage I could never have gained, and that is having participated in several of these drafts already late in the summer before our draft occurred. He knew exactly where he needed to draft Julius Thomas, while I foolishly thought I could get him later. I guessed wrong. Banks didn’t need to guess. Without him I had not a prayer, and with him Banks hung with the leaders most of the way.

But in the end, the fact is that I had a bead on Thomas, and I gambled that I could get him cheaper. It is that gamblers, gunslinger mentality that doomed me. I am a cheapskate at heart. It is a thrill for me to be greedy and snatch up just one last player before I move on my sleeper pick. But it is sometimes at that moment a season is doomed. I was crestfallen when I saw Thomas go off the board. I was mortified when the season unfolded and the full scope of my mistake became apparent.

Do you know how much I wanted to throw a hammer through the wall on Sunday when Roddy White and Marques Colston mocked me with the kind of performances I foolishly expected when I drafted them? With all the information we have at our fingertips, still none of us really knew what was up with Roddy White in the preseason. I have been blindsided in similar ways over the last few seasons, but that one was positively brutal. The increasing skullduggery is yet another barrier to a reasonable expectation when building a team.

I play in those big national contests, because a) I invest enough time in the hobby, that I want substantial reward if I win. b) I think the level of competition in these contests is very good, Most people don’t spend several hundred dollars on an entry fee just to say they are in a league. c) I like the randomness of being thrown in with a group of 11 other players I don’t know, and don’t know me.

But the odds are stacked against me. Where big money prizes are offered, big money is drawn. I can only imagine the deftness with which I may draft my 200th team in a particular format. It is a luxury I cannot afford. An disadvantage I cannot compensate. 20+ previous drafts trumps 20+ previous years in the hobby.

I’m not sure I have done 200 actual drafts in those 20+ years. I have to assume I have not since I don’t average anywhere near 10 leagues a year. That kind of puts it in perspective.
 
I am not here to whine about being a loser. Well, actually I am. It is usually the focus of the column. Losers and what not. I don’t mind losing if the playing field is level, but big money attracts big money. And big money has resources just not available to Joe Schmoe (that would be me) in pursuit of that big money. That, and the aforementioned drafting advantage all spells trouble for the little guy that dreams of striking it big. Which was kind of the point and the draw of these competitions to begin with.
    
But credit should be given where credit is due. Banks big gamble appears to be a success. Banks did what most shrewd players did this season. He grabbed Broncos whenever he could. The championships are littered with teams that did so.
 
In the end, it looks likely Eric Decker, and not Thomas, Thomas, or Welker is the golden ticket in this playoff round. Decker got many teams into the postseason in week 13, and advanced them in week 14. I remember pitying the poor fools that had to “settle” for Decker. Right up until a few weeks ago. Surprise!

In any case, I don’t know if this year’s futility-fest will spell the end of my fantasy career. But at the very least it has served to squash my ego like a trash compactor, and given me pause to reconsider the possibility that I may just be a dumb-ass. And that’s always nice. I’m just Charlie freaking Brown with a slightly larger wardrobe and a little more hair. Good grief.

It kind of makes you sick, what happened to Gronkowski Sunday. The good news is he did not suffer a concussion, since the hit was nice and low like the league likes. I‘m not sure if the concussion numbers are up or down this season, but ACL injuries are +8 compared to all of 2012. The defenders are being properly conditioned, so the NFL can chalk that up as a victory.

I’d like to send out a special shout-out to Michigan State, the final team to bail out a defective procedure for determining a national champion. It was the Spartans that served the justice that was not to be forthcoming from the BCS. I anxiously anticipate what should be an amazing championship game. You go Sparty. And good luck in your bowl game as well.

So basically, my whole column last week, endlessly bitching, and hand wringing about the Buckeyes, wrestling in my mind whether to tell the wife I was planning to bet the house on a football game, and checking out the best homeless shelters just in case, was pointless. Just another day at the office my friends. Just another day at the office.

I hear FSU opened at a 9.5 favorite. Seems excessive. I’m not dropping 9 points against Auburn. Oh hell no.
 
I have to say, between the offensive orgy in the SEC championship game, and the snow games on Sunday, it was probably one of the most entertaining weekends of football we can remember in a long time. It almost softened the blow of my face-plant into fantasy obscurity.

Carrie Underwood got quite upset with her critics last week after her “Sound of Music” special. You wouldn’t have found me within 10 channels of that drivel, so I can’t really comment on Underwood’s performance, but she seems pretty sensitive about it. Makes me glad I had been holding off mentioning how her faux country-blues cater-walling at the beginning of the Sunday Night Football theme makes me want to jam ice-picks in my ears.
 
Nothing personal. It’s just that particular few moments of her singing makes me wish music had never been invented, and makes my future degraded hearing seem not so bad. Just for a few seconds. And then it is over. I’m sure she is a wonderful young lady. She just puts me in a panic to find the remote once a week. That’s all. And now I can hear it in my head right now. And I am thinking how much you will hate me for making you think about it. Wow. I really am a loser.

Misery Index

10a) Cowboys: If Ditka was the head coach of the Cowboys, he would have lined you guys up at halftime, bent you over and kicked every one of you square in the ass, while he dog-cussed you like the biggest bunch of pathetic losers ever about to choke the season away you are. Not that it would have helped.

10) Giants: Last week Eli had a case of amnesia about why he didn’t want to play in San Diego. A classy move considering the reason he didn’t want to play for the Chargers still owns the team.

9) Bills: Apparently the Manuel did not come with Instructions. You can save some money with a Manuel. But a lot of people end up wishing they had laid out the extra for an automatic.

8) Browns: How about that game against the Patriots? I have never seen the ending of a game so perfectly illustrate the core of what each team is, with each playing their traditional role to a tee. This week, I cry for you Joe Haden.

7) Vikings: When Harbaugh elected to for a 4th down play in the 4th quarter up 12-7, instead of kicking a field goal, I thought it was a foolish decision. Apparently he knew all along all that was going to matter was having the ball last. You guys are definitely still losers, but the end of your games have become must-see TV. Ravens fans should count themselves lucky there weren’t 30 more seconds on the clock. And that is kind of sad for them too.

6) Raiders: I have to admit, I wasn’t paying particular attention to the Raiders game, but I do know McLoin was pulled for Pryor for at least a series. Anyway, the next time I saw him on the field the Raiders were backed up in their own end zone. “Get out, you’re not good enough!” “Okay, you’re good enough after all - hope you learned your lesson. Good luck kid. Remember not to step out of the back of the end-zone.” Unfortunately they forgot to tell him not to throw it to the ancient Ed Reed for a pick six.

5) Steelers: Don’t get too bent out of shape about Antonio Brown stepping out. As has been pointed out, a forward lateral was thrown, which I believe would have been overturned on replay had Brown not performed a mystifyingly stupid act. It’s too bad Tomlin wasted his “stepping on the field gaffe” the week before. It could have really come in handy here.

4) Rams: Would it make you feel better if I told you that you were the very best last place team? And that Jeff Fisher must love you very much to come to your division filled with the big scary monsters?

3) Redskins: Shanahan rebuked stories that said he packed his office last year, thinking he was being fired. But even if he did, I suppose it never hurts to practice. He should zip through it come January.

2) Falcons: I was unimpressed with your first half victory over the Packers. And subsequent epic fail in the second half.  These kind of style points are usually the kind of thing we look for here, but the Texans aren't fooling around here.  They have brought in Wade Phillips to nail this thing down.   

1) Texans: Now you are just showing off. The Thursday night “Oh, did the game start already” performance. The firing of Kubiak. It’s all crumbling down now and there is no propping it up. The real loser in all this is Wade Phillips, whose somewhat deceptive head coaching record is about to get a dose of harsh reality.


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