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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary from the Edge - Week 13
Kevin Ratterree
November 30, 2010
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Well, it looks like the BCS is going to have one too many undefeated teams. Too bad Boise lost or they could have had two pissed off delusional fan bases on their hands instead of one. And two pissed off delusional fan bases are always better than one. I sure am glad the NFL doesn’t have to appoint teams to play for the championship. Wouldn’t you love to be in a fantasy league that runs like the BCS?

This is the time of year when fantasy fates are decided. Luckily no leagues I know of “vote” for their champions, but inevitably people that think they deserve to be in the playoffs will be left out, and some that do deserve to be in will be left out. People will whine, bitch, and moan. Some will wonder why they ever joined a league with such f’ed up rules. Some will wonder why they never read the f’ed up league rules before they joined. Some will curse the day curiosity made them buy that first fantasy football magazine, swear off the game forever and vow to never return.

The world is ending in 2012 and I am spending my last days water-boarding myself?

But most of the disgruntled will return. Like junkies to the bus station after sundown. They will join leagues with rules they like better, or they will lobby to change the rules in the leagues they are in for next season. They will recover from the sting of finality that comes with being eliminated from playoff contention or unceremoniously drummed out in the first round. Maybe next year they will be the team that scores the third lowest points in the league but catches everybody on their worst week of the season.

It always sucks when it happens to you. But just like the NFL, there is only one happy team in every league at the end. The rest are either dissatisfied, or never really expected to win in the first place.

Some will blame their fantasy sites, or the people that had the audacity to give them opinions on a message board, or their draft position, or maybe global warming, or the Obama administration.

Many will blame luck, or a lack thereof. I hear people throw around ridiculous claims about fantasy football being 90% luck. As if you could just draw names out of a hat and the luckiest guy would win. Well, yeah. In a way I suppose you could look at it like that. I mean, there are so many factors out of our control in this game, it does take some luck to survive it. But to say that it is 70% luck? Or 80%? Or more? I never hear winners make those claims.

All I know is that since I have been playing in some long established leagues and formats, you see a lot of the same names and faces near the top year after year. Those people aren’t just lucky.

I rarely have teams that just flat out suck. I’m usually in the mix. When things break my way, I win championships. But you have to be good enough that a little luck can get you over the hump. Championships won through pure dumb luck? It happens. But not very often my friends.

So please, let’s give those who have kicked our lame asses their due. Let’s place the blame for our failings where it belongs, mostly between our ears. Let’s be grateful winners and gracious losers. Let’s convince ourselves that losing isn’t the most vile condition known to man, and that that character it builds, and the knowledge it brings makes it all worthwhile. And somehow we are better for the bitter, soul crushing defeats.

I lose fairly frequently, but it still comes as a complete shock almost every time. Even though the odds are roughly 12/1 against it, I always expect to win, and I am dumbfounded when I do not. I might be a loser, but I refuse to think like one. I think that is what has kept me out of the padded cell all of these years. Delusion. And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

And thus concludes the “positive” and “uplifting” portion of the column. Because the fact is, barring a small miracle in my dynasty league, this football week past effectively ended my fantasy season in the three leagues I had left in contention. Kicked in the nuts 3 times. That’s inhuman. I am one pissed off mofo right now, and before I can live the noble existence of a gracious loser expressed previously, I have some great big F.U.’s to hand out. It’s part of the healing process. Several people have managed to make me look like jackass this season, I couldn’t have created this fantasy dung heap without their help.

My first F.U.’s go to Vincent Jackson and A.J. Smith. I was willing to bet a precious draft pick that these two douche bags weren‘t as obtuse as they appeared. My faith was not rewarded. I held this turd on my keeper and dynasty lineups all year long. I shudder to think of the player I could have had instead, and how much less I may have struggled without that dead roster spot.

So finally, after hanging around the edge of contention despite my tactical error. It’s week 12, and Mr. Wonderful is ready to play his first game. And just in the nick of time too. I have injuries. I have underperformers. I have inconsistency. The Chargers are paper thin at receiver, I’m plugging you in Mr. Wonderful. I’m ready for you to pull my ass out of the fire. Let’s do this!

And…out in the first quarter with a “calf injury.” Oh, okay Mr. Wonderful. You just stand over there on the sideline. F.U. Vincent Jackson. Guess what the football world discovered while you were throwing your temper tantrum? The diva receiver is going the way of the dinosaur. We found out the world revolves without you and your 60 catches a year. And it turns out, Rivers is even better WITHOUT your worthless ass. Yeah, the team really struggled to beat the Colts without you. You showed them.

Thanks for answering the question we all wondered about. Answer: Rivers made Jackson. Not the other way around. Congratulations, you just lost millions of dollars you can never get back, and actually lowered your market value. Along the way you managed to drag me down with you, so a big F.U. to myself for hitching my wagon to a jackass.

So now I have Vincent Jackson on my dynasty team, and I hate him. But he has little trade value, so I am stuck with him. You think I’m pissed right now? Just wait ’til he signs with Carolina. I’m going to freaking lose it.

My second F.U. goes to Hines Ward. Yeah, that’s right, Hines Ward and the Steelers et al. Dude was a wrecking ball to my lineups for the last month, I finally did the only thing I could do and bench him across the board. Boom! Hundred yard day. Oh I take that back, I did start him in my “imaginary” roster from the WCFF team he helped sink, not that it mattered since third place in WCFF is as good as last place. Oh yeah, that reminds me…

F.U. to my WCFF team. Yeah that’s right, my corpse of a WCFF team that was as worthless as a live-in ho’ with no job but won’t do the dishes, or even pick up her skanky ass clothes. The team that snoozed down the stretch as I sank in quicksand finally reared it’s ugly head and put up a buck seventy. Second highest score of the week, bested only by poker boy, who it turns out would have taken the championship even if I had made it to the big game. There was going to be soul crushing disappointment. None of my gyrations was going to overcome it. Simply a fly in a spider-web.

F.U. soul crushing disappointment. And F.U. to your twisted wing-man, “reckless bright eyed optimism.”

Speaking of Hines Ward, I would be remiss if I did not mention the object of my affection that inspired me to sit Mr. Ward in my FFPC playoff game. His name is Derek Hagan. And he was supposed to make me look like a genius. Instead he was a “Trojan horse” of suck. F.U. Derek Hagan, you waiver wire blunder of the year.

And yet another great big F.U. to myself, which would actually be an F.M. I suppose, but never the less.

Yes, it was I the grand mastermind that left myself just enough bidding dollars to hang myself with. Nobody could match my bid for Hagan. The poor bastard that I beat out for Hagan got stuck with Obomanu and his 26 points. There was nobody to protect me from my own incredibly misguided “gut instinct” (read: idiocy.) Had I left myself 8 less dollars I could not have afforded the roster move that cost me a spot in the championship game. I would have settled for Obomanu, and I would be in the championship game. A lot of things had to go wrong to screw this one up, and they all did. F.U. fate, you cruel, cruel bitch.

I would say F.U. to poker boy, he the “buyer of 10% of the entries” for every contest, but that would not be very sportsmanlike or gracious. That would be almost as unsportsmanlike as buying 10% of the entries to a contest. And I am far more angry at my stupidity than his greed. I will instead just sit here satisfied in the knowledge that it took him 11 entries to win 2 championships, and I came a whisker away from taking one of those. Maybe next year I can find a financial backer and go into business against poker boy. Anybody want to stake me about 5 large so I can go mano a mano against poker boy in all 12 satellite leagues? I draft. Then you don’t let me make a decision after that. We’ll clean up! What? No? You don’t want to invest money in a loser? Fine then. Well F.M. again!

Okay. Okay. I think that’s just about enough. It’s starting to get personal. Whew! That feels better.

Now, a special thank you instead of a F.U., and that TU goes to Andre Johnson for wailing on Cortland Finnegan. I’m glad the league decided not to suspend him for punking a punk, but I‘m a little perturbed about the 25k fine. I think I speak for the majority of serious football fans when I say that what AJ did was long overdue, and much appreciated. AJ should get a commendation, not an invoice. I happened to catch that beat-down live, and it was really great to watch someone else get their ass kicked while I was getting mine kicked. God bless you Andre Johnson for kicking that man’s ass.

And a final F.U. to the greedy NFL, who will apparently ignore pleas from true fans and protests from players to extend the season to 18 games. Yeah, that’s what I need, two more weeks of self loathing. Bring it on man. We’ll get this thing to that 90% luck plateau one way or another.

Misery Index

10) Vikings: Wow, what a difference! Now players want to give the head coach the game ball instead of a kick in the balls.

9) Titans: Looks like Chris Johnson’s viability checked out when Rusty Smith signed the register. And just in time for the playoffs.  Ain’t that a kick in the nads?  If the Titans owner ends up choosing VY over Fisher, this whole thing is going down like a no talent D-cup singer in a Nashville producer’s office.

8) Browns: Okay, let’s all get excited because the worst team in the league couldn’t kick a game-winning field goal against you. And if it weren’t for the idiot running the show in Denver trading you Peyton Hillis, Mangini would probably be hitting the unemployment line and Holmgren would be busily preparing to blow the first overall draft pick next year.

7) Cardinals: I consulted my local listings but I saw nothing about Monday Night Football being replaced by Monday Night Pillow Fighting Bitches. That really sucked, but hearing ESPN scrambling to try to make it sound like a game worth watching in their promo’s made it almost worth the pain.

6) 49ers: Things could be worse. You could play in a division other than the worst in football. And then you would be the Panthers. But instead, you are the only team within a game of first place that is best watched with a barf bucket handy.

5) Bills: Stevie Johnson must’ve bought into his own press last week, and forgot his job was actually catching the ball rather than giving interviews. And apparently God loves him some Steelers. Johnson blames the almighty for his dropping a perfect potential game-winning pass. As refreshing as that may be, it is a silly notion. The real reason that pass was dropped is that my teaser bet would have cashed if the catch was made. Nothing makes the Lord more pissed off than me winning a bet. Or anything. Apparently.

4) Broncos: If you have ever had children, you know that you should never leave a toddler alone in the kitchen within reach of a full trash can. When you come back, there is going to be a mess. And there is our Coach Skippy. Covered in coffee grinds and eggshells, with a sheepish grin on his face standing in the middle of a G.D. disaster. I take it the Broncos owner never had children? Until now?

3) Cowboys: It’s amazing how much better this team plays with a head coach that doesn’t look terminally constipated. Still though, when the Saints came to town, and rusty Reggie Bush and Jimmy “oops” Graham tried to hand them the game on a silver platter, Roy Spilliams dumped it all over the stadium floor. A signature moment for the Cowboys 2010. Just another day at the office for the heady Spilliams.

2) Panthers: Congratulations, you almost beat Jake Delhomme. The guy that wasn't good enough to be on your team.  I only wish that you played the Bengals so we could figure out which one of you really sucks the worst. You are still trying obviously, safe with your one game lead in the draft sweepstakes, so we will park you right here until the Bungles actually show up for a game.

1) Bengals: You could point at any number of reasons for the Bengals implosion on Thursday night, after leading at halftime against the Jets. But the most glaring thing to me was the uninspired performance by Carson Palmer. I realize that playing with the Bengals all these years has beaten you down to a shell of your former self. But your performance in the second half was more like a shell of Ryan Leaf’s former self. Could you at least pretend like you give a damn for the benefit of those of us that gamble, play fantasy football, and root against some of the teams you “play“? We’d really appreciate it. And the guy signing your six figure checks probably wouldn’t mind either.

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