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Commentary from the Edge: Week 12
Kevin Ratterree
November 22, 2011

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the get-go. I made a big deal last week about my newfound feelings of freedom and overwhelming joy after dumping Vincent Jackson in a trade. And then he went off. Just like clockwork.

This was not a surprise. There is no better cheap perfume for a funked up player than Ode de’ Kevintradedhisass.

Oh yes, it was a magical performance. It is exactly the kind of performance that led me to pursue Jackson when I traded for him last year in my dynasty league. But Sunday was the exception. The rule is that most weeks Jackson will leave you pulling your hair out wishing you had a more dependable alternative. I reached my limit of those kinds of weeks before I dealt him.  I feel no remorse.

My new WR2 is Victor Cruz. Cruz has been a model of consistency since he busted though, and while my overall numbers may take a hit, (may) it is a small price to pay for stability.

No, I do not miss Vincent Jerkson. I do not feel bad that the guy I traded him to at this moment thinks he made the greatest trade in the history of fantasy football, and pities me as some sort of fool. I say let him enjoy this moment. He deserves it for what he is about to endure.

There is not a hint of self-loathing as predicted. I’m pretty much locked into the playoffs, and I don’t have to worry about the “disappearing act.” any more.  I’m on Cruz control.

Trivia question: Who is the leading PPR receiver since week 5? That would be Calvin Johnson of course. But you might be surprised to learn that Victor Cruz is #2, trailing Megastud by only 8 points. In fact, since Cruz broke out in week 3 he is the third highest WR in PPR. He has had one game since week 3 with less than 14 fantasy points. A fantasy team filled with those type of guys will take you far.

You may call Cruz a WR2, or a WR3, but he is one of the most valuable fantasy assets in PPR at this moment in time. So I will enter the playoffs (barring a disaster) sporting a formidable WR crew. My apologies to you Nicks owners for flaunting Cruz and the numbers Nicks was supposed to have in your face.

I traded Vjax straight up for Cruz in my keeper league. I figure with Jackson as someone else’s keeper WR, that will free up another player in the draft I may actually want. (like say Cruz) I certainly wouldn’t have kept VJax over Mike Wallace next year. And I would bet my left nut Cruz outperforms Jerkson during weeks 14-16 this year.  Loved that trade.  

Unfortunately despite all my maneuverings, I have no quarterback with the death of Fitzpatrick as a viable play.  But I’m sure I will come up with something. Yep, that sounds like a solid plan.

I don’t really talk much college ball in this column, but I think the weekend wholesale slaughter of all of LSU’s potential match-ups for the championship game is worth noting. That was an amazing group crash and burn. Was this some kind of sick tribute to Jim Jones?  Did you all get a good look at the LSU killing machine and decide to just Hari Kari right now and end the drama? Bunch of panty-wastes.

A few weeks ago, after LSU took down ‘Bama a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to see a re-match. I gave an emphatic, “no.” But at this point it seems pretty obvious. If LSU takes care of Arkansas, I’ll take that LSU and ’Bama rematch in the championship game. Boring? Maybe. But not as boring as the severe ass kicking any 3 of those teams would put on anybody else.

How pissed off is Arkansas going to be if they are the only team to beat the unbeaten LSU and then still not get to play in the championship game? That would be whacked. So of course I am rooting for it.  Anything to shine a light on the insanity of a sport that appoints teams to play in a championship game.

I live in Missouri. And I can’t believe Mizzou wants to jump in the middle of all that. In a related note I will be trying to get the New York Times to publish this column next season. It has just about as much business being in there as the Tigers have in the SEC. But I do hear the Times pays well!  And that's really all that matters. 

So there isn’t so much drama left in the college game for awhile. Kind of anti-climactic. And we’ve got some of that going on in the NFC right now as well. It’s the Packers and the ‘Niners. All the others are just going to flail. Cutler is done for the Bears team that seemed to be a dark horse in the race. The Cowboys barely staved off the Rex Grossman onslaught. Romo didn't throw away a road game against a weak pass defense and people are ready to build a statue of him.

The Giants got done in their own house by the Eagles, and that was one of the “easy” games on their schedule. And the Lions had all they could handle with the 2 win Panthers. They have a chance to land a haymaker on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Mile come Thursday morning. But even if they do, I’d give them little hope of repeating that performance in Green Bay in January. That’s a different animal altogether.

Ah yes, the Thanksgiving day Lions game. Not since Barry Sanders double-reversed into the sunset has a Lions game been more palatable than this turkey day classic is right now. It’s been a lot of bad football and heartburn in between. But here in 2011 this is one of the best games on the slate. So there is something to be thankful for. You’ll have to rely on your family and/or day drinking for comic relief in the early time slot. Probably.

And then Thursday night we are treated to the battle of the Harbaugh brothers, ‘Niners v Ravens. That should be a pretty good game. And let’s not discount the possibility of some good old time brother on brother violence if the game gets ugly.

“And Harbaugh has Harbaugh pinned, and he’s giving him a pink belly! And now Harbaugh grabs Harbaughs head and gives him a full knuckle noogie! Wow! Oh boy, now Harbaugh has Harbaugh pinned again and he’s sitting on his head….and yes…I believe he just farted! That’s gonna leave a mark! Oh my!”

Okay, so it’s shaping up to be a great Thanksgiving! Let’s see, what is the middle game? Dolphins at the Cowboys. Interesting. The last two teams to stomp the Buffalo Bills ass and make me rue the day I decided Ryan Fitzpatrick was an adequate backup for Schaub. That game looked like a real dog about a month ago, but I think the Dolphins can give the Cowboys a run. I mean, it’s the Cowboys. Rex Grossman gives them all they can handle. Why can’t Matt Moore?

Wow. I just realized something. I’m probably going to need to grab either Rex Grossman or Matt Moore off waivers and thrust them into the starter position for my dynasty league. See, I came up with something already. Sad and desperate. But something.

I didn’t go for Leinart last week, and we was taken before my waiver turn any way. I could barely field a lineup last week due to byes, so I opted to pick up Dexter McCluster who I had already dropped earlier in the season. My starting running backs were Benson, McCluster, and Ridley. That’s a desperation lineup if there ever was one. Sad and desperate.  And of course, the correct answers for the quiz were Kevin freaking Smith and Shane Vereen, who was tucked safely on my bench.  Nice.

I have given Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp a lot of crap in this column, because let’s face it, they have probably deserved it. But an amazing thing happened this last Sunday morning on the “Bold Predictions” segment of the NFLN pregame show. Sapp said that the Dolphins would shut out the Bills. And then Irvin topped the absurdity by stating that Vince Young would pass for 300 yards against the Giants. I thought both statements were off-balance enough to note.

The Dolphins didn’t shut out the Bills but they certainly shut them down. And VY missed triple bills by 42 yards. Nice job guys. I have to give credit where credit is due. If I had listened to you clowns I would have possibly won a fantasy game or two, and I wouldn’t be working out a payment plan with my bookie. I thought being on the other side of those guys was a mortal lock. It’s a world gone mad I tell you!

But you know what is really starting to make me mad? Players petitioning for flags, and then getting them five seconds after the play is over. It seems the tail is wagging the dog. The player makes a flag-throwing -motion his arms, then a team-mate does so. And if a zebra thinks he may have seen something, but initially doesn’t grab his flag, he is goaded into doing so by the outcries of players. I have seen this happen with seemingly alarming frequency this year.

And it seems in many of these cases, replay shows the “foul” was not really a foul at all though it may have had the “appearance” of a foul. But instead of a zebra trusting his initial instinct not to throw the flag, he is then compelled to grab the flag.

Dear Zebra’s, when in doubt, don’t take it out. That also applies with dating. Just an FYI.

Bonehead Play of the Week: Oh yeah, you are probably wondering what happened to my redraft team that rallied late to within 30 points of a playoff spot going into this week. Missed the playoffs by 13 points. 13 freaking points. One lousy roster decision away from the playoffs. A couple of weeks earlier bail on the Chargers defense at the beginning of the season.  Pick a f' up.

I could look at it that way, but that is a fairly narrow view. None of us manages his or her team perfectly. But I made one fateful, monumental mistake in this league early on. I dropped Victor Cruz in week 2. Just before he took off.  Had I kept Cruz just one more week, it would have been apparent he was going to be useful, and there is little doubt Cruz would have put my team solidly into the playoffs. I had this thing.  I drafted a championship team.  This is more a bonehead play of the year. Yeah, I snagged him in my keeper and dynasty leagues through trades, and I hope like hell he wins me some championships in those leagues. But regardless, I will never forgive myself for this one. I had the inkling to draft him, but lacked the patience to reap the rewards. And here is that self-loathing I was missing over the VJax trades. This is the most public yet of my many humiliations.

Misery Index

10a) Giants: I’m sorry, but you just got punked by Vince Young and a bunch of receivers that probably wouldn’t even make your roster. Well, one would have, if he hadn’t packed his bags and snuck out in the middle of the night during camp. Big Blue? No. Big Blew.

10) Bills: Oh no. You guys again? Maybe Fitzpatrick should look for a league with a 7 game regular season and a one game championship in week 8. After half a season this guy turns back into a pumpkin. A big hairy pumpkin. Ryan, you seem heavy. Maybe you should grab a chainsaw and lop off a few pounds of beard. Chances are your talent isn’t hiding in there, but you just never know.

9) Chiefs: Even if the Chiefs hadn’t lost their best players to injury this season, they had no business polluting prime time more than once this season. Two prime time games within a week? Hmm. That heap big ratings bump for show that not football on other channel. Paleface who buys ads lose 'em scalp on that deal.

8) Cardinals: When I was young, I was a Cardinals fan, and I used to laugh at a clown named Red Skelton. Well, I didn’t really laugh all that much. And I really wasn’t much of a Cardinals fan. I guess I could have just went ahead and embellished that stuff and tied it together with some lame line about current young Cardinals fans laughing a a quarterback Skelton. But that would have been almost as lame as what I ended up writing, so the upside just wasn’t there for me.

7) Panthers: Cam Newton nailed it. This team has put on a clinic for “how to lose.” It’s really amazing. Every week I tune into the Panthers game and think to myself, “hey, these guys are going to win this thing.” But then they don’t.  Meanwhile John Fox is off winning a division with a team almost as bad as this one.  Good times.  Good times.

6) Vikings: The team launched a media campaign for a new stadium last week. So, you’ve got this sick, mangy old dog of a team, and you want to build it a fancy new house at the expense of the citizens? Well, you certainly have earned their trust with 40 years of predominantly abject on-field disappointment. Why shouldn’t they build you a new stadium? Very good natured people up there. If they turn on you, I wouldn’t expect your act to play any better in La-la land. Just a hunch.

5) Rams: I tried to catch some of the Rams offense in action Sunday, but it was hard to do. They were on the field for about 10 minutes and punted 55 times.  The punter seemed okay.  A bit winded from all the sprinting, but okay.     

4) Redskins: Well Tashard Choice had his big chance to exact revenge upon the team that allowed him to rot on the bench for years before discarding him. 7 yards on 6 carries. So much for revenge. Ryan Torain pitched in for 4 yards on 5 carries. Let’s see now, Helu averaged 4.4 YPC in that game on his 8 carries. So if Helu had gotten all of Torain and Choice’s wasted totes, that’s 11 carries for about 50 yards.  Or maybe he would have busted a big one with all those extra chances.  Probably just enough to swing the pendulum in a close game. But that’s just a half baked theory from a half baked fantasy writer. I’m sure Skeletor has his reasons for putting his team in losing situations.

3) ) Jaguars: Wow! Okay, now you are starting to impress me. I mean the Browns have almost taken losing games to an art-form lately. Their kicker is giving it up like the cheap skanks down on the corner. But you wanted it less. You have your pride. You said, “keep your charity, we’re going to lose this under our own terms."  End of the game. 1st & goal. 4 tries. Balls bouncing off receiver’s chest’s. Into the dirt.  Nothing. That was a beauty.
2) Chargers: Well, what can you say. You take a talented 13-3 team, get rid of a competent head coach and replace him with a proven failure at head coach, alienate your players and play Ebenezer Scrooge with the checkbook. Build an atmosphere if mistrust and incompetence. And a few years later. Oila! A disaster. Oh yeah. This team has a Norvacious appetite for losing.

1) Colts: Congratulations, that was far and away your best week of the season. Alright then, hope you enjoyed that. Now re-assume the position.

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