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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge
Kevin Ratterree
October 19, 2004

If you have been playing fantasy football for over 6-7 years, you probably remember the "good old days" when the only way to play was with a bunch of guys you knew locally.  Back in the early days, it was sometimes tough to actually scrape up a decent league.  In my local leagues it seemed we always had a guy that basically had to be dragged into the league kicking and screaming.  This was usually somebody's brother in law.  He showed up for the draft late and unprepared.  A magazine he had just bought clutched in his hand.  Then proceeded to draft a team that despite the restraint in the room still brought about confused expressions and chuckles.  And then he beat you in week one, which was his only win of the year, and the loss that kept you out of the playoffs.

Some schmuck was appointed commissioner.  This sadomasochistic fellow spent many hours of his week scouring stats, totaling points out of the newspaper (remember those?), taking trades over the phone, taking lineup calls.  Taking amended lineup calls.  Making calls to the guy with one win to remind him to turn in his lineup.....again.  Taking all kinds of abuse from his wife for abandoning the family.  Those were good times.

But now of course with the internet the game has changed a lot.  Now thanks to the magic of 1's and 0's we no longer need to play this game with only people we know.  We can play with complete strangers in public internet leagues.  For me it adds another element of excitement.  With the advent of the internet it is now possible to actually play in a league with a psychopath with homicidal tendencies, who snaps when you beat him in the Championship game by one point on a last second junk time touchdown, and hops on a plane to congratulate you in person.

You never know who you are actually playing against.  Actors, rock stars, strippers, athletes, lawyers , judges, heads of state, evil dictators.  You may find yourself in a league with pot heads, meth heads, coke heads, gear heads, Parrot heads, Dead heads, Corporate heads or skin heads.  White collar criminals, petty thieves, geniuses and idiots.  You may also find yourself among cons and ex-cons, goths and bleach blonds,  perverts and prudes, and maybe even one of those uptight Secret Service dudes.  The straight and the wasted.  The rich and the poor, probably even a pimp and his team called Juwanaho.

You know, just like the people you meet in an average week on the message boards.

Fantasy football my friends, has become the grand new American melting pot.  Let freedom ring. Let freedom ring.

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As I finish up watching the sixth week of NFL action, I have more questions than answers.  For instance, exactly when did they quit teaching tackling in high school and college.  This generation flooding NFL currently apparently for the most part never learned that crucial aspect of the game.  Half of these guys couldn't wrap up a decent fajita, let alone a 220 pound back.

I have another question.  Why do people continue to call Jerome Bettis "The Bus"?  His nickname now should be something like "Trash Truck" instead, because he's just hanging around to pick up Duce Staley's scraps.

Big showdown coming between the Patriots and Jets this week.  Santana Moss is listed as probable to play, but doubtful to catch more than his usual one pass. 

Remember when you drafted this year, and some moron took Culpepper in the first round and you laughed at him.  And then you laughed again when the draft was over and you realized his starting running back was going to be Tiki Barber.  And now he's 6-0 and laughing at you with your Marvin Harrison Santana Moss receiving corps.  Yep, that's funny stuff alright.     

On the Fox pre game show this week the gang was outside on location and I swear to you, finally after all these years I actually saw Jimmy Johnson's hair move.

Here is something I noticed during the Dallas / Pittsburgh game.  I consider myself a pretty fair lip reader, and it did not take much expertise to notice one of the trainers or coaches from the Cowboys give it to Keyshawn Johnson.  Johnson had just caught the ball in the end zone for a TD, and gave the ball to a boy in a wheelchair.  Afterward on the sideline I saw one of the Cowboys staff call Key two words that began with the letters "m" and "f".  Then Key got a "whatever" look on his face and turned around.  I swear I saw this.  I don't understand of all times why someone would call Key an "m" 'f' at that moment of rare selflessness, but apparently Key just brings out the best in people wherever he goes.  Keyshawn, giving that TD ball to a disabled boy was a class act, I don't care if you are an "m" "f" or not. 

MISERY INDEX

10)  BROWNS:  Ok, here come the nasty e-mails.  There's no way the Browns deserve to be in the misery index after winning to go 3-3 on the season.  But check their upcoming schedule.  Nasty.  Four turnovers per game against any of their upcoming opponents will not result in the happy ending they experienced against the Bungles. 

9)  SEAHAWKS:  When I saw the stats from this game crawl across the bottom of my TV screen, and noticed that Koren Robinson had 9 receptions, I said to myself, "Holy Crap!  They must've thrown him the ball 40 times!"

8)  COWBOYS:  Not only did the Cowboys self destruct again, the faithful  let the Steelers fans take over the stadium.  Disgraceful.  The eyes of Texas were apparently at home upon the TV instead of at the stadium.  How long before Parcells decides that if the players and the fans aren't really interested in what he's selling maybe he should do something more enjoyable, like maybe shoveling horse stalls or telemarketing.

7)  SAINTS:  Getting torched by Daunte Culpepper certainly is not unique this season. The Saints are just this weeks victim.  Unfortunately the Saints get torched every week, and it's looking more and more like maybe Aaron Brooks has a cheap prosthetic in place of an actual brain.

6)  BUNGLES:  Even Chad Johnson's entertaining Pepto Bismol routine failed to jumpstart this surprisingly sleepy team.  Note to Bungles:  Do not wait any longer.  Try and salvage the season the season by putting Kitna back under center.  Carson Palmer needs to be put back in the oven for awhile, he's not ready.  And I'm not saying all this just because Chad Johnson is killing my fantasy team.  Aw, what the hell.  That's exactly why I'm saying all this.  Coach Lewis, don't make me beg you.  Because I will.

5)  RAIDERS:  Jerry Rice and Al Davis worked out an agreement and avoided becoming the NFL's own version of Grumpy Old Men.  Rice got the ball rolling by starting his own trade rumors which was strangely effective.  Now Rice will take his show on the road and be probably be shoved into another  mentoring role with another set of clueless receivers.  But it's nice that Al Davis had enough respect for Rice to allow him the opportunity to escape the Black Hole and the misery that will reside there this season.  Anybody else but Rice would have got smacked in the nose with a rolled up newspaper and told to play dead.

4)  CHIEFS:  You can't accuse the Chiefs of not being generous.  This week they took pity on a poor soul named Fred Taylor, and let him remember, if only for a few hours what it was like to be a productive NFL back. The defense only gave up 22, which for this sad group is about as good as it gets, and the offense did not take advantage of this rare opportunity to win a game by only scoring 23. 

3)  BUCCANEERS:   Martin Gramatica es muy el stinko.

2)  49ers:  Right about now Dennis Erickson is talking to Dave Wannstedt about opening a restaurant when they both get fired this January.

1)  TITANS:  Did the team stay up late doing crack Saturday night?  Major identity crisis from week to week here.  The team like so many in the league is capable of stunning victories followed by chunk blowers the following week.  McNair's clock may be running out.  He is not an old man, but his body is about 68.  Titans fans are now feeling the pain McNair feels every Monday morning.

In a class by themselves)  DOLPHINS:  Wow, that was close.  Just a 3 point loss.  The perfect season is intact.  I know some of you corrected me last week about winless seasons.  But in my mind, there is a world of difference in an expansion team in 1976 (cast-offs, rejects, and washed up veterans) and a well established team in the NFL today.  Should the Dolphins pull this off, it will be the most monumental record of distinction in Misery Index history or future.  The Dolphins have maybe 2 or 3 legitimate chances to screw this thing up, the toughest test will be a home game against Arizona three weeks from now.  Smooth sailing until then though.