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Commentary From the Edge - Week 15
Kevin Ratterree
December 11, 2007

I have been playing fantasy football since the early 1990’s, and while every season has its share of surprises, this one has been a doozy. And the hits just keep coming.

Case in point. Many teams that took the rookie plunge with Adrian Peterson found themselves richly rewarded with a top 20 player who on certain weeks obliterated their competition. That includes a season best 50 point performance in week 9. After missing a couple of weeks with injury, Peterson returned in week 13 to deliver a 25 point effort, giving his owners all the confidence they needed to start him in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Against the 49ers. A below average team with nothing to play for but scraps of self respect.

There was no reason whatsoever for Peterson owners to consider benching him. As a matter of fact, on the 3 sites I checked, he was projected no lower than the 5th best running back for the week. There was just no doubt about it. The Vikings were going to pound the 49ers and Peterson would provide the hammer.

Oh yeah, the Vikings kept right on rolling against the impotent 49ers. But the Peterson express was held to 3 yards total offense. The fantasy dream season ended with a thud. A harsh, cruel slap in the face.

Terrell Owens owners were beside themselves over his matchup against the Lions in playoff week one. 21 points? 31 points? 41 points? Try 21 yards. He has had 3 bad games this year and saved one of them for the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Thanks for coming.

Not quite so unfortunate were those fantasy owners that were counting on Reggie Bush to rip up the Falcons on the fast turf in Atlanta. Bush finally succumbed to injury just in time for the start of the fantasy playoffs. But at least he gave his owners warning that he was going to be of no use to them. We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and better luck next year!

We have all been there, so let me offer my condolences to those who were smart enough to get to the playoffs, but not lucky enough to survive fate’s annual sulfuric acid enema.

Anybody that says luck isn’t a factor in determining a fantasy champion is as delusional about fantasy football as Britney Spears is about motherhood.

For instance, I won my first round game in my dynasty league. Up next? You guessed it. The Adrian Peterson team that survived his flameout while lounging with a first round bye. Oh yeah. Fate is just loving my ass.

But who knows, maybe Peterson won’t rip off 42 fantasy points against the Bears like he did back in week 6. I probably have nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

In any case, I guess third place isn’t all that bad. Yeah right, just keep telling yourself that.

There are no guarantees in life. The Steelers Anthony Smith found that out the hard way.
Why do people continue to try to provide motivation for the Patriots? Do they really need any help?

Players are sometimes tricked by the media into saying what they honestly feel. I mean, if you would have privately asked every member of the Steelers team if they thought they were going to beat the Patriots, I suspect to a man they would have said yes. And that is the way we want it. We want our players to want to win. We want them to believe they are going to win. We want them to try their best to win. We just don’t want them to say publicly that they are going to win.

It is just human nature. If someone says they are going to beat you at something, you take it personally. You want to prove them wrong. Guarantees. Easy to make. Hard to keep. Little upside. Lots of downside. I am against guarantees. In sports. Especially team sports. In business. In relationships. Guarantees are nothing but trouble. I’ll guarantee you that.

I think I will not guarantee a victory over the Peterson team this week. I want to win. I think I can win. I’m going to try my best to win. But I won’t get on my league message board and tell my opponent I am going to win. I am going to remain very quiet and pray for divine intervention. Though admittedly praying for Peterson to flame out a second week in a row is like praying to win the Lotto for a second time.

Under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t tell the bully at the bar that you are going to kick his ass, especially on his own turf. He is bigger than you. He is stronger than you. He can take a punch better than you. And he is a much more experienced fighter than you. Don’t taunt him. Don’t mouth off about how you are going to kick his ass. Just walk up and nail him.

The previously anonymous Smith taunted the bully, and got burned crispy on a trick play. Yes, the Patriots were a much more experienced fighter than Smith, and made it a point to highlight his deficiencies for all to see.

Even after the bully put the big talker and his gang on the floor and bloody, they were still talking trash. Moss, Welker and the good time gang were getting plenty of Steelers shout spit in their faces even as the paramedics were on their way to scrape the bodies off the floor.

The only thing dumber than trash talking beforehand is continuing to trash talk after you have had your ass handed to you. You don’t do that. You just lay there and try not to bleed too much, maybe look around and try to find your teeth while you are down there. Once you’ve been stomped a few times, threats are about as hollow as Matt Millen’s head.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

Speaking of getting stomped. I’m hanging up the sign. Gone Fishin’………..for a clue. Let’s see now, where are my teeth……

Misery Index

10a) Falcons: I’m sure the Monday night game between the Falcons and Saints looked a like a lot better draw to the league back before we knew Vick would spend the game behind bars, and the Saints would be clawing to sniff .500. As it turns out, the game wasn’t even a draw in Atlanta. Having a Monday night game in a half empty stadium seems unthinkable. Then again, that wasn’t really a game. More like an exhibition. On display? The rotting carcass that the franchise/coach/dog killer left behind on his way to the big house.

10) Eagles: On Sunday Countdown, one of the reporters quoted Donovan McNabb as stating he had nothing to prove. Against the Giants he did just that.

9) Lions: I am not amused. Just when I thought you were dead you rose up and bit me in the ass with my big bad Cowboys -11. Congratulations. You finally showed up, just when I bet you wouldn’t. Martz finally devised a winning game plan after floundering like a an oil slick goose for the last month. “Gee, I have no defense, maybe I should try to run the ball and control the clock, and keep the other teams offense off the field.” Yeah, the offensive genius picked a fine and dandy time to come to his senses. Just in time to screw me over and put the final nail in the coffin of the Crazy as Hell Pick. Yet the Lions still lost the game. Lots of misery for everybody involved. Wow, it has been a hell of a ride this season. I went from jumping on the bandwagon early to ditching them a couple of weeks ago for someone better. Then like an bitter old girlfriend she came back and stole some of my stuff. Beeyatch.

8) Chiefs: As a Chiefs fan, I would be a lot more optimistic and patient if I thought there was even a prayer that Edwards is capable of taking this team to any higher level than the perpetual “close but no cigar” teams of the Schottenheimer era. The old players will be ushered out. The young players will be brought along. They will raise hopes. They will dash hopes. The sun will rise. The sun will set.

7) Bengals: I’m pretty sure a lot of fantasy leaguers were looking toward this game against the Rams as a great playoff matchup. Like a crack dealer looks forward to welfare check day. But the Bengals and the weather police raided that party. The Bengals had little reason to pass with a lead and the suddenly three headed rushing machine. Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, and Chris Henry combined for 18 fantasy points in PPR leagues. Oh yeah. Now the Bengals are spreading the ball, and the misery around.

6) Ravens: And the raven, never scoring, still is boring, still is boring
At the bottom of the standings just below the Bengals door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a loser that is losing.
And the fans by lamplight dreaming, to show Billick’s ass the door
Lest their soul from out that shadow that lies below the Bengals door
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

5) Cardinals: There was a moment of zen in the Cardinals devastating loss at Seattle. The Cardinals finally forced the Seahawks to punt. Then scratched and clawed their way to a touchdown to pull to within 27-14. They then pulled a perfectly executed onside kick and recovered the ball at their 42 yard line. First play after that Warner threw an interception right into the waiting arms of a Seattle defender. Game. Season. Over.

4) Jets: Now the waiting it almost over. There will be no reprieve. The executioner is coming dressed in red, silver and blue. Here are the numbers to remember, you will hear them plenty this week: Worst loss in NFL history — Bears 73 Redskins 0 (1940) and worst loss in Jets history — Kansas City 48 Jets 0 (1963). History is in jeopardy this Sunday.

3) Raiders: I think it was a testament to the sad state of the league’s quarterbacks when both Josh and Luke McCown found themselves with a starting gig in week 14. Just in case you care, and I know you do, the Brothers Grim combined for 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions and each led their team to impressive losses. Go figure.

2) Rams: Mary had a little Ram, little Ram, little Ram. Mary had a little Ram whose defense kind of blows
1) Dolphins: Quite a duel building in Miami for week 15. We have the battle of the coaches about to be fired. Yes, there may be an unexpected roadblock on the road to perfection. The Ravens looked beyond putrid against the Colts after they spent themselves on the Patriots and the whine-fest that ensued. If the Dolphins can get past this dangerous trap game, they will have only the Bengals in their way to a perfect season. Every year I dream of this. But no team has seriously challenged it. I want this. I need this. Please let me have this. The Dolphins are my pacifier for the colic that is the Patriots.

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