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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary from the Edge - Week 4
Kevin Ratterree
September 23, 2008
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The Dolphins wasted the Patriots. I saw it. I say it out loud. It still just doesn’t seem real.

But a lot of things are happening that don’t seem possible. I spent the preseason pimping Ryan Grant, but so far he has a lot more fumbles than touchdowns. I benched him last week and even that didn’t bust his slump. That one is usually sure-fire. It worked with Housh.

More strange things going on with clock management around the league. I have seen at least three situations where a team was driving and within field goal range in the closing minute of games, needing two scores to tie or win. In none of these cases has the head coach opted to take the field goal, and take their chances with an onside kick. The old coaching rule was “extend the game” but now it seems to be “what the hell, it’s over anyway.”

Something definitely strange going on in Denver. Remember a month ago when nobody was giving Denver a sniff at doing anything this year? 3-0 and Cutler looks like the next big thing. But even stranger about the Broncos sudden prosperity is how they have achieved it. They have allowed 800 passing yards over the last 2 weeks. Yet still managed to win both.

Yes, the Broncos do seem to be living a charmed life. Maybe Shanahan found a Sherpa (or Phil Jackson) that would transfer all of Belichick’s mojo over to him. Between the blown call against the Chargers, and subsequent “going for two” to win, and the 43 yard field goal miss by Gramatica last week, the Broncos are as lucky to be 3-0 as Lyle Lovett was to get 15 minutes with Julia Roberts. Here’s hoping things turn out better for the Broncos than they did Lyle.

I was watching the Arizona/Washington game in the first quarter. The Cardinals trailed 7-0 and were 4th and 1 at the Washington 40. They decided to go for it. Unfortunately they never got the chance as they were flagged for a false start. And there, for just a moment, I felt a sense of serenity and knowing. For just a moment on Sunday, everything in the universe seemed in its proper place.

But that didn’t last long. There is a fine line between success and failure in fantasy football. In one of my leagues I have the second most points overall, and I am 3-0 and in second place overall. I have another team that has the third most points in the league and has been very consistent, yet that team is 0-3. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a game of skill.

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Titans: This is a team that seems the most comfortable with who they are and what they are doing. Collins a decent game manager and offers the stability that Young lacked. I might be jumping the gun here, but with that nasty running game and equally nasty defense, this is my favorite to win the AFC right now.

Bills: Hey, that sure did come together fast didn’t it? The Brady-less Patriots seem a lot less like Mike Tyson in his prime, and a lot more like Cicily Tyson past hers, so the Bills might have a shot at the division here.

Cowboys: Alright, they just got done beating what I considered the best two teams in the NFC besides themselves. Case closed. Best in the NFC. At least until opening kick of the playoffs.

Broncos: The best team in my dynasty league traded for Jay Cutler this offseason. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but at this point I realize that is why he has the best team and I do not. Unfortunately for Cutler and the Broncos, a defense is necessary for success in the playoffs, so Cutlers arm can only take this team so far.

Eagles: As always, if McNabb (and Westbrook) stay healthy this team is going to be in the hunt.

Packers: I spent the preseason telling you that Rodgers and the Packers were going to be just fine. Maybe Ted Thompson knows what he is doing after all.

Warren Sapp wasted no time parking his substantial rear-end in front of TV cameras once retired. Oh good. Now we have the option of seeing his face and hearing his mouth to our hearts desire. One of his first moves was to call a college coach a “classless jerk” on NFL network. Well, Sapp certainly isn’t a novice in that area so I suppose he would know best.

The good news about Sapp being on Dancing With The Stars is that now he can give my wife the chance to grow to hate him as much as I do. I figure I have served my time. Still though, I just can’t believe it. Warren Sapp is on two television shows. Is that the depths to which our television viewing has sunk? Where Warren Sapp is a hot commodity? It’s like “uh, yeah I’ll have a colonoscopy, and while you are at it, throw in the extra large catheter.

Misery Index

10a) Raiders: I don’t know why Al Davis is playing this childish game of torture with Lane Kiffin. He should just go ahead and fire him, then refuse to pay him what he owes him like he did Shanahan. By the time it gets through the courts, crazy Al will be dead and buried. But still running the team of course…

10) Bears: Alright. Holding the opposing team to 47 yards rushing? That is great. Having a quarterback that throws two touchdowns. Great. Unfortunately they also have a quarterback that threw 3 interceptions, and a defense that allowed the discarded Griese to rack up 4 bills on them. And this is the guy they “knew” how to play. At home. Griese ripped you up with Ike Hilliard, Antonio Bryant, and Jeremy “hands of stone” Stevens. Wow. Not exactly “Monsters of the Midway” stuff there fellas.

9) Seahawks: Beating the Rams might move you down the index, but hardly a reason to move you out. I think the most amazing thing to me about this team, is not the fact that every receiver that suits up is instantly injured. It is not the fact that they are 1-2. It is not the fact that Hasselbeck has basically been rendered null and void as a fantasy starter. The most amazing thing to me is that they have suddenly made Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett into players people would actually want to start on their fantasy teams. Even with the loss of the entire wide receiver staff, I would have bet my left one against those two guys doing anything. That sure would have been awkward. Not to mention unbalanced. Much like the Seahawks offensive attack.

8 ) Colts: Will this be the year that the Colts peak at the right time? Will this 1-2 start soon be a laughable memory as they put it together and roll through the playoffs? Or is this the year that the Colts prove mortal? Fortunately for Colts fans they have a comfy new stadium, and still have 6 more chances to see them actually win a game there. So that’s nice.

7) Texans: The one thing I was sure of when Kubiak took over the Texans, was that they would have a running game. Instead what we have seen has been a laughable procession of has-beens, never was’, and never will be’s. But now Steve Slaton is there, and seems to be doing well enough. Now some other old problems have emerged. Andre Johnson can’t get open, and Schaub can’t hit him if he does, because he is back there dodging defenders, holding the ball too long, and getting sacked just like David Carr used to. Next up? At Jacksonville. Urgh.

6) Bengals: The Bengals are the winners of this week’s “actually showed up and played what resembled football” award. That and a couple grand will pay your bail.

5) Browns: I am really torn here. Torn between feeling pity for the poor Cleveland fans and Browns fantasy owners, and joy for the fact that most of the ESPN honks look like idiots for hanging onto the Brownies jockstrap all preseason. I guess what I feel the most is happiness that I didn’t draft any Browns except Winslow on one team. And extreme happiness that other guys in my league did. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am a self serving selfish bastard, but then you already knew that.

4) Patriots: Karma is one mean bitch. After cheat-gate, and then the senseless brutality of Brady to Moss that Belichick dialed up last season, Karma nipped the Pats in the ankle in the Super Bowl. Then, it lashed out at Brady’s knee in the first quarter of the first game of the season. And now the home loss to the Dolphins. You know what I saw Sunday? I saw an old bored lifeless team. I saw a team facing the grim reality that life without Brady was going to suck, and they seemed disinterested in the whole process. I mean, okay, you lose to a hungry young football team. One that you ran it up on last year. One that you embarrassed twice. But to get jacked up 5 times on a Pop Warner trick play? The same play. Fell for it 5 times. Karma? Oh it’s on now. Blood in the water in the AFC East.

3) Chiefs: Here is where I am as a Chiefs fan. I watched some of the game. I saw the Chiefs suck. But my main concern was for a long Roddy White touchdown bomb, and a Falcons cover against the spread. Got both. Good day to be a Chiefs fan. Thanks Herm. I owe you a solid. You always come through for me. Because I play to win the game.

2) Rams: Kind of a rare move here, bumping out the number one team after yet another “virtuoso in vomit” performance. But truth is I pissed off the Lions fans by exclusion last week, and those miserable wretches just lost Kitna and their only hope of winning a game this season. So all in all, by comparison, the Rams are actually less miserable than the Lions. If the Rams really want to get in this thing, they should consider trying to hire Millen away from the Lions. That ought to seal the deal.

1) Lions: If you are the only person in the world that thinks something is a good idea, you are probably wrong. Plato pulled it off. But that was a long time ago in a world filled with far dumber people. And now even the prodigal son of the owner of the team has gone public with his request for Millen’s head on a platter. Okay, that completes the count. We have the 25 million people in the U.S and around the world that know anything about football. Every player, coach, and executive in the NFL, college, J.V. junior high and high school. Every single person reading this column. And now even a member of your own family is desperately crying out to the world, “this madman must be stopped.” We all agree that the team’s 31-84 record since Millen was dropped from a plane onto the unsuspecting Detroit public is probably some sort of a Millen problem. Just not good enough. Not here in the real world.

Look Mr. Ford, if Millen has incriminating pictures or something, they are going to show up eventually. Let’s just get this over with. How much worse could it be than this? Are there animals involved?

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