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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary from the Edge - Week 13
Kevin Ratterree
December 1, 2009
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Admit it, You threw Vince Young on the trash-heap just like I did.  It's OK to admit it.  We were all wrong about VY.  Well, all except Mack Brown.  I remember distinctly a radio interview Mack Brown did on ESPN last summer, where he boldly stated that there was no doubt in his mind that Vince Young would come back and be a star in the NFL.  And he was dead serious.

At the time I remember thinking, "that's kinda cool."  Young's old college coach was one of the few people on the planet that still believed in him completely. 

And then I thought, "but there's no freaking way."

Yes freaking way. 

As of late Sunday afternoon, Vince Young is a star in this league.  That happens when you lead your team on a 99 yard drive, complete three 4th down conversions, the last being a buzzer beater to win the game.

Poor Matt Leinart.  Re-living VY Hell v.2.0.

I had the Titans in a teaser and a parlay that was about to go down in flames.  But like he has so many times in the past, in the national championship game and many times before, Vince Young pulled his team (and my degenerate ass) out of the fire.  If you did not see the game, you missed something.  Joe Montana.  Terry Bradshaw.  John Elway.  VY hung with them all for the final two minutes.

Huh.  Well I'll be damned.  We'll all be damned I suppose. 

Young might not ever be a great fantasy play, but the man does have an amazing knack for winning.  I wish I knew what that felt like. 

Yes friends, I hate to report that I made yet another amazingly horrific wide receiver roster mistake in my WCOFF league semi-finals. 

I benched Miles Austin.

On the one hand, I realize that it was a rational decision I made to play the undependable Nate Burleson instead of the undependable Miles Austin.  But on the other hand I hate my guts for being wrong anyway.  I mean, I rolled with Austin from the week he broke out vs. the Chiefs until last week.  The guy had been killing me, while Nate Burleson turned in respectable games on the bench.  Austin had 14 points over the last two weeks combined and those were the result of catches on late game drives. 

Austin had been in effect "shut down."  

Last week I decided to take a stand.  Austin had done enough damage.  Time for some damage control.  This was the playoffs after all.  Bring in Burleson against those pathetic Rams.  That ought to do it.  Burleson 8 points.  Austin 27 points.  Boom.  Couldn't have been more wrong if I had tried.  Again.  I am truly amazing.   

I have left enough bench points with this team to field a whole other team.  And that team would probably kick my ass.  Power rankings don't win championships.  Roster decisions do, and right now I am in a horrible groove with my slew of receivers. 

As an added insult, my opponent got some real fortunate breaks of course.  He had Steven Jackson (and no other choice at RB should Jackson have been held out) who not only made it through the entire game much to my chagrin, but also stuck a dagger through me with a last-minute junk-time touchdown.

And then there was his kicker Nate Kaeding, who was brought on the field in another blowout to attempt a ridiculous 55 yard field goal which he nailed.

As if that all wasn't enough, he also had Roddy White, who caught the game winning touchdown pass with :23 on the clock, instead of Tony Gonzalez (who was on my roster).

And the coup de grace was his Dallas Clark catching the go ahead Colts touchdown in the 4th quarter instead of my Reggie Wayne.

Oh yes, there was much gut-wrenching pain throughout the course of the day on Sunday. 

So, as of Sunday night I was down 39 points and change with Derrick Mason and Pierre Thomas still to go.  Desperation time.  I figured I needed about 25 from Mason to really have a shot.  I got 19.  Just enough to leave me with a sliver of hope heading into Monday night.  My season rested in the hands of an RBBC running back.  I needed 20 points from Pierre Thomas against the Patriots.  I said a sliver of hope.  It all hung on the "game of the year."   I was braced for the crushing blow to come, as I was set up perfectly to come up just short, which happens to be my area of expertise.

Monday Night Commentary

6:30:  After a four day stretch of eating turkey, ham, pies, turkey leftovers, ham leftovers, and pie leftovers, lasagna and lasagna leftovers, I decided to give my wife a break and bring home some Taco Bell.  Just as bad as ever.  My stomach felt assaulted after the nice run it had been on over the three previous days.  Sorry stomach, that was a fantasy, this is reality.  

6:31:  I settle in with the wife for 30 minutes of quality time for Wheel of Fortune.  I like Wheel of Fortune.  Being a writer I can usually guess the puzzles before any of the contestants.  It makes me feel superior, while I try to knock down a Burrito Supreme and three crunchy tacos.  I am thankful that Jeopardy is not running in this time slot instead, as that tends to make me feel dumber, and who needs that when you are taking in 2000 empty calories?

7:01:  I turn to NFL network and get confirmation that Reggie Bush is inactive.  Well how about that.  I caught a freaking break.  I assumed that Bush might sit before inserting Thomas over Mendenhall.  That was the first thing that I needed to go right.  I can almost imagine the twitch in my opponents gut as he received that same news.  Oh no.  Now I am starting to get optimistic.  Strap yourself in, I'm getting on the roller coaster.

7:12:  Berman actually makes me laugh out loud.  Either I must be really nervous or I need to get more sleep.

7:30  Here comes da' Saints!  The place is rocking.  You knew it would be.

7:35  Shot of Randy Moss sporting the neck beard. Man, what is up with all the neck rugs?  It makes your head look like a Chia.  My neck is itchy just looking at it.

7:39  The rousing "opening" for MNF, ending with the two helmets smashing each other to bits.  Gee I hate to be a PC clown here, but with all the talk about concussions, is the exploding helmets really something you want to promote?  I'm just thinking out loud here.

7:42  Nice return for the Saints.  Big play to Henderson.  Same old same old.

7:43 First touch for Pierre Thomas, a reception.  Way to grab that rock Pierre.  Oui Oui!

7:44  Inside the twenty yard line.  Here comes Mike Bell.  Oh crap.

7:46  Drive stalls and Carney doinks a field goal off the left post and in.  I hope for the Saints sake they don't actually need that guy to pull their ass out of the fire at some point, because they might end up with a bunch of scorched buns.  

7:51  Nice run for Maroney.  Missed tackles won't get this done.

7:54  Pats go for it on 4th and one and Maroney sticks it right in there.

7:59  Pats continue to pound the rock, Maroney to the 4.  All this running makes me think about what that Taco Bell is in the process of doing to me right now.

7:59  Touchdown Maroney!  I could have drafted Maroney.  But even if I had I would have probably benched him tonight.  Pats 7-3

8:08  Defensive stop for the Patriots.  Big punt return by Welker.  Saints look to be crapping their pants on national television.  (yeah I thought about putting another Taco Bell joke here, didn't)

8:09  Brady throws a pick.  Saints got a "get out of jail free" card.  Disaster averted.  Several people in the dome pass out when  they collectively exhale.

8:14  Big run for Pierre Thomas to end the quarter.  5 points and right on pace.  I exhale and nearly make myself pass out.

8:18  Mike Bell injured.  Gee, I hate to see anybody get injured and all, but if he has to sit out a quarter or three so be it.  Oh, who the hell am I kidding?  I've got cash on the line here, let's just be safe and let Pierre carry the load tonight.

8:20  4th and 1 for the Saints again, this time Payton goes for it and Thomas converts.  that's more like it!

8:23  TOUCHDOWN THOMAS!  THE GOVERNOR IS ON THE PHONE!  UNSTRAP THAT BOY FROM THE CHAIR-HE MIGHT BE DUMB BUT HE DON'T DESERVE TO DIE!  STAND UP AND DO THE HAPPY CAJUN DANCE AND SHOUT A-YEEE! 

8:24  I wonder if my neighbors know if I am a football fan or if they think I am your run of the mill lunatic?  Saints 10-7

8:30  Brady forced to take a time out.  Very un-Patriot like.

8:32  Sammy Morris dropped a pass.  Again very un-Patriot like.

8:33  Defensive stop for the Saints.  Big Mo going against the Pats hard now.

8:37  Long touchdown to Henderson.  You could almost see it coming.  Looks like the Saints might force Belichick out of that run strategy.  Saints 17-7

8:38  Hoodie schooling his defense on the sidelines about the down-side of giving up 73 yard touchdown passes.

8:39  Belichick goes right back to Maroney.  Maroney delivering punishing blows on consecutive runs.  Where has this guy been?

8:40  Brady converts 3rd and long into Saints territory.  Now that's the Patriots we expected to see.

8:46  Saints hold the Pats to a field goal, but Belichick continues to run the ball and run clock.  It seems he knows what he needs to do to win, but can his defense back him up?  Probably not.  But more importantly, is there going to be enough time on the clock for Thomas to rack up the 5 lousy points I need?  Come on Hoodie, you are killing me here!

8:51  Saints driving at two minute warning.  I'm praying Thomas sticks it in down here so I can stop worrying about my fantasy team and concentrate on writing my column.

8:54  Bombs away to Meachem.  Looks like Pierre Thomas is going to have to scrape together 4.5 points in the second half.  Oh well, the hell with the column.  You people will read anything.  Wait a minute, did I just type that out loud?  24-10 Saints

8:58  Brady getting pounded like the new chick at a biker party, but still moving the ball down the field.

9:00  Randy Moss catches his first catch of the night, and for a fleeting moment I am glad I am a Pierre Thomas owner and not a Randy Moss owner.

9:01 Patriots driving - a rare pass to Ben Watson - an un-rare Watson miss as the ball blasted him in the face.  Thanks for coming Ben.

9:02  Brady over-throws Watson in the endzone.  Gostkowski misses left.  Wheels falling off for the Patriots.  Saints halfway home with a 24-10 lead at the half.
----
9:28  Ben Watson illegal formation penalty on first possession of second half.  Hey Ben, you are missing a great game here!  Brady bails him out with a 3rd and 9 completion into Saints territory.

9:29 Long pass to Moss inside the 5.  Brady all day to throw.  No pass rush tonight.

9:30  Maroney walks into the endzone virtually untouched.  How would you like to be the poor bastard that thought he had a win lined up against the guy playing Maroney tonight?  Unreal.  Now, can we go ahead and nail down those 4 points I need from Pierre Thomas?  Please?  Saints 24-17

9:34  Shot of Robert Kraft up in his box.  It makes me wonder if there is any circumstance in which I would wear a toupee.  Probably not.  The idea makes me feel itchy like the neck beard does.

9:35  Long pass play to Colston inside the 10.  Alright!  Bring on Thomas and lets get this over with for God's sake!

9:36  Oh crap, Bell is back out there.  And it doesn't matter anyway because it is yet another easy TD pass, this time to some guy named Dinkins.  Yeah.  Good for you Dinkins.  I'm really really very f'ing happy.  Isn't Sean Payton clever?  God bless you Sean Payton you clever S.O.B.  Okay, I'm really getting a sick feeling in my stomach right now and it isn't just the Taco Bell.  The Patriots can't stop the pass.  The Saints have no reason to run.  31-17 Saints.

9:42  Long run by Faulk, Saints still getting gashed by the run.

9:43  Brady tries yet another pass to Ben Watson.  You've got to admit he has balls.  Watson makes a 2 yard catch and that should be just about it for him tonight.

9:44  Pats driving inside the 20.  Not dead yet.

9:46  Pats go for it on 4th and 3.  You didn't really think Hoodie would kick a field goal here did you?  He knows field goals here are as useless as one of his press conferences.  Incomplete.  Thud go the Pats.  Get ready to assume the position Hoodie.

9:47  Running play to Mike Bell.  Oh brother here we go again...

9:54  End of the 3rd quarter.  I think Thomas touched the ball twice in that quarter for a total of 6 yards.  Oh crap, this can't be happening...

9:57  Pats finally got a stop.  Do we have a pulse?

10:01  Nope, three and out for the Patriots.  Suddenly we are the Ravens v. Steelers here.  Everybody betting the over (basically everybody) starts to get the same feeling about their bets as I have about Pierre Thomas. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:02  I start to seriously contemplate just how bad it would suck to have got that early outburst from Pierre Thomas only to come up short again.  I need 3.1 points.  Just how depressed will I be if I don't get it?  Will I be lay in bed all day in the fetal position depressed?  Can I really afford to take the day off to lay in the fetal position?  Will I bother to finish this column?  I may have not thought this thing through very well at all.

10:03  A pass completion and then a Mike Bell run.  I am growing more morbid by the second.  Pierre Thomas is only being used to pass block and occasionally wait for check-downs that never need to be thrown.  Come on Pats!  Give the Saints a reason to run you miserable bastards!

10:11  TD pass to Colston.  Great news for my dynasty team that is already ahead by 50 points and locked into the two seed anyway.  I'm so happy I could just (excrement)  You suck Patriots.  Saints 38-17

10:14  Pats come out running the ball.  Yeah that's right, run that clock Hoodie.  Love it.

10:15  Interception Saints!  Thank you God!  Saints have the ball back.  Bring on Pierre!  Lets run this clock. 

10:16  Bell again.  Screw you Sean Payton.  

10:16 Another give to Bell.  Sinking in the misery pool now, lungs filling.

10:17  Thomas in to pass-block on third down while Brees throws an incompletion.  Flatline.  Filthville Nastys  DOA, 10:17, 30 November 2009.  Carney shanks yet another field goal.  I'm glad I dropped that bum so he wasn't the one to screw me over tonight.  So there is that.

10:22  Back-up QB in for the Pats.  Hoodie has seen enough.  Towel thrown in.  No further embarrassment for his highness.  Basically the back-up Saints secondary and a three man rush humbled the great Tom Brady.  Welcome to my world Tom Brady.  Loser.

10:25  Saints take the field one more time.  Bell takes the carries one more time.  No CPR here. 

10:26  Randy Moss angrily mouthing off to some white guy with an orange beard very similar to Moss's.  He was probably telling orange-beard to stop trying to steal his cool neck-beard idea.  Orange neck beard.  That really takes some stones. 

10:27  The rest of the Patriots sidelines looks like a funeral.  Good.  Suffer you non-pass stopping bunch of panty-waste Beantown weanies.  

10:34  An uneventful end to a game that ended up being much over-hyped.  The Saints did what they were supposed to do, and the Patriots are suddenly looking not so great at 7-5.  As usual, Vegas got what they needed with the under/over set at 56.5 before gametime.  Most were all over the over.  Vegas wins again.  Big surprise.  And all across America, gamblers go to bed hating John Carney, he of the easy missed field goal that ruined the over, and I go to bed hating myself for benching Miles Austin and ruining my fantasy season.  And all is right in the universe. 

Misery Index

10)  Texans:  You got some of us again.  You had some of us buying in again. This was the year.  No doubt about it this time.  Oh, wait a minute, we can't win a game in the division? Never mind.

9)  Steelers:  When I heard that Roethlisberger was going to sit out Sunday night I thought, "wow, the Steelers are going to get their asses kicked."   Dennis Dixon?  Come on.  But they didn't get their asses kicked.  They simply lost a close game.  They simply lost their third game in a row and fell into the quagmire that is the AFC wildcard picture.  No reason to panic.  You are still a game up on the Titans so its all good.

8)  Bears:  Did any of you see that "cute" little commercial with the mama bear and the little girl bear that gets toilet paper stuck to her ass?  I thought, well isn't that clever. They used a little bear cartoon to demonstrate the serious problem of sticky stool (see Taco Bell references above) and cheap toilet paper.  I guess that answers the question does a Bear (excrement) in the woods.  He certainly does.  And on any 100 yard long rectangle grid as well.  And that toilet paper ain't coming off Bears fans asses. 

7) Chiefs:  When Chris Chambers is the high point of your season I think that just about says it all.

6)  Redskins:  Hey Danny boy, did ya hear that Charlie Weis is available?  I'll bet he knows how to call plays.  Of course, he might need some players first.  How much cash do you have left?    

5)  Raiders:  I was surprised to hear that the Raiders (aka Al Baby) are looking to sell a 10% stake in the team.  And that set me to wondering, what is the value of 10% of a steaming pile?  Let's see here, we are on the hook for 31 million guaranteed to to our back-up quarterback, who really isn't even good enough to be a back-up.  And tens of millions to other players offering virtually no impact.  And the majority owner is sure to step up this pace of financial disaster once he gets his mitts on some more cash.   Sounds good.  Let me get my checkbook. 

4)  Rams:  You are single-handedly keeping the Seahawks on the outer fringes of the Misery Index. They really should send you all a Christmas card, but they probably won't.

3)  Buccaneers:  One could be tempted to move the Bucs up a bit based on almost taking out the Falcons.  But almost winning is like almost pregnant. Or almost showed up for police questioning. Or almost didn't cheat on your wife.  Or almost didn't get beat up by your wife and crashed into a tree in the middle of the night when she found out you were cheating on her.  What?

2) Lions:  Remember when the Lions were only bad instead of horrific?  Back when Barry was playing, and they at least showed up for their Thanksgiving day game?  Oh yeah, and while I am at it, thanks a lot to Calvin Johnson for taking the field and catching that touchdown pass to start the game.  If I had known it would be your next to last catch of the day I would have not been quite so happy at the time.  Still though, it was a bright moment to start a horrible day, so here is a fist-pump to Calvin for playing decoy all day and making sure I didn't start Miles Austin instead.  

1) Browns:  That sure was a short-lived honeymoon in Detroit when you masqueraded as an actual NFL offense.  Back to reality.  Back to six points a week.  But hey, the good news is that in this league there are teams like the Bills that are bad enough you can actually win a game with six points.  And it doesn't mean you suck any less that you shut down the Bengals offense.  And as a matter of fact, with all the pissed of  Carson Palmer and Ocho owners out there, I'm sure they think you suck even more now that you needlessly ruined their fantasy seasons with your "pretending to have a defense" BS.  I hope you’re happy with yourselves.  Now you are pitied and hated simultaneously, and that ain't easy.

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