My good friend and ex-partner Jason Grey has a saying, “no one cares about your team but you.” Sorry Jas, but if you had a week like I just had, you would write about it too. I play in 5 standard head-to-head football leagues and one all-play where you face all the other teams in your league each week. My head-to-head record for the week was 5-0 and I went 11-0 in the all-play format. Best. Week. Ever.
Okay, here’s the deal – I know you could care less about my silly little teams. But this past weekend reminded me why I play fantasy football. I am still a baseball guy at heart, married to my spreadsheets. I would not trade the 26-week grind of the baseball season for anything. That said, there is something seriously cool about the in-the-moment thrill fantasy football provides. I know there are head-to-head baseball leagues that are decided during Sunday Night Baseball, but the edge of your seat excitement pales in comparison to having Matt Stafford, Jahvid Best, Matt Forte and Nate Burleson active on Monday night in one league, while owning Calvin Johnson in two others. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) for my opponents, Megatron sealed the deal for me pretty early so they could just kick back and watch the game. The guy I was facing with half my still playing was not so lucky, as he had Brandon Pettigrew who has established himself as a favorite target for Stafford on the rare occasion he does not throw the pigskin to Johnson. I passed him at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the score was close enough that a couple of Pettigrew receptions including a touchdown would have flipped the score. But at the end, Best was used to seal the deal, resulting in a double digit victory for yours truly. Sure, I probably would have watched the game anyway, but with three outcomes on the line, this was must see TV for me.
I am sure that you can recall a game where you won or lost on a late TD or defensive play. To me, this dynamic makes fantasy football a little different than fantasy baseball and adds enjoyment. When you get right down to it, enjoyment is what it is all about, unless you are amongst the handful of players that are in it for just the money. I know people like to debate the luck and skill element of fantasy sports, calling football checkers and baseball chess. Personally, you can debate luck versus skill until the cows come home. I will play so long as it is still fun and a source of enjoyment. Right now, weeks like this past one trump the frustration of occasionally getting screwed from bad luck.
Actually, it was not a perfect week as my entry in the SiriusXM Salary Cap Challenge scuffled a bit, finishing 998 out of almost 4000 entries. But that is not going to stop me. Here is the squad I have picked to compete this week:
QB: Aaron Rodgers ($8,300) – I am going with the best in a week Rodgers should roll, facing the hapless and defenseless St. Louis Rams.
RB: Darren McFadden ($9,500) – I am usually reticent to use such a high priced player with a history of getting hurt and not finishing games, but with McFadden squaring off against the mediocre Browns’ run defense, I am going to take the chance he goes off and his price tag scares everyone else away.
RB: Fred Jackson ($8,500) – The Giants D is not as stout as it has been so Jackson is a strong play. As suggested last week, you just have to love guys that contribute to both the running and passing games and are also the goal-line back.
WR: Calvin Johnson ($8,900) – This will be somewhat of a statement game for the Lions and 49ers and the best players usually are called upon to make said statement, and it does not get any better than Megatron.
WR: Pierre Garcon ($4,000) – Especially after last week, Garcon and his minute salary is going be near universally owned, which is all the more reason to take the highest priced guys like Rodgers and Run DMC since they will be scantly owned. That said, you need to produce regardless of your price and Garcon looks to have something going with Curtis Painter.
WR: Victor Cruz ($4,000) – see Garcon, Pierre
TE: Brandon Pettigrew ($4,300) – In challenges of this sort, it is usually best to diversify so picking a TE and WR from the same team is ill-advised, but Pettigrew appears to be Stafford’s second favorite and should see some dump offs as San Francisco can get after the passer.
FLEX: BenJarvus Green-Ellis ($4700) – When you go top-heavy with stars, you are going to need to take a chance somewhere and that is where the Law Firm comes in. New England has a plethora of weapons, but only one of them will be called upon to close out a close game and that is Green-Ellis. Plus, the game with the Cowboys is likely to be a shoot out.
K: Dan Bailey ($3,800) – Though it burned me last week, I still believe as cheap as possible is the way to go with kickers and it does not get any cheaper than Bailey. That said, I expect Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten to score aplenty, giving Bailey some opportunities to score.
D: Cincinnati Bengals ($4,000) – Going cheap at defense also burned me last week, but I am back for more. I know Curtis Painter looked pretty good, but he is still Curtis Painter and the Bengals defense is looking pretty formidable.
Good luck to you and your squads this week.