Never leave us again!
This season, riding high off a Giants Super Bowl win, I have pledged to watch as many different teams as possible and focus all my fan masochism on fantasy football.
In my efforts, I will be writing this weekly Snapshots column – taking a quick snapshot of different teams and games and players, giving rapid and uniformed responses, and generally overreacting to stupid things.
Week 1: “The Phantom Menace”
Week 1 is, of course, a week of overreaction, wild extrapolation, millions of angry tweets all cast into the abyss.
It’s a strange phenomenon – it’s like every NFL fan suddenly forgets that the Super Bowl isn’t until Valentine’s Day and we still barely have pumpkin in our beer. This isn’t college, where an early season loss spells doom (sorry, Arkansas).
This is the NFL, the parity league, where the Giants can stumble through a mediocre season, get hot, and suddenly have a ticker tape parade creating the only paper trail on Wall Street. (hey-o! Bill Maher zinger!)
That’s the Phantom Menace of Week 1 – it’s stupid, and we should just forget about it since it has no bearing on the rest of the movies, er, season.
But it’s fun to overreact!
It’s fun to pretend that every game is do or die, that every result can be used to predict the future.
That’s all a snapshot is: a picture of where a team is after that game, a shot of where a certain player is that might have absolutely nothing to do with future results. Essentially, I’m looking to glean whatever information I can from the season to this point, and make wild, pointless predictions about the future because hey it’s football and let’s all calm down and have some fun!
I’ll try to do more complete breakdowns of all the games I watched on TV, and some quick thoughts about others. Sometimes I will straight up make stuff up, just to see if you’re paying attention.
The Giants Won The Super Bowl … So I Don’t Care That They Lost
Cowboys 24, Giants 17.
This was a pretty classic letdown game – the defending champs came out flat, the Cowboys came out fired up and sharp, and the result was never really in doubt.
Of course, the Giants lost their opener both times they’ve won the Super Bowl, proving that Week 1 hardly matters. But this raised a lot of concerns for NY, mainly in the fact that the secondary is pretty patchwork and the run game is again looking like it will be the worst in the league.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, looked ready to fulfill all that offensive promise they’ve had for the last… like, 15 years or so. Tony Romo gets a reputation as a choker, and while it’s somewhat deserved, he puts up some pretty terrific stats.
I still get the feeling that if Troy Aikman decided to suit up, Cowboys fans would ditch Romo in a quarter second.
Kevin Ogletree is from Queens, NY, so I automatically like him. But he will probably be the 4th option for Tony Romo going forward, and he benefited from the fact that he was basically wide open most of the game.
David Wilson, a popular fantasy sleeper, netted me -2 points in fantasy. Translated to WAR terms, he’s the new Jason Bay.
I watched this game in a fancy downtown hotel bar, where most of the crowd wore Giants jerseys but seemed more interested in Fashion Week (Halloween for skinny people) starting the next night. Mistakes.
Possible NFC Championship Preview? Maaaaaybe!
49ers 30, Packers 22.
Another game that was not nearly as close as the score indicated.
I turned this game on and for a second thought it was being played in San Fran – that’s how dominant the 49ers looked. Probably the last time they’ll need to win in Green Bay this year, because they are going to wreck the NFC West again this year and earn home field.
Unless they get surprised by Detroit this week, in which case, I’m just joking.
Green Bay will surely rebound, but they seem to have fundamental problems running the ball and stopping the run that have been sorta overlooked since they won the Super Bowl. Still the best offense in the NFC, but they seem like a mortal lock for another playoff loss at home.
Aaron Rodgers went first in both of my fantasy leagues, but he’s the new Drew Brees with all these random wide receivers catching touchdowns.
Jermichael Finley is a safe bet, but does anyone with Greg Jennings or Jordy Nelson feel safe going forward?
Also, that James Jones touchdown was so frustrating for anyone who owns the 49ers defense – were you the weirdo that picked them in like the 7th round in your draft? I was. I panicked when the only running back left was BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and said ‘screw it, running backs are overrated’ and lost by 60 points this week. I am not good at drafting.
Isn’t it weird that the 49ers are good again, but in the total opposite way of the Jerry Rice 49ers? Do people in San Francisco care yet, or are the hipsters still wearing A’s/Giants hats for another month?
I’m just bitter because the Mets are the hipster team in NYC – if you see a boy in skinny jeans and a fitted hat, odds are it’s a Mets hat. And possibly me.
Have You Heard About This Team, The Jets?
Jets 48, Bills 28, and again – that score is a mirage.
This was basically Jets 48, Bills 7 + Garbage time.
This is a terrible, TERRIBLE season to be a Jets fan. They would all prefer to have Vinny Testeverde at QB and no expectations, but with the two most sexually polarizing quarterbacks in football, they will get prime position in every highlight reel from now until Tebow and Sanchez are replaced by a proto-QB composed of Rex Ryan’s leftover lipo fat.
Meanwhile, the Bills have gone from Sexy Dark Horse to Horse With Broken Leg. Will Toronto fans ever accept the Bills as a replacement to their beloved Argonauts?
Fred Jackson was so awesome for my team last year, and I thought his broken leg was a freak accident as opposed to a nagging thing. I drafted him, and had multiple opportunities to handcuff him with C.J. Spiller. But I didn’t. And that’s why I lost by 60 points this week.
Stephen Hill will probably not catch two touchdowns a week for the next 15 weeks. But I have a feeling Shonn Greene will continue to be serviceable in the 70-120 yards and maybe TD kinda way. Jeremy Kerley will probably not return many more punts for TDs.
I think the best option here is still Santonio Holmes, who looked kinda awesome and nearly caught a ridiculous touchdown that he negated by putting his hand down out of bounds.
I don’t actually think I’ve seen anyone in a Tebow jersey in New York. Could… could this all be some kind of media creation?
Ed Reed Has A Nose For The Football/Is A Ballhawk/Just Makes Plays Cliche
Ravens 44, Bengals 13.
I gotta say, this feels a little bit like a Ravens year.
Even without Terrell Suggs, I think this is the best team in the league, especially if Joe Flacco continues to play crazy competent and Ray Rice becomes the best back in football.
There are weapons on offense, weapons on defense – and that’s just in Ray Lewis’ limo. Ba-dum-ching! (Are we still blaming him for that or no?)
Meanwhile, the Bengals are a good fantasy team since they are clearly going to be down a lot and airing the ball out.
Andrew Hawkins, breakout candidate? A.J. Green, the new Roddy White? BenJarvus Green-Ellis, too many names? Yes to all.
With the Orioles still in contention, this is potentially the best year for the city of Baltimore since Tommy Carcetti was elected mayor.
Best Team in Texas Watch:
Houston is another Sexy Dark Horse this season, which works given that their logo is a horse who is pretty dark and sexy. They dismantled a crappy Dolphins team that we all know waaay too much about thanks to HBO.
We’ll have a better idea about the Texans after Week 3 when they play the Broncos in Denver.
Arian Foster scored twice while Ben Tate did nothing, which totally invalidated that sneaky Tate pick you made in your draft.
Is Reggie Bush still a bust or has he redeemed himself over the last year by playing fairly adequately? Do you think it’s weird when he sees Kanye West at the Fontainableau in Miami?
DirecTV Spokesman Makes Triumphant Return
Speaking of Denver, Peyton Manning reminds us all of our mortality, and I know we’re all secretly happy that he’s back and looks good. Perhaps our inevitable march toward death has slowed to a crawl!
The Broncos beat Pittsburgh, but I feel like that game was a little closer than it seemed – the Steelers have won in Denver only three times since I was born, so maybe it’s an altitude thing. Seriously, it’s hard to breath there, let alone chase around a neckless 36-year-old.
This may have been the game with the most fantasy ramifications all week – first for seeing if Peyton is back, then seeing which Denver receiver is going to be the top dog, and for which Steelers running back is going to win the job of standing over a prone Ben Roethlisberger after he is sacked.
I’d say Demaryius Thomas is a pretty good play going forward, while I am seriously praying that Jonathan Dwyer emerges for Pittsburgh because he is literally my only reasonable running back.
I have TERRIBLE teams this year.
Real Teams That Are Actually Terrible
I hate the Redskins because I went to college in DC and people in John Riggins jerseys spill more beer on you than any other jersey.
Sure, they won in a tough environment against a team that had a pretty wacky offseason, but the Skins are just not a good team. Besides Robert Griffin III is there anyone else on that team worth owning in fantasy? Fred Davis, who submarined me last year with a weed suspension? Any of the half dozen aggressively mediocre running backs they have?
Teams That Might Be Awesome
They beat up on a really bad team, but next Sunday night versus Green Bay is going to be crazy fun. They have a fairly weak schedule going forward, and could easily notch 10 or 11 wins and get a first-round game at home.
Also, is Michael Bush a thing? There’s no way he scores in the teens again this year in fantasy, right? RIGHT?
I think Green Bay will win at home versus the Bears, but if they don’t … expect full-on pandemonium from Appleton to Oshkosh to Sheboygan to Kenosha to other cities with fun names in Wisconsin.
I also have a terrible feeling the Giants will lose to the Buccaneers, who have breakout potential given how good they were just two seasons ago and their rookie head coach.
The Saints should probably bounce back against the Panthers, while the Jets will almost assuredly come back to earth versus Pittsburgh.
The Monday nighter with Denver versus the potent Falcons will also be fun, but Peyton in a dome, any dome, is hard to bet against.
Those are my picks, unless they are wrong, in which case no they weren’t my picks.