Wow, what a misleading title.
Now that we’re just about at the halfway point, it seemed like a good time to veer from identifying contenders to figuring out who has pissed us all off the most by defying expectations, both in fantasy and in real life.
An opening salvo/digression: legal sports betting will be coming to New Jersey in 2013, and the ability to bet on sports is intriguing to me, a sports fan who is also a fan of money.
The gambling aspect doesn’t exactly appeal to me – casinos are fun, but only if you have the acute ability to ignore the sadness and lung cancer around you. It’s more the idea of demonstrating the value of sports knowledge.
I had this quick thought today that if I pulled a Back To The Future II and somehow found a sports almanac from the future, it would be helpful in terms of straight-up betting on games, but basically useless for fantasy.
Knowing exactly how each player will produce every week is great, but drafting is such a huge component of fantasy, as is the waiver wire, as is the performance of other teams in your league. If you came into this season and knew exactly which 10 players would be the best at their position, you would still have to settle for the 4th or 5th best QB or tight end or whatever, based on how other people drafted and where you chose to derive your value.
This is all a long way of saying that fantasy football is the worst and I hate it. It’s not really akin to betting – it’s more like the stock market. You need to know when and where to buy and sell.
If we could all jump in the Doc’s Delorean, here’s where I think we’d want some take-backs.
Note: these are vaguely in order of ESPN’s average draft position combined with level of anger.
Chris Johnson/Maurice Jones-Drew
These were both stay-away picks. You felt awful at the time drafting them.
Maybe you had the 9th or 10th pick in your league, saw one just sitting there, and figured it was worth the risk. So far, no good.
MJD is out with a foot, and while the artist formerly known as CJ2K showed some friskiness this week, he also nearly doubled his yardage output for the season and scored his first two TDs.
You should have known better: Jones-Drew was coming off a long holdout, and Johnson was coming off a terrible year that was coming off a long holdout. And yet – these two went 8th and 9th in most leagues.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we love ourselves enough to say no?
The Johnsons have been busts so far for different reasons.
Johnson the Elder, AKA Andre, is disappointing because he’s 31 years old and may have gone over the hill without us knowing some time last season, in the midst of various injuries.
Megatron is disappointing because his team is inexplicably awful, after a two-year Detroit renaissance that made everyone ignore the fires and abandoned buildings.
Andre is seeing more defensive attention and fewer targets because his team is better than it’s been, which is somewhat surprising. Calvin is being absolutely blanketed by opposing defenses because his team is terrible, possibly because Mitt Romney hates Detroit (BOOM).
Who has the better shot of bouncing back?
Well, Andre played 7 games last year and now has played 7 this year. In 2011: 33 catches, 51 targets, 492 yards, 2 TDs. So far in 2012: 34 catches, 53 targets, 444 yards, 2 TDs. UH OH. This is the real Andre Johnson everyone. Sell while you can.
Megatron, on the other hand, WILL bust out.
He was very consistent last season, and the lack of week-to-week production is what is killing his owners (myself included), but on a bad team that will be playing a lot of catchup, eventually he will put up points. And when he does, he’ll drag up the stats of his equally busty (tee hee!) QB Matthew Stafford, who was a top-10 pick in most leagues and currently ranks below Joe Flacco in points.
Speaking of dudes ranked below Joe Flacco!
There’s a lot at play here: the attitude thing is a smokescreen to the fact that Newton was due to regress after such an outrageous rookie year. Drafters of Robert Griffin III in 2013, take note.
But it’s more the rushing that’s an issue for Cam. He’s averaging more yards per carry this year, and he’s on pace for roughly the same amount of carries as last year, but with waaaaaay fewer TDs. He was essentially a vulture back last year, stealing touchdowns from his two running backs. And now karma is back to bite him.
Will he get back on track? Not with that god awful team he won’t, but in NFL terms he’ll probably be fine. He’s really good, guys. I like watching him play.
Oh, who am I kidding. I saw RGIII in person this weekend and he was super awesome and the best and he did well at college and HE’S SUCH A GOOD PERSON YOU CAN JUST TELL BY THE WAY HE EXTENDS THE PLAY.
This is a weird one.
Young guy, dynamic team, led the NFL in touchdowns last year. Just one rushing TD so far, and in my league, he’s the 15th ranked RB. Not great for a guy who was probably a top-5 pick in your league.
The Eagles had a bye this week, but they will have to ride McCoy more heavily with Michael Vick and Andy Reid’s jobs on the line. He’s putting up 10-13 points per week, which would be great if you’re starting Vick Ballard and Dexter McCluster like I am, but bad for where you probably drafted him.
Yeah, Dexter McCluster. He’s got RB eligibility.
I’m not good at fantasy football.
This one’s not your fault, buddy. It happens. Injuries, guys fall out of favor…
He wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire so far this year, but he was the 18th pick on average, which means the guy who picked Arian Foster first probably took him with his second pick in your snake draft, and he thought he was sittin’ pretty with an RB tandem like that. Maybe he deserves it, honestly.
It was the second year in a row he won the first pick. Granted, he does the coin flip in his house because he’s the commissioner but you trust him, man. Remember he gave your girlfriend a ride home that night from the bar when she got sick? And he was like “Oh don’t worry, bro. I got this.”
And you got to stay and he even paid for three rounds of Buck Hunter and bought you guys shots before he left with your girlfriend and OH MY GOD KAREN!
The Saints are a disappointment in general, but Graham owners are getting the brunt of their failure each week on their fantasy roster.
Two big weeks to start the year, two mediocre ones, and then three consecutive goose eggs, including the bye week when you had to pick up, like, Marcedes Lewis or something. That’s a dumb name, Marcedes. Spell it right if you’re going to be dumb like that.
Graham looks like an OK bet to play this week in Denver, in what should be a crazy high scoring game, but an ankle injury for a dude who’s that big and depends so much on speed and jumping ability does not bode well for the season.
Still better than Farrari Lewis.
Do you think Greg regrets filming all those commercials directly before deciding to have a terrible season? It’s like how Peyton Manning was on your TV every Sunday last year, except the only time he was in a uniform was when he was trying to sell you a TV or Oreos or whatever else.
Sidenote: is Peyton going to be on TV after he retires? Is he going to be the new Troy Aikman? Brett Favre had the decency to descend into Mississippi Obscurity, which is the most obscure type of obscurity. But I have a feeling that Peyton is going to be yapping at you from behind a desk very, very soon, and will eventually make his way into a booth and we’ll all feel incredibly old.
Mostest Disappointingest Teams
Forget fantasy for a second.
This has been a weird year so far for teams with high expectations, like the aforementioned Lions and Saints.
Carolina only won six games last year, although it felt like more, but they are cruising towards a top draft pick at this moment – remember, they only won 2 games in 2010, so perhaps this is a bookend year.
I don’t think anyone REALLY thought the Bills would contend this year, but there’s a lot of struggle in the AFC – the Pats, Steelers, Broncos and Chargers are all oddly out of sync, and it seems like a lock that the NFC representative in the Super Bowl will also be the winner.
Coupled with a Baltimore team that looks ready to collapse at any moment, and the fact that the Packers ripped the Texans, and it seems like there’s just no one in the AFC with a serious shot.
Smash cut to: six weeks from now, when this is all incorrect.
Last week, I did… OK.
I whiffed on Seattle, but only by a little, and uh… Baltimore got ripped, so that’s on me. But the other three picks were right!
This week, I think the Giants avenge the opening game loss to Dallas, I think the Titans hold off the Colts, i I think the Steelers hold off the Redskins, I think the Saints find a way in Denver, and the 49ers flex their muscles against the Cardinals on Monday night.
These are my picks, unless they are wrong, in which case you misread it.