There is a sacred code among fantasy football brethren: real team results matter more than whoever you started on your fantasy squad.
If that maxim was ever going to be tested for me—if I indeed privately practiced what I publicly preached—it was in the here-and-now, Week 15, the fantasy football playoffs. And at halftime of the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys game it appeared nearly all had been lost. While Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles—against whom I was playing in three of my eight postseason matchups—was running wild in California, the Packers were imploding in Texas. But then things slowly began to change: Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn was beginning to catch fire.
Before both the Thursday Night Football contest between the Chargers and Broncos and pre-kickoff of the Sunday afternoon slate, I was favored to prevail in all eight playoff matchups. I won one. Despite being the top seed in four leagues, the only one I came out on top was my most important: the decade-old keeper league with my best friends, Lambeau Field. Given that ‘Bloody Sunday’ was already claimed—and the fantasy massacre occurred on a Monday here in Melbourne—‘Bloody Monday’ is as apt way to describe what will undoubtedly go down as the dreariest and depressing day I’ll ever suffer through in fantasy football. (Worst case I could ever have imagined was going 4-4 this week.)
So why do I write now with such a huge grin on my face? After all, thousands of dollars of potential earnings were just squandered.
It’s because in a season in which nothing has seemed to go right for my beloved Pack, there is now a considerably brighter light emanating out of the long, dark tunnel. Win the last two games of the season and you are in the playoffs. And if they make it in, who knows what could happen? Maybe they get the New Orleans Saints—who can’t seem to win a game on the road, even if is in a dome—to come play on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in an NFC Wild Card tilt. And then maybe they head to Seattle to exorcise some more demons in the divisional round. And finally, in the NFC championship game, travel to Carolina, Philadelphia, or—best case scenario—host San Francisco in Green Bay to go to the Super Bowl.
Such a path would be unlikely—but certainly not more daunting then winning in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago before besting Pittsburgh en route to their last championship triumph. Crazier things have happened. But if you would have told the Packers that after Aaron Rodgers, the NFL’s best player, went down in Week 9 that all they would have to do is win two games to capture the NFC North crown, I’m sure they would have taken that deal in a heartbeat. Here’s hoping No. 12 will be back to make it happen.
I’ll continue with the therapeutic Postmortems series of fallen fantasy franchises tomorrow, but for now I prefer to bask in the glory of Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s über-clutch 61-yard game-winning field goal. Bloody Monday is now history.
After all: it is warm, sunny, and Tuesday here in Australia!