This Week in Fantasy Football

“How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?”

I’ve never quite felt the severity of John McClane’s Jeremiad in Die Hard 2 until now. Exactly one year ago I wrote this:

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.)

There are some subtle differences—and, unfortunately, some painful similarities—to what happened this year in Week 15 than last: I only had seven matchups, I was favored in only half, and (as has been well documented in this space) I’d already been eliminated from playoff contention in Lambeau Field.

But the worst thing that didn’t happen last year but did this weekend? The Packers lost. So not only did my real life team perform far under expectations but six of my seven fantasy teams did too. All of it can be summed up in one play: Jordy Nelson dropping what certainly would have been a 94-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers. That very likely wins the game for Green Bay and it definitely ensures Snuffleupagus advances to the semifinals in—wait for it—Aaron Rodgers’ Avenue.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

A team-by-team breakdown of the week that unfortunately was (note: playoff participants in bold; eliminated teams in red):

Team Result Record Streak Differential/Playoff Update What If?
Green Bay Gamblers 139.28-84.64 5-9 Lost 3 -3 Out with a whimper.
Sterling Sharpe 87.61-70.62 12-3 Won 11 Semifinalist Eleven in a row!
Brc 132-88 8-7 Lost 2 Eliminated Frustrating season.
Snuffleupagus 97-88 9-5-1 Lost 1 Eliminated Jordy’s drop the difference.
TR’s Peepers 106.88-90.62 6-7 Lost 2 -5 Second most points and I miss the playoffs. Major bummer.
Pangaea 173-113 12-16 Lost 1 Eliminated Not to be this season.
Valley Forge 126.1-114.5 5-8 Won 1 Even Highest point total of the season!
GBG 159-57 7-6-1 Lost 2 Eliminated Absolute beat down. Wow.
Fuzzy Dunlop 184-145 10-5 Lost 1 Third Place Game No one exceeded expectations.
The Taco Stand 132.42-107.52 8-7 Lost 1 Third Place Game Just fell short.
Unironic Witty Name 276.92-122.10 12-2 Lost 1 Third Place Game By far the worst output of the season.

Week 15 playoff record: 1-6. Overall: 7-7 (.500)

Still Alive: Unironic Witty Name, The Taco Stand, Fuzzy Dunlop, Sterling Sharpe

Season Over: Valley Forge, TR’s Peepers, Green Bay Gamblers, GBG, Pangaea, Snuffleupagus, Brc

Projected out to a normal 12 game week, my 110.88 average would have been my second lowest (1,330.51) of the season:

Week 15: 776.13
Week 14: 1,076.0
Week 13: 1,706.6
Week 12: 1,571.9
Week 11: 1,509.2
Week 10: 1,772.9
Week 9: 1,507.0
Week 8: 1,771.5
Week 7: 1,608.5
Week 6: 1,544.1
Week 5: 1,486.2
Week 4: 1,609.1
Week 3: 1,181.3
Week 2: 1,391.1
Week 1: 1,677.6

Déjà vu all over again:

2014: 1-6 (7-7, .500)
2013: 1-7 (2-7, .222)
2012: 3-4 (5-5, .500)
2011: 5-3 (6-5, .545)

And now for some hardware:

Player of the Week: The Baltimore Ravens defense. Picked up precisely for this home matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, they posted 22 fantasy points (almost double their 10.12 projected) thanks to eight sacks, an interception, and a blocked kick for a touchdown.

Goat of the Week: Jordy Nelson. True his signal caller, Aaron Rodgers, was not his usual stellar self for most of the game. But the sure 94-yard touchdown pass that Jordy dropped was perfectly thrown. A perfect fantasy season marred by one single error.

Team of the Week: Sterling Sharpe. It wasn’t pretty but in the playoffs it doesn’t have to be. The victory pushed their winning streak to 11 straight and advanced them to the semifinals:

Sterling Sharpe

Pure Genius: Picking up Atlanta Falcons wideout Harry Douglas and starting him. As you can see above his 16 point effort—10 receptions for 131 yards—was crucial to the win (and 13 more than usual starter Reggie Wayne.)

What was I thinking?!: Besides trading Odell Beckham in two leagues . . . nothing I would have done would have changed any of the results. Now if Jordy catches that pass. . .

Pickup(s) of the Week: Got Eddie Royal to replace Keenan Allen on Unironic Witty Name and the season-long game of Tight End Roulette continues in Week 16 with Mychal Rivera being added (again) in two leagues.

Drop of the Week: Tennessee’s defense and Ryan Mathews on two teams each.

Lambeau Field update: Misery loves company. Picture this: You are less than two minutes from advancing to the semifinals of the toughest league to win. The Monday Night Football game is a blowout and all you have to do to advance is not have the Chicago Bears score a touchdown. And if they do it can’t be Alshon Jeffery who catches it. And if he does catch it he can’t have caught another pass on the drive. All of those things had to happen for Drew to lose his matchup to Nate. And because fantasy football is the most fickle of mistresses they all did. Final margin of defeat? .04 points.

Here is how the drive played out:

The Drive

And the final box score:

Sucker Punch

Not surprisingly, this was the closest playoff game in league history. Here are the other epic matchups with razor-thin margins:

.33: 87.99-87.66 (Dave over Matt in the semifinals in 2008)
1.03: 84.67-83.64 (Drew over Bill in the semifinals in 2012)
1.28: 112.27-110.99 (myself over Greg in the quarterfinals in 2008)
2.96: 123.24-120.28 (JD over Joey in the quarterfinals in 2005)
3.38: 89.32-85.94 (Nate over Matt in the third place game in 2008)
3.94: 99.94-96.60 (Nate over Shuttlesworth in the quarterfinals in 2004)

(2008 was a tough year for Matt; 2009 was much better!)


It’s (most certainly not) the most wonderful time of the year; follow my quest for a now solitary fantasy football championship on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.

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