A key injury, two unfortunate 50/50 lineup choices, and one decision not to acquire a tailback—who just happened to have the greatest statistical game of his career on Sunday—turned a beautiful weekend ugly. Deciding who’s in and who’s out is the essence of fantasy football. Some decisions are easy; others are agonizingly difficult. Seemingly everything I had to make a choice about in Week 6 fell squarely in the latter category. And I rarely chose wisely.
The first mistake came when I opted for Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard over New England’s LeGarrette Blount, who had previously run rampant over the Indianapolis Colts on multiple occasions. Their point differential prevented The Taco Stand from securing a huge victory, falling 165.90-159.88 in a heartbreaking defeat. It was a sentiment very familiar to Brc. At the last minute I subbed out Buffalo Bills wideout Sammy Watkins for the aged Andre Johnson of the Colts. I knew the former was suffering from an injury and was worried he wouldn’t make it through the game. I also thought that Indianapolis would be behind most of the time to the Patriots and therefore have to throw the ball a ton, preferably to my guy.
One out of two ain’t bad. Watkins did leave the game early but not before he caught a touchdown and racked up 14 fantasy points, eight more than Johnson and easily enough for me to pull out a win. As it happened, though, I lost 142-138, a defeat made even more upsetting because Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery got hurt early in his game against the Chargers.
And then there was The Curious Case of James Starks. With Jamaal Charles out for the season, my most important team, the Green Bay Gamblers, are absolutely bereft of running backs. Bernard is now penciled in as my RB1 but who is going to fill that crucial second spot? Not Cleveland Browns back Isaiah Crowell that’s for damn sure! Though he’s technically listed as the starter his fantasy usefulness borders on irrelevance—especially in a point per reception league. For this reason among many I was poised to drop him and pick up the Packers backup.
With Eddie Lacy hobbling and a home game against the Chargers on the horizon, I thought he would certainly get more than the three points projected for Crowell. For some reason I balked. Decided to stand pat. Starks has a career game and Crowell did his usual: nothing. This is not to say I think No. 44 is the Packer running back to own moving forward. He definitely won’t ever have a game like that again this season. But most immediately it cost me a win as I fell 125.30-121.97. In a rare glimpse of the bright side, due to my robust point total failing to stay undefeated actually propelled me up a spot to take over first place in my storied keeper league. Even so the sting from this loss will linger.
Here are how my 12 teams—the supercontinent Pangaea plays two games a week—fared in Week 6:
|Green Bay Gamblers||125.30-121.97||5-1||Lost 1||First||682.04|
|Sterling Sharpe||120.90-97.92||2-4||Won 2||Ninth||600.87|
|TR’s Peepers||116.76-90||3-3||Lost 1||Sixth||538.04|
|Curly’s Cadre*||105.98-81.90||5-1||Won 3||Fourth||593.98|
|Pangaea||199-127; 164-127||5-7||Lost 2||Eighth||1,902|
|The Drop Bears*||109.10-96.1||5-1||Won 1||Third||609|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||206-143||2-4||Lost 3||Eighth||1,101|
|The Taco Stand||165.90-159.88||3-3||Lost 1||Fourth||929.56|
|Unironic Witty Name||171.34-162.08||1-5||Lost 3||Ninth||1,039.30|
|Team||Points Against||Rank||Differential||What If?|
|Green Bay Gamblers||527.43||Third||+2||R-e-g-r-e-t-s!|
|Sterling Sharpe||654.48||Ninth||Even||Two in a row is a winning streak!|
|Brc||829||Fourth||-3||I chose poorly.|
|Snuffleupagus||825||Sixth||Even||Some Game of the Week!|
|TR’s Peepers||636.20||Tenth (Last)||+4||Need to get hot in a hurry!|
|Curly’s Cadre*||489.98||Third||-1||Another impressive victory!|
|Pangaea||2026||Seventh (Tie)||-1||Life sans Jamaal off to a dubious start.|
|The Drop Bears*||520.3||Fourth||+1||Major bye week issues!|
|GBG||571||Second||+1||Team of the Week!|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||1,001||Fourth||-4||Bad luck so far, but I’ll be there in the end.|
|The Taco Stand||879.60||First||-3||LeGarrette over Gio and I get the win!|
|Unironic Witty Name||1,231.12||Eighth||-1||Time to panic!|
*Denotes new team this season
Week 6 record: 4-9-0. Overall: 42-36-0 (.538).
Still Unbeaten: None
If the Postseason Started Today: Eight of my 12 fantasy teams make the playoffs (unchanged from Week 5)
Week 6: 1,647.91
Week 5: 1,755.15
Week 4: 1,415.19
Week 3: 2,083.02
Week 2: 1,712.94
Week 1: 1,680.25
This is the first time I have ever finished below .500 in Week 6:
2014: 6-6 (34-37-1, .479)
2013: 8-4 (30-18, .625)
2012: 8-4 (41-31, .569)
2011: 8-4 (45-27, .625)
And now for this week’s awards:
Player of the Week: Yes it was in a loss, but Calvin Johnson‘s six receptions, 166 yards and one touchdown (20 fantasy points) was a fine return to Megatron-esque form. Now for that encore. . . .
Goat of the Week: Crowell, Isaiah.
Villain of the Week: Matthew Stafford. He finally gets going and his stat-tastic performance directly resulted in two of my losses—including a lifeless showing in the Game of the Week (see below).
Team of the Week:
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before . . . Unironic Witty Name.
(Last Week’s) Game of the Week: Oy.
Pure Genius: That blockbuster I made in Week 3 is starting to look better and better!
Put Me In Coach—I’m Ready to Play: Martavis Bryant.
What was I thinking?!: Bernard over Blount. Johnson over Watkins. Isaiah Crowell.
Trade of the Week: None consummated.
Pickups of the Week: The week that the Green Bay Packers have their bye is always a critical one for me in the fantasy season. In the near term it means more losses—especially this year with the Bears, Bengals and Broncos also idle—but more long-term it usually bolsters my special teams for the rest of the season.
Argue all you want about how important kickers are in fantasy, but I love to have one of the top five in my lineup every week: Stephen Gostkowski, Mason Crosby, Steven Hauschka, Justin Tucker, and now Brandon McManus. That’s not to say I will draft one of these guys before the penultimate round, but if they are available in free agency or on the waiver wire I won’t hesitate to pounce. (This is exactly why I picked up Crosby off waivers in Lambeau Field, sacrificing my third [of 12] priority for the comfort of knowing where my points are coming from each week beginning next Sunday night. Don’t let the door hit you, Isaiah!)
I got him in another league as well—where I also have his teammate, Aaron Rodgers—and also added the Packers defense to Curly’s Cadre roster of St Louis and the New York J-E-T-S. Love playing the matchups!
As for my other additions heading into a chaotic Week 7: Peyton Manning (also in Lambeau; excellent trade bait/insurance for Tom Brady if he can right the ship in the second half), Dolphins team quartrback, Matt Cassel (two QB league), Jonathan Stewart, Stefon Diggs, Eric Ebron (3), Jordan Reed, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Graham Gano (6) and Josh Lambo.
Drops of the Week: You did an awesome job filling in, Ty, but with Davante Adams back after the bye and roster space severely limited, it was time to cut ties (no pun intended): Mr. Montgomery (7), Richard Rodgers (3), Jamaal Charles (so sorry mate but I can only carry four running backs and Jonathan Stewart was available!), Melvin Gordon III (tough choice but great kickers—didn’t want to drop McManus—are too tough to find these days), Tevin Coleman, C.J. Spiller, Crowell, Davante Adams, Ebron, Chandler Catanzaro, Raiders TQB and, he himself, Derek Carr.
Worrisome Injury of Week: Johnson over Watkins aside, Montgomery’s ankle injury cost Brc a sure win in a four point defeat. It won’t affect me long term but any time any injury costs you a win it’s very frustrating.
Team Ready to Break Out: Sterling Sharpe. If it ain’t broke . . .
Lambeau Field update: Picking up Starks for Crowell would have easily kept me undefeated. As it was the loss wasn’t too detrimental as, buoyed by my robust point total, I actually moved up to first place with the defeat:
And Then There Were (Still) Four
Stay alive and advance: that’s my mantra for the Survival Pool, now in its 12th season. To pay tribute to the most drama-filled fantasy sport of them all—and by far the most popular of my gambits—I will provide a weekly update of this terrific enterprise. For those unfamiliar this is how it works: You pick one NFL team every week. If they win, you stay in. If they lose, you’re out. You cannot pick the same team twice.
Besides the New York J-E-T-S surprisingly dominant performance over the Washington (insert racist mascot here), all three other Survival Pool selections—the Broncos, Packers, and Vikings—all needed either overtime or a last second defensive stand to keep their hopes of the $1,320 (USD) booty alive. In the end, though, all triumphed setting up what should be a Week 7 with seemingly many more available options. Time will tell.
Most Popular (Successful) Choice: Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota, New York J-E-T-S (1)
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
Least Popular (Successful) Choice: None
Least Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
Around the globe, too, mistakes made:
Thus the 4,841 perfect survivors have been whittled down to:
When it comes to drama and intrigue the NFL never disappoints.
I also partake in a confidence pool. You pick every game every week—straight up not against the point spread—and rank your selections based on how confident you are that they will win. For example, in Week 1 I thought there was no way the Packers would lose to the Bears, so I slotted them in at number 16. Conversely, I thought the Rams would pull the upset of the Seahawks, but in order to hedge my bet I gave them the lowest possible number: one.
Movin’ on up: Though I missed five games in Week 6, I still finished to finish 17th of 135 weekly entries which helped me to ascend two spots to eighth overall:
Follow my quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing hobby—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.