The Green Bay Packers bye week has historically been the de facto halfway point of my fantasy football season. Often it also proves a turning point where I scoop up kicker Mason Crosby on a few more teams (two this season), their underrated defense (one), and injured or underperforming offensive personnel (Davante Adams—two) gearing up for the stretch run. As I intimated in last week’s column—“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.”—it usually makes things more difficult that particular week. And yet . . . I’ve surprisingly never lost more than I won when the Green and Gold are on holiday. To wit my yearly record the last five seasons during the Packers bye weeks:
2011 (Week 8): 9-3
2012 (Week 10): 6-6
2013 (Week 4): 8-4
2014 (Week 9): 6-6
2015 (Week 7): 8-5
Boy did I need a week like this! On four teams—Green Bay Gamblers, Brc, Snuffleupagus, and TR’s Peepers—I didn’t start a full lineup. Though I only won one of those (good on ya Snuffy!), the other two provided ample point totals (99.62 and 131, respectively) that it did little to damage my playoff hopes. And there was the measly 30.40 points but up by the aforementioned Peepers. The point totals: Eli Manning (6.40), Eric Decker (9.40), Vincent Jackson (1.30), Melvin Gordon (2.90), RB2 (empty), Antonio Gates (didn’t play), Julius Thomas (.40 points), Mason Crosby (new addition; bye) and Carolina (10). The way I see it I was likely going to lose anyway and I managed to keep my team whole plus add Crosby for one bad week. A fair trade and well worth the sacrifice: one loss for a potential championship! And, in the end, I won the six most important matchups (Unironic Witty Name, The Taco Stand, Fuzzy Dunlop, Pangaea’s two triumphs, and Sterling Sharpe’s third straight victory) and scored the most points as I have all season, 1,784.45.
Here are how my 12 teams—the supercontinent Pangaea plays two games a week—fared in Week 7:
|Team||Result||Record||Streak||Standing (vs. Last Week)||Points For|
|Green Bay Gamblers||105.96-99.62||5-2||Lost 2||Fourth (-3)||781.66|
|Sterling Sharpe||122.59-102.94||3-4||Won 3||Seventh (+2)||723.46|
|Brc||168-131||3-4||Lost 2||Seventh (Even)||1,024|
|Snuffleupagus||152-94||5-2||Won 1||Third (+3)||922|
|TR’s Peepers||123.90-30.40||3-4||Lost 2||Eighth (-2)||568.44|
|Curly’s Cadre*||152.40-76.52||6-1||Won 4||First (+3)||746.08|
|Pangaea||147-141; 147-131||7-7||Won 2||Eighth (Even)||2,196|
|The Drop Bears*||139.2-107.4||5-2||Lost 1||Fourth (-1)||716.4|
|GBG||109-91||4-3||Lost 1||Third (-2)||728|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||239-144||3-4||Won 1||Eighth (Even)||1,340|
|The Taco Stand||145.40-117.70||4-3||Won 1||Fourth (Even)||1,074.96|
|Unironic Witty Name||219.64-200.72||2-5||Won 1||Ninth (Even)||1,258.94|
|Team||Points Against||Rank||Differential||What If?|
|Green Bay Gamblers||527.43||Third||+2||Stretch run begins now!|
|Sterling Sharpe||654.48||Ninth||Even||Three in a row is a winning streak!|
|Brc||829||Fourth||-3||Big Ben returns.|
|TR’s Peepers||636.20||Tenth (Last)||+4||Punted this week.|
|Curly’s Cadre*||489.98||Third||-1||Another impressive victory!|
|Pangaea||2,298||Seventh||-1||Thank you, Ryan Tannehill!|
|The Drop Bears*||659.5||Fourth||Even||Tough loss but 7 of my 15 players were on bye.|
|GBG||680||Third||Even||Tough luck, Arian. Best of luck on your recovery!|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||1,145||Second||-6||Forty-eight points more points than any other team!|
|The Taco Stand||997.30||Fourth||Even||LeGarrette Blount stat line: three carriers for -3 yards. Yikes.|
|Unironic Witty Name||1,431.84||Eighth||-1||Humongous victory! Season saver.|
*Denotes new team this season
Week 7 record: 8-5-0. Overall: 50-41 (.549).
If the Postseason Started Today: Eight of my 12 fantasy teams make the playoffs (unchanged from Week 6 though Sterling Sharpe is now back in while TR’s Peepers has fallen out)
Week 7: 1,784.45
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
Something about Week 7s that I love. My 8-5 mark was on par with previous years’ results:
2014: 9-3 (43-40-1, .519)
2013: 8-4 (53-31, .646)
2012: 7-5 (48-36, .571)
2011: 7-5 (52-32, .619)
And now for some hardware:
Player of the Week: Miami Dolphins team quarterback. Needing a one-week sub for the Green Bay Packers, I initially tapped the Oakland Raiders playing on the road against the San Diego Chargers. I changed my mind at the last minute and that one prescient decision won me both matchups. Ryan Tannehill finished 18 for 19 for 282 yards and four touchdowns, good for 49 points. Derek Carr, not too shabby himself (24-31, 289, 3) would have scored me 39. But those 10 missing points would have made all the difference in a 147-141 victory.
Goat of the Week: In the only close matchup that I lost, I have to give this to Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas. One catch for four yards when your team puts up 34 points? Really?! The Green Bay Gamblers lost by only 6.34 points. You do the math.
Villain of the Week: Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson. His 18 carries for 122 yards and one touchdown was good for 18 fantasy points in a standard league. GBG lost exactly by that margin: 109-91.
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: Scoring only 30.40 points in a week seems like a no-brainer for this dubious accolade. But TR’s Peepers were hamstrung by me from the start. So instead I will forgo naming a squad in this spot as all 12 teams combined for a record point total this week. All for one and one for all!
(Last Week’s) Game of the Week: It certainly was a barnburner!
Pure Genius: Tabbing Tannehill was sage, certainly, but inserting San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead into the lineup was definitely über-wise. Though attained mostly in garbage time (it all still counts folks!), he caught 11 balls for 75 yards and two touchdowns, and added 26 yards on the ground, good for an astounding 42 fantasy points.
Put Me In Coach—I’m Ready to Play: Charcandrick West.
What was I thinking?!: No mistakes! Huzzah!rnard over Blount. Johnson over Watkins. Isaiah Crowell.
Trade of the Week: Irons in the fire. Will have something done (Tom Brady on the move?) by kickoff of Week 9.
Pickups of the Week: How to cope now without both Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster? Fortuitously I didn’t have both on one squad, but together I had one of them on 7 of 12 teams. My optimistic solution: Tennessee Titans halfback David Cobb. I snagged him in four leagues, though it should have been five if my indecisiveness on what tight end to drop hadn’t proven three seconds too much deliberation. My other prime pickups: Quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Davante Adams, and tight ends Eric Ebron and Austin Seferian-Jenkins on two teams each. Then single acquisitions of Houston Texans running backs Alfred Blue and Chris Polk; wideout DeSean Jackson, tight ends Jordan Reed, Benjamin Watson, and Jordan Cameron; kickers Josh Brown and Graham Gano; and defenses New York J-E-T-S and Cleveland.
Drops of the Week: The injured Arian Foster and bye week fill-in Graham Gano were each dropped on five teams. Other single dismissals include: The consistently awful Eli Manning; the underrated Joe Flacco; running back Christine Michael; wide receivers Willie Snead and Andre Johnson; tight ends Eric Ebron and Austin Seferian-Jenkins; kickers Josh Lambo, Caleb Sturgis, Chandler Catanzaro, and Adam Vinatieri; and the massively underwhelming defensive presences of Buffalo and Houston.
Worrisome Injury of Week: Arian Foster. Poor guy. Had him on five of 12 teams. Counting Jamaal Charles season-ending injury that is my top running back of 7 of 12 teams in two weeks. And you say you want to play fantasy football for money, eh?
Team Ready to Break Out: Sterling Sharpe. If it ain’t broke . . .
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.
With Arizona playing on Monday night and three people choosing them, an upset by Baltimore could have given Amelia Bedelia the $1,320 purse, because she had chosen the St. Louis Rams over the Cleveland Browns in the early game on Sunday. Though trailing early, the Cardinals came from behind to best the Ravens, insuring all four entries advance to Week 8.
Most Popular (Successful) Choice: Arizona (3)
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
Least Popular (Successful) Choice: St. Louis (1)
Least Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
Around the globe, too, mistakes made:
Thus the 3,914 perfect survivors have been whittled down to:
Looking at the schedule, I’d be surprise if everyone survives a very tough Week 8.
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.
I missed five of 14 games this week, losing 47 points in the process. I finished 74th of 135 for the week to move down from eighth to 13th. After seven weeks I have amassed 655 points and sit just 15 back from the top spot. My Week 7 selections:
Follow my quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing hobby—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.