A team like Brc is the reason fantasy football is so. Damn. Frustrating. I thought I had a stellar draft (Yahoo! rewarded me with the highest grade in the league, a B+, in this point per reception league) with my team’s strength focused on my triumvirate of high-end pass catching running backs: Le’Veon Bell, Matt Forte, and Arian Foster. And for good measure I snagged another back with great hands, Giovani Bernard, in the seventh round. Here’s the totality of what went down that evening:
I knew I’d be a bit shorthanded early in the season with Foster coming back from a training camp injury and Bell suspended the first two contests. And yet . . . I won my first two games handily: 151-116 over T-Birds and 172-133 against a projected front runner, Timothy’s Cool Team. Then the injuries started to happen. Two losses followed, then a resounding 205 point win, and now five straight defeats. Here is the chronology of maladies that led to Brc’s swift demise:
Week 3: Ben Roethlisberger
Week 4: Eric Ebron
Week 5: None (thankfully didn’t own Jamaal Charles in this league)
Week 6: Ty Montgomery
Week 7: Arian Foster
Week 8: Le’Veon Bell and Matt Forte
Week 9: Ben Roethlisberger (again)
Week 10: Julian Edelman
Sammy Watkins has also only played intermittently. In summary: Aside from Watkins’ nagging injuries, three of my top five picks are out for the season and the other two have missed multiple weeks. But before you start thinking this is one of my annual postmortems, rest assured it is not. I never stop competing.
Here are how my 12 teams—the supercontinent Pangaea plays two games a week—fared in Week 10:
|Team||Result||Record||Streak||Standing (vs. Last Week)||Points For|
|Green Bay Gamblers||113.95-73.30||6-4||Lost 2||Sixth (-1)||1,052.87|
|Sterling Sharpe||98.57-86.60||3-7||Lost 3||Tenth (Even)||954.58|
|Brc||116-75||3-7||Lost 5||Tenth (Even)||1,312|
|Snuffleupagus||105-87||7-3||Won 2||Fourth (-1)||1,323|
|TR’s Peepers||92.44-77.62||4-6||Lost 1||Eighth (-1)||840.90|
|Curly’s Cadre*||112.62-86.06||6-4||Lost 3||Fourth (-3)||1,038.34|
|Pangaea||194-161; 161-146||10-10||Won 1||Ninth (-1)||3,218|
|The Drop Bears*||82.3-70.8||7-3||Won 1||Third (Even)||964.1|
|GBG||86-58||5-5||Won 1||Fourth (+2)||1,032|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||173-170||4-6||Lost 1||Tenth (-2)||1,915|
|The Taco Stand||123.08-113.16||5-5||Lost 1||Fourth (Even)||1,542.32|
|Unironic Witty Name||186.88-142.98||3-7||Won 1||Eighth (+2)||1,826.56|
|Team||Points Against||Rank||Differential||What If?|
|Green Bay Gamblers||950.64||Fourth||-2||I ask again: Can James White be my badly needed RB2?|
|Sterling Sharpe||1,067.54||Ninth||-1||West over Brown and I win easily; crushing defeat.|
|Brc||1,351||Tenth||Even||Running out of time . . .|
|Snuffleupagus||1,256||Sixth||+2||Brady or Rodgers will be a weekly decision.|
|TR’s Peepers||1,046.26||Tenth (Last)||+2||Where is the consistency?|
|Curly’s Cadre*||914.38||First||-3||RB2 is a conundrum.|
|Pangaea||3,360||Eighth||-1||Enjoying this Brandin Cooks resurgence!|
|The Drop Bears*||901.6||Eighth||+5||Another low-scoring win.|
|GBG||1,002||Third||-1||Words I thought I’d never write: Thank you Blake Bortles!|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||1,670||First||-9||Willie Snead’s goose egg the difference in a three point matchup.|
|The Taco Stand||1,428.48||Second||-2||Carolina over Denver and I win by .08 points.|
|Unironic Witty Name||2,005.92||Eighth||Even||Now that is the Antonio Brown I drafted No. 3 overall!|
*Denotes new team this season
Week 10 record: 5-8. Overall: 63-67 (.485).
If the Postseason Started Today: Six of my 12 fantasy teams make the playoffs (unchanged from Week 9)
Week 10: 1,463.92 (my second lowest total of the season)
Week 9: 1,945.66
Week 8: 1,530.35
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
The history of Week 10s:
2014: 11-1 (68-51-1, .571)
2013: 6-6 (72-48, .600)
2012: 6-6 (69-51, .575)
2011: 7-5 (74-45-1, .621)
Place Differential (Cumulative number of places in the standings I either rose or fell compared to the previous week):
Week 10 (5-8): -5
Week 9 (6-7): +2 (First positive increase since Week 3!)
Week 8 (2-11): -11
Week 7 (8-5): Even
Week 6 (4-9): -4
Week 5 (7-6): -5
Week 4 (6-7): -2
Week 3 (9-4): +7
Week 2 (9-4): -10
Overall: Minus -28 from Week 2
Luckiest Team: The Drop Bears (five rungs higher on the ladder than their point total should indicate; unchanged from Week 9).
Unluckiest Team: Fuzzy Dunlop (a stupefying nine spots lower—currently in tenth place when I have the most points in the league; two rungs lower than last week).
And now for this week’s awards:
Player of the Week: Antonio Brown. In a two quarterback (and 1.5 PPR) league, I drafted the scintillating Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver with the third overall pick. And the last two weeks is exactly why. In those contests he has caught 27 balls for 423 yards and two touchdowns. And this week in a must-win contest he provided me with 44.9 crucial points in a matchup I won by 43.9.
Goat of the Week: Willie Snead. According to Football Outsiders, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver played 67 percent of the cumulative offensive snaps, 38 in total. His quarterback threw for over two hundred yards. And yet he couldn’t even haul one ball in for me? That was all I needed from him. Instead: zilch.
Villain of the Week: See Roethlisberger, Ben.
Team of the Week: Unironic Witty Name
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: Take your pick! But since I have to choose . . . Sterling Sharpe.
And now Week 11’s premier tilt:
(Heartbreaking) Team of the Week: Fuzzy Dunlop. My opponent played Ben Roethlisberger—who, mind you, didn’t even start in his own real game—and thanks to an early injury to the real Steelers starter busts lose for 30 fantasy points—exactly 30 more than projected. His final margin of fantasy victory? Three points. I really can’t make this shit up.
Pure Genius: Sticking with kicker Josh Brown. The New York Giant scored me 16 points (all crucial in an 18 point win) and has yet to miss a field goal all season. With his bye this week I’m trying to figure out a way not to drop him. He has become the sleeper of the year at his position.
What was I thinking?!: West over an ailing John Brown and this all-consuming angst about the fortunes of Sterling Sharpe—a team that has never not made the playoffs in 11 years of participating in (and usually dominating) Frozen Tundra—would have ebbed considerably.
Put Me In Coach—I’m Ready to Play: Charcandrick West.
Trade(s) of the Week: None
Pickup(s) of the Week: Another excellent week on the waiver wire, adding Ben Roethlisberger to The Taco Stand to back up Tom Brady, Danny Amendola to Pangaea, and Eddie Lacy to GBG. Other additions: Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, Matt Hasselbeck, Brian Hoyer; running backs Andre Ellington and Jay Ajayi; wide receivers John and Jaron Brown of the Cardinals, Chris Givens and Keshawn Martin; tight end Charles Clay; kick Chandler Catanzaro; and the Houston Texans defense on two teams.
Drop(s) of the Week: To get the players I got (most notably Danny Amendola on Pangaea), I sadly had to part with some prime time talent, including Davante Adams, my first round pick in the four keeper 2PPR league. Other drops included: James White, James Jones and David Cobb (two teams each), Peyton Manning, Kirk Cousins, Rashad Jennings, Thomas Rawls, Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Tyler Lockett, Nick Novak and Baltimore’s defense and special teams.
Worrisome Injury of Week: Julian Edelman. What did you do to the fantasy gods to deserve this apocalyptic wrath, Brc?
Team Ready to Break Out: Unironic Witty Name
Lambeau Field update: See: (Last Week’s) Game of the Week. Redux.
And Then There Was Just One
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.
We have a winner! Congratulations to Flip Flops for correctly choosing 10 straight victors in one of the craziest National Football League seasons in memory.
Theo Decker—the protagonist in The Goldfinch—almost made me the rare back-to-back Survival Pool winner. But alas this season it was not to be. Having already chosen Denver, Pittsburgh, New England, Seattle, Atlanta, Green Bay, Arizona, Carolina, and Cincinnati, I only had three teams to consider: St. Louis (home against Chicago), Philadelphia (hosting Miami), and Baltimore (welcoming Jacksonville).
The latter was eliminated quite early on in the rigorous process. But it was not until the very last that I chose the Rams over the Eagles. Philadelphia made me nervous and while I was not 100 percent confident in the Rams, I thought they would rebound nicely after falling just short in Minnesota. Boy was I wrong.
That said, the usual handwringing does not apply this season. I had a great run and the end seemed to be predetermined. This chart of Week 10’s worldwide predictions says it all:
In the top 12 selections, only three won and I had already used all of them. I strongly preferred home teams and choosing Minnesota on the road against a tough Oakland team never seemed logical. Nor did Buffalo at the New York J-E-T-S on a short week, Arizona in Seattle, or any of the other matchups—all chosen by less than one-tenth of one percent of the populace.
That is why I am at peace.
For the lucky five who survived the Week 2 massacre—when 258,349 still roamed the Earth—here was how the post-apocalypse played out:
Popular (Successful) Choice: Carolina (1)
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: St Louis (1)
Around the globe other people found themselves in the same quandary as yours truly:
And thus the 941 became:
But only one was left standing in the 12th annual Survival Pool. So well played, Katie!
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.
With the Survival Pool now complete, time to throw all my predictive energies into righting my ship of confidence. Week 10 helped establish that I can only go up from here:
If you’ve missed any editions of This Week in Fantasy Football, all back issues are now available.
Follow my (increasingly challenging) quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing hobby—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.