Twelve yards. Those thirty-six feet (10.97 meters here in Oz) were all that separated me from a berth in the championship in a very difficult keeper league, Friends of Jason Biggs. The heartbreaking result:
Lots to discuss here. As it seemingly did every week, it came down to Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and his inability to stay healthy for any length of time this season. I doubt if he was anything but ‘questionable’ for every game, putting me in an uncomfortable spot on whether to play him each Sunday. And then in the biggest matchup of the year, he leaves early, finishing with one catch (for a welcome touchdown, certainly) and a mere 10 yards. One more reception by him probably puts me through. And then there is Eddie Lacy. Tied for first in salary with his signal caller, his $58 price tag (out of a $200 budget) has rarely been worth it. And like Jeffery ($33), he has hampered instead of helped this team for most of the season. His 23 rushing yards were 12 too few. Aaron Rodgers was also disappointing in a huge tilt.
On the bright side—proving I’m not a completely useless fantasy owner—I continue to benefit from Eric Decker’s resurgence in New York. Mason Crosby’s accurate right leg and New England’s defense scored a robust 12 and 20 fantasy points, respectively.
His name? Danny Amendola. Struggling to stay healthy for most of his career, his early exit from this six point defeat proved crucial. Harder to stomach, though, was long-time keeper Calvin Johnson only catching one ball in a deliriously good matchup against the New Orleans Saints pitiful secondary on Monday Night Football. I debated not keeping him this season and knew if I did it would probably be his last with the Green Bay Gamblers. This week showed exactly why.
But the toughest part about this loss is that I scored the second most points in the entire league—and lost:
My other defeat was also tough to take. I finished first and had the most points in the league but came out extremely rusty after my bye and ended with this lackluster result:
My last decision before I locked my starting lineups for the week was not picking up Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. and inserting him for the Patriots Brandon LaFell. Such a maneuver would have netted me a 1.44 point victory as Ginn caught six balls for 85 yards and two touchdowns, good for 20.5 fantasy points, 11.7 more than LaFell.
All, however, was not doom-and-gloom as in two other postseason tilts I resoundingly put my best foot forward. Let’s begin with the quarterfinal matchup in Aaron Rodgers’ Avenue:
This is the team that is lucky enough to have two Hall of Fame quarterbacks to choose from. And lately I’ve been going almost exclusively with Tom Brady. In this tilt, the Patriots leader did fine but it was the rest of the squad—Amari Cooper, Jordan Reed, newly acquired kicker Chris Boswell and the aforementioned New England defense—that really stepped up. Hopefully this depth (my bench boasts Jonathan Stewart, Tyler Eifert, Julian Edelman, new addition Markus Wheaton, Denver‘s defense and of course Aaron Rodgers) can get me two more victories to finish the season.
I also had a huge win in a league I used to dominate, my old work competition, AFP All-Stars:
Like Snuffleupagus’ huge win, this victory was predicated on a dominating effort from top-to-bottom. And the surprising leader of this team has been the excellent Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He augmented his 297 yards passing with a crucial 44 yards on the ground, including a QB sneak for a score. More depth was found in the Bengals Jeremy Hill (who would have propelled TR’s Peepers to victory had he started him instead of Hightower), Atlanta’s Julio Jones, Decker, the Saints Benjamin Watson, the awesome New England D and the solid Crosby.
Point Totals (13 games for the first 13 weeks):
Week 15: 601.57 (120.31 average in five matchups)
Week 14: 1,121.13 (124.57 average in eight matchups)
Week 13: 1,764.85
Week 12: 1,717.19
Week 11: 1,596.24
Week 10: 1,463.92
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
Compared to the last two years my 2-3 record (4-5 overall, .444 winning percentage) wasn’t half bad. Historical Week 15s:
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: New England’s defense. I started them on four of my five teams and they totaled 20 points for one team (TR’s Peepers) and 18 for my other three squads. A record of 2-2 doesn’t adequately reflect how good they were in Week 15.
Goat of the Week: Eddie Lacy. Again. The rollercoaster that has been his last month (through my fantasy eyes):
Week 12: Player of the Week
Week 13: Goat of the Week
Week 14: Player of the Week
Week 15: Goat of the Week
Wow. I guarantee that will never happen again. And he had he scored from the one yard line late in the Packers-Raiders tilt, TR’s Peepers advances to the title game.
Honorable mention to goes to Calvin Johnson. I could have had done better against the Saints defense.
Villain(s) of the Week: Tie: Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks. I was projected to win in all three matchups that I lost heading into Monday Night Football. But when the Saints got down big I knew Curly’s Cadre was doomed: all New Orleans was going to do was throw and I had running back Tim Hightower and my opponent started Brees. After a very close first half, Will Brown ended up winning by 10.
As for Cooks, Green Bay Gamblers was down 114.64-109.63 but had Hightower, Watson and Megatron in a PPR league. He only had Cooks. Ironically I drafted Cooks in the first round last season and moved him to Andrew Meier last year in an attempt to keep my streak (11 years at the time) of making the playoffs. And then I tried to acquire him before the season (obviously to no avail). He made me pay Monday night big time with his 10 catch, 124 yards and one touchdown performance.
Team of the Week: Snuffleupagus.
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: Curly’s Cadre. Horrible time to have a very bad week.
(Heartbreaking) Team of the Week: TR’s Peepers. Twelve more yards. Lost by 1.1 points.
Lambeau Field update: Season’s over. But I am in a much better position to be back on top next season thanks to a sage pre-draft trade—Matt Forte for the number one overall pick (Amari Cooper)—a very solid core (including the ageless Brady) and, for the first time in years, all my draft picks intact.
The Week 16 playoff matchups:
AFP All-Stars championship:
(Last Week’s) Opponent to Fear: A.J. Green. I wrote: ‘Face him—and his mouth-watering matchup—in three of five playoff tilts.’ His numbers: three, three and four points after catching just one ball for 37 yards.
So. Not. Fair.
Nobody had it worse than my cousin-in-law Timmy this week. In the three leagues I am in with him he finished first, scored the most points and posted a ridiculous 36-6 regular season record, good for a winning percentage of .857. So of course he lost all three playoff matchups in Week 15. Fantasy football is not for the weak-hearted.
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.
Correctly predicted 11 of 16 games, two better than last week:
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Follow my (increasingly challenging) quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing hobby—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.