‘The agony exceeds the ecstasy.’ That tweak to the classic adage was my lede for what was going to be a triumphant column extolling the exuberant virtues of fantasy football. And then on Wednesday this happened:
So instead of tying my semifinal matchup on the last play of the last game of the week—a recovered fumble by the Denver Broncos defense—that earned me a trip to the championship tilt in Aaron Rodgers’ Avenue, a newly discovered miscue by DeAngelo Williams on an aborted lateral on the last play of his game against the Baltimore Ravens instantaneously morphed ecstasy into agony. (For gluttons for punishment the play I’ll never forget is available at the two minute and 10 second mark on this recap package.)
I never considered playing New England’s defense (nine points) over a choice matchup at home on Monday night for Denver, however I did agonize over whether or not to start Steelers wideout Markus Wheaton (seven points) or the Patriots’ Brandon LaFell. Had I done either of those things I would have won.
After winning AFP All-Stars the first three seasons (in 2007, 2008, 2009) and finishing second in 2010, I had placed no better than fourth in the last four seasons. So going into this campaign, I knew I had to change my strategy by focusing on receivers. Mission accomplished as I am finally back on top!
My three wideouts—Julio Jones (second round), DeAndre Hopkins (third round) and Eric Decker (free agent)—combined for 50 points, nearly the entire total of my opponent’s team. Good on me also for dropping New England’s defense (eight points) and picking up Houston’s (22), a potentially championship defining plus-14 differential from a very difficult position to predict.
Here’s how the road to my fourth championship played out:
My average margin of victory in my three wins? Over 51 points! Absolute dominance.
Point Totals (13 games for the first 13 weeks):
Week 16: 503.08 (125.77 average in four matchups)
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
Usually my best week of the year, my 1-3 mark puts me at 5-8 in the playoffs so far. Week 16s through the seasons:
2014: 3-1 (10-8, .556)
2013: 3-0 (5-7, .417)
2012: 5-0 (10-5, .667)
2011: 2-3 (8-8, .500)
And now for this week’s awards:
Player of the Week: Tim Hightower. Amazing that he has not played in the NFL in over three years. In the biggest weekend for most fantasy teams he ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns and caught three balls for another 47. His point total on my four teams: 33, 28.9, 28.9 and 25. Wow. (Of course I would have publicly praised Williams here—he did score an impressive 33 and 25.30 fantasy points for Snuffleupagus and TR’s Peepers, respectively—had he not done what he did at the very last.)
Goat(s) of the Week: Tie: Randall Cobb (three catches for 15 yards; four points) and the Broncos defense (five points). Both should have fared far far better.
Villain of the Week: Arizona Cardinals defense. Thirty-three points against the Green Bay Packers. Really?! Just two fewer and I win. Unbelievable.
Team of the Week: Green Bay Gamblers. Congrats to those young men on a dominant, dominant postseason run. Looking to go back-to-back again next season baby!
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: TR’s Peepers. Just needed a little more from you. Just a little more.
(Heartbreaking) Team of the Week: Snuffleupagus. I just can’t make this shit up.
Lambeau Field update: In the league’s previous 12 seasons, I was the only one who has won multiple championships (five). That amazing streak will end tomorrow when two former champs (Andy Meier, 2009) and Matt Allord, 2014), face off in Lambeau Bowl XIII. The latter also has the chance to become the first back-to-back titlist since I won in 2003 and 2004:
Opponent to Fear: New Orleans wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This cat has done it to me before.
(Last Week’s) Opponent to Fear: Todd Gurley. I wrote: ‘He is projected to tally 9.75 points in both third place tilts.’ He put up 15, easily enough to down both my squads.
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’m pretty sure it was a rough week for everyone with huge upsets up-and-down the slate of games. In the end I correctly predicted nine of 16 contests:
That was good for 55th (out of 135) and I am in 27th place, 59 points behind the leader, with one week left in the National Football League season.
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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.