I used to be a fantasy football god. I won, or at least contended for titles year in, year out.
But the 2009 season has not been kind to me. After a second place finish last year, I started this campaign 0-3 and hadn’t scored more than 75 points a week (using Yahoo!’s standard scoring). I needed a 39-point effort from San Francisco’s defense just to get off the schneid in Week 4.
I went on to lose my next two matchups and sat at the bottom of the table with a 1-5 record. But low and behold my team might be coming around.
The scourge of fantasy years past, Vernon Davis took me to victory Week 7 with a three-touchdown performance.
Finally, I had stopped the bleeding.
However, Brian Westbrook’s concussion forced my hand at running back. For Week 8, I had to decide between either Beanie Wells or Justin Fargas as my third running back.
But midweek I got an enticing trade offer. Sell high baby, and Beanie’s performance in the Meadowlands Week 7 apparently whet the appetite of one manager in my league. I traded Beanie and the mercurial Robert Meachem to my buddy for Rashard Mendenhall and Kevin Walter. It’s a lopsided deal in my favor. A fact that is ironic because this particular buddy of mine sends out the most outrageous trade offers daily, always asking for your top two picks. I tried to counteroffer one time and couldn’t because his potential trade proposals were full.
Mendenhall has taken over the starting gig in Pittsburgh and Walter, who has done absolutely nothing since his Week 3 outburst, gained a sizable bump in value with Owen Daniels’ season-ending injury.
Beanie’s line: 47 rushing yards (3.13 fantasy points).
Fargas’ line: 59 rushing yards, 20 receiving yards, 1 TD (11.27 fantasy points).
Advantage: Fargas, er go; Advantage: Me.
My opponent’s roster featured Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and only Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Preseason, I rated his team a D+ Squad, a moniker he adopted as a team name.
Part of the rating had to do with the fact that he had no backup quarterback on his roster. Instead, it was littered with rookie backup running backs.
He never did pick up another QB. Until this past week when Big Ben was on bye. And guess who he plays… Me, of course. The man who named his team.
He opens the week with a pickup of Matthew Stafford, but news that Calvin Johnson’s injury might keep him sideline scares him off Stafford.
He has T.O. and decides a potential double-up with Ryan Fitzpatrick could be a sneaky play against Houston, which boasts the worst pass defense in the league.
That plays right into my hands as I have the Texans D as a play this week. I normally rock either San Fran’s D or Miami’s D, but the Niners were at Indy and the Jets had to deal with Miami’s Wildcat. No thanks. I took a chance on Houston not because of my faith in its own abilities, but my without-a-doubt-knowledge that Buffalo’s offense would suck.
I’m sitting on the couch watching games with my roommates, when one of them informs me T.O. has just scored a touchdown.
“Fuck! He got that damn Fitzpatrick trash double-up.”
“No, actually it was a rushing touchdown.”
The rushing score is T.O.’s third career rushing touchdown in 196 games. Dodging bullets.
Fitzpatrick goes on to predictably underwhelm and then throws two fourth quarter interceptions against my Houston D, a vastly important eight-point swing.
I end up winning 78.63 to 72.06.
If I don’t trade Beanie, I lose.
If I play any other available D in our league or on my team (SF or MIA), I lose.
If T.O.’s touchdown was a receiving one, like 99 percent of them are, I lose.
This is what it has taken for me to win this season. It’s sad. But hey, I’m at 3-5 and with this trade, I feel rejuvenated. It’s amazing what a middling two-game win streak can do for one’s mood throughout the week. Too bad I have to play the first place 7-1 team with the feared Tony Romo-Miles Austin double-up…
And now some sleeper plays for this week: WIDE RECEIVER EDITION
Luckily for me, I was on the Malcom Floyd train two weeks before everyone else was. It’s really more of an indictment of my receiving corps than a stroke of genius foresight on my part. I have Philip Rivers and I was looking for a cheap double-up. I’ve watched most of the Chargers’ games this year and M-80 is potential another Vincent Jackson in the making. He’s leaner than VJ, but both give Rivers dynamic down-the- field options. Now, the Chargers have cut Chris Chambers and Floyd’s the No. 2 receiver (really though he’s the No. 5 option behind VJ, Antonio Gates, LT and Darren Sproles).
If you can get him, grab him. He’s one of my last fading hopes at wide receiver, seeing as I dropped Mike Sims-Walker after his catchless Week 1 performance and before Troy Williamson went down for the year. Still paying for that one, especially because I had Mike Walker on my squad as a deep sleeper last year before injuries derailed his season. It’s not as bad though as my decision to reject a Desean Jackson for Eddie Royal deal straight up during the preseason. Ouch.
If you’re desperate, take a look at Jacksonville’s Mike Thomas. The diminutive rookie is becoming more and more of a threat for the Jaguars each week. He caught seven balls in Week 6 before the Jaguars’ bye and caught four passes for 55 yards last week. Not eye-popping numbers, but he’s getting looks and is becoming more dangerous in the return game. You may get a cheap return TD out of him, or he may break one of those short routes designed for him. Either way, Jacksonville is finding ways to get him the ball. Like I said, if you’re desperate. He could be a pleasant bye fill-in surprise.
Nate Washington has a modest 20 catches this season. But he’s caught touchdowns in four of his last six games. He hasn’t been the deep threat in Tennessee as he was in Pittsburgh, but he’s finding the end zone regardless of who is at quarterback. He might not get more than 35 yards a game, but he’s a definite red zone target for the Titans.
I know I’m harking on wide receivers here, but that’s because I’m all too familiar with the WR bargain bin this year for reasons I explained earlier. But St. Louis’ Keenan Burton keeps getting looks and Green Bay’s young duo of James Jones and Jordy Nelson could find paydirt against the woeful Bucs this week. Just a few names to keep an eye on.