This post is for losers. If you’ve won your match, move on. Good for you. There are plenty of sit/start stories you should be reading. For everyone playing in the consolation matches, let me tell you that there is little to no consolation for third place. In one of my leagues, I’ll get the entry fee back. Wooo. Hoooo. So in the spirit of bitterness, which I haven’t shaken yet, I’m thinking of the best and worst ways to lose in fantasy football. There are four main categories of loss: 1) the blow out, 2) the super close almost comeback, 3) blowing the lead, and 4) injury related.
1. The blow out is the way to go out, in my book. This is the match-up where you faced Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Aaron Hernandez, and/or Reggie Bush. No matter who you started it wouldn’t have mattered. Your opponent had a great week, you tried your best, it just didn’t happen. Sigh. It’s still heartbreaking, but you can’t really be as pissed as a lot of the rest of us. You didn’t leave the points on your bench, you put it all out there and just came up short. You’re actually looking forward to your consolation match just to prove that this loss was a fluke, that you’re not really a bad manager, that your guys do have what it takes. Good luck with that!
1b. Bonus: The almost blow out. You’re down in this match-up, have been since Thursday night when you played against not just Matt Ryan, but oh joy, Roddy White too. This is me in case you couldn’t tell. And in this ridiculously high scoring league I’m in (2QB, PPR, all kinds of DST pts) I started off down 63 points. Fuck. But I’m generally an optimist, I knew my guys all had pretty awesome match-ups for week 15 and I wouldn’t have made it this far as the #1 seed if I didn’t have some studs. So we play it out. Thank you Arian Foster and Drew Brees. Thank you Carson Palmer. I was actually feeling ok most of Sunday night, down about 27, there’s a chance, right? That is until effing Joe Flacco’s garbage time TD drive. Then I was pissed, really pissed. I despise Joe Flacco in fantasy football. No, there is no more chance. Slept horribly. I go into MNF down 42 points with Wallace and the SF DST to play for me. All day I’d been slowly getting used to the blow out loss feeling. I tried, I failed, nothing I could have done…blah blah blah. No way are the 9ers D and Mike Wallace who has to catch balls thrown by a statue gonna get me 40+ points. So I resign myself to this, wash it down with a few beers and manage to not even check my scores until late Monday night when I find out that I got within 10 points. Now I’ve used up all my anger and I’m just depressed. Turns out there is something I could have done. Malcolm Floyd went all out on my bench with 17 or something. Now, does anything feel worse than that? Losing when you could have won. Sucks. Drinking doesn’t help. Or maybe it does. I’m too depressed to even try.
2. This match is neck in neck, the way a good playoff match should be. Going into the final game, SNF or MNF, you’re down by less than 10 pts with one guy to go. Maybe it’s Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Big Tough Ben, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Brown, Antonio Gates, or David Akers, to name a few. A reasonably reliable guy if you need 10 points (standard scoring). This is exciting now! Come from behind wins are excellent, especially if your guy just goes nuts and it ends up being a blow out in your favor. (I may sometimes over-fantasize my fantasy football games). But anyway, not this week friends! Nope, every one of these guys, without whose talent and relative consistency and/or big game potential you would not be in the semi-final, totally shit the bed for ya in week 15. Unfuckingbelieveable. You should still be pissed. Probably too pissed to even want to have anything to do with fantasy football for the rest of the year. Rightfully so. This is gutting. I’m sorry. Try tequila.
3. Let me ruin the punchline. Losing when you’ve been winning the whole time is probably just as bad or worse than losing when you’ve been losing the whole time and have a chance to pull it out (#2). You might even feel a tad confident going into SNF or MNF up 12 or 13 points (or more!) against someone like Malcolm Floyd, Torrey Smith, Vernon Davis, Ryan Matthews, SF DST, or even Flacco or Rivers, for that matter. At least you didn’t necessarily feel out of it. Any one of those guys could have put up single digits, or the big 0. But alas, you had to suffer through watching your lead evaporate, point by stupid aggravating point. It’s awful. If you had someone like Lance Moore on your bench, it’s just that much worse. Add self-loathing to the anger and disappointment. Gutted, again. Scotch perhaps? Goes well with self-loathing I’m told.
4. Losing by injury is an interesting one. It’s kind of neutral, in my opinion, though there are a lot of ways it can go down. I’ve only had it happen once, and it wasn’t as devastating as some of my other losses, so in a way, I’m ending on a medium note here. Injury. If you start a guy that’s a game time decision, and he doesn’t play or gets re-injured early on, that’s on you. I wouldn’t take that gamble at this point in the season especially. You should be pissed if you lose because of this. And you shouldn’t be allowed to take it out on those around you either. But if your guy starts out fine, looking good and goes down during the game and doesn’t return, that’s out of your control. Very unfortunate, but nothing anyone can do about it. Same with this last version, but this one is slightly more bitterness-inducing. I was reminded of this incident I’d successfully blocked out from last year on Sunday. Johnny Knox’s back breaking fumble is the play I’m referring to. Thankfully, it looks like Knox is going to be alright. It looked horrific on the field. Hopefully, no one’s team was riding on Knox in the semi-final game, but when your player gets seriously injured and fumbles on like the first play of the game, it really sucks. You feel bad for the guy, but you also feel like, man you looked like you were gonna be on fire today, couldn’t that have waited until the 4th quarter?? Couldn’t you have gotten me SOMETHING? This happened to me last year in the championship game. It was Mike Tolbert playing in Detroit and at the end of a nice tough run in the first series he got knocked out cold and fumbled for a -2 on the day. He was a flex guy for me, but I ended up losing that match by only a few points that I’m sure he could have gotten me had his unconsciousness occurred a little later in the game. The injury that results in negative points is a pretty crushing blow. You still take a little comfort in knowing that the player is worse off than you and that it wasn’t your fault. Everyone understands injuries and the person that beat you probably won’t even talk too much shit on you or your team. Because injuries happen to everyone. You can pretty easily recover from an injury related loss with adequate time and moderate amounts of beer or wine should do the trick.
So, however you lost in 2011, I feel for you (exceptions noted). I know everyone has a sad story to tell so I hope you find a sympathetic ear. The kind of good thing is that during the holiday season, excessive drinking to diminish your feelings of anger, inadequacy, and deep disappointment passes for good old-fashioned holiday cheer, so bottoms up! Enjoy the real playoffs, everyone, and next year let’s just WIN.