I know you well, dear fantasy fiend.
Would you like to know how I know you so well? Because I am you, and you are me, and we’re one big discontent family. Even if you won a league this year, you’re going to log on to that ever-present fantasy football site and rehash the things you could’ve done – the trades you should’ve made, the waiver wire pickups you might’ve gambled on, the streaming defense you just couldn’t trust.
I know this because I do this. Recriminations are eternal in fake football. Not even champions have perfect seasons. We make what, on the surface, are terrible calls because we make our decisions based on the best available information. The guessing element is what vexes us most, what makes us log in to our fantasy homepage in the middle of March, when football season is 10 million miles away.
Let’s dole out some end-of-year awards for our favorite – and most despised – fantasy football commodities. And yes, that’s what they are – commodities – because we are a sick bunch, but, hopefully, an honest one.
Murderer of Week 16 Championship Dreams: Arian Foster, RB, Texans
Foster, your very pride and joy, the man for whom you wept uncontrollably when you drafted him first overall in August, took a chainsaw to the face of your championship dreams with his 10 rushes for 15 horrid yards in Week 16 against the Vikings. Foster left that game early with an irregular heartbeat, while your heart stopped and was in need to resuscitation upon hearing said health news.
This little game is fickle, and this Week 16 debacle demonstrates that even better than the typical pulled hammy or tweaked ankle. You are an observer and you have no control – remember that in your post-season therapy sessions.
Late-Round Flier Who Made Us Look Not So Dumb: Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
Faith has been restored for those who bank on talent shining through. Cobb was the rare, incredibly fast and shifty bird who performed like a WR1 after being taken 146th in fake football drafts last summer. Cobb was drafted after the following humans: Dustin Keller, James Starks, Toby Gerhart, Coby Fleener, LeGarrette Blount, and yes, oh dear God yes, Sebastian Janikowski. Cobb totaled 150 points, good for 13th among wide receivers. He scored 39 points more than Jeremy Maclin, who was taken 80 spots ahead of Cobb.
Congratulations if you boarded the Cobb hype train, one of the few of its kind not to derail this year. Percy Harvin Lite did you good.
Unrelenting Tease Who Probably Will Go Bonkers Now That We Hate Him: David Wilson, RB, Giants
Fantasy owners loved Wilson more than Tom Coughlin, this much is for sure. The fastest guy on any field anywhere was firmly planted in the old coach’s doghouse after a critical Week 1 fumble, and finally, at long last, Wilson got his shot to start against a cushy Falcons’ front seven in Week 15. He scored five points. Wilson Nation reels even now from that playoff gut punch.
Wilson’s late-season dud, in large part due to the Giants giving up in the Georgia Dome before halftime, probably will still have remnants of that terrible taste in their mouth come draft day in 2013. Unless Ahmad Bradshaw has one or both feet removed between now and August, Wilson won’t be worth a mid-round pick. He will, however, be worthy of a flier because one day – I promise – he’ll be a top-10 fantasy back. Don’t hate him forever.
Fantasy Performance That Saved Us From Ourselves: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
Week 16 explosions like Jamaal Charles’s 200-yard game can overshadow one of the more unexplainable fantasy lines of recent history. Rodgers, in Week 6, against a Houston Texans’ secondary that had looked borderline dominant in the early weeks of 2012, gave his owners a Sunday night out of body experience while saving them from the shower cry that many faced without a bonkers performance.
A-Rodg tallied 338 yards and six touchdowns that night, scoring 38 standard-league points. The pain of said performance was especially acute for me; in my decidedly quarterback-friendly keeper league, Rodgers posted a cool 62 points. Rodgers’ 38 points was more than Tom Brady and Matt Ryan combined for on that day. The Texans Chainsaw Massacre also stripped Rodgers owners of any and all rights to gripe about anything for the rest of the season.