You will spend your Monday reading about the Sunday performances of real-life NFL teams, led by real-life NFL players, coached by real-life NFL coaches. You will consume and digest information about coverage schemes, reads, options, read-options, all of it. You will nod and you will agree with what you’ve taken in, not knowing what it all truly means. And then you will head on over to ESPN or Yahoo or NFL.com or CBS, log in, and check your fantasy team for the seventy-fifth time in the past three days.
This is reality. There was once a time many years ago when fantasy football was the sports equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons, a guilty pleasure that bordered on hidden obsession, the counterpart to viewing porn for hours on end. You played it, sure. But you didn’t talk about it with anyone you knew. Your leagues were limited to random counterparts across the broad spectrum of the world wide web or your very closest friends, no one else. And god forbid you got caught checking your team. Checking your team on any day, at any hour, differed in no way from adjusting your testicles in public. It looked all sorts of weird, awkward, and offensive, simultaneously. So silently, you played.
It started for me in 1998, when I was 14 years old. I discovered the now-defunct website Sandbox.com, a fantasy sports mecca that filed for bankruptcy in 2002. In most formats, leagues were available to join for free. And because fantasy was still such a relative anomaly, prizes were awarded to even those of us who shelled out no money to participate (probably contributing to Sandbox’s bankruptcy, I imagine). The first time I ever won a standard 10-team league I received a t-shirt in the mail, a prized possession two sizes too big that rarely ever saw the light beyond my dresser drawer. Still, though, it was nice to know that an otherwise-useless talent of possessing far too much information about sports — all sports, really, though I invested myself primarily in baseball, basketball, and football — could pay off to even the slightest of degrees.
I owned teams riddled with the likes of James Thrash and Dennis Northcutt, Bret Boone and Larry Walker, Rich Gannon, Kerry Kittles, the list going on and on. For every great team there were five or six more mediocre ones, for every championship squad a bottom-feeder or three.
When I entered college in the fall of 2003, it marked the first time in history that I had a core group of friends who actually wanted to play fantasy sports with me, guys who were able to prioritize weekly roster updates over dramatic teenage girlfriends for a change. By 2006 I was in a dynasty/keeper football league with my college buddies, a league that still exists today and will continue to exist until we all perish, it seems. With an affordable annual buy-in of $50 and a network of trash-talking malcontents, maintaining enthusiasm for kicking everyone’s ass has never wavered.
The league itself has become so popular that the list of friends waiting to join got tired of waiting, spawning offshoot leagues of a similar format, leagues which I’ve been privileged enough to partake in, as well. And then there are offshoots of the offshoots, spinoffs of the spinoffs, leagues formed by the disgruntled wannabe commissioners of the leagues ruled by veritable Bud Seligs, leagues formed by newbies looking to just get involved, leagues formed for different purposes (this one’s just for Seahawks fans born in the month of October, you see…), leagues just for the sake of leagues.
By my count, when 2013 comes to a close, I will have participated in at least 10 fantasy leagues over the course of the year: two NBA, two MLB, five NFL, and one Pac-12 college football. The purposes of each league? The NBA leagues were created by friends, for friends, just for something to do. One of the MLB leagues is run by my brother’s closest friends, a dynasty league I was invited into a number of years ago when I proposed the idea of a minor league draft to build year-to-year interest; the other MLB league is of my own creation, the SSNBL, yet another dynasty league dedicated to my buddies who thoroughly enjoy baseball. Of the five NFL leagues, one is the aforementioned PFL (Pearce Fantasy League, named for our evil overlord); one is the PFFL (the PFL’s first offshoot league, the Wario to the PFL’s Mario, if you will); one is a long-standing league done with former coworkers of mine from Nordstrom (the Shoe Dog League); one is the Frankensteinesque creation of a deranged fantasy maniac, a points-per-reception (PPR) dynasty league with a severely-altered scoring system (the Xtreme Fantasy League); and one is a near-annual tradition with my friends in the media world, a half-heartedly run attempt at bringing a bunch of writers and pseudo-writers together in a setting away from the murkiness of alcohol-infested nighttime establishments. And then there’s the Pac-12 league, the 25-year-old brainchild of ex-coworkers at The Seattle Times, an idea I’ve been a part of for five years now.
That many leagues can drive a man crazy. And at times, it does. When Ryan Tannehill, who you own in one league, throws a touchdown against the Browns defense, who you own in another league, you’ll find yourself tearing your hair out over the dual implications of concurrent success and failure. When you only have time to update one roster, as opposed to all of them, you find yourself prioritizing leagues over one another — this one has a bigger buy-in, but this one includes my closest frenemies, while this one doesn’t really matter at all.
There are the players who can drive you crazy, as well, the most poisonous of whom you distance yourself from forever and always. Edgerrin James polluted my roster once and never did so again. Deuce McAllister was a curse upon the Honkies, as was Chris Bosh. On the flip side, though, there are always those players you devote yourself to, those guys on which you go all-in, the mancrushes you add to every roster in every league. For me, those special few players range in ability from the likes of Felix Hernandez (star of the Compton Honkies baseball organizations — plural — for three-plus years now) to Kenbrell Thompkins (unproven up-and-comer of the Compton Honkies football teams — plural — since 2013).
But most of all, there is camaraderie with those around you, camaraderie with friends you might otherwise have forgotten about, a connection with people you’d otherwise only read about on Facebook. We play fantasy sports because it’s fun, because it brings us together. It gives us something to talk about beyond the uber-passion we might have for real-life teams that may or may not return our love. The money doesn’t matter, the prizes don’t matter. But the wins matter, the trash-talk matters, the ass-kickings matter, the victory text messages matter.
So spend your day reading about real-life games played by real-life teams. But just know when you put all that behind you and check on your fantasy teams for the eighty-first time this week, you’re not alone. This is real life, too, fantasy or not.
Filed under: Featured Articles
With fantasy football season around the corner, here is a list of a few team names that will show off both your incomparable wit and your dedication to the Seahawks.
Having a good fantasy team is one thing, but having the punniest name in your league could give you a unique kind of bragging rights.
Here are 13 ideas for your team:
- Do the Russell
- Marshawn of the Dead
- Clemons and Oranges
- The Magic Kingdome
- The Real Slim Brady’s
- Meet the Hawkers
- Golden Tate Bridges
- SEA Got the D
- And here’s to you, Michael Robinson
- All I Do is (Bald)Win
- I Dream of Giacomini
- Turn Up the Heath
- Team of the CenturyLink
Comment with your favorite or with your own!
One of the things we don’t cover very well here at 12MR is the fantasy football side of thing. I simply am not knowledgable on that subject, and lack any desire to put in the work needed to become so.
Rather than faking it and generating poor analysis on the subject, I’ve invited Kurt Turner from Fantasy Knuckleheads an to give us a forecast on the fantasy value on a few key Seahawks. Luckily for us, he agreed. Check out his take below, and click the link above to his analysis on then entire Fantasy Football spectrum.
Seahawks Fantasy Football Forecast
“Homer” picks can get you into trouble during the fantasy football draft. But if you’re Seahawks fan there’s more than a couple options come draft time that can lead your team to a fantasy football championship. Keep in mind that you should never reach to make that homer pick. Having a cheat sheet with projections and current ADP (average draft position) available during the draft can help keep your emotions out of the process and spare you from over paying. Let’s take a look at some of the highly drafted options on the Seattle Seahawks roster.
Russell Wilson recently made the NFL Network’s Top 100 list, voted number 51 overall, 11th among quarterbacks. Wilson tied Peyton Manning for most regular season touchdown passes (26) by a rookie and finished the final 10 games with an outstanding 19:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio while rushing for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns. Entering the 2013 season Wilson now has one of the NFL’s most promising wide-outs in Percy Harvin and much of his supporting cast remains intact. I’d look for a slightly stronger
Percy Harvin accumulated 149 receptions for 1,644 yards, and nine TDs in only 25 games with Christian Ponder, and should achieve career best numbers while collecting passes from a far superior passer, Russell Wilson. However, Harvin is being drafted in the early 3rd round, making him a bit of a risk in my opinion. We haven’t seen him excel in this system and he was never consistent in the past, and I look for consistency when drafting in the top 4 rounds. Roddy White, Andre Johnson and Vincent Jackson are all being drafted after Harvin, on average, and are safer picks. Not to say Harvin won’t finish as a top 10 WR, I just don’t want to chance it that early in the draft. Give him to me in the late 3rd and I’m singing a different tune.
Marshawn Lynch doesn’t need an introduction, I need not tell you how his Skittle powered runs like this one (video also embedded below) are a testament to his undeniable highlight real play making ability. Currently being drafted as the 5th overall pick (1.5), Lynch is sure to please in touchdown only leagues. In PPR leagues I prefer Ray Rice at 1.5, sue me I’m not making a homer pick, remember?
Richard Sherman is currently being drafted as the first CB selected in IDP league drafts, average draft position is pick 168. Hard to argue that position considering his past performances however he’s on my PED alert list. If he was indeed using performance enhancing drugs I’d tend to think that will stop now, and his performance could dip accordingly.
Quick Hits for all you article skimmers:
- Don’t reach when making that homer pick, it wont pay off.
- Wilson is an exceptional value in round 7 (his current ADP).
- So long as Skittles is in business, Lynch is a lock.
- Harvin is a stud, but high risk at his current ADP of 3.1.
- Sherman is on my PED list, avoid drafting as the top CB.
Before yesterday’s game, I commented on twitter that I benched Tom Brady. There’s simply no way I’d play a QB who’s facing Seattle’s defense, no matter who it is. I still that that’s sounds logic but there’s more to this story, and it doesn’t make me look good.
Someone responded that they wanted to do the same, but didn’t have a backup. i suggested that they pick up a Free agent starting QB, preferably one “playing a bad defense.” There’s like 10 in my league, so there’s always one you can play in a pinch. Again, sound logic, right?
This is where it gets bad. The person I was having this conversation with said their choices were Christian Ponder or Alex Smith, and they were leaning toward Smith. You can probably see where this is going.
My response was that Smith was probably a safe choice, and that even though the Giants have a pretty good defense, “the running game will slow down the Giants pass rush. Smith should play well.” um… whoops…
Lets take a look at how this worked out exactly:
|Player||Week 6 Fantasy Points|
So ya, that worked out great didn’t did? Clearly I should stop giving out fantasy football advice. It is obviously not my strong suit at all.
After all that, I figure I owe Gregory Sadioski an apology:
I’m sorry dude. I owe you one.
Here’s the link to the original conversation on twitter in case you need to re-live my failure over and over at your convenience. I hope everyone gets a laugh out of it.
At least the Seahawks won…
From: Seattle Sportsnet
On behalf of: Concerned fantasy football owners everywhere
Date: September 17, 2012
First of all, congratulations on winning the first two games of the 2012 season. By virtue of record, your Falcons are better than 26 other ballclubs in the league. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. And on top of that, the team’s offense is flourishing, making your job among the most secure in America right now. That’s fantastic.
Anyway, enough with the small talk. I’m not writing to you today to comment on your success, great as it may be. I’m writing to you because I need your help.
You see, I am the proud owner of both Michael Turner and Julio Jones in my most important fantasy football league. As fate would have it, however, my team is struggling. You can probably imagine why. I have invested quite a bit in two of your employees, and yet here we are headed into Week Three and I don’t like what I’m seeing from these guys. Allow me to explain.
To begin, let’s talk about Julio Jones. My god, that man is a beast. He is the AK-47 of your offense, a bona fide assault rifle. Why you’ve decided not to fire him all up and down the field in fifty-percent of your games thus far is absolutely befuddling to me. Sure, he may be covered. Yes, he may even be double-teamed. But I know he’s faster than nearly every defensive back in the league. Send him on a go route every play. He’ll be open most of the time. He cannot be contained. He’s a dominating specimen. And he’s weird-looking, too. Which is good, because weird-looking players always play with a chip on their shoulder. They have to prove something looking all weird like that. Seriously. Just look at him. He looks like Seal with dreads. Or at least he did before he cut his hair. Now I guess he kinda just looks like Seal. It’s freakin’ weird.
If Julio is an AK-47, then that makes Roddy White a shotgun. He’s alright. Good for a couple blasts a game, nothing more. If you’re counting on a shotgun to be an explosive force, well let me tell you, you’re gonna lose more battles than you win, that’s just a fact. If shotguns were that great, no one would have invented assault rifles. Likewise, if Roddy White was that special, the Falcons wouldn’t have drafted Julio Jones. It’s a metaphor that kind of makes sense; let’s roll with it.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is this: Roddy White doesn’t need 11 targets a game like he had in Week Two. That’s far too many targets. Julio only got four targets to White’s 11. That’s not balanced. That’s like buying one of your kids a new Ferrari, then giving the other kid a hand-me-down Taurus. You have to love your kids equally. Why are you being a bad parent to Julio Jones?!
Sticking with the gun analogy, here comes Tony Gonzalez, your musket. Man, is that dude ancient. Every time he makes a catch, I feel like I’ve been robbed by the little old lady on the scooter from Dumb and Dumber. And I didn’t even see it coming! Throwing the ball to this guy should be considered assisting the elderly. I hope someone in the organization signs off on your community service every time you draw up a play for him. It’s nice that you guys keep him around and all, but Tony should be off somewhere ordering from the back of the menu at Denny’s. Let’s get past the fact that he’s a good guy and once played the game at a superior level. He’s Shadow from Homeward Bound. Yeah, he can still get it done a bit, but we all know that no one really likes him the way they like Chance and Sassy. He moves slowly and smells funny. The reaction he inspires from onlookers is one of sympathy above all else. He shouldn’t be catching touchdowns. Let’s get him in a rocking chair, pronto.
Enough about the passing game. You get my drift. More Julio, less everyone else.
Moving on. Michael Turner. The Burner. Is he the greatest player to ever emerge from Northern Illinois University? Probably. Did I do any research to back up my claim? No. But we’ll work off that assumption anyway. It’s Northern Illinois.
The Burner has a mere 28 carries on the year. Twenty-eight!!! I realize you came out before the season and said Turner’s workload would be reduced, but why? Just because the dude’s 30 now? He’s fresh! He didn’t even do much his first few years in the league! Just sat there on San Diego’s sideline holding LaDainian Tomlinson’s baseball cap, probably thinking about all the chicks he was gonna rail after the game. Those legs are doing fine! He doesn’t need rest! And frankly, just look at those legs. They’re like mini refrigerators. I don’t know even know how that dude takes shits without breaking toilets. What happened? Did he break your toilet? Are you upset about that? Let’s move past any toilet-breaking incidents and start giving this man the ball more. He has rushed for over 1,300 yards in each of the past two seasons! Doesn’t he deserve better?
Look, Dirk. I’ll admit you and I have had our differences. When you were coaching at Arizona State, your Sun Devils beat my Huskies on more than a couple occasions. That hurt me, but I’ve let bygones be bygones. Right now, we need each other. I play fantasy football, which helps the NFL generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, which in turn makes your salary feasible. So in essence, I am indirectly paying your salary. I, on the other hand, need you to make me look like a genius. And you are failing me miserably right now! That is not cool! I haven’t let up on paying your salary. My interest in the NFL could not be higher. It’s not going down anytime soon. I need you to reciprocate the concern.
And look, it’s not just me you’re failing. It’s every fantasy football owner that fields a made-up roster containing either Julio or Burner. We are all in this together! I know you might not like this. I know your goal as a football coach is to be gruff and secretive. But even though affability may not be your thing, I’m reaching out anyway. On behalf of thousands, if not millions of people who share an interest in these two athletically-gifted gentlemen.
Again, congratulations on your success thus far. You’re doing pretty good. A solid B-plus. But I want you to get an A-plus, Dirk. I want that A-plus. For you, for me, for all of humanity. Hand the ball to Michael, throw the ball to Julio. It’s that easy. Thank you.
Filed under: Fantasy sports
Marshawn Lynch is reportedly experiencing back spasms and is not a sure thing to play in the Seahawks’ opener in Arizona this Sunday according to Adam Schefter at ESPN. This has implications in both the real and fantasy realms of football.
First let’s go over the fantasy football implications. In most league’s Marshawn Lynch is probably – and if he isn’t, he should be – a low RB1 or high RB2 which means he should be starting. With Lynch being a concern in regards to playing this Sunday, you may want to consider picking up Robert Turbin to start in Lynch’s place. My expectations would be for the offensive plan to be nearly identical with Turbin starting and him to get the majority of carries. I would only recommend this plan of action if your bench is thin on starting running backs and you don’t have another running back playing at the same time or later who is guaranteed a start and is going to get significant rushing attempts. This would require holding onto both Lynch and Turbin for the week and keeping an eye on game time announcements before plugging in your starter for the week.
Lynch not being able to start has an even greater effect on the outcome of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. With a rookie starting at quarterback it adds increased value to having a veteran running back that is capable of carrying the team in case of any growing pains or late-game situations. Starting a rookie at both quarterback and running back could throw the outcome of the game into jeopardy. With Arizona’s offense in its current state of disarray, Seattle was favored (slightly) to win the game. If Lynch is out, I’d argue that the game would be an even match since Arizona’s defense is still very strong. The winner would likely be the team whose defense scores the most points.
Lynch is also a key component to the morale of the Seahawks. He is the backbone of the offense and not having him for the season opener would leave the offense without any proven personalities that can lift the team up by making the gutsy play if the going gets tough. It doesn’t mean that somebody can’t, or won’t, step up, but it would definitely leave a void where Beast Mode would normally be.
Keep an eye out for developments regarding Lynch’s back throughout the week and prepare for a last minute substitution to your fantasy roster if you are currently planning on starting Lynch this Sunday.
I received my first invite of the fast approaching season for 1 of my 3 Fantasy Football leagues the other day. I had to do a double take. Is it that time already 12th Man? I find myself with a bounce in my step. A breeze at my back. Warmth on my face, even during June-uary. It IS that time. And with that, I’m going to attempt to look into my cloudy crystal ball, and come up with a ‘Top 10’ for each Fantasy Football roster position.
While this is just one writers puny voice amidst a thunderstorm of experts and prognosticators, I hope that the following is helpful during the pressure cooker that is Fantasy Draft Day. May your 2012 season be ripe with smack talk, rejected trades out of spite, and revelations like the one I had last season, Victor Cruz. Oh, and for all you keeper leaguers out there….yes, Marshawn is going to tear it up this season, so keep him if you can. Then name your team after him, a la my 1st Fantasy team name….”Taste the Rainbow”. Best of luck 12th Man, and away we go….
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Matthew Stafford
3. Cam Newton
4. Tom Brady
5. Drew Brees
6. Jay Cutler
7. Phillip Rivers
8. Tony Romo
9. Eli Manning
10. Peyton Manning
1. LeSean McCoy
2. Arian Foster
3. Ray Rice
4. Marshawn Lynch
5. Matt Forte
6. Chris Johnson
7. Maurice Jones-Drew
8. Darren McFadden
9. DeMarco Murray
10. Ryan Matthews
1. Calvin Johnson
2. Andre Johnson
3. Brandon Marshall
4. Larry Fitzgerald
5. Wes Welker
6. Roddy White
7. Hakeem Nicks
8. Eric Decker
9. A.J. Green
10. Greg Jennings
1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Jimmy Graham
3. Jermichael Finley
4. Vernon Davis
5. Jason Witten
6. Brandon Pettigrew
7. Jacob Tamme
8. Aaron Hernandez
9. Antonio Gates
10. Jermaine Gresham
1. Sebastian Janikowski
2. David Akers
3. Mason Crosby
4. Stephen Gostkowski
5. Jason Hanson
6. Garrett Hartley
7. Matt Prater
8. Dan Bailey
9. Neil Rackers
10. Mike Nugent
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Chicago Bears
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. New York Jets
5. Green Bay Packers
6. Houston Texans
7. Baltimore Ravens
8. Detroit Lions
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Buffalo Bills
Now, in no way do I put these names in stone. Injuries, and every other possible factor that could land these gentlemen from the IR to the Bye-R are in no way clear to anyone. This is a late June attempt at the most dissected process since the Electoral College. I challenge any of our faithful readers to create a list of their own, and match it against anyone else’s. I bet there’s a discrepancy every time. But that’s the fun of it, isn’t it? A mix of developing a strategy then completely abandoning it, impulsive intuition, and sheer luck my friends. That’s what Fantasy Football is. Victor Cruz won me a game by himself one week last season. Victor Cruz. Mr. Campbell’s this year. Mr. Campbody last season. Keep your eye out for the unknown as you plan for the known. For every Aaron Rodgers, there’s a….Matt Flynn? For every Calvin Johnson, there’s a Victor Cruz. Who’s this years diamond in the rough? Well, he’s not on any of these lists, but one, or many of you will draft him. And VICTORy is yours….Best of luck to all. Feel free to comment as you will on this, I’d love to see the debate grow as we approach Training Camp. Football is back friends. Bathe in every lovely, glorious moment it gives us. All for now 12th.
Click image to view full size.
Behold the once-proud Compton Honkies, owned and operated by one Alexander Akita. They scored seven (7) points today. It’s all up to Jason Witten now.
Filed under: Fantasy sports
“4 those sincerely concerned, I’m doing ok & plan 2 B back by opening day. 4 those worried abt your fantasy team, u ppl are sick” -Arian Foster (via Twitter, @ArianFoster)
Fantasy football is like planking, Justin Bieber, and the Dougie all rolled into one. It is the biggest thing on the planet, and if you don’t believe me, just check the numbers.
It’s estimated that roughly 19 million people partake in fantasy football each year. Nineteen million! Try and put that number in perspective. If you’re having trouble grasping the sheer magnitude of this many human beings doing any one thing, consider this: if fantasy football were its own country, it would be the 60th-largest country in the world, bigger than such nations as the Netherlands, Greece, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, and the list goes on. And God only knows how wealthy a nation of fantasy footballers could possibly be.
Everybody and their mom is seemingly affected by this “sport.” If you don’t play it yourself, chances are you know someone who does. Perhaps it’s a coworker, a friend, a relative, or maybe even your significant other. In the latter scenario, you may often find yourself wishing that fantasy football would die. It won’t. So you can stop wishing and start tolerating its existence. Treat it like you would Tyler Perry or George Lopez. You might not like it, but, well, that’s just too effing bad.
Fantasy football, in a word, is huge. And it keeps getting bigger. To the point that real, live athletes like Houston Texans’ running back Arian Foster are affected by its presence.
You see, Foster tweaked his hamstring in a preseason game against San Francisco on Saturday night. He left the contest and wasn’t heard from until Sunday morning, when he posted the quote at the beginning of this article on his Twitter account. If we’ve learned anything about Arian Foster in the wake of this injury, it’s that he isn’t a fan of fantasy football.
While I can respect Foster’s opinion — and I do — I choose to disagree with his assessment of the situation. Respectfully, of course. Well…respectfully enough, I suppose. Actually, it might not be that respectful. But whatever. Hear me out.
Arian, dude, I’m sorry about your injury, but you are an idiot. Bashing fantasy football players is essentially the same thing as bashing the majority of your fans.
You jump on the people who care about your stats and before you know it, all you’re left with is a collection of Twitter hoochies who want to virtually suck your dick over DM. I realize that doesn’t sound like a horrible thing, but it is. Trust me. Those girls only want your cash, your seed, and your current level of fame. Beyond that, you mean nothing to them.
Think about the impact of the statement you’ve made. You single-handedly insulted 19 million people in fewer than 140 characters. That’s impressive. Most guys can’t do that. But somehow, you’ve managed.
Fantasy football isn’t some cult or fly-by-night fad, either. The people that participate are normal (mostly normal) individuals who happen to enjoy sports and competition. A lot like real athletes in that regard, minus all the physical tools to get the job done on the field.
On top of that, Foster was made popular because of his prowess as a fantasy football Hall of Famer.
Ask the average American to give a synopsis on Arian Foster. Most won’t even know who he is. But ask a fantasy football player about the 25-year-old University of Tennessee alum and he or she will overwhelm you with knowledge. To those who know of him, Foster’s reputation is staked on one season of fantasy domination and nothing more.
Look. I get it. When you’re hurt, you want people to care. And in wanting people to care, the last thing you want to hear about are stats, numbers, or business in general. But that’s what this is. It’s business. It’s not personal, Arian. Just business.
There are millions of people out there who have a vested interest — financial, or otherwise — in your health and well-being. Fact is, most of those people don’t know you, won’t know you, and may not care to know you. To them, you are a name on a page, a pixelated image on a TV screen, a commodity. You are larger than life because you strap on pads, make tons of money, and play a game for a living. You may be human, but to many you’re more than that. You are a celebrity, a figure, a brand.
You have the wherewithal to be put on a pedestal, fair or unfair, above the common man. There are pros and cons of this lofty status. One con is that your emotions lose their importance. People don’t care what you think or feel. They want what they want from you and nothing more. Including real production for fantasy points. And yes, that sounds harsh. But sadly, it’s the truth.
We are a society of competitors. We want to win, we want to be successful, we want to outdo the next guy. This is why we do something as stupid as devote ourselves to fantasy football. Because we can’t get enough competition in our everyday lives. It makes no sense and all sorts of sense simultaneously. It’s the world we live in.
Likewise, this is why we classify human beings (like Arian Foster) as commodities, because they directly impact our ability to achieve the success we so desire.
Is it fair? Not necessarily.
Is it reality? Most definitely.
Filed under: Fantasy sports, Featured Articles
Written by the commissioner of the Pearce Fantasy League (best fantasy league on earth) and posted to our league page. This is really top-notch poetry. I was literally in awe after reading it. Even if you don’t understand all the inside jokes, you have to appreciate the wording.
Good work, Dave. You’re my hero.
(FYI: This entire poem is made even better by the fact that I’m one of the two teams competing in the Pearce Bowl for the PFL championship.)
‘Twas the night before Pearce Bowl, when all through the league
All the players and teams had combat fatigue;
The playoffs were done, and two teams remain,
One with a dog killer, and one called Worst Name;
Jordan and Michael would shed blood sweat and tears,
But it’s for third place, so nobody cares;
And Rex with his Hit Men, and I with my clique,
Are duking it out for the number one pick.
When down in the Loser Bowl, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my throne to see what was the matter.
Away to the Losers I flew like a flash,
Ran right past Team CHolt and Pod and his stash.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature man, who jumps like a deer,
With a rapist QB, who thinks he’s Don Juan,
I knew in a moment it must be JamesOn.
More rapid than virgins his players they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Harvin! now, Heap! now, Hakeem and Deion!
On, Jacobs! on Jackson! on, Ben and LeSean!
To the top of the league! to the top of it all!
I’m so damn good! I’ll never fall!”
The rest of the league looked down at JamesOn,
“You lost to Jeff and the Rex, your team is a yawn.”
So JamsOn responded, “It’s all about Luck!”
“I’d’ve won 9 of 10 against Matt and the Chuck!”
And then, in a twinkling, I heard up above,
It was Oracle Pete, who we all know and love.
As he gathered his thoughts, without using good grammar,
We waited for Pete, to go on his stammer.
He was primed for success, to win all of his games,
With so many picks, he got all the big names;
Making trades left and right, he thought he’d be rich,
Turns out his team sucks – and karma’s a bitch.
Now left playing for 5th, against Stacey and Jon,
He’s shown that the Oracle sometimes is wrong.
But back to the matter we have on our hand,
It’s Alex vs. Drew for the best in the land;
It’s the trio of Eagles vs. Manning and Bowe,
They’re playing for pride, but mostly the dough;
This weekend wraps up such a memorable season,
But I look forward to next year, with very good reason.
Four keepers are coming, and who knows what will be;
The only safe bet, is JamesOn being unlucky.
May the best team prevail, in one final fight,
Happy Pearce Bowl to all! and to all a good-night.
Filed under: Fantasy sports
That was my first thought when I woke up this morning and found out that my fantasy football franchise — better known to all of you as The Compton Honkies — had had undeniable defeat snatched from the waiting jaws of all-but-certain victory while I was sleeping.
I awoke to a text from my arch-nemesis, one Peter Lawrence, who was the esteemed benefactor of my loss. His words shook me from a dream in which I was undoubtedly on the verge of making love to something. It was then that I knew. I f**kin’ knew. Because from the moment I had gone to sleep just a few hours prior, I was afraid something like this might happen. And as soon as I heard my phone give me the text beep, I knew it was over. Only one person texts me that early in the morning. And sadly, that person is the fellow you see to your right.
Before we get to exactly what happened, we need to go back in time to Sunday evening, when all was right with the world and The Compton Honkies were winners. Here’s how it all went down…
It was a chilly evening. Blustery, even. There was snow in the forecast and the air was brisk, like a nice Lipton Iced Tea.
In my finest Sunday evening attire, I gazed at the laptop screen in front of me. “Ha Ha Ha!” I laughed. My team was winning. The score was 91-89 and we were on the verge of defeating the evil Peter Lawrence. It was a glorious day indeed, for The Compton Honkies were my pride and joy, the product of years of strategy and determination.
Brimming with exuberance, I consoled my fallen foe through the medium of Facebook. “Good show, old chap,” I intimated. “Bully performance, really. Top-notch!” The evil Peter Lawrence responded with hatred and venom as he glowered across the virtual expanse. I could sense his anger and feared for all the kittens that would likely receive the brunt of the villain’s frustration. Children, as well. And puppies.
Flush with my own good fortune, I removed my robe made of velvet and silk, extinguished my pipe, let down my monocle, then massaged my aching muscles — made sore by all the weights I had been lifting throughout the day as I worked towards my goal of being strong enough to rescue all the joeys orphaned by their kangaroo mothers the world around — before snuggling into bed and falling asleep.
These dreams would be sweet, I thought to myself. Little did I know…
Most of that synopsis is fairly accurate.
Anyways, I woke up to Pete’s text, grabbed my phone, and opened the message:
Raiders DEF = Epic overnight fail
I put the phone down. I readied myself for the day, which generally involves lying there for a few minutes, rehashing how crazy my dreams were, then rising before stumbling into the bathroom.
My team had lost. I didn’t know how they lost, but I knew they had lost. It was regrettable. I sighed, then sneered at myself in the bathroom mirror. It’s always good to let yourself know you’re both alive and awake with a few faces in the mirror each morning.
I turned on the shower as curiosity started to overwhelm me. What the hell had happened that had caused my team to lose? And what did the Raiders usually-stout defense have to do with it? (That last sentence sounds like a joke. It is not. The Raiders D has been solid this year.)
I doused myself in warm water and pondered the potential epic fails that could have besieged the Raiders’ defense. Was it possible to lose points for an ejection, I thought. If so, maybe Richard Seymour’s early departure for punching Ben Roethlisberger in the face had led to my demise. If that was it, I figured I could deal with the loss. Watching Ben get clocked was a victory for all humankind.
I turned off the faucet and toweled off. I made a move for the laptop before I was even dry. The moment was now. I needed my questions answered.
I pulled up our league home page (the Pearce Fantasy League home page, in fact). I opened the box score. I scanned the page. I had lost by five points.
Five points? What? WHAT?! How did I go from winning by two to losing by five? How is that even possible? A seven-point swing? A seven-f**king-point swing?!
Who’s doing the math over there at ESPN, huh? Monkeys? How do you miss by seven points? That’s like sexting everyone in your cell phone by accident. It just doesn’t happen.
I was at a loss. The defeat I could handle. The means of my defeat were much harder to accept. ESPN had failed like no one else had ever failed before. If you’ve never partaken in fantasy football (and you really should, if you haven’t) you simply cannot comprehend the madness of a seven-point scoring error. And if you’re a fantasy football aficianado like I am, you know this is bad. Like watching Rex and Rob Ryan walk in unannounced on a holiday smorgasbord that you happen to be hosting.
Epic fail, ESPN. Epic, epic fail.
Never have I been so epic fail traumatized as I was this morning. I was epic fail bitch-slapped. It was an epic fail pillaging.
The unprecedented seven-point swing. Like a full-on sack-groping at the hands of TSA, I never saw this coming.
Filed under: Fantasy sports
From the vaunted Pearce Fantasy League. The team on the left is owned by the league delinquent.
Of course, the most interesting thing here is that if you look down the list at the Detroit Hit Men’s injury designations, you’ll notice that those red letters spell “POOP,” which is exactly what this team is.
Filed under: Fantasy sports
On a good Sunday, I’ll be able to maintain a connection with my bed until at least 10:00 a.m. I’ll drift and dream, snooze and snore, and ultimately snap into consciousness feeling like a million bucks. The good night’s sleep will usually send me out running before I hit the shower, allowing me to accomplish my exercise for the day before I’ve even had breakfast.
On a bad Sunday, I’ll wake up at 7:00 and just stare at the ceiling, contemplating when I should give in to the world of awake and drag my ass out of bed. On mornings like these, I’ll stumble over to the couch and plant myself in front of the TV set, where I’ll scroll through the usual garbage of weekend programming as I decide on whether I should a) go back to bed, b) shower, or c) run, so as not to personify the epic fail.
This latest edition of Sunday morning was destined for greatness. I was in the midst of a fantastic dream, which either had me saving the world in renegade fashion (i.e. fly-running — which is where you start running before you inexplicably take off and start flying — and beating up bad guys with a Louisville Slugger) or about to get laid. I can’t remember the exact context of the dream I was having, but these are the only two types of dreams that I consider to be quote-unquote fantastic.
I was deep in this state of bliss when my phone trilled, interrupting my glorious abstraction. I had a text message. I knew the sound by heart, even when I was asleep. I could doze through the sound my phone made when an email came through. But a text message beep was louder, more obnoxious, more grating. It could wake me from a state of unadulterated hibernation, regardless of how much ass I was either kicking or getting in the ambience of my lucid reverie.
Semi-alert, I reached out with my right hand and fumbled around for my phone. I knocked my glasses into oblivion before locating the intended target. Blindly, I unplugged my phone from its charger, then put the device in front of my face.
Lying on my back, immobile, and with no desire to move, I half-opened one eye and found myself face to face with a blurry image of my dog, Dug, on his birthday, wearing a party hat. On the screen, above Dug’s stoic mug was a text message notification. I tapped the display and clicked through to find the following message from my buddy Pete greeting me:
Peter Lawrence: Beanie Wells = vagina
My first thought was, it’s 8:44 a.m on Sunday morning. Why is this bastard texting me?
To answer my own question, there’s only one reason my good friend Pete would ever text me this early on a Sunday morning. That reason is fantasy football. Frankly, if it were for anything else I’d be a little upset that my badass dream had been destroyed for a meaningless conversation. But there’s a mutual respect we all have for the world of fake sports.
By “we,” I mean the 12-man constituency of the Pearce Fantasy League. We’re not just friends who take each other’s money for pure enjoyment. We’re diehards who truly believe that beyond the PFL, little else matters. This conglomerate of fantasy sports glory is a testament to hard work, dedication, and loyalty. Without it, none of our dozen-person group would be whole.
We live and die by the league. We sacrifice for the league. We honor the sanctity of the league.
For an example of our commitment, take Pete’s recent vacation to Europe. Most people might stash their cell phones while out of the country, preferring to ignore all contact with the outside world while enjoying life. Not Pete. He spent a good chunk of his sabbatical texting me trade offers for Tom Brady. I indulged him with counter-offers, to which he would re-counter, until we each held out for half a month, hardballing the details on a transaction that would have included significant draft picks and a handful of other players. I wanted Kevin Kolb. He refused to part with Kolb. We approached other angles. It always came back to Kolb. And he wouldn’t budge. So neither would I.
By the time that Pete returned stateside, Kolb had been concussed and removed from his week one foray as Philadelphia’s new starting quarterback. Kolb’s departure from the lineup led to Pete’s demise at the hands of my Compton Honkies. I then spent the down time between weeks one and two giving Pete a hard time about reneging on any possible deal that included the now-irrelevant Eagles’ signal-caller. Pete, in turn, had spent the bitter days following his loss reminding me of all the lifeless malcontents on my roster. There was Percy Harvin, C.J. Spiller, and of course Wells. Which naturally led him to text me hate mail on a Sunday morning.
After my first thought was processed, my second thought was, if Pete is referring to Beanie as a female body part, it probably means that Beanie is ruled out for today’s game. As a member of the Honkies, Beanie had spent week one of the NFL season on the sidelines. It appeared from this message that the running back was destined to do the same in week two.
So there I was, more or less dead to the world, glancing lazily at this three-word message of demotivation. Rather than react, I put the phone down and closed my eyes. Indifferent, I attempted to nod back into slumber and recapture my fantastic dream when my mind kicked into action. I had a rebuttal. And I had to send it across to my enemy. Lest he get the last word in on my squad.
I picked up my phone. I clicked through to the text message, hit “Reply,” then began to type. Five words and a symbol. I sat up in bed. I hit “Send.” It was 8:45. Barely a minute had passed. My work was done.
Kevin Kolb = Beanie Wells’ tampon.
I even got the apostrophe in the right place. Considering the circumstances, it may have been my greatest comeback of all-time. I had yet to stand up and I was already in midday form, blasting sophomoric jokes like any man’s man is truly capable of. It was a win for the ages. My day was off to a great start.
To be clear, this isn’t some shameless attempt at self-efficacy. While there is a little bit of that, which I will not deny, this is a story more about camaraderie than anything else. Because without this league, we wouldn’t have jokes. We wouldn’t have zingers and one-liners and childish attempts at humor.
We’re more than a legion of statheads. And this is more than just fantasy football. It’s our creation, our devotion, our club, our hideout. This is our happiness. This is the PFL.
Filed under: Fantasy sports
They were a lowly bunch. A 1-12 season rarely breeds much confidence. They couldn’t win. They couldn’t compete. They barely remained relevant. Scorned by their constituents in the Pearce Fantasy League, the 2009 Compton Honkies were a disgrace to fantasy football. Only one team — the Covington Tsunami — was kind enough to roll over and die for the Honkies, bestowing upon the CPT a gift in the form of their only victory.
They entered the offseason with zero expectations and little hope. The league was getting stronger, while they were getting weaker. Their owner had mitigated the Honkies’ future by trading away draft picks during a failed run at the 2008 PFL championship, a quest for immortality that was halted with a title-game loss to the Bitter Lake Bastards in the vaunted Pearce Bowl. That very same man then compromised even more draft choices by attempting to salvage the 2009 campaign when everyone could see that the year was a lost cause.
He was not stupid, this man, so much as he was passionate. He loved his ballclub unconditionally, and never was content to let his players hang their heads. He talked their game when they failed to walk it. He instilled faith in them when no one else was by their side. He wanted the best for them when they didn’t know what the best was. He was brash, bordering on cocky, but he truly believed in his players and his franchise. He was nothing if not devoted. A consummate optimist, even in the face of extreme pessimism.
Part II: The Stage
The game was to be a cake walk. It was the 2010 season opener. The visiting Tehran RoosterIllusion, PFL champions the year prior, taking on the cellar-dwellers in Compton. The Honkies were lucky to open the new year at home, but would it even matter? A notoriously tough place to play in years’ past, Compton Stadium had grown quiet in 2009. Fairweather fans had abandoned their team. Death threats had rained down on the owner. A loss was to be expected, but the few supporters who remained loyal to the black-and-gold colors of the CPT wouldn’t stand for defeat. They had been through too much already. They demanded a victory. Their owner pledged it to them.
He was mocked, of course. Mercilessly. By everyone. Including his Week One foe, Peter Lawrence, mastermind behind the team from Tehran. No one gave the Honkies or their blustering owner a chance, least of all the opponent. And make no mistake about it. Lawrence and the RoosterIllusion were more than worthy of their lofty status as reigning PFL conquistadors.
You see, while the CockMirages were winning games in ’09, they were simultaneously stocking up on draft picks by shrewdly pawning off unnecessary spare parts to desperate, playoff-thirsty teams. All the maneuvering left Lawrence with a bevy of early-round draft selections in 2010. By the time that game day rolled around, Tehran featured a starting lineup that included Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, and DeSean Jackson, among others. They stashed the likes of Knowshon Moreno and LeSean McCoy on the bench. They were a force to be reckoned with and the odds-on favorite to take home the 2010 PFL crown.
And then there were the Honkies. Despite the proclamations of triumph from their owner, things looked bleak in Compton.
To counter the star-studded roster of the RoosterIllusion, the CPT trotted out a ragtag bunch of misfits who were simply happy to be playing fake football. Sure, they had Tom Brady at quarterback. But beyond Brady it was a crapshoot.
C.J. Spiller was the flex. Hines Ward and Percy Harvin held down the receiving corps. Jason Witten manned the tight end slot. The Arizona Cardinals defense and special teams would contribute, and Lawrence Tynes would handle the kicking.
Beanie Wells was to be the featured back, but he was ruled out prior to game time. In a last-second desperation move, the owner of the Honkies placed Wells on injured reserve at precisely 12:28 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday afternoon. The team then snatched veteran Willis McGahee off the free agent scrap heap and immediately plugged him into the starting lineup.
If Compton was to live up to their owner’s promise and win, it would be a team effort by a patchwork staff of employees. The deck was stacked against them. But they never had any doubt.
Part III: The Legend
One day, many years from now, they will look back on this game and refer to it as the moment when underdogs the world around were blessed with hope. David versus Goliath this was not. Goliath had nothing on Tehran. David had nothing on Compton. This was something more, something greater, something more meaningful. This was sports in all its Strat-O-Matic glory. Fantasy football on a day when reality seemed to take a back seat.
Was it a dream? Was it a myth? Did it even happen the way they say it did? There will be debate. There will be rumors. There will be stories passed down from generation to generation. But rest assured that the truth lies in the ensuing paragraphs. The game they deemed the greatest upset in fantasy football history went down like this.
Part IV: The Game
It started slowly. Percy Harvin notched just one fantasy point in Thursday’s early game, failing to live up to his projected output of 14 points. Compton’s 1-0 lead lasted 48 hours. If nothing else, that lead, however slim, should have been seen for what it was: an omen.
On Sunday morning, the balance shifted to Tehran. By early afternoon, RoosterIllusion running back Chris Johnson had exploded for 29 points. The Steelers defense/special teams chipped in another eight points. All of a sudden, Tehran had 37 fantasy points from two sources.
But alas, not everything was going as planned for the RoosterIllusion.
The standout receiving trio of Moss, Andre Johnson, and Jackson was a veritable non-factor. The three pass-catchers combined for a measly 11 points.
Then there was tight end, Jermichael Finley, he of ridiculous preseason hype and a made-up first name. Finley managed just four points, further endangering Tehran’s supposedly-easy victory.
And finally there was Kevin Kolb, the RoosterIllusion’s ill-fated starting quarterback. Kolb had mustered zero points before he was hit hard, concussed, and then removed from Philadelphia’s game against Green Bay. He would not return to action, thus guaranteeing a goose egg at the position for Lawrence and his band of previously-merry men.
Tehran was floundering quickly. By Sunday evening, once all the day’s games had come to pass, the alleged juggernaut had mustered a mere 52 total points. With only kicker Nate Kaeding left to play on Monday, things were suddenly looking bleak for the reigning PFL champs.
In Compton, the mood was considerably brighter. The day started out promising when Brady produced a 22-point outpouring of fantasy love. The fans in Honky-ville hadn’t seen a performance like that in years.
Ward joined the party with 11 points of his own, providing a ray of hope for the Compton faithful.
But as was the case with Tehran, this matchup was not to be won easily. Spiller ensured that by matching the total points scored by the RoosterIllusion’s Kolb. At tight end, the usually-solid Witten eked out just two points, putting the Honkies’ owner on suicide watch for the time being.
Yet then the tide turned once again. The Cardinals defense/special teams, taking on the lowly St. Louis Rams, exploded for 16 points. And Lawrence Tynes, the Giants kicker, emerged with seven points of his own.
As Sunday came to a close, Compton — little Compton — held a 59-52 lead over its counterpart from the Middle East. The news was wholly unprecedented. And with only one player on either side left to take the field, it would come down to the Honkies’ McGahee and the RoosterIllusion’s Kaeding to carry their respective teams the rest of the way.
Of course, it wasn’t even supposed to be McGahee. It should have been Chris “Beanie” Wells. But Wells got hurt and changed everything. Never had so much pressure rested on the shoulders of the Ravens’ aging tailback. Compton’s hopes and dreams lay squarely in his arms. He had been a part of big games before, but this was quite possibly the biggest of them all.
Kaeding, on the other hand, was all nerves. He had ended the 2009 campaign on a low note, struggling to connect on his kicks in the playoffs. He was still one of the highest-rated fantasy kickers for 2010. But a rating means nothing when the game is on the line.
Compton needed McGahee to put the matchup out of reach.
Tehran needed Kaeding to knock down at least a couple field goals.
McGahee and the Ravens had the early Monday night game. The ex-Miami Hurricane received little opportunity with feature back Ray Rice getting most of the touches. In his reserve role he would carry the ball six times for a grand total of -2 yards. He would catch one pass for a loss of six. In fact, he would have actually cost the Honkies fantasy points if not for one divine intersecting of the moon and the stars at the end of the second quarter. It was then that McGahee — forever hailed as a hero in Compton — vultured a touchdown from the starter Rice, rushing from one yard out to get himself back into the black and bump the Honkies’ fantasy points up to 63. The 11-point lead seemed insurmountable. It would take a Herculean effort from Kaeding to overcome this deficit. An effort that Tehran would not receive.
In the late Monday night game, Kaeding’s Chargers would score two touchdowns. He would convert two PATs. It was all the scoring he would achieve. The RoosterIllusion totaled 54 fantasy points. Nine shy of forcing a tie, ten away from a win. It was over. The once-lowly Honkies had toppled the behemoth. The day, the night, the week was theirs. Bedlam ensued.
Part V: The Aftermath
When the final horn sounded, the party began in Compton. It was absolute mayhem. Cristal flowed like water. Boom boxes blasted the team anthem, Straight Outta Compton, by NWA. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg stopped by. The ghost of Eazy-E appeared. The streets were decked out in black and gold, and it had nothing to do with the Latin Kings. Bloods hugged Crips. Crips hugged Bloods. World peace, at least in this microcosmic dot on the map, had been achieved.
Honkies owner Alex Akita, the man who had promised his fans and his team so much, who had been criticized and crucified, who had fought like hell to bring his ballclub to heaven, took the podium and addressed the Compton faithful. He gave an impassioned eight-minute-long speech. There were cheers. There were tears. There was laughter. Pride oozed from the audience. He talked of the past, of the present, and of the future. He emoted the pain of the losing season a year prior. He remembered the good times and, yes, even the bad times. He saluted his worthy adversary from Tehran, Peter Lawrence. He praised his ballclub, calling out each individual by name, then bringing each player on stage for a round of applause.
When it was all said and done, the mood had been altered in a city once more renowned for gang violence and Chuck Taylors. Compton, for the moment, belonged to the Honkies.
It was the epitome of the upset. The Little Engine That Could huffing and puffing its way up the mountain. Appalachian State over Michigan. The U.S. hockey team trumping the Soviet Union. Compton besting Tehran. They would hail it as the most significant victory in the history of the Pearce Fantasy League, but it was more than that. In a world where outcomes are often predetermined, often anticipated, often expected, this triumph was more than just a notch on the belt of the oppressed. It was the greatest upset in fantasy football history.
Filed under: Fantasy sports, Featured Articles
“Bryant ran and cut off his right foot during Monday’s practice for the first time since suffering his ankle injury, ESPN.com reports.”
Apparently, the ankle injury got so bad, Dez just gave up all hope. I don’t like what this does for his value.
Filed under: Other Sports