Tuesday, September 4, 2012


There is no such thing as a relaxing year of fantasy football.  Like life, it will have its peaks and valleys.  The lows are painfully low, and the highs are incomparably high.  I’ve chronicled my own successes, and painfully transcribed my stunning losses

Miracles happen in this game.  And everyone associates a miracle with an amazing, exciting, positive event. 

It’s easy to forget about the shit end of the stick. 

Yeah, you play this game and there’s a good chance you end up part of a miracle.  But there’s a 50% chance you’re the person crying in the corner, whispering to your pillow, 

“I don’t know who I am anymore.”

Here’re a few reflections I’ve had over the years concerning Fantasy Football:

It challenges your memory, it creates traitorous allegiances, and tests your loyalty. 

It causes your heart to race.  It can ruin a day.  A week.  An entire offseason.

It makes you lie to others (specifically so you can stay home Sunday)

It demands your full attention, like a puppy, or a special lady.  -->

It affronts your dignity, pride, and intelligence.

It tests the boundaries of friendship. 

Look, no matter the positives, that’s a glaring list.  
How is this worth it?  
Why do we do this to ourselves? 

We do it to etch our names on a trophy.  
We do it for the bragging rights.  
We do it to win. 

Stress is an appropriate measurement for this week’s player analysis.  By now you have drafted and are ready to go.  But that doesn’t mean your planning is done.  As always, the cornerstone of my blog is a complete detachment from your players.  They are tools, investments – pawns in your quest for victory.  No one is off limits if it keeps you on the road to victory.  

With that in mind, here are the Stress Players, ranked from most (Tier 4) to least (Tier 1) reliable:

Tier 4 - 
Nothing A Beer Won't Solve

This tier has some small questions to answer.  But on the whole, these are First Round picks, and that's the way it should be.

Matthew Stafford
Had some injury troubles to start his career.  Played 16 games last season.  Half of Fantasy's best duo.  Could finish as the Top QB.

Calvin Johnson
The other half.  Forget the Madden Curse.  Forget the historically expected drop-off.  Believe your eyes.

Arian Foster
n the same boat as Stafford.  He's missed a few games.  Fortunately, one of his games is worth two of nearly every other RB.  He's a monster.  

Drew Brees
New coach?  New offense?  No matter.  He's the most accurate passer in the league, in a pass-happy offense, and his team is healthier this year than last.  Could also finish as the Top QB.  And even more likely to do so than Stafford.

Tier 3
Squeeze One Off, You'll Feel Better

The tier of holdouts, contract disputes, and bad blood.  Don't expect these guys to make DeSean Jackson-ish claims about effort.  They get plenty of touches, but you never know how far pride will take some people.

Chris Johnson
He is the least of my worries, as his holdout did result in a new contract.  However, if Tennessee gets off to a bad start, might we see this freshly paid back's effort deteriorate?

Maurice Jones-Drew
I think we all cringed a bit when MJD reported to the Jags.  "They wouldn't trade me, they wouldn't pay me, so I came back."  I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of his press conference.  How much is he really going to give the Jags?  And how long until he's permanently splitting time with Rashad Jennings?

Wes Welker
He's the best receiver in football, in the more literal sense, in that he catches the most balls.  There are ungodly physical talents in the NFL, all of whom should overshadow Wes; Andre, Calvin, Larry, AJ, Julio, Dez.  But Welker consistently outshines the majority.  It's a combination of skill, effort, and an all-time great quarterback. He can't feel loved after getting the Franchise Tag.

Mike Wallace
He was a Top 10 receiver last year.  A brief holdout made him plummet in the rankings.  On the field, he's one of the best deep threats in the league, and his QB takes full advantage.  But with trade talk looming, and no new deal imminent, those 50 yard bombs might sail just over his fingertips.

Tier 2 - 
Not Exactly Glass-Half-Full, Are You?

Frequent injuries and an unreliable history might derail this tier's seasons.  They are all Top 15 at their position, and Top 15 on the "Most Likely to Miss 8 games" list.

Andre Johnson
He used to be The Johnson.  Now he is a total question mark.  Like his teammate Arian Foster, few can rival Andre's talent.  Unlike Foster, he doesn't bounce back from injury the same way.  It's Top 5 or bust for Andre.  There's no middle ground.

Ryan Mathews
Especially in PPR leagues, Ryan Mathews has McFadden-like potential.  He's as solid receiving as he is running, but his durability is deplorable so far.  Also, he doesn't have a lot of career touchdowns.  The major upside is the departure of Mike Tolbert.  Aside from Mathews, the San Diego running game is weak, so expect big things if Mathews can heal up.

Frank Gore
Gore is a workhorse, and despite his injury history, he played 16 games last season.  Any given game, Frank is a threat for 100 yards and 2 TDs.  Can't argue that.  But we aren't naive.  Kendall Hunter looks good, and the Niners are looking to the future.  Good things can happen, but you should be skeptical.  

Marshawn Lynch
He had an incredible year in 2011.  He almost cracked the RB Top 5.  He just got paid.  Sounds promising, right? Let's crush that right here.
He's never played 16 games.  He's never averaged more than 4.5 yards per carry in a season.  His QB could change daily.  His back hurts.  Oh yeah, and he's a criminal.

Tier 1 - 
You're High Or Stupid.  Either Way...Pray.

Finally, the tier of players who have no right being out of a wheelchair.  True, they can win your season for you.  But there's no better way to lose your season outright than having one of these guys go down.  Remember the golden rule of running backs:
Talent is important.  Working legs are essential.
I would cringe watching these five walk a dog, let alone sprint into a pile of 300 pound beasts.

Jamaal Charles
Coming off a torn ACL

Adrian Peterson
Coming off a torn ACL

DeMarco Murray
Coming off a broken ankle

Darren McFadden
Needs a Feet Transplant

Michael Vick
Made of Glass

One final player worth mentioning - Matt Forte.  He's coming off a contract dispute, and was understandably unhappy about Michael Bush's arrival in Chicago.  However, I expect Forte to have a career year.  He's a huge part of an improved Bears offense, and despite getting paid already, I expect a stellar performance.

There's reasons to love and hate all these players.  And to Tim Boras, that means there's a great reason to trade them.  Know the risks, know the value, and pull the trigger.  

Tim Boras' Top 3 Predictions:

1.  Matt Forte finishes the #3 RB, edging out Shady McCoy.
2.  Lance Moore outscores Brandon Lloyd.
3.  Jimmy Graham leads the league in touchdown receptions.

That'll do it.  
Welcome back to Fantasy Football, and good luck in Week 1!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck on that Lance Moore Bet. I'll be back in a few months to rub this in your face.