“Are you ready for some football?” sings Hank Williams, Jr. Absolutely, positively! I hate the off-season. I do not watch baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer, but I love football. It’s exciting – lots of action, skill, and fine behinds! Football players are hardworking, muscle-bound, weather-resistant athletes!
They play the game no matter what mother nature throws at them; there isn’t a sissy among them. I like to watch them make impossible catches, avoid tackles, defend quarterbacks, and turn games around. Also, being into words, the uncommon surnames delight me and are added to my list of possible characters for future stories.
My older son, Judson, got me into his in-laws’ fantasy league a few years ago. When I first started, I named my team “Zena’s Warriors” and did not have a logo. At the end of any season, the best I ever came in was fifth. A couple years ago, Danny and I changed it to “NB Brawlers.” We have a logo, but it cannot be shown outside of the league. It is of a big muscled Irish guy dressed in a green bowler, wearing a green shirt, drawing back a huge fist, and snarling menacingly. We haven’t scared anybody yet and are icurrently in seventh place out of twelve teams. Amy, Judson’s wife and our dear daughter-in-law, is in second place, while her cousin Lia is in first place.
My (unfortunately Danny is too busy to participate much) quarterbacks are Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers. I have the Packers for defense and the Colts’ kicker Vinatieri, who is not doing so hot this year thanks to Manning and so many team injuries. Rodgers and Rivers are very close in points, but a couple of times I have mistakenly played the wrong one, resulting in pissage. I listen to fantasy info, watch “Inside the NFL,” and visit http://www.nfl.com/ for incite, but too often I find nothing definitive enough. I am left guessing, which ticks me off no end. I need a mentor, someone who will help a little ol’ grandma win more. The Brawlers barely made the it into the playoff games. In the quarterfinals this week, I’m playing Amy, who averages 124 points per game and has gone as high as 178. Geez!!
Since FF is all about the points, I don’t have a favorite team anymore. However, I did pick the Saints to win last year. No one believed me, but I just had a feeling it was their year. Also last year, I drafted Brady, who was injured right off the bat. (That was a major drag!) While everyone in my league believes in drafting RBs first, I go for the best quarterback in the first round. Quarterbacks and defensive teams garner the most points. After them, WRs usually make more points, so why all the hubbub about RBs? Too often they only get a few yards at a time after running smackdab into the sea of tacklers. There just are not enough good ones to go around in a 12-team league twice. By the end of the bye weeks, available player lists are limited due to too many injuries having occurred. It’s a player desert out there now.
As for picking the WRs, TEs, and RBs, there are a lot of newbies about whom I know nothing. The first part of the season I concentrated on the well-known players, but now there are a half dozen or more rookies or guys who have been given their first chance due to injuries. The Patriots have several excellent newbies who are thrilling to watch, while the Colts inexperienced replacements cannot muster up to Manning’s demands. My list of must-have players for next season is changing rapidly.
I do not choose to draft arrogant hotshots or those who have menacing photos. Most of the time, if I am tossed about whom to pick, I will opt for a decent player with a big grin on his face. I hear some snickering out there, but I can’t help it. If WRs or RBs have equal stats, no matter the team they’re on, I will take the smiler everytime. However, if they let me down in the first couple of games, I have no qualms about icksnaying them.
Kickers seem to be the least important players for a FF team. They seldom reap high points, which is very puzzling. In pinches, the kicker can be integral to a team’s win. And yet, look how many times these guys miss. How is that possible? All they do in practice is kick. Kick, kick, kick, kick, and kick. No brainer. Just kick the friggin’ ball between the uprights. They should feel like experts; they should be super confident. They practice from every hash mark every day. So why do they miss? Do they become too excited? Does the weight of responsibility leaden their kicking power? Are they feeling an unexpected breeze inside the dome? Do they get flummoxed about being on TV? Do they feel intimidated by a really good defense? Are the kicking variables too scary? These guys are chosen because of their one terrific ability, which should be unwavering. It’s like basketball players who cannot make free-throws. Gimme a break!
Anyway, aside from QBs, I have only one consistently outstanding player – the Eagles LeSean McCoy. Each of my other WR/RB players has made less than 100 fantasy points. NFL players do not seem to consider that millions of FF owners are depending on them. Do they care? I doubt it very seriously. They are just trying to win and stay uninjured; they do not give a flip if their fantasy points are low and they are disappointing us. They are just too intensely focused on reality – imagine that!
In closing, something must be said about the extremely brutal tackles and purposeful, unnecessary violence this season. While I am all for a really good stop-them-in-their-tracks tackle, there are too many helmet butts, neck injuries, and concussions occurring. Players who decide they are allowed to use whatever means possible to harm another player should be taken out of the game right then and there. Fine, smine – put them on the idle bench for the rest of the game and perhaps a subsequent game. Umpires need to throw their flags more. Coaches need to be chastised for encouraging these abusive hits…Yes, winning is great. But, at what cost to an opponent? Does someone have to die or be paralyzed in order for this type of playing to stop?