At this point in time it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the majority of modern NFL fans are involved in at least one fantasy league. Fantasy football has become a phenomenon that we as a declining culture simply can not ignore anymore. ESPN, Fox Sports, and other media outlets have entire segments, both written and visual, dedicated to helping the average player rise to the top of his or her fantasy league. If it wasn’t for fantasy sports, ESPN’s ‘Talented Mr. Roto’ Matthew Berry might be working at a car wash or serving Big Macs at a McDonald’s drive-through somewhere.
I dont know about the rest of America, but I spend more time in a given week tweaking my fantasy roster than I do paying attention to politics, world issues, or engaging in some other productive use of my time. And I feel like a much better man because of it. After all, I don’t really care if any more investment banks go out of business because A) I’m going to be poor anyway, and B)that has absolutely no effect on my fantasy score at the end of the week. Some might call it nerdish, I call it practical. My team started out looking lifeless at 1-2, but then I got on the horn with the other general managers in my league, hit the waiver wire hard, and made some raw ‘Power Moves’. Now my team is 3-2 and ready to make some real noise. If only real GM’s cared about their teams as much as I do…
Fantasy football is a great way to get together with a few homies, increase your knowledge of the league’s players, teams, and trends; and talk trash to an opponent after your Frank Gore has 120 yards and three touchdowns – and his Chris Henry is removed in the first quarter with three drops, a concussion, and a warrant out for his arrest after the game.
Now onto some matchups that I really like for the week. I’ve never actually written a column with predictions before, so this should be a lot of fun seeing just how wrong I turn out to be. To start, I’ll go through a few of the matchups that seem can’t miss. You don’t have to be a fantasy genius to figure these out. I’ll add more as the weeks go on.
Bears @ Falcons – The Falcons are 22nd in the league against the pass so I like Kyle Orton in this one. He’s been throwing the ball well and actually getting it to his receivers, which is something the Bears aren’t normally fond of – and that should continue against a mediocre Falcons defensive unit. Even though Mike Turner is rakin’ in the points this year, I think the Bears defense will bottle him up and force a young Matt Ryan into a few turnovers.
Jags @ Broncos - Sorry fellow Jags fans, but with how inept the Jags’ D has looked all year and with William James “Peterson” (and his useless attempt at a name change) refusing to cover anybody, I’d expect Jay Cuter, Brandon Marshall, and probably even Eddie Royal to have a field day. Make sure you have a good supply of bricks to throw at the TV screen. God, I hope I’m wrong here. However, if the Jags stay in the game and hold the ball for more than five minutes, MoJo and Freddy T might make some noise against Denver’s God-forsaken run defense. Maybe if you’re seriously hurting for options, Mike Walker (if healthy) might be a good sleeper start for this week. (6 Grabs for 107 yards last week against the Steelers). Although Matt Jones might be pretty good on third downs this year, I really don’t like him as a starter this week in any Criminal Courts Fantasy Leagues.
Rams @ Skins – The way the Rams seem to enjoy being out of the game by the middle of the second quarter, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley, Jason Campbell, and Santana Moss played the Rams 4-on-11 and still stomped them. I’d play any of those guys.
Phins @ Texans – Even though the Fish have never beaten the Texans before, I don’t think it’s going to matter much here. Even with the return of Matt Schaub (which should save the Texans four less crunch time turnovers), I like the Dolphins D (7th in the league in fewest yards allowed) in this one. With Ronnie Brown doing his Jesus Christ impression, I expect him to put up some big numbers again as well.
Pats @ Chargers – I like Matt ‘Cassel Rock Productions’ against the Chargers’ lifeless defensive backs. They finally let him toss a bit last week against San Francisco and Randy Moss had his first big game since week 1.
Other obvious notables:
Adrian Peterson against the Lions
Brees/Bush in the Black Hole.
Ravens defense against the Colts (still don’t like the way their offense looks)
Anybody with the ball in their hands in the Cowboys-Cards game.
Anybody not from Ohio playing against somebody from New York.
Best of luck.