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Fantasy Yoda Thinks Your Fantasy Team Sucks

Fantasy Yoda

Say hello to our newest contributor, the Fantasy Yoda. He knows more about fantasy football than you do. 

Easy, Francis.

So your fantasy team sucks? Join the club, dude. Expected (again) big things from Marques Colston? Disappointed in Michael Vick? Lose not your faith, says Fantasy Yoda.   Read more…

Fantasy Football: Recognize

blaine-gabbert-monday-night

“Damn you, Blaine Gabbert! Why? Why don’t you throw the fucking ball?!” said my friend Bryan during last week’s Monday night game. Read more…

Thank God Tom Brady Doesn’t Have A Brother, Eli

Allow me to apologize in advance to the Manning family for everything I am about to say. But in my defense, I lost my fantasy football game because of Eli Manning, and I’m the kind of manager who takes decisive action and doesn’t mince words. This is business, and business has no place for hurt feelings (as I’m sure everyone in the NFL will agree). 

The repercussions to Eli are far-reaching, starting with his instant removal from my team. From there, the domino effect could seep into every aspect of his life. But I can’t think about that. I have a job to do. Matt Hasselbeck, Kyle Orton or maybe even Jason Campbell will now be backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick. Congratulations, boys. Try-outs are at seven. Bring your swords. There can be only one.

I’m sure when Eli hears the news he’ll be crushed, but I’m now taking off the Manning-colored glasses and accepting Eli for what he is. The good news is that the Hasselbeck, Campbell and Orton families will be celebrating today. They’re nice people. That should make you happy.

Controlling the helm of my football team doesn’t pay as much, but the glory is far greater. It’s also not as forgiving, because when you seemingly can’t hit any receiver in almost any situation, stand there as the pocket crumbles while repeating your progressions seven times until a slow wave descends on you like the blob, make every receiver perform some kind of circus catch in order for you to make forward progress, and lastly, score 10 points fewer than Ryan Fitzpatrick, then you have just lost your job, buddy.

Here’s what else I don’t understand. Eli is still talked about as if he just entered the league. The battle on Monday night was described as “two young quarterbacks, both expected to get better.” That’s certainly how I saw it. One hasn’t played an entire season, the other has been in the league since 2004 and has a Super Bowl under his belt (for which he has a circus catch to thank).

On Monday Night, the first touchdown pass to Nicks from the 1 yard line was thrown directly at the defender. Nicks had to adjust, contort his body, reach back awkwardly and snag a ball that was described by Ron Jaworski as “a great pass.” What? I guess. If the objective was to make the defender pee blood for a week.

The second to Hixon was a jump ball (like many of Eli’s greatest passes), which was bobbled several times in the air and cradled by one hand just before hitting the ground. Eli did throw one perfect pass to a wide open Mario Manningham streaking down the sidelines, but Manningham bobbled it anyway and made it look super fancy before making the catch and injuring himself. I think the Giants wide receivers are so used to doing acrobatics that a Pavlovian response is triggered when they see a ball coming their way. “Here it comes! Leap! Twist! Swing wildly at double coverage! Close Eyes! Pray!”

Last year, Eli had over 4,000 yards, 31 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. Why? Because he throws the ball with reckless abandon and his receivers make monstrous plays. If I had a nickel for every time I saw a NY Giants receiver do something that defied gravity, I would have $4.30. While that doesn’t sound like a lot of money, that’s 86 times. (I probably should have negotiated for more. Dammit.)

And I find it funny that Eli is still given rookie status and slack despite his veteran experience. I’ll have to look this up, but I’m not going to, isn’t he high on the list of most consecutive starts? Ughhh… I’ll look it up. I can’t wait for you people. I have to know. Be right back. Go grab a smoke or something.

Okay, I’m back. #6 All-time in consecutive starts! Come on! Why are we still expecting Eli to get better? Because his older brother is awesome? I had an awesome friend who could build anything. His dad was a great architect. His younger brother liked to lick batteries and burn off his arm hair. Do you see what I’m trying to say here?

I’m not saying that Eli is a battery licker, but I am saying that he is a veteran quarterback and at this stage of his career can not be lumped in with the new batch of quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and others who came out of the gate kicking ass, taking names and are just getting started. Eli was drafted in the same year as Roethlisberger and Rivers, two elite quarterbacks now considered cagey veterans in this league. No one is saying of these two men, “They are going to be good one day when they learn more stuff.”

I’m just wondering if it’s time to become a realist about our expectations regarding Eli. He has started 111 consecutive games, been in multiple playoff situations (including the biggest stage on the planet), and still makes poor decision after poor decision. All while the commentators make excuse after excuse for his poor play, either citing his youth or inexperience. Why? I have an idea.

I propose we change his last name to Shuman. Eli Shuman. Not that he isn’t deserving of the Manning name, just that we can’t see past it to objectively rate his performance.  We’re all looking at Eli through Manning-colored glasses, and I’m sure he’d prefer that not be the case. I’m sure he’d rather not be constantly compared to his older brother, nor have to live up to those expectations.

Many of us get that Eli will never be Peyton (including Eli), but we seem to forget how long it is that Eli has actually played and can’t help but compare it to how long his brother has played. Maybe that’s why we still see him as relatively new quarterback in this league, but in his eighth season, Peyton Manning was arguably the best quarterback then and regarded as maybe the best ever. It’s time to get realistic about Eli and begin to taper our own expectations.

Fantasy Football, Week One — Or, What Would Neil Rackers Do?

I’ve never really been into fantasy sports of any kind.

I haven’t, I should say, until this year, when I decided to make up for years of blissful ignorance and throw myself headlong into not just one (or even one variety of) fantasy football experience, but four.

I have always been an all-or-nothing sort of person, and it turns out that after listening to my fantasy freak friend go on about her very favorite hobby for three seasons, the curiosity was too much to take.

(And so was the peace of mind, apparently.)

I started to get nervy about it in my mind. “Hey, I could figure this out,” my nervy mind thought. “I have been to one whole NFL preseason game, and I’ve watched several on tv.”

I was not interested in leaving this thing unconquered.

So I did what any good combination slacker/overachiever would do: I printed out a lot of lists of statistics and names and teams and positions. I made lists of guys I wanted to snag for my teams, learned some new terms, and had some heated GCchat time with a fellow new person to the league just before the draft, wherein we took turns saying, and I paraphrase, “OH MY GOD I DON’T KNOW WHAT IN THE HELL I’M DOING! What does this MEAN? I am not drunk enough for this!”

(That last line isn’t paraphrased at all. I remember that one pretty well.”)

But I was still feeling pretty good. I felt that I knew some solid choices that I wanted to make, and I felt reasonably sure that even a person of my feeble football knowledge could read CHARTS, for God sakes. I’m an EDUCATOR. I own MANY HIGHLIGHTERS.

So I settled in, engaging in ridiculous, hilarious banter with the other people in my league, kind of learning to navigate mastering the website, and even feeling a little bit satisfied. I got a decent running back or two. I picked a solid quarterback.

And then I hit the wrong button and picked a kicker — Neil Rackers of the Houston Texans — accidentally. I learned that this was an error based on the string of giggles coming from the draft chat, and the request of a few people that I return next year because it’s not like I was going to pose any kind of threat.

And then I learned a few days later that my first-string QB, Peyton Manning, was almost immediately put on the injured list for a series of neck surgeries. AND I picked a running back — Arian Foster — who has the hamstrings of my grandma, may she rest in peace, so HE was off of my list for the first week.

And it was an ugly week.

But I will say to the haters that my new friend Neil Rackers, playing a Peyton-less, shell-shocked Indianapolis, and my not-too-shabby backup QB Joe Flacco (Go Ravens!) helped me be in last place by only three points. This is saying something given the lackluster performance of the rest of my team. There really isn’t any guarantee that this week will go any better, but thanks are due to my head-to-head opponent and supposed friend, who not only beat me by many, many points, but rechristened my team NiceRackers.

And I have to admit that this has been a lot of fun so far. Foster is supposedly back tomorrow, so we’ll see if my Texans tag team can get me out of the basement. It’s really too bad I don’t own a Rackers jersey yet, but forget about any other deities — around here these days, it’s WWNRD.

Really. What Would Neil Rackers Do?

Peyton Manning Out — Or Not?

First, the weekend brought us this:

Any NFL fan knows that there are far-reaching consequences for Peyton Manning and the Colts if he is truly out for the season. (We’ve already mentioned the problems of this for you Fantasy Football league members.) But of course, there was no confirmation of this over the next couple of days.

Then, this morning there were the Tweets and podcast from Jake Query that a 3rd procedure had already taken place on Sunday or Monday of this week. Peter King of Sports Illustrated Tweeted this evening that there was no 3rd procedure.

Now who the hell are we going to believe? On local LA radio I heard this evening that the 3rd procedure that everyone is talking about was on his lower back, not the neck that is giving Manning the problems. (Which would follow, considering Manning’s complaints after being activated last week.) ESPN is reporting, on endless f’ing loop, that he will be out for the opener, and likely for the first month of the season. If you listen to Bill Polian, Colts Vice Chairman (well, no one listens to him anyway, regardless of what he says) Manning has been listed as injured before and still played on Sunday, but that is the only thing that I can confirm will NOT happen this time.

Maybe we should listen to Peyton?

I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back. The team will do fine without me, and I know for sure that I will miss them much more than they will miss me.

What Colts fans all across the country seem to be grasping for is real honest reporting on this story — the whole story, not the damn sound bites that the Colts front office is so happy to give us.

Manning has started every game for the Colts, including all playoff games, since he was drafted in 1998. Kerry Collins, former QB for the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and the Tennessee Titans, will take the offensive reins on Sunday.

Say it ain’t so, Peyton. Say it ain’t so.

Kendra is weeping at the thought of losing her fellow Vol to an injury. This is not the way to go out, dude.

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