Ahh, the holiday season is upon us, and with it comes all things magical. Wishes coming true, people acting out of the goodness of their hearts, miracles becoming commonplace. It’s a time for family, food and let’s face it…fantasy football.
Thanksgiving was proof—three football games on, scheduled perfectly so you can watch all day. So, before you eat dinner, there was a game on. Then, while you shoveled food into your mouth like you had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, but in reality had actually eaten both breakfast and lunch already that day, there was another football game on. And then, of course, right after you woke up from your turkey coma, there was already another game in progress. And even though Mark Sanchez didn’t have a good day and might completely screw you out of a playoff appearance as you’re fighting for your playoff life in your PPR league, it was still nice to just sprawl out on the couch and watch football.
And since this season is such a magical time, why not make a fantasy football wish list? I mean, let’s get real. For Christmas, I can’t imagine being more excited to unwrap anything but four fantasy championships. If I was Jewish, I’d want eight days of celebration of my fantasy football wins for Hanukkah. Maybe my priorities are out of whack, or maybe that’s just something my ex-girlfriend said when she was mad at me and wanted to hit me where it hurts. You know how girls are.
And you know how this holiday season is, too. Kids make lists for Santa, things they wish they could see under their tree on Christmas morning. And even though Santa supposedly doesn’t exist (I know what I saw, Mom), it’s still fun to pretend. Just like it would be to have the perfect fantasy season. You know, where every pick works out, you make the smart play every week (no benching Darren McFadden or Kenny Britt on their 40-point days), your opponent may have good days, but just not as good as your team’s. The reality is that those seasons don’t exist. But I’m not here to be a Debbie Downer. I’m here to spark the magic of the holiday season. Because it doesn’t matter what has already happened in the past. It’s the past. Can’t change it now. Unless you know Doc Brown, in which case, you probably have more important concerns than fantasy football. Then again, maybe not. I wouldn’t.
No, this fantasy wish list is not intended for three months ago when you drafted Ryan Mathews in three leagues in the third round or earlier. Nobody did that? Just me? Damn.
Well, no matter, because this wish list will fix all. Most of you are still in the running for playoffs out there. There are still two matchups left in the fantasy season and if you’re in the middle of the pack, you still have a fighting chance. It doesn’t matter if you’re the last team to make it into the playoffs, you’re still in the playoffs. And in the playoffs, anything can happen. Ask the San Francisco Giants. Or the New York Giants a couple years ago. Once in the playoffs, all it takes is a couple good weeks in a row and you have yourself a fantasy championship. Can’t do that from the outside looking in.
And this wish list can help make that happen. If these things go right, you can not only make the playoffs, but do something once in the postseason. And that’s what we’re all striving for. So, join me as we embark on a magical journey of 10 things that surely all won’t happen, but if just some of them do, we will be happy folks come New Year’s, which is always the best time to celebrate anything, especially a fantasy football championship.
1. Jamaal Charles would get 20+ touches every single game.
Now, I own him in my only league that isn’t for money, but let’s face it—fantasy football is as much about pride as it is about the money you win. And I’d love me some pride. But, even still, I wish that for all of you out there who own him. He’s a great gent, and one you probably drafted in the fourth round or later, so 15 points a week would be a huge boost to your squad. He’s clearly the most dynamic back in the league, yet Kansas City and coach Todd Haley think otherwise and still give that washed-up Thomas Jones 15+ touches a game. Not that I hate Thomas Jones. I actually love him. But he is washed up. Somehow, he’s averaging 4.1 yards a carry this year, but it seems like every week he has 20 carries for 59 yards. Enough already. No more Smash and Dash. Just Dash. Give Charles the ball 20+ times every game. That’s a guaranteed 120 yards right there, plus the possibility of a big play. Make it happen, Todd.
2. Ahmad Bradshaw would stop fumbling.
Again, I own him only in the league not worth money (I know, figures that would be my best league, right?). Bradshaw has spent a lot of the year atop the NFC in rushing after finally securing the starting RB spot in the Big Apple, but he is now fumbling away that opportunity. Quite literally, in fact. He has put the ball on the ground six times this year, five of which have been recovered by the opposing defense. Not only is that 10 lost fantasy points, but it has spurred a changing of the guards in the Meadowlands. Tom Coughlin has officially demoted Bradshaw because of his fumblitis and instead promoted Brandon Jacobs to the lead back. Now, not only will Bradshaw not get the goal-line carries, but he will also get less carries between the 20s. That’s not good for business. The change won’t last long (if Jacobs was really good enough to be the No. 1 back, there wouldn’t have been all that trade talk and he wouldn’t have lost his job in the first place), but Bradshaw needs to hang on to the ball when he does get his opportunity.
3. Michael Turner would show some consistency.
Alright, enough is enough Micheal! I don’t own him, but I do feel your pain. He’s so frustrating! He was a first round pick and yet he has more games under 5 points (3) than above 20 (2). That’s pathetic. With a first round pick, you expect him to get you 15 points or so every week. So, a 20-point outing isn’t a huge boost because he should be your top scorer more often than not. But a 4-point week is just killer. For his owners to have some success in the playoffs (or to even make the postseason), Turner needs to find a way to net at least 15 points each week with the occasional 20-point tossed in there. No more sub-5 point fantasy days.
4. High profile players would stop getting hurt.
I know, it’s football. Injuries are a part of the game. It’s cliché, but it’s also true. Injuries are a big part of the NFL and fantasy football. Dealing with them and moving past them are the keys to success, not avoiding them. Because no matter what you do, your injury luck will always run out. Even if it’s not this season.
This year, however, things have been worse than ever. Part of the reason for such parity in the NFL this season is because such high profile players have been hurt. And that’s the same thing in fantasy. A lot of teams are right around .500 because such big point-scorers have missed some crucial games. Below is a list of players worth owning in fantasy who have missed at least a significant amount of time this year:
-Tony Romo -Steve Smith (NYG) -Matthew Stafford
-Dallas Clark -Reggie Bush -Hakeem Nicks
- Ryan Mathews -Malcom Floyd -DeAngelo Williams
-Jonathan Stewart -Antonio Gates -Mark Clayton
-Austin Collie -Kenny Britt -Felix Jones
-Jermichael Finley -Ryan Grant -Vince Young
-Joseph Addai -Ryan Torain -Owen Daniels
-Mike Sims-Walker -Clinton Portis -Donald Driver
-Pierre Thomas -Sidney Rice
I know, I’m probably the only one who is still caring about this. But, I’m also the only one who has put so much stock in him this year. He was supposed to be the next best thing at the RB position, but yet hasn’t even turned into a “thing” yet. He was supposed to be the best thing for fantasy football since sliced bread. But now, he’s not even the best thing since hard, crunchy, stale bread. Anybody who owns him would have easily dropped him by now if it wasn’t for such a high pick you spent on him. But you know what? It doesn’t matter what he’s done in the past. Maybe his ankle will finally heal (he’s not supposed to play this week) and he might turn into a fantasy commodity. Just in time for playoffs. To quote JP from “Angels in the Outfield,” hey, it could happen!
6. Arian Foster would just chill.
He’s been great. Fantasy MVP so far, without a doubt. He’s been the best player in any league’s format and he was drafted in the fourth round or later (he probably went in the sixth in your league). He does it all—gains rushing yards, receiving yards, receptions, touchdowns, is matchup-proof, consistent. He’s the full package. But, the simple fact of the matter is, there’s only one person in each league that can own Foster. And just by the basic laws of averages, there’s a good chance you’re reading this and you don’t own him. But, whoever does is likely one of the top teams in your league and you will have to beat them to earn a fantasy championship. So, Arian, from the majority of us who play fantasy football, please just relax a little bit over the next couple of weeks. I don’t want some girl who accidentally autodrafted him (and currently sits at 10-1 on the season) winning the league when she didn’t even know who the Houston Texans were three months ago. And I don’t want to have to play him in the playoffs. This is also because I’m jelli (short for jealous, get used to it) that I don’t own him in any league.
7. Brett Favre would find “it” again. Or just stop sucking.
Not that I own him. Cause I’m not an idiot. It was obvious he wasn’t going to duplicate his 33 TD/7 INT season, which was the best TD-INT ratio he has had in his illustrious career. No, that just doesn’t happen at age 40 and stick around. So I knew a regression was going to come, but I still thought his receivers would be decent options. And for the most part, Percy Harvin has been. And Sidney Rice was hurt. But Favre has been so awful of late that he has even been hurting Adrian Peterson’s game, as opposing teams are stacking the box and taking away the run. And Visanthe Shiancoe is a complete non-factor this year. Brett needs to turn it around to give these four guys something to be fantastical about, even if he’s not worth a start himself.
8. None of my RBs go up against Pittsburgh in a crucial matchup.
The Steelers are just dominant this year against the run, and subsequently, limiting opposing RBs. They’ve allowed running backs double digit fantasy points just four times this year in 10 games. And the best game of the bunch came in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which they allowed 18 total fantasy points. But, that was a time share, where Earnest Graham had 13 rushing yards and 57 receiving (6 points), Cadillac Williams had 13 rushing and 33 receiving (4 points) and LeGarrette Blount had 27 yards and a TD (8 points). So, it’s not like any one of those players was fantasy relevant, even with a touchdown, something Pittsburgh has only allowed three of to opposing RBs. This week, Fred Jackson goes up against the Steel Curtain. Sit him. Next week, it’s Ray Rice, followed by Cedric Benson (who will just completely bomb), Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, and then whoever is running for Carolina in Week 16. Look at the way Pittsburgh shut down Darren McFadden last week (2 fantasy points), a guy who is in the running for fantasy MVP. Steer clear of this defense as much as possible.
9. Jahvid Best would decide if he wants to be good or if he wants to be bad.
He’s probably bad. I mean, let’s face it—he has just 41 points in nine weeks since dropping 40 in Week 2. After scoring 5 touchdowns in the season’s first two weeks, he hasn’t even come close to sniffing the end zone. He’s a receiving threat and isn’t really blocked by anybody (Maurice Morris looked good Thursday, but Kevin Smith is out for the year), and is on a team with a good passing offense, but Best just can’t get it going. At this point, he’s only worth stashing on your bench. Definitely not worth a start. He’s been dealing with a toe injury, so if he gets that figured out, maybe he’ll be a better play. But, I also advise you not to drop him. He’s not on IR and he did put up 15 and 40 points in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, so there is some potential there.
10. Drew Brees, Marques Colston and the Saints offense would keep it up.
They probably will. Brees looked real good late in the game Thursday evening (those throws to Robert Meachem down the sideline and Lance Moore in the end zone were just perfect) and has looked pretty good of late. He’s still turning the ball over too much, but something just looked funky with this offense early in the season, even if Brees was still putting up 15-20 point fantasy days. But, Brees looks to be in more of a rhythm now, and Colston has been the biggest benefactor, with 69 points in the last five games (a 13.8 average). Even when he’s not scoring, he’s getting yards, receptions and targets, which will translate well down the road. Colston has emerged as a low No. 1/high No. 2 WR again, while Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are decent plays if you’re desperate. Moore looks the best of the bunch this year, while Meachem has looked the worst, but they all could be worth a start in the right situation…if Drew Brees can keep this up, that is. The Saints have started playing defense and really look more like their Super Bowl form than whatever it was that you call their form they had at the beginning of the season. Start Brees and Colston with confidence from here on out.