The best part about being a single adult with zero children is that I can do what I want whenever I want to. I can have chocolate milk for dinner and lay on the floor in agony. If I want to spend a day sitting on the porch reading about the Civil War, great. I can be a hipster and listen to Pianos Become the Teeth and watch All-22 on Linval Joseph while I drink coffee from a whale mug in a Christmas sweater. Now, I know it won't last forever, which is fine. But at this point in my life, I'm free to do as I please. So very rarely do I do anything that I legitimately dislike. Playing fantasy football is one of these rare things.
I've played for the last six years, and never in the history of it all have I ever had a fun experience. It almost happened once. It was 2013. I needed to win to make the playoffs. Then Reggie Bush slipped in warm-ups before playing the Eagles in a blizzard. He strained his calf and didn't take a snap. I lost. That's the closest I've ever gotten to am enjoyable fantasy football moment. Now it's just something I throw $40 away on every year because it's just something I do. It's something you have to do if you are a football fan, and I hate it so much.
Every year, I spend a Sunday reading and researching before my draft. I have a list of players in my Football Outsiders Almanac that are "undervalued" compared to the ESPN draft order. I read little tidbits about how Luke Thomas is going to get more red zone targets this year, and why Montellus Jeremiah is going to have a huge year playing in a new vertical passing game. Nothing ever comes of this. But I adjust otherwise and do things like draft Josh Hill instead of Tyler Eifert. I should just let Paul the Octupus draft my team next year.
Even if I draft well, it doesn't matter. The entire game is nothing but luck. It always comes down to whoever is able to pick up Devonta Freeman or gets the easiest schedule. All I know is that it never happens to me. I never get the top waiver wire guy. I'm always sixth in the claim order, check my team on Wednesday, and pout when he's not there. The years I do somehow get to talk about how smart I am, and how great my team is, I have the most points scored against me. I guess I need to go to Grand Canyon University, get a masters degree in the dark arts, and spend the next two years beer-bonging unicorn blood. But that probably wouldn't work. I bet it's one of those skills where street smarts win out.
After a month into the season, I quickly realize that at least one of my top three picks is just a poop-flavored lollipop. A complete failure that's healthy, and plays a majority of the snaps, but just sucks. Yet every week I start said player and read about how "This upcoming week is a great matchup for him since he's going up against a defense that gives up the seventh most points to opposing running backs". And then he farts out two points.
By this point, my team is ruined, and the rest of the year is me trying to make trades to improve. Yet everyone else overvalues their own guys to the point that no deal can ever get done. So I'm stuck with the same bouquet of decay for the rest of the year.
Now this is the point where someone tells me to play daily fantasy. There's no year-long commitment. You can pick from an entire pool for players. Great, but there's no way I'm giving my money to some algorithm-sniffing, inside-trading cretin. I get pissed when an ATM withdrawal fee is $3.00. I won't ever toss $10 into that wasteland and help contribute to someone else's moon base.
Rather than complain anymore than I already have, I'm getting revenge and outing those who were taken too high, and were sooooooo safe, and offered the greatest reward with the lowest risk, and blah, blah, blah by looking at those players who murdered everyone's fantasy football teams this year.
Peyton Manning: ADP 28.2 (24th). Points Scored 92 (T-28th QB, T-49th Overall)
My only rule for this team is that injuries don't play a part in it. It's the NFL. Injuries are going to happen to everyone. So no Andrew Luck, no Dez Bryant, no Le'Veon Bell, no Jamaal Charles. It's just the nature of the NFL and this silly little game. As a result, Andrew Luck is replaced by the one who he replaced, Peyton Manning.
It was only a matter of time before Manning had a season like this. #18 doesn't have feeling in his fingertips. His neck is made of titanium. He doesn't even throw the ball anymore. It just levitates out of his hands like the ball is attached to some deity's rope. Add all this to head coach Gary Kubiak installing a new offense for him at the age of 39, and we get this disaster of a season fantasy-wise.
You used to be able to just draft Manning and every player on his offense and walk into the playoffs. Now the udders are dry and that cow is done making milk.
Honorable Mention Russell Wilson: ADP 27.1 (23rd). Points Scored 120 (T-16th QB, T-20th Overall)
The idea of the Seahawks not having an offensive line is simple. They have a quarterback who's the best in the league at scrambling and a running back in Marshawn Lynch who's the best in the league at breaking tackles. Both players have skills that transcend their offensive line's play. But you still have to have a baseline level of competence.
Seattle's line isn't even below-average. It's terrible. Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the worst line in the league. Their best player on their line, Russell Okung, is the 35th-ranked tackle.
This year Wilson is playing quarterback like the end of a game of Tetris when the screen is filled to the brim with blocks and squares of empty spaces. He stands back there for only a second and then is drowning in an ocean of defenders. If any other quarterback played back there, the Seahawks would be running some offense from 1939 by now. But Wilson has a special set of skills that let him survive the buzzsaw and has performed adequately. He just can't collect passing yards, rushing yards, or touchdowns.
Eddie Lacy: ADP 4.9 (3rd). Points Scored 43 (43rd RB, T-186 Overall)
C.J. Anderson: ADP 12.4 (11th). Points Scored 40 (46th RB, T-195 Overall)
In fantasy football, you can't miss with your first two draft picks. Everyone who selected Lacy in the first round did just this. I did. I bought in. I read all preseason about how Mike McCarthy wasn't going to call plays anymore and that Lacy would get more touches in the red zone. I sat at the table and feasted on Lacy's fluffy August optimism.
This season, he can't run by or through anyone. He just runs into the first guy he sees and stumbles to the ground. Recently, he's had to address claims that he's not fat, and that he's just a big-boned back. Fat or not fat, who cares? All that matters is that he sucks.
Insert a running back into Gary Kubiak's zone scheme and watch him run for 1,500 yards. If Steve Slaton can do it, anyone can. C.J. Anderson was supposed to be the next prince crowned king after running for 849 yards on 179 carries (4.7 Y/C) and catching 34 passes for 324 yards last year. In 2015, Anderson has only 88 carries, 15 catches, and 424 total yards. His point totals are: 3, 2, 1, 6, 3, 6, and a breakout 16, which then fell back to his usual 3 the next week.
You can't be mad at Gary Kubiak for the Broncos having the worst offense in the NFL. Kubiak is a fox in that orange polo. Who can be pissed off at that?
Randall Cobb: ADP 25.7 (22nd). Points Scored 75 (26th WR, T-89th Overall)
Golden Tate: ADP 57.6 (52nd). Points Scored 38 (T-57th WR, T-155 Overall)
Cobb will probably pick it up. He gets to play with Aaron Rodgers. All this talk about the offense being in trouble is nonsense. They played two of the five best defenses in the game. It's hard to score points against the Broncos and Panthers. It happens. And at least it happened in the regular season. Oh no, they may not get to play the NFC Championship game at Lambeau. Anyways, he's the 26th best receiver and has four games with five catches or less.
Tate, on the other hand, is worthless. He's a perfect example of a strategy I always tell myself during the year and immediately forget when the draft starts: Don't pick guys who come off career years. Those could be an outlier. Look for guys who dipped randomly, not jumped randomly. Golden Tate was the 13th best receiver last year and the 28th the year before. This season, he is tied for 57th. He's worse than Danny Amendola. He's worse than Lance Moore. I guess that's just what happens when Jim Caldwell seeps into every crevice of a franchise.
Jimmy Graham ADP 30.3 (27th). Points Scored 55 (10th TE, T-144 Overall)
He was the perfect fantasy football player. They go to the game break, Jimmy Johnson mumbles in his southern drawl, and you see Graham catch a drag route in the end zone, dunk the ball through the posts, and "JIMMY GRAHAM 3rd TOUCHDOWN RECEPTION OF THE DAY" underneath the screen. Then you get to go "Whoo", hold your fist up briefly, feign happiness, and go back to your life.
This year the fun has all stopped. Graham has caught only 2 touchdowns and has 55 total points. Seattle has no idea what to do with him. He's the worst blocking tight end in the game. Stop leaving him on the line of scrimmage and having him try to block. It's a waste of time. Just put him in the slot and let him run past linebackers in the middle of the field.
I'll probably take him in the fourth round next year, and he'll probably be terrible again.
Alfred Morris: ADP 36.1 (32nd). Points Scored 30 (58th RB, T-195th Overall)
I spent nearly every Sunday when I was in Virginia going to a dirty old biker bar that didn't look like a biker bar. There were a few people with green corroded tattoos in leather jackets here and there, but they didn't match the aesthetics. The place was in a strip mall next to a Mexican meat market. Inside, 80s rock crooned through second hand smoke from an internet jukebox. People urinated with the doors open. Red walls protected a sticky floor whose color was indistinguishable because of the dim light. Tables stood tall with ash trays sitting on top. The walls were covered with the usual bar stuff--alcohol memorabilia, sheets of paper notifying the 12-8 happy hour beer price is now $2.75, and widescreen televisions equipped with every channel. Guests sat in drunken stupors, murmuring and playing video poker until the Washington football team came on.
At 1 p.m. ET, everyone woke up. Bullfrog voices burped. "Come on, Redskins." "Get it together, Redskins." "Stop sucking so much, Redskins." "Break that quarterback's leg, Redskins." "Stop showing RG III, Redskins." "He sucks anyways, Redskins."
Like Pavlov, I would glance at the other television once cheers or screams of pain erupted. Each one of these plays the drunken bat signal alerted me to was either a deep throw by Kirk Cousins, an interception by Kirk Cousins, a sack where people spat with blood lust and slobber, or a long run by anyone other than Alfred Morris.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you drafted Morris in the third round, he murdered your fantasy football team.
Morris leads Washington in carries with 95. Matt Jones has 74. I love rushing attacks that split carries between two players. The ridiculous part is that Cousins has thrown the ball 308 times. I don't like that. But I guess that's what happens when you are down big every game and your head coach is a boob.
Houston Texans: ADP 91 (85th). Points Scored 38 (T-19th DEF, T-155th Overall)
The Texans' defense is terrible in fabricated settings too. They give up 25.6 points a game, they don't force turnovers, and they don't get to the quarterback. They have three fantasy games where they scored zero points or less. I don't know why anyone drafts a defense. Just start whoever is playing against Zach Mettenberger or any one of the other hundred different terrible quarterbacks.
Adam Vinatieri: ADP 103.9 (101st). Points Scored 62 (T-16th K, T-168th Overall)
The only point of the kicker in fantasy football is to catch the guy who forgets his is on a bye with his pants down. It's just a way to make sure you are paying enough attention. It's like homework.
Vinatieri has attempted only 13 field goals, which puts him at 23rd in the league. I don't know why anyone drafts a kicker either. Just close your eyes and pick one off the waiver wire. I may not have picked up Devonta Freeman, but I did pick up Josh Brown, the second best fantasy kicker. I'm a genius.
Texans vs Bengals coverage