Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fantasy Football Champion

I remember my very first fantasy football league. I was a junior in high school, and we really didn’t know what we were doing. There were no fantasy football magazines or websites. I don’t even think there were any websites back then. All of the stats were done by hand. With the #5 pick in the first round, I selected Jerry Rice. The only other players I remember on my team was Wilbur Marshall (we had an individual defensive player) and my starting quarterback, John Friesz of the San Diego Chargers. As you can guess, a team starting Friesz did not win the title. The league was done after one year as half of the participants went off to college. I didn’t play fantasy football again until 2001.

Meanwhile, I have been in one fantasy baseball league consistently since 1992 and joined another league over the past few years. This year, I was in three fantasy football leagues, losing in the quarterfinals in my 16-team league after going 10-3 in the regular season and falling in the semi-finals in the second league. By my estimate, I have participated in around 40 seasons of fantasy baseball and football. Throughout that time, I have never won a championship. I wrote about my fantasy football frustrations each of the past Decembers (2007 and 2006) and even thought about quitting. However, my perseverance has paid off as I am now a fantasy football champion.

I know most people don’t care about my championship team, but this is my blog, so I’m going to write about this magical season. If you don’t want to read about it, feel free to answer the trivia Tuesday questions below. Anyway, of all of my fantasy football teams over the years, this may be one of my worst. My top three running backs, Joseph Addai, Reggie Bush and Earnest Graham all missed significant time with injuries, with the last two now on IR. In addition, my first quarterback drafted was Derek Anderson of the Browns. He didn’t work out well this year for me or the Browns. In fact, I’m convinced that my team is the worst team ever to go 13-3 (including playoffs) and possibly the worst team ever to win a championship.

Take a look at my starting line-up this week:

QB: Chad Pennington (I made a last-minute decision to bench Matt Cassel)
RB: Joseph Addai (even though he was active, he didn’t even play this week!)
RB: DeShaun Foster (yes really)
WR: Reggie Wayne
WR: Greg Jennings
Flex: Kevin Walter
TE: John Carlson
D/ST: Pittsburgh (The team’s worst performance of the year)
K: Jason Elam

How the hell did I win? Well, I need to give credit to the Oakland Raiders defense who shut down Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson. I also need to thank the Giants defense for containing Steve Smith but doing nothing else. I guess I should also express some gratitude to the Redskins defense for holding Brian Westbrook to only 11 points. In fact, only Brandon Jacobs showed up for my opponent. (Sorry Gobo.)

I also should send some flowers or donuts to the real hero, Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Andy Reid. In my semi-final match-up, I was up 5 going against DeSean Jackson on Monday night. Although Jackson scored 7 points for having 70+ receiving yards, he earned a -2 for throwing an interception. Yes, Andy Reid had Jackson, a wide receiver, throw the ball on 3rd and goal. I won the tie-breaker. (Sorry Messiah.)

However, I don’t think I have fully explained just how bad my team was this year. In this 12-team league, I faced the team who had the lowest score of the week 7 times, including the championship. In two of those weeks, I finished 11th in points scored, but earned the ugly victory. For the championship game, I finished 10th in points scored, worse than all but one of the teams in the consolation brackets. I think there's a saying that it's better to be lucky than good. I'd rather be good, but for this year, I'll take lucky.

I guess I can check winning a fantasy league off of my list of things to accomplish in my life. Is a fantasy baseball title next?


Anonymous said...

My top three running backs, Joseph Addai, Reggie Bush and Earnest Graham all missed significant time with injuries

back when I played fantasy football, this is a big part of why I bucked the conventional wisdom and never invested early picks in running backs... these guys just get hurt too often... set yourself up with a pair of elite receivers or maybe a QB/WR combo early, then snag a lot of backs who may get some action in a platoon... and when the stars get hurt, snap up their backups...

last four years I played, I made my league's four team playoff every single season... don't think I drafted an RB higher than fourth most years, but I always ended up with two starters by year's end...

Anonymous said...

had a played you both weeks in the playoffs i would have won!!

Sean said...

Captain - I think you make a fair point, although there are so few good running backs that you usually need one or two elite backs to win. The difference at least this year is that the best backs, Thomas Jones, Jacobs, Turner, etc. were not some of the top backs in August.

Jason - That's why I have said that this is the worst championship team ever.

Messiah said...

Congrats, Sean. It took about three days to go through the 5 stages of grief over the Andy Reid debacle, but I was glad to see that you won in true Griller fashion -- by scoring just a few points more than the shittiest team that week. It was a fitting way to go, and I'm glad that my fellow division member and playoff vanquisher went all the way. Plus, I can always claim the title myself in a non-DeSean alternate universe.