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Opinion

Giving up on season inexcusable

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October 18, 2007

Four years ago I witnessed a fantasy football miracle. An owner in a dynasty league I am the commissioner of started the season 1-5. He and his team were the butt of jokes amongst the other league members. The owner himself became so demoralized that he changed his team name to reflect his putrid start. Then a miracle happened. He went 9-2 down the stretch and took home the league title.

Last season this same owner saw his team get off to a 10-0 start, only to lose his next four games and come away with nothing more than a crappy draft pick.

The point of this story is pretty apparent, but if you don’t get it I’ll spell it out for you. The first few weeks of the fantasy football season mean very little. Sure it’s nice to get off to a good start, but a good start means nothing if your team falls apart in the final weeks of the season. The lesson to be learned is to never, ever be complacent regardless of your record.

It’s easy to sit back if you’re 6-0 right now and believe your team is invincible, because if you are undefeated, so far they have been. But there is no such thing as a flawless fantasy football team.

The same is also true in the opposite situation. If you’re 0-6 and your team has been riddled with injury and underachieving scum, you should never forget that you could be just one key trade, or waiver wire pick-up away from turning it all around like the owner I mentioned at the start of this piece.

The opposite side of the coin also brings up another issue, which can affect more than just a single owners team and I see it every year. The owners that get off to bad starts throw in the towel after an 0-6, or 1-5 start. There’s nothing worse than checking the box score of a game in which you need someone to lose only to find the team their playing has multiple players in their line-up on bye or injured because they’re sitting at home pouting like a three-year-old because their team got off to a bad start. Not only is this team giving up on themselves, they’re giving up on everyone else in that league.

I’ve already experienced this in the 2007 fantasy football season and we’re only six weeks into it. That’s pretty sad. So to combat this lack of commitment I have proposed a rule in both of the dynasty leagues I’m involved in. Penalizing those who don’t put a line-up in by stripping them of draft picks in the next draft. I personally am not the commissioner in any one year leagues, but I have suggested a third strike rule that would kick out any league member who doesn’t put in a kosher line-up three times during the course of a season. I initially pushed for banning after one missed week, but was called a Nazi by another league member which made me back off my stance a bit, which I regret a little. I feel that if you don’t have the stomach for losing you shouldn’t be playing fantasy football, or any competitive game for that matter. I just wonder if these quitters that I have seen over the years just give up when things don’t go their way in other aspects of life.

Now that I’ve finished with my little rant I’ll give you a few sell high/buy low trade targets and a few waiver wire possibilities that can help any fantasy team reach the ultimate goal, regardless of their record.

Sell high
QB:Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns
This is a no brainer. I just can’t convince myself to believe that he’ll keep up this pace and throw 4,000 yards and 37 touchdowns. Do you?

RB: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
This is for one-year leagues only. Imagine what you could get for him, especially in the heart of Vikings-land. You can keep him if you expect a back who’ll be splitting carries to keep up this pace and rush for nearly 2,000 yards and 13 TD’s.

WR: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati Bengals
Sure Housh is good, but there’s no way he’ll keep up his pace and score 22 touchdowns especially with Ocho-Cinco waiting to unleash a bevy of new TD celebrations.

TE: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
With the addition of Chris Chambers, his yardage numbers will drop, but I don’t think value will decline too much.

Buy low
QB: Drew Brees, New Orleans
Brees is starting to turn it around and his schedule is pretty easy the rest of the way.

Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos
Cutler gets his favorite target back in wide receiver Javon Walker.

RB: Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
Johnson came back from injury this week only to disappoint his owners once again. You can probably get him for a ham sandwich at this point.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Jackson and Johnson are the biggest disappointments of any two players this season, but I believe that they, and their teams, could turn it around in the second half this year. I’ll go so far as to say at least one of the two will have a monster second half of the season.

WR: Javon Walker, Denver Broncos
He’s finally coming back from injury, and he has a great rapport with Cutler.

TE:Jeremy Shockey, New York Giants
Shockey has mustered only one TD so far this year and with the success of WR Plaxico Burress this season Shockey will start to find more space to operate.

Waiver pickups
QB:
Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams
I’m shocked at how many people dropped him. He’s due back this week and plays in one of the weakest divisions in football. If he’s available, pick him up now.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
He’s on nobody’s radar right now. If you can afford to stash him on your roster it could pay off big when he does come back as the 49ers have a very easy schedule down the rest of the way.

RB:
Chris Henry, Tennessee Titans
I’m not the biggest fan of Henry. He’s always been more of a workout warrior, rather than a good game-day player, but he’ll be activated this week and could be worth a shot, as neither Chris Brown nor LenDale White has impressed enough to take hold of the Titans RB job.

WR:
Derek Hagan, Miami Dolphins
Trading away Chambers means that one of Miami’s wide outs will be targeted a whole lot more. Hagan has a lot of talent and is owned in a very small percentage of leagues at this point.

Nick is a 29-year-old senior majoring in journalism and minoring in philosophy. He has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and is currently in seven fantasy football leagues. One of his career goals is to become a writer or editor for a fantasy football publication.

Nick Sortedahl is a student at UW-River Falls.