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Commentary from the Edge - Week 12
Kevin Ratterree
November 23, 2010
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When the idea of Thursday night games was first announced, I remember a feeling of profound joy. What could possibly make a week of football better than another night of football? Those were carefree days. Those were happy, naive days. How could I ever have imagined that just a few years later I would grow to despise the Thursday night game.

And it isn’t just the horrible production value of the broadcast. It isn’t just the “douche bag” factor of the announcers. It isn’t just the fact that it gives me an opportunity to go into Sunday already in the hole against the spread. It isn’t even the fact that 7 of the 8 quarters we have seen on Thursday nights so far this season were like flat screen Dramamine. NFL players on 3 days rest? Generally not the best product. Kind of like alcohol aged for 3 days. It might give you a buzz, but it doesn’t go down very smooth.

No this is all about fantasy football and how Thursday night football kicked me in the balls in 2010.

I’ve been poking around the message boards and I know some of you are feeling my pain. I was in the worst possible position last week. I had an injured Gates, that most of us assumed was going to be good to go after sitting out week 9 and the bye. My only other tight end rostered was Anthony Fasano. Naturally Fasano was playing the Thursday night game. Waivers ran Wednesday night, and I didn’t bother to address a potential tight end issue.

As it turned out, Gates injury was not getting better, but it was Thursday before that news broke. So I was faced with the prospect of starting Fasano in a very tough spot, or simply praying that Teddy Bruschi would lay hands on Gates and heal him before Monday night.

Now, I had been trapped in this little game with Gates before. He is questionable. He is really racked up. It looks grim. He plays and goes off for a buck ten and two scores. You just can’t bench him if he suits up, and he always suits up. We all know the routine.

But the news what we heard on Thursday was not routine. Gates described the pain as brutal. Being a long-time Gates owner in my dynasty and many redrafts before, I am pretty hard to spook off of starting Gates. He has trained me over the years to equate “questionable” with “must-start.” But I had a feeling this time was going to be different.

I really had little doubt be would be a go when I grabbed an extra kicker for my impending playoff run, but left Kevin Boss for another desperate owner. No great loss there. But Joel Dreesen was there for the taking. Yeah, the thought crossed my mind. And it died there like so many, tossed aside in my good idea junk-pile. Nate Kaeding sitting on my bench seemed like a much better idea.

Trust me kids. Heavy drinking and experimentation with controlled substances in your youth will have repercussions.

So my WCOFF team that started with so much promise at 5-1, flamed out to 7-4. I still almost survived. I missed the championship game by one or two bonehead roster decisions. It just goes to show you, it catches up with you eventually. You can’t outrun the “stupid” reaper forever.

But I sure thought I had when I entered week 11 in first place. Who knew it would be my old buddy Gates that would doom me. Et tu Antonio? Why do the things we love so often kill us in the end? Thursday night football opened the Gates of hell for me.

Monday for me was a little like sitting at the hospital with a dying relative. I mean, maybe you hold out a shred of hope. But you pretty much know what is coming.

Not going to cry. Not……going….to….(sniff) dammit!

Losing makes me physically ill. Why do I keep doing it?

I just turned down the volume on Monday Night football and played the Russian death march all night long. I really wanted to drive home the point that excessive rosterbation can only lead to tragic results such as this. My team didn’t walk out in front of a bus. I pushed it in front of one.

I could sense this coming. When the team that overtook me at the finish pulled 55 points in week 10 with Mike Vick, leaving him only 19 points behind me going into last week I feared I was standing in the shadows of the gallows.

That’s right folks. Poker boy, who I poked fun of in this very column for spending almost his entire free agent wad on Mike Vick took my spot in the championship game. I believe I called that blowout waiver bid for Vick a “tactical error.” It wasn’t. That 55 point Vick performance against the Redskins was the difference between his success and my failure. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?

So in the end, it was I (the experienced “professional” fantasy player) who made a critical error in calling attention to Poker boy’s critical error. I have in effect, ended up a broken, petty, bitter old man that got his ass kicked by johnny come lately, or whatever shadow consortium of Vegas insider computer geeks he represents with his 11 entries in a field of 144.

Good for you Poker boy. You punked the Poker world, and now you are punking the fantasy world. Good on you. I hope you make all the money you need to make you happy. No dues to pay for you. No sir. A master right out of the gate. Just a knack I suppose. Isn’t that special.

Mike freaking Vick. Damn you for turning your life around! From dog-killer to dream-killer. What a long strange trip it’s been.

If you have avoided serious injury issues this season you are a fortunate son indeed. I’d hate to try to handicap who wins in fantasy leagues this year, because it might come down to who can actually field a team. Much like the NFL itself.

My FFPC team made in the playoff round at 9-2, and I would be really excited about that if Steve Smith and Austin Collie were back in the fold. That team is decidedly less deadly with Davone Bess and Hines Ward.

Maybe the Packers are a deadly team after all. They have gotten the last two head coaches they have faced fired. Well, maybe they aren’t deadly, but they can kick some serious corpse ass, that’s for sure.

When I learned several weeks ago that Mark Sanchez has made the conscious decision to forego a “girlfriend” in lieu of concentrating on his craft, I thought that was refreshing. A smart talented player that has his priorities in line. Good for you Mark. You will not let your hormones control your destiny. The big head has a grip on the little head, so to speak. Awesome. That’s dedication.

But then on Sunday I learned that Sanchez is a Broadway show junkie. Hmm. No girlfriend. Loves Broadway shows. Treats his teammates to show tunes when they roll shotgun with him. Tread very carefully here Mark. You are a Bette Midler fan club membership away from the tipping point.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But seriously, has anybody noticed? Sanchez is finally living up to the USC pedigree that has seemed so “dogged” lately. Of course he was only a one-year starter there so maybe that has something to do with it. In any case, I have a question for Pete Carroll. Would you like to retract your comments about what a mistake Sanchez was making by turning pro? Seems it has turned out just as well or better for him than it has for you.

Misery Index

10a) Titans: Well, we finally found out what sends VY completely over the edge. Being replaced by some Florida Atlantic guy named Rusty Smith. Even with his thumb half ripped off he still took offense to that. Mr. Young, you might be advised that when you enter the workforce shortly, the same things that will get you run out of the NFL will get you run out of your copier salesman job. You can’t storm out of a prospects office and fling your briefcase into the cubicles just because you didn’t make a sale. Trust me on this one.

10) Texans: What are you snickering about. You are getting owned by a team starting Rusty Smith this week.

9) Browns: I remember in my dynasty league when I was offered Peyton Hillis for Dallas Clark. Pass. Turned my nose up at that one. Yeah, and I’m the guy that rails on what an idiot Mangini is? Interesting.

8) Broncos: Tim Tebow was a great addition to the Broncos bench, but one has to wonder what the team would be like had they spent that first round draft pick on a player they could actually use. The kids needed food for the week, but Coach Skippy spent all the grocery money on one steak. It’s Tuesday. The kids are hungry coach.

7) Cowboys: The good news is that the players like Jason Garrett and have decided he is worth playing for. The bad news is that the euphoria and adrenaline rush they have experienced over the last two weeks are likely to come to a crashing halt on this Thanksgiving holiday. It seems the Saints are coming to town, and they are still a bit pissed about that “coming into their house and kicking their ass” in the middle of their golden season. Threw their mojo all out of whack. One would imagine that the Saints relish this opportunity to exact revenge on their tormenters of a season ago. Gee Wally, this Thanksgiving could be the bestest Thanksgiving ever!

6) Cardinals: Here’s a fun fact, the NFC West has an overall point differential of -237, with every team in the negative column. I bet I know what Anquan Boldin is thankful for this year.

5) Lions: You try. You generally fail. But you are worth watching. Suddenly my Thanksgiving day viewing does not fill me with dread as in years past. You still suck, but you no longer super-suck. I can envision you being worth the watch this turkey day. Let’s see here, who is coming to town. Oh, it’s the Patriots. Never mind then.

4) 49ers: A head to head meeting of a collection of some of the highest draft picks over the last several seasons culminated in an embarrassing home shutout for the 49ers. Well, maybe just one more top overall pick will put this team over the hump. Move over Alex Smith , here comes the next ‘Niners quarterback prospect disappointment. Your failings here will be soon be lost in the indistinguishable trash heap of 49ers QB whiffs since Montana and Young hung ‘em up.

3) Vikings: Papa Smurf lost control of the Smurfs and they kicked his unsmurftastic ass out of the mushroom village. Turns out the Smurfs didn’t take a smufing to his smurfed up smurftatorship, so they told him to just smurf off. So I’m sure everything will be just smurfy from here on out.

2) Panthers: Look, Chilly getting fired gives the Vikings a ray of hope. Unfortunately a coaching change here probably wouldn’t. As a matter of fact, a coaching change could make this team worse. And that is scary. Look, why don’t we just chalk this thing up to a Rae Carruth curse and move this thing to Los Angeles, where they are likely so desperate for football they will accept this facsimile as the real thing. Just change the name of the team to the Cougars, and tie it in to a promotion to lure older women to buy season tickets to ply younger men into their clutches.

1) Bengals: Yes, the Bengals have won two games. But now so have the Bills. The Bills who came back from the grave to do you like a fresh nymphomaniac girlfriend on a snowstorm weekend.

Other Features
Under the Numbers
Free Agent Forecast
Tuesday Injury Report
Fantasy Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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