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Commentary from the Edge: Week 3
Kevin Ratterree
September 20, 2011

Okay, so you lost again. You’re only 0-2. There’s what, 13 weeks in the fantasy regular season? I’ve seen sadder teams than yours get turned around. Or maybe your team isn’t sad at all. Maybe the fantasy gods just kicked you in the nuts twice in a row in the beginning, rather than spacing the nut-kicking’s throughout the season at reasonable intervals. This ain't over. Oh no. A win next week and it’s on baby. Let’s do this!

I’m test driving positivity. Just a paragraph or two a week to start. I have to build up a tolerance.

Today, I consider myself one of the luckiest fantasy players on the face of the earth. Okay, my teams are only a collective 5-3, and I only have one undefeated team left. But I have gone two weeks with no time lost to injury. That is quite fortunate this season as you are well aware. And my future looks bright. I see big trouble on the horizon for my league mates. Last week I went on a nicely budgeted free agent spending spree and got some interesting players like David Nelson, Eric Decker, and even a Dexter McCluster thrown in for good measure. Building depth. Keeping potential goldmines off my opponents rosters. It’s all in a day’s work building a championship.

Let me tell you , I have been playing this game for two decades and I cannot remember many if any instant gratification Sundays like the one past. Are you kidding me? Nelson 26 points. Decker 28 points. Targets out the ying yang with Lloyd out and Stevie Johnson dinged. If I had had felt the need, or had the balls to actually insert them into my lineups I would have accused myself of being a witch and immediately done the honorable thing and hung myself.

You really have to enjoy the good times in life to make up for the times when life kicks you in the nads. And people riding the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills express have pain-free nads at the moment.

Yes the Buffalo Bills. The Misery Index mainstays over the last several years are this year’s fantasy secret weapons. You doubt me? Look at the numbers. Fitz, Stevie, Nelson and Chandler. Ripping it up. If you haven’t watched the Bills games, you are probably still a doubter. I mean, come on. Let’s step back.

The Bills have laid waste to the Chiefs who confirmed their suckitude this week, and the Raiders at home. Not exactly a murderers row there, but regardless my man Fitz has 7 TDs, Johnson and Nelson are top 20 WRs, the hulking TE Chandler and the terminally under-rated Fred Jackson are both top 10 at their positions as well. Believe what you are seeing. It is actually happening. This is not a drill! The great secret is out.

So about now people are beginning to believe in the Bills, but up next comes the Patriots, who are not amused at all by the Bills 2-0 start within the division. Will you leave these productive Bills on your bench one more week? Or continue to ignore them if they are still on your waiver wires? I would advise against it. There will be lots of passing necessary in a likely futile attempt to pace the Pats, and the Pats outside of shutting down a 31 year old Gates with double and triple coverage haven’t exactly been a tough team to pass on. Henne hung 4 bills on them. Don’t wait. Come on in, the water's fine.  No buffalo dung at all.

Back to my fantasy weekend past, it wasn’t all booby shaped lollipops and sunshine. I lost a game in my FFPC league where Gates scored a big fat goose egg. I did not know that was possible, but I watched it so I know it happened. It just still hasn’t processed yet. Note to Hoodie. It probably doesn’t matter whether Vincent Jackson gets 10/170/2 and Gates gets zilch. Or whether Vjax and Gates both get 5/85/1. It all adds up the same. But thanks for screwing up an otherwise perfect day. Screw Mason? Screw you.

But what am I crying about? There is much misery on the fantasy front. Injuries are dismantling fantasy squads before our eyes. Jamaal Charles was already in a precarious position on a horrible Chiefs team, but then he found how precarious stepping on a sideline marker can be, and in an instant it was over. No team could stop him but an unnecessarily slick plastic surface felled him. Hey NFL, how about putting a “grip” surfaces on those markers? I mean I hate to be a revisionist but isn’t this a possibility we could have foreseen and minimized?

And then you have thugs like the Falcons Dunta Robinson who isn’t content with the multitudes of injuries that occur naturally, he was out there going guided missile on Jeremy Maclin’s face on Sunday night. Maclin, who probably found himself on many a fantasy bench as a result of his 3 point week one output, was on the receiving end of a helmet crown to the chin. This Robinson joker is the same guy that laid a concussion on Desean Jackson last season.

But here is the rub. Robinson called Jackson last year after the hit and apologized. Okay. Fine. Great. But then when you give a repeat performance on the guys teammate a year later? Apology unaccepted.

Devery Henderson has had TWO big games in a row? That is not the formula we have become accustomed to. Maybe he is switching to two on, four off rather than one on, six off. I’m still not a taker. Passed him on waivers last week and I would do so again. I don‘t blame you if you did not show my restraint but I have been down that road before, and have trained myself not be tempted by the “Henderson breakout game.” Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 4 times? Well f’ me! No thanks.

More fantasy advice? Not really what I do in this column, but there is a situation I feel pretty strongly about and that is the gaping hole left in the Chiefs offense without Jamaal Charles. Dexter McCluster is my pick if you must have a KC running back. McClain could be useful if the Chiefs ever got close to the goal line, but that ain’t happening. Maybe he catches some passes. Thomas Jones? He looks lethargic and plodding. It’s hard to pile up fantasy points 3 yards at a time on an offense that can’t control the clock, and will find itself in passing situations constantly.  I’d avoid the situation entirely if you can, but if you are in a deeper PPR league I would make a move for McCluster, basically because he is the wild card in the mix, and if you are in a really deep league I‘d go McClain over Jones.

That being said if there are other options available to you I would look elsewhere. The Chiefs have scored one touchdown this season and their schedule doesn’t get any easier. It is going to be ugly as Mike Vick was after the Falcons laid that beating on him Sunday night.

Is this a good time to remind you that Mike Vick headed my Players To Avoid list this year? Too soon? Okay.

Yeah, while Matthew Berry was leading his followers (if he actually has any) down a creaky mineshaft, advising Vick should be drafted first overall, I was here telling you to avoid Vick entirely and pick up Fitzpatrick as a backup. And dude is on ESPN and I am here toiling in relative obscurity. Gee, maybe life really isn’t fair after all.  Huh. 

BONEHEAD PLAY OF THE WEEK: Okay, I started Devone Bess instead of Lance Moore so that was a whopping net 5 point gain, however I could have started my waiver wire wonders I pounded my chest about earlier instead and pounded like a porn-star. Didn’t. Oh yeah, I’m clearly some kind of genius alright. Dumbass!

Misery Index

10) Rams: I will be very excited to see what Bradford is like when the Rams go for quality rather than quantity at receiver.

9) Jaguars: Only one team in the league has scored fewer points, and that is the Chiefs.  That's some great company there.  McCown just scored the worst one-game quarterback rating in team history, so come on down Blaine Gabbert. The good news is that after Leftwich, Garrard, and a couple of weeks with McCown, expectations are set nice and low. The bad news is that you will be asked to complete passes to a pathetic WR corpse. Yeah, I meant corpse.
8) Bears: All last week we heard pundits flowery prose about how the Bears would play inspired because Urlacher’s mother passed. Yeah, uh, I don’t think we need a teammates tragedy to motivate us if we are big boys do we? I mean, the only thing that could have saved this team Sunday is if it had it been Jay Cutler that lost a loved one. Then maybe the offensive line would have been inspired to keep him from being prison-raped by the Saints defensive front.

The problem with this theory is that even if there were validity to it, Cutler surely doesn’t have that many close relatives that will pass within the confines of a 16 game season. So regretfully, I’m afraid it’s 14 more weeks of prison assaults for Cutler, who now refers to each of his OL‘s as Ole‘. He may be the first QB in history to actually punch out one of his linemen on the field, so we have that to look forward to.

7) 49ers: This will be helpful. If you see an opposing QB talking at length to some dude you have never heard of on the sidelines, you might want to pay attention to that guy on the next drive. Or at least the drive after that. At some point you might want to put a guy on that guy. Is any of this confusing, because we can go over it again if you like.

6) Panthers: If only being competitive was enough to keep you out of the Misery Index. But it doesn’t. Only winning can purge you from this pageant of the putrid. But Panther fans probably aren’t all that miserable. They’re too busy being giddy and pinching themselves black and blue. I’ll tell you who is really miserable. The guy in my dynasty league that traded Cam Newton for Peyton Manning days before the full scope of Manning’s injury became apparent. There’s no band-aid big enough for that owie.

5) Vikings: Here is a team that plays 60 minutes of football. Unfortunately that is over the course of two games.

4) Dolphins: Well, it didn’t take long for Reggie Bush to start being Reggie Bush. Thanks a lot Reggie Bush. I’ll go ahead and bench you this week so you can go off again. And back and forth until I end up absolutely hating your guts.  I haven’t owned you for awhile but that’s how this works, isn’t it?

3) Seahawks: Truth be told, I’m not sure this team could hang with either of the two ahead of them. But expectations are factored into the index, and the expectations for this team were as low as Pete Carroll’s NFL stock will be when the full extent of the crash and burn is revealed over the course of this season.

2) Colts: Oh the shock and dismay when Vegas made the Browns a 2 point favorite on the road at Indianapolis. NOOOOO gasped the football nation, say it ain’t so. Oh it so. It soooooo so.

1) Chiefs: I remember one time going camping when I was a kid, and I was in an old leaky canvas tent on a rainy night. The temperature had unexpectedly dropped and I was wet and cold and shivering. I couldn’t sleep. It was one of the most miserable nights of my life. But I had a little AM transistor radio that I listened to all night. That little radio made a horrible experience bearable. Jamaal Charles was the Chiefs little AM radio. And without him this march to 0-16 isn’t going to be bearable.

On the bright side, the head coach hasn’t quit on the team. No sir. They were down 17-3 seconds before the half, and that clever Haley iced the long in the tooth, always reliable veteran kicker Jason Hanson. On a 28 yard field goal. Yeah Todd, you really piled on the pressure there. Hanson had to be sweating bullets over a 28 yarder in the middle of a blowout. I’m still trying to figure out how that didn’t work.

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