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Commentary from the Edge: Week 14
Kevin Ratterree
December 6, 2011

Playoff time! It seems only yesterday we rushed with wild-eyed enthusiasm into the new season, armed with our “can’t-miss” picks and hope. Then came the injuries, the flops, the injury replacements, the trades and the free agent grabs. The ups, the downs, the countless hours of thought and preparation.  All just for a shot to still be playing in week 14. Congratulations if you survived it. It’s been a rough one.

And it continues to be a Rubik's cube as we enter playoff time. Matt Forte owners are among the latest to find a new gaping hole to fill in their lineups. As always, fantasy football is as much a war of attrition as a test of skill. And of course, you always need a little luck along the way.

Oh, here’s some luck. Unfortunately it is bad luck. Fred Davis has a chronic problem passing the piss test. So there’s a fresh new hole in my dynasty lineup just in time for the playoffs. And as an added attraction, my confidence for using Rex Grossman as my “secret weapon” for the postseason just took a big hit. Up in smoke, that’s where my season goes.

But there is no need to cry over spilled bong-water. Everybody has issues this time of year. Well, most everybody. I can keep starting Matt Moore instead of Grossman. I can survive with Julio Jones back in the flex spot. He at least seems healthy now.

Speaking of Julio Jones, I was one of his biggest pimps this preseason, and while he has shown flashes of brilliance he has also struggled with his health and shown flashes of “rookie.” Here is an interesting thing I noticed. I have never seen a disparity quite like this. Julio Jones has a total of 5 catches for 54 yards in four home games. 17 targets. Not exactly “hometown favorite“ material there.

But on the road Jones has 29/512/2 on 45 targets. 5 road games. That is bizarre. But it is what it is. And I look at the upcoming schedule and I see @ Panthers in week 14 and @ Saints in week 16, and I am thinking maybe I will survive without Fred Davis. Maybe.

This also means that Damian Williams will be a fixture in my lineup for the playoffs. I was planning using him or Jones based on weekly match-ups, but now I’m going to have to hope the breakout I have been waiting for is at hand in both cases.

The guy I traded Shonn Greene to a month ago for Cruz and Benson finally benched him last week. I would be laughing my ass off about that if I hadn’t benched Benson when he went off for 27 points in week 12 and then started him in week 13 when he got 5.

That may be the greatest deal I have ever made. Victor Cruz is the #1 fantasy receiver since I traded for him. Sweet. In just under the wire on that window of opportunity. I have broken my arm patting myself on the back for that one and soon my back will be broken under the pounding of the cast.

I did pick up Brandon Saine in my keeper league last week, I suspect he got snatched up in most formats, but worth a look if he is still dangling out there. I also made room for Matt Flynn on my dynasty roster. He probably should have already been grabbed by one of the rebuilding teams, but they left him out there too long and I found myself in a position to stash. This is the same way I ended up with Schaub back in my first season in the league, and I think Flynn has the same kind of potential. In any case he is worth holding over the off-season to see if he lands in a good situation. In deeper dynasty leagues he has probably been rostered long before now.

There was a lot of talk on the pregame shows last week about the possibility of Marino’s passing record being broken this season. I am thrilled that we have so many exciting flingers in the league right now, and Aaron Rodgers and Brees look basically unstoppable. But let’s give the soon to be deposed king of sling their due. I would be very interested to see what kind of numbers Dan Marino or Dan Fouts could put up had they been playing under the same rules as the current crop of stars. It is a different game today than it was when those records were set. We are witnessing greatness, yes. But the rules committee has given these modern day greats advantages those about to be erased from the record books never had.

Coaching doesn’t seem what it used to be either. It seems like just yesterday head coaches used time outs to ice the opposing kicker instead of their own.
Luckily for the Cowboys, nobody else in the NFC seems to want to make the playoffs and face humiliation at the hands of the Packers.

I am coming around to the idea that the replay system should just be scrapped altogether. In the Falcons/Texans game Yates lost the ball on a play where his hand was clearly moving forward. The ball landed about 8 yards downfield. It was ruled a fumble. While watching it live I had no doubt it was an incomplete pass. The replays showed nothing to make me doubt that it was a pass. The network trotted out Mike Pereira, former head of officials for his opinion, and he said the call should be reversed because the arm was going forward. The replay decision? Call stands. Fumble.

This leads me to wonder whether the man in that replay booth was a dumbass or a criminal. And why does the NFL employ dumbasses and criminals at such seemingly crucial positions?  Is Bernie Madoff on a work-release program?  Does this mean Plaxico Burress has a chance at becoming a replay official when his playing days are over?

If we are wasting all this time to “get it right” and then we are still getting it wrong, what is the point? Fortunately for the Texans, Matt Ryan threw an interception two plays later, and the replay official’s bookie was spared a losing day.

I really like it when they come back from commercial break with more commercials, but the ads are placed over slo-mo shots of the cheerleaders. Now that’s the kind of advertising I can endorse.  Now you have my attention.  Oh sure, I'm fixated on cleavage and camel toe, but I have to look around your advertisements to see them.  Maybe while I am taking mental image snapshots one of your ads might sneak in.  It could happen. 

There was a missed call at the end of the first half of the Lions/Saints game. The Lions were screaming for offsides after Hanson’s field goal attempt was blocked. I never saw the replay since they were going to half, but I did see someone on the Saints staff ask the player that blocked the kick, “Did you jump it” to which the player gave an emphatic “yeah!” I’m a pretty good lip-reader and I am 95% positive that is what was said.

Later in that Sunday night game I wondered to myself, has Nate Burleson ever caught a pass without pushing off? Is it even possible?

Also on Sunday night football Stretch Costas made the official announcement that Madonna will be the halftime act at the Superbowl. Madonna? What, was Liza Minelli not available? How about Nancy Sinatra or Doris Day? Were Mae West or Jeanette McDonald not even discussed?

Hopefully she will keep her body covered during the performance as I’m sure many will be eating at that time. She was marginally attractive even as a young woman. Her singing was average at best despite the electronic enhancements. All she had was choreography, boobs, and slut shock value. Nobody wants to see a no talent lip-synching old granny ho' busting a move,  Especially on a full stomach of beer and Velveeta.  And if you think the nation was outraged by a wardrobe malfunction, just wait ‘til you have to explain to little Johnny that what he saw on TV was a lady’s uterus fall out. Well, not so much fell out as escaped really. Yeccch!

Bonehead Play of the Week:  Remember that redraft team that tortured me all season long and ended up missing the playoffs by 13 points? Had I been able to take that 4 seed, my team would have won the week 12 match-up as well as the week 13 tilt, and today I would be crowned champion, and would be poised to enter the big money overall tourney. Basically one lineup mistake away from a championship and a shot at the big-time. Why do I even bother submitting lineups after I am eliminated, and play this imaginary “what if I had made it” game in my head? Just to further torture myself. I think I probably deserve it. One more time now! DUMBASS!

Misery Index

10) Cowboys: Hey coach, isn’t that the kind of crap that got Michelin man run out of town? Oh. No, even he never pulled a boner like that one? Okay, just checking.  My bad.

9) Bears: Oh yeah, it’s misery city baby. First Cutler. Now Forte. What’s worse than all that is the fact that in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs they let Thomas Jones get the corner on a wide left run, and rip off about a dozen yards. Then, later in the 3rd quarter they did it again. This defense let Thomas Jones beat them to the outside. More than once. Thomas freaking Jones!

8) Buccaneers: I mean, yeah the responsibility of an entire franchise rests in the palm of your hands. But that’s no reason you shouldn’t use those hands to operate dangerous weapons you obviously have little experience with. Right in the middle of the season. Feel free to try to retrieve objects from the garbage disposal, learn how to carve artwork with a log an a chainsaw, or follow Madonna up to her apartment and do some exploring. It’s your life man. Screw the team. (But seriously, be really careful if you do the Madonna thing, leave a trail of breadcrumbs or something)

7) Bills: The first month of the season was a dream. The weekly cavity search since then is reality.

6) Chargers: I figured whichever of these slug teams won on Monday night football would be ranked just below the other. Nobody should be rewarded for that. It’s like Stevie Wonder beating Roy Orbison at a game of handball. I mean, Stevie is blind, but Roy is blind and dead. So…

5) Jaguars: The coach got the axe, and the owner bailed. But between the lines it was the same two-week old litter box. And after forcing myself to watch Gabbert for an entire game I think it is safe to say the team should have saved itself some money and signed Matt Leinart. Just as hopeless but considerably cheaper.

4) Browns: Well, you aren’t hanging around and losing in heartbreaking fashion any more, but you are getting pounded like Madonna circa 1989, and that’s almost as good.

3) Vikings: When you score 30+ points against Tebow, you are going to win 9 out of 10 times. Well, a real NFL team would.

2) Rams: Can you imagine the Rams fans trip from 10 years ago when Kurt Warner was challenging Marino’s single season passing record until now? Sort of a parallel path of the average 401k plan over that span. Of course, the average 401k still has some hope, so the similarities end there.

1) Colts: Well, if nothing else you put a little scare into the Pats and made them feel like dog-piles for not being able to put away your worthless asses. So there’s something you can hang your panties on.

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