As I’ve alluded to on multiple occasions, my buddy Mike has a very large man-crush on one Drew Brees. Back in 2010, Mike rode the Drew Brees Express to his one and only league title. Since then, the two have been (fantasy) inseparable. Mike, a decent poker player, has a very large tell when it comes draft time: we all know he’s going to take Drew Brees and he’ll bid whatever it takes to land him. Most years, we simply let Mike have him without a bidding war (except for Stoner, of course, whose evil is well-documented.) This year was no exception, even though Brees is currently accepting coupons from AARP. But the whole script was flipped a bit when Brees suffered a shoulder injury and was ruled out for this week. I was the one who had to call Mike and break the news to him. After the expected round of kvetching, we had this exchange.
MIKE: Okay, fine. Who’s starting for New Orleans this week.
ME: Luke McCown.
MIKE: There’s a Luke McCown now?
Let’s see how the week went…
AWARDS FROM THE COMMISH:
FANTASY OWNER OF THE WEEK: Carol
Carol’s had her own QB troubles this year. As I’ve documented, her “boo” Peyton Manning was swiped and cruelly (yet mercifully) put on Robbie’s bench. Now, her rebound QB, Tony Romo, is gone for a good chunk of the season with a broken collarbone. Carol was forced to pick up Andy Dalton, who may or not be Richie Cunningham’s long-lost brother, Chuck. Dalton rewarded her by throwing for 383 yards, tossing 3 TDs and scoring a rushing TD. Dalton was joined by Julio Jones (upgraded to Absolute Fantasy Beast status), Jamaal Charles, DeAndre Hopkins, Steven Hautshcka, Bronko Nagurski, Jim Thorpe, Gale Sayers, Attila The Hun, The Green Lantern and the entire first line of the 1974 Philadelphia Flyers to create the most powerful fantasy line-up in history (this week.) However, there was one catch…
KICK IN THE NUTS AWARD: Hal
Hal rode the exploits of Adrian Peterson, Latavius Murray, Keenan Allen and Matt Ryan to a total of 74 points, a total that would have beaten nearly every team in the league. Unfortunately, one of those teams belonged to Carol and he was playing her this week. If Hal were the type, he would have likely let out a Lewis Black-sized cry of “SON OF A BITCH!!!” Instead, as a representative of the St. Paul Police Department, Hal refrained. If I were Carol, though, I’d keep a close eye on my tail lights.
ASSCLOWN OF THE WEEK AWARD: Trent Dilfer
Dilfer is not unlike every talking head on TV, so it feels a little unfair to call him out. But fairness is exactly what I’m calling him out for. I won’t deny there’s a lot about Dilfer that’s extremely irritating. He talks as if he invented the QB position and seems oblivious to the fact he’s Exhibit A in the argument that you don’t need a great QB to win a Super Bowl (“I mean, if the Ravens could win with Trent F’n Dilfer…) On the other hand, if you ignore the horse manure that frequently covers his opinions, there are a lot of gold nuggets to be found. For example, a few years back, he called out the Vikings after they drafted Christian Ponder in the first round. He didn’t do it because they could have gotten Ponder in a later round (or a few years later, a garage sale), but because they should have taken Andy Dalton. Dilfer broke down the exact reasons Ponder looked good in pads on a practice field, but didn’t hold up under fire. He also lauded Dalton’s ability to adjust under pressure and said that Dalton would make the better pro QB. It’s at least fair to say he got that one right.
Which brings us to Dilfer’s slobbering all over Colin Kaepernick during ESPN’s broadcast of the 49ers-Vikings game in week one. Dilfer praised Kaepernick to a ridiculous degree and crowed about how Kaepernick was proving the naysayers wrong with his performance. The fact that Kaepernick threw no TDs and very pedestrian 165 yards seemed beside the point. Since that week one pinnacle, though, the Niners QB has gone right into the Kraepper, highlighted by a 67 yard, 0 TD, 4 interception performance this past week. And most of what Dilfer has had to say on the subject can be summarized as, “Colin who?” Clearly, like most talking heads, Dilfer cannot admit he was wrong, lest it damage the credibility of his next ridiculous pronouncement.
HOW ROGER GOODELL IS RUINING THE NFL THIS WEEK: The Cam Newton-Ed Hochuli Kerfuffle
The NFL’s investigative and disciplinary prowess threatens to be in the spotlight again after a dust up between Panthers QB Cam Newton and long-time referee/bouncer Ed “Two Guns” Hochuli. Apparently, Newton felt that Hochuli should have flagged the Saints for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Newton was hit near the sidelines while throwing an incomplete pass. Newton later claimed that Hochuli said Newton wasn’t old enough to get that call and then bit the head off a bat (I might be making one of those up.) The Hoch vehemently denies the allegations and, while Newton’s college years showed that he has something of a handshake acquaintance with the truth, the NFL has promised to look into the matter. If recent history is any indicator, this means the NFL will conduct a costly investigation, come up with absolutely no evidence, level a huge punishment at Hochuli, deny his appeal and commit so many procedural errors the case will eventually (and literally) be laughed out of court. Face it, if the NFL had looked into the O.J. Simpson case, Kato Kaelin would have gone to the gas chamber.
(BLOGGER’S NOTE: as this column was going to press, the NFL announced that unless further evidence was found, it would not investigate Ed Hochuli. The NFL immediately appealed the ruling.)
And finally, in honor of Jon Stewart, sadly, no longer the funniest man on TV…sigh, I give you:
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN: The strange case of the Denver Broncos
Since I occasionally like to back up my opinions with facts (something that disqualifies me for writing for ESPN), allow me to present the following;
The Denver Broncos have the NFL’s 30th ranked offense.
Their QB is 39 years old and has had three neck surgeries.
Said QB’s passer rating is 83 and he’s thrown nearly as many interceptions (3) as touchdowns (5).
The ENTIRE TEAM has fewer rushing yards than Adrian Peterson.
Beyond the bare facts, there’s the perception that the team is crumbling down around John Elway’s ears. They’ve staked their future to Peyton Manning, who’s accuracy is akin to Nuke Laloosh in full meltdown and who may wind up chucking a body part down the field one of these days. Manning has a quiet disdain for head coach Gary Kubiak, who learned humility from Mike Shanahan…which is like Justin Bieber teaching you how NOT to be a dick. Every columnist and talking head in the country is rushing to declare the dream over, Peyton Manning washed up and the city of Denver in deep, deep depression.
Oh, I almost forgot: the Broncos are 3-0.
Thanks to a combination of great defense, fierce determination and out-and-out luck, the Broncos have managed to win three games. And yet, has there ever been an early front-runner that you’ve had LESS confidence in? (Well, Trump, but…) If the Broncos lost the next 13 games, would you be remarkably surprised? At this point, it’s logical to assume that the season will go one of two ways for Denver: the offense will figure it out and do its best to balance a very strong team or the defense will eventually break down from having to play Hall to the offense’s Oates. At that point, I have no idea what anyone’s going to write. All of the doom and gloom stories will have been used up while the Broncos were winning.
Peyton’s Heroes (Carol) 3-0
The Rat Pack (Me) 2-1
Chuck (Chuck) 1-2
The Winter Soldiers (Mike) 1-2
The Sex Machine (Lars) 1-2
Deflated Balls (Robbie) 2-1
The Dropkick Murphys (Stoner) 2-1
The Jock Sniffers (T.J.) 2-1
Favre’s Dong (Jack) 1-2
The Electric Mayhem (Hal) 1-2