Frequent readers of this column will be aware of the eternal frustration to which participation in fantasy football has devolved. This league is currently in its eighth season and my first four were an unmitigated success. I reached the Fantasy Bowl four times, won it twice and had the best record in the league both years that I won. Since that run, however, I’ve failed to even make the playoffs. Whatever prowess I had in drafting good upside players and making canny personnel moves has completely abandoned me. I get the sinking I never really had it; that my early run was an unprecedented streak of good luck. I’ve become the fantasy equivalent of Rex Ryan. I’m entertaining and I can still talk a good game, but ultimately I’m just a flash in the pan. And, sadly, I’m also the fantasy equivalent of Jerry Jones. No matter how incompetent and embarrassing I am, I can’t be fired because I own the team. This season, I got off to a 3-1 start, despite my misgivings about a lack of depth at RB and an QB situation more depressing and unsettled than Cleveland’s. That particular bubble seems to have burst with three straight losses. I guess I could forgive that if the losses were blowouts, but, more excruciating, I’ve actually been competitive in every loss. This has led to my now-annual “Why the hell do I even play this nonsense?” moment of crisis.
This is getting depressing. I’d rather make fun of other people (much like Rex Ryan, actually.) Let’s get to it…
AWARDS FROM THE COMMISH:
FANTASY OWNER OF THE WEEK: Chuck
I give this to Chuck with a little qualm. His most brilliant move seems less a calculated decision and more falling ass backwards into good fortune (But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, since I’m also afraid of him.) With no other running back options, he was forced to start Darren McFadden, who has spent the first six weeks of the season on the cheerleading squad. The result? McFadden ran for 152 yards and two TDs, winning Chuck his game and reducing previous starter Joseph Randle to irrelevance. Oh, by the way…
KICK IN THE NUTS AWARD: Me
I had Joseph Randle. And lost to Chuck. Lewis Black? “SON OF A BITCH!!!”
ASSCLOWN OF THE WEEK: Jerry Jones
Lest you think this was a successful week for the Cowboys, I’ll remind you that they lost to the Giants. In the course of this, Greg Hardy, the Cowboys DE and resident psychopath, freaked out after the Giants returned a kickoff for a TD. His sideline rant included slapping the clipboard out of the hands of special teams coach Rich Bisaccia and jawing with Dez Bryant. (Dez Bryant feeling the need to calm someone down on the sidelines. In other news, the Koch brothers think there’s just too damn much money in politics.) While this behavior would normally put Hardy in line for the Assclown award (and an institution), I’m instead giving it to the Cowboys Enabler-in-Chief, Jerry Jones. The Cowboys owner reacted exactly as one would expect him to: he not only refused to discipline Hardy, he lauded Hardy’s leadership and expressed interest in giving him a contract extension. (Remember that, folks. Next time you get frustrated at work, just chuck a chair at the wall and talk about what a great leader you are.) While most commentators have pointed out that Jones is letting Hardy get away with this because of Hardy’s obvious talent as a pass rusher, I find this defense (and the related pun I’m about to make) weak at best. In more than 25 years of owning a sports franchise, Jones has never understood that if there’s a choice between professionalism and talent, take professionalism every time. In Jones’ mind, with the Cowboys having lost four straight and their season spiraling out of control, he can’t afford to cut ties or even come down on a player of Hardy’s talent. He refuses to believe that Hardy’s antics are doing more to contribute to the problem. If Jones needs an example of what to do, he need only look to the last two teams that have beaten his. The Patriots have created a decade and a half worth of dominance by putting leadership and a team-first mentality over sheer talent. And the Giants have won two Super Bowls by letting their coach and GM do their jobs and backing them to the hilt. For a brief moment last season, it looked like the Cowboys had finally figured it out. But after two bad breaks this season, their owner has reverted to form and we have the same old Cowboys: an assemblage of talent with a crappy, meddling GM…who happens to also be the owner.
WILE E. COYOTE AWARD: Landry Jones
For most of his career, Jones, the otherwise undistinguished former QB from Oklahoma, reminded me of my buddy Mike. Truthfully, probably every office has a Mike; that person who slides along year-after-year, staying employed by neither distinguishing themselves nor creating any particular trouble. These are the people whose retirement party nobody wants to be in charge of because nobody can think of what the hell to say about them. Jones is the NFL equivalent of that. He’s a guy with just enough raw physical ability to stay employed as a backup QB, but not enough talent and game intelligence to actually win a starting job. Jones was ensconced comfortably at third on the Steelers’ depth chart when injuries to both Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick thrust him into the spotlight. Shockingly, Jones came off the bench to lead the Steelers to victory last week, a performance that landed him the starting job. However, much like Wile E. Coyote will eventually look down and realize he’s run off the edge of the cliff, Jones realized he was still, in fact, Landry Jones. The result was a 16 of 29 performance with 2 picks and a lot of general retchedness. Summed up, it looked like this. Jones: (looks down) Ah, crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…………………………p. (Muted thud.)
HORSESHOE UP ASS AWARD: Robbie
The bye week hit Robbie’s lineup rather hard, leaving him with a roster full of guys who will go on to have great careers…in the CFL, the Arena League and the All-City Touch Football Tournament. His meager output of 39 points was enough to lose every game this week…except the one he was playing in. I would like to thank Hal, who’s own pathetic line up produced 33 points and facilitated what will be a week’s worth of, “I’m going to take the trophy and bang your mother” texts from Robbie. No hard feelings, Hal, but I am wishing you a severe case of hemorrhoids. It’s just business.
LINE OF THE WEEK: Cort McMurray of the Houston Chronicle, discussing the spate of publicly-funded stadiums in the NFL.
“You know the stories about welfare recipients, eating lobster and driving around in Cadillacs? They’re true. They’re all NFL owners.”
And finally, in honor of Jon Stewart, (sadly, no longer the funniest man on TV…sigh) I give you…
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN: The Houston Texans
In a league that has no shortage of objectionable human beings, the Texans have distinguished themselves, becoming a nexus of assclownery. To whit:
Owner Bob McNair, who donated $10,000 to Campaign for Houston, an organization that’s opposing Houston’s equal rights initiative. No word on his plans to have a coat tailored from the skins of greyhound puppies or his vest made of real gorilla chest.
Head Coach Bill O’Brien, who held the Penn State program together in the wake of the Joe Paterno scandal…for a few seasons, until he left for the NFL and gave the program the verbal finger on the way out the door. While I appreciate O’Brien as the only man ever to yell at Tom Brady and live, listening to him talk brings back memories of Mr. Harms, my masochistic gym teacher from junior high. Not exactly an avuncular figure, this O’Brien. (Interesting side note: I recently compared Bill Belichick and Vince Lombardi and if O’Brien continues crapping the bed in Houston, it creates another parallel between the two legends: for all of their success, neither man has created much of a coaching tree. None of Lombardi’s assistants had any success as a head coach and the countryside is littered with the remains of Belichick’s former assistants. Two of Lombardi’s PLAYERS [Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg] had some coaching success, so I guess in about 15 years, we can look forward to an ESPN Sunday Night Conversation with Coach Gronkowski.)
Jadeveon Clowney, an uber-talented loafer with the intestinal fortitude of a Brownie troupe, was a first round pick who has made little-to-no impact in the NFL. This week, Clowney got a sack against Miami and launched into an exaggerated sack dance. Might have had more impact if the Texans weren’t trailing 41-0 at the time.
And of course, Ryan Mallet, winner of the Ryan Leaf Knucklehead Award in college (okay, I made that award up), missed a preseason practice and was benched after missing the team’s charter flight to Miami this week. This after being given the starting job no one else in the league would give him. There’s also the incident in which Mallet was benched and pouted his way through Brian Hoyer’s performance that won him the starting job. This week, the Texans finally cut ties with Mallet. Which might be the most horrifying thing of all.
I mean, when THIS team wants nothing to do with you…
Peyton’s Heroes (Carol) 6-1
The Winter Soldiers (Mike) 4-3
Chuck (Chuck) 4-3
The Rat Pack (Me) 3-4
The Sex Machine (Lars) 2-5
The Dropkick Murphys (Stoner) 4-3
Deflated Balls (Robbie) 4-3
Favre’s Dong (Jack) 4-3
The Jock Sniffers (T.J.) 3-4
The Electric Mayhem (Hal) 2-5