By Jesse Carrajat
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I have absolutely no alibi, nor do I have any intent of lying about where I was at 1:00pm this past NFL football Sunday, October 26, 2010.
I confess, and I totally understand if my actions disgust you, as I am disgusted with myself. I was in JC Penney…..in the women’s department….and I had already been there for two hours. A fly on the JC Penney wall that afternoon would have been able to observe me, a decrepit and defeated soul with designer handbags draped on each shoulder, obediently following my blissful girlfriend’s every move, uttering statements such as, “The red one, it goes with more outfits” and “I don’t know babe, which feels more comfortable?”
My outward expressions seemed genuine, but in reality, I would have literally rather been tied to a mattress in the company of a sledgehammer-wielding Kathy Bates, so long as there were at least a rabbit-eared TV set with a quasi decent reception at the foot of my eventual deathbed. Ok so I exaggerate, but either way, I was disconnected from the outside football world: no internet, no television, and Lincoln Tunnel-like cell phone reception.
My only shot at an NFL update was through word of mouth, however there was one glaring problem: who the hell, in this estrogen crammed department, was gonna be able to tell me if RB Frank Gore was thrashin’ the Panthers, or whether or not the Steel Curtain was blanketing the Miami Dolphins? I scanned the immediate horizon for fellow man-slaves with some hint of masculinity, but to no avail. Out of options, I surrendered my will. Seven long hours later, when I finally logged into CBSSports.com to catch up on everything I had missed, my season-long suspicion was undoubtedly confirmed: the 2010 NFL season is the most tumultuous and unpredictable environment the fantasy world has ever seen.
Were you sold on Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick coming into week 7, when he exploded for 37 fantasy points (FP)? Neither was 96% of the fantasy community. Did you hold out on starting Raiders’ RB Darren McFadden last week, in fear that his nagging injury and the presence of fellow RB Michael Bush would limit DMAC’s production? So did 84% of his owners.
It’s tough out there, but you are not alone. The fact is, the road to a fantasy championship is a bumpy ride, and weekend warriors aren’t the only one’s taking their lumps. A majority of professional fantasy football analysts (whatever the hell that means) in 2010 have proven to be the Snookies of NFL coverage: oversaturated and injurious toward society. How bad are they? Throughout the week, I spent an embarrassingly long time analyzing the week seven fantasy picks of the senior analysts from three of the most popular fantasy football platforms: ESPN.com, NFL.com, and CBSSports.com. To be fair, of all the weeks to date in 2010, week seven was by far the most surprising statistical week of the NFL season. Either way, the results I found were alarming.
Here is how they fared:
Mathew Berry – Director of Fantasy Sports – ESPN.com
Total players recommended: 16 “starts” and 8 “sits.” Recommended “starts” average fantasy points: 14.69. Recommended “sits” average fantasy points: 17.5. Yes, you are reading that correctly. The players that “the Talented Mr. Roto,” as he calls himself, recommended for his readers to bench averaged more points than the players he insisted on starting. That’ll happen when you adamantly suggest benching the Giants Eli Manning and the Bengals Carson Palmer: Manning and Palmer were two of the top three fantasy QBs in week seven, combining for 79 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the majority of the players Berry “loved” last week performed atrociously, including Kevin Kolb (10 FP), Marshawn Lynch (8 FP), and Derrick Mason (6 FP). Grade – D Wait, I just remembered: Berry published a “Ten Commandments of Fantasy Football” article exactly one week after I published my “Ten Commandments of 2010 Fantasy Football” article. Grade – F
Michael Fabiano – Fantasy Editor – NFL.com
Total players recommended: 23 “starts” and 23 “sits.” Recommended “starts” average fantasy points: 13.83. Recommended “sits” average fantasy points:11.16. Although the margin of difference between his “start ems” and “sit ems” was a mere 2 ½ points, of the three analyzed analysts, Fabiano was the most accurate. Of his “starts,” Fabiano missed big with QBs Brett Favre (8 FP) and Kyle Orton (7 FP), RBs Matt Forte (8 FP) and Chris Ivory (4 FP), and TE Benjamin Watson (2 FP). However, the six WRs Fabiano suggested to “start” averaged 20.3 points, and the six RBs he suggested to “sit” averaged only 6.3 points. If you have time Sunday morning and you won’t be busy preparing your home for gameday company, or your not en route to anyone else’s gameday party because you weren’t invited anywhere, or you don’t have a gf or bf that you should probably spend at least some time with before ten straight hours of football, or if you are currently living under the faux title of ‘college student’ aka you have no real responsibilities or indebtedness to society and spend Sundays balancing hookah rips, beer bongs, and fantasy football, Fabiano hosts “NFL Fantasy Live” every Sunday starting at 11:30am. You should check it out. Grade – C
Jaime Eisenberg – Senior Fantasy Writer – CBSSports.com
Total players analyzed: All of them. Not only does Eisenberg publicly post his weekly predictions for millions of fantasy fans to see, his entire CBS Fantasy team has the calzones to publicly predict the exact point total for every player who is fantasy relevant in a particular week. Admirable? Yes. Accurate? Not last week. When all was said and done, Eisenberg missed the mark by an average of 7.78 points per player in week seven. Eisenberg, along with the rest of the fantasy world, was demolished in the WR category last week, predicting Kenny Britt, David Gettis, Lee Evans, Stevie Johnson, and Jordan Shipley to score a combined 37 points. In actuality, Britt alone scored 52, and the quintuplet combined for a total of 172 fantasy points. Other blunders included predicting WR Roy Williams to post 17 FP (0 FP) and Darren McFadden to produce just 9 (45 FP). Ok, ok, Ill say it: Jaime Eisenberg isn’t very……..Wise….en……berg? (wa wa wa waaaaa) Grade – C-
Every week, our office floors ring with fantasy banter, our league message boards are riddled with epic debates, and our text inboxes are filled with trade offers, smack talk, and bank overdraft notifications. However, the analysts above are the guys who take all of those private predictions and ignorant declarations, and post them publicly for millions to critique. I once read a quote in the greatest “quote of the day” email ever written, which read: “It’s not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man in the arena…for there is no effort without error.”
How dare I sit from afar and critique the daring, brave, and terribly inaccurate efforts of these men? I should be ashamed, and to make up for it, in week eight, not only will I give my own “start em” and “sit em” predictions , I have challenged last week’s “Un-Googleable Trivia” winner, Nick Giannantonio from Brick, NJ, to a head-to-head fantasy match. Myself being the “professional” of the two, I allowed Mr. Giannantonio to draft first. The only rule is the player cannot be a top-five fantasy player in their respective category. If Giannantonio defeats me, he’ll be my guest at the new Meadowlands in Week 15 to analyze the Eagles vs. Giants game. Now, in the famous words of Big John McCarthy:“Let’s get it on!”
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers Big Ben has thrown five TDs in two games since returning and the Saints have injuries in their secondary.
QB: Matt Cassel, Chiefs Will sport his career-best 91.5 QB rating at home against a Buffalo defense that has only one interception on the year, and allows the third most fantasy point to quarterbacks.
RB: Ryan Torrain, Redskins Torrain is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 18 carries per game since taking over and has gone for over 100 yards each of his last two games, both against better defenses than his week eight opponent, the Lions.
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks “Beast Mode” has been fed the rock 41 times in two games since arriving in Seattle, and will be facing the league’s 28th-ranked run defense when he visits the Raiders in his hometown of Oakland, CA.
WR: Calvin Johnson, Lions Johnson is the 10th ranked fantasy wide receiver after catching passes from backup Sam Hill. Starter Mathew Stafford returns in week eight…and I am predicting big things.
WR: Hines Ward, Steelers I love doubling up fantasy points with a QB-WR tandem, and Ward has caught fire since quarterback Roethlisberger has returned.
TE: Jacob Tamme, Colts In week three, injuries allowed unknown Colts WR Blair White to score 11 FP for the Colts, proving that QB Peyton Manning can get production out of anyone.
The same will happen with TE Jacob Tamme.
TE: Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers Although he is yet to score, he is QB Josh Freeman’s go to guy, and is averaging 9.5 fppg.
K: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
D/ST: The Dallas Cowboys
QB: Matt Schaub, Texans
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
WR: Steve Johnson, Bills
WR: Pierre Garcon, Colts
TE: Jason Witten, Cowboys
TE: Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
K: David Buehler, Cowboys
D/ST: Oakland Raiders
Funny Caption Only a Football Fan Would Get:
“Aye yo Tony, I’d pick ya ass up, but you gotta get them helmet and shoulder pads off first: DB don’t carry equipment for nobody.”
Week Seven “Un-Googleable Trivia” Question
After playing for the New York Giants, what former Giant OTHER THAN JOE JUREVICIUS started a hunting resort/ranch?
Answer: Ivan Charles “Tucker” Frederickson is a former Heisman runner-up and professional running back for the New York Giants. Tucker is the owner of the “Flying G Ranch,” a 50 million dollar cattle and shooting ranch in Okeechobee, Florida.
The Wire prevails! No reader was able to answer this question correctly, and is therefore officially deemed “Un-Googleable!”
Week Eight “Un-Googleable Trivia” Question
This past week, the WFAN Boomer and Carton Morning Show featured a segment called “Do You Know More Sports than a Hot Girl Who Just Turned 21.” The contestant on the show, Ali, answered 9 out of 10 questions correctly. What was the question she answered incorrectly?
If you think you know the “Un-Googleable” answer, email it to JCarrajat@wfan.com. The first respondent to answer correctly will get to compete against me in next week’s column.