If a tie in the NFL is bad, then a tie in fantasy football is considerably worse. There are plenty of silver linings to be found on both sides after Sunday’s 24-24 draw between the Rams and 49ers. While they didn’t win, the Rams outplayed an elite division rival and might be the league’s second-best last-place team. The 49ers can blame the poor showing on Alex Smith’s concussion and take solace in the fact that they remain strong favorites to win the NFC West.
In the case of a fantasy tie, there is no saving grace. For example, your only hope for a victory (or a loss, if he happened to score negative points), Owen Daniels, is declared out for Sunday Night Football with hip pain, and the tie is official because, outrageously, there isn’t even an overtime period to settle the stalemate. And unlike Danny Amendola, you know it.
With all the rookie quarterbacks going from dorm rooms to film rooms this season, there was so much potential for the marvelous missteps we have come to expect and celebrate here at BQBL headquarters. If you told me during the preseason that in Week 9, Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill would face off and combine for 723 passing yards, I would have corrected you: “I think you mean BQBL points.” The idea that neither of these men threw an interception baffles me to the point that I still have to check the box score even though I already know it as fact. With all these rookies playing unpredictably well (I have a spot waiting for you on the BQBL Summer Jam Screen, Brandon Weeden), it is nice to know that you can always rely on guys like Matt Cassel to turn the game over in the fourth quarter. Matt Cassel is the Kraft Mac and Cheese of BQBL quarterbacks — consistently horrible yet undeniably enjoyable.
Chiefs (Matt Cassel), 66 points: Cassel really filled the BQBL box score in Week 9. He threw for under 200 yards, he fumbled, he TAINTed, and he FARTed. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. Cassel’s day turned on two key plays in the fourth quarter separated by just two minutes of time on the clock. In those two minutes, Cassel went from “Hey they’re only down 11, maybe he can bring them back to win it” to “Hey, if he gets benched here, he will break 100 BQBL points.” Let’s take a closer look at these two plays:
This week in BQBL was just well weird. We had TAINTs, we had benchings, we had a postgame Mike Vick act like he was in an eighth-grade relationship gone bad — breaking up with Andy Reid before Andy Reid could break up with him. Yet we didn’t have a single quarterback score more than 50 BQBL points. Also, despite some gloriously terrible things, two of our top three scorers gave their respective teams a good chance to win the game. The other one? Well, let’s just say that whatever impressionable British youths the NFL was hoping to convert with this “football” game in London are likely buying Tom Brady jerseys, not Sam Bradford jerseys.
Oh yeah also, totally unrelated, but I need to share this with the world. Bryant McKinnie of the Ravens owes Trick Daddy’s father $375,000 for “services accumulated at South Florida strip clubs." Sure, this has nothing to do with the BQBL, but BWHAHAHAHHAHHAHA!!!!
Three and Out
Rams (Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens), 47 points: Sam Bradford completed his first pass for 14 yards. Then Sam Bradford completed his second pass for five yards. Then Sam Bradford completed his third pass for 50 yards and a touchdown. Then Sam Bradford did something counterintuitive. He decided that he was done advancing the football — and, ya know, scoring points — and shut it down for the rest of the game. It was nothing if not innovative.
Each week, the Fantasy Island contestants will submit a preview for each of that weekend's games. The best preview from each game will be selected and combined with the others into one comprehensive guide, and points are awarded based on how many individual previews from each writer are selected. Get it? OK. We sorta do, too.
Panthers at Bears
A thought experiment, on the occasion of Panthers GM Marty Hurney’s Monday-morning firing: If millions of devotees followed your fantasy football team with the passion of NFL fans, and this team started the season 1-5 primarily because you used (wasted?) a first-round selection on Cam Newton, would you be out of a job? Newton’s fantasy points are that of a backup QB (13th overall), and the former no. 1 pick is regressing while contemporaries — Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, Andrew Luck, RG3, to name a few — improve. Perhaps he’s just suffering from an especially lethal sophomore slump, but this is very concerning. As such, I expect a pick-six or two from the ferocious Bears defense, the 11th highest-scoring entity in all of fantasy football.
"The greater fool is ... a patsy. For the rest of us to profit, we need a greater fool, someone who will buy long and sell short. Most people spend their lives trying not to be the greater fool; we toss in the hot potato, we dive for his seat when the music stops. The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools."
— Sloan Sabbith, The Newsroom
Hey! She’s talking about me! While I’m pretty sure that I didn’t help to build America, I certainly exhibit the other qualities outlined by Aaron Sorkin’s all-seeing econ-o-vixen. Or at least I think I do; if I’m truly such a great fool, my judgment can’t be trusted, on account of all that ego and self-delusion. Maybe I’m not the fool after all? It’s so confusing. Meta-cognitive awareness really is a minefield.
Now, the greater-fool theory applies to all economic markets, but my personal foolishness is localized to betting. I fare better than most with the bookmaker, but it’s also true to say that I don't always choose my bets wisely. I've yet to find a betting market where I didn’t fancy myself to have some form of edge over the mob, and this means I am prone to gamble on everything from reality television shows to sumo wrestling, with wildly varying levels of success. Over the years, this overweening confidence in my own abilities has led me to take on the markets in the NFL and NBA. I believe I have a solid understanding of both these sports, but that's probably just the perfect blend of ego and self-delusion talking.
Look, there are plenty of places on this very website and many others where you can read thoughtful, measured responses to Week 1 quarterback performances. This is not that place. KEVIN KOLB IS THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND! PEYTON MANNING IS A CYBORG FORGED OUT OF OLD CAR PARTS AND VICTORY JUICE! TIM TEBOW SHOULD BE A SLOT RECEIVER! What was that? That last one is actually a thoughtful, measured response? My bad.
Quick update on the (aptly named) BQBL Failure Machine. Like the quarterbacks we celebrate, its performance has not been perfect. We are feverishly working on ironing out all the kinks, and your super-friendly, understanding e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org are a big help with that, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’ll figure it out.
The Seahawks announced on Tuesday that rookie third-rounder Russell Wilson would start their third preseason game. Wilson's been very impressive against second- and third-string defenses during the preseason, but it's certainly a surprise that he appears to have the upper hand on free-agent pickup Matt Flynn for the starting job in Seattle. If Wilson makes it to Week 1 as the starter, he'll join Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden, and Ryan Tannehill as one of five rookie quarterbacks starting on the league's season opener.
It's easy to understand why a team might want to turn to their rookie quarterback from day one. It creates excitement within the fan base, instills confidence in the young guy, and begins the arduous-but-necessary process of getting the rookie the needed reps against first-string NFL pass defenses in meaningful action. For the Colts and Redskins, it was the obvious choice. The Browns were committed to Weeden because he's already old enough to be a Grantland writer, too, but the decision to anoint Tannehill as the Week 1 starter and the possibility that Wilson will follow are curious and dangerous.
Not only is it back, it is going to be WAY more bitchin’ this year. What was that? You are unfamiliar with the BQBL? Weird. Click on this; it will get you all caught up. Too lazy to click on that? Fine. The BQBL stands for Bad Quarterback League. It is a fantasy football league where instead of rooting for your quarterbacks to throw for four touchdowns, complete 40 passes, and, ya know, win games, you root for them to get benched, get in an argument with Terry Bradshaw, and have their nether regions appear on sports blogs. Preferably in that order. We did it last year, and all I can say is, we learned — as immoral and evil as it sounds — that it is way more fun to root for catastrophic collapse than for efficient effectiveness. Way more fun.
The Cleveland Browns had an interesting first day of the 2012 NFL draft. On the one hand, Cleveland got two of the draft's most productive players: Brandon Weeden, quarterback from Oklahoma State, who threw 71 touchdowns over the past two seasons, and Trent Richardson, an absolutely ferocious running back who rushed for more than 1,600 yards as the offensive centerpiece for Alabama's championship squad.
And yet, we’re starting to see that drafting a running back so high — the Browns traded up to get Richardson — is typically not a great idea. And Weeden? Well, let's just say that picking a rookie quarterback who is 28 years old is not exactly without risk.
“I will say this: I bet you there'll be a lot of people wish they'd given us a shot to see a different kind of game. We'd have thrown it 50 times. You like to think Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon could have put together some touchdowns. Get the ball thrown down the field and open some things up. Try to make it exciting, and see what happens.” — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy
It got so bad that when the Crimson Tide dumped the Gatorade on Alabama coach Nick Saban, I half expected the Gatorade to be tackled for a loss. It got so bad that the 50-yard line died of sadness after the third quarter, and nobody noticed. It got so bad that the bespectacled marine biologist Allstate trotted out to try a 40-yard field goal at halftime had a legitimate shot to outscore the entire LSU offense. In the end, his zero-field goal performance only tied the entire LSU offense. He will be ranked no. 4 in the preseason coaches’ poll.
It got so bad that I spent about 15 minutes trying to plot what would happen if the bespectacled marine biologist were a team in the SEC West. Assume he’d lose in, say, six overtimes at Baton Rouge. That would make him the favorite against Auburn and the Mississippis, right? Even playing every position on both sides of the ball simultaneously and not being in shape or having a helmet or pads, he couldn’t produce a worse game plan than Les Miles and Greg Studrawa did Monday night in Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU. Honestly, I think he’d have a shot at the conference title game if he could squeak out the win over Arkansas.
So yeah, it got bad. Somewhere, on one of those winding forest roads that are always showing up in Michelin commercials, a deer frozen in the headlights of an onrushing Subaru Outback devoted the final second of its short life on earth to the thought: You know what, I’m still running the speed option better than Jordan Jefferson is right now.
And so, as an Oklahoma State fan, I say to you: What in the hell, people? I bring you many earnest what in the hells. That was it? That was the immovable wall of Technicolor fearsome that Oklahoma State and Stanford had no chance of competing against? That was your big reveal? We are now in the position of crowning a national champion that couldn’t convert the extra point after its solitary touchdown of the game. You’re seriously telling me that our poor little old Big 12/Pac-12 selves didn’t deserve a glance at this business?