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.
This is when one feels like the quiet teenagers in the cafeteria with an earnest passion for Magic: The Gathering. No more than four people on the planet care about your fantasy team, and they are all bloodthirsty adversaries. The waiver wire is an analog channel of lonely, scattered transmissions and Davone Bess reruns — but no lingering contender can afford to forfeit their turn at the well when buckets of upside linger.
Nerves tangle and overwhelm because it’s rarely Aaron Rodgers or Jimmy Graham on a white horse galloping across beaches while you gleefully reach for the title — it’s falling into the arms of Montell Owens. After the scattered fortunes, your difference makers are mostly in-house, and the start/sit game magnifies — T.Y. Hilton is a high-reward burner, but Nate Washington’s 13 targets at Indianapolis can’t be overlooked — until you read too much Bryce Brown propaganda and start him over Marshawn Lynch.
You have to trust the process and carry on — plug in the five lineup stalwarts, ignore kickers, start a matchup-based defense, and look into filling those lineup holes with one of these shiny new wire guys.
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I am exhausted. Not just because I spent 40 minutes of "real time" standing-squatting-jumping-kneeling-windmilling in my living room as the last four "game minutes" plus OT played out between the paid football players representing the Chocolate and Charm cities yesterday. (BTW, no one should be surprised that D.C. prevailed — food > manners.) But also because meaningful December football is no longer part of my constitution. Like baggy jeans and land-line telephones and paying for music, the once-vital D.C. pro football team has become less critical to my daily existence for all of the obvious and exhaustively well-documented decades' worth of reasons. Of course the 2007 run after the still-unfair and still-distressing Sean Taylor tragedy was inspired. But Todd Collins was prominently involved, which means ... that Todd Collins was prominently involved. This QB and this team and this run are different. Like, once-in-a-generation different, which definitely feels like hyperbole but isn't, IMHO.
1. It's tough to be a kicker. 2. The 2-point conversion is a cruel mistress. 3. The marquee games disappointed, but everything else delivered.
I feel bad giving the Oregon-Stanford blowout short shrift, but the result can really be summed up in two words: speed kills. The Stanford run defense, which had been one of the nation's best prior to facing Oregon, gave up 232 yards. From the size of the holes LaMichael James was exploiting, it felt like Stanford was playing a prevent defense all game. In fact, if you'll let me brag for a moment (and I hope you will, because I'm so often wrong), everything I predicted in the preview essentially came true. The words of the prophet:
For the past two Saturday nights, football fans have lived a charmed life. Last week, we got the Hail Mary Game. This week, there was a slice of triple-overtime insanity when undefeated Stanford survived a scare from USC. Those were the best games of the year, and the Musburger-Herbstreit duo were on the scene for both. There's a lot of season left, but it's hard to imagine a better back-to-back stretch. Somewhere in the world, a prime time TV programmer is dancing a jig. And so am I, because this was the most surprising week of the season.