Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fantasy league 2017 -- week 10 recap

As the Eagles prepare to take on their most-hated rivals in a pivotal contest next Sunday, now is a good time to remind yourself that Dallas is at the center of everything that is wrong with the NFL and the country. Consider:

** Over litigation: Dallas spent most of this season fighting an inevitable six-game suspension for RB Ezekiel Elliott. This week, owner Jerry Jones threatened to sue … someone … to stop Roger Goodell’s contract from being renewed.

** Drug abuse: Three Cowboys served substance-abuse related suspensions this year, including a 16-game ban for DE Randy Gregory, the team’s second-round pick in 2015.

** Censorship: True, the flag kneeling controversy didn’t start in Dallas, but Jones was the first owner to announce he would bench any player caught taking part in the “disrespectful” protest. For the record, Jones’ team recognized local servicemembers in a 2012 ceremony … only after the Defense Department paid them $62K.

** Thursday Night Football: The Detroit Lions had the monopoly on Thanksgiving games for more than two decades before Dallas decided to co-opt them. And when that didn’t fail, the NFL turned to playing every Thursday night. Clearly it’s their fault.

** Unrest in the Middle East: I haven’t quite figured out how it’s their fault yet, but I know Dak Prescott hasn’t helped fix the situation at all.

Remember, rooting against the Cowboys in football doesn’t make you a better American. It just makes you a better person.

QB: Cam Newton, 43.66 pts — on Mike’s bench
WR: Robert Woods, 27.40 pts — on Bob’s bench
RB: Mark Ingram, 31.10 pts — started by Sam
TE: Jimmy Graham, 16.80 pts — started by Ant
K: Greg Zuerlein, 17.00 pts — started by Joel
DEF: Atlanta, 18.00 pts — on the wire
D: Adrian Clayborn, 21.00 pts — on the wire

There’s a first time for everything: I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen an individual defensive player outscore the top defense of the week (which happens to be his own team). But when you record six sacks and two fumbles against the Dallas offense, you get that honor. And we are all honored for having watched your beat-down of the Cowboys, Mr. Clayborn.

I had a nice Case Keenum joke here (32.56 pts, second-best QB of the week) until Newton tore up on Monday night and passed him on the scoring chart, so now that’s lost to the ages. It’s a shame. Football is a poorer place for having one less Case Keenum joke.

“Bad defense” edition

3rd place: Maryland Slurs, -2.00 pts — on the wire
2nd place: Buffalo, -4.00 pts — started by Paul
1st place: Denver, -5.00 pts — on the wire

The Broncos, considered one of the top defenses in the league, have given up 115 points over the last three weeks and totaled a whopping 5.00 fantasy pts over that stretch. The team has also lost five in a row. But they did whup Dallas in week 2, so we still love them.

Special shout-out to Bob, who started four players on a bye and one on injured reserve this week, and managed a league-record low 39.57 pts. If he has started Woods, the top WR this week, he would have almost doubled that total. But we’re still not counting almosts in the league.

All of the dumbest, saddest things I read this week came from the Washington Post’s game recap of Maryland’s 35-10 loss to Michigan. Consider:

** (Maryland Coach DJ Durkin) was forced to build his game plan around redshirt sophomore Ryan Brand, a walk-on who started the season as the fifth-string quarterback…”
“Let’s just call it like it is,” Durkin said. “No disrespect to [Brand], but I mean, we started a fifth-string quarterback today.”

I dunno, even if it’s accurate, that sounds pretty disrespectful to the kid.

** Peters, the third Michigan quarterback to start this season — Maryland is the only other Power Five program to start that many — completed only nine of 18 passes for 145 yards, but that was more than enough even though the Wolverines gained just 94 yards in the second half.

Oh, so the team that beat you soundly was on their third-string QB? That seems to undercut your excuse for why your backup lost you the game.

** In its past six games against conference opponents ranked by the Associated Press, Maryland has lost by an average of 38 points and was outscored by a combined 191-13 in the first half of those games.

Oh dear gawd.

** Brand led an 85-yard drive to the Michigan 2-yard line, but it stalled when his third-down pass intended for Moore fell incomplete. Instead of going for it with his team trailing 28-0, Durkin opted to send in the field goal unit.
After Henry Darmstadter’s 20-yard kick sailed through the uprights to get Maryland on the board, fireworks shot into the sky and the pro-Michigan crowd cheered the goal-line stand.

Pretty sure I would have shelved the fireworks there, kids.

Saddest items for sale at NFL.com this week:

** Cleveland Browns Sterling Silver Logo Lapel Pin ($50)
A Browns pin is bad enough, but since this item is in silver, you’ll also have to explain to people that it’s not just a plain football helmet.

** Authentic Super Bowl LII Frame ($200)
That’s it. It’s just a frame with the Super Bowl logo at the bottom. And somehow it costs $200. Thanks, NFL.

** Bortles/Lee autographed football ($100)
This collectible, signed by two not-stars of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is marked down from $200, so it’s … still overpriced.

** Jets Two-Way Fidget Spinner ($3)
There are three different Jets fidget spinners for sale, but this is the only one that costs more in shipping ($5) than in actual price.

** Super Bowl MVP autographed helmet ($12,000)
This helmet has the autographs of every Super Bowl MVP, and costs as much as a small family sedan. For $12K, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice will probably just come hang out at your house for an afternoon instead.

Since the Eagles had the bye week, the Cowboys insult anagram gets a week off too. Instead, we’ll just look at what the good guys are doing after their mid-season vacation:

Welcome back the Eagles from their bye
** Lamer grief — Beat the cowboys, heckle ‘em

That seems forced, and we’re not talking about the Cowboys getting beat right now. Let’s roll again:

Eagles coming back from their bye week rested
** Reeler: Kings beat the grim-faced, meek cowboys

I guess they had Dallas on their mind the whole week. One more try?

Bye-week is over, Eagles are back on the field
** Line heave: Birds eat cowboy fakers, eke glee

That’ll do, guys. Welcome back to the fun.

** Dad and I split our two games different for the week, so he remains six games back with seven weeks to go. But he gets an extra pat on the back for picking the Falcons to beat the Cowboys, which was glorious to see.

** I just found out there will be three “Thursday Night Football” games on the weekend of Dec. 14 — one on Thursday and two on Saturday. No, I don’t want to think about that any more, it hurts my head.

** Guys it’s a week later and the Sixers still have a winning record.

Week 10 standings

1 — Foles me Wentz (Capt. Awesome), 1227.21 pts
2 — Gronky Tonk Man (Joel), 1184.60 pts
3 — For Who? For Wentz? (Ant), 1127.84 pts
4 — Animal Crackers (Mom D), 1127.15 pts
5 — Dat CTE Lyfe (Sam), 1064.07 pts
6 — Foles v. Sproles (Jo), 1059.19 pts
7 — Cosby's Sleepers (Mike), 1057.95 pts
8 — ThePigskin Predators (Dad), 1043.94 pts
9 — Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim), 915.85 pts
10 — Blue Collar Killers (Jeff), 878.49 pts
11 — SmartyPants on Fire (Paul), 868.02 pts
12 — Last Exit 2 Kutztown (Bob), 822.40 pts

A huge week by Sam jumps him back up into interesting territory, and a mediocre week by me keeps everything within reach. The gap between first and fourth is about 100 pts, but the gap between third and eighth is only 84 more pts.

And it could be a struggle for any team to break 2,000 pts, long established as the mark to contend for the Awesome Cup. Right now, only Joel and I are on pace to pass that total, and neither of us until week 17 finishes..

All of that is to say a few good weeks could turn the entire championship chase around. Remember to set those rosters, and not start people on injured reserve.

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