Wednesday - Sep 23, 2020

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COUCH TOMATOES: Back to the Future

Warning: Reading this column about fantasy football can be hazardous to your health. If you cannot handle humor and satire, mixed in with a few juicy tidbits of NFL facts, this may not be for you. But if you are ready—read on my friends.

As a fan of the NFL for so long and seeing the progress from watching blacked-out 1970’s Bears home games with a rabbit ears antenna and a snowy black and white screen, to watching on a modern day HD screen with such perfect sound and picture clarity, I sometimes have that “Back to the Future” feeling. This weekend we had seven games presented to us. We got to see drama, humor, fierce hits and it was so much like those olden days. There were, of course, the usual questions about whether a play was a catch again. With the NFL, this is like the old chicken and the egg question. Nobody can quite figure it out.

OMG! I have Toby, our fantasy football rabbit, here cringing behind Bonnie’s chair. He is whimpering something about rabbit ears antennas. “No Toby. They were made out of a metallic substance, not fluffy white ears from one of your ancestors.” Sheesh, talk about insecure!

Getting back into the endless Thursday to Monday, and oh my golly, it is Thursday again routine went smoothly. I am so glad we had nonstop Olympics TV coverage a few weeks ago to help get us into our sitting and staring shape. Toby missed that being away at camp, so he was kind of antsy all weekend. Bonnie thinks he was wondering how he would look as an antenna. Yeah, I can see where that might freak him out a bit.

9 Things I Learned in Week 1

1. As usual, Sunday night scores and the 24-hour euphoria they cause need to be tempered. What I want to know though is why do my opponents always have the guys that have super games on Monday? Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown did me in big-time. 30-40 point leads are not as big as they look.

2. Keenan Allen and RGlll—take a seat guys, right over there next to Tony Romo and Teddy Bridgewater. Don’t get too comfy there, Tony. Jerry Jones doesn’t think a broken back is too serious. Heck, you can still run and throw. Aren’t you a foooootball player?

3. It seems like just yesterday that the Falcons were one of the top teams in the league. Now they are starting to stink and look at their recent drafting. With Roddy White slowing down and finally leaving, they needed a replacement. Is Mohamed Sanu really the answer? At RB, two years ago they added Devonta Freeman and he sort of bombed, so in 2015 they brought in Tevin Coleman and he got hurt. Freeman then played a super first half of the season and kind of sputtered down the stretch.

Nevertheless, he was the leading fantasy scorer in the RB category. Now Tevin Coleman is back and appears to be winning the job he was supposed to have last year. It is so confusing… Thank goodness I learned a long time ago to either draft both players in a situation like this, or avoid them all altogether. It looks like, Matt Millen at GM and Atlanta, would be a match made in football heaven.

4. Since the NFL draft in 2015, I have looked forward to finally opening the Kevin White WR diva doll gift under my Christmas tree. Sunday morning I opened it.  I finally unwrapped it and lo and behold, it looked like a remake of the David Terrell doll, a real bad, high first-round draft pick made by the Bears 2001. When you are a Bears’ fan, history tends to repeat itself. History that is, except for Super Bowls.

5. Ok, I am confused here. TE Zach Ertz has a “rib displacement” in the collar bone area.” To my way of thinking, that makes me think that getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, etc. would be a real hard thing to do. I would need Bonnie and Toby to nurse me and pamper me for weeks.

Ertz actually played the rest of the game after he was hurt. This guy has a ‘doubtful’ injury status for Week 2. C’mon coach, for his peace of mind if nothing else, please declare him out.

6. On the other hand, I guess the “new” NFL approach to player safety is working well. Basically, if your contract exceeds certain dollar levels by playing positions, you MUST play unless you are dead, have lost a limb, or have been unconscious for longer than six minutes.

Otherwise, how could you explain Cam Newton staying in the game after having his head beaten upon all day by the Broncos, as though it was a bongo drum? Or take the case of Russell Wilson… after incurring a “serious” ankle injury on Sunday, he stayed in the game, and as though he was healed miraculously, the ankle turned out to be only tweaked. And let’s hear it one more time for the Seahawks. RB Christine…

7. Michael played as the starter Sunday and had more touches than Thomas Rawls. Rawls takes back his job this week and the spin on the story was that Michael was rewarded with the start against the Dolphins because of his contributions to the team in the preseason. Just say it like it is—Rawls is a potential stud and Michael is a career dud. I grow weary of the sugar coating.

8. Rams’ fans were amazed to see the stink bomb that St. Louis sent them. Looking forward to watching their #1 overall draft choice QB Jared Goff and young stud RB Todd Gurley lead their team to football heaven was supposed to end a long, very long nightmare. Instead, it was like going to a big theatrical production on the Wednesday afternoon when all the understudies replace the lead actors and actresses. The worst part for them is this is the plan, not a temporary one week thing. When does the ‘fire the coach’ grumbling start?

9. Alright, who will take which side of this trade—Sammy Watkins for Jamaal Charles? The moral of this story is draft the player that is playing in 2016, not the one you loved three years ago.

Now that half of us have had their dreams of undefeated seasons shattered, we will see lots of 1-1 records after this week. Week 3 some of those will go to 2-1 and others to 1-2. These early weeks are when we define a course for the rest of the year. The key is not to panic. Don’t even consider trading away a Todd Gurley for example. On the other hand, after he has been dominated by Seattle this week, a savvy trader would be calling the Gurley owner in his league to help him out. Hehe!

Be an active owner to enhance your chances of winning. Managing the waiver wire, prudent trading and careful lineup decisions are the key to success on this journey we started together last week.

When we play fantasy football we are so busy with our teams that we forget about the football game as a whole. Be sure to remember that the answers to our fantasy football questions can usually be found within the numbers. And if all else fails, feel free to ask me. You can reach me at All fantasy football questions are welcome.

And by the way, I have had a few inquiries. Bonnie was in no way hurt during the writing of last week’s column. She does have a sense of humor and found herself to be laughing at the way things around here were depicted.

Good luck! Have fun!

About Mike Nease

Mike Nease is a member of the FSWA and has been playing the game since 1985, while also writing about it since 2001. Over the years he has sampled about all the playing scenarios that fantasy football offers, including re-drafter, keeper, dynasty, auction, IDP and salary cap leagues. He and his wife Bonnie reside in West Chicago, IL You can contact Mike at anytime and during the football season follow him @mikeinsights.