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COUCH TOMATOES: The Reward of Parity –Thank you Pete Rozelle!

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.

One thing about watching the NFL is that week after week and year after year there are changes and surprises. Teams go from being winners to losers and losers to winners so quickly that all fans taste success at least every few years. You don’t see that in other sports. In the NHL you can probably name about 13 of the 2017 playoff teams right now before the season ever starts.

Decades ago under Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the concept of parity was born. While you cannot change stupid (Hello, Cleveland and Los Angeles) most of the teams win at least a representative amount of games over the course of a few seasons. New stars arrive every season and we sadly say goodbye to some as well.

The dynamics of the league structure are such that it is a people-pleasing game. Since the advent of fantasy football as a concept with its head-head competition and building of dynasties to daily games and their get rich quick allure, the marketing of this game has grown exponentially.

The week let’s talk about some of the things I have noted thus far this season.

9 Things I have seen from the Couch

  1. This week we lead off with the Texans playing the Patriots in Foxboro. QB Blake Osweiler leads the 2-0 Texans against a New England team playing with an untried rookie QB Jacoby Brissett. Tom Brady is suspended for games 3 of 4 and Jimmy Garoppolo has a Grade 2 AC joint sprain. Wow! It looks like a big Texans win doesn’t it. Hold that thought. The folks who set the odds have made the Pats a 1-point favorite. Upon further review, it seems like they have won 76 games in a row at home when leading at the half. To my friends in Texas—don’t bet the ranch literally or figuratively on your team. Look for a Patriots win on Thursday night.
  2. Meanwhile in Cleveland, we have another 3rd string QB Cody Kessler making his debut. He follows an injured RGIII and also Josh McCown into the huddle of a team that seems destined to get a real high pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Last week, Corey Coleman, a prize rookie, had a huge 5/104/2 stat line. During practice this week he broke his hand. The sinking Browns ship is a 10-point underdog to an 0-2 Miami team. What can go wrong next?
  3. When players get to certain ages they tend to get hurt and end careers on the downside. Adrian Peterson only had a 31-50-0 stat line on the year before tearing his meniscus last week. Even if he returns this year, he will have that dark cloud hanging over him. Besides that, 1.6 yards per carry just does not cut it in the NFL. A fat guy can just about fall forward without moving his feet and get that. Maybe I have a future as a RB-I can fall forward real well! Call my agent, Bonnie, and let’s make a deal. I will play for pizza.
  4. Let me get this straight now. The 49ers made the Rams look real bad in Week 1. Last week those same Rams held the Seahawks to three points in a 9-3 win. So this week, with Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett all hurt to some extent, the Seahawks are 9.5 point favorites at home. Blaine GabbertColin Kaepernick, fresh off the cover of Time magazine is breathing down your neck and he wants his job back.
  5. Seven years after a RBs best season, they are usually selling insurance or coaching somewhere. DeAngelo Williams’ career peaked in 2009 and after that, until 2015, he was to put it bluntly, worthless. He was besieged by injuries and was totally inconsistent. Last year, the Steelers brought him in as a veteran backup to Le’Veon Bell, who has a bit of a propensity it seems to start seasons on the suspended list. After two weeks last year he had 48 fantasy points and was the #1 ranked scoring RB. When Bell was later injured, Williams put up great numbers for the rest of the year. This year after two weeks, Williams has kicked up his game—having 58 fantasy points thus far.
  6. According to many, Jay Cutler is the root of all evil in Chicago. He has a quiet personality and is not a vocal leader. He does stand in there though and annually takes a beating from having a poor offensive line and inadequate receiving depth. Never has he shirked danger for his own selfish personal safety. On rare occasion, when he has had decent coaching, an offensive line and healthy receivers, he has shown signs of greatness. I have been watching the Bears since about 1960 and based on talent and years of playing time, I say that Jay Cutler is the best overall Bears QB I have ever watched play. With 11 of 22 starters on the Wednesday injury report, let’s see how Brian Hoyer performs in Dallas this week. He should be trembling in his spikes.
  7. We have already discussed one fading old running back. How about Jamaal Charles? He WAS a great versatile RB and he is relentlessly trying to come back from his second serious knee injury. Why? Spencer Ware has started off the year with 21/171/1 and 9/177/0 numbers in the first two weeks. Along with Charcandrick West, they are a pretty decent RB duo. Why do so many players have to leave the league as a shell of themselves? Fans tend to remember you then for the negatives rather than your greatness.
  8. After one game, OC Norv Turner of the Vikings is raving about QB Sam Bradford. When I checked out his playing history I was surprised that he has actually started 64 of 80 games over the last five years. My perception was much worse. But in two of those years he was knocked out after Week 7 one year and Week 10 in another. They key injury on the team so far is not Adrian Peterson. I say it is LT Matt Kalil. He will be missed as Bradford’s main protector on the field.
  9. Looking around I see early fantasy point leaders like Matt Ryan, DeAngelo Williams and Stefon Diggs. We hear about nine-figure contracts. We see no correlation sometimes between big bucks and performance levels. Players demand to be rewarded on a long-term basis, giving them security. What if everyone got one year contracts based on performance? That will never happen. It makes too much sense. As a result, the status quo will continue and the fans who do not want to mortgage their homes to pay for season tickets and parking or to sip that $10 beer have no chance of ever experiencing a game in person. But cheer up; the cost of going to a game is low today compared to what it will be in say five or 10 years.

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 a couple of weeks ago.

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 mnease23@yahoo.com. All fantasy football questions are welcome.

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 mnease23@yahoo.com anytime and during the football season follow him @mikeinsights.