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DIARY OF A FANTASY VIRGIN: Week 10

Hello Week 10. This will be, by far, the longest article of the year for me. I have to make up for the last two week’s of quickie articles caused by a personal matter I will address in my diary section. But let us carry on, shall we? I have to admit this is not only the halfway point of the year in the NFL but some things are coming into focus. Now you can understand how myopic we were in the beginning of the season. This shortsightedness can be made apparent by now 7-2 New England. What was said of them when New England lost to now 3-5 Jacksonville? And New England followed that up with a loss to now 3-5 Detroit?

As the onion of an NFL season is pulled apart layer by layer, to the untrained eye it all appears to be the same but there is a rhythm to the season and now the drum-beat is beginning to take shape. Now this layer of the onion is interesting but all is not revealed until Thanksgiving. The turkey meal reveals not only the post comatose feeling of drowsiness but also the direction the NFL season is going. Speaking of direction, we have to pay homage once again to the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

1972 Miami Dolphins Celebrate Again

With the defeat of the Los Angeles Rams by New Orleans, the last undefeated team in the NFL has been rent asunder. OK maybe that is a bit outlandish but it is a guaranteed fact that no team will go undefeated this season like the 1972 Miami Dolphins did under coach Don Shula. Miami won every game that year and since then the team would celebrate when the last team loses during the regular season. I average writing this part of my article in Week 6 so it is later this year but it has happened nonetheless. So congratulations go out to the 1972 Miami Dolphins alumni on another well-deserved party. With that, it is on to the week that was.

Bagels and Burgers, Oh My!

There are certainly many opinions out there about whom to start. There are projections by your fantasy football host. There are projections all over the web. In the end all you want is “burgers” like the character Wimpy in Popeye. A “burger” is when your player achieved significant points above what was projected. The opposite of this is a “bagel.” As stated in previous articles, the “bagel” is when your player significantly underperforms his expectations. There are no hard and fast rules in “Burgers and Bagels” but you know one when you see one.

For example, my quarterback Matt Ryan went for a 39-point “burger” for my team but he was on the bench. My running back Adrian Peterson went for a five-point “bagel” in his first start of the season. Yikes! How did my week go? Well, thanks to the Dallas defense, who went for a 10-point “bagel” but that was enough to win and I am 8-1 going into Week 10. But now I must explain how long shadows cast by a New England Patriot combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have created the quarterback environment we have today.

Why Mahomes Why?

Patrick Mahomes is the leader of a current core group of under 24-year-old quarterbacks who are lighting up the NFL. Patrick Mahomes is all the rage. He is the manifestation of the Read Pass Option (RPO) that has taken the NFL by storm. The RPO has changed the game as much as the Bill Walsh West Coast Offense did. But how did we get here? It has to do with a long evolution of football rules so let’s begin there. So a penumbra is a long shadow cast by an interstellar object. These long shadows make for an excellent analogy of imparting your fingerprint on a situation. These also make for long thoughts. The combination of Belichick and Tom Brady have cast a penumbra over the NFL. I am going to explain it through a list of bulleted sentences. Check this out …

  • Belichick creates a defensive scheme against the St. Louis Rams in Superbowl XXXVI that disrupts St. Louis’ high-flying offense. He does this by bumping the receivers off of their passing routes. New England wins 20-17 in a very close game. New England were large underdogs on paper.
  • Naturally, Belichick extends this process into the regular season and several teams, led by Indianapolis, demand different defensive rules and they were granted them. For example no touching after 5 yards.
  • Quarterbacks can now read defenses and call plays at the line of scrimmage and not have their receivers re-routed. We are at the beginning of the high-flying pass-based NFL that we have today. Instead of running for 3 yards you pass for 4 yards. This is known as “dinking-and-dunking” your way down the field and it effectively eliminates the need for a classic fullback and the “I” formation. It is essentially, an extension of the West Coast Offense.
  • This eventually culminates in 2007 undefeated New England team with Tom Brady throwing 50 touchdown passes.
  • It can be stated that Belichik created high-flying offenses by being overly defensive, causing a rewriting of the rulebook favoring offenses and penalizing defenses.
  • Then Tom Brady gets hurt Week 1 of the 2008 season and he is lost for the season.
  • The NFL institutes and re-institutes rules to “protect the quarterback.” If you stay in the pocket you are protected from any malfeasance, not that this would stop anyone but the rule is there.
  • The Read Pass Option comes along and it is exploited by Cam Newton among other early adopters.
  • But running quarterbacks do not last long because they get injured.
  • Tom Brady is stuck in the pocket but is throwing the ball as well as ever.
  • In conclusion, Belichick and Tom Brady have created the high-flying high octane “Nerf” football effect we see today. What is Nerf football? The team with the ball last, wins, in a very high-scoring affair.

My “Diary Entry” is about where I have been the last two articles.

Dear Diary

On Oct. 12 my mother Betty Davoll came down with an illness. After one restless week of visiting the Hospital until 8 p.m., her condition worsened and she was given 24-72 hours to live. My mom hung on for another seven days and she died on Oct. 26. This all happened so suddenly that it just ruined my time-space awareness.

Things were hurtling out of control and then quickly you have hospice, wake, funeral and forever silence from my biggest fan. My mother. It has been a really tough three weeks so I would like to thank my fan base for hanging in there with me.

From this week forth for the rest of the year, I will dedicate my fantasy football team “The Cromwell Demolition” to my mother Elizabeth Anne Davoll.

Mom … you will be missed.

Master D.

Tim Davoll can now be reached at tdavoll@fantasysharks.com and welcomes your opinions on the “Diary of a Fantasy Virgin” articles.

About Tim Davoll

Author of the Weekly Series "Diary of a Fantasy Virgin" since opening day of FantasySharks.com. That particular date? It was September 12, 2002 when my first article was published on this site. It has been a great ride ever since.