Tuesday - Sep 29, 2020

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Keeping Ahead: Logic vs. Reality (Week 4)

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: I may very well have no idea what I am doing.

I’ve played this thing called fantasy football for a decade now.

I’ve won a number of leagues, cashed in daily tournaments, and made great keeper acquisitions over the years.

This past week, I started the Cleveland defense and Matt Prater. They combined their efforts to get me a whopping zero points.

The “logic” (I use that term incredibly loosely at this point) was “solid” (even looser) or so I thought.

Prater Logic: Kicking indoors, against a tough but not impossible defense that could lead to field goal attempts, not touchdowns. Also playing against his former team who abruptly cut him last year for an unproven rookie. Revenge has to be a factor.

Prater Reality: The Detroit Lions can’t move the ball more than 6 inches at a time, employ the equivalent of a swinging saloon door for an offensive line on special teams, leading to an extra point block, and oh, just for fun, news comes out in the first quarter that he is suffering from food poisoning so will not be trying any long attempts. I was foiled by gas station sushi.

Cleveland Browns Logic: Coming off a shellacking of a talented and up-and-coming offense in Tennessee, the Browns defense should have no trouble gobbling up Derek Carr, the owner of one of the worst road records among all starting quarterbacks. Joe Haden would be able to contain Amari Cooper and sacks could pile up in catchup mode.

Browns Reality: 1) They are the Browns; 2) Derek Carr is apparently the Bay Area’s new Joe Montana; 3) Amari Cooper is even better than we thought; and 4) They are the Browns. Did I really, really think I could count on them?

Now, if I had made these poor choices based upon my own “logic” only, that would lead me to a downward spiral of curse words, whiskey and sleeplessness the likes of which I may not recover. But I was not the only one who thought this. The Browns, on nearly every website, ranking list, and projection page were listed as a top-10 play, citing all the above pieces of “logic” that I listed. Some were weary of them as a starting unit (cough, cough, FantasySharks, cough), but many still saw the same potential I saw in them shutting down the young Oakland offensive unit.

Kickers? Don’t get me started. A weekly crapshoot if ever there was one. There doesn’t seem to be a shred of consistency among any players, across the board, save perhaps Stephen Gostkowski, who is one of the many beneficiaries of the “Tom Brady’s Middle Finger to the League” tour currently underway. But to be tripped up by food poisoning by the kicker of my favorite team? You have to be kidding me.

The point of this rant (other than just a cathartic exercise for myself) is to merely say this: fantasy football doesn’t always make sense. As much as we feel we are in control, we inevitably are not. Yes, it is important to look at projections, weekly rankings, heck, even read this column. But in the end, we in this industry are all just making educated guesses before the next, unimaginable nonsense occurs. Looking directly at you, owners of Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Drew Brees and Jay Cutler.

Oh, and Matt Prater? I don’t care if it says the chef recommends the clams casino on the menu. If it smells a little funky, I am sure it isn’t fine.


Secret Fantasy Consultation Update

Remember a few weeks ago, when I wrote the column about my family member who I was secretly helping win the league her husband is in? Well, a few weeks in and it seems like every couple days I get something worth sharing here in this column, so I’ve decided to make it a weekly update with my favorite moment she shared with me over the last few days.

Her team is struggling at the moment, despite being one of the highest-scoring teams in her league. Her sketchiest position? Quarterback, where we went late, ended up with Eli Manning and have played whack-a-mole trying to find a good, young backup. After a few weeks of riding the Teddy Bridgewater/Marcus Mariota train, she has decided to target Russell Wilson, who is currently owned by her sister-in-law.

“I think I can get her to trade him to me,” she texted. “I will just tell her I will babysit her kids one day this week.”

First we had Deflategate. Now we have Babysitgate. If she’s learned one thing in her first season as a team owner, it’s that there are no rules.

“You got to do what you got to do in fantasy football,” she said with a shrug. Play on, playa.


Hits – Players who continue to produce

Alright, so both Michael Crabtree and Matt Jones had bad weeks. Maybe I am just being stubborn, but I am still going to go ahead and say they were still both hits. Each got ample workload and playing time, and clearly have some semblance of trust with the players and coaching staffs. Will Jones be punished for his goal line fumble? Perhaps. But it won’t be for long. Sell off if you feel the need, but I still like both long-term.

Allen RobinsonA few of you out there may be a bit perplexed by Robinson’s neighborhood after the up and down Weeks 1-3 he’s had.

Jaguars WR Allen Robinson.

Let me make it perfectly simple for you: the kid is good. Really good. And he is going to have more Week 2’s (6 catches, 155 yards, 2 TD) than Week 3’s (4 catches, 68 yards) in his future. Do. Not. Panic.

Tyrod Taylor – Well, I think we need to start acknowledging that there is an actual quarterback in Buffalo, a sentence we haven’t said since Buffalo won the silver medal and a participation ribbon four years in a row two decades ago. Taylor looks legit (dial up the corner touchdown fade he threw to Chris Hogan if you have any doubts) and has that fantasy combination of nougat and caramel – running and passing – from the quarterback spot that can produce big point totals each week.

About MJ Brown

MJ Brown has been an avid fantasy football keeper league enthusiast and player for over a decade. A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, MJ delivers weekly content on multiple platforms, bringing a combination of advice, humor, and tips to keep your team at the top of your league.