As much as it pains me to write this article, I am the owner and sole proprietor of the worst fantasy football team ever. In the history of the world. And I know it. And it sucks.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking there’s no way that my team could be worse than your team from back in the day. At some point in time we’ve all been victimized by some bad fantasy teams. Maybe we pooched the draft, or started the wrong guys, or simply were plagued by bad luck or injuries. We’ve all had our ups and downs from season to season, but no one—I assure you, nobody—has had a season as bad as the 2009 Compton Honkies.
It’s not for lack of trying. Heck, some guys realize their teams suck early on and abandon them like a newborn Chinese daughter. They fail to respond to trade offers, refuse to update their lineup, and generally bring down the entire league with their lack of participation.
I’m the complete opposite of that. I’m in a league with 11 of my friends (it’s a keeper league, as well, so we retain three players from year-to-year) and we treat our teams with the same care and precision as real-life NFL owners.
We post upwards of 100 messages a week on our league message board, issue “press releases” via email to our fellow owners, trade draft picks years in advance, and keep the incentive up by playing for money. We’re basically nerds, and we’re okay with that. Everyone needs to be passionate about certain things, and it’s probably better that we’re into fantasy football and not Magic cards or something. At least we can still maintain wives and girlfriends through all this. Not so, in the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
So here we are, six weeks into the season, and my Honkies are winless. This has to be some sort of aberration. A year ago, my team played for the PFL (Pearce Fantasy League) championship. The year before that we finished in fourth place. We’re not bad, we’re just unlucky. To the Nth degree. Let’s try and understand how we got to this point.
From the very beginning, I made some bad decisions. First off, I went to the grocery store and purchased a fantasy football preview magazine. In 11 years of playing fantasy sports, I had never once spent money on a fantasy publication. For whatever reason, I changed my tactic this year and emptied my wallet on the reading material.
To make matters worse, after I finished reading Sports Illustrated’s preview magazine, I went and bought the ESPN version, as well. Two fantasy football previews, both of which trumped the likes of Josh Morgan as a candidate for Sleeper of the Year. He’s still asleep, so does that mean he’s winning?
After six weeks of games, I’m upset at the Matthew Berrys of the world for getting paid to make ridiculous prognostications that have little basis and end up being flat wrong. At the end of the year, it’d be nice if SI and ESPN could print retraction issues that simply list all the fantasy players they were dead wrong about. Put Morgan on the cover, along with a shot of the Titans defense, Kevin Boss, Anthony Gonzalez, and Derrick Ward and you have your Fantasy Football Recap: We’re Really Sorry edition.
More than that, however, I’m mad at myself for not trusting my own judgment. Sometimes we put these highly-paid journalists on a pedestal. We shouldn’t. In my experience, these guys are just like us, except in most cases they’re a little socially retarded. In other words, they can write, but they can’t necessarily interact with humans. Does that make them useless fantasy football experts? Maybe. It means they might have trouble taking a quote or some verbal dialogue from a conversation with a team or player and translating it to the pages of a preview mag, and that should be enough to convince us to stay away.
I mean, let’s face it. I knew Anthony Gonzalez would suck. I knew it. And I drafted him anyways. And then he got hurt. He might end up being a fine receiver in the long run, but this year is a bust, no matter what he does from here on out. My best judgment said, “Don’t draft Gonzalez.” But the preview magazines were so high on him that I couldn’t resist. Idiot. The same can be said about Josh Morgan and Derrick Ward. I flat-out blew it.
But like I said before, the Honkies’ downfall is more complex than just a busted draft or a key injury here or there. In many cases, I ended up with usually-reliable players who just couldn’t cut the mustard this year.
There was Greg Jennings, who suddenly turned into a deep threat receiver and nothing else.
There was Donovan McNabb, who got hurt and forced me to start the abysmal Trent Edwards. Edwards, in turn, was supposed to be much-improved over last year, and with the addition of Terrell Owens, how could he not be?
There was Ward, who immediately got stuck in a timeshare with Cadillac Williams of all people, begging the question as to why the Bucs went out and signed Ward to a big free agent contract if they had no intention of giving him first-string reps all the time.
There was Boss, who was supposed to be Eli Manning’s safety net in the red zone, but instead has been treated like a redheaded stepchild all season long. The fact that he’s redheaded doesn’t help, either.
There was Morgan, an absolute nonfactor in San Francisco’s molasses-like offense. It’s like they play their home games in quicksand or something.
There was Darren McFadden, who sucked and then quit sucking by getting hurt.
There was Felix Jones, who is quickly establishing himself as the most fragile player in the NFL.
There was my keeper at running back, Steve Slaton, who eventually got traded for LeSean McCoy and Terrell Owens, neither of whom have done much for my team in the process.
There was Devin Hester, who one of my fellow league owners once dubbed a “cock-tease,” tantalizing us again this year with his potential, then failing to live up to it on the gridiron.
At any given point in the season there were a handful of replacements.
There was Cadillac Williams, great one week, then horrible the rest.
There was Fred Taylor, who promptly got injured just days after I added him to the roster.
There was Michael Bush, Jamal Lewis, Mike Bell, LenDale White, and even Derrick Ward again, after I dropped him early on. It has become a circus in Compton.
Then yesterday it all came to a head.
At 0-5, I went into my Week 6 matchup expecting a close battle against a less-than-formidable foe. He was projected to put up 89 points. My Honkies were slated for 72. Not bad, considering my season high in points up to that point was 65.
Instead, everything went to hell. I lost by 101 points. I put up a record low (in the history of the entire league, that is) 31 total points. My leading scorer was tight end Greg Olsen, who managed 11 points. My number two was kicker Lawrence Tynes, with 10. Nobody else reached double figures. One player put up zero. My quarterback registered minus six. It was a joke.
In fact, I’d wager that it might be the worst starting lineup in the history of fantasy sports, assembled by someone trying to win, that is. Perhaps even more glaring than that is the fact that ESPN projected me for 72 points, when I managed 41 less than that. How do these guys have jobs?
Here’s the complete starting lineup, enjoy it:
QB – Mark Sanchez, -6 points
RB – Derrick Ward, 0 points
RB/WR – Jamal Lewis, 3 points
WR – Braylon Edwards, 4 points
WR – Nate Burleson, 4 points
TE – Greg Olsen, 11 points
D/ST – New Orleans, 5 points
K – Lawrence Tynes, 10 points
You’re probably asking yourself why I didn’t start different players. Sadly, my bench only registered 14 points, so it’s not like I had options. Here’s what the second-string looked like:
RB – Felix Jones, BYE
WR – Percy Harvin, 1 point
RB – LeSean McCoy, 1 point
WR – Terrell Owens, 1 point
RB – Mike Bell, 9 points
RB – Beanie Wells, 2 points
RB – Darren McFadden, INJ
Take Mike Bell out of the equation, and the bench only musters five points. Just flat-out ugly.
At this point, the only thing I have left to play for is next season. And pride, I suppose. But in a keeper league, you’re better off swallowing your pride and building towards the future, and that’s what I intend to do. Not that I have too many tradeable commodities. But we’ll see what happens.
Frankly, if this wasn’t my team going through this plight, it would probably be comedic. When I checked the box score of my game yesterday afternoon and saw 17 points on the board, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was so miserable it was funny, like Not Another Teen Movie. And I’m okay with being the laughingstock of the league. Someone has to fill that role from time to time, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be me.
I like to think I’m more knowledgeable than this, but when it comes to fantasy sports, it really is a crapshoot. You win some, you lose some, and at the end of the day you realize it’s just one big made-up game.