Fantasy games

This is the first post that I’ve written wherein I bitch about fantasy football, which kind of surprises me on a couple of levels. People, including me, love to complain about fantasy football and my team has been crap this year (Megatron is the shining exception), so I’m even more prone to piss and moan about my bad luck.

But that’s not what I’m going to do, at least not now. Yahoo’s fantasy football page, which I see often because my league is run through Yahoo, has had picture up of Chris Johnson for at least the past half day, labeled, “Titanic bust” (GET it?). Johnson hasn’t had a great year. And yet, in so many games, he’s been projected for 13, 14 or 15 points. That’s elite-back status, which Johnson, at least for the past year two years, hasn’t really deserved.

The projected point system that Yahoo uses is clownishly inaccurate. Rashard Mendenhall, who has been reaming me with the exception of that great game a few weeks ago, is another example. So is Matt Ryan, my quarterback*. The point rank system ostensibly takes into account factors that we all see and notice, but I really think this doesn’t translate very often. Chris Johnson, last year, was projected to put 14 points against the Steelers, which was laughable, given the fact that the Steelers had a great run D and the Titans had no quarterback.

Last week, for five days, Yahoo ran a headline that said, “Plaxico Burress definitely isn’t worth a spot on your starting team. Is he even worth a spot on your roster?” Plax caught three touchdowns last week. This week, for a few days, pics of Chris Johnson and a headline assuring us that Johnson was poised for a breakout game. He had a crap game. And now Yahoo’s calling him a bust, maybe just to cover their own asses.

But my main point, if anything, isn’t that I can predict games. It’s that no one can. I’m wrong all the time, but so are the Yahoo and SI people (witness one of their experts assuring me to sit Ahmad Bradshaw against the Bills, only for Bradshaw to have maybe the best game of his career with 3 TDs and 130 or 140 total yards). Predicting the NFL is so damn hard because there is a ton of parity and fantasy has so many variables.

If I’ve got Matt Ryan, here are some things I have to consider: 1. Matt Ryan sucks and will screw me over 1. Does the other team have a good defense, which’ll keep Matty Ice under wraps? 2. Does the opposing team have a weak run defense? Because if so, Michael Turner will get tons of carries. 3. How healthy are the Falcons receivers? Have they been playing well? 4. Does the other team have a good running game, because if they do, they can keep the ball on the ground and away from Matt. 5. Is Aaron Rodgers lining up under center for the opposing team? Because if he is, he’ll put up a ton of yards and fast, meaning that even if the Falcons get killed, Matt should put up some good yards because he’ll be throwing all game. 6. Is the other team playing at home? Are they a team like Seattle, who’s crap on the road but for some reason can beat way better teams with the 11th man? And on and on and on.

You can do this with every position player on your team if you’re a lunatic if you’re bored in class if you’re serious about fantasy football. Predicting fantasy football results is a nightmare, because, with precious few exceptions (love ya, Megatron), the fantasy points depend on the outcomes of games, which are thoroughly difficult to predict.

Look at Miles Austin this week. Terrific receiver. Dallas/Philly is poised to be a shootout, Miles is projected for 10ish points, but then (and this was delightful) Philly stomps on Dallas, who can’t move the ball 20 yards. And Miles gets a paltry 2.3 points. Who knew? Not me or Yahoo, that’s for sure. In the same vein, Buffalo’s D/Special Teams got me an astronomical 25 points because the Redskins offense is crap. Yahoo predicted Buffalo’s D for 10, which is good for a D, but not even close to what they scored. Now, a D/ST putting up a 25 spot is ridiculous and impossible to forsee, but that finicky sort of stuff happens constantly in the NFL.

All in all, I don’t really blame Yahoo for getting it wrong, because betting on the NFL is a mark’s pastime. I blame them for fooling me into believing in Rashard Mendenhall and I blame myself for being too dumb and needy to ignore the predictions. No doubt I’ll make the same mistake next week.

*OK, so at this point I did descend into just bitching about my team.

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