Monday, December 22, 2014

Odell me a story about Luck running dry

It must have been my wife’s idea of a cruel joke. The entire family was heading off to Six Flags on Sunday, followed by a Christmas show that night. Instead of sitting squarely in front of the NFL RedZone for seven hours, rooting my team to a championship, I would have to follow the score via smartphone.

Let’s just say daddy was a little cranky on the rollercoasters.

To their credit, my battle-tested starters built up a nice lead heading into the late-afternoon games. But my opponent still had Andrew Luck and A.J. Green to play. Fortunately, Odell Beckham, Jr. added to my cushion early in the Giants’ game, while Luck was getting off to another slow start. Then Dez Bryant broke free for a touchdown, and I dared to believe this could be my day.

Still, my good fortune couldn’t last forever. Luck had to get on track at some point, right? Yet every time he started generating some yardage, his fantasy points would disappear. One interception. And then another.

I began worrying that ESPN’s tracker was malfunctioning. Surely he can’t have zero points. Not this late in the game.

Indeed, it was an implosion that will live in infamy for countless owners of the Colts quarterback. It reminded fantasy veterans of his predecessor, Peyton Manning, who perennially hit the showers early in Week 16, just when his owners needed him most. But this was different. Luck was still on the field late into the third quarter, trying. He was simply failing. And flailing.

Meanwhile, Beckham threw a knockout punch that even the great A.J. Green could never overcome. I’m going to have a hard time denying OBJ Fantasy MVP honors in next week’s awards column. Surely he was the difference-maker in thousands of leagues over the last half of the season.

Tony Romo delivered some devastating blows himself. Jordy Nelson redeemed his Week 15 debacle for those who survived, while Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady disappointed. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch lifted millions of teams to victory Sunday night.

At least that’s what I gathered from the highlights I watched on well after midnight.

Victory is sweet no matter how it comes. But next year, honey, if you don’t mind, I’d rather not have to watch it play out in the form of black and white numbers on a five-inch screen.


You shouldn’t be playing for a title in Week 17. Hopefully you’re doing what a couple of my leagues do, which is playing a “Free For All Bowl,” in which every owner – even the regular season losers – sets one final lineup. Highest score gets five percent of the pot. It’s our little way of squeezing one more week of fun out of the fantasy season. And it’s one more chance for someone to win back their ante.

So, for those of you with something on the line, here’s a player to consider and a couple who would look better in your opponent’s lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Most of us thought the rookie would get his chance to take over for the aging Steven Jackson at some point this season. But the wily veteran got his second wind and held off the inevitable transition. Jackson’s quadriceps injury Sunday finally gave Freeman an opening, and he took advantage of it with an impressive scoring romp. Though the starter’s injury does not appear to be severe, Freeman could get another chance to showcase his skills in the Falcons’ finale.

Don’t be fooled

Luke Willson, TE, Seahawks. Two touchdowns and 139 yards receiving is pretty impressive stuff. But just three targets isn’t. Given the Seahawks’ clear preference for keeping the ball on the ground, Willson’s career day is unlikely to be repeated any time soon.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts. Oops, he just dropped another pass. Feel free to do likewise with him.

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