Fantasy Files: The Real and the Fake

Let’s start with the fake. After adding four owners to my Zealots 34 league last year in a bit of a purge, I lost one this year. I don’t feel bad for Chase, who abandoned his New York Giants after one year. He’s such a bandwagoner. He has been replaced by Chad Scott of Twitter. I call him that because all of our interaction has been on Twitter. I found my new owners through Twitter and in one case, the somewhat antiquated system of finding new owners in Zealots that includes an application longer than you filled out to get a job at McDonalds at 16.

Chad is a Seattle fan, and the first thing I always say to Seattle fans is “throwback jersey”. He takes my ribbing as well as one can after getting his heart ripped out last Sunday. He can take solace in thinking that his franchise’s rookie QB was playing as well as Steve McNair in his MVP season.

In my keeper league, the Commish has tried something new. He’s going to enact a “Hall of Fame”. Each champion from the past gets to nominate one player from the championship season, and no player can be in more than once. That means his BFF Tom Brady only gets one photo. Poor BFF.

I won the championship in 2000 and 2002. I only remember four players from my 2000 roster and the records have disappeared from our site’s history. I recall my “franchise player” Eddie George, first-round pick Brad Johnson, rookie Ricky Williams, and Warrick Dunn, who I traded for after losing Williams to injury. The fourth is the QB I picked up off waivers in Week 17, one Kordell Stewart. I always remember Stewart’s three TDs, but I didn’t remember his 50% completion rate or two interceptions, as the wonderful Pro Football Reference reminded me.

Stewart it is. For my 2002 squad, I’m all in with Daunte Culpepper, although I’m tempted to look up who my kicker was on that team just to mess with the Commish.

We have a couple of big football games this weekend, and they have been overshadowed this week by Lance Armstrong “coming clean” and a fake girlfriend hoax. Here’s what I think:

San Fran at Atlanta: San Francisco should get the edge because of their defense, but that depends on the health of Justin Smith. I am a Missouri alum, and only once in my history of watching the team have they had a good defense. Even so, four defensive players from Missouri will play key roles in this game. Can the Falcons “silence” the Pistol? That’s the best I can do. I think the offense can keep up, but that run game is going to be tough to stop. I’m looking forward to watching one more game of Colin Kaepernick, in part because he’s good and yet another young QB looking so much better than Jake Locker, and otherwise because he might be my keeper QB. If it comes down to a last-minute drive, that’s what Matt Ryan’s looking for.

Baltimore at New England: Can I overcome my distaste of both franchises and enjoy the game? Sure. Either I get to watch Brady and Belichick in the Super Bowl again, and yes, the Patriots can set the NFL record for most Super Bowl losses for a franchise (5) and tie the Cowboys for most Super Bowls overall (8). Random amazing stat is that the AFC East has lost a total of 11 Super Bowls, and the only team in the division without a Super Bowl loss is the Jets. Finally, they’re number one.

If there’s a drinking game for every Ray Lewis reaction shot, I will be spending my MLK holiday moaning in bed. Joe Flacco in the Super Bowl? One thing the Ravens do in their wild five-year playoff run is not get blown out. It will be close, in part because playoff blowouts seem to be a thing of the past. Both Championship games last year were three-point games, and both should have gone into overtime.

I’m thinking some Ommegang will do nicely for the games. And with the odd 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. starts, something that cooks slowly on the grill will taste quite nice.

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