Disposable Heroes: The Weekend That Was

After a couple of weekends touring the southeast in search of the worst offensive football in America (off the bucket list), I stayed home this time. Heck, on Saturday I barely watched a moment of pigskin, instead hanging out with friends at a Halloween event then playing Cards Against Humanity. Sunday was the typical morning of cleaning followed by mass grilling followed by somewhat mass drinking and watching Red Zone until I was called away for a non-football podcast. I know, what’s happening to me.

We’re living in a disposable society, and football only feeds that. In college football, it’s a rarity to get a player who’s in the spotlight for four years. Generally speaking you get a year or two at most and it’s on to the next. Is that why there’s more loyalty to the colors than the players, and is that part of the charm? It’s like trading in for a new model every two or three years, and they always have low mileage.

It appears that the Missouri football career of Maty Mauk is over. It was odd but somehow refreshing that Mauk’s previous one-month suspension came without any salacious details. A few days after he was reinstated, after the Tigers went nearly a month between touchdowns, the suspension continued, this time with details of too much partying, perhaps in part explained by his father’s recent surgery for colorectal cancer.

It’s not important if his actions were due to his father’s illness, youth, the extreme pressure of being the QB at a two-time defending SEC East program, or just a guy blowing off steam. What’s important is we’re done with him. Missouri has a new golden boy, a freshman QB named Drew Lock who, if the school is lucky, won’t have to be replaced for three or four years, which is an eternity in college. Their last names even rhyme so it’s almost like he’s morphing away slowly like Michael J Fox’s character in Back to the Future.

Now at best Mauk will get his act together, graduate, and transfer to another school next year where he’ll take his last shot as a college QB. Otherwise, he’ll just disappear, like all our other disposable heroes.

What’s more disposable than a fantasy asset? Well, in yesterday’s games a few players were hit with season-ending injuries. They will be replaced on rosters but their production can’t be equalled. The saddest might have been Steve Smith. He’s played with fire for so long that we thought it would never end. An apparent Achilles tear, as random injuries go happening when he planted his foot, untouched, will most likely end his run. We lost Arian Foster last week, another unique character. Le’Veon Bell, the most consistent RB in the game, tore his MCL (and we had to be reminded of the violence of the game as it was called “badly torn”). After Carlos Hyde was announced out, Reggie Bush got his latest shot to earn a starting gig. It came crashing to the turf as he tore his ACL and the college star who never quite reached those heights in the National Football League might be done for good.

It’s hard to see the names on your fantasy team as people, and I’m not jumping on a soap box to do so today. When a guy you expect to be a fantasy starter scores 11 PPR points in the past two weeks as Travis Benjamin has, you have to make tough choices. Don’t be surprised when he pulls a Willie Snead on you.

My fantasy season started poorly with my “set lineup” league teams starting 4-14. I’m about to go 6-0 the past two weeks. Yep, I need two more such weeks to go above .500.

Let’s finish with some quick takes:

— It was guaranteed that the Texans’ D, after giving up 35 points in the first half against the Dolphins last week (6 were a pick-six, not the defense’s fault), would completely shut down the Titans on Sunday. That was the easiest of moves I’ve made all year.

— With all of the major injuries happening, I’d beseech the fantasy Gods to spare us Todd Gurley. Hell, he’s probably going to get Jeff Fisher a contract extension all by himself.

— I know the Giants’ defensive TD was ruled a fumble, but I like to think that it was a pick-six, allowing Drew Brees to set the NFL record with 8 TD passes in a game. And only the Giants could lose two games on a punt return in the final minute of the game.

— Eli Manning had 16 points the past two weeks and 50 on Sunday. My other two QBs were on a bye or injured, so don’t go calling me a genius.

— I should have known Dez was going to be a decoy/not totally up to speed in his first game.

— I’ll go against the grain and say the NFL should have a 9:30 a.m. Eastern time game every week. Why not make it an all-Sunday affair, with a midnight start, a 3 a.m. start, a 6 a.m., and so on all the way through to an 11 p.m. game like the Monday Night doubleheader? Maybe the NFL could spare a few of their extra bucks for some divorce lawyers as well.

— Good bye, breast cancer awareness. Hello military. I would recommend donating to the Wounded Warrior project before buying a $30 “camouflage” hat if you want to make an impact.

— Peyton may outlive us all. The Bengals, Pats, and Broncos are making it at least a three-team race.

— The Colts are in first place whether they win or lose tonight.

May you have the waiver slot to pick up DeAngelo Williams, or already have him on your roster. We’re almost 8-13s through the fantasy season, so drink ’em if you got ’em.

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