FANTASY GRIND: So, did you win the title?
If you’re now a fantasy football champion, congratulations –
what a tough road to get through this season.
Even the last several minutes of the final of most fantasy
leagues, Monday night’s San Francisco-Atlanta game, had
title-swinging implications for plenty of fantasy owners.
Vernon Davis’ goose egg. Navarro Bowman’s interception returned
89 yards for a touchdown. And Matt Ryan’s seemingly meaningless
interception thrown on a desperation pass on the final play of the
game. The plays mattered in many leagues – in some, they meant the
difference between winning and losing.
”That’s been the best thing I’ve ever seen happen in a football
game,” coach Jim Harbaugh said of the interception. ”Might’ve
been close to `The Catch.”’
Harbaugh was referring to Dwight Clark catching a pass from Joe
Montana in the 1982 NFC championship game. But in fantasy, the
entire sequence was comparable to Peyton Manning sliding after a
28-yard run against Oakland in 2010 in the championship in many
Small swings – decimal-point swings, these days – all count.
Hope you made the right calls, even if the score didn’t go your
way. Mulling how to handle a Reggie Bush injury, a tough matchup
for Nick Foles or a waiver wire defense is hard work.
So if you were on the other end and are now questioning your
decision-making during certain moments this season, remember that
hindsight is not always helpful.
And if you’re still playing in Week 17, try to get that changed
in your league next year.
If you’re still playing in Week 17, hopefully you have a
two-week final. Week 17 is notorious for being tough to manage in
fantasy leagues, with NFL teams resting starters for the playoffs
or other reasons based on results around the league and complex
tiebreaker scenarios that at times make losing acceptable.
That’s why most leagues prefer a Week 16 finale, or a Week 17
finish only if the championship is two weeks long with the ability
to adjust starters in between weeks.
QB: Kyle Orton, Dallas. Chances are you don’t need too much
quarterback help if you’re in the championship game, either because
you picked up Peyton Manning or you’ve been fortunate with Nick
Foles, Andy Dalton or one of several quarterbacks. But if you’re
looking for a competent replacement for Tony Romo or don’t like
your guy’s matchup and your waiver wire is thin, Orton might be
good enough this week.
RB: James Starks, Green Bay. Look to see if Eddie Lacy practices
this week. If not, Starks could be in for a big week against
Chicago. Chicago has been the worst team in the NFL at defending
running backs, allowing an average of 24.4 points to running backs
in standard leagues this year.
WR: Mike Wallace, Miami. Again, if you’re in the title game,
hopefully you’re not desperate for a wide receiver. But experts
compiled by FantasyPros.com consider Wallace a top-20 option this
TE: Charles Clay, Miami. Don’t be discouraged if you own San
Francisco’s Davis (and you’re still playing for a title) – play him
over pretty much any tight end who isn’t Jimmy Graham. Clay,
however, has a good shot to cap a season well against the Jets and
go into next year as more than just one of a bunch of middling
RINGER TIME: MICHAEL FABIANO
NFL.com columnist Michael Fabiano avoids leagues that play in
Week 17, and thinks you should, too.
”It’s just not a good idea,” Fabiano said.
Fabiano, a New York Yankees fan, said it would be like Derek
Jeter leading the league in on-base percentage, then his team being
unable to use him in the World Series.
Players are rested late in NFL seasons for many reasons. Some
coaches want their guys fresh with playoffs coming up; others want
to avoid risking injuries to superstars when they’re eliminated
And Fabiano said he’s seen it happen as early as Week 16.
”You got there with these players, that’s not fair you’re not
going to use them,” he said. ”That’s a really hard pill to
swallow for me.”
Fabiano said he’s learned several things from 2013 that he’ll
take going into next year: Running backs are still the position to
draft early, and you can still wait on a quarterback, he said.
”Running backs are scarce,” he said, while valuable
quarterbacks will be around at discount prices.
”One of them is going to be RGIII,” he said, referring to
benched Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III.
I fell short in the one final I made in five leagues, in a
league with former journalism school colleagues. My score was
respectable – the second-highest in the league for the week – but
no match for the third-highest weekly point total of the year put
up by my opponent. I could blame Adrian Peterson or Dennis Pitta,
but it really wouldn’t have mattered against Jamaal Charles and
The loss wasn’t too bad, but kept me from bragging rights among
a group of tight friends I travel yearly with to spring training
games in Arizona. The other three guys each won separate leagues –
I didn’t. That’ll be fun come March.
But one of them, Newark, N.J.-based AP photographer Julio
Cortez, sent a text after shipping his first ever fantasy title in
his second year playing, in a league of New York-area
”Thanks for helping me draft. I have half my original team, so
it’s half your championship,” he said.
Thanks, dude. After this year’s ups and downs, I’ll take
whatever I can get.
Oskar Garcia is a news editor in Honolulu who spends way too
much time on fantasy sports with too little to show for it. He can
be reached at ogarcia(at)ap.org or on Twitter at