Wednesday, November 25, 2015 • 08:21

I Kid You Not: reviewing last year's fantasy football picks

Just like SNL's Brian Fellow, I am an enthusiastic young man, but instead of animals, I love fantasy football.
August 21, 2013
I've had a few people ask me this week, in light of last week's fantasy football preview, what exactly qualifies me to write a fantasy football preview.

Much like the old Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Tracy Morgan as Brian Fellow on "Brian Fellow's Safari Planet," I feel as though I should have a disclaimer, like when the voice-over guy tells viewers that "Brian Fellow is not an accredited zoologist, nor does he hold an advanced degree in any of the environmental sciences. He is simply an enthusiastic young man with a sixth grade education and an abiding love for all of God's creatures."

Truth be told, I made it a little further than the sixth grade, but as it relates to football, fantasy sports, or any combination of the two, I can only claim to have enthusiasm and experience.

I got talked into playing fantasy football way back in 2003, otherwise known as the days when Saturday Night Live was still relevant. I think I drafted almost all of the Miami Dolphins I could get my hands on, because that's my favorite team, and I think the other owners in the league were happy to let me believe that this would help me in fantasy sports. Spoiler alert—it did not.

I'm still in that same league, with most of the same participants, and I've added a few more along the way.

Last season, I was in three different leagues and I finished in fourth, third and second by season's end.

I also made some predictions in this column last year, some bold and some not so much, relating to which players I wanted on my team and which players I didn't.

Here's to another season of talking about Robert Griffin III, our nation's new favorite pastime.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was, for the most part, pretty much right on most of my picks.

Without further ado, let's take a quick look at how that all turned out.

The Good

QB: I said I wanted one of three quarterbacks—either Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck, and they all had fantastic seasons. I actually drafted RGIII in all three of my leagues last year and, after gushing about his performances all year, my dear wife is probably sick of hearing about the man. After this off-season of injury reports and coach interaction reports, I'm getting a little sick of it myself.

I also said I didn't want Michael Vick, who wound up having a terrible year of fumbles, benchings and concussions. So far so good.

RB: LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Darren Sproles turned in some nice point totals from my "want" list, especially in leagues that reward points (or partial points) per reception, which is true of all three of my leagues. And I definitely didn't want Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner or Darren McFadden, which turned out just fine if your league doesn't reward points per injury, which is true of all three of my leagues.

WR: Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall were admittedly safe predictions, although Marshall's connection with Jay Cutler proved to be even more valuable than a lot of experts anticipated. Antonio Brown was a solid performer all season and Eric Decker had his moments. Not too shabby.

DeSean Jackson is probably pointing at the trainer, telling him to get ready to treat another injury.
For the guys I didn't want, I'm glad I didn't go anywhere near Greg Jennings, Malcolm Floyd or anyone on the Eagles. I compared the ligaments of the Philly receivers to licorice, which would be funny if it weren't so true and sad. If Desean Jackson plays all 16 games this season, I will gladly eat some licorice in his honor, and you can hold me to that.

TE: Jimmy Graham was a no-brainer, even though he had some health issues that kept him from racking up any astronomical numbers like he did in 2011. And I'm proud to say that the three highly-touted tight ends I didn't want (Jermichael Finley, Jacob Tamme and Kellen Winslow) were, in fact, terrible. Rooting for another person to fail—another reason to play fantasy football!

The Bad

QB: Matt Ryan and Tony Romo had pretty good years, even though I thought they'd be average. I still don't recommend pinning too many hopes on Romo, though. I don't think I've ever seen him not look like the lead character in the first 40 minutes of a fish-out-of-water movie. Romo is what you would get if Thomas Anderson never got out of the Matrix and became Neo, or if Harry Potter never went to Hogwarts.

RB: So that whole Kevin Smith thing didn't really work out. I am glad that Jahvid Best just went ahead and retired though. It's good to see concussion problems being taken seriously by star-caliber athletes in the prime of their careers.

Oh, and I didn't want Frank Gore. That was probably a miscalculation, considering the guy still keeps a running tally of the stats from the other running backs drafted ahead of him so he make sure he's better than they are. That's how you turn into Neo right there.

WR: Pierre Garcon had an 80-yard touchdown catch-and-run during Washington's first game, and I immediately took all the credit for nailing that prediction. Then he hurt his foot and had a subpar year, which I suppose is much like the fall that goeth after the pride. But imagine how much more we'd get to talk about RGIII if Garcon is healthy this year!

Tony Romo is all smiles on the bench because he's not in over his head until he gets onto the field.
I didn't really want Andre Johnson, and he ended up with a decent year. I definitely missed the injury thing though; he only had two bad games and finished as the No. 7-ranked wideout in my leagues, which is probably worth having around. I still think the Texans are boring though. Even the name Texans is bland, like we're just saying what something is. They're from Texas, so they're Texans. We might as well have a team called the California Human Beings someday. Yay, goooooooooooooo Humans!

TE: Apparently you can teach six-foot-six, or at least you can fail to teach a six-foot-six tight end how to catch a football with consistency. Kyle Rudolph had some big games, but he dropped a lot of passes.

I should have listened to my Jacob Tamme advice ("A former teammate of Peyton Manning does not an all-pro make") and applied it to Andrew Luck's college teammates, especially Coby Fleener.

* * *

All told, I consider the whole undertaking a success, mostly because I choose to look at the good in people, namely myself. And if I lower my own standards to make myself feel better, that has to be the key to overall success, right?

Hopefully, however, you judge these opinions, and the opinions of the more qualified fantasy football experts out there, with an appropriate level of scrutiny this season.

Do your homework, learn as much as you can about the players you're interested in, and if you have strong reasons for picking a particular player, don't be afraid to pull the trigger a little earlier than what conventional wisdom says.

Hello, is this Tony Romo? Oh, sorry, wrong number.
It's your team—you have to look at those names all season, so get the guys you want and don't look back.

At least, not until next year.

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