Screenshot by Ryan Lanxton
If I had known I was going to end up with such a mediocre fantasy football team, I probably would have just kept my $50 at the beginning of the season. I knew I was most likely destined for failure when I saw I had the tenth pick out of the twelve people playing.
But I wasn’t raised to be a quitter. There’s no way it could be as bad as my three-win season last year. Or could it?
The draft didn’t turn out too well and looking back, the three Coors Lights I had beforehand must have really gotten me hammered because that’s the only answer I can come up with for the dumbass picks I made.
When I think about it, I see a lot of myself in my second-round pick, Joe Mixon. We’ve both played well before but are suffering heavily from our awful teams. But at least my team has a sliver of hope, unlike the Bengals.
Regardless, I’ve lumbered on. Each Sunday, I frantically click through the Yahoo Sports app (the only thing Yahoo is good for in 2019) while at work and see how the scores are shaping up.
I may have no reasonable shot at winning, but there I am, still rooting my team on. It’s a lot like being a Lions fan: getting your hopes up, realizing they’re awful, telling yourself “maybe next year” and then accepting you’ll just have to enjoy the mediocrity while you can.
But miraculously, my team hasn’t imploded–yet.
As the weeks have progressed, the true colors of my team have begun to show. One week I could beat the top-ranked team in our league and the very next I lose to the guy all the way in the cellar of the standings.
When I beat a team that consists of Christain McCaffrey and Mike Evans, two players who are having career seasons, it put a Cheshire Cat-like smile on my face. But then I lose to the likes of Damien Williams and Will Fuller the following week.
In short: these guys suck and they shouldn’t be on anyone’s team, let alone sitting there in a lineup beating me.
But the absolute worst outcome I could have ever imagined was the Brutus-killing-Caesar-like betrayal that Jordan Howard inflicted on me.
My relationship with Howard has been as erratic as his performance. Every year, he seems to end up on my team one way or another, and every year he finds a way to disappoint me. But maybe this year will be different, I tell myself. It can’t happen again. The law of probability states that if I say it enough times, Howard will eventually perform.
Sure enough, he has remained consistently inconsistent. It seemed like every week I didn’t start him, he did great. Every week I did, he sucked. I was absolutely ridiculed by my friends for still believing in this guy to the point where it has now become an inside-joke among us.
The ridicule must have finally worn me down as I decided to bench him, losing faith after his dismal performances the previous weeks.
He ended up scoring 31. Thirty. One. He usually averages anywhere from six to ten points, so scoring over 30 while on my bench felt like a personal betrayal from a guy I’ve come to know so well. Thanks, asshole.
But what made up for all of it is the win I got in week nine.
I was facing Adrian and his top-ranked team. Somehow, despite having one of the worst teams in the league, I’d fought tooth-and-nail to stay in the game. I guess the constant complaining and yelling at my phone was working.
His team had underperformed and I had good scores come from Philip Lindsay (whom Adrian had traded to me a few weeks prior) and Howard (finally). Adrian is the one who gives me the most grief about Howard, so this game was starting to feel personal.
But I was still down 13.5 points going into the Monday night game. I had one player left: my kicker Brett Maher. Maybe the gods of fantasy football were now testing my faith by having to rely on a kicker to win?
The beginning looked to be going well as Maher had a great opportunity to score a quick five points in the first quarter. But he missed the kick. I mean, he seriously missed it when he was supposed to make it, how dare he. It’s not often kickers get a chance to score five points at once very often and this one in particular stung.
Everything suddenly looked bleak as the second quarter was winding down. But like a light at the end of the tunnel, Maher kicked a 35-yard field goal and a point after touchdown (PAT), scoring four points. A meager score but a good start.
But then it happened. God himself reached down and gave me a legendary break. The Giants foolishly placed their trust in a rookie quarterback to quickly march down the field and score before the end of the half, resulting in a crucial interception.
Putting Maher near the 40-yard line, he kicked another field goal to give me an additional five points, putting me at nine for the half. Four points separated me from glory.
After a few more great drives in the second half, Maher had racked up 13 points when the Cowboys scored another touchdown. Maher trotted out on the field, kicked another PAT, giving my fantasy team another win. A substitute kicker had carried me to victory. Sorry, Adrian.
It was a signature win for my team and has given me a hopeful outlook for the rest of my season. Currently sitting at 5-6, I’ve clawed back from the brink to try and take a playoff spot from my friends’ awful, low-down, no good, absolutely crap teams that do not deserve my spot. If you guys read this, you’ve been warned.