By: C.J. Doon
Picture this: You’re a professional football player in the NFL, and you play for one of the worst teams in the entire league. Your team has a record of 1-10, your fans have resorted to wearing paper bags over their heads, and Brady Quinn is taking snaps as your starting quarterback. Things aren’t exactly peachy.
But you’re a professional, so you play hard every snap because at the end of the day, you still need to earn that paycheck. You run for over 100 yards again this week, and yet your team still comes out on the short end of the scoreboard. You hang your head and walk off the field, trying desperately to erase the sting of another loss.
After the game, you see a tall, lanky figure schmoozing, sporting that goofy smile that has earned him a lifetime of fans. He’s won a super bowl, has been voted league MVP four times, and is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He’s none other than Peyton Manning.
“Hey Peyton!” you say, approaching the long-time Colt, now-turned-Broncos quarterback. “Do you think I could…umm…how do I say this…get your autograph?”
“Sure thing pal,” he says, scribing his elegant signature on a beat-up game program you found in the parking lot. “What’s your name kid?”
“Oh, I’m uh, Jamaal Charles. I play running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. You know, the team you just beat 17-9? Didn’t you see me out there?”
“No, I’m sorry, I can’t say I did,” he says. “You play offense huh? You see, I never get to see the opposing offense on the field. Too busy on the sideline studying the defense, you know?”
“Yeah, I get that,” you say, with a puzzled look on your face. You think to yourself, “Studying…defense? What does that mean? All our coaches tell us to do is to go out there and have fun! Hmm…maybe I should bring this up in the next meeting! Coach Crennel would love it!”
You snap out of your day dream. “So, hey, do you think you can write ‘To Mrs. Charles’ on there? This is kind of embarrassing, but it’s for my mom. She’s a huge fan.”
“No problem kid,” he says, handing the program back to you. “Hey, cheer up, pal. The season’s almost over. But I respect your dedication. It must be tough to be a fan of this team, right?” he says with a laugh as he walks away.
“But…but…I’m not a fan!” you yell back at him, as he disappears into the crowd. “I’m the running back!”
He laughs as he gets into the driver’s seat of his new Buick Verano. “Sure, whatever kid. Tune, XM60, Outlaw, Hut Hut!”
A Not-So-Happy Thanksgiving
Ahh, Thanksgiving. It’s one of the most wonderful holidays of the year. Food, family, and football are abundant, and as an American, I couldn’t be happier. Jets fans? Ehhh….not so much.
The New England Patriots dismantled the Jets on Thanksgiving night, defeating New York 49-19 in a game that, for once in my life, made me feel pity for the Jets.
After playing the first quarter to a 0-0 tie, the Patriots decided to start their Thanksgiving feast. New England scored 35 points in the second quarter – the second largest point total ever recorded in a quarter in NFL history – including 21 points in 52 seconds. After Tom Brady’s 83-yard touchdown pass to Shane Vereen made the score 14-0, the Jets started their own drive at the 20-yard line. After a first down completion, Mark Sanchez took the snap and turned to hand the ball off to his fullback. One problem: the fullback was nowhere to be found. In what Sanchez called a “mental error”, he turned the wrong way, and was forced to run the ball himself.
But wait, there’s more! On a play that will live in infamy, Sanchez takes a few steps towards the line and is immediately knocked to the ground by the…umm…derriere of his 6’ 3”, 305 lb. left guard Brandon Moore, popping the ball loose from Sanchez’s arms. The ball is recovered by Patriots’ safety Steven Gregory, who runs it all the way back into the endzone. Touchdown Patriots.
On the ensuing kickoff, running back Joe McKnight fields the kick a few steps inside his own endzone, brings the ball out to the 20-yard line, and BAM! McKnight is hit by cornerback Devin McCourty, and the ball flies into the arms of Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman, who motors into the end zone for the touchdown.
Thousands of Jets fans that just sat down hoping to see an entertaining game were then forced to watch 36 minutes of misery. Happy Thanksgiving!
With that bit of NFL news, let’s move on to this weeks Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em!
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars – Yes, Shorts does play for the Jaguars. And yes, Chad Henne is throwing him the football. But that shouldn’t scare you away. Short has recorded double digit fantasy points in 5 of the last 6 games, and has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games. He is a big play receiver, yet is amazingly only owned in 51% of all leagues. If you’re in need of a second wide receiver before the playoffs, look no further than Shorts.
Bryce Brown, RB, Philadelphia Eagles – The rookie out of Tennessee got his first chance to start on Monday Night Football, and boy did he deliver. Brown rushed for 178 yards on 19 carries, and scored the only two touchdowns the Eagles could muster all night. It looks as if LeSean McCoy will be out for the second straight week against the Cowboys with a concussion, so look for Brown to continue to put up big numbers as the Eagles feature-back.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants – Bradshaw ran for 58 yards and a score, including 2 catches for 61 yards on Sunday night against the Packers. However, the big news out of New York is that his backup Andre Brown suffered a broken fibula in the win, and is doubtful to play the rest of the regular season. This leaves Bradshaw as the Giants go-to guy, which will lead to in increase in carries for the remaining five games. Bradshaw has been relatively quiet since his 200 yard outburst against the Browns in Week 5, but will see a big increase in points this weekend when he gets the lion share of the carries in the red zone.
Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts – What’s with all the fuss about Ballard? The Colts’ running back has only scored in double digits once this season, and yet he is owned in 63% of all leagues. He has put up solid numbers the past few weeks (7, 5, and 9, respectively) but has not shown any ability to find the end zone. Veteran running back Donald Brown has been steadily receiving more carries, which could mean Ballard’s role is diminishing with the Colts. If you want to have any hope of winning your league this season, Ballard should not be part of your plans.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots – Remember when the Patriots signed Lloyd, and everybody thought he would become a fantasy stud with Brady throwing him the football? Well, that just hasn’t happened this season. Lloyd has recorded 8 or fewer points in 7 of the last 8 games, and has only three touchdowns on the season. The Patriots offense is designed to attack the middle of the field with tight ends and slot receivers, which leaves Lloyd on an island by himself outside the numbers. It is head-scratching just how little the Patriots utilize Lloyd’s deep threat ability. I keep hoping to see if Lloyd can deliver a breakout performance, but until he can prove that he can become a consistent target, leave him on your bench.
Michael Bush, RB, Chicago Bears – Bush performed admirably in Matt Forte’s absence against the Vikings, rushing for 60 yards and two touchdowns. However, for those of you looking to cash in with Bush for the second week in a row, think again. After re-spraining his ankle against the Vikings, Forte looked to be doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. Now reports are indicating that Forte is not expected to miss Sunday’s contest, which automatically eliminates Bush’s chance for another big day.