So here in the hallowed halls of the Fantasy Pros 911 headquarters, FP911 Towers, youâ€™ll find winding corridors of fantasy archives, chock full of interesting and enlightening tidbits. Tidbits dating back to the days when guys like QBâ€™s Steve Young, Brian Griese and Tommy Kramer, RBâ€™s Terrell Davis, Karim Abdul-Jabbar, and Terry Allen, and WRâ€™s Sterling Sharpe, Herman Moore and Carl Pickens inhabited fantasy rosters. Back when every draft was a live event in someoneâ€™s basement. Back when weekly scores were tabulated using the sports section of the USA Today. Yes folks, there was a time when the internet was not the informational pipeline for all things fantasy football. A $3.99 magazine was your key source of data and your draft day strategy bible. Incidentally, I find it hilarious that these same obsolete magazines now cost upwards of $8.99, come out in May and are useless by the end of training camp, but I digress.
It was a time when ALL the major networks ignored fantasy football. Believe it or not, at one time every media outlet turned a blind eye to all things fantasy. Silly and childish they said! If you called a sports talk radio show and asked a â€œshould I startâ€ fantasy question, they ridiculed you and hung up. During the games, there were no scrolling individual player stat updates, no halftime fantasy updates, nothing.
Then a light went on.
Someone discovered how much cash was changing hands. Someone discovered how much interest was being generated on a daily basis. Think about it – even the most mundane matchup seems to have a high level of significance and draws an audience just because of fantasy football implications. How many of you tuned in last night just because you had WR Larry Fitzgerald in your starting lineup?Â Exactly. Â Every game is relevant to someone. Times that by tens of thousands and you have instant RATINGS!
Why you are watching the game is of little concern to the network executives. The fact that fanatics will dole out hundreds of dollars to feed their fantasy fascination is.
Now a days, we are participants in a billion dollar industry. CBS, ESPN, NBC, even the NFL are on board. Rightfully so â€“ while some argue it distorts the view of the sport and its players, it is hard to ignore the buzz created and the money generated. That in itself speaks volumes.
Behind it all, from pontificating pundits to Start â€˜em / Sit â€˜em columns â€“ is history. It is the driving force, the crystal ball and the harbinger of common sense in the hobby we love.
God I feel old. Anyone want to trade for OJ McDuffie?
One of the most anticipated matchups of week five would have to be the New England Patriots led by QB Tom Brady hosting QB Peyton Manningâ€™s Denver Broncos. Â The last two times Brady has faced the Broncos he has thrown for 535 yards and four touchdowns. Manningâ€™s experience against the Patriots has been as a member of the Colts, but the numbers are hard to ignore. In his last three games against New England dating back to 2008, Manning has averaged 325 passing yards and has thrown TEN touchdown passes.
Two players walking the fine line between keeping their starting gigs and riding the pine have to be Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel and New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez. History has been kind to one, while being the exact opposite to the other. The last time Cassel faced the Baltimore Ravens, he was horrendous. He completed nine passes for 70 yards, no touchdowns and was intercepted three times. Sanchez fared much better as the recently maligned QB heads into Week five to face the Houston Texans. In 2010, he completed 22 of 38 attempts for 315 yards and three touchdowns. A similar performance would most certainly keep the loyal Tebowians quiet. For a week at least.
Even before the Ravens showed any signs of an aerial attack, QB Joe Flacco certainly gave the Â impression of one in recent games against the Chiefs. In 2009, Flacco completed 26 passes for 307 yards and tossed three touchdowns passes. When the two teams met in the 2010 playoffs, Flacco continued to torment the Chiefs with 265 passing yards and two more touchdown passes. This should be an interesting game for sure, taking into account the new approach to the passing game by the Ravens going against a desperate Kansas City Chiefs team at home.
Two players who will be looking for a change of fortune this week will be fill-in Tennessee Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger In 2008 Big Ben had a dismal outing against their cross â€“state rival, with only 131 passing yards, no touchdowns and one interception. I had to go back some way to find the last time Hasselbeck played against the Vikings, and that was in 2006 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. In that game, a spry Hasselbeck threw for only 127 yards and a single touchdown. Interestingly enough, more than 80% of his production went to his teammate, WR Darrell Jackson who had seven receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Jackson!!!
The passing game could be an issue this weekend as the Carolina Panthers face the Seattle Seahawks, but two of the premier running backs boast noteworthy performances the last time they got together. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch had quite an impact in 2010 with Â 21 carries for 83 yards and THREE touchdowns. Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart had a solid game himself that day with 21 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Two other backs who history is shining on would be Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson who gained a combined 102 yards and scored two touchdowns the last time he faced the Titans, and Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who mirrored Petersonâ€™s 102 combined yards and scored a touchdown against the Chicago Bears back in 2008.
Allow me to continue marching in the Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson negativity parade. The last time Johnson faced the Jets was in 2010, and he managed to grab four passes for 32 yards and no touchdowns. Yippee. Granted Jets CB Darrelle Revis is out, but as I mentioned in the Week 5 Bust piece, CB Antonio CromartieÂ should be more than up to the task. Keeping with whole “Futility” theme, Â the last time Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith faced the Seattle Seahawks, it was a less than stellar effort. The two teams got together in 2010 and Smith managed only three receptions for 54 yards and no touchdowns. Â I have a strange suspicion that history repeats itself this weekend.
Letâ€™s close out the receivers on a pleasant note. On Sunday night the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers do battle. The last time these two teams battled on the gridiron was back in 2008. On the disappointing side of things we have Saints WR Marques Colston. In a game where both quarterbacks combined for over 680 passing yards and five touchdowns, someone forgot to invite Coleston to teh party. Despite the aerial firepower, he managed only two receptions for 56 yards and no touchdowns. However, teammate WR Lance Moore made muchÂ Moore of an impact catching six passes for 90 yards and hauling in a touchdown.
To close things out, Iâ€™ll go out on a limb and say TE Antonio Gates will be looking for a repeat performance of the game he put up against the Saints in 2008. He had himself quite a game with six receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. The Baltimore Ravens are emphatic about TE Ed Dickson still being involved in the passing game, despite the emergence of fellow TE Dennis Pitta. If that is the case, Dickson will have to be more of a force than he was the last time the Ravens played the Chiefs. In 2010, Dickson managed a robust two yards on one reception. Well that is pleasing Â Â Â â€“ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â to NO ONE.
Well, back to my USA Today…
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