Collinsworth Invitational: On to the finals

Reader Dave Knox made the finals of the Collinsworth Invitational celebrity league, where he'll face NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

| 5 months ago
Dez Bryant

(Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Collinsworth Invitational: On to the finals

(Pro Football Focus gave subscribers the opportunity to win a team in the Cris Collinsworth Fantasy Football Invitational, playing alongside celebrities such as Warren Sapp, Jenny McCarthy and of course Cris himself. As the lucky winner of that contest, I will be writing a weekly piece that provides a view into what it’s like playing in a celebrity league and how I will use the PFF tools to give me an edge.)

During the Collinsworth Invitational draft, all of the participants were interviewed live on SiriusXM. When it was my turn, I was asked about my first-round draft choice of Dez Bryant after just missing out on A.J. Green. The draft had taken place just a few days after Tony Romo went down with injury and there was plenty of uncertainty around how Dak Prescott would perform. At the time, I said that I was bullish on Dez and believed that the rookie quarterback would feed him the ball as a safety net.

When Dez went down with an injury just a few weeks into the season, I was having serious doubts about the draft pick and my comments on air. But Dez started to turn things around when he returned from injury. With Ezekiel Elliott and Dak both posing a running threat to defenses, Dez has been free to be the dominant WR1 that we all know. In fact, he has been an integral part of my playoff push that resulted in a first-round bye.

That brings us to Week 16. In a make-or-break game, the Cowboys already had home-field advantage locked up. But I needed Dez to shine because I was playing for a spot in the Collinsworth Invitational finals. And wouldn’t you know it, the final player I had to determine the fate of my team was Dez Bryant, that very first member of my squad in the August draft.

Dez Bryant is an American hero

Going into the Monday night game, Karen Hunter was beating me 116-102. Each of us had one player remaining – Golden Tate on her side and Dez Bryant on mine. Since we play in a standard league with no PPR, a 14-point deficit is a pretty big hole for a wide receiver. I had resigned myself to a likely defeat, particularly when after two quarters of play, both of our receivers had 22 yards for the game.

But then Dez showed us why he’s one of the most explosive talents in the game as he caught two touchdowns and then threw his first ever passing touchdown in the NFL. The result was 23 points scored by Dez and a final score of Hard Knox Life 125, Karen Rebels 122.

When he won the Millionaire Maker earlier this year on DraftDings, Al Ziedenfeld proclaimed that Stefon Diggs was “an American hero” after his performance carried him to first place. After the play on Monday night, Dez Bryant is my American hero in fantasy football.

The Collinsworth Invitational Championship

On the other side of the bracket, Warren Sapp (Sir QB Killa) was facing off against our commissioner, Cris Collinsworth. Sapp had massive games from Andrew Luck, Jay Ajayi and Charles Clay that ended the late-season surge of Collinsworth.

That brings us to the championship game of the Collinsworth Invitational. In a true David vs. Goliath, the PFF subscriber goes against the NFL Hall of Famer. If the battle was taking place on the real football field, it would be no contest. But in the game of fantasy football, I have a fighting chance. Here are our lineups as of Friday afternoon, though obviously late-breaking Week 17 news could change things. Wish me luck in the finals.


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