Collinsworth Invitational: A fantasy revenge game
(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.)
Back in Week 6, I made my second trade in the Collinsworth Invitational as I tried to improve a lineup that had been weakened with injuries. With Jason Cole from Bleacher Report as my trading partner, I sent him LeGarrette Blount and Ryan Mathews in exchange for LeSean McCoy. The trade has been good and bad for both of us. While I expected Blount to regress with the return of Tom Brady, he has kept it up, and amazingly has now scored touchdowns in eight of nine games this season. On the flip side, Mathews has seen his role diminish slightly with a confusing time share where Darren Sproles has been getting the apparent RB1 snaps. On my side, McCoy delivered a monster game the week he joined my team but then missed the next two games with injury before coming back to help me win Week 9. Despite the results not being a complete home run for me, it is still a trade I make again.
At least, I thought that until Week 10.
In Week 10, I faced my trade partner Jason Cole in a game that I really wanted to win. A victory would move my record to 7-3, giving me a little buffer for making the playoffs. And it was a game I should be in position to win with Jason’s record of 2-7 coming into the game. However, the players that I had traded away seemed to have other plans in mind for the week. For starters, McCoy was on a bye, so I was playing without my top running back.
Things only got worse from there.
The Patriots were facing the Seahawks, and Tom Brady had thrown more than 50 passes in each of his last two games against Seattle. This gave me confidence that Week 10 would not be a “Blount game” and Brady would once again air it out. I could not have been more wrong. Instead, Blount rushed for 69 yards and 3 touchdowns, putting up 24.9 fantasy points for the week.
In other action, the Eagles were facing the high-scoring Falcons. In this game, Jason had three players from the Eagles in his starting lineup including Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, and my former running back Mathews. While I was happy about his concentration of players, the real confidence boost game when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson finally acknowledged that Darren Sproles had emerged as the starting running back for the team. But if I was wrong about the “Blount game,” I was really wrong about Mathews. I thought the passing attack of the Falcons would force the Eagles to play from behind, putting Sproles on the field even more than usual. Instead, Mathews ended up rushing for 109 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 30 yards receiving. All of these were season highs that resulted in 27.9 fantasy points, a number equal to the combined total of his scoring in the previous four weeks.
Along with these two breakout performances by my former players, Jason also had Aaron Rodgers as his starting quarterback, who put up 35.25 points. That meant that the combined scores of Blount, Mathews and Rodgers was 88.05 points. As you can see below, my team of 10 players could only muster 87.9 points.
Three players beating a team of 10 is bad. No doubt about it. But if you look closely, you will see that Jason added insult to injury. He was so “confident” in his team this week that he did not even start a third wide receiver for the week. He spotted me an extra player and still delivered a complete and utter beatdown.
Fantasy football gods can be cruel.
(Note: This column will take the Thanksgiving week off, and will return Dec. 3.)