Fantasy Football's Garbage Men
It is 6:45 P.M. on a November Sunday, and a few short weeks until the fantasy playoffs begin. Fourth quarter formalities are winding down in a mostly uneventful drubbing of a west coast team that is going nowhere fast. Dinner is cooling on the table, though wild horses – let alone the chiding of an irritated spouse – could not drag you away from the game.
With your opponent’s kicker still yet to play on Monday Night Football, a slim four point lead is about as tenuous as it gets. Darren McFadden is once again on the shelf (will you never learn?!), and you are rooting for every last meaningless yard that your final active player, Marcel Reece, can bleed from this cold corpse of a contest.
Garbage Time. We have all been there. It is a part of fantasy’s seedy underbelly that does not make the preseason magazine covers. Too rare are the weeks in which we cruise to comfortable victories before the prime time games kick off.
Stats produced when teams face significant second half deficits, and opponents deploying conservative defenses, play crucial roles in typically tight weekly matchups. Fantasy analysts mention these elusive points in passing, and as a way to either strengthen or weaken arguments about a particular player, but do they really matter? Oftentimes they are the difference between making the playoffs and playing for next year.