Okay people, I have to get something off my chest. The NFL this season is driving me fucking crazy. Up is down, in is out, and north is left. Nothing that is happening makes the least bit of fucking sense. I don't know if the lockout just fucked with everybody something fierce, or if the football gods are angry about said lockout and are just royally fucking with all of us fans because none of this shit makes any sense. The NFL has worked long and hard to get to a place where each year has surprises and the whole "Any given Sunday" concept and all that, but this is ridiculous.
For example, from one year to the next, about half the teams who make the playoffs one year will make it the next and that's good because it keeps the game from being boring and gives fans hope for the future even if their team sucks in a given year. But this year, there look to be very few teams who made the playoffs last year who even have a shot this year. As of this writing (the night before the Sunday of Week 10, so most teams have played 8 games) if the regular season ended today, the only defending division champ who leads their division now is New England (and even that division is a three-way tie which includes perennial bottom-dwellers Buffalo who actually holds a tie-breaker over New England by virtue of a head-to-head win). Of the other seven current division leaders, only the Packers and Saints even made the playoffs last year.
Think about this, if the regular season ended today, the Bills, Bengals, Lions, and 49ers (none of whom have been contenders in years) would all be in while pre-season favorites such as the Steelers, Eagles, Falcons, Chargers, and Colts would all be out. And the Lions were the next to last undefeated team in the league, when they went to 5-0 before finally losing a game in the last minutes to the suddenly 7-1 49ers. Speaking of that game, what does that say about the year in football when one of the biggest rivalry stories of the year is between the Lions and 49ers coaches who got into a post-game fight over a handshake?
And then there's the Colts. After a decade of winning 10 or more games every year almost without effort, and only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the Colts are 0-9 and look like a historically bad team. And the reason? They lost Peyton Manning, probably for the year, who before this year hadn't missed a snap due to injury in his entire career. Now all of a sudden the Colts are talking about dumping Manning after this season if they get the top pick and are in the position to draft Andrew Luck. Who the hell saw that one coming?
And even from week to week it seems teams can't figure out whether they're good or bad. Take the Eagles who start slow, then get hot and blow the Cowboys totally out of the water, only to lose in embarrassing fashion at home to the Bears on national TV. Then there's the Chiefs who lose their first three games with two completely lopsided games (41-7 against the Bills and 48-3 against the Lions), then suddenly right the ship, score a few blowouts of their own and look like they're crawling back into contention, only to get smacked back down in a 31-3 embarrassment against an 0-7 team (Miami). You figure this shit out, because I give up. Don't get me wrong, some unpredictability is good, but this has gone beyond unpredictability into complete and unnatural anarchy and it's turning my hair white.
And then there's fantasy football and my God, what a clusterfuck. You expect some surprises every year. A rookie or two is going to end up with a solid year, a few veterans are going to be knocked out for the year, and a few backups are going to get a shot and bust on the scene with a Pro Bowl-caliber year. But this year, shit has gone completely haywire. Through 9 weeks, do you know who the #2 fantasy quarterback is in standard scoring formats? Cam Newton. Yeah. Cam Fucking Newton. You know, that rookie who the experts didn't think would be any good at the NFL level. When has a rookie quarterback ever, EVER been a viable fantasy option? Never, that's when. In fact, before this year, in NFL history there had only been two games in which a rookie quarterback threw for 400 yards. Cam Newton threw for 400 yards in his first two games. Cam Fucking Newton. Are you fucking serious? And don't even get me started on fucking Philip Rivers, who has completely fucked me in the ass this year and didn't have a good game until I gave up on him and benched him, so he responded by throwing for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Packers while sitting on my fantasy bench. Fucking asshole.
But the running back list is even better. Jamaal Charles who's been a fantasy stud in recent years is out for the season, but some injuries are to be expected. What isn't to be expected is Chris Johnson, who is only two years removed from that magical 2000 yard, can't even manage three yards a carry and has yet to post a 100 yard game. What the fuck? Did he decide he got paid so he doesn't care now? Shit, my fat ass could at least get 3 yards a carry. Well, maybe not, but just about every other running back in the NFL besides him can. But do you know who is having a good year? Fred Jackson, who's second in fantasy points among running backs. Yeah, Fred Jackson. Oh and then there's Darren Sproles sitting at ninth on the list, despite the fact he isn't even the Saints starting running back and barely runs with the ball anyway. Where the fuck did that shit come from? Of course, this has been a really good year to be a backup running back, because of the top twenty-five fantasy backs in the game, five (Sproles, Ben Tate, Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert, Pierre Thomas) aren't even starters on their own damn team. And yes, the Saints have two backup running back with more fantasy points than their usual starter (Mark Ingram). Really? Really? And then there's Willis McGahee, who hasn't been fantasy relevant in years sitting at 18 on the list.
Speaking of over-the-hill has-beens coming back with a vengeance, how is it that Steve Smith is #4 in fantasy points among wide receivers, when last year he wasn't even the top Steve Smith in the game? Oh that's right, because he has Cam Fucking Newton throwing him the ball. Seriously, I don't even want to get going on the receivers because I'll just give myself an aneurysm. The name of the game seems to be inconsistency. Like Vincent Jackson, who followed a three-touchdown game up with a one-catch game. That was pretty awesome. It's like unless you have one of a select handful of guys, you can pretty much expect that your receivers will have one really good game followed by two to three weeks of shit, so you're in the position of playing eeny-meeny-miny-mo and hoping the guys you happen to start have one of their good weeks and the guys on your bench don't have the only good game they'll have for the next three weeks from your bench.
It's fucking maddening. I've never seen a fantasy year in which so many top-level guys either got hurt or were such huge disappointments, while so many rookies and no-namers came from nowhere to dominate. I mean what can you really say about it in a year in which a fantasy lineup consisting of:
QB: Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers
RB: Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Rashard Mendenhall, DeAngelo Williams
WR: Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Miles Austin, Reggie Wayne
TE: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark
K: Stephen Gostkowski
would get completely blown out of the water by a lineup consisting of:
QB: Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford
RB: Fred Jackson, Darren Sproles, Willis McGahee, DeMarco Murray
WR: Steve Smith, A.J. Green, Victor Cruz, Eric Decker
TE: Jimmy Graham, Fred Davis
K: Jason Hanson
I really can't say it any better than that. This is the single most fucked-up, upside-down, ass-backwards fantasy year I can ever remember. When people who drafted solid veterans are losing and people who drafted rookies and scrubs are being rewarded for sucking. It's driving me fucking crazy. I'm in six leagues, and I am in first place in two of those six leagues, but those two leagues are the ones I thought I had the least chance with looking at my Week 1 lineup. And the ones I thought I had the best chance to dominate, I'll be lucky to make the playoffs. But I guess I don't deserve to make the playoffs. After all I wasted my draft picks on scrubs like Peyton Manning and Andre Johnson instead of quality guys like Darren Sproles, Victor Cruz, Eric Decker, and Cam Fuckin Newton.
dipshits who drafted Cam Newton don't think this has been a fucked-up year