Monday night the Miami Dolphins looked like a team in danger of throwing itself out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, which has been dubbed by certain news outlets less wholesome than mine as the "Suck For Luck" campaign. In fact if it weren't for Brandon "the monster" Marshall's insistence on not scoring the 'fins might have had to settle for a 2012 quarterback controversy between Chad Henne and Matt Moore. The most controversial part of that would be that Matt Moore remains employed.
But Marshall, who had some pregame words with coach Tony Sparano clearly knew where the lines were: "The line is right there to your left Brandon, and please step on it if you get anywhere near the end zone. Thanks" At least that's the only sort of coaching I'd imagine can coax a professional football player to run directly toward the sideline with a clear view of the end zone with no defender within 6 yards of him and still the player loses balance and falls out of bounds seconds before making his team an afterthought in the race for Luck.
Former coaches and players alike have been screaming with much volume about how unthinkable it is that teams might "tank" their seasons in order to land the top pro prospect. To which I say: If it's so unthinkable then why is it so obvious that it's happening. Here's the thing, the NFL is a very hard environment in which to win. Many, many variables have to fall into place each week for one team filled with world class athletes and coaches to beat another team comprised of the same. Since everyone agrees this is true, why is it so hard to imagine that tanking involves anything more than playing at less than 100%?
Tanking doesn't mean that Curtis Painter is throwing interceptions on purpose. It doesn't mean that Brandon Marshall necessarily let himself get abused in the endzone by Darrelle Revis, it just means that of the of the 25 things a team needs to perform well to win a game, the team only performed 12 of them well. Can you tell players to go out and dance along the sideline like a ballerina before stumbling out of bounds? Probably not, but if you gameplan to throw the ball at Revis all night you are bound to come up with some picks - or in this case a 100-yard pick 6. Lord. Look, the Colts don't need to field a team made up of only 10 players to lose, but keeping Addai at home sure is a good start. There is nothing wrong with bad teams playing that way in search of a greater good. The teams with the best quarterbacks are relevant, the teams without are generally not. So go for it Colts, go Broncos, go Dolphins, go Rams, get after it Vikings. Luck can be on your side.
On to the week
>>I'd first like to aim a shoutout to a couple owners from my various leagues. To The Snackcake Poppers: congratulations on fielding a team that consisted of two Cardinals (Beanie and Fitz) two Chargers (VJax and Tolbert) and Andre Johnson. Those are mostly very talented players except the Chargers and the Cards were on bye weeks and Andre is injured and was never going to play last week. By setting that lineup you failed to give the best team in our league a run for his money. As the second place team in that league I am offended. And congrats to Los Gatos Grandes who, along with myself, is suffering a rough patch in our keeper league. He was able to get a win this week despite finally benching Mendenhall in favor of Packer James Starks just in time for Mendenhall to come out of hibernation for a 150 yard 1 TD day.
In fantasy football there are two tried and true paths to success.
1) Field an awesome team and destroy your opponents. This is the preferred path.
2) Field an adequate team and hope your opponents are horrid. This is my approach.
In the two leagues where I am not mopping up after the LeSean McCoys, Tom Bradys and Ahmad Bradshaws of the world I have put together perfectly fine teams that will win just as long as they don't run into anyone laying at the top of their game. Fortunately teams like this that aren't filled with superstars can find success in the playoffs when some superstars are resting their prodigious limbs for their own playoffs.
On a scale of 0-100 how ready for some football are the following people?
Jim Harbaugh - 100. When your handshake gets more media coverage than a dead race car driver you are supremely ready for some football.
Ryan Torain - 10. The Eagles run D has been trampled more than the streets of Pamplona, but you manage just 22 yards on 10 carries? If you don't rush for 200 against the Panthers your career should be boxed.
Ahmad Bradshaw - 88. Who needs Brandon Jacobs? Except for me and about 600,000 other fantasy owners, I guess no one does. The Giants sure didn't.
David Garrard - 0. Nah, being a professional QB is OK, but I think I'm going to have some back surgery and drink some Mai Tais.
Ron Jaworski - (-10). Jon Gruden gets a 5 year contract extension with ESPN's MNF crew and instantly lays into Jaws for comparing the 2011 Jets to the 2008 Jets. 5 more years Jaws? I don't think you have it in you.
Felix Jones - 6. It's not that Felix is injured all the time, it's just that he's got $4,000 to work through on his Healthcare Savings Account. IT'S TAX FREE MAN!
Fred Jackson - 110. For the first time since Jim Kelly a human is more important to Buffalo fans than a fried piece of chicken slathered in hot sauce.