ESCANABA - Being at the top of the fantasy football standings is not easy. As I've said before, it's more luck than skill. This was one of those weeks when luck was more like 100 percent responsible for my victory, and man, does it feel good to pull a win out of your...back pocket.
For those who play, it's all but mandatory to watch Fantasy Now on ESPN2 at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. I'd be lost without it. Make it part of your game day ritual.
I looked at my roster and saw the dreaded "questionable" tag on two of my players, Michael Vick and Peyton Hillis. I expected Vick to be carrying the tag after his concussion, but Hillis was a surprise. Fantasy Now told me Vick had been cleared to play, so I rolled with him. It then told me Hillis was out with strep throat. Bummer.
Luckily in our league, the cutoff for waiver transfers and free agent pickups isn't until 15 minutes before kickoff. So I quickly went out and got Montario Hardesty, Hillis' backup. I didn't expect much from him, but I thought he'd put up more points than my bench running back, Joseph Addai.
Whoops, wrong about that one. Haredesty scored 9.50 points, Addai had 14.50 in his best game so far this season.
That was strike one.
Mere minutes into the first slate of games at 1 p.m., I found out my premier receiver, Kenny Britt, went down with what looked to be a serious knee injury. He left with half a point on my board.
That was strike two.
Around an hour after that, Vick left the game with what was reported to be a broken hand and only 8 points on my board...great. That was strike three.
Furthermore, my Philadelphia defense tanked and only scored me 10 points. Meanwhile my bench Arizona defense scored double that. Strike four? Ah hell, we've surpassed strikes. At this point I was dead in the water.
Or so I thought.
You see, something magical was happening in New England, and I'm not talking about the Buffalo Bills upset.
Wes Welker had the game of his life, catching 16 balls for over 200 yards and two touchdowns for 43 points. 43 points! It was unreal.
Still I took a glance at my opponent's roster and saw he still had his Dallas defense, Santana Moss, and Washington tight end Fred Davis left to play on Monday night. I was up by 13 points, but all I had was my third receiver Jabar Gaffney and my kicker Graham Gano. It didn't look good. Fantasy defenses alone average around 15-20 points.
Well, Moss had a decent showing, but Big D flopped and so did Davis. Meanwhile, Gaffney had a solid outing with 8 points and Gano kicked three field goals for 12 points. I won 108-99 when I had no right to.
It was revealed the next day that Britt tore his ACL and MCL and Vick was iffy at best to play this week. His hand is not broken, but he suffered a deep bone bruise.
I picked up quarterback Vince Young as an insurance policy and found that someone in my league dumped Indianapolis receiver Austin Collie, who has been grossly underperforming. Seeing as I had no viable replacement for Britt, I've made a move for Collie.
Wins from here on out, as well as wins for the Tennessee Titans, will be hard to come by without Britt and I don't like having to make do with a hobbled Mike Vick or shaky Vince Young.
Something tells me lightning isn't going to strike twice for me.
Hopefully I've suffered the worst of the injury blues.
I've offered up one trade I think may work well. LeGarrette Blount for Chris Johnson. Blount has seven points more than Johnson, and Johnson has yet to score a touchdown. But he's going to get more carries now that Britt is out and he's going to get his yards. Blount has upside, but is unpredictable.
I also picked up Titans receiver Damian Williams, who has never done anything noteworthy in the NFL, but he's next in line on the depth chart. I'm hoping I'll get Collie so I don't have to start Williams. Other possibilities at receiver are Titus Young of the Detroit Lions or Torrey Smith of Baltimore. Be careful with Smith, though. He caught three passes for three touchdowns last week, but you only have one game to go on with him. Is he worth a spot on your roster? Maybe, but only if it's bare with wide receiver depth, like mine.