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When a Great Season
Goes Terribly Wrong

Fantasy football can be a cruel world

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by Make Laverdure, Guest Writer

Original Release: July 23, 2004

Greetings fellow fantasy football fanatics.  This article offers little advice or strategy, but hopefully you will enjoy it nonetheless.  Actually, I am sure you will, we all love laughing at each other's misery stories, and boy there is a lot of misery here in this tale of fantasy football frustration...

It was late November 2002.  My number 1 seeded football team, The Machine, had just clinched its first playoff game in two years.  Having gone from winning the 2000 Championship with a 16-0 record to missing the playoffs in 2001 (fluke of nature, it had to have been), I was ready to redeem myself and regain my fantasy football dominance.  

Only a couple weeks until the playoffs, and my team was primed.  I just pulled off a deal to acquire Donovan McNabb over the prior weeks and was sitting pretty.  The sun was high in the sky, birds were singing, Happy Gilmour was with Grandma - sorry wrong movie...  The rest of the story is nothing short of a train wreck.  In week 10, Marshall Faulk, who is having a very mediocre year by his standards but is still a serviceable #2 guy, goes down with an injury.  I get a phone call...with nothing but laughter on the other end.  No "Hello", no nothing, just laughter.  It gets worse.  The following week I get a cryptic phone call, "Turn on the Eagles game".  Again, no "Hello", no nothing.  So of course I do, and there is Donovan rolling around on the ground with a broken ankle.  I hear a lot of laughing in the background on the phone.  I hear "You've got mail" coming from the computer.   I am afraid to open them.  Every subject line is either "McNabb" or "Ha".  Donovan guts it out and has a decent game, but was pretty much done for the season after that point.  OK, time to regroup.  I pull a few strings and acquire Matt Hasselbeck.  He has a monster week 12 and 13, and I'm doing the laughing now.   Go Mikey, Go Mikey...I go into the playoffs a respectable 9-4 and #1 seed.  Marshall is back in the line-up, and Hasselbeck is hot.  Life is looking good.  

Being the number one seed gets you the privilege of playing the number 8 seed, which is usually a bad team.  Well you can guess the rest of the story.  Faulk is nonexistent and Hasselbeck cools off.  I lose to the #8 seed.  The lowest seed.  Just like that my season is over.  I unplug my phone and change my email address.

Fast forward to 2003.  I have a monster draft and have a solid team.  The season is moving along at a nice clip.  It's week 8 and I am 6-1.  Jeff Garcia goes down with injury, and as a result, I go down in defeat and have a 6-2 record.  Not to worry, I have Matt Hasselbeck as my back-up, and he has had himself a decent year thus far.  I'm still not happy with him from the prior year but hey, you have to let bygone's be bygone's right?  Anyway, I finish the season on a 5-0 run to move to 11-2, and it's back to the playoffs as the #1 seed, baby...

This time Lady Luck decides that she really has some kind of personal vendetta against me.  Instead of being confident, I am thinking back to last year's disaster.  I'm still licking my wounds from that one.  I am second guessing myself.  The emails and phone calls start up again.  I get nervous.  I get rattled.  Hasselbeck killed me last year when I needed him most.  Garcia is back, so I'll play him.  I check several web-sites for advice.  I try "Ask the Docs" Fantasy Football Advice for help.  Unfortunately there were too many other more important issues to discuss and none of their advice helps with my predicament.  Where to go, what to do?  Should I let the fates decide it?

This should be easy right?  I'm against the #8 seed.  Worst team in the playoffs.  Granted he beat me week 8, but that was a fluke wasn't it?  OK, get hold of yourself man.  Line-up time.  (I am talking to myself far too much by this point.  I think people are afraid of me now).  Heads its Garcia, tails its Hasselbeck.  Tails.  Ok 2 out of 3.  Tails.  Make that three out of 5.  Heads, Heads, Heads.  In goes Garcia, the fates have decided.  The decision has been made.  Time to wait for the results.  But wait.  News that Garcia is still a little sore.  Check out more websites: "...Garcia not a great start as the 49ers should pound the ball down a weak Arizona defense... Injury may slow him down... Hasselbeck and the 'Hawks need wins for the playoffs... Hasselbeck a good start for this week."  Well, I thought to myself, Hasselbeck did win the first two coin tosses.  If that is not a sign, then what is?

Alanis Morrisette said it best:  "Isn't it Ironic?".  The line:  Hasselbeck:  17-34, 218 yards, 2 INT, 0 TD, which is worth 21 fantasy points in my league.  Garcia:  19-28, 252 yards, 0 INT, 4 TDs, which is worth  72  fantasy points in my league.  For the second year, The Machine goes down in flames (This time by a mere five points).  Two years, two #1 seeds in the regular season, two early departures from the playoffs.  In the immortal words of Def Leppard "Lady Luck never smiles", but man she laughs just as loud as the rest of 'em.

Can't wait to see what 2004 will bring.  I can tell you one thing though, I will NOT start Matt Hasselbeck in a playoff game!

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