Peyton Manning tied an NFL record by throwing seven touchdown passes in the Denver Broncos season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. In fantasy football leagues two classes of players were defined: those who had Peyton Manning on their fantasy teams and those who did not. The latter category also had the subgroup of people unlucky enough to be matched up against the person who had Peyton Manning. In our league I was that person.
I was matched up with the person who had Peyton Manning, but I was okay with that. Sure I would have preferred to have been matched up against someone who had players that choked rather than a quarterback who threw seven touchdowns in one game, but there is something comforting about futility.
My opponent not only had Peyton Manning but also Adrian Peterson. He had first pick in our draft. I had last pick in the draft. I was clearly going to lose, so why stress about it?
As Sunday’s games came to their conclusions I was content with the fact that many of my key players (including Jordy Nelson and Brandon Marshall) did well enough that my loss would not look like a complete blow out. I may have been resigned to losing, but I still had my pride.
Then I made the mistake of looking at my bench, those players whose points would not be counting toward my totals. Most of those scores were as lackluster as one expects from a second tier. Except for Jared Cook.
Jared Cook had 7 receptions for 141 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Sure, he had one fumble. He still earned 36 fantasy points when he had been projected 9.76.
The good news (?) is that I was saved from the usual feelings of regret and second-guessing that come from losing with enough points on the bench that I could have won. Luckily (?) Jared Cook's points wouldn't have made up for the deficit caused by my under-performing running backs. (Thanks for that 1 point, Lamar Miller!)
Even with Jared Cook I would have lost by 6 points. 6 points.
Of course, I would have gotten that had I played a different running back.
Woulda, shoulda, coulda. I know the what-if scenarios don't matter, but I can't help thinking about them. This is why fantasy football is so maddening.
Week two is likely to involve a lot of stress and over-thinking in an effort to prevent losing with points on the bench again.
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