Fantasy Football Truths
Back in August, I wrote an article about the need for fantasy football general managers to find players who were the gold standard at their respective positions. I chose Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, arguing, “I can’t envision a game when Rodgers won’t throw for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns.”
In all honesty, I thought I was exaggerating at the time. Little did I know how right Rodgers would prove me.
For the record, he’s managed 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in six out of eight games. The two in which he "failed"? How about 297 yards and three touchdowns against Chicago in Week 3 and 247 yards and four touchdowns against San Diego in Week 9? Not exactly clunkers.
I’m a Vikings fan, so I should hate Rodgers with every fiber of my being. I hated Brett Favre with a passion. But Rodgers is hard to hate.
I have been wrong many, many, many times over the course of this season in terms of my fantasy predictions. But I was right about Rodgers.
I’m in four leagues and, if I could have, I would have picked him in all four. One league is a keeper league and he was protected, and two were drafts in which he was taken before my turn came up. I was only able to snatch him up in one of four, and he’s got my team on his back in that league.
Full disclosure: I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan, so I should hate Rodgers with every fiber of my being. I know I hated Brett Favre with a passion ‘til he was on our side. But Rodgers is hard to hate. For one, he does everything with such unassuming ease and class that he doesn’t give you anything to abhor.
Plus, I’ve been playing fantasy football for more than 20 years now, and Rodgers is on pace for a season that I’ve rarely witnessed in that time. I’ll give you some idea. The league that I run has been in operation since 1991, and I’ve been keeping records for it since ‘95.
Only NFC players are eligible in this league (long story) and, until this year, the record for most points amassed by a single player was 323, set by Shaun Alexander in 2005. The quarterback record is 319, set by Steve Young in 1998. Rodgers, after eight games, has 191, putting him on pace for 382 .
And, by the way, my league only awards three points for each touchdown pass, not six, as is common in most leagues.
What does that prove? Other than the fact that I’m pretty OCD about record keeping, it proves that Rodgers is in unprecedented territory in 2011.
Imagine if we could point to Tom Brady’s season and say, “Hey, Rodgers is only 24 fantasy football points away heading into the last game. I wonder if he’ll make it.”
Of course, the fantasy standard is Tom Brady’s historic 50 TD season in 2008. But Rodgers already has more rushing yards than Brady had all of that season, so he’ll gain major fantasy points on him there even if he doesn’t reach that lofty TD total (he’s on pace for 48 heading into tonight's Monday Night Football game against my Vikings).
It’s a shame that fantasy scoring systems aren’t standardized from one league to the next. Imagine if we could point to Tom Brady’s season and say, “Hey, Rodgers is only 24 fantasy football points away heading into the last game. I wonder if he’ll make it.”
Think about it: Fantasy points are awarded for the very same stats that form the basis for hallowed records: Touchdowns, yardage, receptions, etc. Wouldn’t combining all of those be the ultimate, easy-to-digest stat? Certainly, for quarterbacks it would be a finer effort at measuring performance than ESPN’s laughable new QBR system, which recently had Chad Henne ranked ahead of Cam Newton.
I have a feeling that such an endeavor would legitimize fantasy leaguers to a greater extent than the old-fashioned, numbers-fearing establishment would prefer. But a majority of the fans think of stats and fantasy football as interchangeable, so why not?
But I digress. We’ve come to praise Aaron Rodgers, not bury the NFL Powers That Be. The ironic thing about Rodgers is that he might be just too great for his fantasy owners’ good. Largely thanks to his play, it looks like the Packers could have homefield advantage in the NFL wrapped up mighty early (unless 8-1 San Francisco continues to amaze), meaning that there’s a chance that Rodgers could be on a seat warmer on the Lambeau bench for the fantasy playoffs.
Until that time, though, it will be fun to watch the fantasy numbers he amasses. If they can make a Viking fan appreciate a Packer, they must truly be something special.
Editor's note: Looking to watch the Monday Night Football game between the Packers and the Vikings in a different way? Check out Houston Texans tackle Eric Winston's MNF companion show live in the video player on the front page of CultureMap tonight. Not Your Ordinary Sports Show plays live every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. on CultureMap.
The guests this week are Texans blogger Steph Stradley; former Texan, Rice Owl and current radio personality N.D. Kalu; and BMC Software director of community & government relations Dan D’Armond.