There is always one. One donut left in the box, one cookie left on the plate and one player each week who attempts to screw up what would otherwise have been a great fantasy day.
This wouldn’t be a big deal if it were possible to predict who the guilty player would be on a given week, but when you have a team full of players who are for the most part productive week in and week out, predicting a fantasy disaster can be difficult.
For my team, this week’s offender was Chad Henne, quarterback on the Miami Dolphins. Henne has not been the best quarterback this season, but he has been solid. He has four double digit fantasy days in eight games and, before last Sunday, had an 8-7 touchdown to interception ratio, which is decent for a quarterback in his first season as the starter.
In any case, while he has thrown his share of interceptions, he had, up until Sunday, always been able to make up for it with a good amount of passing yards and a couple of touchdowns. So with Donovan McNabb, my usual starter, on a bye week, I did not hesitate to start Henne when he went up against a Ravens defense that was not what it used to be. I should have hesitated.
Henne rewarded my confidence with his worst day as a starting quarterback. He threw for just 231 yards and zero touchdowns, and complemented that with three interceptions and two fumbles for a grand total of four fantasy points. Luckily for me, the team I was facing did so badly that I didn’t need Henne in order to win, but I know I won’t always be so lucky.
Henne is not the first player to let me down, and he won’t be the last. Week 1 it was Calvin Johnson. Week 2 it was Hines Ward. Week 7 it was Larry Fitzgerald. And next week? It could be anyone. All I know for certain is that someone will attempt to sabotage my fantasy day and there is nothing I can do to stop them.
Read into matchups to root out problems and set the best possible lineup each week. It is only because I had players like Aaron Hernandez and Sebastian Janikowski in my lineup that I managed to scrape out a win, and it is only because I knew how poorly the Cleveland Browns were doing against tight ends that I knew to start Hernandez.
The fact is, you can’t predict letdowns. Even if a player has what seems to be a favorable matchup, they can still have off days for an unforeseeable reason such as injury or because that player’s team is just having a collective off day.
All you can really do is attempt to set the strongest lineup possible week in and week out based on matchups and predictions, neither of which really mean anything, which basically means there is no real way to know if you are completely screwed or not. Having good players helps, but even they have off days. And on that note, I say to you good luck and may the force be with you. Trust me, you’re going to need it.
Daily Nexus NFL columnist Joshua Greenberg never, ever leaves one cookie on the plate.