For once in the past few weeks, I'm not having to wait on a big game from my Monday Night Football players to decide my fantasy football fate. In one league I was playing for the championship this week. Donovan McNabb screwed me with a single-digit night and Anquan Boldin was out with a shoulder injury, leaving me waiting for the night game hoping Steve Smith and Deangelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers could get at least 24 points between them in order to win the league championship.
Turns out that I could have done it without Steve Smith. The guy's been a good wide receiver all season, but Williams has been a beast the last few weeks. I'd say in the last seven weeks of the season he's been the best running back in the NFL. Over the last seven weeks (the games since Carolina's bye week) Williams has averaged more than 20 points per game for me. That comes largely from the fact that he's scored 15 touchdowns during that same period, but the average of about 114 yards per game (including one week of 184 yards in a single game) sure didn't hurt.
Steve Smith put up four points last night. Deangelo Williams put up 31, winning the championship for me by 11 points. For the first time ever, I've won the championship in a deep fantasy football league. In my beer trading league (the top three players get beer from the rest of the players), I'm playing for third place this week. It's a nice come back from being in second to last place at mid season. Unfortunately, I can't call that game quite yet. My opponent has Matt Forte playing on Monday Night Football, and if Forte can put up 44 points, I could still lose this one. That would require Forte to rush for 100 yards and six touchdowns at a minimum. It's unlikely, but technically possible, so I'm not going to call that a win.
In my third league, I'm hoping for Matt Forte to put up at least six points so I can take a fifth-place finish. It doesn't put a trophy in my Yahoo! Fantasy Sports profile like the other two leagues, but it's a respectable finish, especially with Peyton Manning as my QB. Seriously, every team I've ever had him on sucked. I think it's because you end up passing on a good running back or wide receiver early in the draft to pick up Manning when there'll be plenty of decent quarterbacks in later rounds. I missed the live draft for this league and the computer picked for me, so I couldn't enforce my "No Peyton Manning" draft policy and I paid the price. Bastard computers.
Oh, and in real life, The Atlanta Falcons clinched a playoff spot yesterday. They needed to beat Minnesota (they did in a game that seemed less of a close game than the score suggests) and to have Tampa Bay lose to San Diego. The Chargers creamed the Bucs to the tune of 41-24, letting the Falcons know they had postseason plans a week early. And now, with Carolina's loss to the New York Giants, the Falcons could actually win the division and be the second seed should Carolina lose in New Orleans next week. This would actually fulfill two current trends. Carolina's game against the Saints is in New Orleans and right now the home team has won every game between NFC South teams this season. In long-term trends, the first place team at the end of the season was the last-place team the previous year for the NFC South every year since 2002. That's right, the NFC South has been the land of worst-to-first for six years now and Atlanta has to win the division to continue the tradition. I see it as fate for Atlanta to win and get the second seed for the tournament. As a Falcons fan, I'm really not sure the Super Bowl year in 1998 was a more exciting season than what's happened this year.