Merriam-Webster defines the word, fantasy, as “something that is produced by the imagination; an idea about doing something that is far removed from normal reality.” But certainly the two uses of the word for which we are most familiar in 2013 come from sports and romance.
So what’s your greater wish, winning a fantasy football championship, or finding a great date? The two aren’t as different as they may appear. Sure, Aaron Rodgers may be lacking the girlish figure you dream about. But some of the same lessons apply.
I’ll tell you a secret about my relationship history. Every relationship I’ve been in has ended. And if you’re in any better shape, you’re probably only sitting ahead of me by one. So chances are, the time will come — and possibly sooner than later — that I’ll come calling again. Pay mind to how you negotiate with your friends. Owners in the NFL form allies, and you’ll notice the same teams foster ongoing, beneficial trade relationships.
The same goes for your fantasy league. The guy who took care of you last time, the guy who listened to you, and responded to you, he may be your first call. The guy who ignored your emails, the guy who tried the bait-and-switch maneuver, the guy who antagonized you, and the guy who engaged you in ongoing negotiations that never closed, they may be on your list still, albeit further down. Be the trade partner you would want to negotiate with. And have fun.
Buy Andre Brown
Last year with the Giants, Andre Brown ran for 5.3 yards per attempt. He also led the team with eight rushing touchdowns. Rookie David Wilson excited fans, though, creating 273 yards of offense during the final four weeks of the season. Add in his kickoff returns, and Wilson amounted to 712 all-purpose yards over that stretch. He also scored four times in those four games.
But things have been a lot different this year. Wilson was expected to lead the backfield this year, after Ahmad Bradshaw was released in February. Brown fractured his leg during the team’s final preseason game in August. After Wilson fumbled twice in the season opener, he managed only 146 rushing yards in the team’s first five games (3.3 yards per attempt). Wilson made it to the end zone on a 5-yard run in week five, and all seemed well again for the young back. But he suffered a neck injury in that game, and has since been placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Re-enter Andre Brown, who last Sunday became eligible for his first game of 2013. Head coach Tom Coughlin said he would be eased back into the role, while Peyton Hillis remained the starter. So much for that. Brown rushed 30 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. After the win, Coughlin said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt this is very rewarding and very satisfying. Perseverance does pay off. And he’s a guy who has persevered.”
Brown should be the only dependable runner to lead this backfield for the rest of the season. Grab him now for your playoff push. He may be able to erase the memory of Wilson with a great final few games. The younger back will be back next year, but he may need to return as the change-of-pace back.
Sell Tavon Austin
Many may wonder why St. Louis traded up in the first round to select Tavon Austin last April. The Rams moved four picks and received two, in the deal that gave them the eighth overall pick, where they selected Austin from West Virginia.
Through the first nine games of his rookie season, it seemed like a terrible miscalculation by St. Louis. After all, this is a team that has expressed further commitment to Sam Bradford, who boasts a career 58.6 completion percentage. During that stretch, the rookie receiver was averaging 3.4 receptions for 23.0 yards and 0.2 scores on offense. He was also only totaling 34.3 yards returning per game.
In Sunday’s blowout of the Colts, Austin caught two passes for 138 yards (one for 57 yards, and the other for 81 yards) and two touchdowns. He also returned a punt 98 yards for another score. This is certainly a sell-high for anyone who still actually owns Austin. Until he learns how to participate consistently on an NFL offense, this young stud is hardly deserving of a roster spot except as a boom or bust flier in extremely deep leagues.
Hold T.Y. Hilton
T.Y. Hilton is a second-year receiver from Florida International. The Colts selected him 92nd overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. In four full seasons of collegiate play, the receiver managed to earn 229 receptions for 3,531 yards and 24 touchdowns. Hilton also rushed for 498 yards (7.2 yards per carry) and another seven scores. His senior year was his best, when he caught 72 passes for 1,038 yards and seven touchdowns.
In his 2012 rookie season, Hilton worked as the team’s third wideout, while reeling in 50 catches for 861 yards and seven scores. He also returned 26 punts at an average of 11.5 yards per return. In week 12 against the Bills, Hilton lit up the scoreboards with two touchdowns, including a 75-yard punt return in the first quarter.
So far this year, Hilton is on pace for 72.9 receptions, 1,178.7 yards and 8.9 scores. And he has dominated the two games since Reggie Wayne’s departure to season-ending injured reserve. In the last two weeks, Hilton has converted 20 targets into 14 receptions for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
Wayne is generally one of the most durable and reliable players in the game. Before tearing his ACL in week seven, he had not missed a game since 2002. But the 13th year veteran is about to turn 35 this month, and the future of the team rests on Hilton’s shoulders and Andrew Luck’s arm. It’s quite impressive how seamless this team has transitioned from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck, and now Marvin Harrison to Reggie Wayne to T.Y. Hilton. Let the money ride on these cards, and start building your team’s future around Hilton.
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com.
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