Football

Luke Basha fantasy football column: ‘MNF’ can make or break your week

One of my teams absolutely went off this past week. T.Y. Hilton, Arian Foster and Mike Evans left me with a score of 129.7. My opponent was at 117 with only John Brown left to play Monday night.

I switched on the game at halftime and watched my lead dwindle. When I saw that I was a mere 0.2 points ahead (that’s 2 receiving yards for you math wizards), I lost all hope. Surely Brown would snag one more ball and I would lose. My heart sank every time I saw Carson Palmer drop back. “Just do it already so I can turn off the game and get back to homework,” I thought.

Sometimes I wonder how many people watch “Monday Night Football” just to watch the final player or two in their weekly matchup make or break the game. If that was ever part of ESPN’s plan, I’ve fallen squarely into their trap.

But the fatal blow never came. I escaped by that narrowest of margins. Two. Yards. It may be a pyrrhic victory, considering the Foster injury (more on that later), but a win is a win is a win.

But it got me thinking, what other stories of close games are out there? Who else has had their hopes dashed Monday night? Who had written off their game to wake up Tuesday to find that a miracle had happened? Tweet me your stories @LukeBasha for the next few weeks. I’ll try to compile the best and share them here later.

And now to give the people what they want…

Tony Romo (QB, Dallas): Too soon? Romo is forecast to return in Week 11. But the early bird does get the worm. Dropping him was probably a decent move in September, but stashing him now could pay dividends down the stretch.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, N.Y. Jets): He’s not a flashy name by any means, but Fitzmagic is a good a bye week fill-in as any. He’s only failed to surpass 200 yards or throw two TDs in two games this season. Take a gander at the rest of the Jets’ schedule – none of those defenses are really going to strike fear into this Harvard grad.

Ryan Mathews (RB, Philadelphia): It may be too late to snag Mathews since the nation saw him bust a long TD run in prime time and outperform DeMarco Murray in the process. I don’t expect Mathews to take the starting gig from Murray anytime soon, but those who own Mathews are poised to gain about as much as Murray’s first/second-round drafters have lost.

Darren McFadden (RB, Dallas): This Dallas team is maddening. I’m convinced they put out that propaganda about Christine Michael getting the starting job to motivate Run-DMC. I’ll probably regret this later, but as of now, McFadden is the top Cowboy. But always take McFadden with a few shakes of salt. With Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster both injured, the only thing that this season’s running back IR list is missing is the oft-injured McFadden.

Charchandrick West (RB, Kansas City): Déjà vu? After dropping from fantasy darling to disappointment, West got his act together last week. If someone dropped him, take advantage of their error. I wanted to wait and see before anointing West, but he’s clearly the main guy in town.

Aflred Blue/Chris Polk (RB, Houston): Yahoo.com’s Andy Behrens hit the nail on the head. “We hate to reduce a terrible situation like this to fantasy spin, but, well… that’s the job.” The debate is raging on every fantasy website over who will emerge as the top RB in Foster’s absence. The safest bet is that this backfield will devolve into a mediocre committee. But the workload will be there and a starting job for the taking. Are you #TeamPolk or #TeamBlue? Or maybe the Texans turn to free agency and you can join #TeamPierreThomas.

Ted Ginn Jr. (WR, Carolina): The Colts have been carved up by the Patriots and Saints in back-to-back weeks. If Cam Newton throws TDs to anyone other than Greg Olsen, Ginn is your best bet. Bonus points for changing your team name to “Not By the Hair on by Ginny Ginn Ginn.”

Kamar Aiken (WR, Baltimore): The Ravens’ passing game ain’t pretty, but Aiken has risen from the practice squad to become the No. 2 WR for Joe Flacco. And if the stars align and the Ravens trade Steve Smith back to Carolina for one last playoff run, Aiken would become the top pass-catcher. (Dear Mr. Richardson and Mr. Gettleman, if you happen to be reading this, please let bygones be bygones and make this reunion happen.)

Eric Ebron (TE, Detroit): It’s a general rule of thumb in the NFL that TEs take a year to develop and adjust to the NFL game. Ebron will be Exhibit A of this theory in all of next year’s fantasy football predictions.

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