This Week in Fantasy

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

I own a bakery. Every year, for the Super Bowl, we make cookies with the logos of the two teams and a number of the key players names and numbers. We get orders from all over the country, and, with so many transplanted football fans living in NYC as well, no matter which teams are playing, we always sell a lot of cookies. One of my favorite aspects is to see which of the cookies with players names people gravitate to, as there are clear fan favorites. (On the flip side, when we did World Series cookies once, we couldn’t pay someone to take an A-Rod cookie….)

Last year, in the Packers cookies, obviously Aaron Rodgers was the top seller, but we had a curious second best in Jordy Nelson. Those cookie sales made me more attuned to his play in the Championship game, and I said to myself, “I want Jordy Nelson on my fantasy team this year.”

Fast forward to August. I was so well prepared for my fantasy draft. I had all my players grouped into the rounds in which I wanted to draft them. Jordy was in my 9th/10th round pool. Because of my fondness for him, I thought of bumping him up a little, but with the number of other receivers in Green Bay, including Finley, I thought it might be risky to pick him early. Also, having been in this league for 9 years, I have a really good grasp of the psychology of my competitors, and I felt certain Jordy would still be hanging around at that point in the draft.

Enter the King of Auto Draft. Our friend ZP hasn’t drafted his own team in at least 6 years. I don’t know how or why we continue to let him get away with that, but we do. Even after switching to a live draft for the last couple years, where every single other manager selects his team in person, or by Skype or phone, somehow ZP is still on auto draft. We have a printed list of the Yahoo! draft rankings, and his team just gets whoever’s at the top of the list when it comes to his turn. Which is how, just a few picks before me in Round 9, the King of Auto Draft selected Jordy Nelson in the 2011 draft.

Normally I try not to get my heart set on any specific players, so I was able to put it behind me and pick Nate Burleson instead. Throughout the season, also, I only experienced mild brushes of regret at not taking him in the 8th. Until last night.

You see, King of Auto Draft has made 7 roster moves this year (which is 7 more than previous years), and, somehow, has found himself playing me in the Championship round–largely thanks to players the rest of my league avoided picking too soon like MJD, Jeremy Maclin, Darren Sproles…and, of course, Jordy Nelson. Even so, I felt reasonably confident that I would beat him. The championship title was a beautifully wrapped present sitting under my tree. But then Steve Smith, Jason Witten and Mike Wallace gave underwhelming performances for my team, and Jordy dropped 115 yards and 2 TDs on me last night. Just like that, I see the Grinch stuffing my back-to-back championship title up the chimney.

It’s not quite over yet, but the cards are heavily stacked against me. I’m down by 44 points with Drew Brees and Julio Jones left to play vs. King of Auto Draft’s Darren Sproles. I don’t like it. But Dr. Suess’ story has a happy ending, so maybe mine will too. “Cindy-Lou Julio” has kind of a nice ring to it?

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