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Fantasy football

Posted by Ed Ryan November 6, 2008 05:54 AM

I left too many fantasy points on my bench last weekend.

It’s one of the worst feelings you can have in fantasy football. You debate yourself on who should be in your lineup, and you base your choice on a number of factors, such as matchups, injuries, style of play, and weather. When those factors leave you even more confused, you make a decision and hope you get lucky.

And then, if you’re me, the games start and your decision totally backfires.

For example: Last weekend I started Jacksonville’s David Garrard at quarterback over Denver’s Jay Cutler. Horrible move. Cutler had been terrific as my starter throughout the season, and I hated sitting him on Oct. 26, when the Broncos were on a bye. But Garrard replaced Cutler for me that day and was tremendous, finishing the day with 283 yards passing, two touchdowns, and a whopping 24 fantasy points.

Instead of accepting that performance (a season high in points for Garrard, by the way) as the gift that it was, I began to outsmart myself last weekend in search of reasons to play Garrard over Cutler — a scenario I had not even considered all season.

I reminded myself that Cutler’s hand was injured two weeks ago against New England on his first pass attempt of the game; I looked at the matchups and noticed Jacksonville was playing lowly Cincinnati, which seemed to indicate another big day for Garrard; and I read somewhere on the internet, in an article by someone, that David Garrard was essentially the best fantasy quarterback no one ever talked about.

I was sold!

Then it was time for the games. Jacksonville was on the early Sunday schedule, and Garrard’s effort against the Bengals was maddening. Red-zone implosions. A touchdown run that wasn’t a touchdown run when Garrard was hauled down at the one-inch line. The Bengals, the team that was supposed to roll over and die and allow my quarterback to have another huge day, played like champions. They were inspired on both sides of the ball and forced Garrard into several errant throws.

The final tally: no touchdowns, 229 passing yards, an interception, and 11 fantasy points. Not what I was hoping for, but it could have been worse.

Then I watched the Denver game at 4 o’clock.

Cutler and Denver were playing from behind all day, a fantasy owner’s dream. When your quarterback’s team is trailing, you know he’s going to be throwing. Cutler threw three picks, but he also eclipsed 300 yards and threw for a pair of scores. He didn’t look great, but he put up 23 fantasy points — his second-best effort of the season.

As for my effort, it was one of my worst. The 12-point differential between Cutler and Garrard nearly cost me a win, and it could still cost me down the road, because one of my league’s playoff spots is based strictly on points. So much for being prepared.

Ed Ryan writes about fantasy sports and betting for OT and can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com

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