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Thrilla Night

2009, Another No Show

If there is one curse on the Wait Till Next Year Fantasy Football League it is owners that fail to show up on draft day making the playoffs. Usually we end up breaking up the absentees selections by allowing a couple of owners in the league to draft a selection every other round so one owner isn’t stuck drafting two teams.

In 2009, Reddog (my Dad) invited a team to play in the league, but on draft day he failed to show up because of some “emergency,” and we had to draft for him. Of course he made the playoffs, but given his lack of activity in the league through that season we were skeptical that he would show up the coming year, even though he had money to pick up.

In 2008, Reddog and I had to break our team up because an owner missed the draft that year and we were determined to not have to do that again, if this guy failed to show. My brother Will who is ten years younger than me (just turned 20 before this draft) was interested in playing.

Now my little bro has a good head on his shoulders but he’s never been into fantasy sports like Reddog and myself, so we didn’t expect the little fella to do much. In truth, I was already thinking of ways I could lift his spirits up after the league continually torched him week after week.

Then again, maybe this schlub that failed to show up the year before would get to the draft and he would spare my brother the embarrassment of losing so bad in his first experience with this crazy game.

Just in case old Schlubby failed to show, I told my brother to hang around the house because he would have a team if this guy failed to show up, even though he told Reddog he would be there.

Schlub Down, Thrilla In

Like most years, the Wait Till Next Year crew gathered together to draft the Saturday before the first Sunday games were played in 2010.

Figuring old Schlub would be at the draft, my brother decided it would be a good idea to head down to the Bay Area and partake in some mind experimentation with a few of his buddies from the, let’s just say Cannabis Club.

Mid-afternoon and about a half hour past our original draft time, we decided to kick Schlubby out of the league (no show) and I called my brother to have him get his butt back to Tracy for the draft.

I believe Will got a ride from a friend but anyway he made it to the draft about a half hour later with this eye’s beat red. Of course he wasn’t ready for the draft but to keep him happy we all greeted him with hand shakes, gave him some munchies and handed him a cheat sheet to work from.

 Let The Games Begin

“Darkness falls across the land, The midnight hour is close at hand,

Creatures crawl in search of blood, To terrorize y’alls neighborhood.”

We drafted in the afternoon, but in hindsight it must have been close to midnight as Will pulled off one of the better drafts that year on paper. He named his team The Thrills (nicknames Thrilla, and Chilla), and of course, I couldn’t help but think of Michael Jackson when that name was put on the board.

Will picked up talents like Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Rice, DeSean Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Philip Rivers and Matt Forte. Some how this guy was drafting like a seasoned pro, not only taking obvious good players at the start of the draft, but actually drafting value picks throughout!

After the draft was over he came over to the both of us and asked us he he did alright. As we stared at the board and compared his team to the others, and felt he had one of the better drafts in the league. Of course, we didn’t think he d0 better than us, but not too bad for a kid stoned, shoving food down his face.

Oh how wrong we were as the season started the next day and Thrilla blew out his Uncle with over 150 points. Our team on the other hand did ok but we lost.

 

Week Two: First Showdown

“You hear the door slam and realize there’s nowhere left to run.”

This is a head to head league, and in the second week of the season we were matched against Thrilla, hot off his first win.

We had some really good matchups, but at the end of the weekend we lost by a mire three points in a high-scoring affair. Not only was it a bruise to the ego to lose to Thrilla and go down with our second loss, but it’s how we lost that really bothered us.

That week Michael Turner (our first pick that year) was matched up against the Cardinals and accumulated 94 yards in the first quarter of the game.

All we needed was another six yards and we would’ve picked up another five points and won the week. Instead Turner went down with a mild groin injury and because it was early in the season, the Falcons held him out for the rest of the game.

Jason Snelling would fill in and have the game of his life, putting up 50 points in our league in the final three-quarters of that game.

To make matters worse, Turner practiced that coming week and carried the football over 30 times the next week against the Saints. Clearly, he was fine and like he told the press after the Cardinals game, he could’ve come back into that contest.

 

My Worst Start Of All Time, Thrilla Kicking Butt

“You feel the cold hand and wonder if you’ll ever see the sun.”

Those of you that have read my story from the 2004 season know that was by far the worst year I’ve ever had. But it wasn’t the worst start to a season. In ’04 I lost my first four games, but in 2010 we lost our first five games.

On the flip side, Thrilla would go on to start out with a six and one record and find himself atop the league through the first half of the season.

 

Turning It On

“You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination.”

Clearly disappointed, but we were convinced our team was capable of turning things around. Sure enough what started out as a nightmare turned into a five-game winning streak as Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Darren McFadden, Michael Turner, Knowshon Moreno and Eli Manning helped lead the charge to get use back in contention.

Johnson and Bowe were terrific in this stretch, especially Bowe as he ripped off one of the best seven games runs I’ve seen from a wide receiver in over 20 years of playing fantasy football.

As we were breaking off win after win, old Thrilla was getting a lesson about the importance of keeping up your team through the season. Thrilla failed to pickup a waiver until the final week of the season (encouraged by yours truly), and his team was starting to struggle badly through November and into early December.

The second time we faced him, we beat him but not by much. It appeared his first-half fortunes were running out on him, but he still controlled his own destiny heading into the final week of the regular season.

Falling Short

“But all the while you hear the creature creeping up behind
You’re out of time.”

Coming down to the final week of the regular season there was one playoff spot up for grabs and it came down to our team and Thrilla. The odds were stacked against us, as we had to win, beat Thrilla in total points for the season (needed to out score him by about 20 points), and he had to lose.

That week Darren McFadden played the Jaguars and gave us a monster game going for 20 points in our league. We had the victory and scored enough points to pass Thrilla but the son of a gun won his matchup and went on to the playoffs. Time had run out, and the sting from week two’s mild groin injury of Michael Turner came back to haunt us.

Heading To The Super Bowl

Just in time for the playoffs Thrilla’s team was hot again as Ray Rice posted a 50 point day against the Browns to lead him into the Super Bowl against Budmen.

Amazingly, Thrilla had managed to not only make it to the Super Bowl in a competitive league, but he did so working off a cheat sheet stoned, and not doing a waiver up to this point.

Now, the wiser side of me should know better than to meddle with another team or give them advice. I’ve never done this before, but hey, it’s my little brother and wanted to help him out. Plus, Budmen (nickname Duds) had already racked up three championships in this league; tops in our history.

Clearly, we didn’t want to see Duds win another championship and when news came out that the Bears were likely to rest their starters against the Jets, I strongly urged Thrilla to pickup Fred Jackson off the waiver wire as he played in a favorable matchup.

Well Thrilla took my advice and started Jackson over Forte. Unfortunately, things didn’t workout. The Bears didn’t rest Forte and he went off for a 50 point day against one of the better defenses in the league. This was frustrating, especially when Forte failed to do much in terms of fantasy production down the stretch.

Jackson on the other hand, only put up 5 points, and while Thrilla lost the Super Bowl, I’m at least thankful that he still would’ve fallen short even if Forte was in his lineup.

This was and will be the only time I ever give advice out to a person in my league. The thought of Thrilla losing the Super Bowl because of a recommendation I made, would’ve been hard to take for the rest of my life. Yes, the Wait Till Next Year Fantasy Football League means that much to me.

Anyway, Thrilla put together a great run and he still brags to this day (as he should) about how he knocked us out of the playoffs while he made the Super Bowl.

Underestimating Your Opponent

Never again will I underestimate a young fantasy owner or feel sorry for them if things don’t workout. Old Thrilla walked into our league and terrorized our neighborhood with his astute picks and under the influence while doing so.

To this I say, congratulations Thrilla on a great first year in the WTNY league. While Thrilla has since failed to come back into the league for 2011, but he’s looking to jump back in when a new opening comes up. One thing I know, when he does come back, I’m looking to beat the living junk out of his team, because it’s payback time!

Then again, if we should fail to draft correctly, we know all too well that no one will be around to save us from the beast that is about to strike.

Link To 2010 League – http://football29.myfantasyleague.com/2010/home/29746#0

“And though you fight to stay alive, Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist, The evil of the thriller.”

Lyrics To Thrillerhttp://www.elyrics.net/read/m/michael-jackson-lyrics/thriller-lyrics.html

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