Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
Wow, what a year it's been.
Since January 1st, I've written 56 fantasy football columns. And that doesn't even include the 34 articles I've posted for our weekly rankings.
Add it all up and you're looking at about 50,000 words typed. To put that in perspective, F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," which measures 218 pages, only had 47,094 words in it.
I've written a fantasy novel. So forgive me for letting someone else do the talking for once. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the 2013 fantasy football season. Enjoy.
1. Maurice Jones-Drew, July 18
We have a conspiracy on our hands. In an interview this summer, Jacksonville's star running back accused his teammate Greg Jones of not blocking for him on a goal line play last season. MJD said the maneuver was pre-meditated and fueled by Jones' desire to beat Jones-Drew in fantasy. This is what he told Larry Brown Sports:
"We got onto the 1-yard line, and they were like, 'We better call this run play,' I'm like, 'Greg, don't do it.' And he looked at me and he winked ... [Jones] wasn't going to block the guy ... I think if I scored I was going to beat [Jones]."
Perhaps this is why the Jaguars have only won four games this season.
2. Vince Vaughn, September 5
At 6-foot-5, Vaughn has the size to play in the NFL. Instead, he went a different path and became a world famous actor/comedian. Vaughn does play fantasy football, though he seems to be embarrassed by it. This is what he told Jay Leno a few months ago:
"It's not, like, the most proud thing to be a part of ... It's a little bit like Dungeons and Dragons for adults."
Come on, Vince. Fantasy is mainstream now. And what's so bad about Dungeons and Dragons?
3. Roddy White, September 9
The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli. Or like Roddy White after fantasy owners get on his case:
"As far as fantasy, if I don't participate in practice then don't start me, it's a red flag ... No I can't give out an injury report before the game. I play real football and it would be stupid to tip the other team off and say I'm hurt."
Roddy's ankle got better but his fantasy performance didn't. He ranks 60th among fantasy wide receivers in points scored.
4. Chris Johnson, September 29
Roddy White isn't the only one who gets salty when fantasy owners give him a hard time. This is what Chris Johnson tweeted after a miserable 21-yard outing against the Jets in Week 4, a game that, as Johnson reminded his followers, the Titans won:
"Public service announcement: I can care less about fantasy football. Key word fantasy. As long as we win I'm happy. I rush for 200 and lose y'all happy. You are the head coach and the owner of your fantasy team so you should be mad at yourself. I didn't ask any of you to draft me."
What's discouraging about this is that Johnson used to have a sense of humor about fantasy. Back in 2010, he starred in a hilarious ad for ESPN that showed dry cleaners, traffic cops and grocery clerks getting upset with him for his lackluster fantasy production.
In other news, Sunday might be Johnson's last game as a Tennessee Titan.
5. Nick Swardson, September 30
Nick Swardson isn't just one of my favorite comedians. He's one of Adam Sandler's best friends, as evidenced by the endless amount of movies they've done together.
But more importantly, Swardson is an avid fantasy football player. He talks about it all the time on his Twitter feed, though very few of his responses are suitable for print. Here's one of those rare occasions where he kept things PG-rated:
"Fantasy team is in great shape. Just need 800 yards and 14 TD's out of Brian Hartline and I'm money. Boom."
Hartline finished just 766 yards and 14 touchdowns short of that. Better luck next week, Nick.
6. Daniel Radcliffe, October 7
It's true. Harry Potter plays fantasy football. In fact, he's a bit of an addict.
"I do an insane amount of mock drafts," Radcliffe said in an interview with USA Today. "It's something you do when there's nothing else to do, just do a quick mock draft."
When asked when he begins his preparations for football season, Radcliffe said, "Embarrassingly early. Like, I don't actually want to say. Pretty much as soon as ESPN does their first [mock draft]."
I'm sure he follows our coverage as well.
7. A.J. Ellis, October 10
The Dodgers catcher sat down with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar on MLB Network's Intentional Talk during Los Angeles' postseason run a couple months back. But instead of talking about the team's upcoming series with the Cardinals, Ellis discussed teammate Zack Greinke's obsession with fantasy football. Here are the highlights:
- "We call him Trader Joe because all he wants to do is make trades."
- After beating the Braves on a walk-off home run: "Of course we win the game and all [Zack] wants to talk about post-game is that he was able to hold on and win his fantasy football game."
- "This guy's making trades ten minutes before he starts a game. We're warming up in the bullpen and he's telling me, 'Hey what would it take for me to get Arian Foster off your hands?'"
Let's hope Zack didn't actually make that trade. Foster hasn't played since injuring his back in Week 9 against the Colts.
8. Brett Favre, October 20
Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers aren't exactly best buds. Except when it comes to fantasy.
"Aaron is my [fantasy] quarterback," Favre said during an appearance on NFL Network. "Usually, he's guaranteed to get me about 30 [points]."
Except when he's hurt. Favre also says he has Danny Amendola on his team. Maybe you should just stick to Wrangler commercials, Brett.
9. Matthew Berry, November 14
After hearing about Richie Incognito's alleged bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin, ESPN fantasy guru Matthew Berry decided to share some of his experiences with bullying in a heartfelt column titled, "Some things you just don't forget." I recommend all of you read it. The last paragraph was especially powerful.
"The fear is what holds us back. I wish I hadn't been scared back then. I try like hell not to be now. And I hope everyone reading this fights his or her demons. And is careful not to create any for someone else ... Tiny ripples, you know?"
Sometimes it's about more than football. Thanks for reminding us, Mr. Roto.
10. Justin Tucker, December 16
Baltimore's ace kicker had the game of his life against the Lions in Week 15. Turns out, Tucker's huge game helped a lot of fantasy owners, himself included.
"I'm happy to do it, don't get me wrong," he said of his six-field goal effort. "And my fantasy team is benefiting from it as well. So I'm happy about that. And fantasy owners around the world, I hope you guys appreciate the points as well."
Amen to that brother.
Happy New Year everybody. Let's hope next year is just as quotable as 2013.