Sunday's Fantasy Forecast: Cloudy
Posted Feb. 01 at 09:52 AM
At the beginning of each year, I usually write a column about ignoring the preseason. My rationale is that, after being deprived of real football for so many months, you're bound to give too much weight to what you see there. They don't count, so don't put too much stock into what only looks like real football.
Ironically, I feel similarly about the Super Bowl, even though it's the most "real" game that could be played, and "counts" more than any other on the schedule. There's no bigger stage and no higher stakes, and every player will do everything they can to play (if they're hurt) and win (to whatever extent they can contribute). But you can still give to much weight to what you see there, and it can affect your draft or auction in August.
If you play fantasy football for any number of years, you obtain a "scouting hat" that never comes off. You can't help but see performances through the prism of statistics, fantasy points and starter potential. It happens in August, it happens in November, and it happens in February, too. And just like in the preseason, you have reasons for giving it too much weight.
Forget the hype, media week, inane personal stories, hours of irrelevant filler content, mindless yammering on talk radio, prop bets, office squares, celebrity sightings, A-list halftime shows and expensive commercials. The Super Bowl is the last meaningful football game you'll see for seven months. Knowing it's your last chance to see meaningful football until summer ends, you'll be watching and analyzing. You might be surrounded by friends, family and food, but you'll be watching as a fantasy owner, too.
That can be dangerous, because the performances you'll see aren't always indicative of what you'll get on draft day. Quarterbacks who are used to sliding end up spinning like helicopter blades as they dive for a first down. Receivers play through injuries that might keep them sidelined for weeks. Running backs who tear through defensive lines might struggle under the weight of the biggest game of their career. Kickers make and miss kicks that might have gone a different way under different circumstances.
Just like you should during the preseason, you should take off your scouting hat during the Super Bowl. Enjoy it for what it is -- a contest tied more to previous Super Bowls than the actual season that creates the participants. It's not "just a game," no matter how much the teams try to keep things normal. It's a global spectacle, and nothing during the fantasy season could recreate that stage. What you see there might have nothing to do with what you see during the regular season.
Then again, it might. Larry Fitzgerald proved he's an elite talent regardless of the stakes involved. Eli Manning has become a big-game talent and one could argue he really came into his own in February 2008. Sometimes you actually see an extension of great performances, or a shadow of what's to come.
But that's no reason to put any stock in Sunday's statistics. It just proves that you're guessing whether this particular game will help you on draft day. It's not a normal game. Why even bother trying to glean information when there's so much else going on?
You won't -- not consciously, anyway. But your inner GM will be watching, and I think you have to make a point of ordering him away from the television. Suspend his privileges for a few hours. If he wants to look for fantasy potential, the Puppy Bowl will be on Animal Planet that day, and there's a Rat Terrier named Joni who looks like she has the speed to contend for MVP (Most Valuable Puppy).
Otherwise, enjoy the semi-holiday. Spend it with league mates if you can, don't worry if people talk over the game and have a good time. The contest on the field is different from the normal competition of a regular season, anyway. It's the Super Bowl. It's special, so treat it that way. Give no fantasy weight to what you see on Sunday.
Do you have any special Super Bowl rituals? Are you getting together with members of your league? Share your plans below.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Feb. 01 at 11:52 AM
I will watch the game at home with my immediate family after enjoying a delicious home cooked meal. I gave up on SB parties years ago, because it's all about the football for me and I really don't care about the other nonsense. As far as no meaningful football for the next seven months is concerned, that's why Doubleday invented baseball. As the Byrds once said, To Everything, There is a season...
Posted by JOHN MACHO | Feb. 01 at 08:18 PM
I am a social retard, but THIS is my event of the year. I host long-time friends, former co-workers, and fantasy leaguers. It's a tradition. The best food, booze, and company. Yes, without even NFL Europe, the USFL, or the XFL, this is the death of football for a long time, yet, it's also a celebration of life. The reason for the season. And since both of my keeper-league QBs are playing, it's advertising for trade value. Enjoy.
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