And you thought watching the Vikings this past Monday night was painful.
It was Dec. 28, 2010. It was a Tuesday. The fantasy season was supposed to be over. Only ... that snowstorm. If you don't recall, the Vikings-Eagles game that had been scheduled for Sunday got snowed out, and they rescheduled it for Tuesday. An NFL game on a Tuesday. Roger Goodell was probably drooling.
Anyway, it was the finals of our fantasy season - me versus Dixon. It was all very David-versus-Goliath, as Dixon's team had the most points in the lead and had cruised into the playoffs with the No. 1 seed, while I was 7-6, in the playoffs by virtue of another team's tie leaving me a half-game up, and the only team that I had outscored was Darrell's. (If you knew Darrell, you'd know that your goldfish could draft a better fantasy team even if you replaced its water with vodka.) No, I had no business in the playoffs, let alone in the championship game. No, seriously. My quarterback was Jon Kitna. In 2010.
But in the playoffs I was, and all of a sudden, my team got hot. LeGarrette Blount was my top running back, and he started doing some ridiculous things. Calvin Johnson was Calvin Johnson-ing. Things were happening.
Meanwhile, Michael Vick was Dixon's quarterback, and if you recall, that was Michael Vick's "look at me I'm so super-good" year. He had Jamaal Charles and Maurice Jones-Drew at running back. (By contrast, I had Blount and Mike Tolbert. No, really. LeGarrette Blount and Mike Tolbert. And I made the finals. Yeah, fantasy is all skill. Keep telling yourself that.)
Anyway, big buildup. The thing about Dixon's team was that, as good as the rest of his roster was, his receivers were awful. As in, he-was-starting-Steve-Breaston awful. I guess it makes sense - everyone has to have a weakness somewhere - but it meant that I could envision a route to a crown.
Two weeks earlier, Dixon made what I maintain to this day is the savviest fantasy move in memory - and, if you have ever seen a single piece of interaction between Dixon and me, you know how hard it is for me to compliment him. With Vikings quarterback Brett Favre missing Week 14 with an injury, ending his 297-straight-start streak, Dixon added the Vikings' Joe Webb, who, despite being terrible at football, was Yahoo!-eligible at quarterback and wide receiver.
Dixon had found a way to start two quarterbacks.
No one else had thought of it. Dixon isn't known for his, how shall I say this gently, intelligence, but hey, blind pig, acorn, all that stuff. Dixon had a bye through Week 14 and Webb didn't start in Week 15, but that Week 16 matchup was slated to be Webb's second start.
As if I didn't have enough problems, I had to go against Superman Michael Vick; Charles and Jones-Drew, and a second quarterback. And then, suddenly, with the Vikings-Eagles game delayed, all sorts of news reports came out. "Will two extra days be enough for Brett Favre to return?" they asked. "Can the ol' gunslinger make it back from one more?"
Dixon was working that Sunday, so he couldn't do anything to his lineup. I was not, and so I waited until the early games started and picked up every possible Monday/Tuesday receiver I could think of. Bernard Berrian. Devery Henderson. BRIAN FREAKING FINNERAN. The only one Dixon beat me to, on his cell phone, hiding in the work bathroom, was Michael Jenkins.
And then he didn't start Jenkins. He left Webb in his lineup, with question marks still all around. After the Sunday and Monday games, I led Dixon by 16 points. If Favre played, I would win. If Favre sat, I still might win. The Eagles were playing for a playoff bye; the Vikings were playing for a paycheck. Everyone reading this saw Joe Webb in the playoffs in 2012, yeah? We all know he's terrible at quarterback? Sixteen points is a lot of points for a guy who doesn't warrant an NFL job.
It was the Tuesday night after Week 16, and I still didn't know if I was going to win my league. Nate, the commissioner, had promised payouts would be mailed out Tuesday morning. So ... that didn't happen.
I got cocky, though. Again, 16 points. Dixon and I are the two biggest smack-talkers in our league (though my own smack talk tends far more to the grammatical than his), and comments were going back and forth hot and heavy. Of course, mine were more "Ha ha, you have to root for Joe Webb!", while his leaned toward "ill punch u in ur dum face," but whatever. Smack talk is smack talk.
At this point, I'm sure you can tell where this story is going. Favre didn't play on Tuesday. Webb did. Webb threw for only 195 yards, with no scores - though, he also never turned the ball over. That was only nine points in our league. But he also ran for 31 yards ... and a touchdown.
He. Ran. For. A. Touchdown.
That was 18 points. To make it worse, Webb's last handful of yards - both rushing and passing - came in the fourth quarter, while the score came in the third. So I went from "I've got this!" around halftime to "Oh, hell" in the third quarter to cringing at every Minnesota offensive play through my fingers the last few minutes. When Dixon finally passed me, I shut the TV off. I'm reasonably sure I threw my remote.
I would tell you what sort of messages Dixon posted on the league message board after the game that night, but this is sort of a family site, and his messaged were full of misspelled swear words.
So no, Monday night this week was not the most painful Vikings-watching experience anyone has ever had. I can at least promise you that.
Want to share your Fantasy Reality? If you have a story of your own that could be even close to as entertaining as all of mine, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or email me at DanielTrentKelley@gmail.com. We'll chat, and I'll try to make your story oh-so-exciting.