It’s time for me to own up, folks. Last night as I was watching the Steelers do everything in their power to lose that game I realized that I had made a horrible mistake just hours earlier. Walk with me, will you? In yesterday’s edition of Fantasy Thursday I urged owners to start Antonio Brown, despite coming to the conclusion that Mike Vick would be a fantasy bust. How do those two things match up, you ask? They absolutely don’t! In no way, shape, or form! In an attempt to protect you from getting burned by my occasional slip-up I have devised a “Will This Backup QB Be Good For My Fantasy Team?” guide that you can reference in the future if I say something that doesn’t quite seem to add up.
How to Tell if A Backup QB Will Be Good For Your Fantasy Team
- If you own the team’s star wide receiver…the answer is NO. At least not for the first week (should the backup come in for an extended period). A rule of thumb with quarterbacks who get called up to fill in for an injured star is that they’ll always hurt the numbers of the starter’s favorite receiver. Why? Because they never throw to him! In practice a backup QB is working primarily with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th receiving options for the team, meaning that once they’re actually in the game instinct and comfort will guide them towards those same receivers. We see it all the time when a quarterback goes down, suddenly some random slot receiver starts scoring touchdowns every week because he’s spent the whole season working with (insert journeyman quarterback here) after practice.
- If you own the team’s star running back…the answer is YES. Especially if the new QB happens to be coming in on a short week like Vick did yesterday, you can expect teams who trust the running game to live by it as long as they’re not in a large deficit. Even if the defense they’re facing is solid, you can trust that the running back(s) will get so many carries that eventually something will give and you will be very pleased the next morning.
- If you own other receivers on the team…HIT THE WAIVER WIRE. Yes, it is true that a lesser receiver almost always experiences a huge increase in targets during a backup QB’s time on the field (see above), but trying to figure out which one will drive you insane. Look for a plan B on the waiver wire and hold off on that team’s receivers until the new pecking order is clearly established.
- If you own the quarterback in question… Unless they are forced to, teams will typically not unleash their full offensive playbook with their backup under center. Heavy reliance on the running game (see above) and short passes will make a guy like Michael Vick ineffective as a fantasy option, per his 100 yards and 1 touchdown stat line from last night.
So let that be a reminder to you, kids, to never let me write Fantasy Thursday in the afternoon on an empty stomach after I’ve just had to chaperone 15 high school freshmen at the beach. If you started Antonio Brown because of me and wish that there could be some sort of retribution for what I’ve done, don’t worry, I started him in two leagues and had Steve Smith in another. By no means did I skip away from this one whistling towards the sunset. I offer you my sincerest of apologies, and the promise to be better in the future for the sake of the advancement of fantasy football and our country as a whole. I feel so bad that I won’t even add the “I Told You So” about Vick being a bust this week. What? Then why did I mention it just now if I wasn’t going to say anything? To show you that I, oh never mind! Just take the apology and pray that your flex guy has the game of his life.
Now that I’ve endeared myself to you, allow me to burn that bridge again. While demand for an apology from me would have been totally justified, demand for one from the guys I’m about to defend is not. Yesterday two broadcasters for the Arizona Diamondbacks were recorded ripping into a group of females attendees who were taking selfies for an extended amount of time. 4th & Gyas may be a football blog, but as a semi-semi-professional sports journalists I feel obligated to defend my brothers in industry, Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume.
For about two minutes during the game last night, the announcers noticed a group of sorority girls locked in on their phones, taking picture after picture of themselves and generally ignoring you know, the baseball game they were watching (loosely used in this context). Brenly and Berthiaume immediately ethered the group with quips like “This is the best one of the 300 pictures I’ve taken of myself today!” It was basically the greatest hot takes session in sports history and now people are getting all angry about it. Well I say GET OVER IT. If you’re at a public sporting event taking pictures of yourself for over two minutes, you absolutely deserve to be made fun of because guess what? Your face really isn’t that fascinating, and it never will be.
The main complaint rising out of the ashes of this controversy (again, loosely used in this context) is that comments like the ones made last night alienate fans. Here’s the first reason that argument is invalid: those sorority girls aren’t fans in the traditional sense of the word. Now sure, they may attend two or three games every year out of sisterhood obligation or on Beer Fest night, but you’re not offending season ticket holders here, you know what I mean? And before the feminists show up at my door to water board me, understand that this is not an attack on female sports fans. I know more women who could rattle off every miniscule baseball statistic from the last decade than men who could even name every team in the league. So don’t think that there’s a message of “hey women get out of our sports!” here because that’s not the case at all. You have to realize that as two older white males, Brenly and Berthiaume are just frustrated by their grandsons and granddaughters living in the world of technology while ignoring the people and things around them, and it is those frustrations that were put on display last night, not any belief that women are selfie-taking idiots who don’t understand sports. Unfortunately, when you’re calling games for the Diamondbacks, these are the “fans” you have to put up with unless the team starts winning more games. A year ago I would have told you that baseball is a thing of the past, an irrelevant relic that our country is moving on from. The truth is, baseball is not dying and never will, and the selfie-taking sorority girls aren’t going to collapse the MLB should they decide to stay home and stare into the mirror instead of filling a seat at an early-October game for a non-playoff team. Enjoy your Friday.