Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Incredible! Amazing! We are, of course, more than a week late with our tidings, but if you ask me, the food is always better much, much later anyway. Who doesn't love leftovers, besides my wife and children, for no reason other than to annoy me? I mean, really—why enjoy something hot and fresh right out of the oven when you could have it much later, chopped, squished, and stuffed in a plastic bag full of vestigial steam? Pulling 20 different tiny plastic containers out of the refrigerator is a terrific familial bonding exercise, I've found. It's very sad, for them, that they cannot share this with me.
Thanksgiving is what Halloween and Christmas both wish they could be: a time of giving and mirth that brings families together to indulge in excessive amounts of sugar and trans fats. That it subtracts any dependence on a supernatural toy craftsman and the kindness of strangers is just gravy on the ham.
Even the worst Thanksgiving—burned bird, uncharmingly drunk family, pious European invaders hatching plans to kill you and take your land before dessert is even served—easily tops the best possible Easter, which I guess would be...what, one where the Peeps factory was on strike? Not sure what that would even look like. There'd be ham, I suppose.
To this point in our grand experiment, I gotta say, I feel the same way about the Costanza Method. Has it been an unqualified success? Well, fuckin' no. It's not like Iron Man or some shit. We've hit some bumps in the road, I'll admit. If the goal here is to produce a seven-figure DFS ticket, then we've fallen short each and every week. The eight to 10 guys I've put together weekly have not, as of today, fully fleshed out a roster that would have won you more than a few dozen bucks on your Daily Fantasy site of choice. But I mean, come on. It's hard planning this whole thing for you guys. Lord knows I haven't had any help! [Glaring at your father]
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Just think about it: if you only read DFS columnists who've won a million bucks playing Daily Fantasy, you will eventually have an empty bookmarks folder. This is a fun beat and all, but nothing's more fun than a helicopter full of $100 bills, ya know? The Costanza Method will always be here for you, whether we like it or not.
So what if I'm the safety school, the best of a bad situation, the last lifeline, the fantasy advice giver that jumps outta the backpack when you pull the ripcord? That's absolutely all right with me. I'd rather have the canned cranberry sauce than nothing at all. This turkey's drier than Johnny Depp's bathtub over here!
Week Before Last Week's Fistpumps and Faceplants
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons - 6th QB, 20.90pts ++
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers - 28th QB, 6.92 --
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills - 25th QB, 9.2pts --
Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals - T-62nd RB, 1.70pts ---
Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals - T-34th RB, 7.50pts ---
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington - billionth RB, 0.00 ----
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers - 6th RB, 21.40pts ++
Eric Decker, WR, Jets - 30th WR, 12.10pts -
Vincent Jackson, WR, Bucs - 17th WR, 15.60pts +
Crockett Gillmore, TE, Ravens - 3rd TE, 18.10pts +++
This week's results were, in the tradition of Thanksgiving side dishes, a bit of a mixed bag. With apologies to Crockett Gillmore and Jonathan Stewart—the pecan pie and green bean casseroles, respectively, of our picks from the last column—Week 11 was some real turnip greens and "salad"-ass shit! That brutal slate didn't place once in Noles2148's Millionaire Maker winning roster, so congratulations to him or her on moving up a tax bracket and, at the same time, apparently avoiding my carefully crafted 2,000 words on the failings of the latest James Bond franchise entry.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints - $6,900
Brees has looked horrible in his past couple outings, and the Panthers, particularly downright menacing cornerback Josh Norman, will not make this one easy for the tiny, frail old man. Divisional games are strange sometimes, though. Maybe Brees can make this one a "get off my lawn" early-bird special.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills - $5,200
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons - $8,000
Freeman is apparently cleared to resume contact after his stint in the NFL's concussion protocol, but has yet to do so. The cost to acquire him in this format remains absurdly high. And that, my friends, is when we strike!
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints - $6,400
Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens - $5,400
I've no clue who this Allen person is, where he is from, or what he does for a living. Javorius Allen remains shrouded in mystery to me. His aura is undetectable at this time. So yeah. Buy.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons - $9,000
Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers - $3,600
It's amazing to see a guy like Wheaton buried in the muck of the draft pool with the Leonard Hankersons and Cole Beasleys of the world, when those two couldn't mow 200 yards much less gain them. Last week's outburst seems flukey, to say the least, but some flukes last longer than others.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins - $3,300
I thought this was the other guy, the one from the Packers, but it's not. He's somebody else. Anyway, maybe this guy will catch some passes.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots - $7,800
***Only if you're going to be around, on top of, below, or next to your computer on Sunday at 11:58 AM*** NO REFUND, ONLY EXCHANGE
For some of us, Week 13 is the last week of the fantasy football regular season—a stretch of 12 hours that will ultimately determine whether or not, in retrospect, we "didn't really care about this league anyway." Our fantasy fates hang in the balance, and just one tackle or errant kick, if your league is especially precious about positions, can wipe away months of pseudo-work. Winter is a very perilous and cruel season. "Winter is coming" breeds more enthusiasm now than it used to, sure, but that's because we like the one with all the sex and violence that happens in April. Not the snow one. The snow winter sucks ass.
If we've done our part in this space, you've micromanaged your way onto the precipice of fantasy immortality with a handful of shrewd yet unexpected maneuvers that left your opponents on tilt. If not, well, the playoffs stink anyway. Sorry.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington
I don't know how much fun playing against Dallas really is these days, despite the optics of most games. You can pretty much do whatever you want against them with no fear of retribution, as I saw Carolina do up close and in person on Thanksgiving, but at this point it's almost like, gosh, who cares really?
The Cowboys have been eliminated from contention at least five times this year, and even now they refuse to let the hobbling Tony Romo relax and recuperate on IR. What could they possibly gain from his unlikely return, besides even more ill fortune? By the same token, what could any team gain from defeating such a strung-out cadre of hard-luck sadsacks? Not much, but I'm quite sure Washington will do it all the same. Next year, we'll do it all again.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Bears
This past week, mostly due to tryptophan and other mind-altering substances, I neglected to replace Langford in one of my lineups with Matt Forte, who has been a mainstay for me all season. I realized this error early in the second quarter, when, after an Eddie Lacy fumble gave Chicago possession deep in GB territory, Forte ran left for a seven-yard gain down to the 11. I cursed my horrible luck and low-level strategizing, crying aloud for the chance to go back in time and make things right, Baby Hitler-style. Alas.
A couple drives later, Langford would score the Bears' only rushing TD of the game. I'd rather be lucky than good, is the point.
Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
Travis Benjamin, WR, Browns
Benjamin will probably not get the kind of respect he deserves at any point this season due to the rapidly devolving Browns QB situation, but let's have some perspective: What evidence is there to support a ranking of 31 at his position? Is it merely Austin Davis? Because that's not good enough. Benjamin is a low-volume player, but is still probably a top-12 or so receiver even in PPR leagues, and he's done that with the same shitty squadron of throwers the Browns have had all year. It isn't like he just came over in a trade from the '99 Rams. People get that, right?
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
I'm going back for seconds with Diggs even though the first serving was a big disappointment. As it turns out, Minnesota could have flown Adrian Peterson down to Atlanta with 10 inflatable tube guys and still smacked the cratering Falcons around. Teddy Bridgewater barely had to warm up his arm to earn a 20-10 victory. If the Seahawks are to be beaten, however, the Vikings will have to average more than 6.21 yards per attempt. As the Steelers showed this past Sunday, that last part, at least, is possible.
Charles Clay, TE, Bills
Necessity is the mother of invention, and with Rob Gronkowski once again steamrolling into the fantasy playoff stretch with a hard "Q" designation, there will be millions of teams looking to invent a quality backup TE for this week and beyond. Clay is a material for building. Go wild with that one, pun-heads.