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Start, Sit & Bad Beats

by Seth Woolcock

I swear, at least once every year, fantasy owners, myself included, are left wondering why we continue to play fantasy football.

Why, week in and week out, we spend a wealthy amount of time looking at stats and trends trying to predict a future outcome, constantly consuming articles, podcasts, trade value charts and weekly rankings for 16 weeks of the year. 

At least for me, the unsettling questioning of it all usually comes at the hands of a “bad beat.”

Originally a poker term, a bad beat describes a situation where a player, with strong odds, loses to an opponent who statistically is unlikely to win because they hit a lucky card or two.

Although bad beats tend to be frequent in gambling and sports, they also occur in everyday life.

Bad beats are universal and are now, with social media, being shared more than ever. So much that Scott Van Pelt has made it a weekly segment on his midnight edition of ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” showcasing moments that drove sports gamblers crazy.

This week, my bad beat came at one of the worst times for one to happen – Monday Night Football.

With just under two minutes in regulation remaining in the Seahawks and 49ers game, my team was up by roughly six points. My opponent had only Tevin Coleman, San Francisco’s running back, still in play.

Typically, not the passing-catching running back, Coleman was in on the final regulation drive because fellow back Matt Brieda was out with an injury. 

On the first two plays of the drive, Seattle’s linebacker K.J. Wright dropped two potential game-ending interceptions.

What followed to my despair was Tevin Coleman catching three receptions for more than 30 yards on that drive. 

I lost by 0.6 of a point. 

Brutal. Just brutal.

However, knowing I couldn’t be the only one who’s felt this way, I reached out to the fantasy football community and some league mates to find out what are some of their worst bad beats.

I heard some pretty gut-wrenching defeats. Like the time Will Mest’s wife got him golf lessons with a professional, only for the pro to die a month later. Or the time when he won a round-trip to anywhere with Southeast Airlines, only for them to go out of business, also a month later.

However, Lewis Glover, A.K.A Fantasy Football Down Under and @FF_DownUnder on Twitter might take the cake for one of the worst bad beats of all-time.

Lewis, a New England Patriots fan and fantasy football writer from Australia, entered an Aussie-only daily fantasy sports contest that was designed to promote Draft Kings in Australia during Week 1 of the regular season. It was $50 per entry with a three entry per person max and a 100-entry limit. The contest’s grand prize was an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Boston for five nights and box tickets to the Cowboys vs. Patriots in Week 12.

With the Chargers game going to overtime in Week 1, Glover thought he was riding Austin Ekeler home to the victory. The other first-place contender had only Jimmy Garoppolo still in play, in a game against the Buccaneers when the score was pretty much out of reach for Tampa Bay.

However, after a Jameis Winston pick-six (shocker, right?), San Francisco Head Coach Kyle Shanahan elects to go for two, instead of kicking the extra point to put the 49ers up 31–17.

Jimmy Garoppolo converts the two-point conversion, and Glover ends up losing by 0.2 of a fantasy point and misses out on the trip to America because of it.

Brutal, Lewis. Just brutal.

And even though in the moment of the bad beat and the following days it makes us question why we play the game, we keep coming back.

Coming back knowing when we do get that victory and/or league championship title, it will make it taste just that much sweeter.

Now, let’s get to it.

Quarterback I’d Start this Week:

Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco):  Even though Jimmy Garoppolo, as alluded to earlier, crushed Lewis’s chance for a trip to America, I’m rolling with him here in Week 11.

With both of his two best running backs not 100 percent healthy and facing a Cardinals defense that  allows the most points to opposing quarterbacks, it’s hard not to love Garoppolo at home this week.

Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:

Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams):  A somewhat-disastrous season for Jared Goff and the Rams got worse last week when they were defeated by the Steelers in Heinz Field.

Now, with two games of fewer than four fantasy points for Goff, the road doesn’t get easier as he faces the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The still somewhat–formidable defense gave Goff fits last year as he posted a season-worst 180 yards on 44 attempts with three interceptions.

Unless truly desperate, Goff is an easy sit for me.

Running Back I’d Start this Week:

Brian Hill (Atlanta):  With lead-back Devonta Freeman likely sidelined this week due to a foot-injury, 24-year-old Brian Hill now gets his shot at carrying the load for the Falcons.

And it couldn’t be a better opportunity for the Wyoming-product as his opponent, the Carolina Panthers, allow an average of 5.05 yards per carry and 1.56 touchdowns a game to opposing backs.

If Hill’s 14.1 fantasy point performance in Week 10 showed us anything, it’s that he has the ability to step up when called upon. Don’t be afraid to fire him up if you happened to grab him off waivers.

Running Back I’d Sit this Week:

David Johnson (Arizona):  Wow. I never thought the day would come where I’m telling my readers to bench David Johnson. But, here we are. 

Coming off a game in which he was benched for the newly-acquired Kenyan Drake, Johnson now faces a 49’ers’ defense that has been stout upfront, allowing an average of only 11.78 fantasy points to opposing running backs.

And while the future may be brighter following Arizona’s Week 12 bye, I’m holding my breath until then if I’m a Johnson owner.

Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:

Curtis Samuel (Carolina):  Quietly, Curtis Samuel, currently WR27 on the season, has put together a very nice season.

Reaching double digits in five of eight contests so far, I expect Samuel to get there again as he gets a Falcons team that outside of last week has been awful on the defensive end and bottom-seven against receivers.  

Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:

Stefon Diggs (Minnesota):  While it’s tough to bench any player, who can explode as Stefon Diggs did in Week 6 for 44.5 fantasy points, I’m content with doing so this week.

Struggling in his last two games without the elusive Adam Thielen, I don’t see Diggs getting back on track against a Denver defense that is top-five against opposing receivers and will likely have Chris Harris Jr., one of the league’s best corners, shadowing him.

This column was originally featured at ThePenn.org November 14, 2019.

If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.

And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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