PLYMOUTH — In the remote chance that Philip Rivers will read this, I will plead with him to do one of two things — wake up, or retire.
At the beginning of the Fantasy Football year, I headed to all three of my drafts with one idea planted firmly in my mind — do not, under any circumstances, draft Rivers.
My reasoning was simple — the previous two seasons, Rivers absolutely folded down the stretch. Last year, all I needed from this poor excuse of a quarterback was one stinking touchdown. Just throw one to anybody. That shouldn’t be too much to ask of a professional quarterback playing for a team that is in contention for a playoff spot.
Apparently it was way too much to ask. Rivers played poorly, yet on the final day of the 2014 NFL season, with the San Diego Chargers needing a win to make the playoffs, my chances of winning my division in Frank “The Colonel” Coughlin’s Fantasy Football League rested on Rivers’ right arm.
Rivers did not throw a TD pass. The Chargers lost. I did not win my division. I was upset.
So selecting three teams in 2015 were to be Rivers-free. This year, a Rivers would not run through my chances of Fantasy Football success. No sirree. I learned my lesson.
And then draft day arrived. The Colonel’s league is quarterback-dominant. You select two quarterbacks and both play each week. Quarterbacks score the most points.
I had the ninth pick in the first round. When my turn came, I took Matt Bryant, who has played as poorly as any quarterback could with Julio Jones as your featured receiver. But, alas, I did not choose Rivers.
As the second round began, I sat salivating, waiting to take Dez Bryant because we all knew Dez was going to be the top receiver in the NFL this year. Yeah, until he was hurt in the first game and sat out most of the year.
My old nemesis, Ricky “Pickles” McDaniels was choosing before me and Pickles took Dez, sending me into a frenzy. Crap, what do I do now? I was totally unprepared and clearly shaken by Pickles’ “Monster” pick.
As I shuffled my cheat-sheets, scouring the reports for a clue as to who I should take, there he was — Philip Rivers. Now, I began to justify why I couldn’t let Rivers go by. He couldn’t have another bad year, could he? I mean he did throw a lot of TDs. This is a QB-dominated league. Rivers is the best of what is left out there, right? Cam who?
As the beads of sweat began to build on my forehead, I went against all of my pre-draft vows and I chose Rivers. He started the year well, leading the NFL in passing for almost half the season. Then, as he did last year he began to fade.
This past weekend he did nothing — again. He has taken my team to the end of a once hopeful season.
I look back and I wonder why I did it. Why, when I swore I wouldn’t pick the guy, did I actually go against my gut feeling and pick the slug?
A few weeks ago, Tony Romo was about to return from injury. I decided to drop a QB and pick up Romo. I dropped Ryan and kept Rivers. Not only was that the wrong move, Romo got hurt again and is out. Now I have Rivers and Kirk Cousins. Who?
How could I have been so stupid?
It goes to show you that Fantasy Football is more about catching an unexpected rising star than counting on past performance.
Next year, I will not sell my team down the Rivers. I’ll take a top QB, for sure, but my strategy will change from that point forward.
If only there was a way to know that Cam Newton would be the NFL MVP. He was available when I was picking ninth.
Wait til next year.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.