- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2012

A co-worker and fellow fantasy football player contends I don’t like anything. Well, he’s wrong. I like plenty of things.

For instance 

I like my wife (although I reserve the right to change my status to indifferent for a couple of hours Sunday night if she knocks me out of the playoffs for the second year in a row).

I like my 16-month-old son (and that shouldn’t change for a while as he will not be allowed to start playing fantasy football for a few years because the last thing I need is a toddler ending my season).

I like the family pug (but if Edgar ever beats me in fantasy football, he’ll have to go elsewhere for long walks and lunch meat).

See, I like stuff.

I like Thin Lizzy (the most criminally underrated band of the 20th century).

I like Law & Order (especially Criminal Intent).

I like milk (mostly straight from the carton).

And I like fantasy football. For different reasons every year. The 2012 list includes:

The Broncos: Peyton Manning has been a great story — even if I didn’t have the guts to draft him in any of my leagues — but it’s their defense/special teams I really like. Four weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Denver play in Charlotte. A few days earlier, I had picked up the Broncos defense as part of multiple waivers I made in an effort to turn my 4-5 team into a playoff contender. During an entertaining three-plus hours that Sunday afternoon, I watched (and cheered) as Trindon Holliday returned a punt for a score, Tony Carter had a pick-6, and Von Miller led a seven-sack performance. That was worth 28 points and a huge win that was the start of what is a four-game winning streak heading into the opening round of the playoffs in that particular league.

Doug Martin: I acted on a hunch in selecting the Bucs RB earlier than projected in two leagues, and he’s done even better than I had hoped. His 1,480 total yards and 10 TDs have been great, and how could you not like his 251-yard, four-TD game against the Raiders in Week 9? I suppose if you were facing him that week you didn’t particularly care for him, but that’s the kind of performance for which your appreciation is only enhanced by the stat-obsessed culture of fantasy football.

Tom Brady: One of the most overlooked aspects of fantasy success is consistency. This is especially true at the top of your lineup. If you have a consistent QB, you will be competitive every week. The importance of a QB you can count on has been highlighted this year by the inconsistency of the other top players at the position. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have thrown more TDs (29 and 31, respectively) than Brady (25), but Rodgers has had four games in which he threw one or fewer TDs — including two straight — and Brees is coming off his first game in more than three years in which he didn’t throw a TD. Even worse, he threw five interceptions. Brady has thrown four INTs the entire season! Brady always helps you and rarely hurts you. What’s not to like?

RG3 and the Redskins: Last year, I wrote a column in which I said as bad the Redskins were in reality, they were even worse in fantasy. Among Rex Grossman, John Beck and the cavalcade of forgettable backs and receivers the team trotted out in 2011, there wasn’t a single player worth taking up space on a fantasy roster. This year, however, the Redskins have skill players with actual skill: a rookie QB (Robert Griffin III) with big-play ability who’s playing with Brady-like efficiency, a rookie RB (Alfred Morris) who’s tied for third in the league in rushing and a now-healthy No. 1 WR (Pierre Garcon) with great hands and a knack for turning short passes into long TDs. Things are going so well for Washington lately that even its kicker (Kai Forbath) is automatic. Mike Shanahan, Redskins fans and countless fantasy owners like this (thumbs up).

50 Shades of Jay: That’s the name my wife came up with this year for the fantasy team I’m hoping doesn’t end my playoff push this week. And it’s genius. Am I pandering here? That depends. If my brother the commissioner is reading this, then no, I’m only pointing out how funny and creative my better half is. If, however, my brother the commissioner is not reading this, then yes, I am not-so-subtly reminding my wife how awesome I think she is in hopes she will keep that in mind while setting her lineup. I mean, the Bears defense is a tough matchup for Adrian Peterson, right? Maybe Vick Ballard against the Titans is the better choice. Seriously, “50 Shades of Jay” is the greatest team name in the history of this particular Chicago-based league. It’s even better when you see it on the screen accompanied by a picture of Bears QB Jay Cutler from a GQ photo shoot a few years ago. A truly inspired pairing. Makes me laugh every time. Now I would prefer that “Edgar Allan Pugs” be immortalized on the league trophy at the end of the season, but if that’s not in the cards, I’ll be rooting for the first appearance of “50 Shades of Jay.” I would like that. A lot.