Holy moly, some naughty things were said about our guy Adrian Peterson in the inbox and on the Twitter this week. Fantasy footballers took a break from Christmas Cheer and The Holiday Spirit to blow off some steam Monday night and Tuesday about their No. 1 pick going from optimistically questionable to DNP at the last moment. You could hear the geeks gasp at TCF Bank Stadium when Toby Gerhart trotted out in front of our frozen eyeballs.
My favorite Peterson comment came from a sneaky fellow who went into MNF ahead by three points and playing against AP. When AP was declared out, this guy dropped a couple of players from his roster and picked up Gerhart and Chester Taylor, leaving his opponent zero pickup options at RB. Ruthless, and I loved it.
For those scoring at home: Always have the handcuff (that's geek-speak for "Make sure you have your best player's real-life backup") option in weeks 13-16. And it doesn't get any easier this weekend -- Fantasy Bowl weekend -- with AP potentially a game-time decision in a prime-time game. I can't imagine a trickier scenario. If AP sits out, it'll be talked about 'round here for years. You don't make friends in fantasy geekdom with zeroes in weeks 15 and 16.
Michael Rand: If this 2010 Vikings season -- and fantasy season -- have prepared us for anything, it is the unexpected. Or did you expect to see Joe Webb playing quarterback for the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in a 26-point loss that let the Bears clinch the NFC North? And did you see a conceivable final four of fantasy playoffs during which Adrian Peterson and Donovan McNabb would (potentially) be held scoreless while Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow put up huge numbers? You just have to roll with the punches. And if that means pushing aside everything you thought you knew about the sport and having REX GROSSMAN!!! start in your Fantasy Bowl because your other QB is concussed or benched, then so be it.
Chris Carr: I'm with ya. What better way to end the strangest of seasons by saying, with a completely straight face, "We're really excited about Tim Tebow and Rex Grossman this weekend!" This season has served up the unexpected at a dizzying rate, so go with the flow. Start Tebow at home against terrible Houston, or Grossman against Jacksonville's awful secondary. The completely unexpected is the new predictable. Michael Vick, Arian Foster and Darren McFadden -- that's the backbone of your 2010 Fantasy Bowl Week Dream Team. This is what we were thinking about each back in August: "Is he still wearing an orange jumpsuit?" "Arian Who?" And, "He'll be a nice third-down back for Oakland."
Rand: Don't forget about Peyton Hillis. You might think that since he's facing big, bad Baltimore he's due for a rough one. But his breakout game this season (22 carries, 144 yards and a TD) came at Baltimore in Week 3 -- around the time anyone thought about actually putting him on an active fantasy roster.
Carr: The one benefit of all of this unpredictability -- and it's a big one -- is the lack of "You guys are idiots!" e-mails this year. (Not counting the ones from the Rand family back home.) It's not like anyone's calling us out for missing the boat on Hillis and BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Jacob Tamme. Maybe all this zaniness is good for the ol' job security.
Rand: Indeed. Of course, now that official Fantasy Reality mascot Austin Collie is on injured reserve, is there any reason to go on? I guess there's always next year. And maybe the zaniness should make us feel less guilty for showing up at a draft with a cheat sheet and about 10 minutes of Internet research under the belt. Not that, um, I've ever done that.
Carr: "I guess there's always next year." A true Minnesota sports fan indeed. Me, I'll be watching all the Week 16 insanity go down with my feet up and my evil laugh echoing off the walls. I don't have to worry about a thing. I got off the couch last Sunday afternoon with a comfy semifinal lead, changed a diaper, made a sandwich (in that order), sat back down and looked up to see that Mr. Vick had shredded the Giants defense and my fantasy season in the few minutes I was gone. Yes, Michael Vick, the 2010 fantasy MVP. Didn't quite see that one comin'. It'll be interesting to see which forgotten, third-string QB tears apart the league next season. May the fantasy gods help us all if 2011 plays out anything like this one.