My girlfriend laughs at me. She does that often, very careful to explain that she’s laughing at me, and not with me. And she doesn’t laugh only because hers is a considerably better Marlon Brando Godfather impression than mine. Again, more on that at a later date.
No, she laughs at me because year after year, I continue to draft old guys.
When I told her that somehow, Matt Ryan, an old guy, found his way onto my fantasy roster, she looked at me as if to ask, he’s still in the league?!?
Yes, Matt Ryan, 36, is still in the league and quarterbacking for the Atlanta Falcons. When taking him in the later rounds, I just thought… well, it doesn’t really matter what I thought. In his Week One, against an inspired Philadelphia Eagles defense, Matt Ryan garnered a flat zero fantasy points. In Week Two, Ryan goes up against a stingy Buccaneers defense and doesn’t look to fare much better.
The problem here is not necessarily with Matt Ryan, who no longer has Julio Jones to throw to, a running back to hand off to or an offensive line to block an imposing pass rush. No, the more pressing issue is that I’m an old guy who continues to draft old guys. Tom Brady obviously excluded for the freak of nature that he is, drafting old guys in fantasy does not bode well for a winning season. I’m slowly learning this fact and will to have re-read this post multiple times before next year’s draft, for this year, it may be too late.
Here’s how out of touch with reality I am. In a recent game night among friends, a Family Feud-style question was asked. The question posed to the audience was “Things you do when you first wake up in the morning.” I quickly blurted out the answer “Read the newspaper!” which I still defend is something people do when they wake up in the morning.
The problem is, and I don’t know if you knew this or not, there’s no longer such a thing as newspapers! As the answer leaked out of my mouth in slow motion, the entire group of people I was playing with scratched their collective heads except of course for my girlfriend, who scratched her chin Godfather-style and muttered “Never go against the family.”
The point is, and perhaps my advice is too late considering most people have already drafted their fantasy teams, look to the youth movement.
Professional football is now a young man’s game, again, Brady notwithstanding. The average age of the NFL quarterback is 27 years old. Josh Allen is 24. So are Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow. Baker Mayfield is 25. So is Patrick Mahomes. Tua’s 22. So is Justin Herbert. Kyler Murray is 23. Dak Prescott, the old man of this youth movement is 27. That doesn’t even include the five quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round last year. In other words, well under half the league’s quarterbacks are way under 30.
And here I am stuck… with Matt Ryan. I feel like I’m sitting next to him on a park bench under a shady tree like Forrest Gump talking to anyone who will listen. After watching the run-less, hapless and currently winless Atlanta Falcons get manhandled in Week One, I feel like I should be bringing a box of chocolates to an aging Matt Ryan in hospice. He threw 164 yards, no touchdowns and was sacked three times. Zero was the fewest fantasy points for any quarterback in Week One. In other words, he didn’t even get points right for signing his name correctly on the SATs. (They still have SATs, right?)
By no means am I giving up on my season after Week One. I am, however, scouring the waiver wire for scraps and wondering who I’m going to start at quarterback in Week Two for it sure as shit won’t be Matt Ryan.
Perhaps I’m over-reacting. Maybe Ryan will rebound down the road and put up some points, eventually. The odds of him going full goose egg all season are minimal. I just don’t know that he’ll be on my roster long enough for me to find out.
Notice to the rest of you. Unless you’re drafting Tom Brady with his boatload of offensive weapons, look young. Or perhaps you already knew this and I’m the last one reading about it… in my newspaper.
Note: Upon publishing this post, I traded away Matt Ryan for Kirk Cousins, another old guy. The first step is admitting you have a problem.