This week, people of the Jewish faith (like myself) celebrated the holiest day on the calendar, Yom Kippur. I'm not actually religious at all, and I celebrated the day by taking off work and spending time with my baby daughter, wife, and family. But the holiday is a good one -- it is the Day of Atonement, where you not only ask others for forgiveness for your transgressions over the past year, but you return the favor by forgiving others.
It's a good time for reflection, which means it's right here in the wheelhouse of The Thinking Chair. Lots of players get pretty nasty labels in fantasy sports -- if your first-round draft pick doesn't give you fifteen or twenty points in a week, he's scum. A dog. Words like "hate" and "loathe" are tossed around pretty casually to describe someone's feelings about a player whose good performance caused you to lose a week, or who cost you a win by dropping a pass or choosing to take a kneel-down instead of tossing a Hail Mary. And that's fine. It's a game, and of course one hopes no one takes it all that seriously.
But when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when it's time to dole out some forgiveness ... well, that's what we're here for. Remember, this is a two way street, folks.
At a crucial point in the early fourth round of one of my drafts, I labored between taking Jamal Lewis, who had slipped way past his supposed value, and Thomas Jones, who seemed like a great value in that slot. I chose Lewis, but it turns out it didn't really matter -- they're the 33rd- and 34th-ranked running backs in that league thus far. I forgive you guys for the slumps, but it's really time to start turning it around.
On the other hand, I gave little to no respect to wideouts Santana Moss or Roddy White, who are the fifth and sixth-ranked players at their position so far. Moss has always been a complete hit-or-miss from week to week, and his donut last weekend certainly felt uncomfortably familiar. But even with that catch-less afternoon, Moss has still been hugely valuable this season, and White has been his equal. I just didn't see White having a second great season with a sub-par quarterback, but I was wrong on that in a variety of ways.
So yeah, I need to apologize to Matt Ryan, too. He's been much more solid than I'd expected, and I should add an apology to my brother, who I strongly counseled against drafting Ryan as a safety QB3 in our two-QB league. He didn't listen to me, and Ryan now helps his squad weekly.
I also forgive RotoExperts writer Paul Bourdett, who mocked me for saying that Chargers QB Philip Rivers would have a good year. It's early yet, but I'm looking pretty good so far on that bet.
I can't decide if I need to apologize to Larry Johnson, or if he owes the rest of us an apology of his own. He's a mystery to me here -- is he the guy who racked up a whopping two yards last weekend? Or the uber-stud who approached 200 yards the weekend before with two scores? I'm still glad I stayed away from him in every league, but he's not "worthless" or "all done" as I am sure I called him on numerous occasions before the season began. So that's my apology to you, Larry. Let me know if you want to send one back my way or not.
Derek Anderson, you owe me a serious apology. The kind that takes some serious thought, some soul-searching for the right words, and perhaps some type of gift. Because I pimped you out before the season began. For a while, I considered Anderson as the fifth best QB, ahead of guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb. That waned as we got closer to the start of the year, but I still saw him as a huge points machine with little risk. Part of that was because I only saw the real risk being the presence of Brady Quinn, who isn't the problem here. It's that Anderson has simply sucked, and his receivers haven't helped at all. I just didn't see that coming, because it shouldn't be happening. DA is close to losing his job; just like another QB I touted as a late round value, Jon Kitna. Seriously, Kitna and Anderson need to get together, pool their money, and buy me something to help ease the pain. (I enjoy a nice bourbon, for what it's worth, guys.)
NBC owes me an apology for insisting that The Biggest Loser is worth two hours of air time each week. It's compelling to watch people try to improve their lives, and the weight these folks lose is tremendous, but it's really nothing more than a 30-minute show that I could probably tolerate for an hour. Two hours, with that much product placement? Come on, guys--you can do better, can't you?
While we're on the subject of television, I'd like to extend my own apology to Brooke Shields, whom I thought was all washed up in the looks department years ago. I haven't watched her show and don't plan to, but she seems to be on a lot of commercials these days, and man, she looks fantastic. Brooke and I have a long history. She was one of the first minor obsessions I had as a developing youth, and I just decided it was over for her. Man, I was wrong.
There is still a lot of football to be played, and eventually guys like Chad Ocho Cinco and Willis McGahee will provide some fantasy value for their owners, although that could take awhile. But when you talk of them, talk kindly. Atonement is something everyone can appreciate, at least once a year.
Matthew Greber is a Senior Writer for RotoExperts.com and has never seen or read Atonement, but that won't stop him from writing about it. He'll accept emails explaining the history of apologies, or about pretty much anything else at email@example.com.