- Bad beats. We've all experienced them. These fantasy owners, however, just suffered through the worst kind: the ones that cost you a trip to the playoffs.
All bad beats are not created equal. Depending on the circumstances, some are much worse than others. A bad beat at any time of year is difficult to stomach. One that occurs in Week 13, and costs you a playoff berth is nearly impossible to handle. When that same Week 13 loss is on the final play of Monday Night Football, and just so happens to be in bizarre fashion, well, that’s the worst bad beat of them all.
As always, these are real bad beats from real readers. The wording is mostly theirs, received by SI in email form. The emails have been edited for clarity. Thanks to all of them for sharing their heartbreak with us.
When an offsides penalty costs so much more than five yards
Remember that offsides penalty on Josh Shaw at the end of the Bengals 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday that shortened Chris Boswell’s attempt to 38 yards from 43 yards? Hey, you can’t blame Shaw, right? After all, a 43-yarder for Boswell is nearly a chip shot. Someone had to try to make a play.
These readers, however, can blame Shaw. I’ll let them take it from here.
From Spencer Matheny
I started out having the worst season I've ever had. Last team to get a W. 0-5. Awful keepers. Something had to change. Fourteen trades later, I traded every. single. player. on my roster. Eight weeks later, I find myself fighting for the last playoff spot. All I had to do was beat my opponent. And it came down to the ugly Steelers-Bengals MNF game. On the last drive, all I needed was a big kick by Boswell to win by .05 to secure that last and final spot. And that's just what happened. Oh wait. There's a penalty. A little tiny 5-yard penalty on the Bengals. What was a 40+ yard FG, worth four points, turned into a 30+ yard FG, worth three points. And I lose by .95, and I'm knocked out of the playoffs.
From Jonathan Auclair
Offsides penalty, who cares, it’s part of the game right? Well, an offsides in Week 13 has never hurt me more. I’m playing in a 10-player league that is family and friends. The league is set up and run by my cousin. As of Week 13 I am leading the league at 9-3, one game ahead of 2nd place. This week I’m playing my cousin (the commish), who is in last place but still loves beating me. Going into the Monday night game I am down 11.2 points. Now remember that .2, it will haunt me. The 2nd-place guy in the league won his week, and now has enough points to pull ahead of me if I lose. I have Chris Boswell, the kicker for Pittsburgh playing Monday, and my cousin is done. All I need is a few field goals. FG’s are worth three, four and five points, depending on length. Less than a minute left in game, I’m down 114.73 to 111.53, and Boswell, who has been great this year, is setting up to kick a 43-yard field goal that would give me four points. I would not only win the game, but I’d secure 1st place for the regular season. As he lines up to kick, the Bengals jump offsides. OFFSIDES on the kick. No big deal, right? Just move five yards and kick it closer you say. WRONG, now the field goal is from 38 yards. That means I only get three points. Boswell nails it and the Steelers win! Remember that .2 of a point, yep, I lost by .2, point freaking two, all because of an offsides on the kick. Had he kicked a 43-yarder I would have gotten four points, won my week and the regular season. Thanks, Bengals.
From David Zemon
Going into last week’s Monday night game, I was down 11.6 points with all players done sans my kicker, Chris Boswell. His 43-yard game-winning field goal would have been a +4 for me, resulting in a total of 12 for him for the game, giving me a win by 0.4 points. The 5-yard offsides penalty on CIN for trying to block the FG attempt moved it to a 38-yard try. It went in, he got three points for it and 11 total, and I lost by 0.6.
Of course, the offsides heard ‘round the fantasy world wasn’t the only heartbreak delivered in the Week 13 Steelers-Bengals game. A.J. Green owners rode quite the roller coaster on Monday night.
A phantom hold and an uncharacteristic drop
From Jeff O’Hara
Had A.J. Green, JuJu and Joe Mixon, and only needed 41 points to make the playoffs.
Mixon gets knocked out, JuJu has awful night, and then the icing on the cake.
A.J. Green drops a 15-yard catch on the Bengals last drive, and I lose by 1 point. That 1 point cost me the playoffs. Win and I was in. L and I was out. Not to mention the called-back TD (Green caught a would-be 61-yard touchdown that was negated by a questionable holding call) and 30-yard drop he had earlier in half.
Worst beat ever.
From James Filippone
It was a tough fantasy season for me. Despite being the 3rd-highest scoring team in my league (and only about 40 points fewer than the highest-scoring team), I also led the league in points against, having more than 150 more points scored against me than the team with the 2nd-highest points against.
I needed one win in my final three games to make the playoffs. JUST ONE. However, I faced the top-scoring team each of the last three weeks, while my team was a top-three scoring team each of those weeks. So I went 0-3, and missed the playoffs by one game.
This past week (obviously must-win) I was down 62 points going into the Monday night Steelers-Bengals matchup, with Antonio Brown and A.J. Green in play. The 61-yard A.J. Green TD that was called back due to a horrific non-existent holding call, coupled with just a few catches afterwards, would have won me the matchup. Screw you, NFL referees.
Finally, reader Cale Dahm didn’t provide any of the grisly details, but this was too brutal to not share. I’ve been playing fantasy football for 20 years, and I’ve never heard of anything like this.
Lost the last 3 weeks by a combined 1 point (0.4, 0.5, and 0.1). I’m 6-7 now and missed the playoffs [by one win].
The good news for Spencer, Jonathan, David, Jeff, James and Cale? No more bad beats for at least nine months!