When I turned seventeen back in 1998, I finally earned the right to see R-Rated movies without a parent or guardian. Several great films, including American History X, Very Bad Things, and Rushmore were available for me to see with my new privilege, but I waited until the winter of 1999 to use my right to nudity, adult language, and crude humor. That movie was Varsity Blues.
James Van Der Beek was taking the world by storm, and he took to the gridiron as Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (sweet nickname), the back-up quarterback who did not want your life. He was thrust into action against Greenville after star quarterback Lance Harbor suffered what turned out to be a career ending knee injury to lead the West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd district championship. Throughout the flick, his rebellion against Coach Bud Kilmer led teenagers everywhere to believe in standing up to tyranny, drinking beer until the wee hours of the morning, and running a gadget offense.
What goes unnoticed in this cult classic is the ridiculous statistics being put up by Mox, Charlie Tweeder, Wendell Brown, and the rest of the crew. Hell, you could plug and play any of these Coyotes on your fantasy team and receive instant first tier gratification. Who do these fictional football players stack up to?
Jonathan “Mox” Moxon
Because Mox entered the season as the backup quarterback, we have to look back at QBs that made a fantasy impact in relief of a far superior player. I go back to 1993 and give you Scott Mitchell. Dan Marino went down with a torn ACL in the fifth game of the Miami Dolphins’ 1993 season and Scott Mitchell was thrust into action. Mitchell “led” the Dolphins to a 3-4 record before suffering an injury of his own, throwing for twelve touchdowns and a completion percentage of 57.1%. He somehow turned these stats into a three year, eleven million dollar deal ($5,000,000 guaranteed) and went 27-30 as Detroit’s starter before being cast away in 1998.
Mox may not have had a gorgeous left handed release, but his rise to stardom and inevitable crash to reality as a student at Brown University parallels the up and down life of Scott Mitchell. In 1993, you would have wanted his life.
Standing at 5’5″, Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan), was probably more suited for equipment manager, but since you can’t decipher height on the big screen, Tweeder became the lone big play threat in the Coyotes passing game. They went five wide several times during the movie, and there probably isn’t a person alive who can name the other West Canaan WRs. Either way, because of his diminutive stature, you might expect me to compare him to Wes Welker. Not a chance.
I’m again going back to the early 90s again for Chicago’s favorite white receiver, Tom Waddle. Waddle finished the 1991 season as the Bears’ second leading WR, hauling in 55 balls for 599 yards and three touchdowns, all while taking vicious hits to the head and becoming a real-life case study for concussion research worldwide. I don’t know if Tom Waddle ever stole a police car or put his “wainer” on the glass while the girls were practicing the Christmas pageant, but as an avid listener of ESPN 1000 in Chicago, I know Waddle enjoys his cocktails.
Coach Kilmer’s workhorse running back wasn’t getting any help getting recruited to a D1 school because Kilmer was a “racist redneck”, and he openly complained about not getting precious touches in the red zone. He was the diva every football team needs and has, and he compares favorably to Matt Forte of today’s Chicago Bears. Forte’s fantasy owners know that, until this season, he was routinely removed from the game in the red area because he had an extremely low conversion percentage on goal-to-go carries. While old school racism probably didn’t play into that decision, his only scores were those he broke from ten yards plus, and his lack of looks in the red area were all the separated Forte from elite status among the fantasy community.
A scholarship to Florida State. The head cheerleader. Oh what a life Lance Harbor was leading until his knee got twisted up like a pretzel. He can only be compared to Tom Brady circa 2008. Brady was coming off a season like no other where he threw an NFL record 50 touchdown passes and led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season. He was a consensus first round fantasy pick, and just 76 passing yards into his season, he took an ugly shot to his knee, tearing both his ACL and MCL. All of a sudden, his girlfriend was wearing a whipped cream bikini for Matt Cassel. We’ll never know if Brady could produce a similar campaign in 2008, but we do know he didn’t end up managing a Wal-Mart and coaching pee-wee football.
Mike Tolbert. Not because Billy Bob was a running back, but because he was the fat guy in the movie. Bet you didn’t think there were five minutes of Mike Tolbert highlights out there, huh?
Here are my Week 6 Fantasy Plays and Stays:
Keenan Allen, WR San Diego Chargers
After Malcom Floyd’s head almost popped off in San Diego’s Week 2 victory against Philadelphia, the Chargers needed to find a new receiver to play on the outside in their two wide sets. Rookie Keenan Allen stepped in as the starter two weeks later and has turned his opportunity into great success to date. Fifteen targets, eleven catches, 195 yards and a touchdown is what he’s managed since entering the starting lineup, and the resurgence of Philip Rivers has made San Diego’s offensive weapons fantasy relevant once again.
The Chargers host the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night football, and while the Colts have been a top defensive unit thus far in 2013, I fully expect this game to be a shootout. Expect points by the barrel-full, and look for Allen to provide 5-6 catches, around 80-90 yards and a score this week. He’s widely available on the Waiver Wire in leagues I’m not in. Get him. PLAY
DeSean Jackson, WR Philadelphia Eagles
As if a change at quarterback due to injury wasn’t bad enough, Jackson came out earlier in the week taunting All-World corner Darelle Revis, saying he couldn’t run with him. Revis has made a habit of getting the best of these situations in his career. No WR has gone for 100 yards receiving versus Tampa Bay yet this year, and I look for that trend to continue pretty easily. Jackson is tough to sit due to his big play ability, but with a ticked off Revis shadowing him all day with Nick Foles at the helm, I’m projecting a quiet day for DeSean. STAY
Garrett Graham, TE Houston Texans
If you haven’t heard by now, Texans starting TE Owen Daniels is going to be riding the pine for the next eight weeks due to a non-displaced fibula fracture. The other TE in the NFL with the last name Graham, who is already a Top 15 player at the position, steps in as the #1 option on the Houston depth chart. He is currently averaging 6.4 fantasy points per game in standard formats with three TD catches, good for a five way tie for fifth place among tight ends. Graham is strictly a pass catching TE, and with a tasty match-up on tap at home against the St. Louis Rams, I like Graham to be a double digit performer this week. 40-50 yards receiving and a score are extremely likely. PLAY
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