Damn it. Cue the gnashing of teeth and the tragic beating of my chest. I normally avoid the allure of irrational exuberance, but last week I tempted fate by maniacally embracing Nick Foles. Of course, like an arrogant scientist in a schlock-filled science fiction movie, I have to now deal with the ramifications of trusting in merely mortal men: Fole’s 11-for-29, 80 yards, and a 38-percent completion rate. That’s bordering on Jacksonville-Jaguars-quarterbacking-bad. True, that concussion in the third quarter will always leave us wondering what would have happened if Foles hadn’t suffered the injury. But considering he was averaging 2.8 yards per attempt on 29 passes, it’s unlikely he was going to offer fantasy owners much that day. And while, yes, it sucks that Foles didn’t play well and the Eagles lost, let’s not over-evaluate his performance. After all, it was one bad game. Mike Vick has bad games, and so do Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Hell, Eli Manning is having a difficult season. Keep in mind, too, that Foles is a 24-year-old in his first year with Chip Kelly’s mad offensive system. Give him some time to prove his worth or lack thereof.
Foles’ dismal performance prompted me to reevaluate my own place in the Eagles universe more than it did his. Specifically, I started to question my merit as a fantasy football writer. Do I really know what I’m talking about? But after poking around to discover that ESPN, CBS and Yahoo’s fantasy sites all had also promoted Foles as a good start, I realized the answer was: as well as any other fantasy sports writer does. Even the savviest statistician among us is more alchemist than physicist; the best we can do is to make an educated guess. It’s like the sports geek’s version of the 1986 version of The Fly. You try to build the perfect team, and sometimes it works and Jeff Goldblum starts dating Geena Davis and everyone is, at least seemingly, happy. But sometimes our calculations are wrong, things go awry, and our teams wind up like this poor bastard. We face an uphill battle trying to figure out a secret formula for victory—or, in Goldblum’s case, to dilute the fly molecules from his DNA before he becomes a repugnant ... thing.
(Foles did win at something last week, sort of: He tied with the Vikings’ Josh Freeman for dead last.)
Sunday’s game against the Giants presents a prime opportunity for the Eagles to get back on track. With Mike Vick back under center, I’d expect to once again see the fast-paced offense that fans had grown accustomed to. Even if the passing game falters, Vick’s mobility should make things exciting. And don’t be fooled by the Giants’ win over the Vikings on Monday. New York is still a pretty bad football team. (Minnesota might be an even worse one.) Of course, Eli Manning could start playing well again, in which case, we might be outright screwed. But I’m optimistic that Vick can help reignite this offense, and his threat as a runner will cause enough concern for the New York D that LeSean McCoy should finds ample room to run. In fact, I’m going to make a crazy prediction: 24-17, Eagles.
Who’s Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis’s character in The Fly)? The guy who’s getting out of this mess alive in Week 8: Mike Vick. First, the bad news: In the three games prior to his injury, Vick had been mediocre at best with an average of 13.6 fantasy points. Now, the good news: he’s playing the damned New York Giants. Outside of Monday’s win over the Vikings, this defense has averaged -0.83 points. They’re ranked dead last in fantasy, so any quarterback that they’re facing outside of bumbling Josh Freeman (and maybe whoever that Jaguars are starting that day) is worth a look. I expect Vick to make the calculations to make a productive day, in both the real and fantasy worlds.
Who’s Seth Brundle (that’s Jeff Goldblum’s character)? The guy(s) who’s doomed on your fantasy team in Week 8: Eagles Defense. If the Giants are ranked 32nd in fantasy, guess who’s ranked 30th? Yep, you got it—it’s the Birds. Eli is turnover prone and the Giants’ running backs fumble more than a nervous lab assistant. Even with a turnover or two, I’m betting this defense gives up enough points that they’ll wind up hurting your fantasy squad. Keep the Birds D on your bench.
Who’s Stathis Borans (a.k.a. little-known actor John Getz’s character, who woos Veronica, who used to date Seth before he became a mutant, who ... OK, never mind, just watch the freakin’ movie)? The guy who might not be all that bad in Week 8: Jason Avant. I'm giving him one last shot. Please, please, please, gods of science, don't let him prove me wrong. Avant saw another 12 targets in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys; it’s only a matter of time before he turns those targets into fantasy production. If you’re desperate, give him a shot and tempt humanity’s fate—or at least your fantasy team’s.
Election Day 2014: Tues., Nov. 4