The 2012-2013 season is in the books. Armed with any statistic in the football world and sparkling 20/20 hindsight, going back now and piecing together a would-be fantasy champion sounds elementary.
With that in mind, let’s compile a retroactive fantasy juggernaut, a collection of stars and sleepers that could actually have ended up together in a ten team draft based on most outlets’ rankings from last season. Feel free to bask in the glory of our theoretical champion if you didn’t get the chance last winter.
We’ll put Peyton Manning at the helm, he hardly skipped a beat in his return. Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley can man the running back slots. Three receivers; Demaryius Thomas, Marques Colston, and Victor Cruz sound like a star-studded trio made in draft day heaven. Kyle Rudolph was a Pro Bowler last year, he makes the team at tight end. Add rookie kicking sensation Greg Zuerlein and the stalwart Steelers defense and we’ve completed a lineup that appears fit to kill.
“Appears” being the operative word.
This team would have had trouble winning any meaningful games. Above is a selection of some of the most inconsistent and/or disappointing performers from across the league in weeks 14-16, otherwise known as playoff time in fantasy land. Based on ESPN standard scoring, our team would have accrued 78 points in its’ first week, a below-average score that might have allowed us to squeak by if our opponent also had an off week. However, the 26 points that we would have scored in week 15 would have been a defeat in any scenario. To put that in perspective, Russell Wilson scored 39 points by himself that week.
Our lineup would have garnered 106 points in a consolation game, where we would stand a 50/50 chance of winning. After a braggart’s dream of a regular season, we would be looking at a third place finish at best.
Most owners would have been better off sticking with their original team in this scenario, proving that a great season can amount to nothing if the execution isn’t timely. Engineering a roster that can hit peak performance come playoff time has become a subtle art for some owners.
Of course, no one can truly predict the innumerable undercurrents that constitute an NFL season. Any prediction, any hunch that creates a team’s identity as a roster comes from educated guesswork. Hedging one’s bets on a crop of postseason performers is comparably uncertain to any seemingly conventional approach.
Once the postseason begins, every eligible team is reborn as a potential champion and previous performance means very little. Here are the constituents of a perfect postseason fantasy roster for 2013, because those last few weeks mean everything when all is said and done.