Fantasy Football Cage Match – Big Ben

Aug 5, 2008

We’re going to try something a little different here at LestersLegends today.  I have asked a couple of friends to put their two cents in.  I did it in part because they are solid fantasy football minds, but mainly because their off-the-wall twisted humor should give you a unique perspective when you’re prepping for the fantasy football season.

The Fantasy Cage Match (of the Century, Decade, Day, or Minute, etc.) 
Awesome vs. Captain Fantastic

In a no holds barred – they may even rip on each other’s children—contest of wit and sarcasm (or lack thereof), in a 15 foot tall steel cage laced with barbed wire and surrounded by super-hot, scantily clad Terrorist chicks ready to douse the loser with anthrax. (Pause for mental image to set in).
Who will win? I think it was JFK or Jesus who said: It’s not whether you win or lose, but how many people you step on and offend during the course of the game.

 “I may not be right, I’m not politically correct, and I’m probably going to offend you in some way, but I’m always AWESOME.”  

The Fantasy Football Cage Match:
Position:  Quarterback
Player:  Big Ben Roethlisberger
Stance:  Con 
By:  Awesome

“Excuse me, waitress? We’d like to order now.”
“Ok (jerk), and my name is Vivian, not ‘waitress’ thanks.”
“Ok, sorry toots.”
“What can I get you?”
“Well, I’m looking to totally screw up my QB situation this year, and I’d really like to come in dead last in my league.”
“Do you at least want to make the playoffs?”
“Hell no, I’m going Detroit style, better than them if possible–I’m going for perfection…the goose egg.”
“Ok, well, then I’ve got just the thing, and it’s on special today: What you want is the Big Ben Worthless Burger, well done, with extra onions and jalapenos so it burns on the way out.”
“Ok, great, I’ll have that.”

The preceding situation hasn’t happened…yet. But it will, if you select Big Ben as your starting QB this year. Ok, I’m not saying I can’t imagine a situation where he is your starting QB: If he slips to the 13th round, for example, by all means, grab him up, because he’s now a value pick.  But if you’re one of those sentimental losers who thinks he’s going to bring the steel curtain some frequent flyer miles, you’re dumber than Big Ben on a Ducati.  Is he a good QB? Sure he is, in real life. But in fantasyland, he stinks.  What’s that you say? Look at last year? Oh, hey, wait a minute; you’re right…he did have a pretty good year last year. Hmmm.  32 TDs, that’s pretty good. Only 11 picks, that’s good too. Maybe he can repeat it, ya? I mean, don’t most players have a year EXACTLY LIKE THE YEAR BEFORE??? Especially when they did only half as good FOR 3 YEARS IN A ROW? And one of those years his team won a super bowl???  See people, Big Ben had what we smart people call a “fluke” season. Meaning that in all probability, it won’t happen again. Could it? Sure, and Haley’s Comet could come crashing through my bosses office window in 5 minutes too, but it probably won’t.  And here’s why.


First off, there’s this thing in Pittsburgh that they like a lot. And they actually are known for it, historically, over decades. It’s won them several super bowls, and gotten them the reputation as a “smash mouth” or “tough” team. It’s called “a running game.” And Pitt is, almost always, right up there in the top running games. It’s more than just a philosophy to the Steelers, it’s practically a religion; eat your vitamins, work hard, and most importantly ESTABLISH THE RUN. Defense certainly comes in a close second, but the ground game is what’s gotten them to paradise before, and it will again. If Terry Bradshaw can win 4 Super bowls while throwing 212 TDs vs. 210 INTs, you damn well know it wasn’t the QB who got them there. Sure, the Steel Curtain closed down many-a-offense in the 70’s, but the offense had to score some points. And despite what all you Lynn Swan backers say, they didn’t do it in the air, they did it on the ground.  And that’s how they did it in 2005, when Big Ben led them there. Was he what they needed to get there? You bet he was, but not because he put up great fantasy numbers. Here were his numbers for that “magical” year, 2005: 268 pass attempts, 168 completions (62.7%, not a bad percentage, but I think John Daley threw up more than 268 times that year), 17 TDs, 9 INTs, 98.6 QB rating (and if you’re in a league where they score the QB rating, go ahead and kill yourself). Oh, and he rushed for a killer 69 yards on 31 attempts, for a 2.2 average, and 1 TD, stats only Cedric Benson is envious of.  And that’s what the Steelers want out of Big Ben. They want a running game. They love to run. They don’t need Ben to do anything other than manage the game and not screw it up. A couple big plays here and there to throw off opposing Defenses, to reinforce the ground game, that’s all they need from Roethlisberger . Would they like it if Big Ben tossed another 30+ TDs and 4,000 yards? Sure they would. But only if they win the Super Bowl too, because I guarantee you, the fine people of Pittsburg will demand a running game if they don’t win. And make no mistake, they didn’t have a running game last year, and they didn’t win. And in Pittsburgh, they expect to win, every year. 

Let’s also take a look at the Passing game, since that’s where Benji would score points if he were going to.  Hines Ward. Great player in the past, and I’m sure he’ll make one hell of a shuffle board player next year, after he has hip surgery and checks into an expensive retirement facility. But he’s done. Some people will have expectations of him this year, and he’ll try his hardest, give it all he has, because he has a great work ethic. But I’m pretty sure they don’t allow players to carry oxygen tanks on the field, and those little tennis balls on his walker are going to have to slow him down a little. Have a Wild Turkey Manhattan to wash down that Lipitor Hines, you’ve earned it.  But they have some youth in the WR corps, too, right?  Sure, Santonio Holmes showed some potential, I’ll give him that. But what smart people like in a WR is consistency, not the guy who will win you 1 game by getting 110 yards and 2 TDs, and then gets 53, 13, and 34 yards respectively  (I guess) with 0 TDs in 3 out of the next 4 games which is exactly what Santonio did last year (and yes, I had him, and thanks again Holmes). That guy is called a “dud,” and filling your team with duds is a sure fire way to go 5-9, and walk away with yet another toilet bowl trophy.  And the TE in Pitt will never, repeat NEVER be a factor in fantasy Football on a regular basis, so I’m not even going to bother. 

As I said from the beginning, this doesn’t mean you can’t have Big Ben on your team. I’d love to have him on my team, but only as a backup, in case my real quarterback gets hurt or has a bye. So I guess if you’ve read through all this (assuming you know what all the words mean), and you still want to draft him as a top QB, the only thing I have left to say to you is this: we have an open spot in my league, and I’d love to “compete” against you. 


The Fantasy Football Cage Match:
Position:  Quarterback
Player:  Big Ben Roethlisberger
Stance:  Pro
By:  Captain Fantastic

Roethlisberger’s 32 Touchdowns in 2007 put him in the top ten conversation for 2008.  NFL “experts” have said Pittsburgh will be getting back to “Steeler” football.  Yeah, this is not my Dad’s NFL anymore and most teams have taken a liking to the forward pass.   Pittsburgh’s questionable Offensive Line could mean the Offense will be in catch-up mode most Sundays.  Big Ben will be a good pick in your line draft and a value pick in your auctions.   

Projection 1: 34 touchdowns and 3,700 yards passing 
Projection 2: Awesome will have a newly discovered STD by the time this hits the internet.  When you are humping a
platypus all the time, the itchy bumps downstairs are bound to happen. 

Lester’s Ruling

Well, this round goes to Awesome.  He presented a great argument with solid reasoning.  It helps that I totally agree with his position.  I think Big Ben comes back to Earth this year.  He had great TD numbers last year, but his yardage was alarming.  If he throws for 20% fewer TDs with similar yardage numbers, there will likely be eight higher scoring QBs than Big Ben (who will likely be the 4th-6th QB selected).  

. .

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Mo Morrissey
    August 5th, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

    JFK or Jesus? Too funny… Nice work Lester

  2. LestersLegends
    August 5th, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    The credit goes to my friend, who prefers to go by the name Awesome. He’s being incognito.

  3. Chuck
    August 6th, 2008 at 8:49 am #

    Funny stuff. I say Awesome kicked ass.

  4. LestersLegends
    August 6th, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    Yeah, he took round 1.

Leave a Comment

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties