From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 30, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 30, 1999

Gerry DiNardo, I feel your pain. I too have had many a tough weekendfootball-wise this year. You see, I’m the owner of a fantasy football team.An 0-7 fantasy football team.

Oh, it wasn’t supposed to be that way. At our league’s draft, we drawcards to see where we will select. I drew the first card – an ace. Hey, hey,hey, the first pick overall.

“I’ll trade my entire draft for Ricky Williams,” I announced.

Oh, wait, that was Mike Ditka talking. No such craziness here.I did my homework for the draft this year, buying The Sporting News’ Fantasy Football magazine and surfing the web. All the so-called expertssaid the same thing – Terrell Davis should be the first pick in every fantasy draft. Next year, I think I’ll wing it. Actually, I took a minute to make up my mind on whom I wanted. Iconsidered Fred Taylor, and a voice in the back of my mind told me to take Brett Favre. One day, I’m going to listened to that voice. I went ahead andtook Davis and the rest, as they say, is history.

Three weeks into the season, there’s a note on one internet site saying Davis’ fantasy owners must be getting restless with him. No, huh? I lovehaving my No. 1 pick rush for 193 yards and one touchdown through threegames.

It would get worse. The next game against the Jets, Davis scores hissecond touchdown of the season but injures his knee while making a tackle. That night, the news comes across the ESPN Bottomline that Daviswill have tests the next day. The diagnosis – torn ACL and out for theseason. Nice way to start off the week.You know it’s going to be a long season when your quarterback, Jake Plummer, who I took in the second round, throws three interceptions his first game. Plummer would go on to throw 14 interceptions whilecontributing only four touchdowns before going down with an injury in Week 6 against Washington. Diagnosis – fractured index finger, out four tosix weeks. Two draft picks up, two down.There were more bad omens in the first week. My kicker, Morten Andersen,one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, misses two chip shots against the Vikings and in a domed stadium to boot. My defense,Washington, blows a 35-14 lead. And I find that my tight end, ChristianFauria of Seattle, will be used more for his blocking than for his receiving ability.

Oh, and then there are the moves I’ve made this season. To replace Davis Ihad to pick up Rashaan Shehee. Who? Exactly. It was like putting yourPorsche in the shop, going to the rent-a-car place and being given a Yugo as a replacement.

I also picked up Gary Brown, who had missed the early part of the season with an injury. Brown lasted three games before being placed on theinjured reserve with another injury. George Clooney could be the generalmanager for my team because I’m running an ER.

While Plummer was struggling, I picked up Rick Mirer as my quarterback.

Now, former Notre Dame players are about as common on my roster as first round picks that pan out on the Saints’ but he did throw two touchdowns the week before.

The first week I have him, Bill Parcels decides to go conservative and Mirer throws for 164 yards and no touchdowns. I hate Bill Parcels. Thenext week, Parcells makes a game-day decision to start Ray Lucas.

Did I mention I hate Bill Parcels? I get Chris Warren to replace Brown, and he proceeded to carry eight times for 8 yards last Sunday. Tony Horne keys my defense, St. Louis, with twokick returns for touchdowns, and then gets suspended for four games for violating the league’s drug policy.

My sleeper pick in the draft was Rob Konrad. Hello, Mr. Konrad, this is yourwakeup call. Time to get going. Through seven games, he has scoredexactly one touchdown and that was in Week 1 when I wasn’t playing him.

So, here I am, sitting 0-6 without Terrell Davis and Jake Plummer.

Maybe I’ll give Mike Shanahan a call. He’s going through the same thing. Ormaybe, I should talk to Mike Ditka. Running back hurt, little productionfrom his quarterback and receivers. Sounds like it would be just up hisalley.

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