The past two summers have left me wishing the NFL season lasted 162 games and that Major League Baseball called it a wrap after, oh, about five.
I'm all too happy to put my latest epic diamond failure in the Glad bag, along with the empty tuna cans and uneaten pizza crusts, and move forward to a happier, fresher smelling place.
A place where flowers bloom, kittens purr, drinks are cold and pitchers have no say in my fate. A little place I like to call the fantasy football zone.
So come join me as I journey to a land where the sun shines and rainbows hide, and let's take a look at the players most likely to break out and break down in 2012:
Breakout Robert Griffin III, Redskins: Cam Newton rewrote the fantasy handbook chapter on rookie quarterbacks in 2011, and Griffin could be just as special in his NFL debut. Smart, athletic, accurate and ready to take over the world, the Heisman Trophy winner has all the tools to make a Newton-esque impact in year one.
To the members of my league, please listen carefully: RG3PO is not the droid you're looking for, let him pass.
Breakdown Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: There were already red flags aplenty on the Roethlisberger front his top receiver (Mike Wallace) is engaged in a contract dispute, his line couldn't block my cats from their food dish, a rookie likely will be charged with protecting his blind side, no Rashard Mendenhall before Big Ben revealed last week that he has a slightly torn rotator cuff.
Were he a kicker, a towel rack or the Venus de Milo, there would be no fretting over a slightly torn anything above the waist. That he's a quarterback with a dinged wing, however, puts Roethlisberger, and anyone who drafts him, in the danger zone (Kenny Loggins, hit it!).
Breakout: Darren McFadden, Raiders Like Austin Powers, I, too, like to live dangerously. Perhaps a little too dangerously in this case. Ah, but that skill, that size, that strength, that speed.
Yeah, McFadden could pull an eyelash or step on a Lincoln Log in Week 2 and not be heard from again until the year 2017. But injury history aside, he has the talent to put up Arian Foster numbers, which makes him a tantalizing draft-day option. Who's in?
Breakdown: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars Why no love for the reigning NFL rushing champ? Two words: Chris Johnson. Two more: Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jones-Drew, like Johnson last summer, wants a new deal and is prepared to spend the rest of his summer watching "Spongebob" re-runs until he gets one. Jaguars ownership has made it clear that won't be happening, which means MJD will either sit and pout or play and pout, neither of which enhances his fantasy value.
If that doesn't scare you, remember that being the only horse in a one-trick pony offense has its limitations. Like, say, reaching the end zone once every leap year and facing 10-man fronts bent on your destruction.
Breakout: Randy Moss, 49ers We'll have to read Moss' book to know the reasons behind his decision to punt on 2011, but what we do know is that he should be a very busy man in 2012, especially if the 49ers take the training wheels off Alex Smith, per Jerry Rice's request, and open up the passing game. At 35, Moss still possesses the speed and skill to spook defenses and could be the "X" factor that pushes the 49ers back to the top of the NFL mountain.
Breakdown: Andre Johnson, Texans Johnson is a special talent, no doubt. And there's no doubt he'll be drafted before the third round. But ... he's on the other side of 30, entering his 10th season and suddenly incapable of staying healthy (he's already missing time at camp with a groin injury).
So why am I pro McFadden and fearful of Johnson? Simple, and it's not because DMC is a Raider: Johnson has had four great seasons in nine and has already reached his peak. McFadden's best is yet to come and he's entering his prime with plenty left to prove.
Fantasy sports is all about speculation (well, that and luck), and my crystal ball says McFadden is about to take off.
Breakout: Fred Davis, Redskins Davis was on his way to a breakout season for the Redskins in 2011 before being suspended for the final four games for puffing the magic dragon. If RG3 is as good as advertised, Davis could leap into the Rob Gronkowski/Jimmy Graham zone in terms of TE production and emerge as serious draft-day steal.
Breakdown: Antonio Gates, Chargers Foot problems have cost Gates nine games and easily limited him in that many more over the past two seasons. He's still capable of putting up good numbers, but at 32, he's past his prime and the days of 80 catches and 1,000 yards are history.
Next week on a very special "Mighty Man and Yukk": Draft strateegery.
Bee fantasy sports columnist Stu Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.