Like most teams on the fantasy football playoff bubble, I need the planets to align, an army of four-leaf clovers to step forward and Lady Luck to remember that we once went together like peas and carrots.
And that still might not be enough.
There are uphill battles, and then there is the mountain of fire I must scale in Week 12 as I fight for my postseason life — a loss in either of the next two weeks will officially kick off the offseason — against an unbeaten opponent who has routinely kicked the stuffing out of the opposition and shows no sign of slowing down.
In keeping with my lifelong habit of doing things the hard way, I will have to pull off this miracle of miracles with a lineup featuring a running back whose own teammates likely wouldn’t recognize him if he passed them on the street, a quarterback I trust about as much as I would trust my cats to keep their paws to themselves and off the Thanksgiving turkey if left unsupervised in the kitchen, and two receivers going up against the Large Marge-scary 49ers defense?
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Such is my predicament. But even at 5-6, I’m an optimist who will go down swinging if that is to be my fate. The road to respectability has been a long one since a stumblebum draft had me facing 3rd-and-3,000 before the Raiders had even missed a tackle or drawn a penalty flag. My first three picks — Darren McFadden, Tony Romo and Michael Turner — have been sweaty gym socks, my kickers — Sebastian Janikowski and Justin Tucker — have been fringe contributors rather than the great equalizers I’ve needed, and I still can’t plug in the right receiver-tight end combo to save my life.
Still, the additions of Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb and Colts running back Vick Ballard over the past month have helped solidify a competitive lineup that no longer is at the mercy of McFadden’s shaky wheels and Turner’s penchant for drifting in and out of relevance.
The recent addition of Carson Palmer has also given me a non-Romo QB option that has been surprisingly productive this month. Palmer is the 2012 version of Kerry Collins — just good enough to lose games, but a fantasy point machine as the conductor of an offense that is almost always playing from behind and forced to take to the air.
Fearing Palmer’s return to Cincinnati could be hazardous to his (and my team’s) health, I plugged Romo back into the lineup this week, hoping for one of those 300-yard/3-TD specials from yesteryear.
And, lo and behold, I got one at the absolute perfect time.
Romo atoned for a a season’s worth of disappointment Thursday when he overcame yet another slow, interception-filled start to pass for 441 yards and three touchdowns — the lion’s share of his production coming after halftime — in a deceptively close 38-31 loss to the Redskins.
With Romo and Co. stinking up Cowboys Stadium and my opponent riding Robert Griffin III to a ridiculous early lead, it looked like it was time to starting mulling over that fifth-overall pick in next year’s baseball draft.
Luckily Romo gave me a puncher’s chance by becoming the mad bomber I thought I was drafting back in August.
I’m overdue for a bit of good fortune on the fantasy front — like the Colts sitting Donald Brown and making Ballard the hands-down focal point of their running game — so hopefully collection time has arrived.
My Week 12 lineup
QB: Tony Romo (carved up the Redskins on Thursday); RB: Vick Ballard (Bills); WR: Marques Colston (49ers), Randall Cobb (at Giants) and Lance Moore (49ers); TE: Antonio Gates (Ravens); K: Sebastian Janikowski (at Bengals); D/ST: Texans (did not do nearly enough against the Lions).
Bee fantasy sports columnist Stu Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.