ESCANABA - I was beside myself Saturday afternoon in the midst of a slate of NFL games, on the final week of my league's Fantasy Football season.
I was on the road at the time and couldn't get good web reception on my cell phone. I knew Victor Cruz had caught a 95-yard touchdown pass so that boded well for me and that Reggie Bush and Jonathan Stewart were each off to solid starts.
When I finally arrived at my destination and checked the real-time progress of my players, my jaw dropped in shock. My opponent, who owned Aaron Rodgers - the highest scoring player in Fantasy Football - had him on the bench.
Rodgers on the bench?? Was he trying to lose the title?
In his place was Phillip Rivers because, as I can only imagine was his thinking, he was playing against the Detroit Lions and their banged up secondary.
As my opponent learned and as should have absolutely been common sense, there is no circumstance when the highest scoring Fantasy player should be benched - be it Rodgers or anyone else - unless there is an O tag, designating them out.
Rivers flopped, scoring a paltry 13 points. Rodgers went on to a 40 point performance, as has pretty much been customary for him this season.
I won the league title with a 20-point margin of victory, and proceeded to point out my opponent's gaffe of the year. Playing Rodgers would have given him the victory.
I know Rodgers had his worst performance of the season against Kansas City, but even that notched him 23 points, which is a solid day for most quarterbacks in the Fantasy circuit.
None of my players had arcade-like performances except Cruz, but all of them performed well. My receivers were particulary can't miss, as they have been all season.
I went with Wes Welker, Cruz and Jabar Gaffney and all scored at least 16 points. Mike Vick gave me another 20-plus point game as well.
I made a last minute switch at running back and gave Stewart the start over Peyton Hillis and that proved to be an alright move. Stewart gave me 16 points, similar to his last game against Tampa Bay, while Hillis came in with 12 points.
Even my tight end, Jermaine Gresham, came in with 13 points which I certainly wasn't expecting. The out of left field performance came from my other tight end Jared Cook, who I had on my bench. He erupted for 26 points, by far his best of the season. Luckily I didn't end up regretting starting Gresham over him.
The victory earned me a payout of around $375-$400 depending on how the league dues shakeout. Second place earns between $175-$200, still a fair amount.
Being that these results are published, I'm now preparing for ESPN and Sports Illustrated to come calling, as well as a host of relatives I haven't heard from in years, coming to butt in my winnings.
But before I get too busy with my newfound fame, I can't forget that some of you have another week of Fantasy ball to play. For those in your season's last week, you face that difficult conundrum of starters being benched in the final week of the season.
If you own any Green Bay Packers you're probably in full panic mode right now. Sure you can always pick up Matt Flynn and hope and pray but there might be a better option out there in Joe Webb, who is likely to get the Week 17 start for the Minnesota Vikings.
Webb dazzled in a near comeback against the Detroit Lions. He has some real ability to move the ball on the ground and that can pose problems for just about any defense.
If you own a Packers player, especially Rodgers, pick up Webb as a just in case measure.
If Sunday rolls around and you still don't know, you'll just have to come to a decision on your own, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy has provided clues as to how he'll handle Rodgers.
In a blowout win against Oakland a few weeks ago, Rodgers was benched in the third quarter. That likely means that with nothing on the line for Green Bay that Rodgers will get little to no playing time Sunday.
Congrats to all Fantasy champs and good luck to those playing for the title this week! See you next seek with breakdowns of the wild-card playoff games.