In August, I wrote a piece for this very website called "Fantasy Football, Breaking Bad Style," and my life would never be the same. The article won me a Pulitzer, got me a late-night talk show hosting gig, and brought me a multi-million-dollar film deal (look for Fantasy Football, Breaking Bad Style: The Movie in theaters this winter). I'm also pretty sure that it's the only reason Jennifer Lawrence slept with me (this paragraph contains multiple lies). Since then, I've examined Post Traumatic Peyton Manning Stress Disorder, twitter acronyms, tight end streaming and more. However, nothing has matched that moment when I paired the acclaimed TV show "Breaking Bad" with the acclaimed sport "football." In an attempt to bring back the fame, fortune, and yes, women, I've set out to do what any self-respecting, serious artist would do. Did someone say sequel?
Breaking Bad Says Farewell on Sunday
Imagine this Sunday was the last football Sunday ever. Okay, you can stop crying; this is not the case. However, that's how many people, including myself, feel about the approaching series finale of Breaking Bad. A true work of art, Breaking Bad could not be more aptly named; its characters, like the Oakland Raiders, find themselves in situations that seemingly can't get worse, but always do. Hank and Gomie are dead. The White family situation is a living nightmare. Jessie is a meth-cooking slave to a fun-loving (note my sarcasm) group of Nazi white supremacists. And Walt, poor Walt, has been hiding in the middle of nowhere in snowy New Hampshire, with his homemade chemo kit, his beard, and $11 million he can't do anything with.
I cannot wait to see the satisfying conclusion the writers bring to this incredibly mesmerizing story, but that isn't going to stop me from making some of my own predictions:
Skyler, I believe, will make millions with her own "Heisenberg" clothing line that consists of only black pork pie hats, tighty whities (or Tighty Walties as she will cleverly call them), and glue-on goatees.
Walt Jr. will eat breakfast.
Badger will write JJ Abrams' Star Trek 3.
Skinny Pete will get fat.
Todd will be mistaken for Matt Damon.
Saul Goodman will become assistant manager of a Cinnebon in Omaha, but never manager.
Jessie will finally pass Chemistry.
Walter White will simultaneously kill every white supremacist in America along with the couple of jerks who own Grey Matter Technologies by using - get this - "science." Walt will somehow survive cancer, assume the name Hal, and start a new family, thus making Breaking Bad the unlikely prequel to Malcolm in the Middle.
Fantasy Football Breaks Bad
How does this tie into fantasy football? Well, the ability to break bad isn't just limited to TV meth dealers. The first three weeks of the 2013 NFL season have given us our fair share of fantasy disappointments. As a fantasy owner, you need to realize that what's past is prologue. With 10 weeks left in your fantasy regular season, it's the decisions you make going forward that will get you an early exit or a trip to the playoffs. Here are just some of the players who have broken bad to start the 2013 season and what you can expect from them for the rest of the year:
Tom Brady, Shockingly Ordinary Quarterback, New England Patriots
Breaking Bad: In my first Breaking Bad article, I compared Tom Brady to Walter White (transformed, brilliant, resourceful, arrogant), and the comparison continues to make so much sense. Like Walter White, Brady has seen the highest of highs and is now he's hit the lowest of fantasy lows. Aaron Hernandez's arrest and injuries to Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen, and Danny Amendola have depleted Brady's arsenal and to say that his year has been disappointing is an understatement. Brady is the 21st-best fantasy quarterback through Week 3 according to ESPN standard scoring, and his numbers are worse than those of E.J. Manuel, Terrelle Pryor, and Jake Locker.
Going Forward: With the return of both Gronk and Amendola on the horizon, and the emergence of Kenbrell Thompkins in Week 3, we have projected Brady as our sixth-best quarterback for the rest of the year. We think Brady's passing net expected points per attempt, which gives us the real-point value of each of his throws, will finish a lot closer to last year's .28 than this year's current value of .03. Look for Brady's numbers to return to near-elite status.
C.J. Spiller, Subpar Running Back, Buffalo Bills
Breaking Bad: Spiller's fantasy totals have been more than doubled by 758-year-old teammate Fred Jackson in 2013. Spiller weighs in at number 41 in running-back scoring though Week 3, outperformed by the likes of Da'Rel Scott and Andre Ellington.
Going Forward: We have Spiller putting up the 13th most points of all running backs for the rest of the season, and remember, his thigh injury from Week 3 is not considered serious. Although Fred Jackson has earned more rushing opportunities, Spiller will have a shot to win back a majority of the carries - he's too talented not to. And although his contribution in terms of net expected points has been significantly negative thus far, we think that his offensive contribution will be far more worthwhile for fantasy owners for the remainder of the season. For more on Spiller, click here.
David Wilson, Laughing Stock/Running Back, New York Giants
Breaking Bad: David Wilson has one more fantasy point than Larry Csonka, and Csonka retired in 1978. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Wilson was more overrated than Blurred Lines to start the season, and he's crushed teams' fantasy hopes for three straight weeks now.
Going Forward: According to our metrics, Wilson should be the 22nd-best running back in football for the rest of 2013. We think his ridiculously negative rushing NEP per carry will rise to a more favorable level as the season moves on, even though his efficiency scores currently place him as the worst running back in football. Tom Coughlin's Giants will make adjustments, and Wilson is sure to benefit from his experience as a lead back early this year, although he's found anything but success thus far.
Hakeem Nicks, Old-Looking Wide Receiver, New York Giants
Breaking Bad: Hakeem Nicks and I both scored zero fantasy points last Sunday. The difference is Nicks got paid $167,000 to lay a goose egg while I was spending $30 on lunch. Nicks' numbers weren't awful in Weeks 1 and 2, but he should've benefited far more from the giant amount of time Giants have tried to come from behind this season. Nicks looks heavy and slow, and he's currently the 49th best receiver in the fake game.
Going Forward: With a favorable receiving NEP per target of .93 this season, Nicks should have better fantasy numbers. We don't, however, see Nicks' stats improving too much, and he's our 47th best wide receiver for the rest of the way.
Tony Gonzalez, Tight End/Great-Great-Great-Grandfather, Atlanta Falcons
Breaking Bad: Tony Gonzalez retired last year, right? Well, he might as well have. Not-So-Speedy Gonzalez is currently the 19th best fantasy tight end in the game, behind the likes of Garrett Graham, Delanie Walker, and Jordan Reed.
Going Forward: Gonzalez's receiving NEP per target of .54 is low for him, but we think there's more gas in the tank. The metrics foresee Gonzo stepping it up for the rest of the year, and he should be a top tight end option from here on out.