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By: Andy Wheeler

You know…to a Fantasy Sports player…few things are less important in the general scheme of the season than appearing in the Finals.

To get to the Championship game, regardless of outcome, confirms what you thought about your team. That it was good, that you did a good job and that you know your stuff. You were able to navigate the season and its ups and downs to get a chance at the money.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Championship game for me this season. Not only did I shoot myself in the foot, I also made an enemy for life…Lawrence Timmons.

I really hate you Lawrence Timmons. I’ve never met you, I may never meet you. Personally I’m sure you’re a swell guy. I’ll bet you have a ton of friends. I will never be one of them you leaping idiot.

Let me explain.

First and foremost, I really did have a good team. I made some great moves on the wires, picked right most weeks in terms of which guys to play, and overall deserved to be in the playoffs.

Some would say I rode LeSean McCoy into the playoffs, some might even say I made a good trade or 2. Boil it all down and I had one of the top 4 teams in the league.

Something I haven’t really done before, is have a crisis of confidence when setting my own lineup. Usually I stress more giving out Fantasy advice to viewers on Sunday than I do setting my own line up.

A crisis of confidence is exactly what happened. I looked at my line up over and over again trying to figure out how to maximize the points. I texted and emailed others to get opinions. I read as much information as I could…and completely over thought things.

There was no reason not to play the 49ers Defense; they’re number 1 in Fantasy Football. Having them has been a blessing…but I instead played a hunch and played the Lions Defense. The thinking I had was, they were coming off a 2 TD performance, Suh was coming back and Carson Palmer stinks.

It was a solid plan…in theory. If I play the 49ers Defense I win by 11 points.

Also, I really couldn’t pick wrong with my Kickers, but I did. I have Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers. Both guys are great…I picked the wrong one. If I had played Janikowski instead of Akers I’d have won by 2.

Things were about to get even worse. I would have rather lost by 50 than endure what happened.

The first lesson in all of this for everyone, pick 1 defense and 1 kicker and play them and only them. Bye week replacements aside of course. Once you have your guy and your defense that’s it. I screwed that up and won’t make the same mistake again.

So I’m down 18 going into the Monday nights game. No problem when I have David Akers and Rashard Mendenhall going right?

I personally thought it would be an uphill climb but Akers has had 8 points or better for the last 9 weeks and Mendenhall is the Steelers main back so I was hoping for at the very least 1 touchdown and about 50 yards on the conservative side of things. I thought it would be close but that I’d win.

And that’s exactly what happens…for about 4 seconds.

The 49ers and their wonderful red zone problems brought Akers out in the 4th Quarter. I’m down by 3. One field goal and I’m the winner (I have the tie breaker of more bench points if we tie) and moving on to the finals. He nails it!!!! I’m screaming “YES YES YES!!!!!” in my condo. I was about 2 seconds from running around and doing a victory lap.

And then I saw it…the penalty flag. Lawrence Timmons is called for “Leaping” and the Steelers are given a 5 yard penalty. This penalty gives the 49ers a first down…they score a touchdown and I lose by 2.

I’ve never heard of a leaping penalty before, but I’ll certainly never forget this one. So we are all clear this is the official rule. Rule 12, Section 3, Article 2 “Clearly running forward and leaping in an obvious attempt to block a field goal, or try-kick after touchdown and landing on players, unless the leaping player was originally lined up within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.”

I still don’t understand how this is a penalty.

The level of anger I felt was indescribable. I walked into the kitchen and just started randomly looking through cabinets. I wanted to break something, and I’m one of the least violent people I know. I walked to the office and there was nothing in there I wanted to break.

To the bathroom, then the bedroom…back out to the kitchen. I decided on a bowl of cereal to ease the pain. So I sit back down in front of the TV again and hit the channel up button…and it’s the end of “Marley and Me”. Literally they are about to put the dog to sleep.

That was the perfect end to the day. I’d just lost a birth in the finals in dramatic fashion…why not watch the saddest thing possible to cheer me up?

I felt dead inside because honestly I didn’t even blink when the little kids were reading their notes to their dog.

There’s always next year.

I hate you Lawrence Timmons. I hope Santa chooses your house as the place he takes a bathroom break after all those cookies. Merry Christmas everyone!

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