WASHINGTON — Frustrating.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden summed up Monday night’s Dallas debacle with one word, “frustrating.”
With Washington fans trying to distance between themselves and the team’s continued heartbreak, some are diving head-first into their fantasy football seasons in order to forget about the disappointment of Monday’s reality. We’ll dive into fantasy in just a moment, but first a startling dose of reality.
After about 58 minutes of football Monday night that made watching paint dry seem riveting, the final two minutes were jam-packed with action.
Washington stopped Dallas, forcing a Cowboys punt with 1:47 left in the game. Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson caught the punt at the 16 yard line, ran backwards to the 9 yard line, and fumbled, giving Dallas the ball with under 90 seconds to play.
Dallas running back Darren McFadden proceeded to score the game’s first touchdown with 1:14 remaining, giving the Cowboys a 16-9 lead.
But Washington remained resilient, and Jackson redeemed himself by scoring a game-tying, 28-yard touchdown with just 49 seconds on the clock.
However, as the rivalry between these teams has a flair for the dramatic, the Cowboys would score again on Dan Bailey’s 54-yard field goal with 9 seconds left, putting Dallas ahead for good.
After the crippling 19-16 loss, Washington fell to 5-7, dropping into a three-way tie for first place in the lowly NFC East.
Washington failed to put together back-to-back wins for the fifth time this season, and the roller coaster of a season was appropriately summarized by the final two minutes of Monday night’s game.
“The great teams, the ones that advance in the playoffs and win Super Bowls are consistent,” Gruden said. “We still have a lot to play for, and it’s going to be exciting down the stretch.”
As Week 14 brings the final quarter of the NFL season, it also brings the playoffs of the fantasy football season, which may turn out better than the playoffs in reality for D.C.
Fantasy football — a game in which people create “fantasy” teams through a draft of all NFL players and score points according to the actual performance of their drafted players — has become a booming industry among football fans for the better part of the past decade.
A fantasy football team is generally comprised of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one flex player — a freebie player who can be either a running back, wide receiver, or tight end — one kicker, and a team’s defense.
Players accrue points for things like passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, catches, extra points, field goals, and most importantly, touchdowns.
Standard scoring is 25 passing yards per point, four points per passing touchdown, 10 rushing or receiving yards per point, six points per rushing or receiving touchdown, one point per extra point, and three points per field goal.
About 75 million Americans participate in season-long fantasy football, and are projected to spend $4.6 billion in 2015, according to American Express.
The fantasy football regular season generally lasts 13 weeks, with three weeks dedicated to the fantasy playoffs. As the NFL enters Week 14, a lot of the $4.6 billion will be on the line in the coming weeks.
How should you go about trying win your share?
Our advice: stay away from Washington players.
Since 2009, Washington starters have failed to outperform their fantasy point projections nearly 70 percent of the time.
In fact, the only Washington starters to significantly outplay their fantasy point projections were Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, both in 2012 when the tandem was rookies.
However, in 2015, Morris was projected to be the 16th-best running back in terms of fantasy points, making him more than serviceable in a standard 12-team fantasy league. Instead, he currently sits as the 62nd-best running back, only five places ahead of Chris Thompson, Washington’s third-string running back.
Likewise, DeSean Jackson was projected to have a big fantasy year in 2015, but injuries have dropped him from his projection of being the 30th-best wide receiver to the 76th-best.
Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed have outplayed their projections in 2015, Cousins is the 19th-best quarterback and Reed is the 8th-best tight end.
However, both had low expectations and were unrated coming into the fantasy season, Cousins due to a quarterback controversy, and Reed because of his long history of injuries.
Washington has a couple of potentially appetizing matchups on its upcoming fantasy plate.
In Week 14, Washington travels to Chicago to take on the 18th-ranked defense in the NFL. In Week 15, Washington hosts Buffalo, which has the league’s 16th-ranked defense. In Week 16, Washington heads up I-95 to battle Philadelphia and its 25th-ranked defense.
Even though the matchups might seem enticing, only Jackson appears to be a viable fantasy start in the coming weeks.
And although Jackson was both the destroyer and savior of Washington fans’ emotions on Monday night, he has been a productive fantasy player of late.
Washington’s No. 1 receiver has scored at least 16 fantasy points in each of his past three games, well above his season average of about 9 points per game.
In fantasy and reality, Washington’s battle with the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon kicks off at 1 p.m. on FOX.