What if NFL Players Were Characters from The Walking Dead?
It is almost here folks. That moment so many of us have been waiting for. A time to load up on snacks, to ensure the kids are in bed, and if you are a nail-biter prepare to have fingernails trimmed dangerously low from nervous teeth.
That is right, I am talking about baseb... JUST KIDDING! It is the Feb. 14 return of “The Walking Dead” of course. Although it may not be my favorite show on television at the moment, it is one I watch without fail and still love. The mid-season breaks can be difficult to bear, but thankfully we had the holiday season and of course football to help us cope.
Since mashups are such a big thing now I decided to try my hand in it and combine two of the things I love most together and see what happens. For this one I am going to compare NFL players in 2015 to “TWD” characters.
— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.
Rick Grimes / Cam Newton
Rick Grimes: A natural leader who is willing to do everything it takes to accomplish his goal. Despite his leadership skills and talents he can rub people the wrong way.
When it comes to the 2015 NFL season the player who comes closest to Mr. Grimes is Cam Newton. He accomplished what he wanted to when he needed to this season. He also did all of this with what most consider to be a muddled receiving corp.
Newton and the Panthers’ stout defense were 15-1 in the regular season and he threw 35 touchdowns along with 3.837 yards and only 10 interceptions.
Toss in his 10 rushing touchdowns and there’s no question why Newton ran away with the voting for league MVP honors. And while he wasn’t at his best in Super Bowl 50, he did lead his team of underdogs to that stage. You can’t get more Rick Grimes than that.
Whether Rick was leading his group to safety, running to find supplies, using his and his group’s strengths, or at his worst removing a weakness or obstacle from their success he got it done.
Michonne / Larry Fitzgerald
Michonne: Dependable, reliable and is of sound judgement. Can be viewed as stoic, but has the ability to fight battles and win, as well as carry others when needed.
Michonne is a fan favorite, and although she came out of the woods (literally) she immediately adapted and like Rick does whatever it takes to survive and help others survive.
If there was a player this season who embodies Michonne it would be Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has always had the talent and star power, but he is also long in the tooth and was nearly written off by many.
This season Fitzgerald came out of nowhere to have a big start to the season, cool off a bit, and then a monstrous playoff game for the ages against the Packers.
He finished the season with 109 catches, 1,215 yards and 10 touchdowns. He did it from the slot, by blocking and simply put doing what it takes and without complaint or drama.
Like Michonne in that nearly everyone was rooting for him to succeed and get a chance to play in another Super Bowl, Fitzgerald and the Cardinals couldn’t hang with the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game.
The Governor / Tom Brady
The Governor: On the surface a pure leader who puts his community and family first, but underneath lies a power-hungry monster who will do whatever it takes to accomplish his own goals. At all costs!
This will likely be my least popular comparison but I am going with Tom Brady for The Governor.” He is a calm, composed and talented leader with the charm to woo almost anyone.
However, he also has skeletons in his closet…. whether it is Deflategate, having his team be accused of random and odd headset interference in games from opponents, being married to a supermodel who (wait, there is no connection but I had to mention Gisele right?)
Anyhow, much like The Governor’s meltdown once confronted by a formidable opponent the wheels eventually came off and Brady fell in defeat. His tank (Bill Belichick) and army of weapons weren’t enough to make it to the ultimate showdown vs. this season’s Rick Grimes (Cam Newton).
Daryl / DeAndre Hopkins
Daryl: The quiet, wreckless, seldom emotional and brave hero who everyone loves. Takes orders well and has no interest in being a leader or someone to be relied upon.
Personality alone and Marshawn Lynch would be a fantastic fit. However his 2015 season was less than spectacular so I will designate another.
DeAndre Hopkins was in many ways a loner in the Texans’ offense in 2015. He is extremely talented and good at what he does, but isn’t extremely arrogant or selfish.
His monstrous 2015 campaign was phenomenal considering his team, the talent surrounding him and the amount of attention he drew from defenses.
Like Daryl, “Nuk” goes out about his business putting his team and pursuit of the win as his foremost concern.
He doesn’t worry about big numbers, being respected or viewed as a leader. He just does what he does and kicks ass doing it.
Seriously, who else could survive using a weapon that takes so much time to reload? Or play on a team so horrific and still produce?
Nicholas / Eddie Lacy
Nicholas: As badly as I want to play spoiler I won’t, but I will say this Nicholas was an annoying, useless and a danger to other characters because of his irrational and reckless behavior.
When I think of 2015 and Nicholas I can’t help but think of Eddie Lacy. The guy who was drafted as a top-5 running back and returned nothing in return. A guy so many placed trust in, got burnt, and then worse yet after a few glimmers of hope returned to his usual annoying and useless self.
Will 2016 bring brighter days for Fat Eddie? Will he actually slim down and get into game shape?
If you got burnt by Lacy in 2015, will you trust him again in 2016? Or ever? Or would you prefer to just kill him off as you would an annoying character in a movie or TV show?
Either way 758 yards rushing and three touchdowns is putrid and easily one of the worst ROI’s on a non-injured fantasy player drafted in the first two rounds that I can remember.
Carol / Blake Bortles
Carol: She has arguably showed the most range of any other character. Start as an abused housewife, transitioning to heart-sick mother to having to make some dangerously tough decisions, she has transformed into one of the most bad-ass characters on “The Walking Dead.”
Carol is a character who defines development and progression on a television show. As someone who may have annoyed viewers for a few seasons becoming what she is on today’s current season is really something else.
When it comes to the 2015 season the closest comp fantasy-wise I can think of is Blake Bortles. He had some lethal weapons to work with in Allen Robinson and the surprising Allan Hurns, but Bortles made the Jaguars a fun team to watch. He also finished as the No. 4 scorer in fantasy.
Bortles threw for a whopping 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns, which was due in large part to the 38 pass attempts he averaged per game. He may have completed just 57 percent of those passes, but he did what was necessary to survive and compete.
Bortles literally went from a wasted actual draft pick, to a sloppy QB who isn’t a starter to a top-five fantasy player in 2015. Not too bad. Also, pretty bad ass!