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Reality, not fantasy, is C.J. Anderson's focus

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --If you were to tell C.J. Anderson that he's second among all NFL players in fantasy-football scoring the last two weeks per's system, he'd shrug.

He just doesn't care that only New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has more fantasy points than he does. Nor should he.

"Everybody wants to talk about it and throw you in there, give you so many points. It's just not real," Anderson said. "What's real is what we do every day on that football field. I just try to go out there and help my team win."

Certainly, fantasy owners are ecstatic with Anderson's recent production. Even Champ Bailey mentioned that he picked up the second-year running back and loved what his play had done -- for both the real-life Broncos and his own fantasy interests.

But if there was ever any doubt that Anderson obsessed only over what helped his real-life team, that was erased for good in the final moments against Miami on Nov. 23.

With open field in front of him, he fell to the ground at the end of a 26-yard scamper, rather than try to run the extra 16 yards for the score that would have put the Broncos up 10 points -- but given the football back to Miami with 1:20 left, re-opening the door that his first down had slammed shut. Instead, he made the smart play, and sealed a hard-fought win.

That shows what Anderson doesn't care about.

But his team, his play, and his family? That's a different matter entirely. So invested is Anderson's mother in his play that she offers detailed critiques of his play -- just like his position coach, Eric Studesville.

"Neck and neck," Anderson replied when asked who is tougher on him. "Coach E, he don't let up. He just continues to keep pushing me, which I love every day. He makes sure he's on top of me.

"Then after that I have to deal with my biggest critic and my biggest fan when I get on the phone with her."

Mom. The one who drove him to practice as a kid. The one who, to this day, continues to push Anderson to not rest on his success, to dig deep and find something better.

"She'll never pat me on the back. Never," Anderson said. "She'll say, 'Good game,' every once in a while. She'll definitely talk about there was a lot of yards I left out there.

"Just like she said in the Chiefs, 'There's a lot of plays left out there that you can do better on.'"

Her wisdom comes from raising three sons, all of whom played football.

"She's been watching the game for so long, she can understand and see some things like that," Anderson said.

Her words, the tutelage of Studesville and Anderson's gifts, sharpened by years of practice, made Anderson the dominant force he has been the last four weeks, in which he leads the league with 658 yards from scrimmage -- 113 more than anyone else.

Sure, fantasy owners are satisfied. But Anderson's more interested in his real world, which includes his mother reminding him that there's always another level he can reach. The two are close, and her words motivate him.

Of all the messages he received after his outstanding performances of recent weeks, the ones from his mother stand out.

"I think me and my mom just sitting down, really reflecting over it," Anderson said. "Just everywhere I came from and how proud I am of her, what she did with three boys, rough neighborhood, how she got all of us successful in our own way, so it was just good to hear my mom.

"I call her after every game. It was just good to hear her voice. She started to become in tears. I tell her, 'Don't get emotional; you'll get me emotional.' I think that's the most special moment that I've had with everything."

That is Anderson's reality -- and it is a wonderful place to be.

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