Thursday, September 05, 2013

Running Mini-Blog For My 2013 Fantasy Football Auctions


It’s the big juxtaposition that’s widening the gap between actual and fantasy football.  As actual football emphasizes the passing game, with quarterbacks racking up huge yards and touchdown totals, in fantasy the tried-and-true strategy of drafting running backs early remains.  Is it simply lagging behind the current evolution of the National Football League, or is fantasy football going to remain stuck in, well, fantasy land, to the point where the consensus priority players are totally different than the Most Valuable Players in real football?

It’s a vexing question that I doted on for a while.  Then I realized that I had two auctions to prepare for.  And mostly because I could not dedicate a day to each league’s auction – and because I’m stupid – I, and forgive me for this, set the auctions for the same night at the same time.  Last year I held both auctions at the same night with overlapping start times, and I think I did OK.  Hey, I thought someone from either league would ask that I move that league’s time, and no one did.  Apparently everyone thinks that the best time to get your players is the night before the league starts.

Once again I will blog about my thoughts in yet another desperate attempt to win my leagues’ Shivas, even though I do not give out a physical trophy in either league.  By the way, have you seen The League?  Its season premiere is/was tonight at 10:30 Eastern/9:30 Central as Yahoo! casually yet incessantly reminds you.  It’s a great show, don’t get me wrong.  And why is it moving off of FX and onto FXX?  And what the hell’s the difference between the two channels?  And will there be an FXXX, where I can see reruns of True Blood so I can see Anna Paquin’s boobies whenever I want?

To my running timeline:

·         I always finished with “money” left over from the $200 Yahoo! Sports allots me.  And my annual pre-auction fear that I would not have enough money to get all the players I need has never come to fruition.  So this year I had this plan: Just to eff things up, whenever Adrian Peterson gets nominated, I’ll just say to hell with it and bid $91.  Other people, remembering that they had leftover cash, will start a bidding war.  I wanted to do that mainly because I wanted to see if someone was willing to spend $100 on a guy.  Well, after the previous bid was $4, I sat my 400 lb. gorilla ass down and bid $91 … and you could hear crickets in my league.  It’s as if the other guys heard me fart.  So I got All Day for $91 … and I have a bad feeling that he’s going to break his other ACL and be done for the year in Week 2 or something.

·         In one of my leagues there are 12 teams.  In the other, due to attrition, there are only four.  One of the guys there, my friend, insists that to counteract the four teams’ ease in loading up their rosters, I, the commissioner, needed to expand each team to include, like, three quarterbacks and five running backs.  Now that’s a break from reality.  I told him I wasn’t going to change a thing, and luckily he didn’t bail on the league.

·         Peterson can’t be the best player in the league for a second year in a row, he can’t be.  There’s no way he can duplicate what he did last year, and in fact history shows that runners a year after racking up such huge yards and touchdowns are due for a big correction the following year.  That’s all true; I certainly allow the distinct possibility that I may have screwed myself.  But if it ain’t Peterson, who will step up?  Jamaal Charles, undergoing another retooled offensive scheme?  C.J. Spiller, now under the tutelage of a guy who surprised the football world by leaving Syracuse to cut his teeth in the pros?  Trent Richardson, he of the woeful Browns?

·         Larry Fitzgerald went in my four-team league for $6.  Larry Fitzgerald, the consensus best wide receiver up to as recently as last year.  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention because we’re gambling money in my big league.  Maybe none of us four were paying attention.  Or maybe Fitzgerald is the best player on a bad team in the NFL.

·         Speaking of best at his position, this is the first time I remember since playing fantasy football hardcore that there is a clear-cut #1 at each of the five offensive fantasy positions:

o   Quarterback: Drew Brees

o   Running Back: Adrian Peterson

o   Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson

o   Tight End: Jimmy Graham

o   Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski (admittedly a stretch; after all, we’re talking about kickers)

·         Both leagues kicked up bidding wars between Brandon Marshall.  Brandon Marshall?

·         Loved how my guys in the twelve-team league are putting up a fight over Rob Gronkowski, who probably won’t even play in Week 1.  That’s what you get when most of your competitors live in the New York/New England echo chamber.

·         I was dead set on getting Brees.  If the NFL has become a passing league, quarterbacks have to be more valuable in fantasy, and as I believe, Brees is the best this year.  He has an arsenal of weapons to throw to, he’s durable, and even though the New Orleans Saints defense was statistically the worst in NFL history, they won’t be appreciably better in 2013.  So I made it a point to drive hard for Brees in my big money league, and I got him … for $58.  This means that I have $149 tied up in two players, Peterson and Brees, 75% of my payroll.  I’m not too freaked out about it – I paid good money for players I’m sure will produce, and every year the league comes up with unknowns who turn in great seasons.  This is the logical end of my pay-big-or-pay-little strategy.  But seeing $149 gives me pause.

·         Possibly as a result of the stunned silence I received in my big league, I quickly decided on the opposite strategy for my small, free league: Spread out my payroll to get good guys at at-value prices.  I think I did pretty well – Charles for $35, Spiller, A.J. Green and Julio Jones for $30, Chris Johnson for $19 and Demaryius Thomas for $10.  That’s the makings of a great team … but with only three other teams, everybody’s is great.  (By the way, when Peterson was nominated in this smaller league, I threw in a bid of only $81, not $91.  One person decided to outbid me by a buck.  Maybe my idea wasn’t so outlandish after all.)

·         Holy crap … in my small league I got Matt Ryan for a buck.  Matt Ryan, orchestrator of a prolific Atlanta Falcons offense last year, and I fetched him for only one dollar?  I don’t think I’ve had a bigger steal in my fantasy sports career.

·         I should ask this: While serving as an extra for this movie being shot in Minneapolis today, I finally remembered I needed to look at the big league.  After all, I am the commish.  That’s when I saw that we had an odd number of teams.  And Yahoo! does not allow leagues playing head-to-head to draft until you get an even number of teams.  Had that happen once before with the small league; thought we would just get a series of byes, but instead its software told us we could not draft.  We had to wait until, like, Week 3 when a team decided to just drop out.  So I had to scramble find a twelfth member.  You would think that with an odd number of teams in, an odd number of people dropped out.  But there were two guys I had to ask whether they were going to participate, for some strange reason.  They wouldn’t ‘cause they’re too busy.  So eventually I had to ask my best friend, because he told me his son expressed interest in fielding his own team.  I would rather not do that; after all, this is gambling.  But I was desperate, so I made the decision to bring his son, who is ten years old, into our adult sandbox.

o   Here is my dilemma.  The ante in this league is $100.  This kid obviously does not have $100.  But I don’t think it’s fair for him to not pay in either – not only because he’ll face a harsh lesson if he loses, but, as his father says, “He should not be winning $800.”  I’m fine either way; I can just tabulate distribution of $1,100 instead of $1,200.  But I wanted to take it to the league first.  In the end, apparently my best friend’s wife is going to be his son’s sugar mommy.  But it’s an intriguing question: If you allow a child to play, should we expect him to pay his way (or have his parents pay his way) into the league?  Not to mention whether it’s morally right to even bring a child into the world of money fantasy football.  What do you think?

·         Oh, crap.  I’m at a coffeeshop, and its modem went to crap, right in the middle of my auctions.  Dammit!  Why isn’t American Internet as reliable as copper-wire phones?  I could have stayed home to do these auctions, but I think I would have been bothered by my parents wanting something from me, and I didn’t want to yell at them to, “Leave me alone, I’m doing my fantasy football drafts!”  But even though it hadn’t happened lately, the modem at this place has been spotty.  I rolled the dice, and I crapped out … for almost an hour and 42 picks in my big league.  By the time I got done my little, free league was already done.

o   I was in touch with my friend while I was locked out.  Can’t figure out this damn Yahoo! algorithm because while I was gone, it “helped” me get Maurice Jones-Drew, the focal point and only offensive player worth a rat’s ass on Jacksonville, for $36, even though I already got Adrian Peterson.  Then I got Chris Ivory for $5.  Chris friggin’ Ivory.  Really, Marissa Mayer?  By the time I was reconnected back into the auction, I had ten bucks left to fill out the other ten spots on my roster.  Yes, all my other guys were bucks, including my entire starting wide receiver trio.

o   This was not part of the plan.  I knew that there were some players I would get for $1, but not ten guys.  With all of the money I had paid out I still planned on having some left over to fight over some value backups late in the auction.  But since I had to fill out my roster, I could spend only a buck on a player, and if someone else wanted that player, all he would have to do is spend $2 and I was out.  This blackout also meant that there was no way I could outbid anyone else nominating someone I liked.  And so the rest of the auction was one of those ironies Alanis Morissette could appreciate: Even though I was able to get back into the auction, I was not able to really participate in it, so I was doing nothing, just like I was when the coffeehouse modem crapped out.

·         My only workable ploy was to force a fellow team member who checked out and let the software auto-pick the rest of his roster to take a guy who’s crap.  One guy had every starting spot filled out except quarterback, so I thought I would select someone awful, and the Yahoo! algorithm would make him bid on it because he needed a starter.  So I nominated Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert, rubbed my hands together and chuckled “heh-heh-heh-heh!” to myself.  Except that the guy on auto-pick did not outbid me.  No, I waited 30 seconds to see my “winning” bid of $1 for Gabbert, possibly the worst starting quarterback in the league (at least it’s neck-and-neck with Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets) go through.  I now have Gabbert as my back-up.  Damn you, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports algorithm!!!

·         So while I waited I had to figure out who my starting receivers would be.  And since all the good ones – and even the mediocre ones – were taken, I had to look through SI.com’s Top 300 Player Rankings to see which of the dregs has a chance at a breakout season.  I settled for Kendall Wright.  He was my first receiver when every other team already had at least three.  By trying to figure out which sleeper wideouts to pick I overlooked Sidney Rice, but everybody else who needed to fill out his roster passed him over, so I was able to get him when my turn came back, thank Buddha.  Wait … why did he last so long?  Shoot, is he injured?  For my third starting slot I selected Alshon Jeffery, who, under Marc Trestman, might get spillover catching production if Jay Cutler can stop being a smarmy douchelord and blossom under a new passing attack.

·         When the other teams with more money finally completed their rosters the automatic rotation shortened.  While other teams got at least one player for each of the positions, I had yet to get a wide receiver, tight end, kicker or defense/special teams.  But I forgot that Yahoo! Fantasy Sports is able to skip over the teams that are done with their roster as I was still picking through the fantasy player leftovers my selections to make sure I’m not loading up on a position whose players are on teams that share the same bye week.  So, by the time I realized it was my turn to nominate (and by this time of the auction I’m basically drafting) a player, time was running out.  That’s how, when I was looking for the right tight end, Yahoo! gave one to me: Brandon Myers of the New York Giants.  I did not know this person existed until I got him.

·         For my last pick of my league’s draft there was a Brandon I intentionally picked: Brandon Lloyd of the New England Patriots.  But this is what you get when you do your fantasy research the day of your auction: I did not realize that Lloyd has been released.  Well, shoot, I guess that means I have to release him, too.  Lloyd and Gabbert, specifically; they are on waivers, though I have to wait till this week’s games are over to see if I get them.

No, the modem cutoff was not good at all.  But I haven’t won either of my leagues in a long time, and that’s with me being active in the auction (and the draft before then), so maybe having some players picked for me and scrounging to fill out my roster is a change of pace that might lead to victory.  Hell, in my small league I was given Andre Johnson for four bucks!  I list my players in both leagues below with the price I paid for in fake money; those in bold are the players I actually chose.

Big, Money League

·         QB: Drew Brees ($58), Blaine Gabbert ($1), Ryan Tannehill ($1)

·         RB: Adrian Peterson ($91), Maurice Jones-Drew ($36), Chris Ivory ($5)

·         WR: Kendall Wright ($1), Sidney Rice ($1), Alshon Jeffery ($1), Darrius Heyward-Bey ($1), Brandon Lloyd ($1)

·         TE: Brandon Myers ($1)

·         K: Robbie Gould ($1)

·         D/ST: Minnesota ($1)

Small, Free League

·         QB: Matt Ryan ($1), Cam Newton ($1)

·         RB: C.J. Spiller ($30), Jamaal Charles ($30), Chris Johnson ($19), Ray Rice ($7)

·         WR: A.J. Green ($30), Demaryius Thomas ($10), Julio Jones ($30), Dwayne Bowe ($2), Vincent Jackson ($4), Andre Johnson ($4)

·         TE: Jimmy Graham ($7), Rob Gronkowski ($6)

·         K: Stephen Gostkowski ($2)

·         D/ST: Houston ($1)

What do you think?

Posted by WilliamSou at 3:38 AM

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