Free Agent Frenzy 2015

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I’ve been taking a break from the fantasy blogging to work on my fist fiction work as a writer (Don’t worry, I’m in first place in my fantasy basketball league), but the recent trade action in the NFL has been such juicy goodness lately that I had to feature it. Continue reading

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The Dreaded FLEX: Part Deux

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[The Dreaded FLEX: Part One]

“Who do you think I should I play?” I ask my girlfriend.
Yes, halfway through the season, it’s already to the point where I throw strategy out the window and shoot arrows in the dark. “Darren Sproles or James Jones?”
“I like James Jones,” she tells me.
“Well, Sproles burned me last time I sat him.”
“That’s true. I don’t know, I just like Jones.”
“Yeah, he is playing a weak D, and his numbers have been real solid so far.”
“You should totally plaaaayyy himmm,” my girlfriend teases me.
“Eh, I think I’m just gonna leave my lineup like it is.”
“All right,” my girlfriend says.
I exit the fantasy football app on my phone and set it on the coffee table in the living room of our two-bedroom apartment, at about 11:50 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Ten minutes till kickoff.
“You know, I expect James Jones to have a huge fantasy day, against a Baltimore D that has allowed some huge receiving numbers this year,” Matthew Berry tells Tim Hasselbeck on ESPN’s Fantasy Football Now “FLEX Appeal” segment.
“Isn’t that the guy you were thinking about playing?” she asks me.
“Yes.”
“See, even the ESPN people said he’s good,” my girlfriend tells me.
Great.
I grab my phone and take another peak at my lineup. I’m unable to view the “points against” category on my phone, so I dodge to the man cave. Opening our league’s home page and viewing my lineup, I can see that the Ravens D really does have holes.
It’s 11:55.
Five minutes till kickoff, but my roster has the GB game as already in play.
What the HELL? Can I not change my lineup?
I start to slightly freak and double-check that I can still make roster moves at this point.
It looks like just a glitch.
I insert James Jones.
It’s 12:05.
The game has just started.
“Rodgers to James Jones for ten yards,” the announcer tells us.
Yes! What a great start!
“Isn’t that the guy you started?” my girlfriend asks me.
“Oh, yeah! Pretty good start so far!”
The next play is a run for Eddie Lacy for about three yards.
“And it looks like James Jones is down.”
Greeeeaaaaatttttt!!
“Isn’t that that guy you started?”

First of all, I don’t really understand how my girlfriend can’t memorize all 32 offensive rosters either. I mean, there’s only like 200 players to keep track of. Get it together, babe.

But most importantly, I can’t seem to get the FLEX position worked out just right. Both James Jones and my Christlike self-confidence would not return that afternoon.

Early this season, WR’s and TE’s had the vast majority of scoring and TD’s while teams have since mellowed out and started to rely on RB’s more in the red zone (Teams like the Pats, the Browns, and Broncos, and the Chargers giving it to the backs at an outstanding rate).

My lineup just straight up sucked this week, though. My highest point-getter was my kicker. So, yeah. I was hoping for a W, to move up into a more solid spot in the rankings. Instead, I’m now bunched right in the thick of the playoff hopefuls. Halfway through the season, and I’m 3-3, so no real signs of dominance there. Hopefully I can get a winning streak together.

Here’s how the other games shook out:
wk 6 results[Br]eaking [Br]adshaw continues to stomp the life out of the competition, and he didn’t even play Justin Blackmon, who I ended up dropping for Jonathan Franklin a week before Blackmon’s suspension was up.

Jonathan who?

Exactly.

Kicking myself on that one.

But I will take credit for the good call after the draft, though. The management issues, those clearly fall on my girlfriend’s intuition.

Tuesday Morning Relief: The Curse of Stevie Johnson

U mad, bro?

U mad, bro?

Well, I should’ve known. Just as I’ve said time and time again, I hate Stevie Johnson. Oh, how I loathe that man. Every time I seem to have any confidence in him, he screws me. Of course, I, so starstruck and naive in the wisdoms of fantasy sport, would start Johnson over Darren Sproles the week he scores 28 fantasy points.

OF COURSE!!

I can’t be too mad. Trophy Wife woulda beat me anyway, but I definitely coulda improved my point total with the help of Sproles. For his part, Johnson kept together his streak of consecutive games with a catch, by grabbing one of six targets for a loss of a yard.

WOOT WOOT!!

How is he always in this pose?

How is he always in this pose?

Yeah, I was not impressed. But that’s what I get for being cutesy this early in the fantasy season.

I told myself no big moves for the first four weeks, and look what happens to me week four. I just couldn’t be patient for one more week.

Back to the bench with you, Stevie Johnson!

Here’s how this week’s games turned out–lot’s of teams are at 2-2 right now. Power Rankings tomorrow:

wk 4 result 1

wk 4 result 2

wk 4 result 3

wk 4 result 4

wk 4 result 5

Tuesday Morning Relief: Fantasy Draft Recap

LL draft

Click to enlarge.

The Literally Literate League had our fantasy draft last night, and there were surprises galore! A few reaches, a few mistakes, and a few technical glitches made the draft terribly exciting, and for most, terribly nerve racking.

Mandy, a first timer writes about the excitement of joining her first league:

“About a week ago, I was talking to my friend Tyler. I’m not sure how it came up, but he mentioned there was a spot left on the Fantasy football team he was on. I thought it would be fun to give it a shot, so I e-mailed the manager. Boom: got me a football league. Mmmhmm. Watch out, boys (and girls). Here comes KEEF. I fully committed my upcoming weekend to learning all I could and devising a strategy and team that would leave people stunned.

Then reality happened: yard work, housework, and Pinterest.”

Damn Pinterest! Luckily she was able to pry herself away for a few, to get some studying done.

“To be fair, on Saturday I did go to my grandmother’s house (Read: one of the most knowledgeable sports people I know), and she gave me some tips. Of course, she’s an everything-Texas fan, if we don’t have it Oklahoma. A couple of times, she wanted me to clarify if it were college or pro.

‘It’s pro, Grandmother. We can’t use college.’ So she started naming off all her favorite Dallas players: Romo, Murray, and a few others I don’t remember. Then she clapped her hands together, in a dusting-my-hands-with-enthusiasm sort of way, and said she would be right back–she had to consult her newspaper that was covering some players to look out for. She came back and rattled off two names, which I cannot recall. Her eyes twinkled.

‘One is with the Rangers and the other is with the Angels…’

My head snapped up.

‘Grandmother! Are those baseball players!?’

‘Oh, well, yes.’ She giggled and shook her head and told me to call my cousin Debbie.

Of course. Debbie. Why didn’t I just do that to begin with? She gave me a really solid list, and I went home thinking I had it in the bag.

I just forgot about it on Sunday, and by the time Monday came around, I was freaking out a little.”

This happens every draft. The thing is, no matter how much research you put into your draft order each year, the real deal will always have surprises.

Mandy writes,  “With everything out of the way and the kids fed, I gave strict and threatening orders to leave me alone until I gave the signal. What that signal was, neither child was brave enough to ask. I was ready to sit down and take a crash course with the intent of finalizing my list, and I prayed the Internet would not go out.

It didn’t start out well. I spent a good majority on the wrong league site. I almost let Kyle talk me into using the auto-pick (I knew you were out to get me). And when I couldn’t find the auto-pick after I got to the right league page, I almost broke down. I needed some more guidance.

I called my aunt Myrna, and she put me in contact with my cousin Pat (Deb’s bro). He gave me an awesome resource (which is actually what James sent me) and gave me some pointers. This is when I learned what “snake” actually meant.

Plan: shot.

Result: tears, cuss words, confusion, and nearly quitting.”

Luckily, she stuck it out, though!  Even through an embarrassing rookie mistake.

“I start to lose track of my cheat sheet, and then about halfway through the draft, it happens.

Thirty-six seconds left, and no one I am entering in is available. I start panicking. What do I do? Who do I pick! I try to find my place on the list and keep entering in names to no avail.

Twenty seconds.

Should I just pick someone farther down that no one is picking yet? Beat the rush? Seal a deal?

Fifteen seconds.

I don’t know! It seems a little foolish. I mean, if no one else is doing it that way, why should I? 

Five seconds.

Crap! 

Matt Bryant: kicker (ATL).”

Picking a kicker in the middle of the draft will always get you heckled.

“This is what ensued:

James:  Mandy, NOOOOOOO!

I think it was all down hill from there.”

Rookie mistakes happen, though. My first year, I had no idea what “running back by committee” meant.  Yes, I was that guy who got RB’s from the Saints, the Panthers, and a guy from Washington named Roy Helu, who you will recall was worthless.

In the heat of the moment, sometimes you can straight up freak.

Another member of our league, Lindsey writes,  “Even typing this hours later, my heart still pounds at the thought of the madness that is the draft. I had two computer screens open, a stack of papers in front of me, and a pen and highlighter handy.The ninety seconds per draft pick, especially when it was my turn, seemed like the fastest seconds I’d ever experienced. Were there a couple Hail Mary picks on my part as time ran out? Of course. Do I still plan to dominate my league this season? You better believe it.

The two voices inside my head during the draft (you can pick which one’s the angelic one) are ESPN’s Matthew Berry’s and my brother’s, who typically dominates the numerous leagues he enters, but my strategy is always a hybrid of advice I’ve gleaned from them over the years and my own preferences. (I got teased for choosing Forte again, but my love for Chicago runs deep.)”

And indeed, she chose Forte again. Being a little bit headstrong and truly believing in your hunches can be key, though. Everyone is saying that Romo is terrible, but I was planning on picking him up in a late round, only to see him swept off the board by someone else, leaving me with Andrew Luck, who I had last year and was not too pleased with.

For having the third pick, I feel that I did all right this year. No running back by committee, and Stevie Johnson is my #4 WR this year, instead of my #2, so that’s a plus.

Look over our draft, and let us know what YOU think!

And check out Mandy’s blog at www.somewhatspotty.blogspot.com
And Lindsey’s at www.iruninheels.com
Thanks, ladies!

2012 Fantasy Football Recap: 5 Resolutions for 2013

Well, the smoke has cleared on the 2012 fantasy football season.

And it’s time for me to bitch…


The Golden Tate Showers league has somewhat concluded in the shadow of the fantasy football playoffs. I say “somewhat,” because the championship game has been mired in controversy. The two teams involved ended up tying at 209:

We have a league poll up to decide if they should just split the grand prize or fight to the death to see who gets it. I voted for death.

Which seems fitting, given I ended up in last.

Indeed, both outcomes were representative of my inaugural participation in the sport. There were ups–like the week my lineup went off for 121–and downs–like every other week–but I was able to scrounge up 5 wins in the regular season.

An early blowout in round one of the playoffs had me staring down the barrel of a loser gun.

If I didn’t win, I would be the last of the last in the league, the toilet bowl seat, the king of the midgets! I couldn’t let this happen. This was where the playoff race between the Boys and the Skins came into play.

Going into the second week of my ultimate loser matchup, I was up 100-71 against a dude from my workplace.

Now, week 17 in the League was a bit weird. The Bengals had locked up their playoff spot, and having The Law Firm, I was a bit concerned that he wouldn’t play as much.

My fears mounted when the Ravens’ Ray Rice came up on the inactive list, only to be clarified as a “limited participant” that day in the game (the Ravens too had locked up their playoff spot).

It sounded a bit sketch, but from all accounts, it looked like The Law Firm would at least play. And against a Ravens D that has more holes than it has players, I figured I could at least get 50 yds and a TD by half.

So I left The Law Firm in.

I had previously, and maybe drunkenly, promised my girlfriend, the night before, that we’d catch brunch at a local eatery on Sunday morn. It was just after 11 a.m. OK time, and I figured everything was set.

Now, if you’ve read my article The Dreaded FLEX, you know I get nervous leaving matters up to the football Gods. But with about 40 mins til game time, I picked my chick up and went to chow down on eggs Benedict and fruit platters.

I returned at 12:15 to find that The Law Firm had rested his case.

Locked up on my lineup was a guy who I knew wouldn’t score me points.

I started feeling queasy. The one guy who had actually been rock solid for me as of late was a big ol’ hunkin’ zero! I had my lead, but I definitely felt less confident in having my FLEX spot nullified.

The games played out, and it became really close. With just the Boys and the Skins left to play each other with a playoff birth on the line, the score was 185-146 in my favor.

I had Romo left to play, and he had Dan Bailey, Jason Witten, and Alfred Morris left. Since Romo effectively cancelled out the Boys’ points, I was really only worried about Morris. I actually drafted Roy Helu in thoughts he would be the Skins workhorse this year, but Morris had proven that he could put up tremendous numbers.

The first half was rather dull. Neither team scored in the first quarter, but Romo did manage two interceptions, which made me wince a ‘lil. In the second quarter, Romo threw for a TD…to Witten.

Christ.

Then Morris took in a 17 yarder for a TD.

Jump to the fourth. Bailey knocks in a field goal, and Morris runs in a 32 yard TD. Things aren’t looking good, yo. Then, Romo connects with Ogletree for a TD, along with the two point conversion, and suddenly we had ourselves a game! The matchup was tied now, 198-198. And honestly, I liked my chances.

The Boys were down 21-18 with just over three minutes left. All they had to do was make one drive and tie or end this thing. If they could go the length of the field and prevent Morris from getting any more touches, I could totally pull this W out, even with The Law Firm not helping.

Romo dropped back and rifled a pass that was…picked off. For the third time that game, Romo forgot what color he was wearing. The score was 196-198, for the other dude.

But there was still 3 mins left…or at least the optimistic thought I kept telling myself.

The Skins ran the clock out, going from the Dallas 25 yard line to the 1. And then, with 1:09 left on the clock, Morris ran it in, 196-204.

I lost.

With just over a minute left, I figured Romo could pull out another INT, but alas, he just made some completions over the middle against prevent defense for meager yardage.

True, I did end up getting the ultimate last place in my first work league, but I was able to learn a hell of a lot about the sport. Here’s a look at some of my own personal resolutions for Fantasy Football 2013, along with a peak at youngsters to keep an eye on in the off season:

2013 Resolutions:

1) My Time–One aspect of the fantasy realm that I didn’t really account for in the beginning was the last minute changes to rosters. No longer will I leave my lineup set without double checking. A couple times this season, I locked players in without bothering to check whether they were all good to go. The last week saw a horrible sequence of these events. As I mentioned, The Law Firm was iffy along with Ray Rice that week. The Jags and Giants also had RB problems. MJD, Jennings, Owens, and Parmele all ended up on the IR. Then, word came out that Richard Murphy would be the starter, only to be dismissed just moments before kickoff, as reports of Keith Toston starting trickled in. For 2013, the hour leading up to the noon kickoff games is mine! No more zero pointers!

2) Draft Strategy–This year, it paid off to have a solid top 5 QB and TE. Next year , the trend looks to be leaning toward RB depth. The distance between the top QB’s and the average QB’s has been continually diminishing with the rise of young, rookie stars like Luck, RGIII, and Wilson. RB depth was tested throughout the year, and injuries left many fantasy footballers in limbo. One reason, along with great QB quality, that RB’s look to steal the show next year, is that WR’s came easily to most folks. Even the top of the top in the receiving game had horrible bouts of ineptitude or injury. For next year, securing up to 3 RB’s should be key, as QB and WR depth will be fairly tight amongst all players, and the guaranteed touches at the RB slot will be incredibly valuable.

3) Fuck Stevie JohnsonNuff said; I hate that guy.

4) RB by Committee–This was a term I had actually never heard before. But after drafting backs from the Skins, the Panthers, and the Saints, I quickly found out what this meant. I also picked up Stevan Ridley, who most believed would not get to put on his own show. Ridley was a bright spot, as he took the workhorse role and became the #1 guy in New England. I let go of DeAngelo Williams only to see him show up in the second half of the season, but for the most part, Carolina split all carries, and no one back mattered until Cam got hot, and the team managed to score points. Next year, nothin’ but workhorses.

5) Go with Your Gut–Man, oh man, do I love experts! But nothing beats your own intuition. this was evidenced for me. I had a few instances where I withheld my amateur judgment to cede to the prophetic wisdom of ESPN writers. I found that I routinely let go of guys too soon. I would pick up a hot prospect, see he had a down week, and trade him, only to find out that bad game was just a bump on the path to success. I really shoulda trusted my baser instincts, and let my waiver picks have enough time to pan out. I did this with rankings, too. I would have a hunch about a guy, then drop him based on ranks or projections. this happened with T.Y. Hilton the last week. I liked him a lot, but the projections and ranks were unbelievably low. He got double digits while I learned to trust my gut.

Speaking of gut calls, here are some top dogs who emerged this year, who you should keep tabs on:

QB’s:

Russell Wilson

RGIII

Andrew Luck

RB’s:

Alfred Morris

Doug Martin

Knowshon Moreno

WR’s:

T.Y. Hilton

Danario Alexander

Justin Blackmon

TE’s:

Brandon Myers

Jermaine Gresham

Kyle Rudolph

The Dreaded FLEX

“You are obsessed,” my girlfriend says to me with added emphasis.
I can’t blame her. For most, spending your allotted work from home days doing copious amounts of research in an attempt to predict the athletic futures of whiny twenty-something-year-olds seems trite. And I can understand. But there’s one aspect these naysayers are forgetting–it’s exciting!


There’s two types of fantasy sports players–those who used to play sports and those who didn’t.
If you used to play sports, you get no better feeling than controlling a heap of people with greater ability than you and passing your judgment upon them daily.
If you’ve never played sports, then fantasy athletics provides you a perfect in. Being a fantasy guru immediately draws the drool of people who think you can predict the future. And what nerd doesn’t like to be called the “smartest” at something?
For me, I’m a bit of both. I played sports my whole academic career up until college, where I got into some intermurals. After I graduated, I had a career and seemingly no sports life. Until fantasy…
My first career lead to my first fantasy football league (Golden Tate Showers), which I have been absolutely tearing up!

And by “tearing up,” I mean sucking ass at.

It’s definitely frustrating.

It seems as if, every week, I face a daunting flex decision (2012 Roster). I swore to Zeus that Stevie Johnson would be the death of me, and indeed he has been! I actually acquired him in one of my shining (and they’re very few) moments of the season, though–a trade with my boss.

In my other trade for the year, I dropped Julio right before he came up gimp. So there have been some bright spots, but I’m still miring in dead last.

Long story short, this dude gotta make moves!

Here’s a peak at all my moves this season.

And this is where my girlfriend comes in.

Setting your alarm to 4 a.m. to hopefully grab free agents, so you can save your waiver spot is somehow foreign to her. All in all, though, she has adjusted quite nicely to my glorious new hobby.

She’s actually really good at picking winners.

Clearly.

I love being with her, but yesterday was the Thursday night matchup on the NFL Network–Bills and Dolphins. And I’d be lying if I said Stevie Johnson wasn’t on my mind.

Nestled there in her bed, all cuddled up, all I could think about was whether that goddamn rollercoaster of a receiver would find the fucking end zone or not. Believe me, he haunts my dreams.

I left my place at about halftime, and he had already amassed 57 yards receiving (most on the team). Though Johnson didn’t have a TD, I felt semi-confident in him…which, for him, is impressive. But upon entering the domain of the girlfriend, Stevie was in the hands of the Fantasy Gods.

It’s kind of a queazy feeling.

The next morning, I got back to find out that the Bills couldn’t find the end zone on offense, period.

Great.

He did go for 7 fantasy points, but man, oh man, I would have liked to see those other six!

So, since I used Johnson as my WR2 in the early game, I’m now down to my dreaded flex question. Right now, I’m sitting on James Jones, but I’ve got Darren Sproles, Mike Williams, Jonathan Dwyer, and Danario Alexander chillin’ in the stable.

When picking a player, you have to choose your sources of information carefully. One ranking system I really like is FFToolbox. Although, I will say, they are rather slow with critical injury and rankings updates. A great sit/start tool can be found at Fantasy Pros. They actually accumulate data from a multitude of the popular sites and compile rankings based upon averages and accuracy alike. You’re able to literally see how well your best advice givers are doing during the season.

One guy I really like, because he’s usually ranked among the most accurate, is David Dodds of the Football Guys.

However, as the true guru Matthew Berry says on his weekday podcast, “Go with your gut.”

With that said, I have some research to do.