You talking about playoffs?

Much like the legendary Jim Mora rant I find myself begging to stay alive, win a couple more games and make it to the first round of the playoffs. After bragging about how I was in perfect shape and turning my season around I have lost two straight games and now find my self in the middle of the pack with a 6-4 record. It could be worse, but then again it could be way better as well; all in all I hope that the measures I take will ensure me a playoff spot and the ability to say that at least my season was not a complete waste.

After posting sub 100 point games back to back I find myself wondering what the problem is. The first, was the fact that I had to sit half of my starters during week 9 because I foolishly selected 5 players that were on a bye week, of which 4 played for the same team. While selecting good players on the same team can be awfully beneficial, in this case it came back to haunt me, as most of my offensive production went out the window. And while I had monster performances from T.Y. Hilton, and Russell Wilson, who put up 25 and 14 points respectively, everybody else was non existing. I did not have another player over 10 points on the day. When you combine this with the fact that I faced the best team this year and that they put up 131 points, you can see exactly where my frustration is coming from. This is my own fault, for being to lazy to look for trades and for not investing enough time into a game that I have been extremely passionate about for the past 3 years. Oh well.

Last weeks performance was an anomaly. A week that saw LeSean McCoy and T.Y. Hilton, two of my most productive player contribute only a total of 6 fantasy points. In addition, I was once again cheated by the ridiculous rule that subtracts 2 fantasy points every time my quarterback gets sacked, a day that otherwise would have been worth 17 points was worth only 7 as Russell Wilson had an amazing offensive day despite playing behind the worst offensive line in football.

What can be done? Well, at this point not much. The trade deadline has come and gone, and now I must rely only on the waiver wire to look for new talents in unexpected places. Who knows, maybe with the Thanksgiving break I might find a couple of interesting players to grab. The most important lesson I can learn is the one that coach Mora was so desperately trying to express to the reporters in the video at the beginning. If I want to be successful in this league, I have to avoid self inflicted wounds. It is really that simple. I chose my players and I chose to put off trading them, and therefore, if I am stuck with second tier player than there is nobody to blame but myself. And so as I look eagerly at the playoffs I know that it is up to me, and that if I put in enough research I can come ahead and make the playoffs, but for now, it suffices to finish this blog post and get some rest.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

It seems that my season isn’t as terrible as I thought it was. I am currently in a tie for first place with a record of 4-2 but sadly, I am in 7th points as I have the team with the third least points in the league. Some how, I am managing to win games without scoring points. This is puzzling to me but I am going to ride this wave as far as it will take me. After all, who can argue with winning? In fact, last week I won against one of my biggest rivals, a friend of mine who used to be my head coach for 3 years with a score of 107.6-80.13.

This week I have to patch up my roster a little, as I have 4 players on a bye week! This is a big number, but luckily they are all in slots that are easily replaceable, such as kicker, linebacker and defensive back and tight end. The hardest to find a replacement for would undoubtedly be TE, however, judging from the tremendously bad season I am getting out of Eric Ebron I decided to cut him and look for the next best alternative. I claimed George Kittle of the 49ers, a nobody who shockingly has better numbers than Ebron. This combined with the fact that he is being reunited with his college Quarterback makes him an interesting start for this week.

I had an interesting proposal for a trade this weekend which made me doubt my awareness of what is going on this football season. I was offered to trade Ben Roethlisberger for Russel Wilson. I initially said yes; it was a no brainer to me Big Ben is the better QB right?… Well, the numbers say something completely different. Turns out Russel Wilson has had top 10 numbers for a Quarterback, whereas Big Ben is struggling with turnovers and has posted below his predicted amount of points for the past 4 weeks. I put this trade on hold because I want to evaluate Wilson’s performance a little more. I was certain that the poor offensive line play and a struggling run game would make him suffer, but the numbers don’t lie. He is without a doubt a better player through 6 games this year.

What has hurt me the most this year is that I have simply not been watching enough football and the reason for this is clear; I am watching more college football. When I decided to come to Penn State I had no idea that I would lose my whole Saturday afternoon to Penn State football. In no way am I complaining, I absolutely love being here and going to the games but it takes up a whole day which leaves me with homework heavy Sundays. I have tried to keep up by reading and looking for alerts, but the effectiveness is not the same. The biggest source of uprising players for me in the past were players I watched play. As I am no longer watching as much, I have failed to keep up with my high scoring rivals.

I would also like to address all of you that had Aaron Rodgers on your team. After watching him go down with a gruesome collarbone injury, I can only offer my sympathy to you and to him, one of the great players in the league. I broke my collarbone once back when I still played and I can speak for the discomfort that comes with it. I wish Rodgers a speedy recovery.

More of the Same.

It’s so easy to blame luck for your failures here and there. But the more you do it, the more evident it becomes that it has nothing to do with luck and that it is in fact your own fault. This is a great way to summarize my fantasy football season. After watching my star player, promising rookie running back Dalvin Cook, go down for a season ending ACL injury I find myself with an exceedingly mediocre team of players that have potential, but constantly fail to reach it. It is easy to say that the reason for my struggles is based on the fact that I have good players that are simply not registering good stats. But inevitably I must take the blame for myself; after all I made the decisions that got me here. 

I made many adjustments this week, finally deciding to cut TE Austin Hooper and add RB Alex Collins of the Baltimore Ravens, a nobody that had a surprisingly good game against the Steelers last weekend. Is he the solution? No probably not, but at this point I am trying to be as scrappy as possible, and if this works out the payoff will be great. I also picked up WR/RB Ty Montgomery, who is an interesting player, that can get touches at two positions, which has lead to some great fantasy numbers dating to last year; but also some slumps. Lets hope for the best. In the past I have found that you can salvage a season by looking to injured player’s back ups to shine when a star player goes down. Such was the case with Charkandrick West when Jamaal Charles got injured a couple of years ago. For this reason I am going to take a chance on Latavius Murray the RB for the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, Murray played a decent roll as the starter for the Raiders but has not seem much action as Cook’s back up this year. Based on his past performance and Minnesota’s tendency and ability to run the ball I decided I would pick him up and cut Matt Forte, who it seems has seen the best of his days come and go.

My record currently sits at 2-2. Which is worrying because it seems that I have a bad game, followed by a mediocre game in which I barely get the win. As I lost last week it is obviously my turn to win; and as I look to my opponent who is currently starting 5 players that are on a bye week, it seems that I should most certainly pick up the win. But even with something as sure as this, I feel nervous as if I might still lose.

I have also decided to bench Russell Wilson. He is proof to my theory that you must consider not only the talent of the player you select, but also the talent of the teammates. Russell Wilson is behind what is proving to be the worst o-line in all of football; which has lead to countless sacks, fumbles and interceptions. A player with such volatile changes to statistics is a risk to start; so I will go on with the less impressive but more consistent Philip Rivers.

As I look forward, I am nervous to see the season unfolds. I usually aspire to score the most points or be in the top 4 places. But due to the circumstances, if I can get into the playoffs I will consider myself to be lucky. One thing is for sure, I would be happy just to get some bragging rights over my friends and win a couple of head to head match ups. In a season that seems inevitably doomed, the least I can ask for is that. It is going to be an interesting ride from here on out.

Flying? Or Falling? My Early Season Struggles.

Two weeks of the football season have come and gone, and frankly I am surprised because everything I knew or at least thought I knew is being flipped upside down and my fantasy football team is taking the hit. My team has scored an abysmal 163.95 points in two games; recording the second lowest total last week (luckily it was against the only guy with less, thank you football gods). So much for being the defending champ. I have never had such a bad start to a season. As I cannot appropriately express my frustration with vocabulary that is adequate for a blog, I resort to this GIF:

In week one I lost one of my favorite players in the whole league, Eric Berry, to a torn Aquilles tendon. Berry is a cancer survivor, and one of the most explosive safeties in the league; I bid him well in his recovery because he is one of the true heroes of this sport. I also had two players with negative point totals resulting in a disappointing 85 point performance. Russell Wilson and the Seahawk’s offense looked unimpressive and have only scored one touchdown through 2 games this year. The other player was T.Y Hilton, last year’s leader in receiving yards has been contained to under 60 yards in two games. Adding a fumble only makes it worse if you consider the drastic -4.5 penalty. Well, at least there were not any interceptions which would total -4 points, or a sack, which gives -2.5. Oh wait, Russell Wilson has been sacked 3 times!!! There is a lesson here, when your league commissioner goes crazy, you have to adapt. It’s that simple.

On another note, remember that time I said I wasn’t sure about drafting Mike Evans? Well guess what; after his first game of the season I am satisfied with my selection. He was my highest point scorer with a whopping (sarcastically) 12 points. I don’t mean to diminish his good points total with my sarcasm he actually put up some good stats, I am simply frustrated that my team has been underperforming and I have no good solutions. I am generally not much of a trader of players, but I think I can get some good value for either T.Y Hilton or Adam Thielen (or both). But the question here is what to get in return. I have a solid pair of running backs and quarter backs who have simply had a string of bad games. It will turn around, I think. Maybe I can cash in and get a decent tight end? To be honest I might not get anything at all because they are not high end players so far. Well, this puts me in a bit of a pickle. But for now I think the best thing to do is let it play out a little longer and see how it goes.

One thing I have noticed though, is that the scores for all the teams in my league have been lower than usual. And as I look back at the games, the scores and the highlights I realize that there have been a lot of low scoring games this year! Maybe I can blame my struggles on that.  Turns out it would be a legitimate reason, as indicated in this article posted on the Wall Street Journal. Which discusses that due to the aging quarter backs in the league offenses have become less explosive, and that possibly, defenses have simply figured out how to stop these pass happy offenses. But in all seriousness I am trying to use this struggle and mismanagement as a long term learning experience. I am going to try to be patient, observant and for 4 weeks to see if I can see and improvement; if not, some serious changes will be made. Because lets face it, everyone hates losing.


Fantasy Football Fantasy

It is once again that magical time of the year; the time when despite the looming end of summer and a new school year, which, as always promises to be harder than last year there is one thing to look forward to every weekend. Football. But not only am I enthused… no, more like hyped, about watching NFL and college football, I am also ready to show my friends, ex-teammates, and former coaches once again that I am better than them. It is fantasy football season.

Yes boys and girls the wait is over, as of last Sunday (draft day) I have now entered the domain of couch quarterbacks and overly involved fans. I was dealt the underwhelming 12th pick in a 14 team league, leaving me two almost consecutive picks (as it will alternate between 12th and 3rd) with long waits in-between. While it is a disadvantage to pick later than everyone else, having picks close together like that can prove to be useful.

The Plan of Attack

My strategy, as always, was to use my first two picks on running backs, followed by one wide receiver, and then look to fill in the gaps with the next best talent available. That was the plan and it has been the plan for the last 3 seasons which have rendered one third place finish; but most importantly it won me last year’s coveted first place spot, a $2,500 peso prize (about 120 USD). But most importantly, it won me bragging rights. So as you can see this plan is good. The theory behind it is that running backs contribute to the game on the ground and in the air; and a selective few play special teams also. This leads to big yardage totals and many touchdowns also but what I like most is that they do not depend on quarterback play (that much).  Quarterback play is important also; but there are many good QBs out there, the one thing I am extremely careful about is finding a quarterback that does not turn the ball over.

What Actually Happened.

Inevitably it seems that in this world of fantasy; nothing goes as planned. With my first pick I was fortunate enough to watch the elusive LeSean McCoy drop all the way down to pick number 12. After that I was forced to make a choice: stick to my plan and get another running back, or secure an elite receiver such as Mike Evans. In my 4 year playing this I have never secured an elite wide receiver. It was too tempting. . . I took him. I broke my only rule, mainly because the talent pool at running back was still pretty full so I decided to risk it all and wait another 23 picks. Knowing me if this doesn’t pay off I will be dreading it for the rest of the season. Fortunately I got my favorite sleeper running back, rookie Dalvin Cook, a speedy running back with sneaky power. Below are the rest of the pics.

I am most excited about watching how Adam Thielen and Austin Hooper turn out. Last year they put up slightly higher than average numbers towards the end of the season so I hope that this year they will break out and finally have significant consistent contributions to the team. My worst two picks are Eric Ebron and Matt Forte. Ebron has been posed for break out seasons for the past two years… and he remains a low yield pick with ocasional brilliance.

The Final Word

I would like to add this small section at the end of each entry in which I take time to discuss the ridiculous occurrences of my league. This week due to hurricane Irma the Tampa Bay vs Miami game was cancelled. This of course messes up the fantasy outlook for anyone who drafted any star players from any of these teams (I’m looking at you Mike Evans). This messes up planning for bye weeks and even draft order which we could not have predicted. The commissioner of my league even proposed to cancel this week’s match up and a redraft (like we have nothing to do). In all seriousness we I hope a solution to this problem is found not only for fantasy purposes but also social purposes. In a time when many are going to be suffering from the fall out of this disaster, football is a distraction which will allow the public to keep their minds entertained.