Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Week 2 of Last Season

Going into Week 2, I still felt really good about my team, but I knew there were a couple of places where I might have trouble down the line. My biggest concern was at QB. All of the pundits were saying that Rivers should do well this week, but I just didn’t have confidence in him. As a result, I decided to go with Schaub. The reason I went against the grain was that I had been watching Schaub for the past few years as Mad Dog Michael Vicks back up and I knew he would excel if he could only get the chance. As the sole QB in Houston, I knew his time had come and he should be primed for a big game.

More important, I believed I had enough solid players at RB & WR that it would hurt me too much if Schaub faltered or didn’t have the week I hoped for. I was projected to get 68+ points, which was enough to beat my competitors projected stats. But I have to admit that I went into this week far too confident than I should have been, although hindsight is always 20/20. The problem I was about to run into was the juggernaut that is New England this year. See my opponent in week 2 was Belicheck’s Hoodies, a team filled with players from NE, which I mistakenly thought meant I would have an easy win. Heck even yahoo thought I would win, projecting only 60 points for my NE laden competitor.

Obviously, yahoo and I were wrong. My NE heavy competitor trounced me without mercy, racking up more than 100 points. I had solid performances from a number of players, and I really thought I had chosen well with my draft and my roster for this week. Since I didn’t feel like I made any errors in judgment during the second week, I felt I had no recourse left to me but to curse the Fantasy Sport gods for the outrageous luck my opponent had. I mean really, he had 4 spots filled with players from the same team and it added up to 50+ points. How often can that happen in a season?

At the same time, I was starting to wonder about the remainder of the season. I saw the NE game, and they looked amazing. I don’t think I have ever seen a team play like that before, which left me wondering what would happen if this continued… Even though it was early and I was still trying to tweak my roster, this loss really shocked me. I thought I had a solid performing team. Yet I wasn’t even in the match up. Looking at my team, I couldn’t imagine any way of matching a 100 point game. Strangely, I remember thinking that I would have to find some big performers if I was going to be able to compete. With that in mind, I knew that a bunch of my bench men were going to change. I also had to find a better K.

And here, I should point out that this kind of drastic thinking was a major mistake. While I had a couple of guys I could move, it really was too early in the season to start thinking about drastic changes. I DID have a solid team, and it DID put a solid number of points (79+) for my league, and that was more than the 1st week. While switching Ks may have been a good idea in hindsight, I was only 1-1. Barring a season ending injury or a simply horrible draft, you should never even consider making drastic changes to your team until the 3 or 4 week at the earliest.

There were some bright point to acknowledge. Both my QBs did stellar. My starting RBs did solid. My WRs flip flopped, but still I felt confident. Todd Heap gave me an outstanding day, which is exactly why I picked him. Despite my fluke of a loss, I still thought my team could take me all the way.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Week 1 of Last Season

Since we have gone through my draft, let’s now take at each week of play. In week 1, I was matched up against the Gridiron Goons, which was a pretty good team draft wise but the owner didn’t do a good job keeping up with his line up. He was projected to get 69+ points with his starters, but he could have gotten nearly 75 projected points if he had just tweaked his line up better. This becomes important b/c I was projected to get 75+ points, so the manager of Gridiron Goons had to do something creative to win, but he didn’t.

Going into the game, I felt really good about my team. I was projected to get 75+ points, which was enough to beat my competitor. Yet once the numbers started coming in, I recognized that I might have a problem. My QB (Philip Rivers), TE (Todd Heap) and K (Nate Kaeding) all seriously underperformed. I could easily discount this situation as opening jitters, but it was something I knew I had to keep an eye on. I had viable replacements (QB—Schaub) and (K—Mare), but I was deficient at TE (as my hope that McMichael would be a sleeper was a wild card that could easily not play out).

Despite the setbacks, there were some great aspects to the first week performance: Wayne, Housh, Addai, Portis, and SD all did better than projected (and even better than I expected). I was also please with Norwood's performance. I saw him as the sleeper on my team with the most promise, and it looked like he was going to get the looks I was hoping for at RB in Atlanta.

With Week 1's victory behind me, I decided it would be important for me to keep an eye on the waiver wire for any pickups that might upgrade me at TE. I also knew it would be important to find out what the pundits were saying about my under performers, b/c if I had trouble this early on it was going to be a long season.

Running through the Season

I am going to take the next few weeks to run through the season analyzing each line up, player pickups and trades. I made a lot of mistakes last season (and some good decisions as well) ,so it would be useful to go back and see how things played out each week.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A day without football...

Damn, the weekend sucked. The first weekend of the year without football has just concluded, and it sucked!!!!!! I know the super bowl is next weekend, so there is something to look forward to, but it always seems weird when the season ends and there is no more games to watch. it is bad enough when FF season ends, but at least then you have the playoffs. It is too bad they don't have a bowl for 3rd, and 4th place. They could do the weekend before the SB, so we can still get our fix before the big game. I mean, they got that stupid ass Pro-Bowl game which no one watches (just kidding, I totally watch it every year just to have one last piece of football until the summer) and where every player hardly even tries to play cuz they're so afraid of getting hurt (can't blame em really). Why not have a keep the season alive?

Shit, I hate weekends without sports. I had to do wifey things, and she is already planning for next weekend (just Saturday folks, cuz she knows SB Sunday is a wash). If it isn't so cold, I might have to make plans for yard work just to escape...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins of Fantasy Sports

I just came across this painting by Hieronymus Bosch called The Seven Deadly Sins... and thought it would make a great fantasy sports list of don'ts, so here it goes:

1. Luxuria -- Lust for the championship. It is one thing to want to win, and another to be willing to do anything for it. Lust can drive us to make stupid moves, whether it is dropping a under performing stud too early to colluding with another player for the win.

2. Gula -- Gluttony for points, points, and more points. While it is always important to get as many point as possible, you should never let your ravenousness hunger for points to over ride playing the last weekends flash in the pan for a proven stud who has had a bad week or two.

3. Avaritia -- Greed to acquire all those stud players. It is always important to have as many stud players as possible, but you can't let acquisitiveness take over every trade. Sometimes the price for a stud is more than the player is going to be worth. Never make a trade that will hurt your team, even if you get the greatest player in the game in the deal. Besides the biggest names aren't always the best Fantasy players.

4. Acedia -- Sloth speaks for itself. Nothing destroys a good draft more than a lazy manager. Even a bad draft can be over come by active management. Keep up on league news, player injuries, and random team information. You never know what might prove useful, even if it isn't about your players. You never know when you might be able to turn someone else's misery into a beneficial trade. Fantasy Sports require constant diligence, or your attention at least 20 to 30 minutes a day in order to be successful.

5. Ira -- Anger at poor player performances, the shear insanity of a trading partner, or just plain bad luck. Anger can make you make stupid mistakes, like benching or trading a stud; nixing a trade b/c you are tired of the other guys shenanigans; or giving up on your team b/c of a string of bad luck. When this shit happens, take a deep breath or step away from the computer for a few hours or even a day, then re-evaluate your next move. Never make a decision based in anger, as you will only come to regret it in the morning.

6. Invidia -- Envy of other team's stud players. Someone is always going to have a better player in some position than you do, so never let your covetousness go too far. While you want to own as many stud players as possible, remember that no one player can win the championship (unless his name is A-Rod last season in FB or Tom Brady in this years FF). Envy can drive us to make foolish one sided trades, giving up too much for the stud of the moment.

7. Superbia -- Pride in one's team is always good, but never take it too far. Every team has weaknesses (including yours), so you should always be looking for a way to make your team better through trades or waiver wire pick ups.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Here is a clip from a FFl Documentary

This is a short clip from documentary about fantasy football and those who play it. Man these things always make us look like dorks.

Here is a Great FF Song

Monday, January 21, 2008

Patriots vs. Giants: Who'd a thunk it?

With the league championship games complete, let's take a minute to think about the next Super Bowl. For one, the Pats are finally looking like a normal team. Brady, the poster boy of perfection earlier in the season, threw interceptions. INTERCEPTIONS!!! As a team, the Pats looked tired. Like they didn't really have it in them anymore. If the SB was next week, it would be a safe bet they might get beat. But they do have 2 weeks to relax. Let's hope they go to Mexico with Romo...

And then there is the Giants. Did anyone think this Manning would be playing in the SB? How in the world did that team make it to the Playoffs? Throughout most of the season, the entire team was lackluster at best. Eli Manning was unreliable. They couldn't win at home. Now, they look like the ultimate Away team. They seem to find a way to consistently beat teams in their home stadiums. What gives? Perhaps it is the stress of playing in NY. Eli is a quiet guy. Smart, and sorta shy. NY is a loud, frenetic, and crazy place. Perhaps he should have gone west when he had a chance, cuz it doesn't seem like he likes the attention he gets in NY. But on the road, where no one expects anything from him, he flourishes. That will be good for the Giants in the SB, since it is the ultimate away game.

But the questions about Eli remain: can he handle the pressure? Can he remain interception (and mistake) free? Etc. I can't imagine this will be possible. Of course, I didn't think they would even make into the playoffs let alone all the way to the final game.

Perhaps my luck (or lack there of) will remain true to form. I cannot imagine that the Patriots won't win the Super Bowl. Let's hope I am wrong again...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Does draft position matter?

Getting back to my original purpose with this blog, I wanted to look back at my draft in more detail. Many people think that draft position is crucial to FF success. I can honestly say that the first time I played, I was the last manager to draft. It was a horrible year. My team had position players, but none of them was very good. Like many newbies, I blamed everything on my draft position: dead last. I even changed the name of my team to Last Pick Sucks!!!! And the season played out as you would expect, I finished up in the middle of the pack and didn't make the playoffs.

But what I was overlooking at the time was the real reason my team did poorly. I didn't attend the draft (I was in fact out of the country) and let the computer pick for me--big mistake! I should've called the team Computer Picks Sucks!!!

In all honesty, I no longer think position in the draft matters as much as drafting well. In my league this past season, the top 4 General Managers at the end of the season came from all over the board in terms of position.

2007 League Standings



Draft Pick







Ron Mexico's Dogs




Nature's Metropolis




Belichick's hoodies




Dori's Destroyers




Real Men of Jesus








Hoboken Hippies








Gridiron Goons




Raffi's Rebels




Dead Rabbits



One crucial point to be taken from this example is that draft position doesn’t really matter, although it may appear to be better to pick at the end or middle of the group than at the top. But really I don’t think position does truly matter, as long as you draft wisely.

Another crucial factor seems to be moves. The top three teams had the most moves, which really just means those teams had the most active (and by default, attentive) owners. These guys took the time to pick the best players, they did their research and they went into the draft with a plan. As the season progressed, they replaced injured players with fresh guys and they kept track of who was hot. Clearly, they made moves whenever they could. Now, the team ranked #4 shouldn’t really be factored into the equation, because their success depended solely on having nearly every New England player of merit. If NE hadn’t done well this year, that team could just as easily been at the bottom of the ranks.

So for the next draft, don't worry as much about what position you get as much as who you pick.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Can the Bolts beat the Pats?

There has been a lot of talk this week about the games this weekend. Sometimes it has come from football analysts and journalists, a lot has come from the Chargers. I think the most telling piece this week came from Fox Sports journalist Adam Schein. Unlike others, who worried about the Charger injuries or dissected Charger trash talking or waxed poetic about all aspects of the Patriots, Schein brought up some key points about the Chargers chance against the Pats. Essentially it points down to one fact: the chargers have no chance to win if their defense doesn't show up for the gain.

When you look at the Chargers as a team on paper, they seem like they should be one of the most dominant teams in the NFL. Their offense is anchored to one of the best running backs in NFL history and a #1 picked QB who has no reason to be anything but stellar. They have some solid receivers and a sturdy O-Line. Yet anyone who has followed them this season knows that Charger offense is not why they have had success. Everything this team does comes from the success of the defense. The Charger defense is full of pro-bowlers or former pro-bowlers, and it has destroyed some of the best offenses in the league this year (esp. Payton Manning, who they stopped 4 times last weekend within 20 yards of a touchdown). They have stopped the run, broken up solid pass plans, and forced turnover after turnover.

As Shein pointed out so poignantly, the chargers have no chance if their defense does play stellar. If the Chargers defense doesn't continue its strong play, it really doesn't matter if Rivers of LT even play--the charger won't have a chance.

But do they have a chance? I think there is a possibility, but it is closing quickly. The reason I say that is partly due to injuries, cuz let's face it the Chargers will have to score to win. Yet my concern has to due with something entirely different. I think the Chargers will be hard pressed to win largely because they can't seem to keep their mouths shut. For a team who threw tantrums last year of trash talking and disrespect, the Chargers this year have shown themselves to be a group with very little class. Every day this week, there has been at least one sound bite of a Charger talking trash--and sadly most are coming from Rivers and LT.

Now I am not diametrically opposed to trash talking, as I know it can serve a purpose and I have even done it myself a time or two (BTW--Whose the Champ this year, Aaron?), but when you have a history of crying out about it, particularly in regards to your current opponent, then you should be wise enough to keep your mouth shut. Besides, do the chargers really want to piss the Pats off? They probably have little chance of winning this game as it is, so do they want to antagonize the Pats into completely destroying them? Probably not a good idea, but it also gets to another matter. Despite all of their talk of respect, integrity, and class, it is clear that too many of the stars on the chargers team just don't have any of those things. And this is a serious discrepancy, because those points of character are also the basis of heart and guts and determination--three things the Chargers are going to need a lot of if they are actually going beat the Pats this weekend. We will see how the game plays out...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Leave Romo Alone!"

I am sorry, I know everyone is harping on this, but I just can't let it go. I just find it fascinating that the most self absorbed player in professional sports is actively crying and coming forward in support of another player. It has to be the first time in T.O.'s life for him to realize that there is another person out there other than himself.....oh, and he feels his pain. Do you think the whole team cringed when they saw T.O. walking towards the press conference? I wonder what they think now?

Outside of Romo and T.O. love fest, the Cowboys have to take this loss squarely upon their own shoulders as a team. Sure there was flawed officiating, from a 3rd-down offsides call that led to the Giants’ first TD to a grounding call late in the 4th when Romo wasn’t under duress that pushed them back 10 and cost them a down. We all saw it, but it happens every game.

To win, you have to be able to go beyond those unexpected things and execute your game plan, which the Cowboys just didn't do. They screwed up three short field chances late in the game, even though they knew they needed a TD. The defense did its job, but the offense, I am not sure what they did in practice last week. Dropped balls, bad play calling and skillet-handed play from Patrick Crayton, several bad reads by Romo, these are the things that cost them the game. They are supposed to be one of the league’s most lethal offenses? These guys choked! They fell apart facing a patchwork Giants secondary. And don’t get me started on all the missed tackles, from the first drive to the last. These guys have no excuse. For the second time in two years, they won as a team all year, and they lost as a team in the playoffs. Boo Hoo!

And about the Cabo trip with Yoko Romo, all I can say is that these guys clearly did not take the Giants seriously. At the most critical time in the season, when it is win or go home, these guys were not focusing on football--they went of vacation. But you can't blame this on Romo and Jessica Simpson. Sadly, it wasn't just Romo. The whole team took extended time off?!? At the most important point in their season, they went to Disneyland. Isn't that supposed to wait until after the Super Bowl? Someone clearly got their dates mixed up. Some coach, some where, needs to be fired. Well, at least they all have plenty of time for vacations now. Enjoy the off season boys.

One last note: While everyone is making fun of T.O. (including me), we failed to recognize one key piece of information. For once in his outspoken career, after a very difficult and shocking loss, T.O. recognized that Romo was his quarterback rather than seem intent on dividing the team or pointing blame. That means he might actually be growing up in Dallas, and it suggests there’s always a possibility for the Cowboys next year.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Was that the right Manning?

Wow, were the games yesterday something or what? I knew there would be a Manning going to the next level, but I had no idea it would be Eli. I still don't understand what happened to the Cowboys. They had all there weapons ready and able, but just couldn't get it done. Of course, T.O came out in defense of Romo, but did anyone get the feeling his tear drenched defense of Romo was really meant to point blame at him? You know the saying, me thinks doth protest too much?

And the sunglasses! What was that all about? I didn't know dudes wore big ol girly glasses like that. My wife does, but I sure as hell wouldn't. Of course, I am no T.O. either. I guess the question now is can the Giants beat GB. I personally can't imagine it being possible, which probably means you should lay every bit a money you have on the Giants cuz I haven't picked many right so far.

That brings me to the Colts/Bolts game. What the fuck? I actually didn't see much of the game, so I can't comment on it completely. But how exactly did SD win? And where was this playoff Rivers during the season? I had him as my starter QB and he sucked so bad I dropped him part way through the season to pick up Matt Schaub, who turned out to be far more useful. Now, Rivers is amazing. He controls the game, he hits his receivers, he only throws 1 interception. Where was that guy when I needed him? But I know, they don't play for me just against me.

Now one has to wonder, Can San Diego beat the Patriots? Disregarding the injuries, can they win even if they are healthy? I have to say I am doubtful. SD has a spectacular defense, which is necessary to stop the Pats, but their offense--I just don't trust Rivers. It doesn't matter who else plays, everything starts and finishes with Rivers, and he is not reliable. The way he has telegraphed his passes this year, he can't help but throw picks. He can be so painfully obvious that I am surprised his receivers don't try to wave him off yelling, "dude, don't throw it, everyone knows its comin to me!"

And yet, with Rivers and the injuries, Indy couldn't get it done. Not that there would've been a repeat this year since the next game is in Foxboro...

BTW--In case you haven't noticed, I am totally out of the Fantasy Playoff Challenge. Don't really care, C'est la vie. Here's to another great weekend of playoffs, does anyone know when Fantasy Baseball season starts?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Playoffs so far

The play off games did not disappoint. In fact they were both great games for most of the contest. GB vs. Seattle game was insane. Watching those guys smash around in the snow made me want to go out and play. Although I thought they would win, I can't believe how dominant GB was during the game. Ryan Grant is solid and his reliability has really changed the GB game from pass to a more balanced form, which they will desperately need if they go further. GB also had incredible defensive play, but I am not sure how much longer that can last. It too, will be a necessity though.

What can be said about the NE v. JAX game. Elation, disappointment, acknowledgment to the apparent inevitableness of NE taking it all. Of all the teams in the playoffs, it felt like the Jags were the only one capable of beating NE. They have an incredible run game, plus a QB whose feet are as useful as his strong arm (Gerrard is starting to look like what everyone wished Michael Vick would be, an accurate running passer). But how do you maintain the perfect game of NE. They just don't seem to make mistakes. It must be daunting to their competition. The Jags played an incredible game, although they made a few mistakes. NE seemed to do nothing wrong.

The really appear to be unbeatable. To win against NE, not only does a team have to stop the NE offense machine and force them to make mistakes, but they cannot stop scoring on every possession and never make a mistake themselves. I never thought perfection in play was possible. I mean, we are human and people are prone to mistakes. But the Pats seem immune to that condition. It is sorta scary, and damned annoying cuz I am no fan of Belichick nor many of his boys.

It will be interesting to see who wins today. Indy seems a shoe in and may be the only team capable of beating NE left in the league. Despite the amazing talent of LT, there is no way SD can go much further. Philip Rivers played outside of himself last week, but that can't last long. Once he starts thinking again, the SD playoffs are over. The same goes for the Giants, it just doesn't seem believable that Eli can keep performing under the pressure much longer. Even if TO isn't much of a factor in this game, it seems like the Cowboys will do the impossible and end up beating the same team 3 times in one season.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My Draft Strategy for the Last Fantasy Football Season

There are zillions of draft strategies (which I won’t address here) that Fantasy sports enthusiasts adhere to and normally I am no different, but year I did something different from every year past for my football league. See last year in the fantasy baseball drafts I participated I used the Position Scarcity Strategy, focusing exclusively in the early rounds on drafting the best players possible in a selection of positions I thought would have a scarcity of talent. Once I filed the scarcity positions, I then filled out my roster with the best players available. It worked okay (I got a second place and a third place out of 4 leagues last year), but I noticed that my narrow approach caused be to overlook drafting some great players in the early rounds who I knew would do well but were not in the key positions. If I had grabbed them when they were available, it might have been the difference I needed to win.

With this experience fresh in my mind, I decided to modify the Position Scarcity Strategy somewhat for the Fantasy Football draft. I was still planning on grabbing certain types of players in specific rounds (as I always do with fantasy football), but I also wanted to be free to take quality players when they were available as well as potential sleepers.

With that in mind, here was my selection list:

RD: 1 RB
RD: 2 RB
RD: 3 WR
RD: 4 WR
RD: 5 QB
RD: 6 TE
RD: 8 RB
RD: 9 K
RD: 11 QB
RD: 11-15 Best available and possible Slee

With that as a guide, here are the guys I pick up in the draft. You can also see what my draft priorities were from the list on the left .

Running backs are generally the most important position in fantasy football. They have the potential to put the most fantasy points, and they are usually the first players off the board. With that in mind, I tried to build around two solid RBs.

Now most people go after a QB next (as I always did in the past), but I set upon this idea that WRs could be treated the same way as RBs. If you have two solid position men who get lots of looks each game, then you are almost guaranteed high points from week to week.

The reason I skipped getting a QB in the early rounds is that I have found them to be consistently unreliable. No matter how great a QB was, I have never been able to count on them helping my scores (in fact, they often seem more detrimental than useful). There are just too many factors against them. Because of that fact, I wanted to have a solid base of dependability: 2 RBs & 2 WRs. Since I took a QB in what I felt were the late rounds, I was pleasantly surprised to find Philip Rivers still available (although his season production now warranted it).

After the QB, I was really just filling starting positions on my roster with the next two picks, which was a real mistake. I completely undervalued the point production of the TE and DEF, when in fact they became a huge dependable part of my solid base as the season played itself out. With hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have taken a TE and DEF before the QB (keeping in mind I just don’t trust them and my top pick sucked). I picked up another RB solely for an concern with injuries. I took a chance grabbing a sleeper like Norwood only because I expected other players would pop up as the season progressed.

When filling out the roster, I really think grabbing a good Kicker is important, as they can be some of the most reliable point producers out there (6-12 most games), but I would not grab one over a much better position player. While there are a few truly great Ks in the business, the difference between the greats and the average joes is never more than a few points (1-3) per week. While you may wish you had those points, there are much better positions where they can be pick up. There is often no way to tell how much work a kicker will get until the season gets going.

Once my roster was complete, I started looking for back ups. It is always pay attention to bye weeks when drafting your backups. It doesn’t make much sense to draft a backup quarterback who has the same bye week as your starter, now does it? In terms of who I picked and where, I basically followed the best player available approach without concern for position as long as I got one of each: RB, WR, TE, QB. I also saw these filler picks as the place to take chances with sleepers—although none of my sleeper picks actually worked out as well as I hoped: Norwood, McMichael, Curry.

As to the actual players I picked up in each position, I tried my best to balance between picking the best player available in the round in question while also trying to pay attention to the teams a player will face come playoff time. Since the object was to win my league, not just make the playoffs, I wanted to gain an edge on my opponents when the fantasy playoffs rolled around. In knew drafting a key position player who faced a notoriously weak defense during the fantasy playoff weeks would give me a huge advantage come playoff time.

That all having been said, here is what my draft looked like. I felt like I followed my new strategy well and had the top team in the league after the draft was over. In the end, I am not so sure. There were teams which did much better than I did through the season, and some of the pick who I had total confidence turned into complete shit :Philip Rivers, Tod Heap, Nate Kaeding.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ending the Season Long Patriot Orgy

Did anyone notice the article TDZ: The Blueprint by Mike Tanier? This guy watched hours of the Patriots during Week 17 when the NFL Network broadcast a bunch of games back-to-back. From this Herculean effort, Tanier came away with a Blue print for beating Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and company.

He begins by listing a series of objectives for those opposing the Pats: Hold them to 20 or fewer points; Generate “hurries” or flush Brady from the pocket; Do not allow any long Moss touchdowns; Shut down the screen game. This is sound advice for any game, but is it possible against the Pats in the off season? So far this season, no matter what teams do, the Pats offense just improvises and then trounces them.

Next Tanier suggests an opposing team has to have certain goals: Bring pressure up the middle to keep Brady from stepping up, get the fastest players on the field; use aggressive blitz packages; Avoid 3 and short (good luck with this one); use defensive packages that eliminate the deep ball; Cover Moss at all times; Always expect a screen on the non-Moss side of the field. Again these are really no brainers, but I am still not sure they're possible. I look at the Patriots this season and really wonder if they are beatable. There have been moments they seemed vulnerable, but somehow they find a way to come back.

In all, I think Tanier offers some pretty sound arguments for his blueprint so you should really check out his article on ( The plan seems employable by teams like the Jaguars, Colts, Chargers, and Cowboys. But the real question is whether any team can put such a plan in motion. Unfortunately, I just can’t see the Pats juggernaut being stopped this off season since the next two games happen in Foxboro. I really like the Colts, but their record playing in the cold sucks and I can't imagine the Charges will make it beyond this weekend. If anyone can do it it might be the Jags (who did a number on the Steelers twice at home).

Note to anyone the Pats face in the playoffs, clearly any joker can draw up a bunch of plays in his office, but it doesn’t mean it will stop the Patriots from having an orgy in your end zone.

The Trouble with Remembering

Before I start dissecting my Fantasy Football league from this past season, I want to take a quick minute to address the nature of remembering things in the past. Memory can be a tricky thing. Sometimes we think we know exactly how an event unfolded, but it just isn’t always the case. Our minds play tricks on us, it focuses on details of importance only it can understand, and it overlooks things that should not be forgotten. I will do my best to get everything straight, to include the good with the bad, to see things from as many angles as possible, but I may at times get things wrong or forget them altogether. Memories can be a tricky thing.

I recently watch an interesting movie on this subject. It was called The Final Cut, and I am doubtful it even made it to the theaters. The premise of the flick was that sometime in the future it would be possible to implant a chip in your head which recorded your life through your eyes and ears. When you died, special technicians called cutters went through the footage and created a Remembrance of the life that just past. Well, in the story, the best cutter did the job because of the incredible amount of guilt he had from a memory in his past. Anyways, as he was creating a Remembrance, he found out the tragic event did not happen as he remember it. In fact, the event wasn’t nearly as tragic as his memory recorded it to be nor even his fault. So this defining event in his life, a moment which seemed to alter the course of everything that came afterwards, turned out to be a mistaken memory, twisted by guilt and fear and misgivings. Like I said, remembering can be a tricky thing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Putting Things in Perspective

Every once in a while you stumble upon something which forces you to reconsider your perspective on things. I just came upon a piece of news which did it for me.

Major Andrew Olmsted, a veteran Army officer and blogger, was killed yesterday in Iraq. Please understand I didn't know this guy, nor do I intend to comment on the war in Iraq.

That being said, I do want to point you to the moving, hilarious, heartbreaking essay he left to be published by a friend at his death. It is an absolute must read. When you finish, leave a comment in his memory at Obsidian Wings -- one of the many sites wrote for—and then do as he ordered. Try your best to live your life to the fullest each and every day.

Fantasy Playoff Challenge

My Team: The Oilers
Week: Wildcard • Divisional

Position Players Units

QB Manning, Peyton 71
RB Addai, Joseph 49
RB Barber, Marion 41
WR Wayne, Reggie 43
WR Harrison, Marvin 16
TE Clark, Dallas 27
K Vinatieri, Adam 25
DEF Colts 26

Total Team Units 298 out of 300

So far, here is my team with the Challenge. It really isn’t as fulfilling as the regular FFL. Too many uncertainties—feels more like a game of chance than one of skill to me. Like the difference between Craps and Black Jack or Poker. The points limit is also a bitch. It really is difficult to mix and match the best players with just 300 points, especially since guys like Brady and Moss are a bit over rated in my opinion.

Anyways, I picked these guys quickly because I think the Colts are a big sleeper. Everyone is talking about the invincibility of New England, but I think the Giants game proved they are beatable. Heck, even Indy had a chance to win earlier in the season despite how bad Peyton played. I picked up Barber because I really think Dallas has the NFC cinched if Owens comes into the game, although I can’t see them wining the super bowl—I hope I don’t regret saying this!?!

When I have more time, I plan tweak my team a little better, maybe getting a group of players that crosses both leagues better. The damn points make it difficult though.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why should I go Fantasy Cold Turkey?

So this may come as no surprise, but for a brief moment on Sunday night I thought seriously about joining a late fantasy league for hockey or basketball—god, I can’t even imagine what the hell that would be like.

But somehow I resisted the temptation. Then yesterday afternoon I saw the commercial for’s Playoff Fantasy. You know the one: guys crying and sobbing because the fantasy season is over while “you had a bad day" plays in the background. Great commercial—so true to life.

Well on a whim, I checked to see if it was still possible to register—And it is!!!! So if you don’t want to or can’t shut off the fantasy valve just yet, join as quickly as possible. Who knows, you might win a trip to Super Bowl XLIII. If you don’t know the rules, strategies, etc, check out Mark St. Amants article on Playoff Fantasy Football at Fifth Down. It is from last year, so the player names and playoff teams are a year out of date, but you knew that. also has a good article providing any needed details to get started. You can find it here.

Good luck, and revel in the fact that you found a way to keep the fantasy jones going for a few more weeks.

The hard reality of having to go Fantasy Cold Turkey

So there I was Sunday afternoon just before halftime of the early games, and for the second weekend in a row I hadn’t even looked at my computer. It was a scary fucking feeling. I felt like I was a ship bouncing aimlessly on the waves.

For 16 Sundays prior, my schedule has been this: I wake up, immediately log onto yahoo, and then spend the next 14 hours going back and forth between the live stats update for my league, whatever games happened to be on TV, Pre-Game shows, Post game shows, and the NFL channel’s live scoreboard (they rotates stats for each game—if you haven’t gotten this yet, you really should). Sunday after Sunday, fantasy football consumed my day. I wouldn’t leave the house. I wouldn’t even leave the room unless a commercial was going on. It drove my poor wife freakin’ crazy, but all I thought, cared, obsessed about was football.

Now? I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t even check in on the guys at Yahoo to see what predictions they can offer. I don’t worry about missing a key injury up-date or some last minute waiver pick up or how the weather will affect play.

For the first time in months, I spent a leisurely Sunday morning with the wife watching whatever crap she wanted (CBS Sunday Morning for those of you keeping tabs). I don’t even think I touched the TV remote until after game time. And all the while I was consumed by boredom. You would think I would’ve looked forward to a nice quiet day: I had nothing but free time to watch the games and enjoy the playoffs. But no, I am jittery, edgy, and aggravated. I feel like crack head who can’t get his fix.

How in the hell do you watch a game without judging every pass, run, score, injury, and field goal with a agitated fantasy eye? Case in point, did anyone notice that Ron Dayne scored two fucking touchdowns last week. I wanted to kick the damn TV in. His no-show in Indy nearly cost me the championship. Oh, and did anyone notice Marvin Harrison hit the turf this weekend. I forgot he still played for Indy. Did he miss the entire fantasy season? Or even better, did anyone notice last Sunday that Philip Rivers now seems capable of throwing both completed passes and touchdowns. Where the hell was that during the season? Thanks for fucking nothing!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Big Game

In my mind going into the final, the match up was not even. My opponent had the last pick in the draft, had been hit by numerous injuries which depleted his roster, and he had not picked up enough solid replacements from the waivers to beat me. As a result, I felt confident tweaking my roster to such an extent that I took on huge risks in the hopes I would embarrass my opponent by beating him with a super high score--this was a very stupid gesture that easily could've cost me the game.

Why did I do it? My opponent was the same jerk who always won our league, and he had been trash talking me the entire week. I wanted to make him pay, and could've lost doing it. But as they say, the ends justify the means, no?

I got lucky. I didn't lose. So screw it!!!

The Second Half

The second half of my season was less than perfect. I was solidly in second place, but did not think I could win. The reasons were two fold: 1) the manager in 1st place had Randy Moss and Tom Brady, as well as a NE player in every other position including DEF. 2) I was hit by injuries each and every week after the 7th. As a result, I lost four out of five games at one point in the last half of the season, and dropped to 3rd place (and got painfully close to 4th).

Now this admission may seem to suggest that I have no idea what I was doing, which may be the case to some extent, but as I kept having injury problems I began to notice something about the other teams in my league. They were all having the same trouble as me and suffered even worse from management failures (the latter destroys more teams than anything else, in my humble opinion).

There was one exception to the rule--the manager at the top of the league consistently dominated for no other reason than his team was made up almost entirely of Patriots (which honestly means his entire season was a fluke in my book, but that can be covered in another post). He rarely checked on his team and almost never made roster changes. Who could blame him really, he was just riding along on their stupendous season. But I think he already believed he had the league cinched, which gave me an idea. Three games into my losing second half, I realized I needed to position my team to play him in the playoffs. If I could do that, I thought I just might be able to surprise my lackadaisical friend. In case you are having trouble following my logic here, I will state it bluntly: I intentionally started to lose in order to play the best team in the league during the first round of the playoffs.

The reason for my madness. While I began to lose I also started stacking my team with players from teams who were fighting to get into the playoffs. That way, I would have hungry players while my opponent would have guys looking for a rest before the playoffs began. Sadly, my ploy failed.

While I kept losing, the fourth manager in the league did as well. Instead of a cakewalk against a team I figured would have no players for the last game (considering their season, I figured Belichick had to give his team a rest in the last game or at the very least they would not put up the same numbers as earlier in the season), I had to play against the #2 team in the league and unfortunately he had been stacking his team just like me. It was a tough match up. Luckily, I got some solid performances and advanced to the next round. Just as I expected, the #1 team fell to the #4 team (which really should've been me!?!).

Next: The Big Game

The Big Trade

While my team did well at the start, I recognized that I had a problem area. My TE sucked (Todd Heap) because he was always hurt. Even worse, my back up TE never played cuz his team sucked (St. Louis) and I could not find a consistent guy off the waivers. I knew I had to upgrade, but I couldn't find anyone to trade with. Luckily, the manager who had Dallas Clark had several injuries and under performers.

Thus, I was able to work out what I originally thought was a solid deal. I gave up Reggie Wayne (my #2 WR) and two waiver wire pickups, and got back Clark, Marvin Harrison, and Rudi Johnson. If the latter two had been having normal seasons, this trade would have been outrageously oneside toward me, but as luck would have it I never got to use either player. Harrison never played again and I finally dropped Johnson out of frustration just days before his biggest game. [NOTE: to anyone in my future leagues, pick up any guy I drop no matter how bad he might seem because he is likely to become a fantasy star in his next game.] That means the trade was really Wayne for Clark, which in the end probably means I lost in the deal. Wayne put up solid numbers for the rest of the season, while Clarke did not--although he was still better than any other TE I had or could find.

On to the second half...

The First Half

I honestly felt I drafted better than anyone else in our league. I may not have had every stud available, but I had solid players at the critical positions (RB, WR, QB) and believed I would be able to count on a solid number of points each week (from 75-100) from my team.

As the season started, my team performed exactly as I expected. I got consistent numbers each week, although bad luck struck me once or twice. Since I intentionally had a few players I had no interest in but hoped might be sleepers, I was able to pick up some better players off waiver wire when they popped up--ie. Patrick Creighton, Dante Stalworth, etc.

I was 5-2, and I was near the top of the league. Far more important, I was confident I would win the next few weeks. ..

End of the first half of the season.

How does one evaluate a fantasy season?

Well, I have been trying to figure out a way to evaluate my recent fantasy football season. Not to be an arrogant ass since I won, but because I really do not want to be a one hit wonder. If I can't figure out a way to repeat, then my league will just go back to having the same guy win over and over again. I mean really, if our league has to have a multi year winner, I would rather it be me than anyone else. Besides, the guy that used to win was an insufferable ass--constantly rubbing it in our faces that we all suck. It drove me nuts.

That being said, I still have the same problem. How did I win? I think the best way to figure that out would be to start at the very beginning and give a brief overview.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Here are some Great Fantasy Football Commercials

My yahoo profile

It is way to small to see, but if you break out a magnifying glass you can possibly see my fantasy profile on yahoo [of course, if you just click the image it will get bigger ;) ]. In all, I think I have done okay as a fantasy manager. I got a couple of second and third places in fantasy baseball. Oh, and one football championship baby!

Of course, I have to place all of the success for this seasons football team on one guy in the league. He has dominated since we started, and he is the biggest jerk of a winner--always rubbin it in. Of course, if he hadn't done that though, I really would not have cared enough to try to beat him (which I did), so I owe it all to you (and I know you know who you are), WANKER!!!

What do you do when the Fantasy Season ends...Start a blog

Well, I have found myself in the horrible position of having completed my fantasy football season and not really wanting it to be over. Partly, this is because I won the championship for my league and don't want the joy to end. But it is also because I am just not willing to let it go. I could join a league for another sport, like basketball or hockey, but I just don't care enough about these sports to bother.

Sadly though, football season is kaput and it will be a long wait until baseball season begins. To pass the time and also to try to figure out just how in the hell I actually did win the championship, I would like to analyze the past season to figure out what went right and wrong along the way. And believe me, there was a lot of good and bad this season.

I would love to think that someone will be able to read these posts and mimic my success in this past season, but frankly I am not positive how it happened, let alone sure how to explain it to others. Nevertheless, I will try to break it down as much for myself as for any readers who might pop in.

Thus begins our journey following the course of my championship season....

Oh and Aaron (the manager for Ron Mexico's Dogs in the UGA History Grads 2007 League), you sorry little wanker. Your reign of domination is over. Now, I am the Champion.