Friday, February 29, 2008

So, how are Fantasy Baseball teams formed? It’s all about the draft, Baby!

Now that we’ve discussed the basics concerning the types of leagues available for fantasy baseball, it is important to discuss how teams are selected. All leagues hold a draft before the season begins. Drafts are either live or auto-pick. The most common types of drafts are auction drafts and serpentine drafts.

In the auction draft, teams all receive a fictional (or maybe not fictional) amount of money in which to bid on players that are “auctioned.” Teams are not allowed to go over their assigned amount, and team mangers take turns nominating players for selection.

In a serpentine draft, a draft order is assigned (usually at random), and the last manager to choose his first player in the first round becomes the first manager to choose his second player in the second round and the draft proceeds back up the order.

There are advantages to both types of draft. An auction draft is more time-consuming, but owners tend to be able to acquire more of the players they really want because they can bid on them and there's more strategy involved on how to spend your money. A serpentine draft doesn't take nearly as long to compete, and it's a little easier to prepare since a player has an idea of which players might be drafted when, especially in the first couple of rounds of the draft. But the downside to a serpentine draft is that managers may not get every player they want.

In almost all leagues, each owner picks a team based in the players' real-life positions, with catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, third basemen, outfielders, starting pitchers and relief pitchers.

Many drafts are held in person and others are held online on one of many internet services. In serpentine drafts, it is common for players who cannot attend the draft to let the computer system auto-pick their team, but this is not recommended as the computer does not always recognize what you consider to be a good player when your drafting turn arrives.

There are also a few leagues where all teams in the league use the auto-draft mode, which gives everyone an equal opportunity to have the computer supply them with bad picks. But again, these types of leagues are not recommended. I will cover this in more detail in a later post.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What are the different types of Fantasy Baseball?

Anyone reading this realizes that the Internet and real-time information has opened fantasy baseball to virtually everyone. No longer is it a game of baseball fanatics and experts. The internet has also led to the creation of thousands of different formats, rules and styles.

Therefore, for those who have never played fantasy baseball and as a refresher for those who have, I am going to take some time to review a few of the basics of fantasy baseball in order to take a look at the many different ways to play. Some you may never have thought of before…

The first basic principle of FBB is that players (called managers or GMs) build a team and rack up points based on the players' real-life performances during the season. Everything centers on a GM’s ability to spot the players who will have strong statistical seasons, which can earn praise and a few dollars depending on the league. There are two basic formats: free, and pay leagues for prizes.

Leagues form in many fashions. You either get a group of friends and make your own league (a buddy league) or join a contest where you complete against others over the web. The easiest way to get started is to join a free online league. There are several providers out there, although I prefer Yahoo! Each provider offers various league types, and a myriad of rule configurations.

The two most common formats are rotisserie (roto) and head-to-head (H2H). Roto is the grandfather of most fantasy sports games. In it’s most basic configuration, it revolves around 10 basic countable statistics (Home Runs, Runs, RBIs, Steals, Batting Average, Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, WHIP [Walks + Hits/innings pitched], and ERA), and would be compared in teams drafted by would be “owners.” Points are awarded based on the number of “owners” playing and how their team ranked in that category. Thus, in a 10 team league whoever leads in a category gets 10 points, second best gets 9, third gets 8, and so on. This gives players a total score based upon the 10 categories and the number of players involved. In a theoretical 10 player league the maximum points could be 100 (10x10=80) and the minimum would be 10 (1x10=10). The game has a great pennant race type feel to it, where each days games can effect ones score in each category, and change the next days standings. The champion is whoever finishes at the top after the normal season of baseball.

The second league format for fantasy baseball is called Head to head (H2H). In a head to head league, each manager is matched up against another manager for a period of time (usually a week). This means that each teams’ statistics are matched against the oponent’s statistics for that period of time. For each category a team wins they are credited with a win, and for each statistic one loses they are credited with a loss. A tie is also possible. Scoring is registered in games won and lost, just like in MLB. Using this system a team develops a record. Standings are just like those found in any newspaper. In the most common variation of H2H, whoever is at the top at the end of the season wins the league. Another popular H2H variation depends on a 2 to 3 week playoff period involving the top teams in the league.

For either format, there are many variations. The standard category structure is often called a 5x5 (five offensive, and five defensive). But any category can be used. Some leagues play with as many as 30 categories, while others don’t use traditional categories at all. Some leagues only use positive categories (like home runs, steals, saves) which add points, some use negative categories (like errors, hit by pitches, and unearned runs)and subtract points.

Next time, we will look at the different draft types.

The plan til the season

For those of you who have played fantasy baseball before, I know what you really want to know is what is happening right now in baseball, but that isn’t what I intend to provide. In my opinion little happens during spring training that means anything (other than injuries). Sure, you could track every pitch and hit (or lack thereof), but it is such a strange subset of the games since the games are mostly about warming up and showcasing talent that nothing that happens in spring training that will necessarily translate into the main season. Besides, I can’t compete with the likes of ESPN and such, and won’t even bother. If that is what you want, there are several sites to check into. Instead, I want to spend some time looking at Fantasy Baseball as a game.

Thus since spring training isn’t of much interest to me, I am going to take the next few weeks to go over the basics: types of leagues, draft strategies, etc. Since my first draft this year is not until March 15, I plan to use the next few weeks as a chance for preparation.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Strolling through the Fantasy Past

Although there are many arguments over who discovered fantasy baseball, nearly every one aggress that the earliest forms of fantasy baseball was "tabletop baseball.” The best-known of these games was the Strat-o-Matic, whose 1963 game used customized baseball cards of Major League Baseball players with their stats from recent seasons. Participants either re-created previous seasons using the game rules and the statistics, or compose fantasy teams from the cards in order to play against each other.

As a kid in the 80s, I played a tabletop game called Pursue the Pennant which took the baseball board game to new (And supposedly realistic) level of play thru ball park effects, clutch hitting and pitching and various other nuances of the game. It wasn’t a bad game, but not really as fun as FBB in my opinion. Of course, it took about as much time to finish one game as a real baseball game. There are several other table top games out there, if you are interested in them check out:

The origins of Fantasy baseball in the incarnation that we would recognize today is highly disputed. According to Wikipedia, the Canadian-American writer Jack Kerouac played his own form of fantasy baseball starting quite young and continued developing and playing this perhaps private version of fantasy baseball during most of his life. Several other informal personal games also claim to be the first and stretch back as early as the 1950s.

Regardless of who was first, the development of Rotisserie League Baseball occurred in 1980 and was the creation of magazine writer/editor Daniel Okrent. The name coming from the New York City restaurant La Rotisserie Francaise where he and friends first met to play. Okrent's innovation was that "owners" in a Rotisserie league drafted teams from the list of active Major League Baseball players and would follow their statistics during the ongoing season to compile their scores. Thus rather than rely on past statistics, owners make predictions for players' playing time, health, and expected performance just like real baseball managers. Because Okrent was a journalists, other journalists were introduced to the game and it became a subject to write about during the 1981 baseball strike, which spread the phenomena.

Rotisserie league baseball proved to be hugely popular. Traditional statistics used in early leagues were often chosen because they were easy to compile from newspaper box scores. Scoring was done entirely by hand. Computers and the Internet revolutionized fantasy baseball. Scoring was now done by computer, which opened it to anyone on the world wide web and let leagues to develop their own scoring system, often based on less popular statistics. In this way, fantasy baseball has become a sort of real-time simulation of baseball, allowing fans to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how the real-world game works.

And that brings us up to today. Millions of people play fantasy baseball (although it has been surpassed in popularity by Fantasy Football). It is so popular that many companies block providers to keep their employees from playing. The situation is so bad that many experts suggest that millions of dollars are lost each week to employees wasting time with fantasy sports. Of course, the past time is so popular that several industries serve the commuting, making billions of dollars each year on other company’s waste. With so much money being won and lost, clearly Fantasy baseball is here to stay.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

time to shift gears

Now that I have traced the entirety of my fantasy football league from last season, I really want to put FFB on the back burner until the summer. Don t get me wrong, I will still cover information and stories of note (like the fact that Randy Moss did not get the franchise tag from the Patriots--what the hell are they thinking?), but it really is time to focus on Fantasy Baseball.

For the football purists who think FBB is not the same as FFB and a waste of time, I say fooey! Not only if FBB as good as FFB, but I think in some ways it is much harder. And here is why: 1) the season lasts much longer, seems like forever really. 2) while there are still a lot of sleepers in FBB, the number is much smaller and less certain than in FFB. Baseball players are so streaky, that there often seems like no certainty from one day to the next. 3) it really is all about the individual stats, so a crappy team isnt as limiting to a players accrual as it is in FFB. 4) It is a daily sport, which means you have to keep constant attention on your players and how they are doing. And in head to head leagues, you have to constantly tweak your roster every day of the week. I spend far more time on FBB than I ever do on FFB. 5) Baseball remains affordable. So I can actually go to the ballpark and see players from my team anytime I want. Here in Atlanta, cheap seats for the Braves are just $1-15, while you cant see the Falcons play for less than $50 and they suck.

Now that I have laid out the reasons I love to play FBB, I want to spend the remaining weeks before the start of the season looking at subjects ranging from the history of FBB to who you should draft. As before, I write this (or collect this) information as much for myself as I do for my audience. If you find something you like or are interested in, please drop me a comment. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my posts and wish you th ebest in your fantasy leagues (unless you are in one of my leagues, cuz then I hope you have a horrible year!).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Week 16—The Championship!

Here we are: the final game of the season. In my league, that means two teams with 8-6 records are playing for the title, having beat teams with much better records. Go figure.

In my mind, going into the final, the match up was far from even. My opponent had the last pick in the draft, he had been hit by numerous injuries over the course of the season which depleted his roster and he had not picked up enough solid replacements from the waivers to beat me. As a result, I felt way too confident. And over confidence almost always leads us to make foolish mistakes. In my case, my over confidence led me to pay more attention to my opponent’s trash talking than I ever should have done. My opponent was the same jerk who always won our league, and he started trash talking me before it was even guaranteed that we would be matched up in the final game. It continued for the entire week. If I had been smart, I would have ignored the guy. But instead, I wanted to make him pay. I wanted to beat him so badly that he would be embarrassed. And that foolish, emotional response almost cost me the Championship.

In response to my opponent’s trash talking, I began to actively seek out players who were on teams still looking to get into the playoffs, which led me to make some risky moves to tweak my roster to exact my opponent’s devastation.

Looking back at my line up in the final game, it is surprising I won. My opponent sent out his regular guys—the ones who got him to the final game in the first place. He was projected to get 68 points, which isn’t great, but higher than my 65. I, on the other hand, put together a roster which included a mixed group of solid players who helped get me to the playoffs and some guys who may or may not have big games this week. It was beyond risky—it was down right foolish. Fantasy Rule: Unless there is a valid reason not to play the guys who got you into the playoffs (like injury or a secured playoff berth), you always start your best players.

Through out the season, I had a solid group of players who consistently put up 70+ numbers from week to week. This was why I had a winning record, and made it into the playoffs. To abandon those guys for the final game was a major risk. So why did I do it? Partly it was a desire to destroy my trash talking opponent. But it was also due to what had happened this season. Most teams with play offs berths were sitting their best players, while teams still trying to make the playoffs were posting huge numbers. I knew I had to get 70 points to even be in contention, so I had to find players who would give me a chance. As a result, I dropped Harrison (despite rumors he would play this week) and I benched Housh, Crayton, and Williams because I didn’t think they would play much.

In the end, I had some successes and some failures with my final roster. Cutler got destroyed against SD (which turned out okay since I had them as my DEF). I picked up 2 guys from NO: Steckner was dominant and off set Patten’s low numbers. Addai and Clark did excellent, which is surprising since they were both on a team with a playoff spot and a couch who is notorious for benching stars in such a situation. My mistakes though revolve around not playing solid players, over guys who may or may not even play. Housh and Williams had solid games, while Gonzo barely played (a situation nearly every one by me expected). I really knew Housh would do well this week since they were playing the browns, but since he had done little in the last few weeks, I just didn’t trust him. Do I need to say how dumb this was? I also never should have played Dayne. There was talk that he was injured, although no one could tell how serious it was, this should have been a good indication to me not to play him since the Texans had no chance to make it into the play offs. This brings me to another Fantasy Rule: Don’t play a possibly injured player if his team has no reason to play (as in, no chance to get into the playoffs). Like Housh and the Benglas, Peterson and the Bears were playing their arch nemesis GB. I should have known this would be a good match up. The Bears would want revenge for the earlier loss this season, while GB could care less about this game and should be looking toward the playoffs. Peterson had 12 points, Dayne 0. Lesson learned.

Despite my mistakes this week, I won the Championship. It is my first for football, and all the more satisfying since I beat the guy who dominated our league since its creation. It is also nice to take a team, which has just a 8-6 record, into the winner’s circle. Especially when there were two teams with 10+ wins in the playoffs. Having now gone back through each week, I think I have learned a great deal. Now, I just have to wait until next year to put them into practice, and of course, defend my title.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Week 15—It’s Playoff time Baby!

No matter what people can say to the contrary, there is nothing better than making it into the playoffs—even if you expect to make an early exit like I did. Due to last week’s performance, I really had no expectations this week. I scoured the waivers, listened to the experts, and sent out my best line up. In the end, I ran out a solidly projected team: 79 points. Of course, it wasn’t going to be enough to beat my opponent’s 84 projected points.

But even though I expected to lose this week, I figured after a lot of re-considering that I had done well this year and had a lot to be happy about. I put together a solid team which consistently accrued 75 points or more. I had a winning record, and I made it into the play offs. It may not be a championship, but things could have been worse. For the first season where I actively tried to win, keeping regular tabs on my team, the league, and football in general, making it into the top 4 for my league isn’t too bad. Heck, there were far more dedicated managers out there who do much worse. Not just in my league, but in the fantasy world at large.

Enough already with the waxing philosophical, let’s take a look at the match up. Against all odds and common sense, I FUCKING WON THE FIRST WEEK OF THE PLAY OFFS. Some how, some way, the fantasy gods allowed me to beat the best team in my league. A team which hadn’t scored less than 70 point all season, stumbled and faltered, barely accruing 64.

My team did precisely as it had done all season long, racking up a solid 70+ total. Some players did better than others, without any sense of why or how. Housh, for the third strait week, did nothing. Clark and Clayton didn’t show up. Portis and Addai flip flopped, but still contributed. Gonzo came out of no where and had an awesome week, as did SD at defense. Cutler actually played well, just failing short of predictions. What more could I ask for?

The real reason I won is that my opponent had a bad week. Players who had consistently racked up solid points, just didn’t this week. In reality, this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise as my opponent had a half his players from teams guaranteed to make the playoffs. As always happens this time of year, the teams who made it into the playoffs didn’t play their best guys much this week. I suffered the same problem with Clark, Crayton, and Addai. The difference was that I had fewer guys in this situation than he did. Luck, it seems, was on my side.

Looking at my roster, there are two lessons to be learn from what I should have done differently.

1) Always play your RBs. Addai and Portis were solid plays, since Washington was trying to get into the playoffs and the Colts would want Addai to get at least one touch down before then benched him. But I knew Dayne would have a big week (and at least assumed Peterson would do well enough). Yet I still didn’t play an RB—picking a WR instead. This was a stupid move. No player on the field has a better chance of making big fantasy points than the RB, which is why it is so important to draft at least 2 solid guys and why all first round drafts are RBs.

2) In the last weeks of the season, it is usually better to play guys on teams still looking to make it into the playoffs, than those on teams already guaranteed a play off position. Every year, NFL teams who have a play off spot, sit their best players in the final weeks of the regular season in the hopes they can avoid injuries. This might be good for real football, but it is a fantasy nightmare and the best reason to constantly look for waiver players on teams seeking a play of spot. In my case, I played Crayton over Williams or MacDonald, even though I knew JAC were trying to secure a play off berth and DET wanted to complete a winning season, while it didn’t matter whether Dallas won or not this week.

A similar argument could be made for Housh, although I contend that his situation was different. The Bengals couldn’t make it into the playoffs, but they still had reasons to play hard. Besides, Housh is just too good to ever bench in my opinion.

Regardless of my mistakes, I won the week. Now, on to the championship.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Week 14

Although I already had a slot in the playoffs and couldn’t really shift up or down in this last week of the regular season, the match up this week was probably the most important one of the season. In week 14 I was matched up against the manager I would meet in the first week in the playoffs. What happens this week could easily predict what would happen in the next. So while a win or loss had no intrinsic value, I was looking at this week’s performance as a basis for my playoff chances.

With so much riding on this week, I spent extraordinary amounts of time tracking down performance predictions, expert reports, and scouring the waivers for the next big star. With that in mind, my line up was supposed to reflect the best players in the week. I was projected to get 75 points to my opponents 74—a situation which left me elated for my prospects in the playoffs. I really thought I had a chance to make it through the first round, even though I was playing against what I thought was the best team in our league in terms of putting up consistent numbers.

But then the games started to play and reality set in. My top roster performed as well as I could expect, besting the projections by 5 points for an 80, which is normally a guaranteed win in our league. Sure, there were guys who didn’t do stellar, well actually more than half my team, but we still did well…right?

Okay, let’s face it; I am completely full of shit. If I hadn’t had two guys with awesome numbers this week, I probably wouldn’t have even accrued 60 points. That is ridiculous. How in the world did I make it into the playoffs. My team sucks. How in the world can I possibly win in the playoffs. I can’t count on these guys for anything. I won’t even bother to wax on about luck or bad selections or poor play or the weather or whatever. This teams sucks, and I am certain to be out of contention after the first game of the playoffs. Loserville, here I come.

Looking at my roster, there is little I could do differently. Crayton was supposed to have a big week. Romo talked about what I great asset he was. The experts noted him as a big producer. It just didn’t happen. Gonzo, on the other hand, was supposed to be hurt and was a last minute play. So who would have thought he would do so well. I am just glad I played Addai at the last minute over Dayne. Addai was supposed to be benched since the Colts made the playoffs and there was concern he would be hurt. Also, who could predict Housh or Clark? Both are go to men in their respective offenses, yet they both were passed over this week. Of course, the Bengals just sucked this week anyways. It is hard to believe that a team with so much talent can consistently suck as bed as they do, year in and year out.

Still, I wasn’t looking forward to the next week. No one on my roster was playing well enough to beat a team who could regularly put up 90+ points. It’s been a good year, but it definitely looked like my miraculous season was just about to be over. There would be no titles for me…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Week 13

I went into this week with every expectation of losing. It wasn’t just my new strategy. I was matched against the number 1 team in my league. He consistently raked up super high scores, while I had been struggling for the past 3 weeks. I solidly believed I was going to lose this week regardless of how hard I had tried to win. Of course, things never seem to work how I expect them to go.

I had so many problems with my line up in the past few weeks due to poor play, injuries, etc., that my line up this week was surprisingly recognizable. I still had Housh, Addai, Clark, Folk, Portis, and SD. But in my weak positions (WR & RB), I made three pickups from the waiver: Cutler, Gonzalez and Peterson. According to the experts and common sense, these three guys should have good weeks. Cutler had been playing well all year, albeit slightly erratic, he was putting up solid numbers on a regular basis. Gonzalez was the replacement for Harrison, and according to Peyton Manning he was beyond comfortable with Gonzo—he was his second go to man. Peterson was the current starter for Chicago (who had no options this year beyond running) against the Giants (who seemed incapable of stopping the run). With these three guys and my reliable players, I hoped to put up solid numbers this week (although I doubted it would be enough to beat the spectacular numbers the NE team would get).

As usual, nothing works as I would expect. To begin with, the previously solid Cutler had a miserable week—throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball against Oakland (will this team ever stop screwing me?) Housh all but disappeared from the Cincinatti offense, with most of his catches going to Chad Johnson this week. Manning’s go to guy, Gonzo, caught 1 pass and got hurt. Addai barely rushed for 67 yards. Clearly, I was going to be lucky if I could accrue even a fair number of points this week. Loserville, here I come.

But surprisingly, all was not lost. Peterson and Portis both had a pretty good day, while Folk and Clark had amazing days. Clark caught 2 TDs for 15 points, while Folk racked up 15 points (who in the world would expect their K to be one of the highest points men on a team—this is insane!?!) The best points came from SD, who simply destroyed the KC offense racking up 20 points. When the dust settled, I some how had 74 points. And my opponent? Well he decided to mix his team up somewhat and play several non-NE players, which turned into a disaster. He barely accrued 49 pts. The fantasy gods clearly were with me in terms of winning.

Looking at my roster, it is obvious that I just had no idea how players were going to play from one week to the next. Several players I benched turn out amazing performances. Sadly, I past over them this week because I doubted their ability to perform, and then look what they did. Amazing, isn’t it?

This brings me to a very important problem in fantasy sports: Luck and predicating Player performance. You see, at the end of the day, there really is no way to tell how a game will go or how a player will do from week to week. It isn't just that I suck at picking who to play or not from one week to the next (although clearly this is starting to be a major concern) so far into the season. There are just too many factors involved to accurately predict every outcome, which means that luck inserts itself as a big factor in success. And the trouble with luck is that you cannot control it. It can be with you or against you. And it isn’t a quantifiable factor. There is simply no accounting for it in the final outcome. Even chaos theory doesn’t accurately measure it. In the end, you can only watch and see what happens.

Of course, what am I complaining about? I may not have implemented my brilliant strategy and positioned myself properly in the playoffs, but I did just advance to a 8-5 record and scored a guaranteed spot in the playoffs since I held onto the 3rd place overall in the league with just one game left in the regular season. I may not have a good position, but I still had a shot at the title (however, slim it may be).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week 12

This week I began to realize that not wining wasn’t so bad. With last weeks lost, I was no longer number 2 in the league. Having dropped to 3, I began to look seriously at the teams I might face in the playoffs and a strategy started to form. If I remained at the number 2 or 3 spot, I would go up against the team in either 2 or 3, which meant I would have to face a team in the playoffs that was starting to look to me like the best team in the league. This guy was consistently averaging 80-90 points, which I just couldn’t see my team being able to match. So what could I do?

I realized that if I dropped to the fourth spot, I would be matched up in the play offs against the all NE team, which had begun to struggle racking up points as NE struggled with the perfect season. While the Patriots still won, they just didn’t have the momentum to do it so spectacularly anymore, which was hurting the all NE teams point accrual. In fact, he was barely averaging 60-70 points each week and had begun to lose his match ups. Still, he couldn’t lose enough games to not remain in first place. No one in the league was even close to him. Such being the case, it was sorta in my own interest to lose enough games in the up coming weeks so that I would be the fourth place team. Of course, what I was thinking about doing was seriously risky. I could just as easily lose myself right out of the play offs. And worse, especially with so many discussions of cheating going on in professional sports, was what I was thinking about doing ethical? I mean, should I really throw games?

In terms of this week’s match up, I decided at the last minute not to practice my new strategy. I hate to lose, and couldn’t bring myself to actually do it intentionally. So I set my line up at the best projected numbers I could muster. I picked up Ron Dayne at RB, dropping Rudi Johnson. In this end, this move proved premature. Dayne was supposed to have a big week, but didn’t play much do to injury; while Johnson had his only good game of the year. The same thing would happen to me next week with Rivers. I dropped him late Sunday night when Jay Cutler hit the waiver wire, only to see him put up his best numbers of the season in the last few weeks. Clearly, people in my league should immediately pick up any player I drop as they should reward them solidly.

While I was projected to get 82 points, such would not be the case this week. In fact, I wouldn’t even get 60 points. Five of my spots gave me little to no points this week: including Housh, Portis, and my kicker Graham. The always reliable SD also underplayed this week. The only bright spots came from Schaub, Addai, and Clark. Otherwise, it looked like my plan to lose future games went into practice without my consent, as for the second strait week in a row I was a loser. I am now 7-5, and it really doesn’t look like I have any options to change this slide into oblivion. Strangely, I am still 3rd in the standings, since the 4th place team lost as well.

Looking at my line up, there really wasn’t anything I could do differently. Morris had a slow week, getting only 4+ points, and my platoon of WR just plain sucked. Harrison was still on the bench. I was simply at a loss what to do about my team. Then I checked my stats about 4:30 and saw something I could not believe. Jay Cutler had been cut from a team in my league. I immediately exchanged my worst QB for Cutler, yes Rivers I am talking about you (ya loser). As I already stated, Rivers would pay me back by having a spectacular end to the season. I also decided to cut Rudi Johnson this week to pick up Henry, who had an awesome week prior to this and I though could help me this week—which you can see did not come to fruition. And yes, this is the week Johnson then had a big game—his only one of the season I think.

With another loss under my belt, I really thought I had no chance to win the playoffs. I was even uncertain if I could make the playoffs, in fact. At my lowest point in the season, my new strategy seemed like a no brainer. I would intentionally put it into affect next week. I swear.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Week 11

With my dominant start, I have to say I was really shocked to be going into week 11 with a 7-3 record. It isn’t that a wining record is bad, but how I lost my three games. One went to the best team in the league; you know the one with nothing but NE players. Then I lost to the reigning Champ, a win which seemed to be the turning point in his season since he hadn’t lost a game since then and was trash talking to everyone in the league on a daily basis. But this last loss went to the worst tea in the league—a team whose owner wasn’t even paying attention to his team, and actually had people on his roster that weren’t even eligible to play. I really was stating to think I might have reached the high point of my season, because if you can’t beat the worst guy in the league then how can I possibly take the championship.

Consumed by disappointment and aggravation, I really believed that I had to turn things around this week if I was going to reach the play offs. As a result, I scoured the waiver wires and listened to every report available from the so called experts. I was committed to success—there would be no more losses in my future.

I picked up several star WRs off the waivers this week, and analyzed every match up for the best player possible. It would be Stallworth next to Housh. Nothing could stop these two. The Pats were on a roll now, and nearly everyone on the team was getting TDs. I was worried about Portis against Dallas, but decided to trust him. He was doing well each week, regardless of the predictions and expert counsel who discounted him. I threw Morris on as well, knowing he would do well again with Alexander out for a second week. I still had a problem with Clark, who may not play much this week, but I figured my other players could make up any difference. As I set my final roster, I could not imagine I would lose this week. I had a 20 point projected margin over my opponent.

Since this week was so important to me, I decided to watch every game possible this weekend. Although this always drives my wife crazy, especially on a nice day, I parked my ass on the couch at 12:30 and didn’t move until nearly 10:30 that night, except of course to get food, drinks, or to relieve myself. Days like this irritate the hell out of her. She just can’t understand why I would spend so much time doing nothing. While I watched games, she cleaned the house, went shopping, got groceries, took the dog for a walk, and went to a movie. Every time she came home and saw me still in the same position on the couch as when she left, she grew more and more irritated with me. Nothing can be worse in life than to be a fantasy widow. Although I try to make it up to her during the off seasons, I know I am lucky she puts up with this shit. I doubt I would, if the roles were reversed, to be honest.

Nothing I did this week seemed to pan out as I wanted. Perhaps, my wife cursed me for my sluggishness and pathetic addiction. Can’t really blame her. Anyways, my team had ups and downs. Schaub returned to play with a huge weekend (19+ points), Addai returned for a solid 11pts, Housh got his normal TD/100 yards, and Morris had a great week—87yrds rushing, TD, 19 receiving; all totaling 51 points. What more could I want? Well, the rest of my team contributing would have been nice. But that isn’t what happened. My remaining 5 spots racked up a total of 13 points. THIRTEEN FREAKIN’ POINTS?????

I don’t even know where to begin. Of course, Clark was bad (and hurt). Stallworth had to be the only player on NE to not score a TD in their 56-10 destruction of BUF. Portis was hammered by Dallas, Folk got half of his projected points, and SD scored no points whatsoever in their loss to JAC. Clearly, the fantasy gods were testing me since two bench WR scored more points between them than my five losers. Damn, I hate this game sometimes. And yes, I end this week 7-4.My great effort to stop my fall from grace had clearly failed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pitchers & catchers finally reported!

Ah, Spring Training has begun. The smell the cut grass, the feel of a broken in glove, and crisp look of pressed uniforms. Man, what wonderful time of year. I love everything about the start of Baseball season, when the dust gets shaken off the uniforms and gloves, the bats get a final sanding down, and the trucks start heading south. God, I really LOVE this time of year.

And do you know what else it means, Opening Day is just a couple months away. That means there is a new chance to try and win it all. All the crap from last year. The bad drafts, the knuckle headed moves, the trades, the poor player performances, the smack talk, and the injuries have all been washed away by off-season. Everything before is just a fading memory.

Now is almost almost time to suit up once again as a manager and make something happen. Man, I can't wait to get started.

Week 10

Week 10, like every week before it, revolved around my need for a solid QB. I tried to work out a trade; I scoured the waiver wires; Heck, I even started holding evening prayers just in the hopes someone was listening. And were my prayers answered? You tell me: my best option this week at QB was J.P. Losman. Yeah, things were not looking good for me this week. Although I was matched against a team that had only one 2 games so far, I was pretty sure I was going to lose this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had my solid players like Housh, Addai, Portis, and Folk, but they only covered four spots out of nine. And in four of the five spots not filled by reliable players, I had Losman, Patten, Heap, and KC for DEF. I actually decided to play KC over SD at DEF, because I could not imagine SD stopping the Colts—of course, I was wrong. My only saving grace this week is that I was able to pick up Maurice Morris from waivers. With Alexander out this week, Morris was a shoe in to make solid points since the Seahawks are so run happy. So in reality, I thought I had 5 solid players out of nine, which should be enough to win against the last place team in the league, no?

What I didn’t count on was any of my reliable players having a bad day? It would only take one to cause me troubles. But who would have thought that Housh and Addai would barely get 5 point between them. Morris, my recent waiver wire acquisition, was my highest scoring player at 9 points. Portis did well, as did Folk, but KC added very little. In all, I was lucky to accrue 45 points.

Sadly, the worst team in the league beat me bad this week, 74-45. I really was starting to think my best season to date was turning sour before my eyes. I honestly had no idea how I could fix so many glaring problems. It wasn’t just a QB now. Addai was hurt and would be out a couple of weeks, Clark was injured and there was no clue when he would return, Heap was useless as a back up to Clark, I still had no WR to replace the traded Wayne, and the only consistency Rivers could maintain was negative scores.

My great start was going down the drain. I went into the week as the number 2 team in the league, and ended the week wondering how I could even garner a playoff spot unless something good started to happen. How in the world had this just happened? But that is fantasy sports, my friends. One day you can be on top, and the next you can fall to the bottom of the pack. Ain’t life a bitch?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Week 9

I went into week 9 with mixed feelings. I had a winning record, 6-2; but I felt that I had problems with my roster. Between injuries and poor play, I just was not as consistent as I had been at the start of the season. My biggest problem was at QB (which would remain a problem all season) and now at WR (which had emerged since I traded Wayne). I wouldn’t have been too worried with the WR issue, which essentially was just that I could not find a solid reliable replacement for Wayne if Clark had been playing as well as I expected to do, but he hadn’t done squat for me since coming to my team. My big trade was starting to feel like a bust.

Now let’s examine my line up. I was projected to make 79 points, which was more than 10 points beyond my opponent’s projection. But reality is not so easily projected, is it? Let’s start with Rivers, who basically sucked yet again (in fact, this was the last time I played him this season with any hope of getting more than a few points). 1.14 points? Doesn’t a QB get that just for stepping on the field? Then there is Stallworth, who all the experts said was certain to get 2-3 touch downs and whom Tom Brady even suggested during the week was the best running receiver on the team. He accrued a whole 2.3 points. Oh, and Dallas Clark: 0.95. I think that really was just for stepping on the field.

Looking back, I think I was really lucky this week. Three players in my lineup did virtually nothing for my team. My team won because my two RBs had exceptional weeks, grossing enough points to cover my three unproductive players. Everyone else on my team provided normal points, but that is where the problem is. If you cannot depend on getting a certain number of points from your players, if they are not consistent, then your success depends entirely on luck, which is never a plan for victory. Now don’t get me wrong, every benefits from luck (that tenuous and uncertain thing that it is), but it can’t be an expected or planed part of your management strategy. If you depend on luck to win, you can only fail.

Looking at my roster outside of the match up lineup, there were definitely some things I could have done better. I knew I couldn’t count on Rivers, and Schaub was hurt, so I picked up Losman as a replacement QB (yeah, I said it; I was counting on J.P. Losman). All of the experts said Losman would do well, and since he was playing against Cincinnati it was self-evident he would do well—yet, I didn’t play him and chose to play Mr. Inconsistency, Philip Rivers, instead. Dumb move.

I also had a problem with my bench. I had two players, Harrison and Johnson, who were doing absolutely nothing beyond taking up space on my roster. I really should have tried to trade them as a package deal for a solid player. Clearly no one would give me a useful one for one deal for either of these guys, but I should have been able to acquire something useful from the package. It would have been a smart move on my part, and may have acquired the QB I so desperately needed, but instead I chose to hold onto them both with the hopes that one would start playing well soon—something that never materialized.

Despite my many shortcomings, I won again (by the smallest of margins), and now my team was a solid 7-2. A pretty good start to a season if you ask me. Actually the best start to a season I have ever had in this league, to be honest.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Week 7

I went into Week 7 with a mission: I would have a better QB or TE before my next match up. I knew from my previous attempts to trade for TEs that the owner of Dallas Clark was willing to trade him. Just in case, I picked up Desmond Clark from the waiver wire to cover myself. Strangely, Desmond Clark would be the pivotal player in the trade. I wanted to give up as many of my recent waiver pickups as possible to acquire Clark, whose owner was in sad need in several positions due to injuries. Fantasy Football Hint: Always keep an eye on the roster of everyone in your league, because you never know when someone else’s bad luck might prove a boon for you. While my trading opponent wanted my best RB & WR for Clark, I was able to work it down to just Wayne for Clark. I didn’t think this was an even trade and said I would not make a trade without requiring something extra added to the pot. Expecting to have the negotiations fall apart, I made a ludicrous offer: My opponent would give up Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, & Rudi Johnson for Reggie Wayne, Dyshawn Wynn, & Desmond Clark. To my surprise, my trade partner accepted a trade offer I had just made in jest.

I always think it is hard to analyze a trade at the time it is made, but at the same time I don’t hindsight is not necessarily useful either. At the time, I thought I got one of the best TEs (Dallas Clark) in the league, one of the best receivers (Harrison) in the league who was just having a slow start, and a solid RB (Johnson) who also was having a slow start due to injuries. Johnson and Harrison were the first 2 picks for my trade partner, while Wayne was my 4th. While I gave up Wayne, a solid performer, I still had Housh and a number of solid WRs waiver pickups who could cover Wayne. Otherwise, I gave up two useless waiver pickups (Wynn & Desmond Clark) that had good weeks recently, but little guarantee of future success. Desperation can make us do stupid things, and I think that played a big part in my trade partners decision. Wynn had only one good week, before getting a season ending injury, and Desmond Clark never materialized as a solid TE (which is exactly why I didn’t want to rely on him).

Of course, when looking back at the trade. It is harder to judge it favorably for me. WayneClark did as well as can be expected from a TE, but an injury left me scrambling for a back up a few weeks later. Rudi Johnson only had one good game for me, before I dropped him in disgust. And what can be said about Harrison, except that he never played for my team. In the end, the trade I didn’t want to make, is exactly what I made: Dallas Clark for Reggie Wayne. performed well until the end of the season, while I struggled to find a reliable replacement.

All that being said, I was really excited by my match up. Although my opponent had a much better QB than I did, we were matchup pretty evenly at WR and TE, while I had much better RBs, K, and DEF (or so I thought). I really thought I could come out on top once again, if I could just solve my problem at QB. I tried trades to no avail, and then scoured the waiver wire but still couldn’t find a solid guy. The biggest problem is that nearly every team in my league had 3+ guys (I guess expecting injuries), while I had 2 or really just 1 since Rivers sucked so bad.

With rivers on a bye, I really had no choice but to play Schaub. I really like him, having watched him play as Vick’s back up for the past few years, so I was hopeful he would have a solid game against Tennessee. I felt Housh and Crayton would do well, had confidence in Portis & Addai, loved Clark and the rest. SD was on a bye, so my DEF was KC who I picked up due to experts at Yahoo—although I felt confident with their predictions that KC would destroy Oakland. Yahoo predicted my numbers at 81 compared to just 69 for my opponent, so I really had no concerns this week, which turned out to be a big mistake. Schaub had a miserable game, Crayton actually lost me points, and Addai got hurt. Even Housh scored less than 9 points. Luck can be a fickle thing.
Looking at my roster, there really is nothing I could have done differently. Stalworth did well at W/R, but I never would have played him before Crayton even if I knew he was going to get hurt that week. Norwood and the Falcons were in the midst of their coach departure, so I knew he would not be of any value, and my two veteran pick ups: Harrison played a little and Johnson not at all. I could have tweaked here and there if I knew exactly how the scores would have fallen, but I could never predict what happened. And here’s another important Fantasy Tip: Sometimes luck just doesn’t fall your way. When it is on your side, enjoy it while it lasts because it could easily be gone tomorrow. At the end of this week, I was starting to worry my trade may not have been as great as I thought. I wasn’t second guessing myself just yet, but a cornel of uncertainty was beginning to form. If only Harrison and Johnson could have a miraculous healing like T.O., my problem would be solved. Of course, that would require a great deal of luck…Week 7 ends at 5-2.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week 6

Although I went into week six with a record of 4-1, I was really concerned about certain areas of my roster. Due to injury and lackluster performance, there were holes that needed to be filled. I tried desperately to work out a trade which would take care of my problem at QB. I just didn’t trust Rivers (and as time would tell, I shouldn’t have) and I didn’t want to depend on a guy I picked up solely for the bye week as my full time starter (even though Schaub proved reliable when not hurt). Unfortunately, every one wanted the more than their players were worth—especially when they had 3-4 QBs, which is simply wasted bench spots in my book. I understand having a number of RBs and even WRs, but not QBs. I hadn’t had a solid QB so far this season, and it wasn’t stopping me. You can’t say the same thing about RBs and WRs—they make up the largest numbers category on the roster, so you have to pick up as many starters and backups as you can carry, just in case.

Speaking of solid pick ups, I had an excellent week with the waiver wire. I picked up Wynn and Wright on the recommendation of the experts at Yahoo and was more than happy with there performance. It went beyond their numbers, because with 2 more solid RBs in my stable, I knew I would have a much better chance for a trade. And with Todd Heap’s continued useless play and injury based bench performances, I had to find a new TE. I decided to target the top 5 TEs in the league, felling confident that I had enough solid players that I could swing one of them. I didn’t get any bites at first, but the owner of Dallas Clark seemed interested in working a trade. If not this week, perhaps sometime soon.

While I was able to put up another week of solid numbers (75 points in almost all you ever need in our league to win from one week to the next, unless you play the all Pats team of course), I think I made some mistakes with my roster this week. To start, I played Rivers even though I knew he was going to have a tough time against Oakla--------say what? How did Rivers do so pathetically bad this week? Not to take anything away from Oakland, but it isn’t like he played a team people thought was going to be good. What gives with this guy? The only time he does well is when he sits on my bench. I swear, he has to go. Some one in my league has to be willing to trade off one of their QBs, right? Of course, I know Schaub didn’t do much better than Rivers, but the difference was I didn’t expect him to do better. Rivers is supposed to be a superstar, a first tier QB.

Another mistake I made this week was with Portis and Norwood. I knew that Portis was going to struggle against Green Bay. All of the experts said it would be a hard day. Heck, even Bobo the monkey knew better than to play him. Yet, I started him. Worst part of it all, I had a gut feeling Norwood was going to break out this week. It was the reason I drafted him in the first place. The guy is a running monster. He is seriously fast and cuts through DEFs like a knife. The Giants were not doing well so far this year when it came to stopping RBs. This was Norwood’s day, and I listened to the experts and second guessed myself. Not the first or last mistake I would make of this kind this year, but this one hurt because I really believed in Norwood and then turned my back on him the day he finally had a chance to go big. Not to worry, Norwood broke out for 15 point, 87 yards rushing, 51 yards receiving, and 87 return yards. It was like his best game all season, and he did it during Addai’s bye week. The same week I picked him up to fill. Damn, that sucks.

Despite my problems at TE and QB as well as my numerous misjudgments, I somehow one the week, pushing my record to 5-1. This was the best start I have ever had in Fantasy Football. For my money, it doesn’t get any better than this. I had a wining record and I beat the trash talking Champ. But it was not over yet. I had definitely holes to fill, so it was time to start seriously working on a trade. At the very least, I had to get a new TE. If I was really lucky, I would also add a new starting QB to replace Rivers. Heck, if I was lucky, I might even be able to dump him on some unsuspecting sap for a more useful player.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Recent Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft

I am going to interrupt my examination of the past Fantasy Football season today to talk a little baseball. I know it is still early, sorta, but I was perusing MLB’s Fantasy 411 blog and came across a mock draft by some of the experts. BTW—if you don’t already listen to these guys, you really should. They are fantastic, personable, and truly understand the game. They are the kind of guys you wanna grab a beer and talk baseball with.

Anyways, here is a mock draft the two expert/hosts (Mike Siano & Cory Schwartz) of the Fantasy 411 participated in with 10 other experts. I am just providing the numbered list from the draft, if you want to see who picked whom and why, you can read it for yourself on their blog at (



26. B.J. UPTON

I know it is early yet, so it would be hard to really judge how well these picks will perform, I was really surprised by some of the picks. Most of the first round picks made sense to me except Braun. Don’t get me wrong, cuz I have him in my keeper league, but is Braun a first rounder? His numbers were fantastic, but I am not sure I would grab him so early since he is so young to the league. Probably the second round though.

The second round had more surprises for me, but I will limit my commentaries to just a few. First, I was surprised to find Soriano there. Being traded last year and getting hurt early on, I can’t imagine he will have another unproductive year (although I recognize that his injuries could continue) at Wrigley. He should be primed for solid numbers. Second, is Santana not a 1st rounder now that he moved to the Mets. It seems like his value should only increase, even with the extra year of age, rather than decrease. He is still a solid pitcher and has the Mets bats for back up. Even though he now has to hit, I don’t think it will bother him. He is a solid pitcher, and one of the few reliable players in the league. That being said, I personally will not take a pitcher in the early rounds, so this is all a mute point personally. And that brings me to third, CC Sabathia in the 2nd round! Really? Are we sure about this? I mean, I would have been shocked to see a run on pitchers at the end of the 3rd, but am just baffled by the push at the end of the 2nd. Not what I would have expected. Pitchers are just too delicate to waste early picks upon. I did that last year with Carpenter, and never got a single game out of him.

I have the same issue with the 3rd round. Too many pitchers were taken. And a closer? In the 3rd? Really? I wasn’t expecting to see that. Perhaps closers are a more scarce position this year than I realize. That all being said, you can’t get much better than Francisco. You are virtually guaranteed solid production, while Boston’s Paps is too babied and may or may not provide the numbers needed to take the saves category. And finally, how the hell does Man-Ram, Dunn, and Berkman get ahead of Magglio? I know Mags has had injury issues in the past (heck even last year), but he has also put up solid numbers lately and is far more reliable than Man-Ram (keep in mind, I have been burned so many times by Manny that he dead to my roster. If I ever pick him up on a team, it is only for trades.).

One final thing about the mock draft, I was not surprised to see so many catchers in the early mix. I personally think that is one of the scarcest positions this year. After the top 4, the competition drops to virtually nothing. I myself will be looking for a C in the early rounds, although I may wait until 4th. Man, I can’t wait til the season starts…

Friday, February 8, 2008

Week 5

I went into Week 5 very confident. I had a winning record and one of the best teams in the league. I really couldn’t imagine that I was going to lose many games, and looking at my opponent’s starting roster (only 3 solid players/matchups in my opinion: Favre, Alexander, Chicago)—certainly not this week. Now I should point out that Dori’s Destroyers was a new team to our league, and that I am pretty certain the GM of the team had never played any fantasy sport before—which again, only heightened my confidence.

As I expected, my team for the most part did really well this week. My two WRs racked up solid numbers, with Crayton being a great pick up for the week and a perfect replacement for Housh who had a bye week. Another great pick up was Desmond Clark, who gave me a respectable 9 points, much more could expect from Heap on his best day. I also had great days from Folk at K and San Diego at DEF.

But not everything on Team Oilers was rosy. Schaub sucked against Miami, who had yet to win a game so far. My RBs did absolutely nothing, and my bench was pathetic (Todd Heap, I am looking squarely at you). I was really beginning to think I might have some problems: Addai was injured (and I didn’t have a good replacement for him); my 2nd RB, Portis, was not doing well; and Desmond Clark was not a good enough TE to replace the numbers I expected to get from Heap and just wasn’t seeing because the raven’s suck and injuries. Even worse, my QBs were entirely inconsistent. Yes, Rivers returned a solid game, but he was so up and down that I really never felt comfortable playing him in a given week. I mean, the guy could lose a game against pee-wee players one week, and then turn around and destroy the best team in the league. Speaking of which, Schaub and the Texans were no better. I had to find an upgrade at QB.
Because of these issues, I started to look at the teams of my fellow GMs on Sunday and Monday for a possible trade for the next week despite the fact that my team had a decided victory this week and was now 4-1. I felt I was strong at WR and RB (minus injuries), plus several players I was starting to think were losers (yes, Rivers, I am looking squarely at you) had done well recently, so I had some trade bait to dangle. With that in mind, I started looking for an upgrade at my two weakest positions—QB and TE. I hoped to use Rivers (selling high off his recent solid game, of course) and a second player or D. Clark (again selling high) and another player to fill at least one of my problem areas. I had a lot of nibbles, but would something play out…

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Week 4

I went into week 4 with a 2-1 record—not exactly bad, but not really what I expected. Looking at my team, I was still feeling confident and annoyed by the trouncing I received at the hands of the all NE team. It just seemed unfathomable to me that a team so heavily filled with players from one NFL team could be successful. Of course, little did I know how good NE would be this past year and thus how good the team filled with their players would be.

My opponent in Week 4 was Ron Mexico’s Dogs, which was headed by the guy who always wins the league. In fact, he is usually so far a head of everyone else in past seasons that the playoffs become a joke. We all knew he would win, and the playoffs just put of the inevitable. In all honesty, I felt like I had to win this week. It wasn’t about the season, just one match up. He loves to trash talk, and he started sending me smack Sunday night—before we were even officially matched up.

By Tuesday, I had enough of the chatter and started looking for an advantage. I didn’t just want to win, I wanted to destroy my opponent. As a result, I really tweaked and over analyzed my line up and scoured the waiver wire—trying to get the right player for each and every position. No matter what I did, I could only gather enough projected points to be 6 ahead. Sadly, I worried that this would not be enough. My opponent was notoriously lucky, and possessed a pretty solid team worth a lot more than their projected 72+ points.

My biggest concern was that one of my most consistent players, Portis, had a bye week, and I didn’t know if I had a good enough replacement. As a result, I did something rather foolish. No, I didn’t drop a stud for a dud. But I did play a more questionable second string player over a tried and true starter. See, I picked up Kevin Jones specifically because I thought the Detroit Lions would have a good year, which they were doing. And for the first few weeks, he was doing okay in a pass heavy offense. More important, there was talk the Lions would be diversifying their offense more, adding more running. Jones was supposed to be my replacement for Portis, and if I had used him, he would have given me 8 solid points. Instead, I listened to the guesstimation of the so called experts and played Norwood with the hope he would have another great week. This was a mistake mostly because I knew Houston had been doing well, while the Falcons had been struggling. Yet I believed in Norwood, so the advice of the experts was exactly what I wanted to hear rather than a more solid approach to the quandary.

Speaking of experts, I did have to grant them one note of success. They were correct about Rivers. They said that he would struggle against KC, and they were right: Rivers sucked this week. Thankfully, I did not play him, switching instead to Matt Schaub, my big surprise so far this year. Another big surprise, I left week 4 with a 3-1 record. Things were definitely looking up this year.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Week 3

In Week 3, I was going up against a team called Nature’s Metropolis, which I really thought would be a bad match up for me. Looking at my competitors line up, I really thought I was going to have a tough time. As far as I could tell, my competitor only had one weakness: TE. Which to me meant I might be in serious trouble in this match up. Coming off a loss to the NE team (which I still couldn’t believe just happened), I was really not looking forward to another loss because I still believed I had a great team.

As the numbers came in during the day, I was really getting annoyed. The Nature team was getting one solid performance after another. While only a few guys were having amazing days (Barber and Williams), everyone of his players was putting up solid points. When you can count on 9-12 points from each position each week, you have a good team. In comparison, my team wasn’t doing as well. Reggie Wayne fell of the map this week, Todd Heap underperformed (and got hurt as usual), and San Diego just plain sucked! As I watched the San Diego game, I really thought it was over for me this week. Then Rivers came alive. I couldn’t believe my eyes as he racked up one touch down after another and yard after yard. Based on his past performance, I never expected to get a week like that from Rivers. I hoped for 12-15 points each week, but never thought he could get 23. I also had solid performances from Addai, Housh, Norwood, and Portis this week, and predicted week from Kaeding.

As the points were finally tabulated, I actually won the week. Clearly the fantasy gods were on my side, or they hated my opponent, who lost by less than one point (while I love winning in this manner, these kind of losses always drive me completely nuts. Nothing is worse than to lose by one pass or a few yards, which is why a player intentionally making a goal line knee down is so completely infuriating from a fantasy point of view, while any sportsman respected his stats sacrifice).
Looking over my roster, I really don’t think there were any changes I should have made. I mean, sure, Curry did better than Wayne, but would anyone seriously play Curry over Wayne without knowing in advance that Wayne would have a bad day. Hell no! One thing which happened this weak that did worry me somewhat can be found at the bottom of my roster. I really thought Mark Clayton and Randy McMichael would both have a good year, but it just didn’t seem to be panning out. As a result, they both went on the short list of droppables in case a good pickup appeared in the next week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hard to Say Goodbye

And the Pats….errrrr…Giants(?!?) are the Superbowl Champs!

All I can say is, wow! I haven’t seen a duller game in a while. Albeit, it was only dull because I really expected Tyree’s amazing catch to be the whole game. Just one stupendous play after another, rather than the defensive clash of wills it turned out to be. I guess I should’ve known better. The Pats really changed their game in the last few weeks, going from an offensive powerhouse to a defensive grinder. Hence, the shift in Moss’ play and success. Still, I didn’t think it would end as it did.

The sweetest justice of it all was being in a room filled with Pats fans when Tyree and Eli made their move. Priceless! When the Pats finished their drive and got their touch down, all the Pats fans were hoot’en and holler’en. Gloating arrogantly like asses, just as their team has consistently done this season.

Speaking of an arrogant ass, did anyone see Belicheck at the end of the game? He calls the game himself (without regard to the Refs), runs over to Coughlin and then leaves the field. He wasn’t even around when the Giants made the last play of the game. Poor sport from start to finish—And, I am not surprised. Sadly, I have never been happier to see a team lose.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yogi Berra's 8 Secrets to Fantasy Greatness

The simple truths in life are the most profound. Take Warren Buffett, for example. He summarized all the investing advice anybody would ever need in a single sentence: "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." The same notion can be applied to fantasy football & baseball. While you try to build a team on solid players, you have to take risks.

Buffett isn't the only smart guy around. It turns out that famed Yankee catcher Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra was pretty smart, too. Let's see what eight secrets he can teach us about fantasy sports.

1) "I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early." You will make mistakes when you're managing your team. I've certainly made mistakes, including a trade which included Marvin Harrison and Rudi Johnson, one of which never played in the fantasy season and the other did nothing for several weeks before I finally dropped him. And yes, I actually dropped Rudi Johnson and then he turned around that week with his best performance of the season. Ouch! But just like Yogi, get on the managing train early, do your research, keep up on who’s hot and who is not, and you can still reach your destination on time.

2) "This is like déjà vu all over again." Players go up and down, over and over again. When a great player seems to be doing nothing right, don’t panic—just remind yourself that it's déjà vu all over again. Otherwise, you may find yourself tempted to make a costly mistake.

3) "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else." Fantasy goals are a must. Fantasy goals enable you to set sound priorities, measure your progress, and make mid-course corrections. Measuring your progress against goals can help motivate you in times when you feel like giving up, and those times will come.

4) "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." You can try to beat your league by winning in every position with every category by cutting them up into different slices. Certainly some have succeeded with this stratagem; of course, they were also incredibly lucky. For most of us, the best way to beat the other owners in the league is by trying to cut the pizza into fewer slices: We still end up with the same pizza. This is why, for most, focusing on the three key positions (RB, WR, & QB) is the smartest way to buy the whole pizza.

5) "A nickel isn't worth a dime today." The best team is built on solid performers. Before the season, you have to search out the guys that rack up constant numbers year after year. Sure they might get hurt or have a bad year, but more than likely they will do what they have always done. These are the guys you want to take in the early rounds of the draft. They will be the back bone of your team. Once you have a solid base, then begin to look toward the next flash in the pan (and you should have one or two of these).

6) "Ninety percent of the putts that are short don't go in." And 90% of managers don’t actively manage their teams. They check in once a week to set their roosters, and pay little attention to what is actually going on. Don't leave your managing putts short. Check in on your team a couple times a week (esp. on Wed. and Fri., when the most important news seems to come out). If you don’t, you'll never make it.

7) "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." Many league managers act like lemmings, following each other over the cliff. It's easy to say don't follow the crowd, and it's another thing to actually heed that advice. Once you solid base is set, you constantly have to seek out the next big player. Injuries are going to happen, players will go into slumps, so you always have to have a replacement handy when Mr. Reliable stubbles. Besides, even if you never use a hot pick up, it keeps him off someone else’s roster. Nobody said this was easy, but to repeat Buffett's sage advice: "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." Amen.

8) "It ain't over till it's over." In fantasy sports, anything can happen. You have to keep with your team until the very end, even if it looks like you are out of it two weeks into the season. My Championship winning football team lost four out of five games at one point in the season due to injuries, poor play, and bad judgment on my part. I barely made it into the Championship group. Despite barely squeaking in, I never lost confidence in my team. I knew I had solid players, mixed with hot pick ups from teams trying to make the playoffs. The other managers in the league, especially the top 3 guys, had started phoning in their management thinking the winner was already decided. I guess I proved them wrong.