From Brady Karma to Playoff Berth in Forty-One Moves

The Pro, Andy Behrens, has written a few words about this year’s FFL MVPs that I think is worth a response.

I didn’t draft anyone in the top 15.  I drafted two players total from that list: Roddy White and Matt Forte. And yet I’m in the playoffs this week, with a shot at the prize.  All thanks to 41 different roster moves.

Of course, it all stems from the fact that I drafted Brady in the first round.  Yeah, that’s going to teach me something about karma.

I started seven different QBs over the course of the season: Brady, Palmer, Silky, Mister J.T. O’Sullivan IV, Aaron Rodgers (trade), Kyle Orton (it worked for one game!), and Peyton Manning (another trade).

I suspect a lot of the folks who like me had Brady, but didn’t give up, and didn’t draft any of those players (my 2nd and 3rd rounders were Marshawn Lynch and Marques Colston – mediocre and less than mediocre) are in the playoffs by virtue of a lot of moves.  Those 41 moves included four trades (1/3rd of the league’s total) – three of which netted me players on this board (Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson, and Brian Westbrook – the last of which was a deadline trade which dogged me for two weeks and made me think I’d wrecked my chance at the postseason, but ultimately came through).

The end result: I’m in the playoffs at 7-5-1.

In retrospect, there were only three moves I’d undo after the Brady injury: I’d have held on to Steve Slaton (after he opened with a mediocre effort and had a bye in the second week, I dropped him for Pierre Thomas); I’d have held onto Matt Cassel longer (dropped him during his bye week after the atrocious Miami game); and instead of holding on to DeSean Jackson until he lost value, I’d have picked up Lance Moore when he was available.

Otherwise, I think I did pretty good to make the playoffs after such a devastating injury and a terrible top of the draft.  Lessons for next year I suppose.  Maybe someday I can be as smart as these ugly idiots.

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On Injury Notices

In back to back weeks, I’ve experienced the fun of late scratches before the starting gun in the NFL.

Last week, it was Aaron Rodgers stuck on my bench, who everyone expected not to play during the week after a sprained shoulder, but who ultimately didn’t just start – he was the second leading fantasy QB.

This week, it was Roddy White, who was on a real tear, but didn’t practice all week after an in-practice injury, and who was as of an hour before the games started still reported as being the third WR in the game, if he would play at all.  His line for the day – at this point, tied for fourth best among WRs: 9 catches, 112 yards, and a TD.

I still won last week, and I’m in the mix for this week against the previously undefeated Red Barons. But dagnabbit, if you’re questionable in the Fantasy game, can’t you at least be polite enough to not have an awesome scoring day?

Update: I started Braylon Edwards instead. I’m happy. :)

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Andy Behrens on Free Trade vs. Protectionism

Andy Behrens, otherwise known as the UFSLer on top of the College Pickem game, tied with me at 4th in Fantasy Football, and about to show whether he can hold first place in Hockey, has a fascinating post on trading strategy that applies to all fantasy sports, regardless of type.

In most of my leagues, trading markets are frozen. Nothing moves…not the good assets, not the toxic assets. Fear rules. This is largely due to the fact that my leagues are full of fantasy professionals, and we’re all a bunch of bedwetters who lack the necessary man-parts to make serious deals, even when a trade can clearly help us both, Funston! patient, risk-averse deep-thinkers.

Many experts would rather lose a league than lose a trade. Thus, I’ve only succeeded in making low-level deals to cover bye weeks. There’s nothing worth analyzing, and certainly no reason for me to gloat.

Yet in real leagues where owners aren’t so timid, trade markets are lively. Greed trumps fear. Responsible owners are doing whatever they can to improve. You’re looking ahead to Chris Johnson‘s rather friendly schedule, and you’re buying. Or you’re fretting about LaDainian Tomlinson‘s toe, so you’re selling.

Team America, bend an ear.

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Carey Price is Awesome

I’m suddenly feeling a lot better about going into the year with him and Fleury in Goal.

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Early Season Epic

Now this was one epic early season matchup.  Darren Sproles was the deciding factor, but both of us left points on the bench – Forte and Lendale White for me, and *gulp* Ronnie Brown for Leon.  Had Leon started Brown instead of Bryant Johnson, this game would’ve featured all five of the top RBs in fantasy this week.  Wowzah.

San Juan Pirates 1-2-0

First Brady, now Colston. Slobberknockers.

Points
Pos
Player
Opp
Status
Projected
Actual
QB
(SF – QB)
Det W, 31-13 15 22
WR
(Phi – WR)
Pit W, 15-6 9 4
WR
(Atl – WR)
KC W, 38-14 6 17
RB
(Buf – RB)
Oak W, 24-23 15 23
RB
(SD – RB)
NYJ W, 48-29 13 6
TE
(Was – TE)
Ari W, 24-17 7 7
W/R
(NO – RB)
@Den L, 34-32 9 24
K
(Hou – K)
@Ten L, 31-12 7 7
DEF
(Chi – DEF)
TB L, 27-24 10 8
Total 91 118
Points
Pos
Player
Opp
Status
Projected
Actual
QB
(Ind – QB)
Jac L, 23-21 20 13
WR
(Ari – WR)
@Was L, 24-17 11 8
WR
(Was – WR)
Ari W, 24-17 8 13
RB
(Atl – RB)
KC W, 38-14 16 28
RB
(SF – RB)
Det W, 31-13 21 22
TE
(Den – TE)
NO W, 34-32 7 1
W/R
(SF – WR)
Det W, 31-13 4 2
K
(Ten – K)
Hou W, 31-12 9 8
DEF
(Ten – DEF)
Hou W, 31-12 12 19
Total 108 114

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What Do I do with Randy Moss Now?

So week 1 was by all accounts a rousing success. Keeping in mind that football is probably the sport in which I have the weakest base of knowledge (besides the NBA, which I ate, and Golf, which I don’t follow for time reasons), I was pretty darn impressed myself with absolutely crushing the fantasy “professional” in this league and outscoring my nearest competitor by 26 points. Are you impressed with my mad fantasy skills yet? I am. Oh, how Jeff laughed at me for taking Michael Turner – maybe if he hadn’t taken turner he wouldn’t currently be mired in 9th place.

However, now Tom Brady is out for the year. Unlike the rest of the continental United States west of Dedham, I do not hate Tom Brady. I don’t particularly *like* him, either, but I took no special joy in his season-ending injury. Which presents me with a problem. See, I didn’t take Brady in the first round, I took Randy Moss. And as much as Randy Moss is teh awesome, even Randy Moss needs someone to throw him the ball. And apparently, that someone (for now) is going to be Matt Cassel. I have only seen Cassel play for brief stretches, but from what I have seen, he plays like a denuded piece of crap. I am already having flashbacks to Randy Moss’s Oakland days, and I’m afraid if the Pats lose their next four in a row, he might just get “injured” and put me in the same boat with Ben. Well, the same boat with Ben, except that I’d have a huge freaking headstart.

So, do I keep Moss, hoping that Matt Cassel becomes the new Kurt Warner, or dump him? And what do I dump him for? Is my football team so awesome that I can afford to trade him for, say, baseball draft picks? I’ll take advice from anyone I’m not beating in a fantasy league at this point.

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David Garrard says he is Going East, to Toil


Pre-Game Coin Toss Makes Jacksonville Jaguars Realize Randomness Of Life

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Vince Young Wanders

Well, this is interesting news out of Nashville.

Kerry Collins has never been as bad of a QB as some people made him out to be – he’s a perfectly average QB who’s suffered from the misfortune of playing on some of the worst teams in the league (consider this: Collins has three times been the QB on a team that had a head coach fired in the offseason – it would’ve been four if Ditka had retired a season earlier in NO!). On the 5-11 Raiders in 05, he threw for 3800 yards, 21 TDs, and 12 picks – that sort of year is the encapsulation of his career (average but not horrible numbers on horrible squads). He will never be a world beater, yes, but today’s Titans are a more talented squad than Collins has been on in six years…and I fully expect him to match or outperform Vince Young.

Young is a ridiculously talented athlete. He’s not a good fantasy player – too many picks, too few yards – but as an NFL player, he’s got three things working against him:

1) Jeff Fisher’s offensive strategy, one of the worst in the league for QBs (hell, even the pride of Mount Olive Mississippi struggled under him), which completely devalues YAC and doesn’t have a damn speedster or clutch player in the mix. The only QB to thrive – albeit briefly, before a very public falling out – under Fisher was Billy Volek. People often dismiss McNair’s stat troubles because of his injuries, but consider: in the eight seasons under Fisher in which McNair started 14+ games, five times he had fewer than 16 TDs in a season. When fans criticize Young as being an Athlete who’s not a passer, consider that he still has a 62% completion percentage – he’s just throwing in a system that’s horrid for QBs of any stripe. Justin Gage and Justin McCareins would be 3rd or 4th receivers on any real NFL team. Everybody bashed McNabb’s penchant for throwing balls in the dirt – and then shockingly, when Freddie Mitchell stopped being a primary target and T.O. came to town, he got better. Oh, and yeah – Glenn Martinez and Chad Jackson will TOTALLY solve that problem!

2) The transfer from College God to Average Pro Footballer. Leinart’s experiencing the same thing. When you cease to be BMOC, it’s tough – especially at a place like Nashville, where the fans are idiots and boo quickly. What some teams would give to have a QB who went 8-5 and 9-6 in his first two seasons! The answer, of course, is to man up or if you really hate it ask for a trade – not talk about retiring, and definitely not quitting on your team.

3) The seeming impossibility of the NFL to decide how to treat mobile, athletic QBs with big arms and scattershot tendencies. Vick was the only one to have success in the playoffs in recent history – and they tried to make him work in the WCO (!). Randall Cunningham worked, but he was last century. Elway, Favre, McNair, Culpepper and McNabb had more success as they got less mobile. And the only true mobile QB to win the Super Bowl in the past twenty years was Future President Steve Young. It’s sad – I think the only people who really figured it out was Scott Linehan on the Minnesota Vikings staff in 03-04, when Culpepper had 4700 yards passing, 400+ yards rushing, and about 400 TDs, all without a consistent rushing threat (he was the second leading rusher on the team, and only had one receiver who broke 1000 yards – trivia! it’s not Moss). But that team went 8-8 because their defense sucked ass, and now Linehan is the HC of the hapless Rams with immobile Marc Bulger, and Tice is sleeping on a park bench somewhere.

BTW – what a terrible draft for QBs 2006 was. Cutler really is the best out of the bunch, and he’s average at best. Leinart, Young, Kellen Clemens, Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, Brodie Croyle…the best of the rest could be Brad Smith, because he doesn’t play Quarterback.

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I survived Carson Palmer

Watching the Bengals-Ravens game on Sunday I was starting to worry.  I mean Carson Palmer and the Bungle offense looked atrocious.  And sure enough, Palmer ended up with 3 measly points.  (Maurice Jones-Drew was disappointing as well with only 4).  That should teach me to pick a Bengal (I am a life long Steeler fan).

But as fate would have it, I still won (87-68).  Plaxico Burress, Hines Ward, and Lee Evans all had good games; exceeding their projected point levels.  And of course the Purple Jesus Adrian Peterson kicked in double digits even in a losing cause.

But I have to admit what really helped was that Brad had Kevin Curtis and Willis McGahee neither of whom saw action.  Toss in a terrible day for Braylon Edwards, in a ugly loss for Cleveland, and he couldn’t win despite a nice game by Drew Brees.

I will take the 87 points and the win.  That point total would have been good enough to win all but two games in our league.  But I am not going trust Carson Palmer again until I have some concrete evidence that the Bengals can score some points.  Sunday they could barely make first downs.

At least unlike Ben I didn’t lose a critical player for the season.  But I will have to get better at QB to compete with the top teams given that a couple of you topped 120 points.

I won’t tease Brad to hard about the zeros from Curtis and McGahee as I am apt to pull the same thing myself at least once this season.

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I took Tom Brady in the First Round

I hated it as soon as I’d done it. I have a rule about not taking guys I dislike personally in the first round – it always paid off when I avoided head cases for Peyton Manning – but I broke it to take Brady. All the stud RBs were gone, and it made sense.

Now I’m scrambling a bit. But I think it’ll be okay. I took fliers on several RBs beyond Lynch and Bush, and if the first week is any indication, Matt Forte can take me the rest of the way. I had to part with Felix Jones, though – which I hate, because he has a ton of upside – in a trade to snag David Garrard, who I think can be an acceptable fallback (though never a gamebreaker). I’ve got Cassel, but don’t expect anything consistent from him (even though that NE offense should make him look better – he wasn’t throwing to Moss or behind that stout O-Line in the preseason after all).

This was the first year I broke with the RB-RB strategy, and it’s burned me right off the bat. And no, I don’t think a Trent Edwards + Cassel strategery would work out too well, despite what the gurus at ESPN say.

Not an auspicious start. But that’s karma for ya.

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