A Tale of 3 Teams

This is my 28th year of fantasy football, but the first time I have participated in three leagues (CBS Sportsline, ESPN and Yahoo). It was only 2 years ago I decided to start participating in a league at work, until then I was moving through the fantasy world with blinders on, so to speak. I have said it countless times on here and at the Fantasy Football Starters Forums, but since subscribing to the Championship Package, I feel I have gained an new insight into fantasy football and yes, after 27 years have learned new things.

This year I am strong in two of the three leagues. At work (ESPN) I have just won 3 games in a row and now sit at 3-1, on top in my division and 7th overall in total points (12-team league). The newest league was set up by a friend at Yahoo, while I had to draft over the Internet I am currently undefeated at 4-0, ranked 3rd overall in total points (12-team league). Finally, the league I manage, my team is struggling at 1-3, last place in my division, but 5th overall in total points (10-team league).

The Yahoo team has faced the most adversity, as I drafted Peyton Manning, Kenny Britt and Antonio Gates. Currently Manning and Britt are lost for the year and things are not looking good for Gates. I do believe this team is a testament to a strong draft, but smart moves, 12 waiver claims and 11 free agent transactions, second only to another team with 24 total moves. Up until participating in my work league I did not really use a waiver wire on a regular basis. Coming from the “old school” I felt a drafted team could compete without needing to hit the wire like a drunken sailor. I have changed my tune now.

While I still place a big emphasis on the draft, the moves I have made did not impact me as much as I thought. Eric Decker was picked up week 1, but not played until week 2. Last week I picked up Dan Bailey (K DAL) and Chicago D/ST. We will see how the additions of Matt Hasselbeck, Nate Washington, Issac Redman and Dexter McCluster as we enter the BYE weeks. Anything less than a championship in this league will be a disappointment.

Yahoo Team – Throwball Heroes
QB: Fitzpatrick, Hasselbeck
RB: Best, Rice, Moreno, McCluster, Redman
WR: Decker, Washington, Meachem, Nicks, Amendola
TE: Gates, Gronkowski
K: Bailey
DST: Chicago

At work (ESPN league) I drafted using an alternate strategy, drafting WR/WR/WR/TE/QB before drafting a RB. While I did lose my first game (by 17 points) I have come back strong winning the last 3 to pull into a tie for first place at 3-1. As the defending champion I have to live up to the expectations of last year, so this strategy I felt I could get away with. Unfortunately I lost Miles Austin for a few weeks and Antonio Gates, both who were vital top 4 draft picks have left me a bit thin.

While I have been adding and dropping players, it’s been more speculation than anything else. I picked up and just today dropped Steve Slaton for the Titans DST. I added Stevan Ridley as a possible future play to help strengthen a “weak” (Addai & Wells) RB duo. I also picked up Bernard Scott, anticipating Cedric Benson’s suspension, which hasn’t panned out yet, so I ended up parting ways with him for Jared Cook to help cover my TE bye week. I still feel very good about repeating as champion, even using an alternative draft strategy.

ESPN Team – Throwball Heroes
QB: Roethlisberger, A. Smith
RB: Addai, Wells, Ridley
WR: Nicks, White, Austin, Decker, Meachem
TE: Gates, Cook, Watson
K: Janikowski
DST: Titans, Steelers

Finally my league, the TFL where just 2 years ago I was the champion, but after 4 weeks I am 1-3 and wondering what I need to do in order to win. This league we can start 2 QB on a weekly basis, which meant by round 2 most of the top QBs were drafted. It’s no surprise that teams with 2 good QBs are being carried by this position, not the RB position. I was not as fortunate when I drafted opting not to grab a second QB sooner. So far 2 games have been good for Sanchez, but when he is bad, he is not worth a fantasy start.

Of the three drafts I participated in, I felt this was my strongest team. I had good depth at RB and WR and actually drafted smart. Maybe Sanchez wasn’t smart, but at the time he was the best available player. Still 118, 127, 151 and 121 are all good point totals, but only week 2 was it good enough to best my opponent. Logic would say drop Sanchez for another starting QB. The only name available, Curtis Painter, I don’t see him as an upgrade. The only waiver claim to date was drop Javon Ringer for Eric Decker. With Danny Amendola most likely done for the year I will be looking to add depth at RB or WR. If I want to buy into the Victor Cruz hype I can add him for $10.

I don’t feel the wire is where I need to look though past Amendola. I am not fond of tossing $10 (or more using an FAAB system) speculating on players. Unfortunately the performance of individual players are completely out of my control. I could look at packaging a RB/WR for a QB upgrade, but it would decrease my depth at those positions. Maybe with the BYE weeks starting I will be able to buy a break and cut into the lead of the top three point leaders in our league. It could just be a string of bad luck, since that is a component of fantasy football that is often overlooked since we can’t control it.

CBS Sportsline Team – AWOL
QB: Sanchez, Vick
RB: Best, Jacobs, McFadden, Moreno, Helu, Moreno
WR: S. Johnson, Decker, Nicks, Meachem, Sanders, Williams (TB), Amendola
TE: Finley, Pettigrew
K: Janikowski, Feely

Regardless of how I look at it I still feel I am having a good year overall in fantasy football. Currently 8-4 combined in all three leagues, but even the 1-3 league isn’t a bad team, just some back breaks and running into some hot teams early. Of the three leagues, the CBS league has the most work to do, but really there are not many moves I am looking to make. Hopefully things turn around and I start seeing more wins to offset the hole I have myself in.