Listen to this. Last Friday, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine out in L.A. who desperately needed my help. “I am in a bad situation,” he explained. Turns out his football keeper league’s online draft was coming up on Sunday and he had to be at work during draft time. So he wanted to know if I’d be available to handle his draft. “You’re really the person I’d trust most,” he continued. “If you’re down, let me know and we can get on the phone and talk strategy.” At the time, I had yet to draft any of my teams, so I would be getting an inside look at someone else’s game plan before fully formulating my own. I thought this was kind of neat.
Armed with a laundry list of players to reach for and players to avoid, I headed into the draft room. And although I was able to scoop up most of his targets, the entire exercise was a lot more challenging than I had anticipated. First, a few of the players he liked were guys who did not appeal to me at all. But my marching orders were clear. I would draft them, even if it meant taking them a round too early. And to make things even more difficult, there was the keeper factor. Over half of his starting lineup was already filled with keepers, and this limited my flexibility. Rather than constructing a building from scratch, I had to finish building using someone else’s foundation. It was a pretty cool experience, and something I had never done before in my many years of playing fantasy sports.
Tuesday, September 6 – 6:14 PM
In a little over 48 hours, I will be officially managing eight fantasy teams. If you’re thinking that a fantasy fanatic like myself loves this time of year, the month when the baseball and football worlds overlap, you would be wrong. Honestly, this is a bit too much, and to tell you the truth, I consider fantasy baseball the far more interesting game. Lose your first-rounder to injury in Week 1 and you might as well say goodbye to your football title hopes. In baseball, the rosters are so large that one major injury, though debilitating, is not quite as devastating. The savvy owner could take advantage of the waiver wire, which always offers some useful pieces. The football waiver wire is rarely appealing, so there’s less in-season strategy involved. Draft your team, hope that everyone stays healthy and then hope that you can win as many games as possible while following a schedule generated by a computer. Fantasy football is fun, no question, but I just can’t take the game all that seriously.
Thursday, September 8 – 2:56 PM
I don’t think I’ve ever been more unhappy with a team than I am with the one I drafted a few days ago. As I see it, the key to the auction draft is to find the right balance between aggressiveness and restraint. When it comes to the elite guys, you want to be aggressive while at the same time resisting the urge to get caught up in a bidding war. Even worse is when you get caught up in a bidding war for a non-elite player.
I like Ben Roethlisberger this year and thought that I would be able to get him at a reasonable price. My thinking? The fact that he played in just 12 games last season due to suspension limited his stat line to the point where owners might not realize just how good he was in those 12 games (3200 YDS 17 TDs 5 INTs). Well, my thinking was way off on this one. Not only did I pay full price for Big Ben, but I overpaid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have him, but shelling out so many bucks for Roethlisberger seriously damaged my No. 2 running back situation to the point where I had to settle for Joseph Addai. I had Addai on my radar, but not as an every-week starter. Who knows, maybe the Peyton Manning injury forces the Colts to run the ball more and Addai puts together a solid season. But I’m not too optimistic. The more likely scenario is that the absence of Manning seriously damages the entire offense and I’m left with a black hole in my starting lineup. Not to mention that Addai is injury-prone.
What makes the whole thing even more depressing is that I was so close to winning this league last year, losing in the finals after dominating throughout the regular season. I’d be shocked if I even make the playoffs this time around. With Ray Rice and Roddy White my only legitimate studs, there’s just not enough firepower on this roster, not enough players who could single-handedly win you games.
Alright, enough dwelling on this. Back to baseball next week. Come to think of it, maybe I do like this time of year.