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Saturday 29th Apr 2017

As Pasko Varnica, Brian Walton and I had a final meal (Todd was off with his Arizona Scouts League watching football) at Sky Harbor before heading to our respective homes from the BaseballHQ Arizona First Pitch, the Raiders/Seahawks and Patriots/Broncos games were playing in the background.

This has been a ritual of Pasko and I over the past six years, so it was great that Brian--with whom I never get enough time it seems--could join us and prolong the time just a little.

The morning was busy with the final program and goodbyes, so this was the first shot any of us had to check out our teams and scores. And, for me, mercifully, this was the final of four straight weeks on the road, meaning another week somewhere other than our living room, with Diane plunking away working at her new business on her laptop, or reading a book, while I cook and gorge on my Sunday Ticket.

Pasko was pretty non-plussed, with just 43 points in Kathy League Gifford, but I was happy with my 122 points, knowing Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton still had work to do. As for Brian, who is struggling for any kind of quarterback, the issue is really moot at this point.

Gifford is the league where we must start two Quarterbacks, and play individual defensive players, but we also employ all-play. This means no single head-to-head match-up each week, but actually playing against all the other 11 teams in the league each cycle.

That means the best team gets 11 wins and no losses, and the worst team the inverse.

Personally, I think this is one of the best rules I have encountered in fantasy football, because the parameters offer an offset to the luck involved in weekly matchups.

A case in point is in two of my leagues--Expert Schmexpert, and the NAIFFL--my teams have pretty awful 1-7 and 2-6 records. But, both teams have also allowed the most points even though we are in the middle of the pack in points scored.

Meaning I have had more than my share of playing teams having their best week.

Now I can deal with that. That is just part of the luck of the game and the draw. However, it is not necessarily a true barometer of my skill in drafting when despite solid offensive days, I live at the bottom of the standings simply because a team with a generally lesser cast got hot.

So, while I don't like to whine, at least playing against the rest of the league and thus taking some advantage of the general good job I did assembling my teams would take a bit of the sting out.

I urge you to consider this variation. I'm just saying.

I've Got My Eye On

Mark Sanchez (QB, Eagles): OK, he is an afterthought in 99.9% of leagues, but in a league where you do have to start a pair of signal callers each week, he could be a Week 10 godsend. I know I will be making the big play for Sanchez next week to fill the void with Andrew Luck on a bye. If you are similarly stuck, Sanchez is as good a gamble as there is to get unstuck.

Julian Edelman (WR, Patriots): A big day punctuated by a punt return, 189 yards, and a pair of scores, Edelman continues to be red hot and is Tom Brady's fave wideout (not overlooking Rob Gronkowski, but he is both a tight end, and a must play). I would play Edelman every week, especially in PPR formats, until Brady cools down. If that ever happens.

Ronnie Hillman (RB, Broncos): I cannot count how many times I have seen Hillman assemble a great handful of carries, tantalize such that I grab him from the FAAB pool, and then simply do nothing for the next million weeks. He only managed 16 yards today, but grabbed a third score in five weeks during which Hillman has rushed for 299 yards. I'll bite.

Matt Asiata (RB, Vikings): A beneficiary of the Zack Crockett principle--that is Napoleon Kaufman gets the ball to the goal line and Crockett gets the score--Asiata delivered his second three-score game yesterday. Of course, the rest of the season he has been fairly worthless, but I am looking at Matt and his match-ups for the rest of the year, just like I am checking out Mark Ingram and Hillman.

Long time inter-league rivalries: I made a bad mistake last week, dropping the Redskins defense (they were playing the Cowboys), instead gambling that the Bears could contain the Patriots. I must admit, though I was afraid of the sizzling Dallas offense, I thought this was a long time rivaly, and the kind that plays close to the bone for both teams. Still, I let logic stand in the path of intuition.

I expected the Niners to walk over the Rams--another long time duel--and missed that one though I did not play this one wrong, starting the Niners, but St. Louis took it to Kaepernick and Company.

I think we have to recognize that despite how this type of contest might look on paper, and according to all the statistical factors, as often as not, these games are close.

As in maybe the Bears are not such a dumb play against the Pack this coming week.

Just saying. Again.

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