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Friday 15th Dec 2017

We have all been there.

This past week, after Derek Carr's horrible opener, I sat the Raiders QB, along with Amari Cooper and also left Matt Jones on my bench in no less than three leagues. 

It wasn't a whim thing. Carr was maybe hurt, and he was going against the usually tough Ravens defense, so if his game was hampered, so would be Cooper's, I thought. So I went Nick Foles and Anquan Boldin, which wasn't so bad, but collectively they weren't equal to either Carr or Jones, making Boldin more of a creme brulee than gravy.

I have had this happen regularly in DFS baseball this year, with some periods of 10 days where Cory Spangenberg jumps out at me and I play him and he gets ten points, or the converse ten days where I cannot pick a winner even if that means taking Paul Goldschmidt when he is starting against Jeremy Guthrie.

Don't get me wrong: I am very clear that there is a basic skill needed to be successful at fantasy games. You do have to know the players and the weather and the teams and the parks if you want to be successful for any protracted period. 

But, for those head banging moments when I do the most research--like Max Scherzer over Miami in Washington--and make what appears to be a pretty good play that runs amok, all I can think of is I might as well just throw darts at a dartboard for my picks. And, that always reminds me of this great scene and clip from the wonderful, "Young Frankenstein."

And, I am not suggesting what Inspector Kemp does with his darts was the right thing, but it does get exasperating sometimes when our concerted effort to make a rational choice is completely usurped by some combination of lack of reason that stumbled onto luck at the right time (what else explains the Fish beating Scherzer).

Of course, it doesn't help that a week later, Jones suddenly becomes a "must start former sleeper darling" who then gets shut down by a feisty Giants defense.

But, like I said: I know we have all been there, and it is part of the games we love and play. In fact, that "chance" factor is indeed a lot of what not only makes life interesting, but it touches us everywhere.

Was it some chance by which you met your partner or landed your job? We have three dogs, all rescues, all of whom just happened to be at the right time and place for us to notice and grab them. Was that luck, or a supreme being, or the force, or kind of one of those situations like baseball, where if you concentrate and make the best moves you can consistently, you will win 55% of the time, and if you can do that, you will be good.

I like to think of it as putting yourself in the position of taking advantage of luck when it comes your way, for if one is prepared, chances are he or she will be able to assess and handle the situation, be it romance or a Nelson Cruz dinger, appropriately.

I do have a team sports analogy of sorts that I do like to contextualize in determining the difference between a good team and a bad team.

If we think in terms of baseball, and the error, it works like this: A good team is more likely to take advantage of an error made by the opposing team, and less likely to be victimized by their own miscue more often than a poor team. Maybe this only means 10-15 times a year such a situation comes up, but it is enough to put the Royals in the postseason, and leave the White Sox practicing for 2016 on the south side.

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