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Monday 20th Nov 2017

I am having a pretty good year with my Fantasy Football teams. One squad is a solid 8-4, with two logging in at 7-5, two at 6-6, one at 5-7, and a final going 4-7-1, meaning playoffs loom for sure in three, and there could potentially be a post-season all around.

I do attribute much of this season's success to a lot of mock drafting, for among the various mocks I did--and especially Howard Bender's fantastic #MockDraftArmy--I did a good 20 mocks to precede the eight actual season long leagues in which I made selections.

So, while seven of my teams are indeed basking in the glow of potential post-seasons, my eighth team is completely finished, living in tenth place, some 39 games out of first place.

"What?" you ask yourself. "The fantasy season is usually 13 weeks, plus playoffs, and the NFL season 17 weeks, plus, so how could anyone be 39 games out of first?"

What you are asking would be correct for a standard league, but in the Kathy League Gifford, we enforce "play all", which means I have 11 matchups facing each of the other teams in the league every week. So, no squeaking by with a 125.85 to 125.65 (this one came up this season) wins or losses in this format.

Adding to the fun, in Kathy League Gifford we have the option of using two Quarterbacks each week, and also play individual defensive players, meaning each week we start 12 guys out of the 19 we draft. League Gifford is also a keeper league, and each player moves up three slots from the previous season, meaning the top three rounds of selections automatically fall back into the free agent pool the following draft season.

In the Gifford League, I have a lot of the same guys I play on my winning teams this year: Willie Snead, Theo Riddick, Michael Crabtree, Julian Edelman, Doug Martin and Sebastian Janikowski, in particular, save in Gifford, my signal callers are Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, with Jared Goff--who will be a keeper next season--salivating on the bench waiting for an opportunity.

On my other teams, the Quarterbacks are either Cam Newton, Derek Carr or Russell Wilson, who are not bad guys, but Rodgers and Ryan are each having big years, averaging 26.5, and then 25 points respectively, so why is the rest of my squad tanking it so badly?

Well, maybe the answer is not so much in those guys tanking, as it is my average score per week in Gifford is commensurate with my H2H leagues, meaning the luck of the draw and matchup really are a lot more significant than we would like to imagine. 

As in:

League W/L AVG PF AVG PA TOT PF TOT PA
 Kathy League Gifford*  53-76  109.6  114.6 1315 1260.1
 FSTA (co-managed w/Lord Z  7-5  114  109.6 1368 1315
 Knights of the Passover Table**  6-6  80.4  90.37 965.22 1084.44
 Expert Schmexpert  4-7-1  106.3  112.8 1276 1354
 Udder Genius  5-7  116.4  125.7 1397.3 1509.1
 NAIFFL  8-4  136.4  135.8 1636.5 1629.2
 Sirius/XM Fantasy League  6-6  113.2  114.8 1359.4 1377.8
 Sirius/XM Dynasty League  7-5  132.9  129.8 1595.1 1558.4

* Total Points Against 15122 over course of play all season divided by 12 to give average.

** Not PPR

What does prove interesting is not just how close the margin of error between win and loss is in each setup, but that the smallest margin is in a league that does seem to have the most generous scoring system (note that all the leagues are similar in scoring save KLG, but there are minor differences).

Compounding the confusion is that in KLG my aggregate Points For is the second-highest positive point differential among my teams, yet that team is the worst in the standings. And, that suggests I had a couple of monster weeks accompanied by a lot more mediocre ones.

There is no question--at least to me--how much fun playing Fantasy Football is. But, as we all seem to know, there is frustration in football, as trying to assemble a winning squad, be it DFS or season-long format, can be tougher than other sports simply because the stat-base is smaller, less player positions are generally part of our teams, and less games are played.

Of course this is nothing new to any of us, and long have I preached about the goofiness of football where Napoleon Kaufman bags 60 yards of a drive, rushing, but Zack Crockett comes in to punch the ball into the end zone. For in baseball, Ted Williams was only pinch-hit for once, and no one would ever spell LeBron James or Steph Curry in the same fashion.

Still, games and numbers are fun, and well, puzzling, no?

Follow me @lawrmichaels.

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