Unlike last week, when we had a plethora of injuries to create bidding opportunities, this was supposed to be a pretty quiet week on the waiver wire, even with six teams on bye. And for the most part, it was, though the vagaries of the leagues I play in did create a rush in a couple of venues. But there was one league where an unexpected player emerged to empty most of my FAAB wallet. Let’s get to the results.
Due to time constraints, I’m submitting this with minimal comment. All results are from leagues with their initial bidding on either Tuesday or Wednesday night.
Stopa Law Firm League (12-team, PPR, Superflex, 2 TEs) – Tuesday night.
The first couple of weeks of free agent acquisitions are vital in each fantasy sport. Often this is the first opportunity since Draft Day to improve our roster, and plenty enough has changed to create new value. Moreover, a player you land now carries a lot more impact than someone you can acquire in Week 10.
That might not necessarily be true this week, and certainly not in leagues where FA’s have been open before Week 1. But there are still some gems to find – at least in many leagues the Baltimore RB picture remains wide-open. Additionally, Allen Hurns is someone who I discounted before last week, but I’m willing to make small bids now to see if he’s for real.
Saturday marked my third NFFC event and my final draft for this season, the 3:00 PT PrimeTime League. This was a fairly unique league, as there were five of us in Las Vegas (well, more than five including partners and friends hanging out), five drafting at the Chicago venue, and two other players drafting on the phone. It was also unique because Peyton Manning went with the first overall pick, something I haven’t come close to seeing this year, even with the six-points per passing TD format that we have in the NFFC. While I think this was a mistake (the number of players that you can start at a position generally means more than the scoring system), I can see some of the logic – Manning’s floor is ludicrously high, and clearly he wasn’t going to get Manning on the way back. But even in a 20-round draft there are quarterbacks that don’t get selected, and you have to start a combination seven non-QBs at other skill positions.
The “Zero-RB” strategy has drawn a lot of my attention this draft season, and I’m sold that in the right circumstances it can be a viable plan. I’ve used it in two of my drafts and have been happy with the result, and in one other league – one of the RotoWire Fantasy Football Online Championship leagues that I shared with RotoWire’s Vlad Sedler – we came pretty close to that plan, filling 4 of the top 5 spots on WRs and Julius Thomas. This league presented another opportunity for me to try it, as I drafted 10/12, but I made one critical decision that turned me off that, at least in its purity.
1.10 – Julio Jones – I’ve been big on Julio over the last two weeks, as I’m persuaded that he’s all the way back. Jones was off to an incredible start before his foot injury, and Atlanta’s defense appears to remain awful. We’re going to see Matt Ryan chucking the ball to Jones/Roddy White and Harry Douglas a lot this season. Because Manning went first overall, rather than somewhere in the second round where he usually goes, I had more options than I anticipated. I debated between Jones and Jimmy Graham, who actually went at 1.12 after A.J. Green.
On one hand, the Reds made exactly as many trades as the Phillies and Rockies, two teams in more dire need of an overhaul than the Reds. On the other hand, they remain in a precarious position as a franchise. While they’ve had a nice run in the regular season, making the playoffs three of the last four seasons, this generation’s team also hasn’t won a playoff series and appears unlikely to make the playoffs this year. Injuries to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have exposed the utter lack of depth at the upper levels of their farm system and the 40-man roster, as the likes of Jack Hannahan, Donald Lutz, Ramon Santiago, Skip Schumaker, Neftali Soto and Kristopher Negron have all been found lacking. They begin play Thursday night 53-54, six games behind the Brewers, and 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card in the NL.
But complicating matters is that they aren’t bad enough to become sellers either. Their starting rotation is one of the best in baseball, with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey and Alfredo Simon all above average. The set-up/closer combo of Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman has been brilliant too. They haven’t completely tanked offensively because of the breakout seasons of Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco, and Billy Hamilton has been better than expected.