Coming off what was by far my worst week of the season (9-5 straight up, but an almost miraculously bad 3-10-1 ATS) I thought it might be a good time to look at a couple of the Game Capsules where I went off the rails to see if there’s any lessons to be learned from the crash.
Back at the end of March I blogged about a charity NL-only 5×5 experts league I was participating in as part of the Slugging For Jude campaign. At the time I pledged to donate for each team that bested me in each category, or flip the script and donate for each team I topped in each category should I win the league.
Well, with the regular season now complete, I can report that an $84 donation is headed their way thanks to me winning the league going away. On the backs of first round pick Clayton Kershaw and third round pick Nolan Arenado, not to mention useful contributions from late-rounders like Jung-Ho Kang, Mike Fiers, Anthony DeSclafani and Melvin Upton and timely production from free agents Chris Heston and Stephen Piscotty, I had a strong across-the-board showing and finished in the top half of the league in every category, with Kershaw and co. leading me to a first-place finish in strikeouts.
If you’d like to make your own donation, you can do so through their GoFundMe page. Jude’s currently getting treatment in Seattle, and you can get updates on the progress of his fight against leukemia at the family’s Caring Bridge page.
In a season that had some disappointing results for me in other leagues, I love that this is the one I ended up winning. Hopefully some of that winning rubs off on Jude.
I won’t do this for every single game of the season, but when I get the chance I’m going to do a little debrief on my game capsules and examine my assumptions heading into them to see where I was right, where I was wrong, and where I was looney tunes. I fully expect all three to happen at some point, and the latter two categories more often than the first one, but that’s just the nature of the exercise.
It’s always instructive when your thinking collides with reality, as once in a while you can find something useful in the wreckage.
I always find it a bit amusing when people make a big deal out of roster cutdown day at the end of the preseason. The “final” 53-man roster for an NFL team is anything but, as front offices scour the cut lists for players they feel are improvements on their current personnel or make a call to another GM asking exactly how committed they are to their third QB or fourth RB… Sunday’s flurry of fantasy-relevant news may have been a little busier than normal, but only a little. In the modern NFL, there is really no such thing as a “final” 53-man roster.
So, I did a crazy thing. In a recently-completed Yahoo draft for a 12-team non-PPR league where I ended up with the second pick, instead of taking one of the normal top four (or top five, depending on where you slot Marshawn Lynch) running backs, I threw caution to the wind and took Dez Bryant instead.
My reasoning was as follows: in every mock draft I’ve done picking from the top of the draft and taking the expected RB, I’ve hated the WR corps I’ve ended up with. Partially that’s due to spoiling myself with WR-WR starts in later draft slots, but it’s also due to the fact that the talent pool got a lot shallower over the last week. With Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin out of the picture, elite receivers dry up really quickly, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of not getting at least one of them. More than that though, with your first round pick, floor is more important than ceiling. If you don’t get premium production from your premium picks, your season is all but done, and when I look at those top RBs I see a lot more risk than I do with Bryant. Le’Veon Bell is playing a max of 14 games and lost his starting center for a good portion of them. Adrian Peterson is an old man in running backs years being counted on to rebound from yet another season spent on the sidelines. Jamaal Charles is all but guaranteed to deal with nagging injuries, whether they cost him games or not. And Eddie Lacy… OK, Lacy seems pretty safe. But still, I felt better bucking conventional wisdom and grabbing a secure WR1 than I did drafting Lacy, so that’s what I did.
Had I stuck with Lacy, I essentially would’ve ended up with him and Alshon Jeffery instead of Dez and Melvin Gordon (Lamar Miller went one pick before I grabbed Gordon at the end of the second round). We’ll just have to wait and see exactly how dumb I was.
Anyway, on to the blog. Powered by an epic Cardinals-Raiders preseason matchup being played on the O.co Coliseum infield dirt as we speak, it’s your Sunday TCN!
Notes from around the league on a bleak Sunday for Packers fans and anyone who invested early shares in one Jordy Ray Nelson:
With just one preseason game on the NFL’s slate Sunday, news was a little scarce, but the Colts-Eagles tilt did feature an interesting matchup of rookie first-round wide receivers. Both Nelson Agholor (20th overall to the Eagles) and Phillip Dorsett (29th overall to the Colts) lined up with the ones Sunday and both flashed their considerable skills. Dorsett looked as elusive as you’d expect from a kid built like a prototypical slot receiver, catching four passes for 51 yards, but he also coughed up a fumble and his fantasy prospects for 2015 are limited as he’s buried on the Indy depth chart behind T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief, not to mention Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Frank Gore. Andrew Luck could attempt 700 passes this year and there still wouldn’t be enough targets tricking down to get Dorsett on the radar in most formats.
Agholor looked even better, making a leaping catch on a terrible Mark Sanchez pass (but I repeat myself…), then leaving cornerback Greg Toler in the dust en route to a 34-yard TD scamper. The only thing he’s lacking is elite size, but otherwise Agholor’s the complete package as a receiver and he didn’t seem to leave any doubt Sunday that he’d be in the starting lineup come Week 1. He finished the day with three catches for 57 yards, and probably added a full round to his ADP with the performance.