The Vampire (Football) Diaries

So what do vampires and fantasy football have in common?

Nothing according to Google (though if you accidentally run that search without the word “football” included, there are a surprising number of results with varying degrees of intrigue/terror).

In the not-too-distant future, however, I expect the word vampire to become quite commonplace among the fantasy football community. Or at least I should say I hope that it does. Only time will tell if doing a Vampire format fantasy football league lives up to the real thing.

All I do know for sure is that when I stumbled onto the concept of a Vampire league, I had to try it.

I mean I HAD TO. All caps kind of conviction.

It was late July when I first came across the concept on Twitter and it was about 18 minutes later that I had adapted the general premise to suit my interests. If you haven’t heard about this slowly burgeoning format, the gist is like this:

One team does not draft. He or she is the Vampire. Like a vampire, this team draws its strength from taking a victim. A vampire needs to drink someone’s blood to become powerful. It steals its power from its victims, leaving them lifeless. In fantasy football, losing Todd Gurley to a Vampire is going to leave your team pretty damn lifeless.

And that’s the hook.

If a Vampire team – who did not draft and has built a roster from waiver scraps – defeats his/her weekly opponent, the Vampire can steal a player from its victim to become more powerful.

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In the original concept floated on Twitter, the idea was that all teams that draft could not participate in trades or waivers during the season. Essentially, this means only the Vampire is truly playing the game that we love. Sure, he or she is starting at a major disadvantage, but if he/she independently owns waivers, it’s only a matter of time before there’s some good talent on that roster while drafted teams cannot adjust for injury except to play a bench option.

To me, this sounded boring and less challenging than intended. So, I made some alterations. And then I went out to recruit.

My problem was finding enough friends in late July/early August who wanted to not only take on an additional league and find time to draft it, but to also adopt this weird new concept.

I solved this headache the only way I could think to do so. I admittedly suck at using Twitter to promote my craft and share my thoughts. In this sense, I’m a piss poor fantasy analyst. But I’m determined to fix that.

So, despite having roughly 200 Twitter followers at the time of this decision, I put the word out there that I wanted to be a Vampire. Given my lack of following I expected to maybe scrape together 3-5 guys and to fill the rest of the league with friends I had to bribe. In less than a week I had three 10-man leagues, one of which will allow me to indulge this persistent need to know – am I as good at talent evaluation as I think I am? Can I find enough hidden gems to drag myself from the bottom to the top? Can I “kill” enough to become as powerful as the mighty Dracula?

Now that my few Twitter fans have joined me, I’ll actually get to find out… starting today.

So, to wrap the first entry into my Vampire Football Diary, let’s quickly go over my changes to the format, my team – why I chose these guys – and my Week 1 opponent.

The Rules:

Without covering everything, because I have made them pretty explicit, I’ll just share the major differences.

First, all three vampire leagues I’ve started will be keeper formats. The vampire next year will be whoever finishes last this year. If the vampire is at the bottom, ninth place gets the glory. Everyone except the new vampire will keep two players that cost the acquisition pick (i.e., you draft Joe Mixon in the 2nd, you lose the following year’s 2nd if you keep him). The round goes up each year you keep someone.

Everyone can make moves all season, including trading draft picks, but for Weeks 1-7 the Vampire always has the top waiver spot. This gives the Vampire a fighting chance over the season’s first half.

Most importantly, there will be strategy implications for all teams, not just the Vampire. When you play the Vampire, you may protect one player from his or her deadly bite. But to do so you must bench that player – risk losing your second best player to protect your top guy. As the Vampire gains strength this could become a highly difficult and impactful decision for his/her opponents.

Finally, if the Vampire takes down the league, it’s winner-take-all instead of payouts for both 1st and 2nd place.

I won’t go into the rest here, but feel free to inquire about more details on Twitter. After all, I’m going to be a real fantasy analyst this year and live on Twitter.

My Team:

QB – Jared Goff
Reason: I faced the difficult decision of choosing between Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton, Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota, but the matchup with Oakland is too tasty. Plus, Goff offers season-long stability since the league favors QB’s for passing yards and scores – 1 point per 20 yards, 6-point passing TDs. I quickly learned the Vampire will always get a competent QB in a 10-team format.

RB – James Conner, Jordan Wilkins, Alfred Morris, Ty Montgomery
Reasons: These were mostly no-brainers given the timing of our draft. This league – fortunately for me – was drafted the morning that Jerick McKinnon tore his ACL, so no one was thinking Morris. The tough call was not also adding Matt Breida, but I opted for a more receiver-heavy lineup and am a bigger believer in Morris over a 190-lb running back. I’m hopeful Conner and Wilkins can help me get a win before Le’Veon Bell and Marlon Mack get back into their regular roles.

WR – Anthony Miller, Randall Cobb, Kelvin Benjamin, Tyler Lockett, Quincy Enunwa, Cameron Meredith, Calvin Ridley, Josh Doctson, DeVante Parker
Reasons: I’m already regretting Ridley, who would have been the guy I dropped to add another RB sitting on waivers that I like, but he had to stink up the Thursday night game instead of tomorrow. Alas, I digress. Miller is my favorite here. If you follow me at all on Twitter or read me on Rotowire you know I’m obsessed with his Antonio Brown-like traits. I truly believe he’s a future All-Pro and will be shocked if I’m not keeping him next year for my last round pick. Cobb was an easy choice to buy stake in Aaron Rodgers (may switch this to Geronimo Allison after tomorrow) and Lockett is essentially the same with Russell Wilson. I also love his weekly ceiling because of that awesome deep speed. Was crushed that I couldn’t end up with a Chris Godwin or John Ross, but think I essentially get the same talent/production with Miller and Lockett, respectively. I’ve always liked Meredith’s skill set and really hope he emerges quickly as a go-to for Drew Brees (again buying the QB as well) and added Benjamin, Doctson, Enunwa and Parker to hopefully get a team’s No. 1 receiver (a near certainty in Benjamin’s case). The best part is that we have an IR spot, so I can stash Parker for a week or two while I sort out the rest of my depth.

TE – Jack Doyle
Reason: Andrew Luck. Just like I did with some WRs, I wanted a tight end tied to a great quarterback. Also, it’s half point PPR and I really like Doyle’s Week 1 matchup. This could very well change next week because there are a couple nice TEs already dropped and on waivers through tomorrow.

Defense – New Orleans
Reason: Nothing to see here. Love the Saints’ talent and they draw Ryan Fitzpatrick. Hoping for multiple interceptions from Fitzy and will play weekly matchups at this position. Among free agents, the Broncos are on my radar and Packers too given their hugely upgraded secondary.

Kicker – TBD
I can’t put Parker on IR until he’s officially ruled out before kickoff. I’ll add my kicker then. He’ll likely be someone that kicks a football for a living.

My Week 1 Opponent:

I don’t want to use names or Twitter handles unless asked by the league members, but I think it’s awesome that my Week 1 opponent is the only Twitter player that got excited when I said I would be blogging about these leagues.

Hopefully he’ll be just as excited if I can miraculously take him down this week.

His Week 1 starting lineup:

QB – Matthew Stafford
RB – Ezekiel Elliott
RB – Leonard Fournette
WR – Allen Robinson
WR – Cooper Kupp
Flex – Jordan Howard
Flex – Marshawn Lynch
TE – David Njoku
K – Matt Prater
DEF – Chicago

My Week 1 Vampire starting lineup ☹

QB – Jared Goff
RB – James Conner
RB – Jordan Wilkins
WR – Tyler Lockett
WR – Anthony Miller
Flex – Randall Cobb
Flex – Quincy Enunwa
TE – Jack Doyle
DEF – New Orleans

You might just say he has me edged a bit in the RB department.

With the hour getting a little late for even this Vampire (kickoff of the 1pm’s is exactly 12 hours away), let’s wrap up the Week 1 Vampire Football Diaries with the best thing I didn’t tell you yet…

My team name is Count Chocula.

Happy Sunday everyone! Go suck some fantasy blood!!

If you want to learn more about this format, ask me about your teams/leagues or get into a good old-fashioned debate about anything football, follow me on the Twitter: @Hoover_L_A