Applying My Winning Scott Fish Bowl Strategy to 2022

Applying My Winning Scott Fish Bowl Strategy to 2022

I had a good run last year finishing as the top "expert" in the Scott Fish Bowl, a competition featuring more than 2,500 teams with proceeds going to charity. It's become the largest and maybe most high-profile fantasy football industry competition.

I say "expert" because I actually finished fourth overall with three "fans" occupying the top-three spots (there's not much to distinguish an expert from a fan in this hobby other than the expert gets paid). I had a chance to win going into the final game with Dalvin Cook playing in the final Week 17 contest on Sunday night, but alas Kirk Cousins didn't play due to Covid and the Vikings offense couldn't muster anything against the Packers. Cook finished with 13 yards rushing.

How did I do it? It was one of those drafts where just about every pick hit its maximum outcome. However, I also had a strategy. And that strategy paid off when the luck all came together. So let's review my last year's team and how I applied that same strategy to my 2022 Scott Fish Bowl entry, and how that strategy can apply to your team for this season.

The Fish Bowl is essentially a superflex league with deep rosters. It has a roster of 22 players that starts  1-2 QB, 2-6 RB, 3-7 WR 1-5 TE, 0-4 K (11 Total). It drafts in mid-July. The rules change every year and some of the scoring rules are unique. The 2021 rules for the

I had a good run last year finishing as the top "expert" in the Scott Fish Bowl, a competition featuring more than 2,500 teams with proceeds going to charity. It's become the largest and maybe most high-profile fantasy football industry competition.

I say "expert" because I actually finished fourth overall with three "fans" occupying the top-three spots (there's not much to distinguish an expert from a fan in this hobby other than the expert gets paid). I had a chance to win going into the final game with Dalvin Cook playing in the final Week 17 contest on Sunday night, but alas Kirk Cousins didn't play due to Covid and the Vikings offense couldn't muster anything against the Packers. Cook finished with 13 yards rushing.

How did I do it? It was one of those drafts where just about every pick hit its maximum outcome. However, I also had a strategy. And that strategy paid off when the luck all came together. So let's review my last year's team and how I applied that same strategy to my 2022 Scott Fish Bowl entry, and how that strategy can apply to your team for this season.

The Fish Bowl is essentially a superflex league with deep rosters. It has a roster of 22 players that starts  1-2 QB, 2-6 RB, 3-7 WR 1-5 TE, 0-4 K (11 Total). It drafts in mid-July. The rules change every year and some of the scoring rules are unique. The 2021 rules for the quarterbacks had -1 points per incompletion and .5 points per completion. Running backs had .5 points per first down. Tight ends had .5 points per first down and .5 points extra point reception (1.5 PPR, so "TE Premium" scoring).

Here's my team from 2021:

PickPlayer
1.3Cook, Dalvin MIN RB
2.1Hill, Tyreek KCC WR
3.1Burrow, Joe CIN QB
4.3Cousins, Kirk MIN QB
5.1Sanders, Miles PHI RB
6.3Thielen, Adam MIN WR
7.1Kupp, Cooper LAR WR
8.3Higgins, Tee CIN WR
9.1Boyd, Tyler CIN WR
10.3Fournette, Leonard TBB RB
11.1Newton, Cam CAR QB
12.3Gronkowski, Rob TBB TE
13.1Singletary, Devin BUF RB
14.3Henderson, Darrell LAR RB
15.1Hubbard, Chuba CAR RB (R) 
16.3Mattison, Alexander MIN RB
17.1Alie-Cox, Mo IND TE
18.3Kirk, Christian ARI WR
19.1Jefferson, Van LAR WR
20.3Toney, Kadarius NYG WR (R) 
21.1Scott, Boston PHI RB
22.3Valdes-Scantling, Marquez GBP WR

Key pickups included Rashaad Penny in December for his late-season run (671 yards rushing and six touchdowns in his final five games), Rhamondre Stevenson right before Week 1 and Alex Collins for his brief stretch of value from Week 3 for Week 8

Here was the strategy I used.

1. Wait on QBs

It's a Superflex league so quarterbacks are at a premium. Seven of the first 12 picks were quarterbacks. And that makes sense with the scoring system and the penalty for incompletions. At the top of almost any league (barring a 14-plus team, 2-QB league) I always take a sure-fire, three-down running back in the top 3-5 picks overall if possible. These picks historically have performed the best. I had Dalvin Cook pegged as the No. 2 RB last season (and coincidentally, I do this year as well). So I took Cook at No. 3 overall. And then I waited on QB, getting a big value of Tyreek Hill (arguably last year's top preseason WR) at pick 2.10, though this league's format devalues wide receivers a bit. I took a high upside and high floor QB with my third- and fourth-round picks. If I had an error in this draft, it was that I whiffed on a third QB (Cam Newton, oops). I got lucky in free agency to fill some voids (Mike White!) at the position.

2. Secondary Stacks

Since there's a large overall component in this contest, I wanted some correlation between my top offensive players. The price was high to get the top stacks, but I found productive secondary stacks. I had the Vikings (Cook, Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen) without their top receiver (Justin Jefferson) and the Bengals (Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd) without Ja'Marr Chase. It's hard to remember, but at this point last season, the Bengals were thought to be very risky with Burrow coming back from a knee injury, the offensive line seen as a huge problem and Chase had questions if he could catch the NFL ball. If an offense takes off like the Bengals, a stack can work even without the top target.

3. Quantity of RBs

In a July draft — or any early summer/early preseason draft — it's always optimal strategy to load up on running backs. I left the draft with eight. Leonard Fournette at 10.03 emerged with increased touches. Darrell Henderson at 14.3 became a starter due to an injury ahead of him on the depth chart.  I also took Alexander Mattison as a handcuff. Normally I don't chase handcuffs preferring to win some other team's windfall playing time on top of my backs, but with rosters this deep it seemed worth it in the 16th round. It paid off as I got Mattison's three big games in Cook's absence.

4. Take Shots on Upside WRs

I took Cooper Kupp at 7.10. Even for a league that devalues wide receivers a bit, that still seems like a typo. More than anything this pick is why I was in the running to win the whole competition. I should get at least some credit for this stroke of luck. It's hard to remember that in early July 2021, Robert Woods was ahead of him in ADP and seen the bigger beneficiary of the quarterback upgrade to Matthew Stafford. Tee Higgins at 8.03 didn't hurt either.

5. Wait on TE

In a league this deep, you're going to be weak at some position. I decided to punt on tight ends since it's a position with a higher injury risk and is usually top heavy without much difference between the middle and late picks (and that's the way it is again in 2022). I took Rob Gronkowski at 12.3 and got a good value when he decided not to retire (maybe that happens again this year).

6. Avoid kickers

The 2021 Fish Bowl added the option to add a kicker as a flex player. With the possible exception of Justin Tucker, kickers are so unpredictable they're to be avoided. If you have an early season draft, it's optimal strategy to take one in the last round or not take one at all and pick one up just before the season starts (if your rules allow. It's the default rule to not require a kicker in Yahoo drafts, so take note).

The 2022 Fish Bowl format was largely the same with the biggest change being in quarterback scoring. The completion/incompletion rules were changed so that there is a bonus for being over 66.6 percent completion in a game, negative if under (.5 points per completion, -1 point per incompletion).

I mostly applied the same strategy to my 2022 team. How did I do?


1. Wait on QBs

With the 1.2, I just couldn't turn down Jonathan Taylor, the consensus top pick in almost every format (maybe barring this one. Peter Overzet may have the last laugh on me). He's the type of three-down workhorse back in his prime I just can't turn down at the top of a draft. Like last year, I went with arguably the top wide receiver in the second round (Justin Jefferson) again, arguing I got great value. In hindsight I probably should have gone with Dalvin Cook with my second pick since I have him No. 2 overall again this season, but I wavered to copy last year's successful plan.

However, the quarterbacks when even faster with nine going in the top-13 picks and 14 before I picked again at 2.11. I still felt compelled to take quarterbacks in the third and fourth round, but this time I had to go with two upside options without much floor (Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence). Tua is now surrounded by a ton of skill-player talent and was once considered a generational talent (Tank for Tua!). Maybe he takes a leap this season. Lawrence was the No. 1 overall draft pick, seen as a generational talent, and can't help but have a big improvement in coaching and offensive environment.

2. Secondary stacks

I'm on the Dolphins (Tua, Edmonds, Cedrick Wilson) and Jaguars (Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Christian Kirk) but I didn't execute the stacks as well as last year. I took Etienne at 5.11 over Jaylen Waddle (who went with the next pick. Damn you Overzet!), which might have been a mistake in strategy. I have to remember, though, the Jaguars stack at this point may not be that much crazier than the Bengals appeared at this time last year.

3. Quantity of RBs

I only drafted six. This may be a mistake. I took four quarterbacks, overcompensating for last year's struggles to find a third quarterback. I took Jimmy Garoppolo at 15.11 with the idea he'd get traded to Carolina or end up in Seattle (after he was cut). Oops. Maybe he gets traded to Cleveland if Deshaun Watson is suspended for the season.

4. Take Upside WRs

Could Jerry Jeudy, Christian Kirk and Amon-Ra St. Brown duplicate last year's success with Kupp? Judy at least has the big upgrade at quarterback.

5. Wait on TE

I took Irv Smith at 12.02. He's already hurt. But it's just a thumb injury and he could play Week 1.

6. Avoid kickers

This one was easy to execute.

So what are my chances this year? Where did I make a mistake? I'd love your opinion below. If you'd like a sneak peek at Jeff Erickson's top 150, here are his fantasy football rankings for PPR scoring.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Schoenke
Peter Schoenke is the president and co-founder of RotoWire.com. He's been elected to the hall of fame for both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and Fantasy Sports Writers Association and also won the Best Fantasy Baseball Article on the Internet in 2005 from the FSWA. He roots for for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and T-Wolves.
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