Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
26 Nov 2010
by Aaron Schatz
As most of you know, I've been participating this year in the Blogger Fantasy League sponsored by the NFL and Procter and Gamble as part of their season-long Take it to the House promotion. As part of this promotion, each of us is taking turns writing weekly roundup articles about the league. Our team is sponsored by the good folks at Prilosec, which is why I've been chosen to write the article for the day after Thanksgiving. If there's ever the right day to promote Prilosec for heartburn relief, it is going to be the day after we all stuffed our faces with turkey and pumpkin pie.
Before we get to our league, let's talk about your chance to win some stuff. I've linked some information a few weeks ago in Extra Points about a mobile phone fantasy game that Procter and Gamble is sponsoring this year. It turns out that very few people can guess which NFL players will have the longest plays from the line of scrimmage in a given week. Our robot overloards at P&G have informed me that there have only been a small number of winners. A small pool of possible winners means that if you win the contest in these next few weeks, you have a legitimate chance of winning the final big drawing for a trip to the Super Bowl. I’ll stop short of saying you’re guaranteed to go to Dallas if you guess five correct any given week, but this isn't going to end up as one of those contests where you have one entry out of fifty million. Check it out on the “Fantasy” tab at www.Facebook.com/TakeItToTheHouse. Picks need to be in one hour before the first game of the week on Thursday.
Now, on to the Blogger Fantasy League. I thought it would be good to look back on our draft before the season, what went right and what went wrong, and what fantasy football players in general might learn from our successes and failures. I'm hoping that those larger lessons help get around the problem where reviews of other people's fantasy teams can be as dull as listening to your uncle go on and on about his investments in pork futures during Thanksgiving dinner. You can find the whole league with all our rosters and standings at NFL.com.
Best pick: Ahmad Bradshaw (8/87)
Worst pick: Randy Moss (1/10)
Lessons to learn: First, that old wide receivers are have a high risk-reward ratio. Diana has gotten tons of points from Terrell Owens (10/111) but very few from Moss. (Her other starting receiver is the excellent Greg Jennings.) Second, that in a 3WR league, running backs aren't quite as important as they are in a 2WR league. Diana took running backs in rounds 2, 6, 8, and 9 but has the best record in the league.
Best pick: Santonio Holmes (10/116)
Worst pick: These were Punte's picks in rounds 3-7: Ryan Grant, C.J. Spiller, Joseph Addai, Felix Jones, and Brandon Jacobs. A combination of injury and underperformance turned that into one terrible group of running backs.
Lesson to learn: Good free agent pickups can overcome unlucky drafting. This team picked up Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton early on. In fact, he just traded Peyton Manning to yours truly for Matt Forte and is going to play Orton every week for the rest of the year. It also helps to have a lot of general luck: Josh has the second-lowest point total in the league but good serendipity with matchups had him in the playoff hunt.
Best pick: Mike Wallace (6/69)
Worst pick: Sidney Rice (4/45)
Lesson to learn: Read the Football Outsiders Almanac top 25 prospects list every year. By the way, things are going to get interesting for this team. They just got back Rice and Vincent Jackson (acquired in trade) but DeAngelo Williams is now out for the year.
Best pick: Darren McFadden (10/112)
Worst pick: Pierre Thomas (3/33)
Lesson to learn: In a league that only starts two running backs, don't draft running backs with three of your top four picks. This team has been kept alive by the good fortune of picking up Michael Vick before we knew he was going to be the full-time starter.
Best Pick: Frank Gore (1/7)
Worst pick: Shonn Greene (2/18)
Lesson to learn: Sometimes, things just don't work out. None of us thought Greene would lose the Jets starting job, and nobody knew Tony Romo (3/31) would break his collarbone.
Best pick: Roddy White (3/27)
Worst pick: Brent Celek (5/51)
Lesson to learn: Watch out for overloading on on young players. Celek was a prime Plexiglass Principle candidate after he had such a huge jump in performance between 2008 and 2009. Kevin Kolb (7/75)... well, FO got pretty burned there too. Matthew Stafford, Dexter McCluster, and Tashard Choice all turned out to be wasted late picks.
Best pick: LaDainian Tomlinson (10/120)
Worst pick: Pierre Garcon (6/72)
Lesson to learn: The first pick is pretty swell. Thanks, Chris Johnson. Getting Tom Brady and Miles Austin at the turn of rounds 2-3 wasn't bad either.
Best pick: Arian Foster (6/62)
Worst pick: Steve Smith (4/38)
Lesson to learn: Pay attention to the status of camp battles. The draft took place just as it was dawning on everyone that Foster was going to be the starter in Houston, although none of us thought he would be this good. (One of the reasons I'm just 6-5 is that I left him on my bench for a couple of his biggest early games.) Also, don't be afraid to draft strong players with early suspensions, like Ben Roethlisberger (9/107).
This week I traded Matt Forte and Mike Williams (Tampa version) to Josh Zerkle's team for Peyton Manning and Mario "I'm now Eli Manning's top target" Manningham. I'm hoping to flip Roethlisberger for more wide receiver upgrading in the next week or so. (Hint hint to my fellow BFL owners reading this post.)
Best pick: Austin Collie (11/128)
Worst pick: Ryan Mathews (2/17)
Lesson to learn: Anthony Gonzalez will never, ever be healthy. Stephanie took fine advantage of this fact.
Best pick: Anquan Boldin (4/43)
Worst pick: Vincent Jackson (3/30)
Lesson to learn: Don't be afraid to trade in mid-year. Kyle has acquired Santonio Holmes and Joe Flacco in trade to help replace the disappointing Matt Schaub (2/19) and make up for the mistaken belief that Jackson would not extend his holdout into the season.
Best pick: Jahvid Best (3/36)
Worst pick: Larry Fitzgerald (2/13)
Lesson to learn: Matt took both Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston (7/84), so I guess the lesson is "never underestimate the power of a quarterback change."
Best pick: Dwayne Bowe (5/50)
Worst pick: Beanie Wells (2/23)
Lesson to learn: Luck is everything. Fuzzy Gullets has the most total points in the league but is in last place in its division thanks to a set of unlucky weekly matchups. Nothing he can do about it, unfortunately.
That's our look around the BFL. We'll have more updates over the next few weeks. Let's hope my team can get hot and pull this thing out, because the winner among the 12 of us gets a trip to the Super Bowl. Also, we want to thank the people of Prilosec again. As part of their promotion with offensive linemen and the John Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, we got to interview Anthony Herrera of the Vikings a couple weeks ago, and Ben Muth's interview with the other Prilosec spokesman, David Diehl of the Giants, is coming later this weekend.
5 comments, Last at 29 Nov 2010, 6:58pm by Raiderjoe