When you’re in eight leagues and your day job involves breaking down the fantasy prospects of every player for every game, it’s inevitable that football is never far from your mind. And since many of the same dilemmas I encounter are ones you the readers bump up against as well, I thought it might make sense to share some of my thought processes with you. There’s no rhyme or reason to the topics to be discussed here, other than at some point they popped into my head, kicking to the side lyrics from some obscure ‘80s song (“I'm goin' down for the last time/I'm nearly out of my mind”) and commanding my attention.
And with Joe Webb outdueling Mike Vick—yeah, saw that coming—we put a wrap on the 2010 fantasy season. Sure, some of you play into Week 17 (more on that in a moment), but for the vast majority you’re either hoisting hardware or scheming a way to get it back next year. So let’s figure out how to go about that task... together.
In an earlier Off Tackle I mentioned how real leagues don’t settle their championship in Week 17, and a couple readers vociferously disagreed. First, let me state that your league is your league, and however you do things is up to you... and if I’m not in your league, I’m not going to complain about it.
But I do want to address the Week 17 thing in case your league does have some wiggle room in that area, because I believe it holds merit.
One argument I heard was something to the effect of a Week 17 championship game measuring the depth of your roster, and that you can plan accordingly. Tell that to the owners of Patriots, Jets, and Bears who may or may not get a full game from their charges. It’s like an injury, but an injury falls into the “luck” portion of fantasy football that I like to see limited as much as possible. I also like to keep rosters as small as possible so the free agent pool isn’t bone-dry, which would conflict directly with the larger rosters necessitated by a Week 17 title game.
Besides, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Week 17. One of my leagues runs an all-play where you start the best lineup possible using the entire slate of NFL players, not just the guys that were on your team. Best score takes home the weekly pot. This way everyone in your league wraps up the season with an interest in what’s going on, not just two teams fielding partial lineups if they were unlucky enough to bank on players who led their teams into clinched postseason berths.
But hey, you want Stephen McGee and Mark Brunell to decide your fantasy title, have at it.
For some, this marks the end of the fantasy season—but not, of course, for you Huddlers.
What’s on tap before the rest of your league starts boning up on offseason moves in late August? We’ll have playoff fantasy rankings and a couple of games (check the forums for details), then plenty of draft coverage so you can identify next year’s Sam Bradford, Jahvid Best, Mike Williams, and Rob Gronkowski.
There will also be statistical analysis upon statistical analysis as we try to determine what happened, why it happened, and where (and with whom) it might happen again.
I’m also hoping to run through some ideas gleaned from 20-plus years of playing this little pastime of ours to help you fine-tune your league—everything from auction vs. draft to the free agent acquisition budget to roster sizes to tie-breakers, and a whole lot more.
To that end, if you have any suggestions on either of those fronts—trends you think you’ve picked up on, numbers you’d like to have at your disposal, tips for turning a good league into a great one—I’m all ears. Tack them on here, use the forums, ping me directly through the Huddle forum messenger (user name: j2v) or buzz me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully you’ll load me up with more ideas than I can use, but I’m willing to take that risk.