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Mike Davis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Best & Worst Decisions of Your Draft/Auction

Last Week's Question: What's your favorite fantasy podcast?

In my column for Week 1, I challenged readers to rank six of the most popular fantasy football podcasts (Fantasy Focus, Fantasy Football Today, Harris Football Podcast, NFL Fantasy Live, The Audible/On the Couch, & The Fantasy Footballers). I also encouraged readers to comment on any podcasts to which they listen regularly.

Somewhat surprisingly, the podcasts that received the least feedback from readers were the ones with the greatest media exposure (ESPN's Fantasy Focus, CBS' Fantasy Football Today, and the NFL's Fantasy Live). If the voting was any indication, then independent podcasters (such as Chris Harris,, and the Fantasy Footballers) are running away with listener support in the fantasy community.

Rick commented strictly on the independent podcasts in his post:

1. Harris Football - CH watches all the film so you don't have to. Great mix of Chris plus guests plus snark plus inside jokes and catchphrases plus sane fantasy football advice.

2. On the Couch - Terrific in-depth analysis from Sig and guests. One complaint: the audio quality is unacceptable. I just started my first podcast a couple months ago and my audio quality is far superior. Frankly, shame on Sig for being substandard in this area.

3. Fantasy Footballers - Great audio quality and a light, entertaining show. I find the fantasy advice to be a bit 101, but it's a fun listen.
CG4Mongo was only familiar with one podcast of the six listed, but mentioned another podcast that I haven't yet had a chance to sample:
On the Couch/The Audible is the only one of those I listen to. The injury segment with Dr. Brammel is incredibly insightful, but tends to go on for too long. The fantasy talk is thorough and informative.

My other favorite (there are only so many hours a week to listen to podcasts) is Living the Stream, from the guys at Late Round QB. They focus on end-of-the-bench options for those who stream QB, DST and/or TE. They will talk in depth about guys other shows or sites barely mention. Great show, and their inside jokes actually make me laugh.
David emailed me to say that even though he can't abide the CBS/ESPN podcasts because the crews are "extremely annoying," the independent podcasts he enjoys most were not included on my list: John Hansen's Fantasy Guru and The Ross Tucker Football Podcast. He especially enjoys these shows when they feature Greg Cosell as a guest who breaks down game film:
Tucker and Cosell go back and forth with Tucker's real-game knowledge coupled with Cosell's insights. They'll talk about offensive and defensive lines, they'll talk about struggling linebackers and DB's, and they'll talk about great QB play that hasn't been recognized. They'll also bring up names on offense that are up and comers. Ross is a retired football player, but knows enough fantasy to keep things interesting for us.
I didn't have time to check out the recommendations from David or CG4Mongo, but I did listen to Nate's favorite show, since he was the first reader to respond to the column. Nate claims that Fantasy Football Weekly from KFAN is the reason he wins his league every year.

I think that may be an overstatement, since anyone who can find time on a Saturday morning to listen to a fantasy show is probably dedicated enough to the hobby to find success. But after listening to one installment of Fantasy Football Weekly, I can see why Nate touts the show so highly. The questions the moderator poses to the panelists are genuinely challenging, and the analysis from all participants is data-driven and insightful.

I didn't get around to listening until after the games were played, so the predictions that Fantasy Football Weekly got wrong stood out. For example, in their analysis of the Vikings for Week 1, they expected Adrian Peterson to have a solid game and Stefon Diggs to be a dud because of the sudden change at QB. (In fairness, everyone else expected the same thing—myself included.) More impressively, they rightly warned against starting Coby Fleener vs. the Raiders (a prediction that few fantasy analysts had the guts to make).

I hope to treat myself to the other recommendations I received from readers in the coming weeks, and I'll try to squeeze in quick reviews if I have the space to do so. If you have a fantasy podcast you think I should check out, please post a link in the comment section below or email it to me.

My thanks go out, as usual, to everyone who took the time to chime in.

This Week's Question: Based on what you saw in Week 1, what were the best and worst decisions of your draft/auction?

I think some FFers make the same mistakes year after year in their drafts/auctions because the data drifts in so slowly and sporadically that by the time they're in a position to see what they did wrong, they've forgotten what they did entirely.

Most of us like the teams we build at the time we built them. Duh, that's why we built them the way we did.

But then there are preseason shake-ups and injuries and fluke plays and wins that our teams don't deserve followed by losses that they don't deserve . . . and by the time the regular fantasy season comes to an end, it's easy to be deeply confused about what we did right to make the playoffs or what we did wrong to miss them.

Sure, we can point to particular players on our roster and say, "Those guys are carrying my team." But do we even remember the circumstances that led us to take those particular players—or how close we came to taking other players instead?

For example, I took A.J. Green in my primary league this year—but only because DeAndre Hopkins was unavailable. If Week 1 is an indication of how Green and Hopkins will perform this year (and I'm not saying it is), then it will be easy for me to forget in a few weeks that the only reason I have Green instead of Hopkins is because of a choice made by another owner picking ahead of me.

That's not insight; it's luck.

There are no lessons to be learned from luck, but there are lessons that we should learn from our drafts and auctions, so I'm asking readers of this column to make a couple of notes to themselves now that the Week 1 games are in the books.

Those who are shy can jot the notes down privately, but I encourage those who are bold to post them as comments to this column or to email them to me.

By way of example, here are what seem to be my best and worst draft-day decisions in 2016.

Best decision: In my primary league, even though I already had Lamar Miller and Thomas Rawls as my RB1 and RB2, I snapped up both DeAngelo Williams and Spencer Ware before the Le'Veon Bell and Jamaal Charles owners could secure them as handcuffs. Even if I only get a few weeks out of these backups before the starters return, it looks like it could be a glorious few weeks.

Worst decision: In the FFToday staff league, I followed up my Markus Wheaton pick with Sammie Coates—thinking that one way or another, I would have the #2 WR in Pittsburgh locked up. I discounted Eli Rogers, despite his obvious talent, because he is virtually a rookie (having spent 2015 on IR) and because it's so hard for rookie WRs to have an impact. I think I burrowed into my own logic so blindly that I failed to recognize that I was spending two draft picks trying (and probably failing!) to secure a good offense's #2 WR when I could have just spent a single draft pick on the likes of Vincent Jackson. The further I get from the moment of picking Coates, the more boneheaded I feel about that decision.

What were your best and worst draft-day decisions of 2016?

Survivor Pool Picks - Week 2 (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)

Last week was the quintessential opening week of an NFL season. It featured everything SHORT of two very big upsets. The Chiefs came back from being down 21-3 to win at home against a Chargers team that looked dominant for the first half of the game. Meanwhile, a third of survivor pool participants were holding their breath late into the 4th quarter with Seattle behind Miami until Russell Wilson led the Seahawks back to win with less than 2 minutes to play. Without that effort, many people would have gone the way of their counterparts in 2010 when the wildcat formation of the Dolphins surprised Bill Belichick in Miami for a “shocking’ upset.

Trap Game: Miami at New England

People, how many of you picked Seattle to blow out Miami? And how many of you were sitting there with two minutes to go biting your nails? Make no mistake, New England’s defense is nowhere near the caliber of Seattle, and the atmosphere at Foxboro is less intimidating than Seattle’s 12th man. While Miami fell short last week, the Patriots should tread carefully. Don’t overlook the Dolphins this season. They will be in most games until the final gun.

#3: Oakland over Atlanta (0-1, Jax)

Last week with this pick I went BOLD and almost correctly picked the upset of the Jaguars over the Green Bay packers. This week, while I would love to pick the underdog Falcons, the maturing Raiders are the more intriguing option thanks to the offensive firepower of Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper and reclamation project Michael Crabtree. The Falcons, even if they were playing home, wouldn't be favored. Clearly these teams are going in opposite directions. The trick for Oakland fans (since their team should win more than its fair share of games this season) is to decide when to use them in 2016. I'll wait until later on, but I wouldn't fault anyone for taking them now.

#2: Arizona over Tampa Bay (1-0, HOU)

The Buccaneers dramatically improved their roster with the addition of Jameis Winston last year. Unfortunately, Doug Martin, who was a free agent in 2015, doesn’t have the same incentive to work as hard as he did last year (thanks to a hefty contract). Maybe Tampa fans can motivate him to play better by threatening to call him "Muscle Hamster" (a nickname he detests) for a week after any game in which he fails to gain 100 yards. But there's good reason to think that the outcome of this game will have more to do with the motivation facing the Cardinals, whose Carson Palmer is probably staring down the barrel of his last chance at a championship run. A loss to a conference competitor will not be tolerated in the locker room by Bruce Arians. Nor should it be—since Arizona's incredibly talented offense should overwhelm the Buccaneers' struggling D. Motivation and talent align in this one, which makes it the perfect choice for those who don't want to overthink things.

#1: Carolina over San Francisco: (1-0, SEA)

Before we plunge into this one, let's pause to recognize that the 49ers played an excellent game against the Rams in Week 1 in what was supposed to be a rough debut for Chip Kelly with a talent-challenged roster in San Francisco. Props to Kelly; let's not underestimate his capabilities. But with that said, Kelly's team is going to lose to the Panthers because it's easy to distinguish Cam Newton from Blaine Gabbert, Kelvin Benjamin from Torrey Smith, and the quality of team that defeated Carolina (the Broncos) from the quality of team the 49ers defeated (the Rams). The Panthers and 49ers come into this game with records of 0-1 and 1-0 respectively, but they'll both leave 1-1.

Mike Davis has been writing about fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can be found here.