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The Complete Correspondence

As I wrote in my column at the end of July, fantasy football players routinely lure the incompetent, the clueless, and the hopelessly befuddled into their leagues. Sure, it all seems like harmless fun-with insults flying and money changing hands. But your dupes must turn somewhere for guidance, and in ever increasing numbers they are turning to those of us who made the mistake of becoming the fantasy football columnists. Please read on, and consider the sort of cyber-epistolary torture that we are put through by people who have no business becoming involved with fantasy football. (Those of you who already read July's installment of this column will want to skip to the message dated September 25th.)

09/04/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


I love your column. I read it every day. Thanks for all the really great advice. Anyway, who should I start, Fred Taylor or Corey Dillon?

Thanks in advance,

09/05/02 08:32 a.m. Sender

Dear Lionsfan,

Thank you for your kind words concerning my column, but I don't think you benefit very much from reading it daily, as it comes out only once per week.

As for your question, I am afraid I can no longer respond to requests to select team rosters for my readers. You might try asking someone else (I recommend, but you will probably want to include the scoring system for your league with your question, as it is often difficult to know which player to recommend without understanding how player performances are scored.

Good luck,

09/11/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


Sorry for leaving out the information. Our league plays 1QB/2RB/2WR/1TE/1K/1D. I don't know what it means, but I pasted it directly from the website, so I'm pretty sure I have it right. Now can you please tell me who I should start between Fred Taylor and Corey Dillon?

Thanks in advance again (though I shouldn't have to thank you again, since I thanked you in advance last time and you didn't answer my question),

09/12/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Dear Lionsfan,

That isn't the sort of information I was asking for. In fact, I wasn't asking for any information at all. I recommended that you take your question to Mike Krueger, but I wanted you to know that you should be able to tell him whether you are in a yardage league or a scoring-only league, whether you are penalized points for fumbles or not - that sort of thing.

The information you provided concerns roster composition, which is an entirely different ball of wax. It specifies how many players you start at various positions, but since it seems to mean that you can start two running backs, I'm curious as to who your third running back might be. It must be nice to choose between Taylor and Dillon for your second RB.


09/18/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


I don't understand why it's so hard to get a straight answer out of you stupid writers. I have asked you a simple question twice, and you have blown me off both times. Now, for the third time, I'm going to ask you a simple question: Should I start Fred Taylor or Corey Dillon this week?

Waiting patiently for one of two advance thank-yous to be collected upon,

09/19/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Dear Lionsfan,

My apologies if my first response to your first query was unclear; I was merely attempting to let you know, as politely as possible, that I do not have time to think through the roster decisions of any stranger with an email account who claims to have read one of my columns.

Fortunately, however, I will be happy to answer your question this week, as the Jaguars are on a bye. Since Fred Taylor won't be playing on Sunday, I'm giving you a gigantic green light on Dillon.

Even so, I recommend that you review your league's scoring system and explain the system to whomever it is that you decide to take your roster quandaries to in the future.

Thanks in advance for emailing all future questions to Mike Krueger,

09/25/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


I'm sorry I came off like such a sourpuss last week, but I was really getting frustrated. Anyway, I can see now that you really gave me some good advice about not starting Taylor 'coz he was on a bye.

But I thought it over, and my gut instinct told me that Taylor was due, so I started him anyway.

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your advice even though I didn't take it. Next time, I'll listen. I promise. I think this 'bye' strategy of yours might even have some applicability to some of my other players; perhaps you could use one of your columns to explain how we can avoid drafting players with bye weeks.

Oh, and last but not least, who do you like this week-Taylor or Dillon?

Thanks in advance for the column (but you still owe me a pick),

*** Dear - Part 2 ***

09/26/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Dear Lionsfan,

I wouldn't hold my breath for that column explaining the bye if I were you. It's not as if some players get one, while other players don't. All teams in the NFL get one week off each season. Byes are scheduled in advance (just check the sports section of your local newspaper), so there really wasn't anything impressive about my prediction concerning Taylor last week.

In fact, my predictions are always bad, which is why you should definitely take your questions about Taylor and Dillon to Mike Krueger.

Good luck,


10/02/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


I looked at the newspaper like you said, and it said that Corey Dillon will have a bye week later this month. I think you may be right about all of the teams in the NFL taking a week off in the middle of the season. I think the public has a right to know about this sort of thing. But more importantly, I would like to know why no one in my fantasy league told me, when I drafted Taylor and Dillon, that I was getting damaged goods.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think I have enough evidence to sue my commissioner for withholding information. I think I'm entitled to a refund--if not the entire pot for our league. What do you think?

And what about Taylor and Dillon this week? Which one would you start?

Thanks in advance for the legal advice (and since you're not going to write that column I already thanked you for, please convert that advance-thank-you to a second thank you for a player pick, which means you owe me two weeks of player picks and one piece of legal advice),

10/03/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Dear Lionsfan,

Hey Stuart, is that you? I never in a million years would have guessed that the guy I've been getting notes from every week is actually from my own fantasy league. But it all came together for me when the commish forwarded a crazy email from the owner of Detroit Demolition about suing us all for not mentioning bye weeks.

That's a pretty good joke. You had me going there.

Good luck this season, and I see from the league stats that you've been starting Taylor and Dillon all season long. You really should have used a back-up on Taylor's week off, but we all make mistakes.

Nice gag,


10/09/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


You have picked the wrong guy to harass over the internet, buddy. I know you think I must be pretty gullible, but I'm not gullible enough to believe that the Mike Davis who works down the hall from me is the same as the Mike Davis who writes for FFToday. Obviously, you hacked your way into our league website and pretended to be the Mike Davis down the hall.

I think that's invasion of privacy plain and simple. Maybe I won't hire a lawyer to sue my league. Maybe I'll hire a lawyer to sue you instead.

It's funny how you say you don't have the time to tell me whether to start Taylor or Dillon, but somehow you find the time to worm your way into my computer.

Well, I'll tell you what, I'll forget all about it if you just agree to tell me when to start Taylor and when to start Dillon for the rest of the year.


10/10/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Dear Lionsfan--aka Stuart,

Look, it's really me: Mike Lee Davis. I work thirty feet down the hall from you. I just walked past your office and said, "Stu, heads up, I'm about to send you an email."

Here's the proof I'm in your league. I own the team Whiny Crew, and I have just proposed two trades on our fantasy website. I'm offering Johnnie Morton and Charlie Batch (two former Lions) for Corey Dillon and Fred Taylor.

P.S. You really don't need to keep asking me about Taylor and Dillon, as you have been starting them both all season long.

P.S.S. The deals I am offering you are completely to my benefit. Don't accidentally authorize them on the website. I just made the offers to prove to you that we're in the same league.



10/16/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


I just talked to Mike Davis down the hall, and he is the one who offered me Morton and Batch. You had me thinking that you had hacked into his team and offered the trade for him, but he told me himself that he proposed the trade. He also said he was you, but I figure you put him up to that. The more I think about it, the more it seems like you have time for everything in the world except telling me whether to start Taylor or Dillon.

Anyway, the Mike Davis at my job says I would be a fool to take his offer, but I don't trust him. What do you think? Were you joking when you said I shouldn't take the trade?

If I do take the trade, should I start Batch or Morton? And if I don't, should I start Taylor or Dillon?

Hoping that you will collect on your advance thank-yous like an honorable person,

10/17/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:


Listen to me. It's me--Mike Lee Davis. I work down the hall from you. I was there when you killed the office Christmas party two years ago with your karaoke version of "Thick As a Brick"--the forty-minute version. Satisfied?

I absolutely do not advise you to take the Morton-for-Dillon or Batch-for-Taylor trades. I just picked them because they're the only two former Lions on my team. Please understand that it wasn't even a serious offer. I'm not trying to take advantage of the trust you put in me as a neutral party because I am not a neutral party. I am in your fantasy football league, and if you authorize those trades, you will be screwed for the rest of the season.

As for Taylor and Dillon, start Taylor as this is Dillon's bye week. Check the paper again to confirm, and then be sure to start one of your backup RBs in Dillon's place, okay?

Even if you don't believe I am who I say I am, believe me when I say that Dillon will get you no points this week.



10/23/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


That karaoke story proves nothing. Just tell me who hasn't done a karaoke of the forty-minute version of "Thick As a Brick." Nice try.

Well I guess I outsmarted both you and the guy I work with. I'm no dummy, and since Dillon was taking the week off anyway, I authorized the trade for Morton. I'm pretty sure it was a good idea, but the stupid computer wouldn't let me start Morton instead of Dillon.

Anyway, thanks for the heads up on Dillon, since I don't need a shirker like that on my roster anyway. Imagine if everyone at my job waited until the middle of our busiest season and then just took a week off. It's really embarrassing what these overpaid players think they can get away with.

As for this week, who should I start--Taylor or Morton?

Tired of doling out advance thank-yous as if they grew on trees,

10/27/02 08:32 a.m. Sender

Dear Stuart aka Lionsfan aka Dillweed,

Look, I already explained things to the commissioner, and he understands that your decision to trade a premier running back for a receiver who is a bust in Kansas City was just a stupid rookie mistake. He's going to reverse the trade and waive the transaction fees, but please don't play around with trades in the future. They can really make or break a season.

I checked your lineup on the website for the week, and you did in fact start Johnnie Morton. But the computer assumed you wanted him as a wide receiver because, well, that's what he is. Anyway, the important thing is that you're going to get Dillon back and everything will be back to normal.

In the meantime, keep starting Taylor, and be sure to use a backup RB if you have to play again before the commish can get Dillon back on your roster.

Losing patience,


10/30/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


So it seems like that guy down the hall from me, Mike Davis, went crying to the commissioner about how I screwed him out of Johnnie Morton.

Unfortunately for me, the commissioner and Mike go way back, so the commissioner forced me to take Corey Dillon back for Johnnie Morton. It all happened before I could call my lawyer. I had no say at all. It's outrageous the way grownup people behave!

Well, I got 'em both good. I went ahead and authorized the Batch-for-Taylor trade, and I'm going to keep Batch hostage now until I get Morton back. I've already talked to my lawyer about it, so it looks like the guy down the hall will just have to keep Fred Taylor until the commissioner puts Johnnie Morton back on my squad. In the meantime, he'll have to do without Charlie Batch.

And who should I start between Dillon and Batch?

Go Lions,

11/01/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Stuart you freakin' idiot!

That last trade you made is permanent, and it's going to get us both in trouble with the commissioner.

According to the rules of our fantasy league (the one that I, MIKE DAVIS, THE GUY WHO WORKS DOWN THE HALL FROM YOU, belong to), all trading must come to a stop on the Wednesday prior to the games played in Week Nine. This is to prevent unsuccessful owners (like you) from trading top-flight players (like Taylor) for benchwarmers (like Batch) to successful owners (like me) so that I can advance to the fantasy championship and split the pot with you.

It's called collusion, and it only works if it comes in under the radar of the rest of the league, which definitely isn't the case here. The commish just walked into my office (THE ONE THAT IS THIRTY FEET DOWN THE HALL FROM YOURS). For your information, he looks pretty ticked off.

Why don't you join us in my office for this meeting?



11/06/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


Oh boo hoo hoo. What's the matter? Momma didn't love you? Is that why you go on and on and on about how upset you are when all I needed to know was whether I should start Dillon or Batch?

I have been thinking over your proposal concerning collusion, and I even had a brief discussion concerning the matter with the guy down the hall and the commissioner in my league, but I think I'll pass on it. It sounds kind of underhanded to me.

So who's hot this week--Dillon or Batch?

No more thank-yous after all your whining,

11/07/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:

Dear Stuart aka Lionsfan aka ****-for-brains,

Why are you asking about choosing between Dillon and Batch? You don't need to choose between Dillon and Batch for more reasons than I can think of. The first reason is that Batch is a quarterback and Dillon is a running back. The second reason is that Batch is riding the pine while Dillon is the star of his franchise. The third reason is that Batch isn't really yours to start anyway, since he should never have left my roster. The fourth reason is that you no longer need to submit lineups. Don't you remember standing in my office a week ago while the commissioner called us a couple of sorry amateur swindlers and threw us out of the league? What don't you understand about being thrown out of the league? Our seasons are over, you moron. Haven't you noticed that the password to your account on the league website has been changed? Haven't you noticed that everyone around the office keeps calling us "cheaters" and throwing cheese danishes at us? What will it take for you to understand that there is no reason for you to keep pestering me about your fantasy team?

Please die,


11/13/02 12:02 p.m. Sender:


I don't know anything about hacking into fantasy league websites, but I assume it's pretty easy if you know what you're doing. So you changed the password on my account. Big deal. That doesn't scare me. But what does scare me is that you seem to have installed bugs and hidden cameras around the office. How else would you know what people were calling me and throwing at me?

I have to say that my interaction with you has been deeply dissatisfying. You pose as some kind of fantasy football expert, but all you do is get me more confused than ever about Taylor, Dillon, Morton and Batch. And then you get me in trouble at work.

I think that whatever process you have to go through to become a fantasy football columnist is deeply flawed. And you, sir, need to stop meddling in other people's personal lives.

I have explained all of this to my lawyer, and he has secured a court order requiring you to stay at least 500 feet away from me at all times pending our lawsuit. You really shouldn't have signed off with a death threat in your last note. The legal system does not take such things lightly.

Until we see each other in court, please cease all further correspondence with me.

Oh, and just so you know, once I figure out what you changed my password to, I'm definitely starting Batch.


11/14/02 08:32 a.m. Sender:


The boss is here with a moving crew. They're transferring me to another branch to satisfy that court order of yours. It's going to be a two-hour commute for me each way. Please explain that it's all a mistake.