Last Weekís Question: Does your league
rate teams before the season begins?
In my column for Week
9, I asked if there were any leagues that made a habit of having
owners rank teams after the draft and before the season. I heard
from several commissioners like Dave, whose league does this in
an informal way:
After the draft is over, I will usually post a poll asking which
team (other than their own) had the best draft. Most owners will
respond, and it provides for some chatter later in the season, But
the primary reason I do it is to give the owners a reason to go
looking at each other’s rosters after the draft & become
familiar with each of the teams.
There’s a lot to like about Dave’s approach here. Instead
of requiring owners to do something, he simply makes it easy for
them to participate in an exercise that is likely to have value
for all of them down the road. But since his poll isn’t obligatory,
the level of participation presumably varies from year to year,
so it’s not even clear whether any conclusions about the accuracy
of the predictions of owners could be reached even if he kept records
of the poll (which it’s not clear that he does).
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear from any leagues that take a
more rigorous approach to grading teams before the season begins.
It would be interesting to know if consensus favorites consistently
make or miss the playoffs, but these aren’t the kinds of records
that leagues seem likely to keep or evaluate. My apologies to Bruce
for not being able to produce a better answer, but this question
instantly struck me as a longshot.
This week’s question: Are you
glad about a trade you made for a QB in 2018?
I have a confession to make about my approach to QBs in fantasy:
I donít really care about them. In the FFToday
staff league, I didnít pull the trigger on a QB until
the 17th round of our 18-round draft. I ended up with Blake Bortlesówhich
was fine with me, even when he was benched. When a QB doesnít
work out or is on a bye, I can always stream a replacement based
on a favorable matchup.
Thatís how I ended up with Ryan Fitzpatrick filling in for
Bortles in Week 9. Sure, Fitzmagic got off to a great start this
year, but of course his owner cut him when Jameis Winston took back
over in Tampa. Thatís just how it goes with QBs; nobody really
has room on their roster to store a backup. Thatís just one
reason that there are always quality QBs available on waivers. (A
second reason is that every week thereís a new QB playing
against the Browns.)
When it comes to scarcity, thereís simply no comparison between
productive running backs and productive QBs. I ended up with just
1 QB drafted in the 17th round in the staff league precisely because
I wanted to focus on depth at RB & WR. I needed that depth at
RB, since I drafted Jerick McKinnon, Devonta Freeman, Marshawn Lynch,
Ty Montgomery, James White, and Doug Martin. I lost McKinnon before
the season began, Freeman early, and Lynch not much later. Montgomery
was a dice roll that didnít work out. After spending 6 draft
picks on RBs, I was unable to meet the requirement of starting 2
RBs in Week 7 (with McKinnon, Freeman and Lynch injured and both
Martin and Montgomery on their bye). I had to snag Kapri Bibbs from
waivers just to submit a full lineupóand I felt lucky to land
Bibbs under the circumstances.
I never have that much trouble finding a starting QB. Never.
Iím not saying that I knew for certain how much more effective
Rivers would be than Wilson in 2018, but I am saying that I had
zero temptation to target either QB in the middle rounds because
the one true unchanging fact of fantasy football is that solid QB
production is available on the waiver wire almost every week in
almost every league.
Even so, I have competitors in the staff league who seem to think
that even though QBs are a dime a dozen & RBs are impossible to
come by, I should trade James
White (a monster in this PPR format and the only workhorse RB
on my team) for a high-end QB. For instance, Doug Orth offered me
Mahomes for White.
Now Mahomes is clearly a massive upgrade over either of my QBs (Bortles/Fitzpatrick),
but going from White + Martin to Martin + Montgomery at RB is an
even bigger downgrade. And yet that comparison still fails to address
the real disparity between the positions, since I can probably find
at least 1 QB on waivers each week who will perform within a few
points of Mahomes, whereas I am unlikely to find a single RB on
waivers for the rest of the season who can compete with White in
a PPR league.
Thatís a long way of saying that I donít even understand
why anyone would consider trading an elite talent at RB or WR or
TE for an elite talent at QB. Fitzpatrick was an elite talent at
QB at the beginning of the seasonóand yet I got him on waivers
because thereís simply too much talent at QB in the NFL for
fantasy rosters to accommodate all the start-worthy signal callers.
But maybe Iím being a little too dedicated to the idea of
streaming QBs from waivers. Maybe thereís a good reason to
go after QBs in trades. Maybe if McKinnon and Freeman were healthy,
it would be worth looking at trading a PPR machine like White for
What about you? If you have traded for a QB in 2018, I hope to hear
from you (either in the comments section below or via
email). Which QB did you get? Who did you give up? And most
importantly, are you glad about the trade you madeóor do you
Survivor Pool Picks
Bonus Pick: Packers over Dolphins
This spot is ordinarily reserved for a trap game, but this week
it gets reassigned as a bonus pick because of the confidence you
should have in the Green Bay Packers as 10-point favorites at home
vs. the Dolphins. The Packers arenít available to me because
Iíve already used them as my third pick (Week 1), my second
pick (Week 4), and my first pick (Week 6). They were home favorites
in all those games as well, so itís no surprise that the picks
worked out every time. I especially like them against a weak Florida
team on a day that should be near freezing. If you have started
your survival pool over (as many did after Week 3), perhaps the
Pack is still available to you.
Pick #3: Eagles over Cowboys (7-2; GB, NO, CHI, LAC, CIN, car, TB, IND, oak)
The Eagles are 7-point favorites for good reason. Under Doug Pederson,
they have a better home record than any NFL team not named the Patriots.
Enter the Cowboys, who have yet to win a road game in 2018. Sure,
Dallas has added Amari Cooper to its lackluster receiving corps,
but Philly has acquired a new receiver of its own: Golden Tate,
who gouged Dallas for 132 yards as a Lion in September. Philadelphiaís
stout rush defense may have a few hiccups against the dynamic Ezekiel Elliott, but the Cowboy defense is in for a long day vs. Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, & Zach Ertz in addition to Tate.
Pick #2: Falcons over Browns (7-2; no, LAC, hou, GB, CAR, MIN, IND, PIT, KC)
Home-field advantage must be worth something to the Browns, who
are only 4.5-point underdogs to the visiting Falcons. Itís
hard to see how the game will be that close with so many injuries
on the Cleveland defense. The Brownsí linebacking corps and
secondary are practically on life support, and the Falcon offense
is red hot after a 38-14 spanking of the Redskins in Week 9. The
only thing I hate more than picking against a home team in a survival
pool contest is NOT picking against the Browns when theyíre
overmatched (which they are).
Pick #1: Chiefs over Cardinals (7-2; BAL, LAR, min, JAX, NO, GB, LAC, CHI, dal)
The Chiefs are multidimensional in ways that Cardinal fans can hardly
fathom. Sure, Arizona has a star RB in David Johnson (to offset
KCís Kareem Hunt), but the Chiefs have a star QB (Patrick Mahomes), a star receiver (Tyreek Hill), and a star tight end (Travis Kelce) in addition to a great runner. Thereís just no comparison
between these offenses. Larry Fitzgerald hasnít performed
as well as teammate Christian Kirk this season, and neither Arizona
wide-out has been as effective as Sammy Watkins (KCís No.
2 WR). Perhaps the most damning contrast of all is at QB. Josh Rosen
has thrown 6 picks to Mahomesí 7 this season, but Rosen has
only 5 TDs to Mahomesí 29 so far in 2018. In other words,
Mahomes had more TD passes in Week 2 than Rosen has had since taking
over at QB in Week 3. I donít see how the Cards can keep up
in this one.
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.