A+. That is a considerable standard to live up to. Especially when you are also the returning champion of a league only in its second year. But those are exactly the expectations that The Taco Stand faced after its perfect draft. And after an 11-2 season where The Taco Stand won its first eight matchups, lost its ninth by a mere 3.76 points (159.98-156.22), and then rattled off three more wins to top the entire league in points, ‘Championship or Bust’ seemed like a worthwhile bump sticker to affix onto the bandwagon. Too bad fantasy football is not fantasy baseball, where the best team almost always wins.
The draft could not have started out more fortuitously when Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy dropped to me at the 10th position. He’s a dynamic player regardless of the scoring system, but in a point-per-reception league like this one his value skyrockets. I then nabbed Chicago Bears wideout Brandon Marshall with the 15th overall selection and then two more PPR darlings, the Detroit Lions Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints Darren Sproles, with my third and fourth round picks. I then went tight end (the incomparable Tony Gonzalez), quarterback (Detroit’s Matthew Stafford), and then wide receiver with my next two selections, rookie Tavon Austin and veteran Anquan Boldin. Another tight end, Jared Cook, was then followed by the diminutive Danny Woodhead, three defenses (Denver, Cincinnati, and New England) sandwiched around rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins before finalizing my picks with the Lions Nate Burleson and Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby. Of all those choices only the two St. Louis Rams—Austin and Cook—and, to a lesser extent, Sproles, ended up being disappointments.
So why, then, did I fail to win back-to-back championships? Unfortunately there is no good explanation. (At least not one that can stop the gnawing of regret.) Here is a screen print of the Week 15 matchup:
As you can see the two positions I got vastly outperformed on were the QB and WR1. I had no other signal caller on my roster and my best receiving option on the bench was Boldin’s teammate Michael Crabtree who accounted for 15.50 points on five catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. Thankfully that one switch alone would not have won me the semifinal tilt. Perhaps, like with TR’s Peepers, I just went too long with Stafford. But the real reason I lost—and this dovetails divinely for why these postmortems are so therapeutic—is that his kicker scored him 24 points. Twenty four! Those 13 points more than Mason Crosby booted easily explains his 8.62 margin of victory. Thank goodness the Pack miraculously pulled out that victory. Bloody Monday was already far too visceral.
Had I won that semifinal tilt I likely would have taken home the championship as that matchup was much lower scoring (120.90-101.48) while I prevailed—in classic William A. Wheeler comeback style—166.58-159.74.
Team Name: The Taco Stand
Record: 11-2 (1 of 12)
Points: 2,072.32 (1 of 12)
Playoff Results: First round bye; semifinal loss, 151.82-143.20; third place game victory, 166.58-159.74
History: Second season
Championships: One (2012)
(Other) Top 3 Finishes: None
Previous Year Results: None
|*3||The Taco Stand||11-2-0||2072.32||1613.84||L-1||12||19|
|*5||POTTIE A.K.A. PEAZY||7-6-0||1845.02||1786.28||W-2||4||16|
|12||Mobsters In Town||0-13-0||1307.90||1849.60||L-13||1||7|
|1||Wolverines||Win||220.78 – 137.42||Recap|
|2||POTTIE A.K.A. PEAZY||Win||152.52 – 86.28||Recap|
|3||Hernandez Hitmen||Win||133.00 – 130.78||Recap|
|4||Water Dogz||Win||209.98 – 162.28||Recap|
|5||Mobsters In Town||Win||122.58 – 61.72||Recap|
|6||Bob’s BigDogs||Win||172.12 – 107.06||Recap|
|7||Hustlers||Win||139.78 – 120.92||Recap|
|8||Motorboating SOBEES||Win||161.12 – 127.90||Recap|
|9||Hoyt Maxxis||Loss||156.22 – 159.98||Recap|
|10||Embraer||Win||155.36 – 113.86||Recap|
|11||Lady Bugs||Win||160.38 – 120.16||Recap|
|12||Wolverines||Win||159.08 – 95.28||Recap|
|13||POTTIE A.K.A. PEAZY||Loss||129.40 – 190.20||Recap|
Draft Results (Yahoo! Grade: A+):
The Taco Stand
|1.||(10)||LeSean McCoy (Phi – RB)|
|2.||(15)||Brandon Marshall (Chi – WR)|
|3.||(34)||Reggie Bush (Det – RB)|
|4.||(39)||Darren Sproles (NO – RB)|
|5.||(58)||Tony Gonzalez (Atl – TE)|
|6.||(63)||Matthew Stafford (Det – QB)|
|7.||(82)||Tavon Austin (StL – WR)|
|8.||(87)||Anquan Boldin (SF – WR)|
|9.||(106)||Jared Cook (StL – TE)|
|10.||(111)||Danny Woodhead (SD – RB)|
|11.||(130)||Denver (Den – DEF)|
|12.||(135)||Cincinnati (Cin – DEF)|
|13.||(154)||DeAndre Hopkins (Hou – WR)|
|14.||(159)||New England (NE – DEF)|
|15.||(178)||Nate Burleson (Det – WR)|
|16.||(183)||Mason Crosby (GB – K)|
Smartest Move: Adding St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy off of waivers on Oct. 16, just prior to Week 7. He became my second best back, outperforming Reggie Bush by over 2.5 points per game—18.82 to 16.25—from that point onward. Most importantly it allowed me to banish Darren Sproles to the bench and use the triumvirate of McCoy-Stacy-Bush on a weekly basis.
Dumbest Move: Not adding another quarterback to compete with the struggling Matthew Stafford for the starting job. I would have liked some options in Week 15.
Best Value: Brandon Marshall (second round)
Worst Value: Tavon Austin (seventh)
Unsung Hero: None. Everyone on this squad, from top to bottom, contributed to the team’s overall success. Very proud of this group.
Total Money Earned: $42 ($92 for third place minus a $50 entry fee)
Turning Point: The Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys game. My opponent got major contributions from Tony Romo (27.32) and the Dallas kicker (24.00) for a combined 20.22 over their projected performance while Packers wideout James Jones (13.90) and Mason Crosby (9.00) only added 5.10 to my tally. That was a huge 15.12 spread in a matchup that was decided by just 8.62 points.