Inspired by both last year’s postmortem series and a couple years now of post-Monday Night Football therapeutic tweeting, I’ve decided to channel that passion/neurosis into a weekly column breaking down the sweet science that is fantasy football.
Each week I will provide an update on all 11 of my teams and highlight trends that are not only affecting me but also could potentially help my fellow reader climb the steep and treacherous mountain whose summit holds fantasy football immortality. Since this is the first edition of the season, I will also give you, the reader, a sense of each league’s particularities as well as who were drafted on to which team.
So let’s begin.
Here are how my squads breakdown this season:
In my one point for every five yard rushing PPR league, Pangaea kept the Green Bay Packers team quarterback, Randall Cobb, Jamaal Charles, and—oy!—Ray Rice. Picking sixth (I missed the playoffs last season by mere percentage points), I chose Buffalo Bill stud rookie Sammy Watkins. In subsequent rounds these were my selections (we are required to draft two team defenses and a couple of kickers): Michael Floyd, Brandin Cooks, Greg Olsen, Terrance West, Bengals defense, Stevan Ridley, Packers defense, Jarrett Boykin, Blair Walsh, Dwayne Allen, and Arizona placekicker Chandler Catanzaro.
My draft grades from Yahoo!:
Green Bay Gamblers (A+)
Sterling Sharpe (B)
Fuzzy Dunlop (A)
The Taco Stand (B)
Unwitty Team Name (A)
Week 1 is always the toughest time to set your lineups because you feel an unhealthy obligation to start the players you drafted in the order you selected them. So even if you are sure that your ninth round pick is going to outscore your fifth round selection, you feel uncomfortable making the change. It’s odd, certainly. But if you were to poll most fantasy players I’m sure they will echo my sentiments.
Here is how my 11 teams—the supercontinent Pangaea plays two games a week—fared in Week 1:
Green Bay Gamblers Win: 142.27-123.97
Sterling Sharpe Loss: 107.55-91.59
Brc Win: 186-150
Snuffleupagus Tie: 128-128
TR’s Peepers Loss: 97.10-70.26
Pangaea Loss(es): 132-117, 150-117
Valley Forge Win: 93.3-74.8
GBG Win: 103-100
Fuzzy Dunlop Loss: 181-179
The Taco Stand Win: 199.54-167.86
Unironic Witty Name Win: 250.64-216.70
Week 1 record: 6-5-1. Overall: 6-5-1 (.542)
Originally I thought I had lost two heartbreakers—a lone reception being the difference for both Fuzzy Dunlop and Snuffleupagus—but in a marked turnaround for my luck last season, a stat correction allocated a disputed fumble to Nick Foles and turned a one point loss into a 128-128 tie! Here’s hoping this is a harbinger for how I’ll go the rest of the season!
But even without that fortuitous scoring change, I have no complaints how the fantasy football season began. The first few weeks you spend getting to know your team—who to trust, who to trade, where your strengths and weakness lie—and any wins you can accrue during this period of analysis are just icing on the cake.
One last thing: With so many leagues you have to have tiers and my 11 year-old keeper league, Lambeau Field, is easily my most important. It contains most of best friends in the world and it stands head-and-shoulders above all other leagues. (Not to mention I am the defending champ and five-time winner!) Ergo, I will be highlighting it throughout the season. So far so good as my boys came through with a huge Week 1 win over an archrival!
And now for some hardware:
Player of the Week: Calvin Johnson. Huge props to Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas on his three touchdown performance (love that combo with Peyton Manning in my two quarterback league!) but the inaugural honor goes to the one and only Megatron. In the three leagues that I own him, he tallied 27, 42, and 42.40 points. All wins!
Goat of the Week: Danny Woodhead. A stellar player for me last year he only caught one ball (finishing the game with a paltry two points) in a league where I desperately needed some production out of my running backs. The fact that was also the margin of defeat (181-179) earns (?) him this dubious award over other poor performers like Packers wideout Jarrett Boykin (zero catches) and Sammy Watkins.
Team of the Week: Green Bay Gamblers. Tough first matchup in my title defense and it was a barnburner from the start, with the aforementioned Calvin Johnson putting forth a dominant effort on Monday Night Football to help GBG pull away in a stellar opening week tilt.
And Then There Were Fifty
Stay alive and advance: that’s my mantra for the Survival Pool, now entering its 11th season. To pay tribute to the most drama-filled fantasy sport of them all—and by far the most popular of my gambits—I will provide a weekly update of this terrific enterprise. For those unfamiliar this is how it works: You pick one NFL team every week. If they win, you stay in. If they lose, you’re out. You cannot pick the same team twice.
We started with 66 entries—if everyone ponies up it adds up a robust $1,320 booty for a modest $20 pay-in—and here are how the Week 1 selections broke down:
Most Popular (Successful) Choice: Philadelphia (39)
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: Chicago (15)
Least Popular (Successful) Choice: Seattle, Carolina, and Detroit (one apiece)
Least Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
One person forgot to choose a team so after a single week we are down to 50 active participants.
Follow my quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing passion—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.
After one semi-serious injury—and a deadly serious released-too-late TMZ elevator video—I’m already regretting two of my predicted awards.