Sterling Sharpe was doomed by three decisions, the first two made minutes apart and the last 18 days hence.
But first a bit of background.
Including this campaign, Frozen Tundra has been around for 11 years. And this is the first time Sterling Sharpe has failed to make the playoffs. In fact, in the previous decade I had only lost in the first round twice (2010 and 2013) and had racked up one third, four seconds and three championships in all the other years. That is a remarkable seven title game appearances in 10 seasons.
The first decision I would quickly come to rue was drafting Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck with the sixth overall selection. The next two off the board? Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Rodgers. (Despite it being a point-per-reception league, it’s not an entirely poor strategy to draft a signal caller with your first pick. Except this season.)
After right the ship by selecting Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green with my next selection, I made a major reach to secure a coveted combo by choosing Luck’s teammate Andre Johnson with pick number 31.
And yet . . . Yahoo! still graded me out to a B+. What sealed my fate was the trade I made on Sunday 27 September in the American morning:
The numbers actually favored me, with Bernard not so much a factor as he was a year ago and Jones falling off the fantasy cliff after a torrid start. Green was excellent all year but despite a big game on the day I traded him did nothing extraordinary with his season.
Obviously Lynch was a major bust for me, but—before going down for the season—Forsett was just beginning to hit his stride and Maclin finished with only 21 fewer fantasy points (200 to 179) than Green.
What was so awful about the deal was that it went against everything I stand for from a fantasy perspective. I didn’t get the best player in the swap and I dealt away a gifted receiver for a plodding running back when I normally start four wideouts—WR, WR, WR, WR/RB—and two pass-catching backs.
Second-guessing myself amid a poor start to the season is the true martyr of this campaign.
Editor’s Note: In case you missed my first postmortem of the 2015 fantasy football campaign, Fuzzy Dunlop is ready to be read. All past autopsies are also online, as are all 17 of this season’s weekly wraps.
History: Eleventh season
Championships: Three (2012, 2008, 2005)
(Other) Top 3 Finishes: Second (2014, 2009, 2007, 2006) and Third (2011)
Previous Year Results: Fifth in 2013 and 2010
Previous Postmortems: 2013
Two losing streaks of at least four games doesn’t a playoff team make:
I received a B+ for my draft class, tied for second best across the league:
Best Pick: Danny Woodhead (173 fantasy points for a ninth round pick)
Best Value: Mason Crosby (121 for a 15th rounder)
Worst Pick: Andre Johnson (nine paltry fantasy points in the measly four games he played for me. In sum he only totaled 84 the entire season. Ridiculous production—no, not in a good way—for a third round pick)
Worst Value: C.J. Spiller (chose him fifth and he never played for me)
My second trade of the season was much smarter than the first:
Smartest Move: Besides trading for Jordan Reed to finally stabilize my tight end position? Probably picking Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West off waivers after Jamaal Charles went down for the season. Obvious at the time, sure, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right move, especially considering these backups only rarely produce at rates even close to their predecessors.
Dumbest Move: Dropping Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls only three days after I picked him up as Marshawn Lynch insurance. No reason I couldn’t have just held on to him for the rest of the season just in case something happened to the rapidly aging Lynch. Stupid, stupid move.
Here’s how everyone performed when they suited up for Sterling:
Entry Fee: $33 (USD)
Had I kept Rawls and started him for the injured Lynch, I would have won easily, 109.59-95.60, because he rushed 30 times for 209 yards and a touchdown and also caught three passes, including one for a score, good for 29 fantasy points. A victory in Week 11 puts me at 4-7 and right in the thick of the playoff race.
Tale of the Championship Tape or (How My Draft Compared to the Eventual Winner):
Worst Team Ever got a C from Yahoo! but made two integral trades (he also acquired Antonio Brown and Melvin Gordon for my two castoffs—Bernard and Jones—and Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd) for his second straight title.
Gluttons for punishment can read about what happened to me last year in the last game of the regular season against him. So unlucky I was on that day.
Lesson Learned: Trust myself and my methods. Deviating from the tried and true plan rarely works and is definitely not worth the risk.
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