Here it is. Our final thread of the fantasy football season. This year, more than any other I can remember, should be defined by the number of injuries to big time players. If you’ve stayed relatively healthy, you have a good shot at playing in your league’s championship game. We’ve had some bounce-back players (DeAndre Hopkins, Todd Gurley), some breakouts (Alvin Kamara, Carson Wentz), and some disappointments (Mike Evans, Amari Cooper). But really, the story is the injuries and the list of injured stars is too long and depressing to go through.
I had an interesting philosophical conundrum over the weekend with one of my three playoff teams. It’s a keeper league where you can keep up to three players a year at a price of 2 rounds earlier than where you selected them last year. So, if you drafted a player in the 10th round, you can keep him for an 8th the following year, a 6th the year after that, and a 4th rounder in year 3. A couple years ago, the Commissioner introduced the concept of a “red shirt” player - if you select a rookie in the 7th round or later and keep him on the bench the entire year, he can be kept for a 15th round pick the next season. In other words, if you pick a rookie that breaks out, you get him for virtually free for 3 years (15th, 13th, and 11th) and then he’ll be released back into the pool.
My red shirt pick this year, and those of you who read these columns faithfully already know what I’m going to say, is Alvin Kamara. My team was pretty good and with a trade for LeSean McCoy and a keeper pick from previous years in Devonta Freeman, my running back situation was fine. I could’ve used Kamara in the flex spot, but I kept competitive without using him. For the semi-final matchup, I had several injuries that screamed for me to use Kamara - win while you can, Flags Fly Forever. In the end, I decided to keep the red shirt in tact and I lost by 3 points - and Kamara would have lifted me to the championship game. So, in the short run, it was the wrong decision. But, will it be the right decision in the long run? What would you have done?
In my other two playoff games, it came down to Todd Gurley. One team was destroyed by him, the other lifted up. Focusing on the league where I have him (because that’s more fun), I’ll be playing a team who snuck into the playoffs with a 7-7 record as the #4 seed. The top 3 teams were a cut above in this league but he managed to knock off the #1 seed. You may think this is good news for my chances but my team lost Antonio Brown and I’m playing #1 Steelers fan for the title - he’ll be rolling out Le’Veon Bell, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Martavis Bryant. I’m terrified. This is a 2 quarterback league where I’ve lost Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in addition Allen Robinson and now Antonio Brown. Starting Nick Foles and Mike Wallace for a fantasy championship wasn’t even on the radar in November but here we are. (Key note - I’ll be starting the Bears defense in that league so they’ll be able to win some kind of championship this year. Lock it up.)
Finally, I’ll bring you up to date on the Official WCG championship matchup. Fellow writer Jacob will take on faithful reader John for all the marbles. Jacob benefited from the aforementioned Todd Gurley to get into this game and he’ll need help from him again to have a chance against John’s team. The Rage Against Shaheen squad survived the Zeke Elliot suspension and gets him back for the championship game. It’s a quality championship game befitting a great league year.
I want to thank all of you for your collective help as we’ve worked our way through another fantasy football season. For all of you who play on the Yahoo! format, have you noticed the owner rankings? Yahoo! has statistically compared your fantasy abilities / performance to the entire fantasy community and ranked your skills. At first I thought it seemed silly, but then I realized that I was rated as a diamond player, meaning I was in the top 1% of all players and it was obvious that this was a dead on, rigorous ranking system. Regardless, it’s kind of a fun way to look at it. Good luck to everyone except the Steelers offense this weekend! I leave you with this final thought from my twitter account (@gridironborn).
I learned nothing and promise to make the same mistakes in the future— JB (@gridironborn) December 18, 2017