In the FFToday
Staff League, I used my third-round pick on Jerick McKinnon.
He was supposed to be my RB2, and now heís gone for the season without
participating in a single regular season game.
How would you define my loss there? Did I lose a third-round
pick? An RB2? Maybe we can spin it positively by saying I lost
an overpaid, unproven RB on a rebuilding team who was never going
to contribute much to my fantasy squad anyway.
I wouldnít define my loss in any of those ways. I donít even see
it as a loss. Sure, itís an event that I can use to extract some
pity from readers because the injuries that strike after oneís
draft and before the season begins are always the hardest to swallow.
But a week from now, other owners will be plagued by unexpected
injuries or other blindingly obvious and unjustifiable expenditures
of draft capital.
Thatís part of the game, folks. The point is that the only proper
and productive way for me to look at McKinnonís spot on my roster
is as a space that I should fill with the player most likely to
help my team. I shouldnít be looking for a ďthird-round valueĒ
or even an ďRB2.Ē I need to assess my team as it stands without
McKinnon and use the now empty slot in my lineup for whatever
player I can acquire (perhaps on waivers; perhaps through trade)
that will have the most positive impact possible on my squad.
Chiefs RB Spencer Ware turned out to be
a wasted pick in early fantasy drafts last summer.
And hereís the part I want to hammer home: As I consider trades,
I wonít care at all about what I ďpaidĒ for my players; and Iíll
only care about what other owners ďpaidĒ for theirs to the extent
that I expect such considerations to cloud their thinking.
For example, last July, when people expected Spencer
Ware to be the starting RB in KC & Kareem
Hunt to be the backup, Ware went considerably earlier in drafts
than Hunt. In one draft, I took Ware as my 5th-round pick even though
I could have had Hunt in that spot. At the time, I didnít know that
Ware would get hurt or that Hunt would be electrifying in Week 1.
But once those things happened, all I could do was recognize that
I blew that pick. There was no way to try to salvage value from
my 5th-round investment in Ware. The fact that I overpaid for Ware
didnít imbue him with some kind of ďresidual value.Ē Too frequently,
fantasy owners think that the value they invested in busted players
is value that they need to recover somehow. Thatís dumb. You blew
it. Now forgive yourself by remembering that no one can see the
future. Move on to the best replacement you can. Donít let your
idea of residual value result in a non-contributing player tying
up a roster spot. And more importantly, donít expect other owners
to be enticed to trade for players that you overpaid for simply
because you mismanaged your draft capital.
If you drafted Allen
Hurns in 2016, you probably overpaid for him based on his production
in 2015. Tough luck. You took a gamble & it didnít pay off. The
sooner you recognized that, the sooner you were able to recover
from your mistake. The longer you tried to hold on to Hurns in an
attempt to trade him to another owner who still valued him according
to his productivity from the previous season, the more you hurt
your teamóbecause it only became more obvious with each passing
week that a repeat of 2015 was not in the cards for Hurns.
My point here is that Iím not certain about whatís going to happen
Bell & James
Conner, but I am absolutely certain that if Connor ends up being
the Kareem Hunt for Pittsburgh in 2018, hundreds (thousands?) of
LeíVeon Bell owners will be among the last people to see that phenomenon
for what it is. They used their first-round pick on Bell, so surely
they deserve that sort of value for him in trade.
No. It doesnít work that way. And the sooner you recognize that
it doesnít work that way, the sooner you can start digging yourself
out of whatever holes you created with your poor draft choices in
2018. I donít know which of your choices were the worst, but the
ones that you allow yourself to imbue with residual value because
of blown draft capital are the ones that will do the most long-term
damage to your team.
So my question for readers this week is simple: What are some of
the most outrageous trade offers you have received from owners who
refuse to come to terms with the fact that the players they are
attempting to unload are nowhere near as valuable as they imagined
when they drafted them? Email
me your outrageous trade offers.
Alack & alas, dear readers. With a heavy heart, I must report that
the scheduling of family commitments will prevent our beloved Matthew
Schiff from sharing his Survivor Pool expertise in 2018. This means
youíre stuck with my insights for the time being. (Veteran readers
of this column will recall that Schiff started contributing his
picks because heís better at making them than I amóso if you think
youíre better, feel free to submit
your recommendations via email by noon on Wednesdays throughout
the season). But since Iím all weíve got for now (even the astute
Mike Krueger refuses to touch this topic with a 10-foot pole), Iíll
provide my thoughts on Week 1.
Trap Game: San Francisco @ Minnesota
The Vikings are 6-point favorites in this game for good reason.
They have a solid defense, an underappreciated runner in Dalvin
Cook, and arguably the best receiving tandem in the league in Adam
Thielen and Stefon
Diggs. But the thing about San Franciscoís Jimmy
Garoppolo (once the heir-apparent to Tom
Brady) is that he hasnít yet lost a game as an NFL starter.
For that reason alone, this game makes me nervous despite the hefty
line from Vegas.
Pick #3: Green Bay over Chicago
Matthew Schiff and I both believe that anything is possible in divisional
games. We both try to steer clear of them when possible, but we
both recognize the circumstances when they make sense as survival
picks. The first criterion is that the favorite (in this case Green
Bay) should be playing at home. Check. The second criterion is that
the line (in this case 7.5 points) should be significant. Check.
The third criterion is that the better team should be in good shape
(always the case in Green Bay when Aaron
Rodgers is healthy and has had a chance to practice with his
receivers). Check. Still, itís a divisional game, so Itís hard for
me to select it as my top choice.
Pick #2: New
Orleans over Tampa Bay
According to Vegas, this is the most lopsided match of the week.
The Bucs roll into New Orleans on Sunday as 9.5 point underdogs
Brees and the Saints. Thanks to a suspension, Tampa wonít have
Winston for the first 3 weeks of the season. If these teams
werenít divisional rivals, Winstonís absence would make this my
top pick of the week. But in my opinion, the three teams the Bucs
are most capable of defeating in Winstonís absence are the ones
they face twice each season (including the Saints). Yes, itís a
strong play. But itís a divisional match-up, so I donít like it
as much asÖ
Pick #1: Baltimore over Buffalo
Not everyone remembers that Joe
Flacco used to be a pretty good QB. Thatís easy for a lot of
us to forget after years of watching him throw to the likes of Torrey
Wallace, and Jeremy
Maclin. I expect Flacco to do well in 2018 with Michael Crabtree
Brown at his disposal. But this pick isnít really about how
good I think the Ravens might be. Itís about how bad I think the
Bills are going to be without Tyrod
Taylor (whom they never appreciated). Do you really think Nathan
Peterman can lead the Bills into a hostile crowd environment
& steer them to a victory? I just donít see it happening. And the
best thing about this pick is that using the Ravens in Week 1 means
keeping both the Packers & the Saints available for later weeks,
when the pickings will be slimmer.
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.