Back For Another Season
It seems like it's been eons since I last wrote this column. 9 long
months. The season is finally here, and FF In The Groin returns
to its original and rightful home, FF Today. While I did have some
requests for a preseason edition - heaven knows there was plenty
of great material (Ricky Williams, Anquan Boldin, David Boston,
etc.) - we'll start off here hopefully with a bang, but more than
likely easing into the season. It takes me a little while to get
going, and I like to screw around with the format every season too.
Here's hoping we find a winning formula to help relieve some stress
when things are not coming together for you on the fantasy gridiron.
Groin Shot of the Week Candidates
Daunte Culpepper (242 PaYd, 5 TD)
- That's right, always draft your QB late. You just don't get
the value with these early picks at the QB position. Sure, Daunte
Culpepper is a nice player and all, but guys like Matt Hasselbeck
or Marc Bulger really aren't that different, right? Right. You
know what the best strategy really is for fantasy football? Do
the exact opposite of what "everyone" says is the right
thing to do.
Curtis Martin (196 RuYd, 2 TD)
- So, about a month and a half ago, I'm drafting in the Red Eye
Masters league. This is an important showcase league for me. It
includes IDP and has some stiff competition in it. I was the number
1 seed through most all of 2003, my first year, but lost a close
game in the final to Priest Holmes' 3 TD performance in pursuit
of the TD record. So this year, I'm drafting along live over the
Internet. Things are going well. Then at my 4th round pick I'm
all set to take Curtis Martin. Curtis Martin! Curtis Martin!!!
#$&@! Why isn't this website working! #&@$! %*#@! @#?%!
Argh! By the time I get back on, the commish has given permission
to the next team to pick. You know who he took. I got Charlie
Of course, there was little sympathy at the time since I was
apparently the first to have this happen to. It happened repeatedly
to a number of owners later on. We waited. (Grr...) Sarah, my
loving wife, tells me if I track the difference all year between
who I should have had - Martin - and who I got - Garner - then
I'll just drive myself crazy. Of course she's right. She's always
right. Some solace - I'm in good shape to beat the Martin owner
this week anyway (thank you Culpepper) - but I still feel a definite
twinge in the groin area over the technology snafu that day.
Any of Steve McNair, Jamal Lewis,
Deuce McAllister, Fred Taylor (all under 80 yards, yes,
including McNair's passing) - How could anyone not start these
guys? Co-MVP award. 2,000 yard rusher facing a team he posted
500 yards on last year. Consensus top 4 pick. 1,900 combined yards
a year ago and working on catching the ball to get more involved
in the offense (note, no receptions for Taylor Sunday). What a
bunch of bums. Yes, I'll be starting them again next week after
which we can chalk this up as an anomaly, or watch their trade
value go crashing through the floor.
I'm In Too Many Leagues
It's true. Week 1 and I already know this. In fact, I'm pretty
sure I knew this before agreeing to join the last one... or, the
one before that... Is there a Fantasy Football Anonymous? Seriously
there should be. "Hello, my name is Mike and I have a problem."
Last year I had pretty much perfect balance with number of leagues
and required time commitment to keep on top of them. I think I
achieved that last year because I did the exact same thing the
prior year, being in too many leagues. I'm on some kind of reverse
schedule as Eric Moulds with his superstar, sub-par, superstar
performances in alternating seasons. (Trade for him now if you
Anyway, how to cope. Here are some of my tips:
- Create a schedule. Grab a sheet of paper and chart out all
of your leagues with the following info: free agent/waiver type(s),
deadline(s), trade deadline and lineup submission deadline(s)
and other important info. This is meant to help you avoid missing
or confusing deadlines to manage your teams. Do not lose this
crucial document! The size of the paper and print is indicative
of how much of a "problem" you have. Unfortunately
I'm up to 11x17 ledger paper. I might laminate this sucker.
- Live scoring is overrated. Yeah, that's right, pretty much
every league management service has it now, but to get through
this season you're going to have to ignore it (at least until
late Sunday). Sit back, watch the games and enjoy the TV broadcast.
Just shut the computer right off. If you check the live scoring
for all of your games, then you end up driving yourself nuts
simultaneously cheering and jeering the same players.
- Prioritize. I would never abandon a league. That isn't
fair to the rest of the owners. However, quickly assess which
leagues are most important to you and concentrate your efforts
there. Whether it be for money or status or (preferably) where
the most active owners are, those are the leagues that are worth
your time. I already have one league where the commissioner failed
to pay the league management service fee. I'm not about to pull
out the abacus to calculate the scores, so that league just went
near the bottom of the priority list. If it isn't important enough
to him, then it isn't that important to me. Too bad that is one
of my best teams though.
Fun With Numbers
Yes, this is stupid and childish but mildly amusing at the same
time. Extrapolated season projections (thanks to Kitrick Taylor
on the forums for kicking this off):
QB Daunte Culpepper - 80 TD
QB Donovan McNabb - 64 TD
QB Tom Brady - 48 TD
QB Vinny Testaverde - 5,680 yards
QB Steve McNair - 1,168 yards
RB Priest Holmes - 48 TD
RB Quentin Griffin - 48 TD
RB Shaun Alexander - 48 TD (Oh, wait...)
RB Jerome Bettis - 48 TD (With only 16 yards!)
RB Curtis Martin - 3,136 yards
WR Terrell Owens - 48 TD
WR Charles Rogers - 0 catches, 0 yards (Sorry guys)
TE Antonio Gates - 128 catches, 1,968 yards (This is going to
blow up some value-based drafting models)
FF In The Groin (MacGregor) vs. Hindsight's
a $%&^! (Waldman)
|Average Value of Receivers
| FF In The Groin
| FF Pts
|| Hindsight's a #%$@!
| FF Pts
||K K. Brown
Fellow FF Today writer Matt
Waldman and I are having a bit of a sideline, column-vs.-column
competition in conjunction with our FFTOC contest entry where we
are competing for a $10,000 grand prize amongst 600 competitors.
The unique thing about FFTOC is the "tournament-style"
play, in which you can start any player you like, but only once
all season. There is a 12 week regular season after which the top
200 scoring teams advance for a 4 week playoff. There is some interesting
strategy going on here about when to save players for later to win
the big money in the playoffs.
I decided to go almost completely into saving mode in week 1.
Faulk is the highest rated of the players I went with. That pick
was very, very close to being Onterrio Smith actually until Mike
Tice opened his yap during the week about Smith getting 100 yards.
That great bulletin board material for the Cowboys, plus Tice's
history of false info through the media, caused me to twitch enough
and go with Faulk in what was sure to be a Rams blowout (blah).
So Waldman has the early upper hand on me here. Maddox was a
dumb pick. Probably no reason to save on the QB position that
much. Kinney was a dumb pick. After the game got changed to Saturday
which no one wanted to play the teams just weren't into it. I
was lucky to get the 1 catch for a TD. Stover was a dumb pick.
No reason to take a kicker playing away from home, even though
I thought the Ravens would bury the Browns. Dunn, Bruce and Branch
were nice picks for week 1. Matt and I didn't compare notes beforehand.
Nice job on Branch, buddy!
This style of play seemed to fit perfectly with our respective
columns. Total control over the weekly lineup, assessing matchups,
building expectations, and (too often) total frustration. Yep,
perfect fit. We'll showcase the results all season.
Comments From The Couch
And The Winner Is
- RB Edgerrin James doesn't play fantasy football. He moves
the team down to the New England 6 yard line after runs of 5,
7, 9, 8 and 16 (he is basically gouging the Pats D), proceeds
to pull himself for not 1, but 2 plays, the second of which
Dominic Rhodes punches it in for 6 points. That and the pair
of fumbles, one of which was on the 1 yard line, would have
made Edge a perfect Groin candidate if not for the fact he looked
so good otherwise running the ball that allowed all Edge owners
to let out a small sigh of relief that he is okay, and wait
in anticipation of more good things to come.
- Perhaps a small (very small) thanks is in order to the NFL,
CBS and Sunday Ticket/DirectTV for NOT nationally broadcasting
the Titans-Dolphins "tilt" on Saturday. That one was
ugly with a capital U-G-L-Y.
- So, these new Coors Light ads, noted predominantly on ABC
during the Thursday night game. Can a beer really be "frost
brewed"? I'm not sure what to think about the catch phrase,
"The Coldest Tasting Beer in the World." Maybe I'm
the stupid one, but I thought how cold a beer tastes has pretty
much everything to do with what I do to it between purchase
- The popular 3rd year WR theory - yay or nay? Yay: Deion Branch.
Nay: Donte' Stallworth.
- I couldn't find the exact quote, but near the start of the
movie Major League, first at-bat of the season, Bob Uecker says
something to the effect of, "this first play is indicative
of how the season is going to go." Jet's kick returner
Jonathan Carter, opening kickoff, trips and fumbles! Kevan Barlow,
finally out of Garrison Hearst's shadow, first carry of the
season, pop and fumbles! Just something to keep in mind Jets
fans and Barlow owners...
- Why I hate open bidding as a free agent system, part 1. Deep
dynasty league, no one is bidding on anyone for days so I look
through the free agents and find WR Doug Gabriel. He's a good
prospect I figure. I open the bidding. Another owner sees Gabriel
is up for bid and drives up the price beyond all reason. Would
he have noticed Gabriel had this been a blind bidding format?
I can't help but wonder...
- Why I hate open bidding as a free agent system, part 2. Same
league, I lose Gabriel so go plan B and open the bidding on
WR Eric Parker. Same result.
- There were a lot of "Aren't You Supposed to be Washed
Up?" candidates yesterday. In fact we could field a damn
fine lineup between Rich Gannon (or Vinny Testaverde), Curtis
Martin, Emmitt Smith (or Jerome Bettis), Terry Glenn and Rod
Smith. What year am I playing in? Sometimes it's a little hard
- And let's not forget the "I'm Competing For 1st Round
Bust of Decade Award" pairing of RB Thomas Jones and WR
David Terrell. That was against the Lions though. Next week,
Green Bay. I'll reserve judgment for now.
- When you knock the starting QB for the opposing team out
of the game, they bring in the backup and you knock him out,
they bring the original starter back and you just barely hang
on for the win, there's a sign there is still a lot of work
to do. It could be a long season for both the 49ers and Falcons
if that game provided any insight.
- Yep, I think I'll be playing as many players against the
Giants as I can possibly come up with this year. And that probably
won't be Tiki Barber's last garbage time jaunt up the field
for a big chunk of yardage that we see this season.
- Time to take the "offensive genius" label off Jon
Gruden? It sure seems like it. If he would just realize he needs
at least a couple of players in their prime, not way past their
prime or before their prime or never had a prime.
- Have you ever seen so much fuss for a nickel corner in your
life? ESPN is all about the hype.
- I'm not even going to comment on the Bills debacle this
Culpepper! Culpepper! Culpepper! Woo! (One for each TD.)