Sunday, August 29, 2010

Post Draft - Again

OK, so another Draft in the books.  And to be honest, I'm not really sure how I feel about my team this time around.  I'm sure I will do OK (I've only had one year were I didn't make the playoffs), but how exciting and fun will it be? 

I should mention that I feel like I drafted a really good team this year.  But that time came around in Draft when you have a player with good stats and the promise of more good stats sitting there, mocking you, so I jumped on it.  I picked up a running back that I probably wouldn't have any other time.  That, of course, set off a chain reaction down the line of potential picks that got thrown out the window.  I don't like to have too many players from one team.  I've done it before and unless that team just explodes and puts up huge numbers each game, its usually not a good thing.  So,I drafted the Steelers starting running back.  I am not a Steelers fan and I'm not a big fan of this player.  BUT, like any team owner doing his research, I know that the Steelers are a running team and they will run the ball, a lot.  For my second pick in the Draft to have a running back still available that is a starter on a run first offense, I couldn't pass that up. 

I would like to say that my drafting of Vikings running back, Peterson, was a well thought out and planned move on my part.  But I would be lying.  Having the second pick on the Draft kind of makes that first pick a little easier.  Who ever didn't go with the first pick was going to be mine.  Of course, I would rather have the other guy, but whatever, Peterson puts up numbers and that's what I need.  Other teams that have picked up Peterson have gone on to do very well, I hope he can hang on and give me some of that love also.  I tried to get a good supporting cast built around him.  He is the foundation.  Let's just hope he brings home the bacon.

While other owners were picking up big name players at other positions, I stuck with my strategy.  Having kept a close eye on the last minute injury updates and team signings, I was able to skip a few names down the lines and grab those players that are primed and poised to make my team formidable.  I've made the playoffs nearly every season.  I have not won a championship in a long time.  I feel this team has a good a chance as any other I've had to make that happen this year.  I want my team to do some damage, not just go .500 and limp into the playoffs like many of the last years.  I tried a new thing this year and didn't go after any back up players, I figured I will grab some undrafted players when I need them.  I didn't want to waste a draft pick on an unproven player.  While those other owners were drafting back up QBs and Tight Ends, I got what I needed at those positions and moved on to the meat of the Draft. 

Other owners taking back ups left a void for the drafting of higher ranked Running Backs and Wide Receivers.  Which, I hope, I took advantage of.  I feel like I drafted my best team of WRs in a long time.  Usually after a few weeks into the season, the WR position is one that I am never happy with and on a weekly basis have to pull guys off the waiver wire to Frankenstein my line up for the week.  Although it is kind of fun to grab a player that is un-drafted and start him before he really gets his numbers up.  Makes you feel like you know something the other guys don't.

All that being said, how I feel about this team will show in the coming weeks.  Last season I set a personal record that I don't want to revisit, 6 losses in a row.  Sure, I finished the season strong and made the playoffs, but still, after that 5th and 6th loss, you start to question everything.  The big question is, "Is it too soon to start drafting for next season?".  Let's all hope for a good end to the Pre-Season games, no injuries, so more suspensions and no more cuts.  I've never been plagued by the injury bug, as some teams do, but my players usually end up not performing as well as they should.  My fingers are crossed that at least a few of these guys pan out. 

Oh yeah, someone did take Brett Favre.  It wasn't me.  I had my eye on him, of course.  But he may help another team out more then he would have helped mine.  Another goal I have for this season is to finally replace my Favre jersey with a Rodgers one.  Still feels a little weird, rooting for my Packers and wearing the jersey of a guy that is playing for a division rival.  I will always keep the jersey but the team comes first.  And Rodgers is the man that will lead us to a Super Bowl win.  Its a good time to be a Packer fan and a fan of football. 

Hope all your Drafts go/went well.  Good luck this season. 


Monday, August 23, 2010

Post draft blues

OK, we've all been there.  The first few hours after the big Draft. Was anything really accomplished? Any new ground broken?  More of the same, just different names? 

I left with my head held high.  I wouldn't call it the best hand picked pool of players, but really, not too shabby.  Sure, I did miss out on a few guys that I really wanted, but with anything, you don't want to reach too soon or too late.  Too soon and you are left looking like a little fan boy coveting a name.  Reach too late and you are left with a player you had to settle for and who wants that. 

There in lies my dilemma.  I have probably the best(statistically speaking) QB already on my roster.  At some point I would need a back up, even if it was just to cover a bye week.  My starter takes a lot of punishment and many experts expect him to miss at least a few starts this year, be still my heart!  Knock on wood, if that should happen, what kind of tough little spot would I be in?  I think I covered it well enough. I took Bret Favre.  I received a few small short chuckles with that pick.  Will anyone really understand a pick like that?  Was I being fan boy for just a few minutes?  Favre got me into this amazing game called Football.  The Packers have always been my team, but Favre was the man. 

I remember watching that team develop.  The team getting better and better over the years.  Winning more and more games, going further and further into the play-offs.  Having my little heart broken by the Cowboys and their stupid indoor stadium(Favre was never an "in door" QB).  The 49ers and their stupid everything.  Watching all that and having it some to fruition with a Super Bowl win was just amazing.  So I take Favre.  I take Favre with a little part of me still holding on to those memories.  Of course, it does help that he had his best season ever last year. 

I sat and watched as the other owners took players based on many other things.  After all, heart doesn't win you a championship.  How can I pass up a player that has given me so much over the years?  I couldn't.  No one else wanted him. He was mine.  Have a seat on my team, Mr.Favre.  You may not start that many games but like in real life, just having you part of the team makes for a better experience.  I feel better having a guy on my team that has NEVER missed a start. EVER.  Do you know anyone that in 20 years on the job has not called in sick at least once?  Not me.  Am I gushing a little bit here?  Maybe.  Let's move on.

New league with new rules.  Keepers.  Points Per Reception.  Flex Positions.  What? Flex Position?  Is that like Yoga?  No matter how the Draft went, the first few games will be looked at with the most scrutiny.  By everyone.  Was I a good guy to bring in to this close knit group of friends?  How well do I really understand the game?  How well do I fit in here?  Only time will tell.  Its only a game.  In the end its all about having fun.  The Draft has already given me that.  I cannot wait until the season starts.  I paid my money, give me my fun!

In the Re-Draft League, I got the 2nd pick of the Draft.  I think its obvious what will happen with that first pick.  There are 2 of the best running backs sitting atop every one's Draft board.  I will take the guy that doesn't go first.  Then it gets interesting.  Its a serpentine Draft.  First pick, all the way down to the tenth pick then all the way back up.  So many players will be picked before I get a second pick.  I started to panic at first.  Then it sank in.  No sweat.  The players that end up on top of the rankings each year usually were not there the year before.  I have quite a bit of research to do but I'm sure I can walk away with a great team.  Who is on their way up and who is on their way down?  That's where the problem is.  Its all like throwing darts.  If I can hit the board, I'll be happy.

OK, enough of the rambling.  Time to get ready for the next Draft.  Let the fun begin and continue until sometime in February.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fantasy Football Draft Keeper League

Draft Day Eve

The butterflies are fluttering.  The best players are kept.  My first draft pick is not until the 6th round.  Am i concerned? A little.  I am taking part in 2 leagues this year.  My new league is a keeper league.  Quite a bit different from a normal league draft. 

I have a few good players to keep on my team.  But did I keep the right ones?  Did I make the best trade I could have to get those players?  This is my first attempt at a keeper league.  I inherited a team from a guy that left on not-so-good terms.  I heard that he screwed the team a little by trading the best player before he left.  I'm not worried about that, more so the fact that I have 4 big name players and that's it.  Since this is a keeper league, rookies go fast.  Doesn't help me that there are a handful of projected "great picks" out of this years rookie class or that we have a team in the league drafting from scratch - meaning he will get the first few picks all to himself.  I may try to pick up a rookie or 2, but I have been mainly researching the middle of the pack players.  Players that will make in impact on my team but don't have to be the big name, stud players everyone wants.

My "regular league" draft is next weekend.  The rules are very different so that will, in turn, mean a different style of draft.  In this one, I'm looking for players that are going to have that big year.  The kind of year that makes the football world stand up and take notice.  I got lucky last year.  I drafted Arron Rodgers and Ray Rice.  Both were projected to have so-so years, good but not great.  Both players exploded and had stats that blew other players at their positions away.  And yet, I limped into the play-offs and exited in the first round. 

Drafts and leagues are not all about having the big names and stats on your side.  Its about knowing what to do and when to do it.  Sure, its a good feeling to have a stud running back starting against a less then stellar defence.  But that feeling can quickly sink to the pit of your stomach when he smashes into the pile to get a first down and gets up limping.  The feeling drops from your stomach to your toes when you see him being helped off the field and into the locker room before halftime.  Then you look over at your bench players.  And there he is.  That running back you took in the late round only because you had a roster spot to fill and you can't take a punter.  And there he sits.  Running circles around the best defence in the league.  Racking up rushing yards, passing yards and touchdowns.  There is no worse feeling then losing a game by only a few points and have some back up player putting up huge numbers, taking up space on your bench.  Don't even get me started on bye weeks.

So, then, we go into draft day.  These lessons, seemingly learned, time and again.  How will this years draft pan out?  We all get thrown off our game when a big name player lands in our draft spot.  Looking all shiny and new.  "Pick me, pick me" he'll yell, hoping up and down with his hands in the air.  Take a closer look at that player.  Its easy to pick based on name alone.  And very easy to pick based on last years stats.  Look at his legs.....was he over used last year?  Look at his hands.....does he work hard and earn his place on the team?  Look at his he happy with his contract and ready to fill his role or does he have something to prove? 

Good luck to everyone drafting this weekend.  Lets save the complaining for the post-draft blogs.

Mike the Tripp