I don’t like people who gloat. I think it’s something that was ground into my subconsciousness after years of being picked on by smug bullies in the public school system. I tend to define arrogance or egotism as a character flaw. Call me crazy.
So it is not without a tremendous amount of internal conflict that I discuss the unbelievable success I have had in my fantasy football league this season. I play every year with a group of my best friends, including Matt Hardigree, Galen, and Dan, all of whom I’ve discussed in this blog at one time or another. I won the league in my first year (the 2008-09 season) despite a terrible draft in which I really still didn’t understand how the game worked. But a good GM knows how to manage a team, and I made necessary cuts, worked the waiver wire, and got lucky enough to scoot into the playoffs. My luck extended further when my opponent in the first round (who dominated the season) failed to set his team. I then won a close final against the league commissioner (the perpetually dangerous Dan), and claimed the crown. Beginner’s luck.
My second season was not so successful. We switched to a PPR scoring system, and I hadn’t really adjusted from the previous season in which the RB ranks were much deeper. My scoring suffered, and the lack of depth at a number of positions (besides TE) made it difficult to catch up. Needless to say, I did not make the playoffs.
This season has been an entirely different story. I managed to win a ridiculously low scoring first game (71-63), but then lost the second in a close game despite scoring over 50 more points. Since that week 2 loss, however, I have gone on an improbable and astounding 8 win streak. I say improbable not only because I haven’t seen it before, but also because my draft was so terrible I expected to be at the low end of the rankings.
Allow me to explain. I got the 7th pick in the draft which I used to claim Andre Johnson, who has missed a game and failed to show up for a couple more, but has had enough monster performances thus far to justify himself as the only solid pick I made this season. My second pick? Packers RB Ryan Grants. Yes, that guy. The one who went on the IR in week 1. But here’s where it gets interesting. I was forced to find a quality back-up immediately, so I jumped when I saw Darren McFadden had a 20 pt first game. The guy who went undrafted in my 10 team league has gone on to be one of the most valuable players of the season. But the bad draft luck didn’t end with Grant; I also picked Kevin Kolb as my starting QB. And when he went down in week 1, I snatched Michael Vick off the wire. You know, AS A HANDCUFF (no pun intended). If you pay attention to football at all, I don’t need to tell you how fortuitous this pick-up was. My third round pick was spent on Dallas Clark who suffered a rare and season-ending arm injury a few weeks ago. To be honest, I haven’t been as lucky with the TE position this year. I did draft Chris Cooley who has had great value as a backup, but as a starter he’s been somewhat lacking. Other wire pick-ups this year have included Ben Roethlisberger (who filled in well during Vick’s rib injury), Oakland’s kicker Sebastian Janikowski (the leader at his position), Peyton Hillis, and, for a few weeks, the Tennessee Titans defense. I had a few draft bright spots, too, like Mike Wallace, who literally won the game for me in dramatic Monday night fashion in week 9.
This weekend is a huge game for me against Dan, who has lost a couple close games and deserves to be higher in the rankings than he is. Despite his 6-4 record, he is right on my heels in terms of total points. He’s also the only person to beat me this season. So, Dan, while I may have sung at your wedding, I will dance on your fantasy football grave. Game on!