Another week, another 140+ pt opponent, and another loss to a top6 opponent. This league is really going to test my mettle in the next six weeks because at 4-8, the playoffs are pretty much out of reach. This week was another example of how despite having a good amount of above-average players, sub-par performances hurt my team a lot more because I dont really have the players that can win you weeks outright with those 20+ point weeks.
My problems probably start at the QB position. I thought in Bradford and Mariota, I had at least two QB2s that I could play depending on matchups, but as the old adage goes, “if you have two QBs, you have no QB”. Those two weeks vs WAS and NO gave me hope that Bradford and PHL could return to a functional offense, but that was not the case on Monday night. Even after being gifted the ball off multiple NYG TOs, Bradford just gave it right back to them. Versus a ravenous CAR defense next week, Im not sure if it will get any better or if I even have any other options.
The thinking behind Mariota was that he would be the center-piece of the TEN offense and that Whisenhunt could tailor the offense around Mariota’s skills. He has pretty a pretty capable and diverse set of receivers, an accurate arm, nifty running ability, and good awareness. With all those traits, he would seem like a shoe-in for QB greatness, but all that comes with the caveat that he is a rookie. Maybe teams have caught on to TEN’s gameplan and tested Mariota when they take away the short/intermediate, quick developing routes and he’s begun to struggle a bit. Of course I could also just be overreacting to two bad performances vs defenses that are able to bring pressure, the bane of any QB and especially a young one. The grade 2 MCL sprain suffered by Mariota is particularly concerning because a bit of the value I projected for Mariota was on the ground rushing.
Regardless, when looking back at the end of the season, I think I’ll see QB as one of the places where I royally screwed up. I put too much faith in Chip Kelly’s offense and its history of QB production without much thought into just how badly it would be affected by the departures of members of their OL and Maclin. That pre-season game where they looked like the offensive juggernaut that dreams are made of just blinded me further. While I think I was right to move on quickly from Bridgewater as my backup, choosing Mariota and sticking with him probably cost me as I passed on QBs such as Dalton, Tyrod, and Bortles that were available during the first month of the season. Interestingly, I think the switch to FAAB this year has a part to with that as well. I think that knowing that I had paid for players like Mariota and Miller with my FAAB dollars made me hang on to them longer than I should have. Sunk cost theory indeed…
Outside of QB, I actually got really good games from Foster, Moncrief, ARob (hope that knee is ok), and even Kelce. AJ was obviously a disappointment, but I think this is probably the one weakness of having AJ on your fantasy team. He’s a spectacular real life WR, up there in the pantheon of the current elite, but if defenses focus on shutting him down like BUF did, everyone else on his offense (Jones/Eifert/Hill/Bernard/Sanu) is perfectly capable of taking advantage of the space that he creates. That’s not to say that he’s just a decoy, but his situation can lend itself to a lot more lower scoring weeks than you’d like from your WR1.
I dont really have much footing to complain about my opponent’s team’s performance. AP was a colossal disappointment as this seemed like the ideal matchup for him and it’s not like the game script ever went against him in this game. Ive had the fortune of facing Dhop two highest scoring weeks of the season so far (28 pts wk1, 32 pts wk6), but it wouldnt have mattered as it would have just been Devonta and Edelman instead of Dhop and Rishard hanging 45 on me. Speaking of Rishard, I pretty much discounted him when he was a suggested waiver add back around week 2/3. I didnt think he would separate himself from MIA’s other WRs and that he would eventually lose his job to Parker. I still dont really buy into him, but his production speaks for himself and while I continue to wait on players like JMatt, Rishard is out there scoring his owners those precious fantasy points. Pretty ballsy of Dylan to go for the MIA DST which had looked horrible going into the BYE. Unable to generate pressure and getting eviscerated in the secondary, the coaching change, the BYE, and a matchup vs a rookie QB who got hurt (bush league play by Vernon btw…) was the perfect storm that resulted in the top scoring DST of the week.
It’s pretty clear to me now that while my team has some nice pieces, it’s not nearly a playoff worthy team. The flaws at QB and RB2 are glaring and can be traced all the way back to poor decisions at the draft and my tardiness to address them. Part of it could be attributed to bad luck I suppose. The beginning of the season when I was most vulnerable, waiting for Foster to return, I got punished heavily by other teams. Overall, Ive played five top6 teams through six weeks and my opponents have averaged 140ppg against me this season, really magnifying my team’s flaws. The tough schedule has netted me a record that really prevents me from my favored strategy of stashing sleepers.
Maybe I need to revise how I evaluate players since one of my biggest problems when I draft is that I assume that I had certain positions locked down and drafted accordingly from there. Also, my habit of dismissing players like Rishard and Benjamin as flukes hurt me this year. I still think my reasoning behind passing on them and players like them was sound, but by doing so, I hadnt considered the possibility that either they and/or their situations had improved to the point that they could be legit fantasy assets. Instead of having a serviceable starter or possible trade piece, Im left with a bench full of sleepers that could pan out but that I cant use immediately and arent really attractive players in any trade offers thus limiting the potential moves I can make. I wonder if my tendency to just play my starters despite their matchups is just that, a tendency, or a byproduct of having a bench clogged full of handcuffs and sleepers. Regardless, that has also really cost me so far this year. Maybe I’ll spend the 2nd half of the season practicing playing matchups more.
Definitely not the blowout I was expecting. This league has a habit of making the matchups I think are easy wins into very close games. I was pretty fortunate to get bailed out by Brady during SNF because there was a lot of production I left on the bench this week. Props to Jeremy for fielding what I thought was the best lineup possible, just unfortunate that it came up just a bit short this week.