It was another fun year in fantasy football for me, if not a particularly successful one. In fact, despite more extensive preparation, I did worse than last year. As I've said in previous posts, I should probably take a lesson from my baseball success. My strategy for baseball this past season was a very simple, self-devised one and it carried me to the championship. Depending on how it works for me this year, I might be willing to share it. The first step will be to see how it works out for the head-to-head format we have planned for this year in baseball. If that succeeds, I hope to be able to adapt it to football as well.
Player: Frank Gore
Position: Running Back
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Season Stats: 203 rushing attempts for 853 yards and 3 touchdowns, 46 receptions for 452 yards and 2 touchdowns and 2 lost fumbles
Image via helmet2helmet.net
For the second year in a row, a 49er was my best player (tight end Vernon Davis in last year's campaign). Gore was my first draft pick in both leagues and he was a very dependable back until going down with a broken hip in Week 12. When he got hurt, he pretty much took my playoff hopes in the Vermont league with him, though I'm fairly confident his own disappointment exceeded mine. He was well on his way to another 1,000 yard rushing season with five more games to play. His numbers were still pretty darn good for an 11-game season.
The most significant differences between my two leagues are in the rosters:
1) The college league uses IDPs (Individual Defensive Players) whereas the Vermont league does not. I like having them for the very simple reason that they led me to watch defenses with far greater interest this year. One cool thing about IDPs is that the most dependable players are inside linebackers and safeties, not exactly the most glamorous positions on a defense. In both cases, their job is to finish plays, i.e. make loads of tackles. They don't get the sacks that other positions rack up, nor as many interceptions as the corner backs. They are the workhorses upon which every team depends and they deserve the attention that fantasy football brings to them.
One odd thing about having IDPs is that you typically root against their teams. After all, if the team's offense is on the field, it limits the points your IDPs can accumulate. With team defenses, the opposite is true, as points against play a more significant role in scoring.
2) The college league bench is very skimpy: 4 spots for 12 starters. The Vermont league had the Yahoo! default: 6 spots for 9 starters. Clearly, learning to manage the short bench will be key to future success against my fellow alums.
There wasn't too much griping in the football league amongst the Vermonters - in fact, none. However, in my own opinion, the draft could use some improvement for next year. An unfortunate portion of our league auto-drafted this year. In hindsight, scheduling the draft for the first week of school in a league including several teachers may not have been the best plan. I think I'll schedule for the previous week next year, assuming they'll have me back. The draft, even if it's online, is the most important social event of the fantasy football season so it's worth getting it right.