The Fantasy Loser 2017

The Fantasy Loser 2017 Edition

And we’re back to talk about the lessons you have to learn over the course of a fantasy season. Last year I wrote my first edition of The Fantasy Loser, and you can read it here. Once again, I failed to win a ship in my home league, and this makes for 5 out of 6 years in the playoffs. This year I made it all the way to the SuperBowl, and I’ve ended facing Todd Gurley…so odds were overwhelmingly stacked against me from the get-go. Needless to say, the ending was as expected. No Cinderella story, no miracle comebacks, and definitely no glory.

What’s a guy to do? You guessed it! Try again! But to move forward, one must look backwards first and understand the successes and failures.

1. Running back rules the roost!

Of the top RBs taken in this year’s draft, only David Johnson would’ve been the major crippler of your team. Whereas for WR, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, and, for the most part, Julio Jones were all major busts relative to where they were drafted in the fantasy draft. Even so, your team is not dead in the water if you went ZeroRB, nor were you guaranteed a great team if you went robust RB. I can point to many teams that drafted 1 great RB early, but a mediocre 2nd and 3rd RB in the early 3 rounds. The overall construction of your team was important to sustain you throughout the season, and that means acquiring the right depth through trades and pick ups. Which leads me to point number 2


Saints Alvin Kamara

Brad Rempel – USA TODAY Sports

2. Waiver Wire is your friend

The key to surviving this brutal season of injuries was to attack the waiver wire. In the last two seasons, the injuries piled on early on in the season. It led to a lot of scrambling for talent to fill the void. But even those who felt they have a solid depth after the draft, find themselves thin at RB and WR when the injury hits kept coming. I attacked the waiver for RBs consistently, because my WR depth is solid from the draft (a positive side-effect of going ZeroRB). A lesson I learned from playing DFS, is that volume touches is the key stat for RBs. So, instead of worrying about talent, I tracked how touches are distributed in the backfield. Doing so will probably help you find guys like Alex Collins, Kenyan Drake, and Jamaal Williams. As for finding WRs, it was a bit more challenging in finding a plug-and-play type of player. Rather, it was much easier to find a rotational player based on matchup and target volume. Some of you may have been fortunate to land Juju Smith-Schuster or Adam Thielen. As usual, if you don’t have the top QB or TE, you’re left to stream. My advice is to listen to read our FakePigskin articles with our recommended streaming options. It is not a bad idea to put your waiver priority or Free Agent $ to attack the waiver on position of strengths, like RBs and WRs.

3. Rookies are contributing early and often

I’ve already mentioned a couple of names that were first year contributors. Rookies are becoming involved very early, and they are not always the highly touted rookies. Of the hyped up rookies, Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Kareem Hunt, Evan Engram, and DeShaun Watson, all showed up big in the first half of the season. Injuries did rob Cook and Watson of an otherwise prolific start to their pro career. Behind the studs, you could also find rookie stud Alvin Kamara on the waiver wire, while people were figuring out if it’s APs or Ingram’s job in the Saints backfield. You’d also gotten some productive weeks here and there from Cooper KuppOJ Howard, Aaron Jones, DeShone Kizer, Marlon Mack, and D’onta Foreman. All of which you should continue to monitor for next year’s draft. Over the last few years, more redrafters has started taking rookies earlier and earlier. However, outside of the top names, they are still overlooked. So, use your dynasty knowledge and take advantage of picking up the rookies to replenish your roster. My favorite strategy is to package my veterans who are red hot for an upgrade, and then reload my roster with younger players who are ready to take on a new role. Redrafters tend to favor players with past productions over the unknown.

Jaguars Leonard Fournette

David J. Phillip – AP

4. It’s the year of the fantasy zombies

This is one of the biggest lessons I learned this year: Don’t write off a player too quickly. I was completely consumed by the Todd Gurley = Trent Richardson narrative, and I’ve quickly dismissed Alex Collins as a good pick up. I also ignored Will Fuller and Jerick McKinnon, because of their past failures. The lesson is not to dismiss them too quickly when they get the opportunity.

One of the biggest growth in my process is becoming more flexible, and not allowing myself to fall in love with my players too deeply. If I need to cut Sammy Watkins to pick up Kupp I need to do it based on stats and film, even though Sammy was my 5th round pick. I also don’t allow myself to be tilted by injuries, but instead have a plan B, plan C, all the way to plan Z in mind. Next year is a new year, so I will continue to honing my process.


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