Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Braggin' Rights 2012: Felipe Wins a Fantasy Football Title

I am the Champion!
I AM THE CHAMPION!
(photo courtesy of Felipe M)

Felipe M

The following is a recap of my 2012 Championship-winning fantasy football team, Baraka Obama from a universal point of view.  The hope is that fantasy football owners would be able to relate. 

Despite the fact that I missed my league's draft this year, I was pretty confident of my team's chances when I saw what the draft-bot did in my absence.  However,what looked to be a stacked team after the draft, was turning into a frustrating, 4-3 bunch after a Week 7 (midway point of the 13 game regular season) collapse at the hands of a lesser team (vs. Domination) who happened to have the Bears' defense complete the comeback victory on a Monday Night game vs. the Lions when they were running on all cylinders. 

Struggling with mediocre Quarterbacks, an overworked running corps, underachieving WRs, and a revolving door at Defense, the team entered the 2nd half of the season with virtually no shot at the Division title (team MacAttack was running away with that honor and looked to be the season-long favorite to win-it-all) and their playoff hopes dwindling.  What happened in the next 6 weeks of the regular season finished off one of the wildest regular seasons anyone could ever imagine. 

I will now divide my team into their respective positions and split the season into three parts in terms of roster during those portions of the season.  Let's look at the QBs to kick things off:

QUARTERBACKS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)
  1. Phil Rivers>>>Phil Rivers>>>> Russell Wilson
  2. Sam Bradford>>> Brandon Weeden >>>>Sam Bradford
  3. N/A>>> N/A>>> Phil Rivers
In 2009, I had won a championship with Phil Rivers so when I saw that he was on my team, I was pretty satisfied that the draft-bot was smart enough to select him in the 7th round after it had filled out my RB and WRs slots first.  I knew that Rivers' arrow was going down, but was hoping that veteran guile would make up for a lack of weapons in San Diego.  After 7 games, I quickly found out that the 2009 Rivers would not be available this season and instead I got stuck with an inconsistent QB who seemed to throw more INTs than TDs and was looking to run for his life more often than looking for open receivers. 

Even worse was the backup QB position which it seemed that I was constantly holding open auditions for that slot. Even worse, it also seemed that every QB I wanted to insert for backup was getting hurt the following week: Alex Smith and Jake Locker were the other QBs that made a cameo on my team only to be cut the following week due to injuries.

It wasn't until December 5th that I received a gift when Russell Wilson was scooped up by me after another team cut him.  During that time, I was looking to make a trade for a QB, getting offered Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, and Mike Vick. However, as I shall explain later, my running backs were the heart and soul of my 2012 team and decided that I couldn't afford to trade any of them for QBs with tough upcoming schedules and inconsistent play. 

Wilson's arrow looked to be going up so I went ahead and rolled the dice with him and inserted him into my playoff lineup.  The move would obviously payoff as Wilson made plays with both his arm and his legs: in three games started at QB, Wilson passed for 6 TDs and ran in another 3 TDs while only committing 2 turnovers.  Conversely, Rivers passed for 18 TDs, but was accounted for 20 total turnovers in 12 starts for the club.  I mockingly referred to Wilson as the second coming of Seneca Wallace (the former Iowa St. product who also played for the Seahawks back in 2009) throughout the year, but Wilson came up big in the clutch and without a doubt, was the X-factor my team needed to win the championship.  


RUNNING BACKS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1. Ray Rice>>> Ray Rice>>>Ray Rice
  2. Trent Richardson>>>Trent Richardson>>>Trent Richardson
  3. Adrian Peterson>>>Adrian Peterson>>>Adrian Peterson
  4. Steven Ridley>>>Steven Ridley>>>Steven Ridley
  5. David Wilson>>>N/A>>>N/A

As I mentioned before, the heart and soul of this team were my running backs.  Despite the fact that I did not attend the draft, no owner was willing to take a chance on Adrian Peterson as he lasted into the 3rd round. Had I attended, I would have snatched him up in the 2nd round.  Combined with Ray Rice, I had a dream backfield.  What I did not expect was Trent Richardson making the squad as my #2 running back. I was not too high on Richardson (especially when legend Jim Brown publicly criticized the Browns for selecting what amounts to be an "ordinary" player), but I was still excited about Richardson because of the opportunity he would get in Cleveland as the feature back.

Already possessed with a "Trio" of featured backs, the draft-bot selected Steven Ridley and David Wilson whose role on their respective teams were up in the air.  I immediately cut Wilson and held on to Ridley hoping that he can step in admirably during bye weeks, but his job was always in jeopardy. Nevertheless, Ridley survived the entire year on my squad, playing in four games and rushing for 348 yards and rushing for 3 TDs.

The "Trio" would finish the season accumulating 1,547 total yards  and averaged approximately 9 TDs among the three of them. In 41 games played, the "Trio" went on to average 113.2 total yards per game.  Adrian Peterson, without a doubt, is the MVP of the year, Ray Rice proved once again why he is still a dual threat, and Trent Richardson did indeed leave a mark in Cleveland and proved to be anything, but "ordinary."

WIDE RECEIVERS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1. Steve Smith>>>Steve Smith>>>Steve Smith
  2. Demaryius Thomas>>>Demaryius Thomas>>>Demaryius Thomas
  3. Percy Harvin>>>Percy Harvin>>>Mike Williams
  4. Robert Meachem>>>Mike Williams>>>Josh Gordon
  5. Mike Williams>>>Josh Gordon>>>Chris Givens
  6. Davone Bess>>>Chris Givens>>>N/A
Steve Smith being selected as my #1 WR was not what I was hoping for, but I expected him to have a bounce back year in Carolina. I was very excited about Demaryius Thomas and Percy Harvin, but questions still remained if they could emerge as #1's themselves.  Mike Williams, despite the presence of Vincent Jackson in Tampa, was a pleasant surprise and eventually emerged as the team's 2nd best WR.  

Nevertheless, as much as my young corps had upside, it was even more frustrating to see them produce pedestrian numbers sometimes.  It could be because all the other teams had elite WRs or because my running game was carrying the squad, but in the end, my receiving corps did a solid job contributing to this Championship squad. 

Thomas was clearly the best WR accumulating 1,312 yards with 9 TDs, but it was frustrating to see Eric Decker steal his touches.  Nevertheless, Thomas did indeed emerge as the #1 receiver I was looking for.

On the other hand, Harvin once again solidified his reputation as being a fragile player as he only played in 8 games for my team (675 total yards and scored 4 total TDs in that span). Smith and Williams finished with 930+ receiving yards each. 

Givens and Gordon are interesting because it seemed like they were able to survive on my squad for most of the season as role players.  Givens played 3 games, gained 263 yards and scored 2 TDs. Gordon played 7 games and gained 394 yards and also caught 2 TD passes.


TIGHT ENDS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1. Brandon Pettigrew>>>Brandon Pettigrew>>>Greg Olsen
  2. Coby Fleener>>>N/A>>>N/A
Brandon Pettigrew was a disappointment, but with a famine of TEs available in free agency, I was stuck with him for the majority of the year (491 yards; 2 TDs in 10 games played).  It wasn't until someone cut Greg Olsen and was welcomed with open arms on November 14th did I finally feel good about the position.  Even though both players ended the year with similar numbers on my team, the fact that Olsen was more likely to get more targets and had the ability to make big plays was the peace of mind I was looking for.  Pettigrew also was credited for losing two fumbles, so at least Olsen would be able to secure the ball and not lose any more points for my team. A Pettigrew injury sealed his fate and was cut from the team, making Olsen the sole TE on the club.  


KICKERS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1.  John Kasay>>>Phil Dawson>>>Shayne Graham
  2. Garrett Hartley>>>Justin Tucker>>>Matt Bryant
All that matters is that Shayne Graham scored 19 points in the Championship Game.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)
  1. Patrick Peterson>>>Lance Briggs>>>Paul Posluszny
  2. Ray Lewis>>>Patrick Willis>>>Jerod Mayo
Nothing is more frustrating than having to insert a defensive player into your starting lineup. Jerod Mayo played the most games at that spot this season, but when it was time for the playoffs, I went with tackles machine, Paul Posluszny.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)
  1. Seattle>>>Minnesota>>>Carolina
  2. Dallas>>>Kansas City>>Cincinnati 
  3. Denver>>>San Diego>>>Washington
  4. N/A>>>Tampa>>>N/A
In retrospect, I should have stuck with the Seahawks, but I wasn't very confident in that defense. They would emerge as one of the most physical and unforgiving defenses in the league, but that's neither here nor there.  The Vikings carried me mostly around the midway point of the season, but cut them when the matchups got too hot for them. Despite the carousel at the position, the Bengals emerged as a solid group and carried me throughout the 2nd half until I switched out in the Championship game and went with the Panthers' defense, which proved to be unnecessary because the Bengals took care of Pittsburgh during Championship week. 

RESULTS

My team was able to surge into the 2nd half with a 5-1 record and finished the season with the most Points For in the league with 1,794.24. Was also awarded a bye week despite finishing in 2nd place in the division to MacAttack, who also got the bye week, finishing the year with the best record. MacAttack also proved to be the biggest challenge on my quest to the title, led by:
  • Tom Brady
  • Dez Bryant
  • We Welker
  • Doug Martin
  • Eric Decker (grrrr!)
  • David Wilson (so like that team to pick up my trash!)
  • C.J. Spiller
After taking care of DaRocks (183.50-128.86) in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, I was game-planning for my next opponent, which seemed to be the pesky MacAttack.  However, MacAttack would be upset in the Divisional Round to VictorysAddiction2ME. MacAttack had Chris Johnson, Alfred Morris and Dennis Pitta on the bench who had big games during the Divisional Round. Had they gone with any of those players, MacAttack would have won and would've had a good chance at winning the Championship Game.  Instead, the best team in terms of Win-Loss record gave one of their worst performances of the year at the wrong time and VA2M did enough to win and punch their ticket into the Championship Game.

In the Final, VA2M got off to a quick start and even was able to pad his lead early on in the second half of the game.  However, big performances by Thomas, Rice, and Wilson sealed the game for my squad, with the final score 150.24-105.80.  MacAttack would go on to win the 3rd place game, 162.68-137.60, trying to take out his frustration on DaRocks.  Of course, had my team and MacAttack played in the final with our rosters intact, I would be writing about a different story, but as it goes, I patiently await my trophy which was earned because of patience, perseverance, and plain-ole-luck.

To paraphrase Steve Young, "No one can ever take this away from me. NO ONE!"


Feel free to share your 2012 fantasy football results on the comments section of this article.  

No comments: