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Fantasy Diary: Football is Back!

Fantasy Diary Football is Back

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The title above might strike fear into my European friends who’ve been following their favorite teams for quite some time now. All right, the global version of football was back already, but my main interest goes out to the NFL, and the fantasy part of it in particular. The National Football League has sucked me in since I watched a meaningless Dolphins-Steelers game back in January 2010, and there has been no looking back since.

The game I watched was quarterbacked by Chad Henne, Ben Roethlisberger and some guy named Tyler Thigpen. My good friend and hardcore Dolphins fan Garry Gates had to explain why they kicked the ball on fourth down, what a Tight End was and how the scoring worked.

Oh how things can change…

Right here on I’ll keep a blog about my quest for fantasy football greatness, as Haralabos Voulgaris said on Twitter that my New York Knicks are not a good bet.

TwitterThat about does it for my basketball hopes...


Tim: Any interest in one more league, $30, auction, drafts tomorrow night. If not, nbd just asking around.
Remko: Sorry man, I'm in 7 leagues already
Tim: All good, 7 leagues is crazy.
Remko: hahah I know
Tim: Though I'm in 6, to be fair.
Remko: it's the only way

I cannot take on any more leagues this year. It has gotten a little out of control for a Dutch guy who didn’t know what a quarterback was just four years ago.

My girlfriend calls me crazy, and for good reason. Back when I played my first ever fantasy football league it was simple, I was going to get hustled. My opponents I all considered friends, so losing a hundo to them for 16 weeks of fun wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen.

Things actually progressed quickly and I found myself intrigued about researching which players to draft. Everyone who plays fantasy football knows how much fun draft week is, and how the research is half the fun of playing fantasy sports. I did my research for that first league in September 2010 and looking back I still think I did very well.

Do I have an edge on lifelong football followers and fantasy football graduates now? Not on everyone, but I’m sure I make plenty of correct decisions to benefit from it in the long run.

The main focus for me personally this season is very clear. I’m in an insane six money fantasy-football leagues ranging from $300 to $20 buy-in, from an eight-team PPR league to a 12-team Dynasty league with independent defensive players.

With my second overall pick I took Adrian Peterson after Eric Ramsey went for Aaron Rodgers. In that first round of this 12-team league Andre Johnson, Michael Turner, Steven Jackson and Randy Moss all flew off the board. When it came back to me I snapped up LeSean McCoy while others before be took players like Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson, Shonn Greene and Matt Schaub.

You could almost say I was destined to win.

It’s fun to look back on drafts from years past. I also ended up with Darren McFadden in the ninth and Marshawn Lynch in the 13th round.

As luck would have it, I won the league. I ran the team with my buddy Menno, but even he would acknowledge that it was my draft research that helped us win.

Today I’ll give you guys a look into three of my leagues, the set up and some of the good decisions and mistakes I made in drafts.

$300 12-team 0.5 PPR league -$200 auction draft budget

This league is without a doubt the most important of the year, as it’s the biggest buy in I’ll play. This league is filled with huge longtime football fans, most of which are colleagues and friends of mine from the poker industry. In this auction league I made the biggest error of the pre season by preparing for a two wide receiver set up as opposed to the three in this league’s line up. All my leagues have two wide receiver slots, except for this one.

I only noticed this halfway through the draft when most of my budget was gone. I went stars and scrubs and with Ray Rice ($58), Stevan Ridley ($34), AJ Green ($44), Marques Colston ($22) and Darren Sproles ($26) as the spine of my team. I thought I would be very solid. In fantasy football it’s not important to waste money on your defense and kicker, and it’s also almost always possible to do well with a very cheap tight end.

After spending almost my entire budget on the five players listed above I filled up my roster with Greg Little as my third receiver, backed up by Jacoby Jones, Darius Heyward-Bey, Nate Burleson and Percy Harvin. I collected all those players for $1. My quarterback should make do as Eli Manning ($2) had a fluky season last year, but with both his receivers looking to get healthy at the start of the season I’m confident enough that he will average enough points to cover that position for me. The rest of my team looks like this: Fred Jackson ($4), Shonn Greene ($1), Zach Sudfeld ($1), Ryan Williams ($1), Steelers D/ST ($1) and Sebastian Janikowski ($1).

The more I look at my team the more I like it, as I still cover five positions with very good players. When looking at the ADP (average draft position) on ESPN I’ve got the second and 14thoverall WR and fourth, 14th and 22nd best running back on my team.

Trade targets: I’ll be looking to trade for a better third wide receiver by possibly sacrificing one of my running backs. In this highly competitive league it’s very hard to convince someone to trade, but with my star power at the thinnest position in football I’m confident to reel in a player in the Torrey Smith-Anquan Boldin-Miles Austin range.

$100 12-team PPR Dynasty League with IDP

While the $300 league is the most important league of the season this league is the most important when looking forward. In the second year of this dynasty league I have a superb team full of youngsters and I’m confident in my chances to make the playoffs. The league is set up in a way that everyone keeps 22 out of their 27-player roster.

Let’s say I had an easy decision dropping Aaron Hernandez, but it was a painful one. With having both Jimmy Graham and Hernandez I was bound to rock both these guys in my line up, or use one as a big trade bait this season. With that theory out of the question I prepared for the small five-round supplemental draft with the notion I did not have a first round pick. Last season I did well, and just missed out of the championship game, but I had to trade away my first round pick for Matt Schaub when Jay Cutler was injured and Russell Wilson had a bye week.

In the second round of the draft, with the 23rd overall pick, I took Kenny Stills from the New Orleans Saints. This rookie wide receiver could pan out, and I felt really good about picking him up. As I lost Hernandez this off-season I took Brandon Pettigrew as my TE back up, or as Flex fill in if necessary, with my next pick. In the final two rounds I picked up Eric Weddle and Bruce Carter, two defensive players I think could be valuable. As the line up is very deep I’ll give you guys a screenshot of what I’m working with this year, and during the upcoming ones.

Dynasty TeamMy boys in the Dynasty League

So there is plenty of young talent on my team and the thing I’m most curious about this year is how Ryan Mathews is going to pan out. I have plenty of upside on my bench, but Mathews could be the deciding factor in this line up. 

Trade targets: For this team I don’t really have any immediate trade concerns, but if I do want to improve it would be later in the year if both Lamar Miller and Mathews would fail as fantasy producers.

$50 14-team PPR league – Snake Draft

For the first time since I started playing fantasy football I’m participating in a league with more than 12 teams. In was planning on setting up another 12-team league, but we ended up with 14 teams, which makes the challenge that much more important.

With the eight overall pick I took LeSean McCoy without hesitation. I’m not a fan of ending up with someone like Calvin Johnson or Aaron Rodgers early when you can also build on a strong running back core with a chance to get something decent on the other positions. Every experienced fantasy football player knows that there are way more options out there when it comes to QBs.

When it came back to me Brandon Marshall was still on the board and taking him was also a no-brainer decision in this format. Luckily for me Frank Gore was still there at 36 and Dwayne Bowe at 49, which puts me in a great spot.

I ended up taking Jordy Nelson in the fifth round after which I misclicked BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the sixth round as I was planning on taking a flyer on Rashard Mendenhall. I added Lance Moore, Josh Gordon, Mikel Leshoure, Rueben Randle and finally my QB in the 11th round when I took Sam Bradford. His improved WR core and offensive line gives me good hope he will be sufficient. Of course it’s not ideal to draft a QB late, but the advantage I get from drafting another skill positioned player early is worth it for me.

Trade targets: As you can read above, my team is pretty strong aside from my weak QB. Trading in this league for a good QB could be costly, but I will for sure try to see if there’s anything I can work out.

This Week

Thursday night the Baltimore Ravens kick off their hopes of winning back-to-back Super Bowls against one of the best teams in the league, Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos. In my opinion the Ravens’ Super Bowl win is not going to be repeated as Flacco doesn’t impress me, the defense has been weakened and variance is just not going to hit them two years in a row.

The Broncos are the pre-season Super Bowl favorites and I’m looking forward to watching them this Thursday. Interestingly enough, the last time the pre-season favorite won the Super Bowl it was also a Peyton Manning team. Back in 2007 his Colts crushed the Chicago Bears and Manning is looking to add at least one more trophy to his impressive list of accomplishments. 

From a fantasy perspective I’m mostly looking to see what Ray Rice does for my big league and how Saints; Sproles and Colston will do. In the Dynasty League I’m keeping a close eye on Russell Wilson as he heads down to face the Carolina Panthers and I can’t wait to see Lamar Miller run the ball against Cleveland.

Check back in with me next week as I’ll go over the results in my leagues and bring you updates from the Fantasy Football sphere.


News by Remko Rinkema
Remko Rinkema - Interviewer

Remko Rinkema has covered the biggest poker tournaments in the world since 2008, including many WSOP, EPT, Aussie Millions, APPT, MCOP and Unibet Open events. As an in-depth interview and story enthusiast he tries to do things a little differently. Besides the usual writings Rinkema grabs every chance to appear on podcasts, live streams and in the occasional video.

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