Thursday, December 17, 2009

Full disclosure: How my fantasy teams did

Since I spend a lot of my time giving readers fantasy advice, I know a lot of you are wondering how MY teams are doing this year.

So here goes.

First of all, I'm in three leagues. And in two of them, I failed to make the playoffs this year. It's sad, I know. And frustrating. But those are the breaks in this game. I feel like I know what I'm doing and put a good squad together in each of these leagues, but a few bad breaks, one or two mistakes and a little bad luck can leave you on the outside looking in come playoff time. Even if you're a fantasy expert.

Let's start with the league where I had the most success:

LEMBO SLAYERS (8-6 record, 3rd place, 2nd in points scored, 1st in points allowed, clinched playoffs)

SEASON RECAP: It's a 10-team league I'm in with a bunch of my co-workers, and I've made the playoffs in each of its three years of existence. With a win last week, I became the only member to clinch the playoffs in all four seasons, and I successfully dethroned two-time defending champ John Lembo, the inspiration for my team's name. As you can see, my record would probably be a lot better if it weren't for all the points scored against me - a whopping 971, almost 300 MORE than the team that finished in first place. But I digress. Bring on the playoffs.

BEST PICKS: When I drafted this team I was a little unsure about taking Chris Johnson with the sixth overall pick. He's been brilliant, probably fantasy's 2009 MVP, and he single-handedly helped me clinch a playoff spot last week. Taking Andre Johnson in the second round and Aaron Rodgers in the third were both tremendous moves. When you hit home runs with your first three picks, there's no reason not to make the playoffs. My choices of Kevin Boss, Ahmad Bradshaw and Devin Hester were also helpful at various points.

BEST PICKUPS: I got the Giants' Steve Smith in late September and the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles in early November, and both are starters for me down the stretch and in the playoffs.

WORST PICKS: I was worried about Roy Williams as my No. 2 WR, and rightfully so. He's been a bust. I expected huge things out of Chris Cooley, but he got hurt and they didn't happen. I wanted more from Kevin Smith. And I thought Matt Cassel would be better - luckily I only had to play him once.

SARASOTA SPARTANS (6-7, 8th place, 6th in points scored, 10th in points allowed, missed playoffs)

SEASON RECAP: As you can see I had incredible luck, getting the fewest points scored against me in the 10-team league. But I just didn't score enough on a weekly basis. We were all jumbled together in the middle of the standings - 5 teams finished 6-7 and missed the playoffs; the two teams went 7-6 and the one that went 6-6-1 made the playoffs.

BEST PICKS: Michael Turner (1st round) and Greg Jennings (3rd) were solid starters, though they didn't quite live up to my expectations. Philip Rivers (4th round) was a good choice at QB. Taking Rashard Mendenhall in the 12th round was good, even though I dropped him and picked him up again later.

BEST PICKUPS: Got Smith (Giants) and Charles again off waivers. Also picked up Heath Miller, Cadillac Williams and Austin Collie and used them to some effectiveness at various points. And I got Ray Rice in a four-player trade (Rice/Steve Breaston for DeSean Jackson/Donald Brown) that worked out pretty well.

WORST PICKS: Marion Barber (2nd round) didn't play like a second-rounder for me. LenDale White (6th round) did nothing for me. Got stuck with Roy Williams again as my No. 2 receiver. And Donald Brown, Ted Ginn and James Davis didn't materialize as breakout players for me, although I was basically taking fliers on them in the very late rounds.

ACE IN THE HOLE (6-7, 7th place, 9th in points scored, T-2nd in points allowed, missed playoffs)

SEASON RECAP: Another frustrating finish as I missed the playoffs by a game and had a ton of points scored against me every week. This is the big-money PPR league in which I share a team with my dad, and we've missed the playoffs the last 3 or 4 years. Injuries to Frank Gore, Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley really hurt us, as it's a pretty deep league and it costs $5 a transaction, so you can't just go dropping and adding guys as you please.

BEST PICKS: Taking the Eagles defense in the 10th round actually helped us out quite a bit. Tony Romo and Eli Manning both had big games from time to time (we just didn't always start the right guy). Same goes for Gore, Anquan Boldin and the Panthers' Steve Smith, although injuries to all those guys killed us throughout the season.

BEST PICKUPS: We thought getting Portis off waivers was a steal earlier in the season, and it did work out for about 1 game before he got hurt. Hakeem Nicks was a nice pickup. Jermichael Finley had a few decent weeks.

WORST PICKUPS: It's all about one man: Matt Forte with the third overall pick. We were completely disgusted with him and his team all year. I'll admit he was a bit of a stretch that high in the draft, especially with Maurice Jones-Drew available. But I never envisioned him being this mediocre. He's had about three fantasy-worthy games this year - against the Lions, Browns and Rams. That's unaccceptable for a first-round pick. He single-handedly sunk us.

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