Most people are probably doing a lot of personal evaluations in this, the final week of the year. After all, New Year’s resolutions are being developed and everyone at least tries to improve themselves and their lives from one year to the next.
And that reflection should always include one’s fantasy teams, since reasonable assessments can be made regarding your team or teams two months into the season. I am no exception. I’m in five leagues this season and my current teams are split between solid and dreadful.
Before I go in depth, I have to say that my honeymoon, which limited be to basically zero team management for the first three weeks of the season, pushed me into a deep hole in three of my five leagues. Two I believe I can recover from to contend, the other I’m not sure. Enough with my pre-emptive strike of excuses.
Here’s a quick recap:
League:My friend’s “longtime” roto league – in its fourth season.
Format:12 teams, eight category roto, lineup changes daily with 82 game limits at each position.
Team Name: The Monkey Kings
Current standing: 11th out of 12 with 26.5 points (leader has 74)
Summary:Clearly I’m well behind in this league but things are not nearly as bleak as they seem. Right before my trip I realized I had a few guys playing below expectations (see Barbosa, Leandro) and a couple key injuries (DeronWilliams and Manu Ginobili). So, I reduced my active roster to six players for the entire three weeks. As a result, I came back in dead last (14 total points in the standings) but was WAY behind everyone else in games played.
I’m still behind all of the top 10 teams in games played and the team is coming around. Due to the daily lineups I can catch in games played while accumulating more statistically than my competitors.
Glad I Drafted:Vince Carter in the fourth round, Andrew Bogut in the sixth and J.R. Smith in the 10th.
Regret Drafting: Brand with my first pick, Barbosa in the eighth round.
Transactions made: 8 (no limit)
Key Pickups:Rodney Stuckey the day he was named the starter, overlooked rookies D.J. Augustin and Russel Westbrook.
Regrettable Drops:None. I’ve dropped Andray Blatche, Amir Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Hakim Warrick, Rasho Nesterovic, Roger Mason and Jose Juan Barea this season. No real regrets there.
Trades: Dealt Westbrook for Udonis Haslem because I had a glut of guards and was desperately in need of rebounding and FG% once Brand went down.
Outlook:Drafting two injured guys (Williams and Ginobili) as well as my early absence made it tough, but I project myself finishing in the top five. Could go higher if some of my competitor’s suffer some injuries and bad luck.
League: Give Me the Rock Reader’s League.
Format: 12 teams, nine category head-to-head, lineup changes weekly.
Team Name: Fantasy Basketball Jedi
Current standing: 2nd of 12
Summary: No surprise I’m contending here because I drafted well and lack of management doesn’t really hurt as much in head-to-head leagues unless you suffer injuries. My team stayed healthy and is a pretty solid big ball team all the way through.
Glad I Drafted:Where do I start? Lebron James first round, Tim Duncan, second round, Bogut and Andres Biedrins back-to-back in the fifth and sixth rounds, Ben Gordon in the eighth round and Paul Millsap 147th overall has been a miracle.
Regret Drafting: Barbosa in the seventh round has been the only big regret. I just cut him loose.
Transactions made: 5 (no limit)
Key Pickups: Joel Pryzbilla has been a huge fill-in for a big ball team, Boris Diaw was a nice grab after he was traded. He is paying off nicely.
Regrettable Drops: None. I’ve dropped Louis Williams, Erick Dampier, Nesterovic and Johnson. All were playing poorly or didn’t quite fit.
Trades: None, though I’m trying to move Ronnie Brewer.
Outlook: This is my best shot at a title because I’m in second place with Monta Ellis on the mend. Once he returns, I’ll have Jose Calderon, Ellis and Gordon at the guards and James, Duncan, Diaw, Bogut, Biedrins, Ron Artest and Millsap rounding out the rest. Hard to out-big that team.
League: Give Me the Rock Monster League.
Format: 20 teams, nine category head-to-head, lineup changes weekly.
Team Name: Fantasy Basketball Jedi
Current standing: 12th of 20
Summary: Hard to guage this league as the top 17 teams (17!!!) are seperated by just seven games in the standings as of Sunday night. There is so much depth in the player pool that no group of teams is pulling away. Every injury and hot streak is doubly important and everyone still has a playoff chance. My team is fine, but with 20 teams, you always have to start some guys you’re not happy about.
Glad I Drafted: Troy Murphy in the fifth round (97th overall) is a perfect center for the small ball team I’m putting out there. Ellis in the seventh round (137th) is going to be a huge lift in such a deep league when he returns.
Regret Drafting: Lamar Odom in the third round. Still an OK power forward for a small ball team in deep league, but there were way better players to be had.
Transactions made: 7 (no limit)
Key Pickups: I grabbed Rashard McCants as soon as he was dropped last month and he’s starting to come around. A great addition for a team that focuses on 3’s, steals and FT%
Regrettable Drops: How can you regret dropping anyone in a 20-team league? All the borderline ownable players are hard to stomach.
Trades: None. In fact there have been zero trades in this league thusfar.
Outlook: When Ellis returns, he’ll basically be replacing Jarrett Jack as my utility player. That is a massive upgrade in a deep league and my lineup will be: Chauncey Billups, Ginobili, Calderon, Ellis, McCants, Odom, Murphy and another forward. Not a bad team for FT%, assists, steals and 3’s. Barring any injuries to top players, this team can and will contend.
League: The RotoEvil challenge.
Format: See if you can follow this: It is actually two, 14-team leagues with separate scoring systems. One is an eight category roto league and the other is a points league with the scoring based on John Hollinger’s PER system.
Your rosters can be different in both leagues (though you drafted one roster, transactions can be made seperately in each scoring system). At the end of the season, both standings will be combined to create a final standings, winner, etc.
Both leagues operate under the same rules: you set your lineups weekly and there is a games limit, though it’s nearly impossible to reach because you can’t change your lineup daily.
Team Name: Fantasy Basketball Jedi (sense a pattern?)
Current standing: 14th of 14 … in BOTH leagues.
Summary: This league is where the perfect storm has combined to hurt me, which is disconcerting since this is the league that had the most money involved. Firstly, I came in with a poor drafting strategy, basically unable to decide weather I wanted to draft a good roto team or good PER team. As a result, I would up with a mediocre hybrid.
My three-week absence set me off to a bad start as Michael Redd stayed in my lineup despite injury and the Billups trade meant I had no point guard for about a week.
Also, some of my draft choices, including Shawn Marion, Mike Dunleavy and Odom have been complete bombs. Take some chances and you may get burned.
Glad I Drafted: Billups in the first roundwas solid in both formats, Brewer in the eighth round, Ellis in the 14th round.
Regret Drafting: Marion in the second round has been terrible and I thought Dunleay was a solid risk in the 11th round but he’s probably not going to play this season. My Warrick pick in the sixth round was atrocious. (As a potential starting PF on bad team, I expected his usally strong PER over many more minutes).
Transactions made: 5 in the roto league, 7 in the points league (limit of 35 in both leagues)
Key Pickups: Nesterovic and Jeff Foster have been solid pickups in the roto league and Carl Landry and Kelenna Azubuike have been good in the PER league. Nothing to really brag about, though.
Regrettable Drops: Dropping Derek Fisher in the PER league is my only real post-awful-draft regret.
Trades: None allowed.
Outlook: I’ve actually closed the gap quite a bit in both leagues but even with so much of the season left, contending is a tremendous long shot. If I can wind up in the middle pack, it will be a small, moral victory I picked up so much ground in four months against some pretty serious competition.
League: Yahoo! Public League.
Format:12 teams, nine category roto, lineup changes daily.
Team Name:The Undrafteds
Current standing: 12th of 12
Summary: In a league I referenced in a previous post, it turns out trying to compete in a league full of guys who were undrafted is not so easy. Although like most of the other leagues, I’ve been steadily gaining ground and expect to finish somewhere in the middle, which would actually be considerably impressive.
Glad I Drafted: Not really applicable here.
Regret Drafting: See above.
Transactions made: 40 (no limit). Obviously I had to cut every player that was auto-drafted, so this number is way high.
Key Pickups: Well everyone on my roster is a pickup, but Diaw, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Millsap, Spencer Hawes and Delonte West have all been pretty good.
Regrettable Drops: Dumping Nate Robinson and Mario Chalmers stings right now, especially on such an inept overall team.
Trades: None, who the hell wants the guys on this team?
Outlook: As stated above, I think this team can wind up in the middle of the pack and that was kind of the goal of the “experiment”. Of course, it’s a constant work in progress but with no money/pride involved, it’s hardly a difficult process.
The rest of my fantasy season is a bit schitzo, with long climbs in two leagues and a playoff hunt in two others. Here are my basic expectations:
The Monkey Kings: Finish fourth, basically “in the money”
GMTR Leagues: Playoffs ahead
RotoEvil Challenge: A respectable finish after an awful draft and terrible start to the season. Winning any money would be near-impossible.
The Undrafteds: It’s a public league so some owners inevitable lose interest, etc. Maybe I’ll win it all! Mu-ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!