(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and recap the features, columns, and podcasts you could find on the site that week.)
I used to play a lot of poker — when I got out of college, it was my “job” for a while, before I started making better choices.
One thing that happens when you are college-aged and throw yourself into poker is that you play it all the time. I would play it at the casino, in the underground rooms, at friends’ houses. When I was killing time, I’d deal out random poker hands just to watch how things played out. When my buddies would hang out drinking, we’d end up dealing some hands.
I noticed some things about people. The stakes influenced the play style. When we’d have a few hundred in a game, they’d take it seriously, make smart choices, concentrate. When we’d have $5, $10 on it, they’d try, but they wouldn’t go crazy. If they lost, that wasn’t ideal, but oh well. And when we’d play for free because we were bored, they wouldn’t care even a little. All-in on a pair of 4’s? Whatever, there’s no stakes, we’d play again.
I wasn’t that way. I’m sure I played harder when the big money was on the line, but even in the free games, I’d try. I wanted to win, and I wanted the win to be legitimate. The money behind the game wasn’t the biggest factor for me; I just wanted to play it the “right” way.
I don’t say this to claim the moral high ground; I probably took the free games too seriously, and they went the other way. But it’s the same way I play fantasy — I don’t need to be playing for big money to try. And I don’t need to have a chance at the title to try, either.
There’s a debate every year about the so-called ethics of the eliminated teams. If you don’t have a shot at winning, improving your standing for something, or keep a contender’s game legitimate, what right do you have claiming players of waivers who could potentially matter for those contenders.
Here’s my take: You have a team. You bought in (literally or metaphorically) for a season of fantasy. Does that mean you use all your FAAB in Week 14 on a backup who has just been named the starter and could be significant in the playoffs? No, probably not. But if your starter gets benched or injured, and you need to fill a roster spot to play your matchup in a battle for ninth place? Pick him up.
We play this game to play the game. Yeah, the ones who have the money on the line at the end of the year are probably most invested, but if I’ve had a bad year, if I’m 3-10 and just filling out the losers bracket, than damn sure I want to be the winner of the losers. Make your additions. Add and drop. Ignore the money and play the game you signed up to play. Even if you aren’t playing *for* anything.
- The biggest fantasy content of the week is one of our collective favorite series of the year — Pat Thorman’s quarterback strength of schedule. In three parts (1, 2, 3), the series looks at notable strong and weak schedules, early- and late-season standouts, and the best bye-week options and perfect pairings.
- That was serious analysis. This isn’t: Daniel Kelley looks for the best fantasy team you can make by birth year.
- Kelley also looked at multi-year deep passing statistics and identified five teams most likely to put up fewer cumulative fantasy points than they did in 2017.
- Interested in PFF grades? They don’t always have a seamless overlap with fantasy production—Mike Castiglione identifies players with better fantasy potential than PFF grades, and Walton Spurlin does the same for IDP.
- Scott Barrett’s Metrics that Matter series looks at routes run statistics, the value of various touch opportunities, and the difference between a WR1 and an RB1.
- Michael Moore’s Player Showdown series pits Ben Roethlisberger against Matthew Stafford.
- Dan Clasgens identifies six draft picks who won’t wow anybody but will be successful.
- Scott Spratt looks at recent in-season switches of teams’ No. 1 RBs in search of trends.
- Curtis Patrick’s Devy Spotlight previews the Big 12.
- To Gronk Or Not To Gronk