(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.)
Doing what I do — even as the editor and not one of the technical experts — I inevitably field questions from friends, strangers, and anyone else who happens to need fantasy advice. When I was sleeping in the hospital at my newborn, just-had-heart-surgery son’s bedside, I woke up one morning to the respiratory therapist, who had come in to check on the boy, waiting patiently for me to finish sleeping so he could have me set his starting lineup.
That’s not a complaint, mind you. Just one of those things. It’s fun to tell people what I do and see the reactions. One season, a few years ago, my buddy from my hometown Travis — a football fan, but not a fantasy guy at all — spent the season asking me for advice for a friend of a friend of his. Basically, I spent all year helping set the lineup for a friend, three times removed.
All this despite the fact that my team that season was just slogging along that year. I was winning, but my the skin of my teeth — weekly wins by 5 points at a time. I got to the playoffs as the 2 seed despite barely outscoring my opponents on the season. This was not my primary league, but it was one I wanted to win for pride reasons. It was run by a kid who worked at my wife’s restaurant, and who had happened to go to my high school some 10 years after me. He had told all his friends about how he knew this expert, and they should have me in the league for street cred, or whatever. So I cared about it, even as I scuffled along and barely made my way. Sometimes, that’s the dirty little secret of fantasy analysis — either you’re guessing along with everyone else (just slightly more educated-ly), or you make the right choices and you still lose way too often to even pretend to be that quote-unquote “expert.”
Still, that season, I made the playoffs. This was 2014, and between injury and ineffectiveness, my quarterbacks heading into the dang playoffs were Mark Sanchez (then the Eagles backup thrust into action) and Kyle Orton (finishing up his career in Buffalo). Still, I played the matchups and lucked into the right opponents and kept going. I made the finals, despite the fact that I’d have lost every single playoff week against any other playoff opponent.
I guess that counts for something. But I wasn’t feeling like some grand expert that winter, especially when Travis texted me to ask for advice for his friend’s friend.
“He almost didn’t want to ask you,” Travis said, “because he’s not too scared of the guy he’s facing in the finals. That guy’s quarterbacks are—” I can almost hear the snickering. “—Mark Sanchez and Kyle Orton.”
That was when I remembered that Travis’ friend’s friend was a member of a church in my hometown, and was much younger than me, and could easily have gone to school with my wife’s employee. No, I did not offer that guy advice that week. Sorry, friend, best of luck.
(I won the title. Viva Mark Sanchez.)
- Of course, the biggest fantasy news of the week — the biggest news of the week in all of football — was the start of free agency, and the flurry of moves that brought along with it. Our Jeff Ratcliffe reacted to every single move that carried significant fantasy appeal, letting you know what to invest in and what not to.
- Dan Schneier offered up a small free agency preview that could still help fantasy owners after the fact, looking at values that would change during the free agency period.
- Scott Spratt wrapped up our combine coverage with a look at similarity scores and profiles for the draft’s top wide receivers and tight ends.
- Drafts have started for the fantasy diehards, and as such, we already have some 2018 ADP data to mine through. Michael Moore looked at the early draft trends to see if there are draft lessons we can already learn for the season.
- In his Metrics that Matter series, Scott Barrett argued against Julio Jones’ sinking ADP, then turned toward free agency, with a look at how players typically do after changing teams, and offered up seven stats inspired by this week’s moves.
- Daniel Kelley wondered whether any of the aging, released running backs have anything left to offer in fantasy, and then looked at the tendency of some quarterbacks to lock onto their top targets in a given game and deprive the rest of their rosters of fantasy value.
- Looking ahead, Dan Clasgens identified his top sleeper and bust candidates for the 2018 season at the running back position. Tyler Buecher picked out five disappointing players from 2017 who he feels won’t bounce back next year. And Walton Spurlin looked at IDP, with five candidates to have a rebound season.
- And looking back, Mike Castiglione looked at the top 20 running back fantasy seasons since 2007 (in two parts).
- Possible Free Agent Landing Spots
- Free Agency Frenzy!
- Jordy Nelson to Oakland and Dynasty Rankings Update
- Fantasy specialty podcasts
- Dynasty Two Minute Drill: Free Agency Update