Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Creeper Report: Fantasy Football Week One

The Creeper Report returns for its second season. Last year it sprawled and wandered across The Penalty Flag, covering the usual fantasy football topics and including a cigar review and a limerick.

Since then, I've dumped TPF, dabbled with RantSports, and have decided to post it here at Eighty Six the Poet. I'm too late to talk draft strategy, although I've written some articles and slideshows on the topic for Rant.

Drafts have happened. It's time to play the game.

My Leagues

East Crown: My free friends and family league returns, still with a strong representation from the Czech republic. Last year I started 2-6 after drafting Michael Vick then starting Geno Smith and Nick Foles at all the wrong times. With the help of Josh McCown, some crafty pickups and a humidor full of luck, I won every game from Week 9 one and stole the championship. My wife led the league from wire to wire until she tangled with me in the playoffs. Sorry, lasko.

Last year East Crown had 16 teams with huge benches. This year, only 10 teams and a bench of 5. Gotta be shrewd with pickups and drops.

Andy's League: The guy that go me into all this. Some of the players have changed, but I've been in one of his leagues for 8 years. He plays it straight forward with non-funky scoring and no gimmicks. The owners here know what they're doing and are quick to make smart pickups. Last year I made the playoffs, but swirled down the drain with Matthew Stafford.

Nate's League: I've been in this league 3 years now. The scoring is also non-weird, but this was my first exposure to IDP. I'm still not an expert with them. I usually pick a quality guy and stick with him. If he doesn't create turnovers or get sacks or end up in the end-zone this week, he should next week, right? Nate does start 3 WRs and 2 RBs with one flex, so it's important to be a little receiver heavy.

Bethanie's League: I've played with her but never in a league run by her. She's being adventurous with the scoring. Completions are worth 1 point. Carries are .5. Receptions are worth 2. I'm glad I thunked about this pre-draft. It seems obvious to me WRs will outscore RBs and QBs will outscore everyone. So I went Peyton Manning in the first followed by 3 WRs. I may be the only one to change draft strategies radically.

I may have given myself a big advantage. Stay tuned.

So Who Did I Draft?

I stayed with my strategy of loading up on wide receivers and running backs. As usual, I did not draft a defense or kicker and picked a tight end late.

I feel Russell Wilson was heavily undervalued and was happy to take him in the 7th round in every league but Bethanie's. Yes, I'm a Seahawks fan and I love the guy that brought us our first Super Bowl, but I also objectively think he'll have a great statistical year.

I reached for Percy Harvin, too. I hope I'm not a tremendous homer.

I did avoid Marshawn Lynch, who I love but I don't think he puts up huge numbers again.

I was big on Victor Cruz for a bounce-back year and I like Rashad Jennings to flourish with the Giants. I also felt Martellus Bennett was undervalued and was glad to grab him late twice.

The Mess with Wes

What the hell, Denver? So your kicker and slot receiver are both in trouble for substance abuse? Matt Prater and Wes Welker are both out for 4 games. They call Welker's suspension a PED thing because of the amphetamines in his ecstasy, but partying at the Kentucky Derby is partying.

I won't over-react to a breaking news story. Wes says the sample was tainted and he'd never put anything like that in his body. I've always respected him as a hard-working professional who excelled despite not having great measurables. We'll see how it pans out.

But for fantasy purposes, this is good for Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer. I found them both available in most of my leagues and stashed them despite my preexisting WR depth. Jacob Tamme gets a boost, too. Emmanuel Sanders is no longer a question.

Defenses I Like

Some good teams playing bad ones this week. It's hard to say what defenses outside the marquis few will be any good this year, but calling offenses that are a mile from being decent is not so hard. Jacksonville will not come together soon. Neither will Cleveland or Buffalo, so grab Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Chicago if they're around.

Philly is starting on every one of my teams.

Who's Running the Rogue Program Now?

After suspensions to Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond and Bruce Irvin, plus Richard Sherman's successful appeal, folks were muttering about the shady camp Pete Carroll was running in Seattle. Jim Harbaugh even said: "You want to be above reproach, especially when you're good, because you don't want people to come back and say, 'They're winning because they're cheating.'"

With Aldon Smith suspended for 9 games and Ray McDonald becoming the pioneer of Roger Goodell's new domestic violence rules, who's above reproach now? The only noise from Seattle's camp was a made up accusation against Marshawn Lynch. The 49ers have a player beating a pregnant woman and another guilty of DUI, weapons charges and being stupid in an airport.

Reel it in, Coach Harbaugh. This one's getting away.

What did I say about the Seahawks looking more stable than the 49ers? San Francisco fans were all pissed off. Too bad I was right.

Just when I thought the NFC West was going to be the strongest division in football, the 49ers' defense is collapsing, the Cardinals have losses on D and the Rams lose Sam Bradford. Get well soon, Sam. Calais Campbell too.

And Stay Tuned for Next Week

Not too much fantasy football writing to do after the draft yet before the season. Next week I'll have more to work with. I promise to go off on more tangents.

I'll put in some study for the cigar review.

Good luck and happy creepings.