Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RIP Live Draft Blog and Draft Grades



I had to lay the live blog to rest. And with it, the draft grades. I will provide the following justifications, which none of you will likely read:

LIVE DRAFT BLOG

The live blog was really fun for me the first two seasons. Let's take stock of where my life was at both points.

August 2011 - I am a newly married man, just returned from nearly a month in Hawaii. Our league is brand new, and I am more excited about this than just about anything else, save my new marriage, and potentially moving out of my mother-in-law's house. I am gearing up for a final push on the PhD, but I am still in a post-wedding lull. What was the best way to fill that lull? Mock drafts and research. And so I did. Come draft day, I was so ready I could have been composing a symphony while drafting. I may have been over-prepared, take sleepers 2-3 years too early (see leonard hankerson).

Jump to August 2012 - Just moved into a new house and started a new job, but work is slow. Hitting 40 hours of billable work a week was nearly impossible. House projects were moving but slowly. But Jen was just starting her intern year of residency, and I think I saw her when she was conscious for about 4 hours a week. This afforded me free time to occupy with preparing jokes and assorted material, practicing constructing google searches to rapidly identify pictures to be included in the blog, and again to prepare my team. There was a serious decline in quality already apparent between 2011 and 2012...

August 2013 - As my draft indicates, I was not ready this year. I jumped on an 8th round (at best) WR in the 5th, and I have no #1 fantasy WRs at all. I also picked a defense who is playing multiple players on my roster in week 1. Sigh.

Now let's extrapolate that out to include the side effects of trying to keep up with a live blog. Here is how my draft would have gone.

1. AP
2. Larry Johnson
3. Joe Flacco
4. Andy Reid
5. Leonard Hankerson
6. RG3
7. Leonard Hankerson
8. Missed entirely
9. David Akers
10. Tears...

For the good of the league, I skipped the blog. The downside is that we don't have all the magical moments captured for posterity. I would love to say that I would remember them, but I was way too drunk. They don't call me One Beer Weidner for nothing...

DRAFT GRADES

Now regarding Draft Grades, I was called out last year for making draft grades and then grading the draft grades midseason. This was identified by a league member as the source of my unfortunate luck and eventual failure. Well I am not a believer in much, but I do believe in Voodoo, jinxes, curses, and the Fantasy Football Gods, and if something like that was vocalized, I have to believe it is true. So I am not going to do grades.

I will however comment on the grades provided by Yahoo. If you did not see these they are located on the draft page on the right hand side. Our grades ranged from B+ to C-. What does this really mean? Well to me it means that they scale by which Yahoo assigns grades is referenced to some global standard that we are not privy to. I imagine that this standard is the world's greatest fantasy football team, comprised of #1 and #2 ranked players at each fantasy position only. On the other end, if you get a failing draft grade then you must have drafted the Cleveland Browns.

The global reference makes little sense. Or maybe letter grades don't make sense. It is just that we are stuck in the letter grade mindset that has been forged over numerous years but really means nothing. If Yahoo had said a 100 is the ultimate mega team, and a 0 is the Cleveland Browns, and we all got in the 70-80 range, that makes sense to me. It's a competitive league and we all draft fairly well. So that is my draft assessment.

According to Yahoo, we are ranked as follows in terms of our quality of Draft:

1. Josh
2. Matt
3. Nate
4. Jeff
5. Chris
6. Pat
7. Paul
8. John P.
9. Travis
10. John S.

Yahoo does provide a strength of schedule discussion in their assessment. Guess who has the easiest schedule? Josh. Wtf.


The Al Davis Award

While I made a solid case with Torrey Smith in the 3rd and Tavon Austin in the 5th, I am going to say that the worst pick was Vick Ballard as a keeper, by Shooostie. Yahoo ranks that as his 4th RB.I guess if you have to keep someone only to meet league rules, it might as well be a low-ranked guy, but I think you had better keepers. I think that is why he ended up so low in Yahoo ranks. It makes me feel good that he has the projected least prolific group of WRs in the league as well, because I was pretty sure that was me too.

BIGGER DANCE AWARD

Jen, before retirement, was a Fantasy Champion. She left for her residency on top, taking home the top prize in an estrogen fueled cat fight of a league. Jen built her fantasy career on savvy waiver and free agent moves, never really putting any stock in trades. Therefore, the award will go to the team that gets the biggest impact from Free Agent pickups. Yes this will be a massive pain in the ass for me to calculate, but what can you do. Debating on whether it is weekly, monthly, or total season.

As for names, it turns out that she is not so great at making them up. So, we have a few options...
  1. The "I'm Better at This too" Award - named for her championship team
  2. One Woman's Trash is Every Man's Treasure - because her free agent castoffs are better than your pickups
  3. The "I see way more ***** than you guys" Award - she will not like this one
  4. The Soup Group Award - my personal favorite, relating to the League and the guy who belongs to a group who forage for ingredients to make soup


DUES

For the first time in two years, I do not have to talk about Dues in the blog. thanks.

TROPHY UPDATE

I am currently investigating the feasibility of using the our some of our trophy excess money (perhaps a front on next years dues) to get the trophy plated or chromed. I will get an idea on cost first, but I think that the Old Bear might benefit from a little nip/tuck action. In subsequent years, we can discuss expanding the base up a bit.

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS SEASON

  1. New dads (Shust and Josh)
  2. New houses (Nater and maybe Travis)
  3. New jobs (Matty cakes)
  4. New ladies (LOOKING AT YOU MATT)
  5. New dogs (Nate)
  6. Successful seasons in real football (Chris and Me)
  7. Mediocre seasons in real football (All you Eagles fans and probably Paul - sorry bro)
  8. A New Champion - See last blog from last season 
  9. Team Name Assessment circa 2011 - coming soon
  10. GIFs





FINALLY, ANOTHER TOP TEN...

Top Ten Reasons I need to be Sober While Drafting

  1. The smell...
  2. My 3rd pick - which I nearly missed and totally panicked on
  3. Passing out on Pat's couch 17 seconds post-draft
  4. Trying to stay awake as to not get sharpied
  5. Smoking Arturo Fuente Cigars
  6. The taste in my mouth that resulted from Arturo Fuente Cigars
  7. Many things I likely said but do not remember
  8. Tavon Austin
  9. Admitting a sleeper pick was pulled right from Christopher Harris' article cause he answered me on Twitter once (see below)
  10. NOT DRAFTING LEONARD HANKERSON!




And a special thank you to Shust for making me deposit this at my bank...





(Don't worry I cropped out account info, took a screenshot, then redacted your address and then took another screenshot, so it's a picture within a picture within a picture...but we need to go deeper)





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

UCFAC - Updated League Rules

This debacle of trading draft picks has challenged me to question everything about my life. 200+ emails and no progress is simply astounding. We are like the 112th Congress of fantasy leagues. Yesterday, I broke. I agreed to something because I was simply sick of hearing about it. This is going to cost me my hug from Pat, but what can you do?

I have spent more time than one might think ruminating on this issue. While I do not want to avoid any opportunities to make the league more interesting, I also do not want to make it unfair to anyone else. The reality is that if we were able to do an offline draft when we were all together, which was my plan, then we could do a lot more. But we are going to have people who are not around, people in Tennessee, Maine, and a far off place known as New Jersey. Some may be, by lack of other options, autodrafting. Making this fair to them is not as easy as it may seem. And that does not even include what I consider to be a fundamentally flawed trading concept that has been proposed.

Let's look at a simple scenario.

Team A trades Team B a first round keeper for a first round pick. Team A is stacked with late keepers, like my team (Newton, Green and Spiller all in 10th or later, plus Aaron Rodgers). Now Team B has a keeper in the first round, and no pick. I have no issue here. But Team A has two first round picks and drops a 16th, plus the three late round keepers. If they now can only keep two players, then that is fine. But the request is that they get to still keep three keepers. Now they have traded a player they were likely not going to keep, and received a substantial bump in value that they would not have otherwise had. This is where I have a problem. The benefit for Team A is much larger than Team B, and exponentially larger than any other teams in the league. This unduly penalizes people who do not have the time, or are simply unable to work out a trade before the draft. It also penalizes teams without depth beyond their three keepers.

The strength of a roster one year should not enable that person to get extra picks (i.e., extra strength) by sacrificing players who are not even of value to that team, to the detriment of the rest of the league. With that model, the strong teams (teams with 4+ viable keepers) would keep getting stronger while the rest of the league sells their picks to get better keepers, futilely trying to catch up. The consensus was that there is no value to trading a pick if you have to give up a keeper, and I do not think it is fair the other way.

For next season, there is a setting in Yahoo that I activated that will allow one to trade next years draft picks during the season. I like this because your whole roster is available and on the market, and you are making decisions about players independent of keepers. The system will track the picks for us, and you will still get your three keepers. This is obviously very similar to the situation we are in now, except that you are trading players when they have value to you. If you were to trade now (pre-draft), you have nothing to lose. This is not an environment that is conducive to fair play.

So, to clarify, we will NOT be trading picks prior to the draft. At all. We can trade players. If you have two great keeper QBS, or two great keepers in the same round, feel free to trade them. This makes sense. But we will not be trading picks. Sorry if you wasted time lining things up.

Speaking of which, I would like to trade Aaron Rodgers for a top 3 RB not named Ray Rice...

In addition, I am changing the makeup of the league somewhat. Up until now, I tried, often unsuccessfully, to vote on issues that affect the league as a whole. This is no longer the case. From here out, I will make the decisions. If I change something you do not like, speak to me and we can discuss. If I still do not do what you want, then you can move to replace me and if you get consensus from the league then you are all set to start running the show. I will turn over the keys to the Yahoo commish tools. I will of course look for buy-in from everyone from time to time, but I am not going to ask for any more votes. In the end this is supposed to be fun, and recently it has been anything but.

So without further ado, here are the league rules, amended based on the original rules to reflect this change in style. Amendments are in red. Of particular importance this season is #12 - related to trading players during the season that we have had since day 1.

LEAGUE KEEPER RULES

1. Each owner has the option of keeping up to three players, but must keep at least two players. 

2. Only two players at a given position may be kept by an owner. 

3. Only one of the three kept players can come from rounds 1,2 or 3 of the previous year.

4. The owner sacrifices the draft pick of the kept player in the following years draft

5. If the kept player is taken from free agency then the owner sacrifices their 10th round pick. 

6. If two kept players are taken from free agency, then the owner sacrifices the 10th and 11th round picks and so on. 

7. If a kept player comes from free agency and the 10th round pick is also kept, then the 11th round pick is sacrificed, and so on. 

8. If a kept player comes from waivers, then the owner sacrifices the pick in the round in which the player was drafted. For clarity on waiver rules, see the prior post from the beginning of last season. 

9. A player may be kept by a single owner for a maximum of three seasons (the original drafted season, and two "kept" seasons).

10. Up to the three year limit under a single owner, the owner sacrifices the pick corresponding to the players original drafted round.

11. If a player is traded before the three year limit, the original pick sacrifice is traded with him.

12. If a player is traded at the end of the three year limit, then the new owner sacrifices the pick corresponding to the players preseason ranking for a standard PPR scoring format according to Yahoo! Sports. 

13. No trades for draft picks are allowed during preseason. Draft picks may be traded during the season.

14. Keeper selections are due 1 days prior to next years draft. 



15. After the initial four day evaluation window, these rules can only be changed with a majority vote of the league (6+ votes)

16. Trade decisions will be made by the commissioner. If anyone would like to dispute a trade decision they may get a majority consensus from the league and overrule.

17. Any rule-related decisions will be made by the commissioner. Votes will no be solicited. If anyone does not agree with a rule, they can nominate themselves or someone else to take over as commissioner and can be replace the commissioner with a majority consensus from the league. 

18. League dues must be to me before the draft. Paypal works.