Thursday - Jan 17, 2019

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The Icebox – Holy Cow it’s playoff time!

Vindication is part of fantasy football. We crunch numbers, assess team strengths and weaknesses, team schedules, weather conditions and home field advantages. We try to play matchups, and all the while attempt to adhere to the maxim “Start Your Studs.”

Sometimes the real talent is understanding who your studs are.

Agenda42 will talk about consensus, and in that he is correct, to a great extent. If you don’t know Agenda42, you really need to spend more time swimming in the Tank. He has one of the better analytical minds of all the wise sharks I’ve had the pleasure to carry on often heated conversation threads with.

I’ve always believed that to be successful, you have to be willing to defy convention and consensus. Here’s the logic. If you go with what everyone else is thinking, it will be hard to separate yourself from the pack. The element of luck is already too pervasive in fantasy football for my tastes, and the injuries that piled up this year are testament to that.

In one draft, I got Edgerrin James, Curtis Martin and Jamaal Lewis. Consensus (I checked with the Tank on this at the beginning of the season) was to start Edge and Jamaal. Instead I started Edge and Curtis Martin, and traded Jamaal for Hines Ward. I picked up Julius Jones and suffered while he sat out with injuries.

Now Hines didn’t have the year I thought he’d have, but he became my WR2 after Derrick Mason. My WR3 has been a parade of players, most of them ineffective. Eric Johnson anchored my TE spot, Vinatieri my kicker and I stuck with the Patriots defense, even in a few lean weeks as Bellicheck ironed out the kinks from a plethora of injuries. Hasselbeck never performed as I expected, and tonight I watched him toss three touchdowns and over 400 yards while sitting on my bench.

So I defied convention in some areas, and went with the consensus with others. Edge and Martin have been solid, and spot starts from Shaun King (I started him the one week he had a decent game) and Kerry Collins, who started this week in place of a benched Matt Hasselbeck carried me into the playoffs. Next week is the last week of the season. No matter what happens I will be the wild card, and the team I play will be the #1 seed. So I get the privilege of playing him two weeks in a row. The only game that really counts in the big picture is the second one, so I’ll let him win first and take the second game for myself.

Last week I started Julius Jones instead of Curtis Martin. He paid me back with a huge game against the Bears. This week I replaced Edge, and Julius paid big dividends again. By defying common logic, I’ve continued to post solid scores and have my team in place to make a run for the championship.

I still say, as I was mocked in preseason, that Julius Jones is the Rookie of the Year. Ben Roethlisberger will probably win it, with Sean Taylor having a good shot as well. If Jones continues at this pace, he might just break a thousand yards for the season. It’s quite a stretch, with tough games ahead against Washington and Philadelphia, but he also has the Saints and the Giants, and he could get 200 yards in each game the way he is playing and they aren’t. Add that to the 445 yards he has in three games and he only needs 155 in two games against tough defenses to crack a thousand yards.

If you went with the consensus, you drafted Hasselbeck, Travis Henry, Anquan Boldin, Clinton Portis, and maybe even Phillip Rivers. You found Drew Brees, Reuben Droughns Mushin Muhammed on the waiver wires, if you were lucky.

Defy convention? Not a consensus?

If that means going against the grain, so be it. Ya gotta find a key differentiator or you will have a hard time separating yourself from the other teams on the outside looking in.

Julius for ROY. It sounds pretty good to me.

Best of luck going into the playoffs. The season is winding down. Christmas is just around the corner. Tis the season and all that.

Are you ready for some football? Hell yeah, I just wish the season was much, much longer!

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FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.