Saturday - Jun 15, 2019

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Why I Refuse to Use the Eight-Letter “H” Word

While it is always sad when the calendar moves from summer into fall, the one saving grace for sports fans is the return of the NFL. The teams are getting ready, preseason games are well underway, and fantasy players all over the world are gearing up for their drafts. Great times!

Even though it has been a busy summer, I have had the fortunate pleasure of taking part in a number of drafts already, including several that we are calling “Shark Staff Drafts” here at The advent of mobile devices has made this easier than ever. I have make selections from home, while taking my dog around the block, in my car (pulled over to the side of the road, of course), tailgating at various sporting events, on vacation, at a cookout, on the beach, and while waiting in line to jump off a bridge (really). What an age we live in where drafting a fantasy football team can be done anywhere.

There is no replacement for a live draft, and I encourage those that are able, to keep this tradition going with what surely are some of your best and lifelong friends. Of the many leagues that I compete in, the original league that started all this, the one that I care the most about (and is the toughest to win!), will be having its 19th annual draft next week. Of the 12 original members, only one has moved away from the league. Owners routinely fly in from Nashville and Atlanta in the yearly tradition (pilgrimage?) of spending an afternoon trying to knock a small white ball into an equally small cup, to congregating together in the evening to calling out player names. Yea, a few of us might partake in some liquid suds along the way, too.

I have never been one to buy into the strategy of the handcuf-, making sure to draft the backup to your starting running back. The idea of artificially inflating a player’s value based on another player already on the roster defeats the whole purpose of value-based drafting. Going with this strategy creates a situation where if someone else ends up over-inflating your now over-inflated value, you end up angry and distracted from the task at hand.

Case in point, I own
LeSean McCoy
in several leagues. I have him in my top-3 where others may have him in their top-7. In none of my drafts where I selected him with my top pick did I then make it a point of making sure to select
Bryce Brown
. The statistics suggest that it makes sense to own your own backup, but it’s the value of the selection that drives me away.

Let’s talk about specific examples. Last year in a typical scoring system, McCoy averaged 20 fantasy points in games that he played. He missed four games, and in those games his backup
Bryce Brown
averaged 20 fantasy points.
Matt Forte
averaged 17 fantasy points; when he missed a game his backup
Michael Bush
scored 17 points. In 2011,
Arian Foster
averaged 26 fantasy points and missed three games;
Ben Tate
went on to average 18 points in his absence. Also that year,
Adrian Peterson
averaged 19 points and missed four games;
Toby Gerhart
averaged 18 points in his absence. Those are some compelling arguments for making sure to have the backup.

On the flip side, last year
Darren Sproles
averaged 16 fantasy points and missed three games. In his absence,
Pierre Thomas
averaged seven points while
Mark Ingram
averaged 11 points. In 2011,
Marshawn Lynch
averaged 19 fantasy points; in the game he missed
Justin Forsett
scored three points and
Leon Washington
scored nine points. Compelling and opposite arguments against having the backup.

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