By: Andy Wheeler
There is nothing worse than the feeling that comes from a bad draft. You know it almost immediately when you look at your team when you are finished. You can try and sugar coat it or build it up in your head as “not that bad”. Then you look again and it is worse than you thought.
This is the scenario that I found myself in for my auction league in a team that I share with my Co-Owner Harry Skirlis. Harry is the money man; I’m the one that calls the day to day shots. Basically he’s like an NFL owner, and I’m the GM for the team.
I had convinced Harry, foolishly, that if I were to spend big money on both Tom Brady and LeSean McCoy that I would be able to fill out the rest of the roster with low priced options that would give us a solid team. I was wrong. I didn’t even come close to a solid team. “Disaster” or “train wreck” would have been more accurate. A fellow owner in the league, Steve Beck asked me directly “How in the world did that mess happen? Aren’t you supposed to be an expert?”
Yes, yes I am. And experts are wrong all the time. Especially people considered Fantasy Football “experts”. We are a frequently incorrect species. The thing that makes experts “experts” is the ability to recover and anticipate what’s coming.
So I set out on what I’ll call an “Odyssey”. It was an odyssey to fix our team and to make it bearable to watch. It’s funny…along the way I made a much better team than I could have possibly imagined.
First things first, we started off 0-3. And you know what? I’m not upset about that. 0-3 means that for at least 5 to 6 weeks you are getting one of the top 5 cracks at the waiver wire. Which turns out being incredibly beneficial…I’m not kidding! Next year I would love to start 0-2 for this very reason. 0-3 is a tough climb out of the basement…but I could deal with 0-2.
Let’s start at the beginning. Here’s the team I started with and the prices I paid for everyone. There was a $200 budget.
- Tom Brady $71
- LeSean McCoy $80
- Sebastian Janikowski $1
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis $27
- Pierre Thomas $2
- Carson Palmer $2
- Peyton Hillis $3
- Denarius Moore $3
- Greg Little $2
- Jacquizz Rodgers $2
- Austin Collie $1
- Patriots Defense $1
- Dustin Keller $1
- Randall Cobb $2
- Brandon LaFell $1
- Alshon Jeffery $1
Like I said, this was a complete and utter disaster as a draft, although I love getting Cobb for $2. Too bad I released him in one of my 26 add/drops so far this season. I’ve been pretty busy to say the least.
LET THE TRADING BEGIN!
Sunday August 26th:
I make a trade that was agreed upon as the draft was in progress. I sent Alshon Jeffery to “The Dream Team” for Brent Celek. This at the time helped me fill a huge hole at tight end.
Tuesday September 4th:
I send Pierre Thomas, Carson Palmer and Denarius Moore to “Team Trichon” for Jay Cutler and Brandon Lloyd. This is the trade that began the almost thrice weekly messages from Harry saying “GET RID OF LLOYD!”
Saturday September 15th:
I send Peyton Hillis and Marcedes Lewis to “The Network Stalkers” for Eric Decker and Jared Cook. At the time this deal was scary for me because I had no idea what the running situation was going to be in Kansas City. People thought, like I did, that Hillis could get a whole bunch of carries early on but that never materialized. At least not yet.
Tuesday September 18th:
I trade the Patriots Defense and Jay Cutler to “Team Trichon” for The Packers defense. I figured out that not only did I want no part of Cutler…since I had Brady I wouldn’t need a back up until week 11. I also figured out that the Pats Defense was suspect.
Tuesday September 25th:
This was a tough trade for me. I had bounced the idea of trading McCoy off Harry for a few weeks. He wasn’t for it at all. However, when we fell to 0-3 his wishes were clear. “Just fix it!”
I of course know that when you trade a stud like McCoy, you can only do it once so you better get it right. I knew from the way McCoy had been used by the Eagles that his value may not be what I perceived it to be in the preseason. I also knew that some in the league weren’t looking at results thus far they were looking at the name.
I sent LeSean McCoy and Jacquizz Rodgers to “The Dream Team” for Darren McFadden, Hakeem Nicks and DeAngelo Williams. This trade didn’t turn out like I had hoped because of Nicks. Nicks came up lame 2 days later. And then I actually watched a game the Raiders played very closely and realized that they were in trouble as an offense. This leads us to another trade.
Tuesday October 9th:
I trade Darren McFadden and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to “The Browns” for Alfred Morris, Chris Johnson and Jordy Nelson.
At this point I was thrilled. Not because I felt like I pulled one over on anyone, but just because I felt like I had picked up a TON of potential for guys that should be better. Morris was a risk because of Mike Shanahan and his ability to flip flop on running backs in a Romney type fashion. Johnson I knew wasn’t going to be a 2000 yard back like he was but I knew he was a 1000 yard back. At that point he had rushed for 230 something yards…I believed the best was yet to come. And Jordy Nelson had been bad but I was willing to take the risk on somebody that was 2nd among Wide Receivers in scoring last season.
This is also the point where Harry started loving what was happening with the team. “Keep going” were the orders from my “silent” partner.
“Get rid of Lloyd!” I was reminded for the one gazillionth time.
Tuesday October 16th:
I sent the Cardinals Defense (who I’d gotten off waivers) and Brandon Lloyd to “Team Trichon” for Jeremy Maclin and the Eagles Defense. Harry got his wish and I feel like I did the right thing with our defenses. This was after the Castillo announcement so many people were down on the Eagles. I looked at it as a situation where they were still 13th overall in defensive stats…so a coordinator that knew what they were doing could actually improve things. Lloyd and Maclin are a wash in my opinion.
Wednesday October 17th:
The only trade where I felt like I knew I was deliberately pulling a fast one on somebody was this one. And it just so happened to be with my boss. I traded Kendall Wright (waiver wire add early in season) and Felix Jones (waiver wire pick up the day before) to “Seek and Destroy” for Ben Roethlisberger (with keeper eligibility for next year at $16) and Lance Moore (waiver wire pick-up the day before).
Paul didn’t think Big Ben had keeper availability…that’s why this one was a heist for me. I love Ben as a back up with Brady going on bye in a few weeks. And Moore is a very nice guy just to have around if you have injuries or need a spot start. Paul isn’t very happy with me still, but he’ll get over it. To quote him directly, “I just wanted to get rid of Roethlisberger because I didn’t need him anymore. Had I realized he was a keeper I would have never traded him.”
Sunday October 21st: A date which will live in infamy
I was getting tired of owning Tom Brady. He hadn’t had massive games that I expected. He was infuriating because of how much I had invested in him…so after the games were over that night I took a shot in the dark and traded the 2nd to last player on my roster that I had drafted.
I traded Tom Brady, Brent Celek, Jeremy Maclin, Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to “The Dream Team” for Robert Griffin 3rd, LeGarrette Blount, Antonio Gates and Fred Jackson. Now this deal Brady for Griffin to me is pretty close if you subtract all the hype. If you believe in the Eagles, which I don’t, then the other owner ends up with a pretty decent haul. I think I get the edge though because I don’t believe in anyone I traded away besides Brady. So now I have a bunch of guys I do believe in.
So here’s my team now with how they were acquired:
- Robert Griffin 3rd (Trade)
- Alfred Morris (Trade)
- Chris Johnson (Trade)
- Lance Moore (Trade)
- Eric Decker (Trade)
- Hakeem Nicks (Trade)
- Antonio Gates (Trade)
- Packers Defense (Trade)
- Sebastian Janikowski (Drafted, released during bye and then reacquired on Waiver Wire)
- Kyle Rudolph (Waiver Wire)
- Jordy Nelson (Trade)
- Eagles Defense (Trade)
- Ben Roethlisberger (Trade)
- Fred Jackson (Trade)
- Donald Brown (Waiver Wire)
- LeGarrette Blount (Trade)
Now overall my mood about this team the rest of the season is OVERJOYED!!!! I can compete the rest of the season. Some tips for trading are:
- Don’t try to win the trade. Everybody has to give up something. You may get into a situation where you can give up less than you thought but if you are trying to get something for nothing you are going to find yourself not being able to make a deal.
- Know the people you are dealing with. If you have a Patriot you are looking to deal and you are in a league with a Patriots fan you may have a taker. This can work against you though.
- Don’t be a jerk. When I say that I mean, don’t pester somebody. Don’t try and screw somebody intentionally. Don’t call somebody at 1 am to talk about a deal. Nobody likes that guy.
- Don’t do the deal unless you are fully comfortable. Trust your gut…if you have an uneasy feeling it’s for a reason.
- If you trade a stud, just be sure. You can only trade somebody once so you better get it right the first time.