Monday, August 29, 2011

I've Lost My Mind: Poker, Football, Hurricane

There's fantasy football goodness below, but as wading through a raft of personal nonsense now appears to be what's expected in the industry (why, hello Matthew Berry! Please tell us more about your relationship and upcoming pregnancy! And let's not even get into the madness that is Peter King Oversharing)... well, who am I to complain? Let's just embrace The New Normal, where I get to bail out the basement that didn't leak once in the first 55+ years of the house, but now takes on water like something out of the Polish Navy. (Ah, Polish jokes. That's some old-time racism for ya.) So let's go back to the start on this...

The comedian Christopher Titus has a reasonably good routine about a crazy ex of his, more or less entitled "Crazy makes you crazy." Here's the winning two minutes; it sets the stage for everything else.

The new job's biggest client is, well, stabbingly crazy. They have incredible seasonal needs, the need to manage their own art in-house, a constant revision cycle that comes off as niggling and capricious remote, and just, well, nuts in the local. In 15 years of dealing with niggling and capricious and nuts people, they take the cake, then smash the cask into their faces and scream out, "AM I PRETTY NOW, MAMA? WELL? AM I PRETTY NOW?"

And... well, this is all moot because they are that big. So let's go to California for office face time now, rather than when it was planned, it mid-September. You know, weeks after my masochism weekend of poker game on Friday night, and fantasy league draft on Saturday afternoon.

Well, OK then -- I'll just do the draft prep on the plane. This assumes, of course, that you can remain awake long enough to do that, which kind of goes out the window when you are working two shifts a day for the job, which has been in a flood (ha ha, foreshadowing, your key to quality blogfill) stage for weeks. After a week or more of this level of work, you just get to a point of sleeping where you can, when you can. So even the 15 hours of coast to coast downtime doesn't help much, because I'm awake for maybe half of it. By the time I get back to the Philadelphia area at 2am on Friday morning, with a poker game happening in 18 hours and a draft going down in 36, my hopes were not good for getting through either with winning results.

Then, of course, the client pushed for even more more more, and since crazy makes you crazy, so did my coworkers.

Now, let's add in the first hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey in 100 years.

All things told, though, I can't complain too badly. I ran into big pairs in the big blind in the poker tournament long enough to make it to third and my first cash in that game all year; useful. The cash game saw good play supplemented by wildly better luck, as my misread bet into an overpair turns into a 2-out river escape. Fifteen minutes before calling the cash game done for the night, I flopped Broadway after making the what the hell King-10 offsuit call for a raised family pot, and rather than limp and watch someone else catch a boat at the close, I raise it at every step and get callers. Nice. All told, the poker game brought in a nice chunk that I wasn't counting on at all, especially the way I've been playing and running this year.

Which brings us to the hurricane. My natural inclination for these things is to think that people overprepare and wig out way too easily; staying in your shoes seems to be hard to do. So when people started to bail on making the live draft, it seemed like more of the same... but when the transit systems started going down, that point was moot. So we moved up the draft an hour early, which meant even less time to prep the room and/or catch a wink, along with more people on the phone, which winds up slowing things down.

Anyway, here's my draft. Auction keeper league, 12 teams, asterisks were keepers with an escalating salary, $300 to spend on 15 slots, 10 active, 5 bench.

QB - Kevin Kolb ARI ($18)
RB1 - Daren McFadden OAK ($17) *
RB2 - Cedric Benson CIN ($20) *
WR1 - Mike Sims-Walker STL ($33) *
WR2 - Malcolm Floyd SD ($36) *
WR3 - Sidney Rice SEA ($26) *
FX - LaGarrette Blount TB ($47)
TE - Vernon Davis SF ($38)
DEF - Detroit ($1)
PK - Rob Bironas TEN ($1)
B1 - Brandon Lloyd DEN ($50)
B2 - Kyle Orton DEN ($4)
B3 - Danny Woodhead NE ($1)
B4 - Braylon Edwards SF ($1)
B5 - Ben Tate HOU ($5)

A quick word about my protects; I realize that the WRs are reaches. Sims-Walker joins a St. Louis team that should be good and have lots of opportunities with Sam Bradford instead of David Garrard, but he's in a mix of new bodies. Malcolm Floyd is 30 already and the clear #3 option behind Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, but I don't like the Chargers running game or the chances of both of those guys staying healthy; he's also in a division of teams that can't play defense. Rice is the best actual talent of the bunch with the worst actual QB; he's more or less a stash move for 2012, when the Seahawks end the Tavaris Jackson problem with an actual passer. Even this year, I think he'll have useful games when the Seahawks fall behind and air it out against weak teams, but it's not as if I'm going to run all of these guys out there as every week starters. As for the backs, Ced Benson is horrible, but he's all the Bengals have, and 30 carries of horrible can get you 9 to 15 points, so for $20, I had to keep him. The dog. McFadden's actually good.

In re the actual picks, they felt good at the time. I probably overpaid for Lloyd, but he was nominated out of position, and most of the good WRs were protected, with only Miles Austin coming close to #1 status. Blount was in a tier for me with the top five at his position, and I think he does better at the goal line this year. Davis is a difference-maker in the prime of his life, with a track record of success for his embattled QB. Kolb and Orton have the same bye week and both have issues, but they also play in terrible divisions with clear #1 WRs and weak defenses, and I think I can stream them for top-level production at a discount price. Edwards had talent, and Detroit's defensive line might be the best in football. And if Arian Foster's hamstring problems persist, Tate could be a monster.

So I was feeling pretty good about things. But another way to look at an auction is to figure out who your round by round picks would be in a traditional snake draft. Here's how I'd see that.

1st - McFadden
2nd - Blount
3rd - Lloyd
4th - Davis
5th - Benson
6th - Rice
7th - Sims-Walker
8th - Floyd
9th - Kolb
10th - Tate
11th - Orton
12th - Edwards
13th - Woodhead
14th - Detroit
15th - Bironas

And that's... probably not a good enough team to finish in the top 3 and cash out. But if any of the low-price guys can work out, or Lloyd and Rice enter 2011 as top 10 WRs, it'll be a good enough year. Keeper leagues in football are always a bit of a crapshoot for injury risks, but the defending champion started the year with Andre Johnson and Roddy White, Chris Johnson and Arian Foster, Josh Freeman and Hakeem Nicks... and enough cash left over to spend hard for Jahvid Best. And those three wideouts were kept for just $27 more than my reaches. That's got to change.

And if there is ever a year in which I don't love and hate my team in a bipolar way after the draft... well, that'd be a nice change, too.

Oh, and then there was the massive hurricane flooding my basement, which is how I've spend the last 24 hours. I'm sure it's all a good omen for the season.


CMJDad said...

Oh my, Cedric "The Entertainer" Benson is going to jail. That didn't work out too bad for Vick.

DMtShooter said...

Looks like he'll just do the bye week. Not exactly fun, but I doubt that he's going to have too much of an effect from that. Jamal Lewis came off a 2,000 yard year and stunk with time in the hole; that many carb-load meals and time in stir does not do much for the mind and body. (There's also this: why does Ced keep going back to Texas?)

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