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Game Informer Online 2014 Fantasy Football League Owner's Q & A

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"The Illusive Madden.  Because what were the scoreboard blogs without some of the random a** pictures I posted as the header images?"

If you don't recall (you know, despite the fact that it was a weekly blog) a couple of GIOers including myself took part in a fantasy football league.  It was good fun week in and week out, being both thrilling to follow and frustrating, too.  As most of you probably know, it's been done for a while now, the final results being posted on Christmas Eve.  While I know that could have served just fine as a finale to the season, I wanted to close it out in a better way, and came up with the idea of doing a league Q & A.  It's been in the works for a while now, and I was hoping to get it posted much closer to when the season actually ended, and I was also hoping to feature at least one more of the members who took part, but nonetheless it's finally done.  Without further ado, I present to you the....

GIOFFL 2014 Owner's Q & A

 

1.)  Alright, before we start,  I DEMAND YOU ALL BOW DOWN TO ME, LEAGUE CHAMPION...No, no, I'm just kidding about that (especially because I'm posting this MUUUUCH later than intended).  Speaking of the end of the season, you can't have one without first having a beginning.  As with any fantasy football league (or any fantasy sport league, really) the season starts with the draft.  Looking back at ours, and looking at how the season wound up unfolding, how would you have graded your draft back in August, and how would you grade it now?

Chris Mrkvicka (Favorite Team on The Citadel): I was late to the draft, because I had been out running errands for my wife, and got held up a little bit. By the time I was finally able to log in, the first 5 picks had been made for me, with Alfred Morris, LeSean McCoy, David Wilson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Antonio Brown. My immediate reaction was "Who the #$*! is David Wilson?" After looking it up, I was actually happy because it appeared I had 3 quality starting RBs with no real competition at their position, on their team. I was also happy with my WR selections, as Fitzgerald has always been a great fantasy player, while Antonio Brown was poised to be the #1 target for the Steelers. My next pick was Jason Witten, who has been a consistent tight end through the years, and tight ends are a hard position to get consistency. Then came my selection for quarterback with Eli Manning looking like a no-brainer. Next I took Jermichael Finley, who I thought could be an excellent TE2 and flex option. Then came Steelers' defense, Andy Dalton as a QB2, Dallas's Defense and a slew of WR picks that I was hoping might pan out to make descent back up options.

All in all, I felt really good about my draft, as I had a lot of players that had performed very well in the past and appeared ready to perform well this year. Little did I realize David Wilson would be a bust, who would develop a neck injury that may have ended his career, Eli would flat out suck, Jermichael Finley would injure his neck, my defenses would be terrible fantasy picks, and every last one of my WR back ups would end the season not on my team, because they simply did not perform well enough when I had them (the only one I regret was Julian Edelman. I also had traded Andy Dalton for Matt Schaub, and that turned out to kill me in the final, as Dalton ran up 31 points against me. If I had it all to do again, I would have traded Eli instead.

All in all, I think my draft was pretty bad outside of a few players, and I made the most of it by making a lot of moves during the year.

Saturday Morning Replay (Blue Stingers): I graded my draft back in August as a B+. I thought my team would have gone about 9-4 in the regular season, which is what I believe is how my team ended up. I would give it a B+ now as well. I liked Newton as my QB, and I liked having Gore and Foster as the season started. I would have liked more stable WR's though.

Vaas (Team Vaas)
: B+ in August,C+ now

attackcobra (Hocotate Cobras): Right after the draft I thought I was in trouble because I only drafted three RBs and my WRs weren't looking good either so would originally have given myself a C. Looking back now a lot of the players I drafted weren't on my team by the end so I would score it a C-

thegodofwine7 (The God of Wine): Looking back, I wouldn't say my draft was the best.  My first overall pick (C.J. Spiller) was a bust, but I got some great picks in Tony Gonzales, Eddie Lacy, Pierre Garcon, Dez Bryant, Steven Hauschka (second most fantasy points among kickers) and, most of all, Josh Gordon.  Those are the only players from my draft that I still had at season's end, so I would grade my draft at a B-.  My trades were probably a net negative, as the only major move I made was picking up Welker  for DeMarco Murray.  Unfortunately, Welker cooled off after his hot start, so that wasn't so great.  However, some great waiver wire additions, including Nick Foles, Mike James, Andre Ellington and  Shane Vereen.  I was never set at defense, however, and lost a few matchups because of that.  Even though I didn't win, I would still grade my current roster at a B+.

GCsoxfan08 (Golden Chocobos): On Draft Day I probably would have given myself an A-/B+, but with some hindsight it was potentially a B at best.  Probably a C+ if I'm being honest with myself.  Looking at it now I realize that that team could have been phenomenal, but nothing works out that perfectly (especially in Fantasy Football).

LetMeGetToACheckpoint (LetMeGetToA Checkpoint): I thought that my August draft wasn't terrible; RG3 had a fantastic fantasy year in 2012 as well as a few other solid players such as Julio Jones, Trent Richardson and Kenny Britt.  But injuries and trades resulted in an entire low-scoring team throughout the season.  Oh well, that's why it's fun. :c) 

(Some of these grades and assessments are a little shocking, but what I expected, I suppose.  Personally, after the draft I was teetering on thinking "Why did I agree to do this" and "I can make the best of a bad situation", which given the end result of the season was actually the case.  Still, looking back to August, I'd probably give my team a C, and now would probably give it a B or B-.  I can't believe I made Ray Rice my first round pick.)


2.)  Continuing about the draft, there were a few teams I thought would have a much better season, but in the end, turned out to be (for lack of a better word) flops.  Coming out of the draft, were there any teams you thought would outright run away with it, that turned out to be disappointments?

CM: I thought my team would run away with it. On paper I was stacked at QB, RB, TE, and defense, and had great starters at WR and a good kicker. I thought I would have a great season and ended up only 7-6.

SMR: I thought for sure Blake's team and Megan's team would have been better. Both ended up all right, but I thought both had the potential to lead the league.

V: God Of Wine

ac: I thought for sure Team Vaas was going to be one of the best teams with Peyton Manning on his team who he stole from me as he picked just ahead of me. But it didn't turn out that way. I also thought that tognicks team would be much better.

tgow: I didn't really pay much attention.  After week one, I thought whoever had Peyton Manning was going to be tough to beat, but beyond that I had no idea.  I actually didn't feel super great about my chances, but the early part of the season went pretty well for me actually.

GC: The two scariest teams IMO from the draft that didn't work out too well were Real Radioactive, Bourbon St Skankzillas.

LMGTAC: My hometown team is Washington (I fall on the side that wants to see a name change) and after last year, but after a league win last year I expected anything but the complete disappointment of this season.

(I'd have to agree with GCsoxfan, I really thought the Skankzillas (TOGNick's team) were going to be a lot better.  And regardless of your team going to the final, Chris, I have to agree, I thought you'd run away with it as well.)
 

3.)  Before the season began, who did you guys think were the frontrunners to win the league?  Were any of you confident enough to say to yourself, "Yeah b******, I got this" ?

CM: I thought I was a frontrunner, and I think Carson had looked like a front runner as well. I was very confident as the season started, then David Wilson put up -2 points the first game, my QBs struggled, and my WR back up options turned out to be terrible.

SMR: Honestly, I thought that my team was one of the 3 best entering the season. I thought Chris' team was really good, as was Blake's.

V: I thought God Of Wine would do really good. I wasn't sure how my team would perform after the draft so i would say my confidence was just average.

ac: No, I thought was I was going to do pretty bad but then I beat Ponder This in week one and went on that winning streak and started to believe I had a chance to be one of the best teams.

tgow: See question 2.

GC: I thought I could win because you NEED that confidence to start the year (I think that's called false hope?).  Other teams that I thought had a real shot were Favorite Team on the Citadel, Blue Stingers, God of Wine, and then Real Radioactive and Bourbon St Skankzillas from above.

LMGTAC: I thought that I had a competitive team but I was wrong, very wrong. :c)

(Again, I find myself agreeing with GCsoxfan, despite how horrible I thought my draft was, I still thought if things fell my way, the season would turn out better than I expected to.  Otherwise, again, I really thought the Skankzillas would be one of the best teams.)


4.)  Unless you know your stuff and have the ability to set lineups based on stats and whatnot, through my experience this season I look at fantasy football as a complete crapshoot almost solely based on luck.  Regardless, were there any matchups you considered slam dunks that you lost, and the inverse of that situation?

CM: Both of my matches against your team looked like slam dunks with my team favored by as much as 30 points at one point and my teams always failed to perform anywhere near expectations.

SMR: Yeah, I think week 2 against Real Radioactive is a game that I can't believe I lost. I should have won that match-up.  On the flip side, I did not think that I was going to beat Chris' team in week 5.

V: I didn't think any of my matchups were easy at all because my team would perform good some weeks and be disappointing the next week.

ac: Week 5 against the Cobra Unit, I was undefeated and was certain I was going to win not lose by like twenty like I did.

tgow:  I was probably most surprised by my round one domination of Ponder This, the number one seed in the league.  I knew my matchups were favorable, but his team had been so good all year.  I was hoping I would win obviously, but I didn't expect it to be like that. 

GC: Just looking at the box scores from my games I give you this list:

Week 5 I was a 30, let me repeat that THIRTY, point favorite against Ponder This and I lost 86-79.

Week 8 I desperately needed a win and was a 19 point favorite against the Hoctate Cobras and lost by 9.

I did put up 110 in Week 9 to beat LetMeGetToACheckpoint by 36 when I was projected to lose though.

LMGTAC: The entire season surprised me, I won games I felt that i would lose and vice versa.  I was grateful to my tie that kept me from the very bottom of the rankings. 

(If there was one win that surprised me, it was my team's beatdown of Favorite Team on The Citadel in Week 2.  After Tom Brady's rather lackluster Thursday night game against the Jets that week, I really thought I was in for it, since I didn't expect the rest of my team to come through.  As for losses, I thought I could beat The Orange Box, but lost that game.)


5.)  One of the most frustrating things about fantasy football is when a player doesn't pan out the way you'd hoped.  The opposite scenario, a player you didn't expect to succeed flourishing, is always welcome.  Basically, who were the disappointments on your team, and who were the pleasant surprises?

CM: Disappointments were David Wilson, Jermichael Finley, Eli Manning, and, at the time I traded him, Andy Dalton. I didn't really have any surprise performers, as I kept my roster stayed mostly the same throughout the year, just piecing in hot players into holes in my roster. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but I never ha a consistent surprise player in this league.

SMR: The disappointments on my team were Arian Foster (Imagine my team with him. YEAH.), Percy Harvin, and both of my defenses, Baltimore and Green Bay. The positive surprises on my team were  Cam Newton, Andre Brown, and Rashad Jennings (Saved my season).

V: Disappointment:Marques Colston,Deandre Hopkins. Surprises:Peyton Manning,Seahawks Defense,Russell Wilson.

ac: Sydney Rice, Mike Wallace, and Isaiah Pead were all huge disapointments. Darren McFadden and Matt Ryan also faded near the end but at least they gave me a lot of points at the beginning. On the other side Matt Forte, Alshon Jefferey, and Alex Smith all came in big for me. I actually traded Smith away at the start of the season for Pead but got him back on waivers, lucky me.

tgow: Spiller was by far my biggest disappointment.  My number one pick, and he crapped all over the place.  On the other hand, I picked up Gordon in the eleventh round, and he turned in a season for the ages. 

GC: Simply put; everyone on my team not named Jimmy Graham was a HUGE let down.  Doug Martin, my #1 pick, sucked then got hurt.  Randall Cobb was hurt.  Amendola (go figure) hurt.  Bradford=hurt.... Then virtually all of the guys I needed some consistency from (Lamar Miller, Cecil Shorts, Gio Bernard, T.Y. Hilton, Daryl Richardson, TOO MANY TO LIST) either sucked all together or I couldn't count on at all. 

Jimmy Graham was the MVP even after trading him because of the value I got back in exchange.  And I naturally dropped Alshon Jeffery before he started going off.  So that ones on me.... my bad.

LMGTAC
: Basically all of my top picks in the draft flamed out for various reasons.  Trent Richardson's trade deflated me because he was the "go to guy" for the Bengals and he wouldn't have the same role on the Colts.  Julio Jones injury left me staring at my team wondering what to do next. 

Picking up Keenan Allen was a fun surprise.  I don't buy Washington football stuff (t-shirts, etc...) due to the team name and mascot so I buy shirts for my favorite fantasy players.  This year I picked up a Phillip Rivers shirt because Keenan Allen doesn't even have shirts made with his name yet. 

(Ray Rice and Tom Brady, despite the latter getting better later in the season, were easily the most disappointing players I had.  I expected Brady to be Brady, but that just wasn't the case for all the season.  As for surprises, I never expected Eric Decker to be the weekly anchor for my team.)


6.)  The Western division, besides Hand of Thrawn and The God of Wine, was largely decided by the time the season was starting to wind down.  Not so for the East, which stayed pretty interesting in the last few weeks.  Hell, even when all was said and done it was close.  For those who were in the division especially (myself, Chris, SMR, GCsoxfan, and Vaas), what did you think of the race in the East?

CM: The East was definitely brutal. I was in the running for the top of the division right up until the last couple of weeks, when my team limped into the playoffs. We definitely had the better divison of the two (no offense to the people in the other division).

SMR: I loved the race in the East, but it terrified me, knowing my luck with these types of things. I almost prefer to be in the underdog spot in that situation, but then again, having the #2 seed coming out of that division was a nice place to be, plus the bragging rights of winning that division is pretty sweet. Let's face it, if you don't make top-4 in the playoffs, then the next best thing is probably winning the divisions.

V: The race in the east was very interesting to be a part of I wish my team would have been better though.

ac: The east was crazy, I'm just happy I wasn't in that division.

tgow: I wasn't really paying attention to the East.  I knew a few dominoes had to fall in place for me to sneak in the playoffs, and amazingly, they all did.

GC: I obviously loved it!  It's why I love fantasy sports.  My team virtually needs a win every week after I make a good trade, and it happens!  The chaos that is the final stretch of the regular season is always great when you make it into the playoffs.

LMGTAC
: Honestly, I wasn't paying much attention.  For some reason I struggled with understanding the ESPN website (my other leagues are on NFL.com).  I simply focused on trying to not lose.

(Yes, yes, yes, the Eastern division was both fun and absolutely terrifying to be a part of.  Definitely agree with everyone from the division and attackcobra here.)


7.)  Playoffs set.  Ponder This, Blue Stingers, The Orange Box, Favorite Team on The Citadel, Golden Chocobos, Hocotate Cobras, my Cerpin Taxmen, and The God of Wine make it as seeds one through eight in exact order.  For those who lost in the first round, if you had advanced, what matchups did you prefer and which ones frightened you?  Those who advanced, same question.  Those on the outside looking in, feel free to chime in as well.

CM: I was not a fan of my second round matchup. God of Wine and I had swapped matchups this year and he'd killed me in the regular season in our other league. I was fortunate that he had not started certain players otherwise, there was no way I'd have made the final. Otherwise I felt good about the matchups I faced.

SMR: I honestly thought that I was going to win it all looking at that scenario. Nothing really scared me about my setup. My ideal path would have been through you Alex, then through The Orange Box, and then Blake's team. The only teams that gave me a glimmer of fear were Chris' team and Carson's.

ac: I really didn't want to play Ponder This. I beat him in the regular season but that was week one and he looked mostly unstoppable the rest of the season. I was really surprised though when he went down in the first round.

tgow:  I felt pretty good.  If I could get past the ridiculous Ponder This, I felt I had a great chance to pull off the whole thing.  Sadly, Mrkvicka put that dream to rest.

GC: I didn't like my matchup Round 1 (vs Favorite Team on the Citadel) from the start, but I also would not have wanted to face off against those darn Taxmen or Hocotate Cobras.  Pretty much anyone else I would have rested a little easier setting my lineup.

LMGTAC: Honestly, again I wasn't paying a ton of attention, I enjoyed the GIO personality match ups more than the actual games.  Seeing the scramble in the end on the weekly round ups was fun to see everyone laughing with each other.

(Yeah, I thought I was going to lose in the first round to you, too, Nabil, but thankfully that wasn't the case.  Honestly, I thought each match I was in was scary but at the same time winnable.  I suppose my second round match versus attackcobra's team was probably the most favorable of the three)


8.)  I may have wound up this league's champion, but really Chris could have won just as easily.  Who did you think was going to win the Championship Game?

CM: I was favored by 17 coming into the games on Sunday, and I thought, given the matchups, that I would have a great week. I thought (hoped) I would be able to run away with it, and celebrate my coronation during the Eagles game. Didn't quite work out how I'd hoped, so I settled for making you uneasy with tweets about LeSean McCoy's stats against Chicago's awful run defense through the first half.

SMR: I thought Chris was going to destroy. I didn't think you had a chance Alex. Sorry dude.

V: I thought the championship game was a tossup but I would have said Taxmen's team.

ac: I thought Chris was going to win because I didn't think you were going to able to pull out three great games in a row like you did.

tgow: I was pulling for you, but by then I was so sad I sat around eating ice cream by the pint and using my own tears to wash it down with.  I had no time to check in on the championship game.

GC: I was rooting for you, fellow underdog down the stretch, because of the great recaps you put together each week!  But I honestly didn't think you had a chance haha.

LMGTAC: I thought Chris would win it as well but that is the fun of fantasy leagues, we never know what exactly will happen out on the field. 

(Well thank you Vaas for being the only one to think that my team had any chance whatsoever.  As for the rest of the answers, can't entirely disagree with them when I was both confident I could win and scared I would lose.  As for the McCoy tweets, Chris, I was keeping track of both the score of our game and the goings-on of that one sided Bears-Eagles, so I knew for the most part what was up.  Didn't stop me from being a paranoid bundle of negativity who wished he'd started the Cincinatti defense)


9.)  Final Question:  Are you guys going to be doing fantasy football next year?

CM: Yeah, I'll probably be running two leagues again, depending upon how much interest there is. I'll be posting about it much earlier next year, so as to avoid the rush to beat the opening of the season we had this year.

SMR: YES.

V: Yes.

ac: Heck yes!

tgow: You better believe it.  I'm coming for your crown!

GC: I really hope the league comes back together next year and would love to be a part of it! (and a...) BONUS!  Just want to say thank you to Chris for setting the league up and welcoming me with open arms into the league when I emailed him in response to the blog post for the it.  Thank you to Alex for recapping each week.  I really looked forward to each one.  And final thanks to everyone in the league and in the GIO community in general.  I realize I am fairly new to the community, but pretty much everyone has been incredibly nice.

LMGTAC: Of course!  I hope to be a contender!  The GIO fantasy football was a great time and your weekly roundups made it that much better.  Congrats to all who played and had fun, it was a great time!

(I gotta defend my crown against you clowns so of course I'll be back, too.  I just hope I have a better draft next season is all.)

"And one more crazy picture, just because I love you all...."

Well, that will wrap it up.  I'd like to say thank you to Chris, SMR, thegodofwine, attackcobra, Vaas, GCsoxfan and LetMeGetToACheckpoint for agreeing to take part in this when they didn't have to.  I'd also like to thank them for their continued support of the scoreboard, and really thank anybody who took the time to read them as I never expected that weekly feature to be as popular as it seemed it was.  Take care and thanks for reading, and I hope to be back later this year to chronicle yet another season of GIO fantasy football!

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