The Scott Fish Bowl Invitational (SFB480) is a fantasy league like no other. I was lucky enough to participate in it last season (and ended making the playoffs) and really look forward to playing in it this season. It comprises of 480 teams, divided into leagues of 12 with a mixture of fantasy analysts and fans/contest winners in each league.
The league scoring is pretty much standard with the exception of a few things: Each player gets .25 points-per-rushing-attempt, .5 points-per-reception, and tight ends get an extra .5 points-per-reception. Fortunately, there are no kickers or defenses, because both of those positions are based more on luck than on skill. Teams start 11 players each week, you can start two QB’s, up to six RBS (minimum two), up to seven WRs (minimum 3), and up to five TE’s (minimum is one). So roster flexibility is crucial.
My strategy going into the draft was simple: Draft wide receivers early, stockpile some running backs in the mid-to-late rounds, and wait as long as I could on QB’s. Because teams can start two QB’s, they get taken a lot earlier than they would in normal leagues where only one QB can be started. I still prefer to wait on QB’s because only a few QB’s are that much better than the others and I’ll only have to face the Cam Newton’s of the world once the entire season. Running backs seem to get injured every week, so reaching on a top-tier RB is not the way to build a winning fantasy squad (of course, that is debatable).
Here it is:
Julio Jones ( Round 1, pick #8) – This was one of the easiest picks in the draft for me. My plan going into the draft was to draft wide receivers early, and I couldn’t have asked for a better player to start my team with. He had seven weeks of scoring 20+plus fantasy points last season, while scoring less than 10 points in only two weeks. He has a high floor/ceiling, which is why I love him here at eight overall. Especially since I had him #2 on my board behind Antonio Brown. The only other play I was considering here was DeAndre Hopkins, who broke out last season. I went with Julio because I like his QB situation more than Hopkins.
Alshon Jeffery (Round 2, Pick #5) – This was one of the toughest decisions I had in the draft. There are a lot of great players in the second round, but there isn’t one guy that truly stands out. I could be kicking myself ( said in KGB’s voice from Rounders) that I past on Jamaal Charles here, but with this draft being in mid-July, it is hard to predict how healthy Charles is going to be when the season starts. The regular season is only 12 weeks in this league, so missing my second-round pick for the first few games of the season is a losing recipe. Alshon played in all 16 games in 2013 and 2014, and averaged 87 receptions, 1,277 yards, and 8.5 touchdowns in those two seasons. He missed seven games last season, which is a cause to concern. However, Jeffery is going to be extra motivated to put up a huge season after the Bears refused to sign him to an extension. Add that reason to his proven track record (when healthy) is the reason I took him in the second round.
Brandon Marshall (Round 3, Pick #8) – B-MARSH!!! My man crush on B-Marsh knows no bounds. He finished as the third overall wide-out in this format last season (ahead of guys like Hopkins, ODB, and A.J.Green). Plus, he has caught at least 100 passes in three out of the past four seasons. This guy is a model of consistency, which is crucial in fantasy football. Devonta Freeman and Doug Martin were both available as well, but I believe Coleman really hurts Freeman’s value this season, and there is something I just don’t trust with Doug Martin. Plus, I really wanted an elite WR core.
Greg Olsen (Round 4, Pick #5) – The tight end position is extremely weak this season and Olsen provides me with a solid/consistent option at the position. I ended up with a handful of tight ends by the time the draft was over, so going with Olsen over Matt Forte or DeMaryius Thomas might’ve been a bad call. However, tight ends do get a full point-per-reception, which does increase his value.
Philip Rivers (Round 5, Pick #8) – I waited as long as I could to take a QB. In most leagues, I’d wait even longer, but you can’t do that in a league where you can start two QB’s. Rivers is solid, especially since he averaged 19.8 fantasy points-per-game, compared to a guy like Aaron Rodgers, who averaged 20.9 fantasy points-per-game last season. The only other options I was considering were Golden Tate or Ryan Mathews, but the need for speed, I mean QB..was too strong.
DeMarco Murray (Round 6, Pick #5) – Was literally praying that Murray would still be there when my pick came up, especially since I needed a RB1. The Titans haven’t had a RB this good in a long time. While they did draft Derrick Henry, I expect Murray to get the bulk of the carries and the goal line touches. He could provide second-to-third round value, which would be an amazing return on my investment.
Marcus Mariota (Round 7, Pick #8) – Expect him to thrive in his second season. Couldn’t have asked for a better #2 QB in this format. I did take him over Derek Carr and Tony Romo because I don’t know if Romo can stay healthy as he always seems to get hurt, and just think he has a little bit more upside than Carr.
Emmanuel Sanders (Round 8, Pick #5) – Another no-brainer pick here because he has such a high ceiling. He finished as the 17th wide-out last season despite the craptastic QB situation in Denver. The QB situation will be better this year, even if Mark Sanchez ends up starting, because he can throw for a lot of yards, while throwing a lot of interceptions as well. Sanders finished as the sixth overall WR in 2014, so that is the high ceiling I’m talking about. Not bad for my fourth WR.
Justin Forsett ( Round 9, Pick #8) – Ridiculous value here as he is slated to be the #1 RB for the Ravens. Most people are forgetting about Forsett, which doesn’t make sense to me because he’ll have the opportunity to finish as a top-10 RB if he can stay healthy this season ( he finished as the 8th overall RB in 2014). It was hard picking him over the legendary Larry Fitzgerald, but getting a starting RB this late in the draft, especially since I needed a second one, was too good to pass up.
Allen Hurns ( Round 10, Pick #5) – Boom or bust receiver who could win weeks for me if he blows up. Not the most consistent option, but a decent pick this late in the draft.
Tevin Coleman, Round 11 – Great value for a lottery pick if anything happens to Freeman. Probably should’ve gone with Derrick Henry here to handcuff Murray as he was picked right after I took Coleman, but I didn’t think Henry would go so early. Lesson learned: reach for that handcuff so you can solidify a backfield.
Jared Goff, Round 12 – Having a third QB is crucial in this format for bye weeks and in case one of my other QB’s gets injured. He should hopefully be starting by the time I actually need him.
Jimmy Graham – Round 13, Arian Foster – round 14, Jordan Cameron – Round 15, Kyle Rudolph – Round 16 – I’ve been the biggest Jimmy Graham hater for the past couple of years, but even I couldn’t pass up the value for him here. He has tremendous upside if he can come back healthy, while not really costing me much since he was a 13th round pick. Literally drafted Foster days before the Dolphins signed him as a just-in-case he signs somewhere type of pick…that worked out well for me. Cameron and Rudolph both have some upside, but come with risks as well. Hoarding TE’s is a good strategy in this league since I can start multiple TE’s each week.
Darren McFadden, Round 17 – I’m one of the few non-believers in Ezekiel Elliot this season ( I’ll explain why in my next article). McFadden finished as the 11th best RB last season and could become a steal if anything happens to Elliot. A lot of my Elliot hate comes from the fact that he is a rookie, the Cowboys have multiple veterans in the backfield to share carries with him, and why would an organization give a guy around 20 carries a game in his first year in the league, when they could divide those carries among some other capable backs so Elliot doesn’t have as much wear-and-tear on him for the future? Think about that last part for second. Remember that time McFadden was drafted fourth overall in the NFL draft and was supposed to be the next best thing? Me too! Oh yea, he ended up 499 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie season. Just saying!
Rueben Randle – 18, Alfred Morris – 19, Dennis Pitta – 20, Reggie Bush – 21, Terrelle Pryor – 22. Not much to see here as most of these guys won’t be starting for me. Got Alfredo Morris to solidify the other third of the Cowboys backfield. Pitta is great when he plays, ha but that is a big IF since he has been injured in each of the past two seasons. Took a flier on Bush in case he signs with a team sometime during the season. Really liked Pryor before Josh Gordon was reinstated.
There you have it. Feel pretty good about my team, especially my WR core and the strength of my TE’s. I did learn that the second round is going to be one of the toughest rounds to pick this season because there are a lot of great players, but not that many who stand out as must-haves after the first 12-13 players are gone. Also, I’ll be waiting on TE’s in leagues where you start only one TE because if I can get guys like Jordan Cameron, Jimmy Graham, or Dennis Pitta that late in the draft, I only need one of those guy to come through in the long run to have a winning team. As great as Gronk was last season, he had seven weeks (including the game he missed in week 13, but not including week 17) when he produced 14.1 fantasy points or less. So if I faced him in one of those weeks and my tight end that I drafted late in the draft got me 10 points, then I’d have a huge advantage. Let me know your thoughts (good or bad).