Friday, January 4, 2013

FAABulous: Year in Review

It's been a homerun of a fantasy season for Alfred Morris. (pnj.com)
It has been quite a year of football. Rather chaotic. Filled with monumental comebacks from Hall of Fame players, rookie sensations everywhere, records broken and nearly broken, and the usual on and off the field controversies. Reffed by replacement officials and a scandal that turned nothing into a big something.

While some of that stuff rents space in areas zoned for fantasy football, after a nearly full season of looking back on my first go around writing FAABulous - which wholly resides in fantasy - I can say it has been a fun experience. Writing about fantasy football week after week is not only challenging, but enjoyable because I truly followed the game closer than I ever have before. The nature of FAABulous was to shed light on some lower % owned players, so in doing such I had to dig a little deeper when I watched live games pay more attention to players during SportCenter or other highlight shows.

The fun of doing something like this is you get to make your observations, take calculated shots on certain players, and then see how things play out. Of course the glory of having written down these thoughts lets you go back and judge your guesses.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how things played out. I had some nice hits and some so-so misses. It was difficult to say if I completely whiffed on most of my calls as I feel a good amount of players I suggested were productive at some point. Obviously there were some cream of the crop picks and some I really wish I could take back.

If there's one thing I wish I could have done more of/ been better at is being proactive. Most of my picks were reactive to a previous game or an injury situation. This is mainly due to not having enough time or spending the energy out of my normal day to look that far ahead and really get involved with the numbers and match-ups in a way where any kind of advice like that would bear any fruits.

I'm not afraid to admit mistakes and take heat for them. At the same time, here is a horn, which I own, that I will blow into.

When analyzing some of my prouder and not so proud moments and selecting a couple of each I tried to gauge when my picks had the most impact. Obviously, in certain ways, the end of the season didn't have as much as impact as compared to a Week 2 pick. Also, when that pick coincided with a hot streak. If a player was on fire for 3 weeks, then faded off, then I should get credit for that as opposed to picking a player 2 games after he's had a big game. So all of these factors played into what I thought to be my hits and misses of the year. I've listed the player name, the week in which the player was mentioned and at what percentage that player was owned when I mentioned him.

Also, I get no bonus points for saying go grab Bryce Brown or Ronnie Hillman Knowshon Moreno. That's clown advice, bro.

So, here's the wrap-up to FAABulous 2012. Enjoy!

I'M A GOLDEN GOD STARING DOWN AT YOU FROM MT. PIOUS

James Jones Week 5 - (34% owned)
Jones is my big win of the year. I've always been a Jones fan due to his ability to be frequently located in the end zone by Aaron Rodgers, but due to varying and frequent injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, Jones got to see what it's like to be a top option for one of the league's best quarterbacks. After Week 5, Jones went on to catch 9 TD's including a 3 TD output in Week 15. His 14 TDs led all wide receivers, and with Jennings on his way out of town, expect Jones to continue his TD scoring ways in 2013. I'd put him as a solid WR2 option.

Brandon Myers Week 3 - (1%)
One of my first THE 1% picks ended up paying some of the most dividend. With the tight end position being reinvented in the NFL, Myers took the ball and ran with it ... for 806 yards and 4 TD. He finished the season ranked 6th in Football Outsider's ranks ahead of such dignitaries as Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez, Jermichael Finley, and Antonio Gates. Some shaky QB play affected Myers' production near the end of the season, but you can't argue with the return you got.

Colin Kaepernick - Week 11 (1%)
This pick doesn't fall under the No Shit category because Kaepernick wasn't supposed to keep the job. Alex Smith was coming off one of his best games as a pro, got clipped in the back of his noggin and it was expected he'd step right back in after Kaepernick started against the Bears defense that was, at the time, only playing as well as any defense ever. A 243 yard 2 TD performance ended Smith's 49ers QB experience.

David Wilson/Andre Brown - Week 13/Week 3 (15%/15%)
This was a part an injury play, but at the same time - they were both owned at such low amounts when they were respectively back-ups to Ahmad Bradshaw that it was almost criminal. From Week 7-10 Brown scored at TD a game, and when he was injured, Wilson finished the season with flair putting two scores on the board in Week 14 and added one in the fantasy playoffs Week 16. All-in-all Bradshaw's "back-ups" accounted for 14 total TD (1 was a kick return).

T.Y. Hilton - Week 10 (8%)
Hilton finished his rookie season with 7 TDs (5 came after Week 10) and became Andrew Luck's big play threat. What else would you expect out of one of the last picks in the 3rd round in the year of the rookies?

Russell Wilson - Week 14 (23%)
I was late to the show by a couple weeks touting Wilson, but he had my attention. By the end of the year people were just outwardly ignoring him. The guy is good, and he should have helped many a teams win a playoff game or two.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? I DO THIS FOR FREE!

Alfred Morris - Week 2 (5%)
For all the good things I did this year, missing on Morris was such a misstep that it almost wiped out any positives from the year. I noted that this was the first line in the sand moment of the fantasy season, and I was on the wrong end. Morris - who still has an outside shot at Rookie of the Year - would have been a phenom in any other season that didn't include his option mate RGIII, Luck, and Wilson. If ROY was based on pound for pound value, this 6th round pick out of Florida Atlantic would surely beat out those pretty boy lottery picks. Alf is a top 15 back heading into next season, and finished with 1,613 yards and 13 TD, which I'm assuming is a rookie record for a Washington RB.

Danario Alexander - Week 11 (5%)
I felt a lot worse about this one until DX put up a goose egg in Week 15. He does emerge as the second best nickname in the NFL of 2012 though.

Greg Zuerlein - Week 5 (17%)
#1 best new nickname goes to Greg the Leg or Young GZ. This one hurt. I saw this beastmode kicker launching 50 yard field goals like they were PAT's and got all antsy in my pantsy. Another 6th round pick could only carry the rookie mojo so far. Sure he missed some long ... long field goals, but the Rams inconsistency on offense didn't put him in a good place to score points. After Week 5, he never surpassed double digit points and scored under 3 points on four separate occasions. The best kicker in fantasy, he was not.

Davone Bess - Week 6 (32%)
After Week 6, he had 1 TD, averaged 57 YPG, and missed the last 3 weeks due to injury. My point was that he'd be better than Brian Hartline, which wasn't far from untrue (0 TD and averaged 56.9 YPG), but Bess was a no show.

Titus Young, Sr. - Week 8 (26%)
The world learned in 2012 what happens when you put any eggs in Titus Young, Sr.'s basket.

Ben Tate - Week 11 (39%)
Of course that "rest period" everyone expected the Texans to have never came. They skidded like a streak down a pair of tighty whities to close out the season and could conceivably lose to Cincinnati. That lack cruising to the #1 seed hurt Tate's playing time as well as his inability to stay healthy. From Week 11 on, Tate's game high number of carries was 8 and he never scored a touchdown.

RETURN OF FANTASY FUNKHOUSER
So that's it for fantasy football season. It's been fun, and actually drove a lot of traffic to the site, so I'll be sure to bring it back next year.

Don't fret through, my fantasy baseball column Fantasy Funkhouser will be back in full affect in 2013. I will try to write more and even give a shot at rankings and such. Should be a disaster. Looking forward to it.

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