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Listmas Greetings!

This is my final column before packing up my sleigh for the year. As a thank you for reading, I come bearing the gift of lists. But let’s start with a few seasonal stanzas, shall we?

‘Twas the Night Before Week 16 and all through the land, 

Fantasy players were praying, hoping their Super Bowl would be grand.

The lineups were all set, each given special care

Desperate hopes that a championship would soon be there.

They deliberated for there was no snuggle in their beds.

Yet visions of touchdowns danced in their heads!

And ‘Mama in her jersey, and I in my lucky hat

I knew what to do, I could handle that!

 I’ll give my readers some lists, they can read for themselves

They’ll think these 12 top 12 lists were created by elves!

On Johnson, on Rodgers, now Elliot hold fast!

We’ll review the impending and long futures, plus review this year’s past.

A wink of my eye and you see a jolly elf

We start Listmas off with takeaways I learned myself

The 12 Days Of Listmas

Things I’ve Learned, Been Reminded Of, Or Have Been Reinforced This Year

  1. You should zig when everyone zags. The reason the Zero-RB theory worked is because that’s what was happening. How did that work for y’all this year? It didn’t; everyone was moving the same direction.
  2. Consider your league entry fee like a cover charge: you have to pay to play. If you look at it as an investment, it becomes less fun, whether you win or lose.
  3. The deeper the league, the more GMing is required. The shallower the league, the more coaching becomes important
  4. I suck as a coach, but I am a great GM.
  5. You never KNOW what is going to happen.
  6. I hold onto players too long. Conversely, most of my leaguemates drop players too soon. And speaking of letting go:
  7. Playing the “what if” game and beating yourself up on what might have happened if you had or hand’t drafted this guy or sat that player will tear you up inside.
  8. Thursday Night Football games are bad for Fantasy
  9. Trade deadlines are stupid
  10. Active leagues with message board talk are so much more fun than “draft and disappear” leagues.
  11. Even experts get lazy and make dumb mistakes in their “‘perts” leagues.
  12. I really do enjoy Fantasy Football. And that includes writing about it too.

But not enough people realize that as Fantasy writers, we don’t win every single league we play.


Reasons I’m Not Going To Win The Fantasy Football Super Bowl In Every One Of My Leagues

  1. I believed in Todd Gurley (and guess what, I still like him this week against SF!)
  2. Despite not wanting to, I dropped Justin Tucker and/or the Baltimore Defense during the Ravens bye
  3. I traded away Spencer Ware for Tyler Eifert
  4. Rob Gronkowski was my late first round pick in one of my leagues
  5. I was #1 in points against by a more than 100-point margin. Not everything was my fault!
  6. My potential keepers were not deep enough to trade away for “win now” studs
  7. I thought the trade deadline was before the 1 pm games started that week, not Saturday at midnight (tell me that’s not a stupid rule!)
  8. Was busy getting my drink on and forgot to make the final line-up tweaks I was planning
  9. Something tells me I’m not alone on this one, but I let DFS take away too much of my focus on seasonal teams
  10. I thought Jacksonville had turned a corner last year and Arizona would be a playoff team again
  11. Just plain bad luck
  12. I had to prove I was right on certain players

However I’ve also had some great success this year too.


Reasons I’m Going to Win At Least One, If Not Multiple, Fantasy Football Super Bowls This Week

      1. Because I knew Drew Brees still had the fire within him.
      2. Never started a defense (or any other position for that matter) that gave me negative points.
      3. I refused to trade for Andrew Luck during my QBs bye
      4. My teams got to play teams who drafted Rob Gronkowski when he was out
      5. Antonio Brown was mine with the second overall pick. Mike Evans too. That’s a pretty good 1-2 punch. While in another league, my WR corps of Jarvis Landry, Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Crabtree did just fine as well.
      6. Adam Humphries and other bye week pick-ups did just enough for me.
      7. I took advantage of having some extremely bright people at my disposal—the SCFE staff!
      8. Because while Listmas is nice, there are few things more important to me than Draftmas!
      9. Playing DFS helped me be more aware of some decent weekly options.
      10. I knew Dallas was going to be better and the Seahawks would be a playoff team again
      11. Just lucky
      12. I had to prove I was right on certain players


Players Who Had ADPs Beyond 200 Who Were Worthy Of Starting This Year

      1. Marqise Lee
      2. Dennis Pitta
      3. Jack Doyle
      4. Davante Adams (I told you!)
      5. Tyreek Hill
      6. Adam Thielen
      7. Cameron Meredith
      8. Robby Anderson
      9. Quincy Enunwa
      10. Dak Prescott (ya think?)
      11. Brian Hoyer (week 3-6, few QBs were better)
      12. Terrance West (seems like a long time ago, but his ADP was outside the 200)

In the same article I told you about Davante Adams, I also told you about West. But not everyone is as prescient.


Players That Every “Know-it-all” Will Tell You Was “On Their Radar” And Might Have Swung Your League, But Wasn’t Picked Up Until Week 3 Or Later

      1. Ty Montgomery
      2. Tyreek Hill
      3. Adam Thielen
      4. Adam Humphries
      5. Malcolm Mitchell
      6. Cameron Brate
      7. Vernon Davis
      8. Colin Kaepernick
      9. Tim Hightower
      10. Jalen Richard
      11. Peyton Barber
      12. Tom Savage

For those of you resistant to deep leagues, you still worried you can’t find talent late? I’m not surprised there’s some overlap between the two lists above. However, Listmas does include some surprises.


Players You’ll Be Surprised To See How They Rank At Their Position Currently (PPR Scoring)

      1. Frank Gore – I knew he was a valuable RB2, but he’s actually ranked 11th. That’s a low RB1!
      2. Bilal Powell – Amazing how one week against SF can help you! He’s the 21st best ranked RB.
      3. Thomas Rawls – Yes, he was out seven weeks, but he’s not even in the Top 50 RBs (he’s 53rd). That’s at least five slots lower than I expected.
      4. Larry Fitzgerald – He’s the eighth best WR. The “old man” still getting it done!
      5. Willie Snead – I’m not actually surprised he’s ranked 27th. But had you told me before the season that Snead would be 27th AND there are two others Saints WRs ahead of him, I wouldn’t have believed it.
      6. Michael Floyd/John Brown – They’re the 71st and 74th best WRs. I could have foreseen one of them being that low, but never both.
      7. Cam Newton – I expected a down year. But 21st best Fantasy QB? I was never thinking that bad!
      8. Ryan Fitzpatrick – He’s the 29th best QB and likely not starting again this year. He’ll finish the year outside of the Top 30. I’m surprised.
      9. Matt Barkley – Currently he’s the 34th best QB. He’s obviously a QB3 at worst and startable in 2-QB leagues.
      10. Kyle Rudolph – I knew Rudolph was having a decent season. But third best TE so far this year? This reindeer has game!
      11. Chandler Catanzaro – 2016 hasn’t been kind to Arizona’s kicker after finishing in the Top 10 last year. But he’s not even in the Top 20! It underscores how frail the kicker rankings can be year to year.
      12. Miami Dolphins – They currently are the fifth best defense! I’m still shocked, but they are. Look at their schedule though. They played the Jets twice, Rams, 49ers, and Browns. Maybe we should be surprised they aren’t higher.


Playoff Team Projections including Conference Seed

      1. Dallas: 1-seed in NFC
      2. New England 1-seed in AFC
      3. Seahawks 2-seed in NFC
      4. Lions 3-seed in NFC
      5. Raiders 2-seed in AFC
      6. Ravens 3-seed in AFC (that’s right, they beat the Steelers this upcoming week. Gotta problem with that?)
      7. Texans 4-seed in AFC (How much would you love to be Tom Savage’s agent right now?)
      8. Chiefs 5-seed in AFC
      9. Titans 6-seed in AFC
      10. Buccaneers 4-seed in NFC
      11. Giants 5-seed in NFC
      12. Falcons 6-seed (that’s right, the Packers don’t make the playoffs.)


My Top 12 Players In Order If I Was Drafting Now for A Post Season Fantasy Football League:

      1. Ezekiel Elliott (highest floor of any player in post season)
      2. Julio Jones (highest ceiling of any player in post season)
      3. Latavius Murray (can’t shake the feeling that the Raiders win it all)
      4. Mike Evans (should give you two extremely solid games)
      5. Travis Kelce (best TE in playoffs by a mile)
      6. Tom Brady (Can you see him NOT producing? Me neither)
      7. Devonta Freeman
      8. DeMarco Murray
      9. Derek Carr (see Latavius Murray)
      10. Doug Baldwin (I think Seattle beats Dallas in NFC Championship Game)
      11. Joe Flacco (He’s mediocre in the regular season, but they don’t call him “January Joe” for nothing!)
      12. Steve Smith (He “aint going out like that.” Given that I like Flacco, Smith will be a stud in the playoffs)

Speaking of projected draft picks, check out Josh Morgan’s piece. However, as part of Listmas, I give unto you my first round picks for next year.


My Projected First Round For The 2017 Season If I Was Drafting Today

      1. David Johnson
      2. Ezekiel Elliott
      3. Antonio Brown
      4. LeVeon Bell
      5. Odell Beckham Jr.
      6. Julio Jones
      7. Mike Evans
      8. LeSean McCoy
      9. Devonta Freeman
      10. Latavius Murray
      11. Jordan Howard
      12. DeMarco Murray

Note the number of RBs in the first round! Hmmm. And consider the number of running backs on the next Listmas offering.

Bounce-back Players You Can Probably Draft In The Third Round Next Year Or Later

      1. Eddie Lacy
      2. Adrian Peterson
      3. Jamaal Charles
      4. CJ Anderson
      5. Arian Foster (Just kidding. Seeing if you were paying attention!)
      6. Alshon Jeffery
      7. Brandon Marshall
      8. Todd Gurley (Maybe. The 2nd is more likely)
      9. Doug Martin
      10. Tony Romo
      11. Russell Wilson (the value here will be ludicrous next year)
      12. Martavis Bryant (forgot about him, didn’t you?)

And what’s a deep league article without some alternative league suggestions? Here you go:


Rule Suggestions For Your League Next Year

      1. Play a consolation bracket for non-playoff teams. Winner gets first pick next year.
      2. Award High Scorer of Week during playoffs. Helps keep non-playoff teams interested all season!
      3. League winner gets to add a new rule variation.
      4. League winner brings custom designed T-shirts for everyone to wear at the draft the following year. “Losers” still get something from previous season (use as car wash rag if you won’t wear it), and fun way to let Super Bowl winner brag about successful year.
      5. Install a “skunk rule.” Teams worried about losing by too much keeps owners active all year and adds extra excitement to MNF games.
      6. Create a weekly “injury replacement” slot. If a player gets injured in the first half, his owner may substitute a “wild card” player in for that player.
      7.  Auction. Or if you need a halfway step, go FAAB with free agency, assuming you’re not.
      8. Eliminate D/ST and kicker. It avoids the need to evaluate positions often given secondary treatment. Or, do the reverse: I’ve also played in leagues where you have to have two defenses for example. It eliminates the streaming strategy and requires more talent evaluation. It elevates positions so often given secondary treatment!
      9. Go 2-QB league. Or try a “super-flex”–where you can have a second QB as your flex option. I haven’t done the latter in over 20 years, but I’m itching to do so!
      10. Have a “tiered” trading deadline. One deadline has no vetos. A second deadline later in the year does.
      11. Instill a “sacko” rule. Immediately changes the dynamic of a league! If you don’t know what a “sacko” rule is, add “The League” to your Listmas Wish List. 
      12. Convert to a dynasty league. For you dynasty leaguers, create a “sabbatical year” where all players go back into the pool and it becomes a redraft league. If that’s too drastic, allow just one or two keepers. But the “scrambling” caused by the sabbatical year will keep the league fast-paced!

And finally one more Listmas to complete the 12 Days of Listmas.


Post-Hype And/Or Second Year Players I Can’t Wait To Draft Next Year

    1. Marqise Lee
    2. Kenneth Dixon
    3. Derrick Henry
    4. Carson Wentz
    5. Stephen Anderson (Who? Exactly)
    6. Kenyan Drake
    7. Tyler Boyd
    8. Malcolm Mitchell
    9. Pharoh Cooper
    10. Dorial Green-Beckham
    11. Jacoby Brissett
    12. Hunter Henry

So with that Listmas comes to a close and we end with the final line from the stanzas above: “And I heard him exclaim, as he left with good reason “Happy Holidays to All, It’s been a great season!

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