Monday, June 28, 2010

Looking Ahead 2010: Sea Buzzards

This is the ninth post of a series of ten blogs covering each team from Brothers Keeper in detail. We began with the last place team and have moved up to the top of the league standings as it stood at the end of the 2009 fantasy football season (cf. Kabuki Strikes Back; CustodianPandemonium; Favre$Footlong; Ghost; Redmans CatPunters; Yankinfowlsandfeline; Simba's ButtKicker!CYBORG PIRATE NINJAS). This post will present our 2d Place Silver Medalist/Trophy Winner, and 1st runner up, Sea Buzzards (M Peltonen).

Overview of M Peltonen's Brothers Keeper History
2007 Scrappy Chickens: 6-8-0 (6th Place) 1476.78 points; 12 transactions
2008 Squash-a-nomics 201: 6-7-0 (7th Place) 1183.33 points; 19 transactions
2009 Sea Buzzards: 5-8-0 (2d Place) 1396.22 points; 20 transactions

2009 End of Season Commentary
While M Peltonen only managed 6 wins during the regular seasons in 2007 and 2008 he gained the 7th seed playoff position in both years. Each year he played the #2 seed Yer X-MOM (P Smith) in the first round of the playoffs (Quarterfinals) and was eliminated. Then came 2009. Sea Buzzards managed to back into the playoffs on a 5 win regular season that ended with a 4 game losing streak (the last regular season game loss to Yer X-MOM was 134.18 to 140.57). That's one less win than the previous two campaigns. So instead of playing the #2 seed Yer X-MOM for a third year in a row in the first round, Sea Buzzards played Yankinfowlsandfeline (J Smith). Yankinfowlsandfeline not only managed to gain the top playoff seed, he dominated the competition in total points for the season (by 200+ points to the nearest competitor). This didn't look as promising a strategy for Sea Buzzards (M Peltonen) after all. It should be noted that in a 6 team playoff format, M Peltonen would never have made the playoffs in the Brothers Keeper history joining the likes of R Johnson.

But alas, Sea Buzzards won his first Quarterfinal playoff game. It was a huge upset. It was the second time in Brothers Keeper history that a #8 seed playoff team knocked off a top seeded playoff contender. In 2007, Brothers Keeper's inaugural season, the #8 seed Ghost (B Garner) beat the #1 seeded RedMans Warriors (D Pilcher) in the Quarterfinals. This has happened twice in the three year history. Sea Buzzards won over Yankinfowlsandfeline by a score of 122.46 to 104.45. It was a David and Goliath moment.

Sea Buzzards playoff success didn't end there. Sea Buzzards won the Semifinal matchup over Simba's Buttkicker! to advance to the Championship game with the help of F Gore RB and J Addai RB. However, there, he met his playoff nemesis in Yer X-MOM. It was a repeat of the prior two playoff meetings. Yer X-MOM is 3-0 versus M Peltonen's teams in the playoffs. Regardless, it was a fantastic run after an otherwise disappointing regular season for the Sea Buzzards.

This brings up an interesting issue about the current 8 team playoff format of Brothers Keeper. If one were to predict the future well enough to know who would perform well in the playoffs, all you really need to be concerned about for 13 weeks is whether or not you have a spot in the playoffs at all. For instance, if you had players who excelled in weeks 14, 15, and 16, then you might have a championship team while only winning less than .500 of your regular season games. Here's an interesting list of 2009 Strong Finishers by Notice that two of the top 3 RBs are on the championship team. This is worth considering on a strategic level, but also demonstrates some inadequacies of an 8 team playoff format. This is not the point of this post, but how the Sea Buzzards performed in 2009's regular season versus the playoff weeks does surface this issue. However, even if F Gore RB had a strong finish for the fantasy football playoffs, and M Peltonen knew he would, how could someone know years in advance as in this keeper league? M Peltonen drafted F Gore in the first round of the 2008 Draft. The 2009 NFL regular season schedule wasn't even published until the Spring of 2009. So on one level, one could conceive that the keeper league neutralizes this, but I'd argue that it does not neutralize it enough.

M Peltonen has responded to this criticism noting that his 2009 team was plagued by injuries. So let's see if his argument hold weight: In late September M Hasselbeck QB suffered a rib injury late in the first half of the Seahawks' game vs. the 49ers. He then missed the next two games. Out of 13 potential games played through week 16 M Peltonen only started him 5 times. The other 11 QB fantasy starts went to the more productive T Romo anyhow.

At RB F Gore was also hurt during that same time frame. He missed 2 games completely after being injured after only one rushing attempt on September 27th 2009. J Addai only missed one game in January, meaning he was healthy the entire fantasy season. M Peltonen started him 14 times. D Brown didn't play for the first two games in November. Lynch, Morris, and Snelling were spot started when needed.

Were there any injuries at WR? None to the three significant pieces. Fitzgerald, Houshmandzadeh, and Jennings all played in every single regular season game. Austin was kept underused in order to be a developmental component in 2010. No significant injury issue happened at WR.

At TE G Olsen was underused for the more productive V Davis. Again, no injury concern here at TE.

So let us assess: During the three weeks of Gore's and Hasselbeck's absence for injury (weeks 3-5 just to be generous), M Peltonen actually had a 2-1-0 record. The game he lost was to Yer X-MOM. That loss was by 40.89 fantasy points. It is doubted the injuries had much effect if any on the record of M Peltonen's regular season record. Even if one game more was won, do we really think it would have helped? That would have brought the record from 5-8-0 to 6-7-0. That winning percentage is still below .500. Injury or not, something else was at play. His team was either hot or cold and when he was hot he did well. Obviously when his team went cold he didn't (1-4-0 record when scoring under 100 points). Sometimes he had a good week but still had an opponent outmatch him dramatically (e.g., week one's and week ten's losses to Redman's CatPunters). The evidence seems clear.

In other news, because Sea Buzzards (M Peltonen) made it to the Championship game, he automatically wins a medal/trophy. As the 1st runner up of the 2009 Brothers Keeper Fantasy Football League, the Sea Buzzards won the Silver Medal/Trophy. Congratulations!

Sea Buzzards's 2009 Draft
Sea Buzzards (M Peltonen) had the 5th overall draft pick position in the 2009 draft due to his poor 2008 playoff performance. His 2009 draft results are thus (noting that those who were kept from his 2008 final roster:

1. (5) Frank Gore RB (1st Rd Keeper Value)
2. (16) Tony Romo QB
3. (25) Larry Fitzgerald WR (Keeper)
4. (36) T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR
5. (45) Joseph Addai RB
6. (56) Marshawn Lynch RB
7. (65) Greg Jennings WR (Keeper)
8. (76) Tennessee DEF
9. (85) Greg Olsen TE
10. (96) Donald Brown RB
11. (105) Michael Vick QB
12. (116) Matt Hasselbeck QB
13. (125) Lance Moore WR
14. (136) Steve Breaston WR
15. (145) Adam Vinatieri K

Sea Buzzards's Final 2009 Roster
I have included the 2010 draft round and pick overall (overall pick is in parentheses) value of each player on Sea Buzzards's final roster followed by the name of the player, player's position, total # of fantasy starts for the season (a * indicates developmental eligibility for 2010's draft; some players were on more than one team but their total starts for all teams is listed); and total fantasy points scored by the player for the 16 fantasy week season (which is not subject to the # of starts):

1. (9) Frank Gore RB (1st Rd Keeper Value); 13 fantasy starts; 258.3 fp
2. (12) Tony Romo QB; 11 fantasy starts; 363.82 fp
2. (12) Larry Fitzgerald WR (Keeper); 15 fantasy starts; 229.6 fp
3. (29)
4. (32) T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR; 13 fantasy starts; 14.55 fp
5. (49) Joseph Addai RB; 14 fantasy starts; 233.48 fp
6. (52) Marshawn Lynch RB; 5 fantasy starts; 91.95 fp
6. (52) Greg Jennings WR (Keeper); 10 fantasy starts; 151.65 fp
7. (69)
8. (72)
9. (89)
10. (92)
11. (109)
12. (112) Rob Bironas K; 8 fantasy starts (2 with Redmans CatPunters + 6 with Sea Buzzards); 133 fp
12. (112) Vernon Davis TE; 12 fantasy starts (2 with CustodianPandemonium and 10 with Sea Buzzards); 204.25 fp
13. (129)
14. (132)
15. (149) Miles Austin WR; 3* fantasy starts; 218.04 fp (Undrafted)
15. (149) Johnny Knox WR; 2* fantasy starts (2 with Simba's Buttkicker!); 134.24 fp (Undrafted)
15. (149) Maurice Morris RB; 1* fantasy starts (1 with Ghost); 88.9 fp (Undrafted)
15. (149) Jason Snelling RB; 1* fantasy starts; 132.25 fp (Undrafted)
15. (149) Arizona DEF; 4 fantasy starts (1 with Simbas Buttkicker! + 2 with Yer X-MOM + 1 with Sea Buzzards); 139 fp (Undrafted)
15. (149) New England DEF; 7 fantasy starts (1 with CYBORG PIRATE NINJAS + 6 with Sea Buzzards); 132 fp (Undrafted)

Looking Ahead at 2010
Sea Buzzards's goal for 2010 should be to become a better regular season team with a more solid playoff seed thus creating less ambiguity as to whether or not his team is postseason worthy or not. It's not R Johnson bad, but it isn't good either. To achieve a better regular season record, the offseason/preseason goal for 2010 will require more comprehensive draft preparations. Because, as the personal finance sage, Dave Ramsey, says, "90% of making the correct decision is gathering information." 

Considering the amazing free agent pickups in V Davis TE and M Austin WR during the 2009 season Sea Buzzards began to build for 2010 early. M Austin WR seems to be the clear favorite for developmental eligibility keeper slot now that he is the clear favorite #1 WR for the Dallas Cowboys. M Peltonen considered this very fact when he decided not to start M Austin in the championship game.

One notable stalwart of M Peltonen's prior teams in Brothers Keeper that was dropped in the process of 2009 has been the recently dissappointing, and oft injured, but very talented M Hasselbeck QB of his hometown favored Seattle Seahawks (hence the name, Sea Buzzards; see also the recent controvery with Hasselbeck's wife). It could seem a disappointing loss, unless you consider the T Romo QB is in the fold and was the predominant starter for Sea Buzzards throughout 2009. With M Austin, J Witten TE, and the newly drafted Dez Bryant WR as targets for Romo, Peltonen can be confident at QB if Romo is kept, albeit at a higher price than maybe he should go at, but then again Romo has also been highly touted for the 2010 fantasy season, higher than P Manning and T Brady even. With TJ Houshmandzadeh WR and D Branch WR recovering from injuries, T Romo was the easy choice to consider at QB for the future if he is kept.

Other than the obvious choice of M Austin as the developmental eligible keeper, there seems to be a solid 4 or 5 potential keepers for the 3 remaining keeper positions: F Gore RB (Rd 1); T Romo QB (Rd 2); J Addai (Rd 5); L Fitzgerald WR (Rd 2); and G Jennings WR (Rd 6). Of this group M Peltonen will have to figure out how to balance positional needs, value needs, and draft pick placement. Considering the positional needs, the question remains, should he keep 3 WRs in M Austin, L Fitzgerald, and G Jennings? He could start all three each week since Brothers Keeper has 2 WR and 1 WR/RB active roster spot. However that will mean he will need to choose between keeping a RB in F Gore or J Addia or a QB in T Romo. Plus, if Romo and Fitzgerald and Jennings are kept, that will mean one of his Rd 2 draft choices will automatically get bumped to the 1st Rd value and leave him without a draft pick until late in the 3rd Rd, when he could finally draft his first RB. What kind of RB depth will remain at that point in the draft? It's possible the 2d tier of RBs could all be gone by then since some may be kept as keepers. With the depth at WR M Peltonen may have to trade for talent he wants, or he might have to let the chips fall where they may and compensate later in the draft with a slew of third tier or rookie RBs.

Before leaving the positional question, it would not be surprising that L Fitzgerald WR might be the one who is not kept. He's talented but no longer has a talented QB following K Warner's retirement. Will M Leinart QB be able to perform? His first post-Warner practice did not go so well despite having all the confidence in the world. Confidence alone cannot win NFL games, even when you have the talented L Fitzgerald to throw the ball to. So with Leinart at the helm of the Arizona offense will L Fitzgerald be a worthy 1st or 2d Rd draft pick? This enters into the discussion as to draft value. Someone else might overpay to have Fitzgerald on their roster. The height of Fitzgerald's fantasy trade value may be past now too. A fact that M Peltonen may have missed on when the offers came from Yer X-MOM (P Smith) prior to the trade deadline.

The others (TJ Houshmandzadeh WR [Rd 4], J Addai RB [Rd 5], and M Lynch RB [Rd 6]) just don't seem as worthy of consideration, although I wouldn't be surprised if they were selected. J Addai, afterall, had a pretty good year. Probably better than G Jennings. But what will they do in 2010?

Again, like I said, the foundation has been laid for 2010 by M Peltonen thanks to some solid free agent pickups, including V Davis's breakout as a TE (Rd 12). It'll be tough to forecast the choice of keepers for 2010.

My Best Guess at Sea Buzzards's 2010 Keepers
My best guess, F Gore RB (Rd 1), L Fitzgerald WR (Rd 2/3), T Romo QB (Rd 2/3), and developmental eligible M Austin WR (Rd 15).
Brothers Keeper Third Party Consultant's Best Guess at Sea Buzzards's 2010 Keepers
"ok i would gore, fitz, and jennings and i would keep austin, that your 3 starting wr's and with there being so many good qbs now u can get by with having someone like matt ryan or even try and redraft romo in the 3nd or 4th rd and take a rb with either one of those picks u gotta have a nice haul of rb's in the draft i would target guys like donald brown joe addai, hardesty, harrison, and ben tate in the later rds and target a mid level TE"

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