Players dropping like fall leaves.
Owners, all crying.
Good afternoon, my name is Jeff Miller, and the 2015 fantasy football season was my friend. While its tragic passing at such a young age has been difficult for us all, I have found that sometimes the fantasy gods have bigger plans, plans that are beyond the control of mere mortal owners such as you and I. These plans are not to be questioned, but accepted, as our fate is our fate and no amount of complaining on Twitter will change it. Trust me, I tried.
So let us not morn the fantasy deaths we have faced at the hands of Le’Veon Bell’s MCL, Keenan Allen’s kidney, Steve Smith’s Achilles, Jamaal Charles’ ACL and Arian Fosters’ everything every year all the time forever WHY IS HE ALWAYS HURT?!?!?! Instead, celebrate these players, our teams and the off-season that is a mere three months away.
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In order to help you make that transition, I am dedicating this week’s Burning Questions to understanding and working through the grieving process in an effort to achieve future greatness in spite of the recent happenings.*
*Jeff is not a licensed, or even unlicensed, therapist. He is not qualified to talk about the five stages of grief, or, outside of gummy worms, Tom Selleck, and Brian Quick, anything. Please don’t sue us.
Denial: This is not happening. It can’t be real.Why me?
I’m really sorry, you guys, but all the players I brought up in my eulogy above, and several more I didn’t mention, are no longer with us (for this season). To deny it is to rob yourself of the opportunity to move past it. And how do we do that?
Well, the first thing we do is actually something we don’t do: panic. Don’t be the owner who ships Le’Veon and a third out for Adrian Peterson and a second (this is a real life trade that happened in a real life league with real life owners). This isn’t to say you shouldn’t explore your options, but selling elite talent for cents on the dollar vary rarely makes much sense.
Anger: HOW COULD THE FANTASY GODS DO THIS TO ME?
It may not feel good to hear, but for every team you lost Arian Foster, there are a billion others out there that did the same. As I learned while whining about a specific roster that was utterly gutted over the last seven days, no matter how bad you have it, thousands of others have it much worse. This doesn’t make your strife any less real, but it should lend some perspective. Also, kids are starving in Africa and Randy Marsh is being shamed for not donating money to them at the grocery store.
Bargaining: If I promise to never send out a snarky counter offer to a deal I didn’t like, will you help Allen’s kidney heal faster?
This isn’t the kind of bargaining you’ll find helpful. What you need to do is find bargains to replace your missing player or, if you are now out of contention, move other assets to position yourself for the future.
I have seen Julian Edelman, Justin Forsett, Doug Martin and many others acquired for reasonable fees as a replacement for a fallen player. The best part? None of those deals involved the injured stud switching teams.
On the other side, savvy owners are approaching those who lost a starting stud, offering up active assets for the wounded player. I personally took advantage of the situation in a league, moving Jordan Matthews for Allen. Not only will the deal help me next year, but it will help my team legally tank this season so I can shoot for a better rookie draft slot.
Depression: I have no chance to win, my players are worthless, my team is terrible. Would it be overreacting to Thelma and Louise it?
You have so much fantasy football to live for. If losing one (or more) of these guys was a blow to your playoff chances, that means you were in the running. And if that is the case, you probably have a pretty good team.
Take some time and objectively look at your roster and assess your odds of winning without the player you lost. Can you still backdoor the playoffs and get some of your money back? Would adding a replacement for your injured starter really up your odds of winning it all, or will you just be spending capital to still get third?
I had to make just such a call in the same league I talked about in response to the Anger stage. I decided that short of destroying my depth and/or trading away a ton of future picks, I wasn’t likely to do better than second under anything but an extraordinary circumstance. It is with that in mind I’ve rebuked a number of offers and decided to ride it out. It is a bitter pill, but swallow it I must.
Acceptance: I get it now, they aren’t coming back (this year). I am going to have to move forward. But how?
Hopefully I’ve given you some ammo to start this process, but there are a few things worth expanding on/reviewing for emphasis.
Your initial step should be to ask yourself if replacing the player will change the outcome of your season. If it won’t, why make a drastic change that could hurt your roster in subsequent seasons? Have a bit of will power, relax and take your lumps.
Maybe you’ll get luck while you are doing the above and discover your supporting cast is better than you thought. Maybe you still have a legit shot at a title, it is just that the road will be more difficult. Very often, waiting to panic add something to your roster will help you avoid spending capital you didn’t need to spend.
If your bench is too thin to cover the missed points and you think looking outwardly for a replacement is the answer, you don’t necessarily have to shoot for the moon. Players like Willie Snead or Brandon Marshall can come relatively cheaply compared to their level of production. Do your best to resist the urge to shuffle Allen out the door for a package of Jarvis Landry and a 1993 Topps Mark McGwire.
That said, if there is an owner out there willing to pay full retail for your injured star, it is certainly an avenue worth exploring. I was able to move the hospitalized Charger receiver and my 2016 1st for Stefon Diggs, Donte Moncrief and Charcanbank West on a team where I also lost Steve Smith. It is a nice value for me that added much needed depth while allowing the other to consolidate his assets into my current WR12.
Well, there you have it. Like me, you are now a fully qualified grief counselor.** Spread your wings, hit up a couple funerals and don’t trade Bell for AP unless you are getting a couple first round picks with him.
**We cannot emphasize enough that Jeff is not a qualified grief counselor. We are begging you on our hands and knees not to sue us.
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