Fantasy Football Final Exam 2016

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Hopefully you’re still fighting for a #footclantitle but it’s exam week! As a former high school teacher, it’s that time of the year for finals when everyone usually stresses out to the max and fantasy owners are not immune to this either.

I thought of this idea as my team slowly disintegrated into oblivion this weekend and posted 62 points in the first round of my home league playoffs. Before spiraling into a deep state of sadness, I thought it might be helpful for myself as well as other fantasy owners to assess themselves and ask yourself “Where did I go wrong?”

Final Exam Directions

Go through the questions below and grade yourself on a scale of 0-2.

0= I don’t identify

1= I can agree 

2= That is definitely me!

At the bottom, you can tally up your score to find out what level fantasy force or farce you were this season and how you can prepare for 2017.

Reminder: There’s no cheating on the test and no-one else to scapegoat at the end of this exam… well, maybe if you put your trust in Brock Osweiler or picked a kicker early.

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1. My draft preparation doomed me from the beginning.

This is where there is little excuse. This is like writing your name at the top of the test. What type of preparation did you do leading up to your draft? Did you listen to the preview shows leading up to late August? Did you check out our Ultimate Draft Kit with premium rankings for every position and stat projections? Did you see the Ballers preseason breakout recommendations like Melvin Gordon and Mike Evans or sleeper picks such as Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford or LeGarrette Blount?

2.With the RB position being so injury prone in 2015, I swung to the other side of the pendulum and ended up neglecting them.

We all know WR was among the most hyped positions at draft season as many went WR-heavy in the first couple of rounds. Especially in PPR leagues, it was tempting to pass on viable RBs in the first round such as David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, or Le’Veon Bell. Did you find startable RBs or were you pummeled into submission by your opponents and their high volume RBs?

3. I fell in love with certain players and in the end, my heart betrayed me.

Some of the worst advice anyone can give you in fantasy world is “follow your heart”. Because the heart is a deceitful thing my friends, especially when you invest emotional capital in high draft picks. Coming off glorious 2015 campaigns, perhaps you were enamored with the seasons DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and Brandon Marshall could have as bonafide WR1s on your team. And perhaps you were among those who weekly were sweating out whether to start or sit your supposed “stud”. Did you fall in love only to find out that player would break your heart time and time again?

4. I traded for a high-upside “boom” player at the beginning of the season who instead turned out to be more of a “bust” guy.

We are obsessed with boom games sometimes to the point of chasing mythical points that never actually existed. I’m talking about you Brandin Cooks, DeSean Jackson, Will Fuller, or Marvin Jones. Did early season results prove to be fool’s gold in the end?

5. I became my own worst enemy overthinking matchups and consistently benching the wrong guy.

If you bought too much into revenge game narratives, home/away splits, and obscure statistics such as rushing yards averaged on turf on Thursday games in November, you might be kicking yourself now. Maybe you’re kicking yourself for not starting Davante Adams or maybe you missed out on Jay Ajayi’s monster games. You can tell yourself “I care too much” or “I’m too smart for my own good” when in the end, things just didn’t work out in 2016.

6. I looked so far ahead into future matchups and playoff matchups that I missed out.

Here’s looking at you Jameis Winston stashers. I feel your shame as I was among those who acquired him in hopes that his juicy playoff schedule with two matchups against New Orleans would push me over the edge. Perhaps you held onto hope that Russell Wilson would be a league-winner like he was in 2015 when he teamed up with Doug Baldwin and caught fire in the second half. Did you neglect the present in pursuit of the utopian future? (That sentence makes me sound smarter than I am)

7. I relied too heavily on future production from unproven commodities.

Let’s pull back on the reins of those of us who trusted in supposed breakout stars Donte Moncrief, Tyler Lockett, DeVante Parker, Michael Floyd, Coby Fleener, or Matt Jones. All of these gentlemen might now have a curse word attached to their name in your mental dictionary as you wasted precious draft capital in hopes of a future return on your investment.  All were lauded as preseason 6th round or higher choices and all most certainly can be buried with your teams in their fantasy football graves for 2016.

8. I forgot to take into account that offensive lines affect fantasy outcomes.

Whoops… perhaps you’re like me, neglecting to realize that players don’t play in a vacuum but their surrounding offensive situations matter. Whether it’s the disaster of Todd Gurley, the two-headed cream puff tandem of Jerick McKinnon/Matt Asiata, the 5 second hype known as the Devontae Booker experiment, or the unfulfilled dreams of the Panthers and Cam Newton repeating 2015, healthy and effective offensive lines matter. Better get back to watching that game tape and seeing that the game is won in the trenches.

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9. I pooped in my pants big time at playoff time and I have the stains to prove it.

And it probably still smells horrendous. Go ahead a change out your poopy whitey tighties into a fresh pair this holiday season. If you failed to even make the playoffs, give yourself an automatic 2 for deciding to leave a poo stain on the memory of your fantasy football life in 2016.

10. I stopped listening to the Fantasy Footballers midway through the season.

Whoa. This is as egregious as it gets. Stopped listening?!? You just quit?

Scoring System

0-5: You should applaud and count yourself among the few who escaped relatively clean this season full of fantasy casualties.

6-10: You can identify that you are by no means a perfect fantasy owner. You took some risks and some of them paid off.

11-15: Whew. It was a rough 2016 and you know it. You consistently trace back moves, trades, and transactions in your head saying “what could’ve been?” and “if only I…”

16-20: Ouch, the mistakes, the tears, and heartache still stings deeply. It’s not just a bad breakup but the one that still sears the conscience of your fantasy mind. Before you go into a dark fantasy football hole during the offseason, make sure you continue to subscribe to the podcast, listen in to all the offseason news, and stay plugged in with our incredible staff of writers for awesome offseason content. Plus don’t forget our growing fantasy football community is over at JoinTheFoot.com.

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