Saturday, January 16, 2010

Monopoly Money

Beer Update: After a hiatus for the holidays, last night was the return of the friendly neighborhood game. I took three bottles of the home brew to share with the gang and got friendly reviews. Today, I decided to start another batch. As for which style to try next, the runaway winner of the popular vote was the High Country Canadian Draft which is now mixed up and in the keg. Check back in two weeks when it is time to bottle.

The other day at work, a friend of mine stopped by my cube to give me a pretend dollar which was my share of the winnings from this season's fantasy league. As I have for the past few years, I was in two fantasy leagues this year. One league is with some guys at work. The other is with my friend Alan from college, his brother Matt (who serves as the league commissioner), and mostly other friends of Matt. For both leagues, the entry fee was ten pretend dollars.

The league at work is a ten-team league while the long-distance league has 12 teams divided into two six-team divisions. For both my leagues, the starting rosters are the general standard for fantasy leagues which consists of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one RB/WR flex spot, a tight end, a kicker, and a defense/special teams slot. The roster for my work league has six bench slots while the long-distance league has ten bench slots plus two injured reserve slots. Between the number of teams (10 vs. 12) and the size of the rosters (15 vs. 19 plus the two IR slots), it is easy is see that quality players were more readily found on the waiver wire in my work league than in the long-distance league.

Last season in the long-distance league, my team finished with a 7-5-1 record which was good for third in my division and went on to lose in the second round of the playoffs. From last leason, I kept San Francisco RB Frank Gore, Dallas RB Marion Barber, and Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald. In the draft, I didn't pick up a QB until the seventh round. Listening to the advice of my girlfriend, the Bears fan, I picked up Chicago's shiny new poster boy, Jay Cutler which pretty much defined my season. The first part of season was up and down. By week eight, my team's record was 3-4-1, and things looked bleak. However, four straight wins offered some hope, but a loss to the division leader the last week of the regular season knocked my team out of a playoff spot. My team finished at 7-5-1 for the second year in a row, but this year that was only good for fourth in a tough division and I had to settle for the consolation bracket.

Last season in the league at work, my team was a mediocre 5-8, but I was able to pick up and hold onto a certain injured QB for New England. My keepers for this season were Tom Brady and Atlanta RB Michael Turner. I also drafted Marion Barber and New Orleans WR Marques Colston, and in the later rounds, Cutler as my backup QB. As I mentioned previously, a few quality players were available on waiver wire in my work league. Halfway through the season, I picked up Minnesota WR Sidney Rice who was having a breakout year with Brett Favre at the helm of the Viking offense. Interestingly enough, Rice is from my home town of Gaffney, South Carolina, which I did not realize until later while watching the Panthers-Vikings game on Sunday Night Football.

Back to my fantasy team, the season started with fifth-straight wins and things were looking good. Unfortunately, things started to go south with an ankle injury to Turner. My team finished the season on a 2-6 run, but did manage to limp into the playoffs as the fourth seed with a 7-6 record. In the first round of the playoffs, my team surprised the strong top seed who lost Larry Fitzgerald to an right knee injury during the game. My team was unable to keep up the momentum the next week in championship game.

So where did that one pretend dollar come from? The work league pays out for several different things, including the regular season and playoff champions and highest weekly score of the week. It also pays a dollar for the highest score each week, and for the fourth week of the season, my team had the highest score.

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