So, my friend makes this drink called “Shambles.” It’s champagne, vodka, and Red Bull. You might be able to guess how it gets its name. When you have a Shambles or two at the beginning of an evening, it can only end in one of three ways: you pass out early, you go down in flames and look like an idiot doing so, or you manage to hold it together while everyone around you turns into a sloppy mess.
Well, if you looked at my friend’s fantasy team, the Winter Hill Gang, you’d see it’s the equivalent of that dude that’s already had 6 or so Shambles, and you see him slurring his words and starting to teeter at the bar. To start, we play in a dynasty league, and his “keeper” was Peyton Manning. Now, at the time of our draft, there was little to no information about Peyton’s injury, and what was there all seemed like speculation. WHG’s other keeper option was Mike Wallace. This is where it gets sticky, because I had been targeting Wallace as my 2nd round pick, and I had a hand in advising WHG to keep Peyton. But, I swear, there was nothing nefarious involved. Back in August, the difference between a healthy Peyton and the rest of the QB universe seemed far great than the difference between Wallace and all the other WRs. But we can’t play Monday morning quarterback; we can only agree that this was WHG’s first Shambles.
After the draft, WHG looked like they were at the top of the world. Everyone thought he’d had a solid draft, and Yahoo! and FantasyFootballGuys.com predicted him virtually unbeatable. He won Week 1, lost a heartbreaker in Week 2, and then won Week 3, despite being served his second Shambles–Kenny Britt out for the season. With Britt gone, he spent Peyton Manning and $44 to pick up Victor Cruz, but got killed by me (Shambles #3.) Then he was served injuries to Peyton Hillis, Darren McFadden, and Mark Ingram (Shambles 4, 5 and 6), and today he sits at 3-4 with Joe Flacco as his starting QB (could be worse), Torrey Smith and Marion Manningham starting at WR (Victor Cruz at flex), and his only viable starting RB is Delone Carter. Ouch.
I’m sure this string of bad luck is not unfamiliar to others of you out there. So where do you take the season from here?
1. You could pass out early. No one likes the guy who does this, but every league has one. He gets frustrated by his misfortune, and rather than doing a little research to find some possible viable starters, he stops making roster moves and lets his team tank. This attitude blows, but I don’t think WHG is this kind of guy.
2. You go down in flames and look like an idiot doing so. Some people, and I’ll admit this might have been me in past seasons, get so anxious about the holes on their team, they make stupid, short-term waiver moves or ridiculously lopsided trades. At 3-4, you have to start winning games and can probably only afford to lose 2 more, so it’s tempting to take serious risks. Often they don’t work in your favor, but, hey, at least you finish out the season.
3. You manage to hold it together while everyone around you turns into a sloppy mess. This is obviously the only good outcome, and it takes a lot of luck and finesse. You need to make smart plays and be sure that each of your roster spots will at least contribute something. It’s tough, especially at RB, because if your leagues are any thing like the ones I’m in, that’s a position that dries up fast. People pounce on any opportunity. In WHG’s case, if Peyton Hillis doesn’t go, and it’s looking like he doesn’t, he needs to find the best upside option available. In this case, I think it’s Javon Ringer. Facing the 2nd most generous run defense, Javon sits behind Chris Johnson. CJ has more pressure than ever to perform this week. Either he knocks it out of the park (excuse the mixed metaphor) and gives the Titans a nice cushion of a lead, or he continues on his paltry production and gets pulled early. Either way, I think this week is a good week to take a chance on Javon Ringer.