Start, Sit & Down the Stretch in the Scott Fish Bowl
No matter who you are, where you come from or what your story is, we all have goals. Intentions that no matter what gets in our way, we strive to fulfill.
However, we all know by now that it’ll never be a straight stretch to the finish line. Life has its twists and bends – some sharper than others. But as human beings, we are built that if there’s a will, there’s a way, and we navigate through it.
When we do see the finish line – our goal within reach – the pressure builds. The noise intensifies. Sometimes, no matter how much the journey has helped fine-tune us, we can stumble, even coming down the home stretch.
This is part of the rationale of why I choose to live my life open-minded and accepting of advice. So that when these high-pressured moments come, I have the experience and wisdom gained from others needed to finish.
The same can be said for fantasy football. Seeing so many others, willing to offer advice, was one of the primary reasons why I fell in love with the game. It’s why I began writing about it more than two years ago, and eventually would begin my own company earlier this year, offering not just fantasy sports advice, but life advice, too.
2020, not even including the impacts of COVID-19, has certainly been the craziest year of my fantasy life. I’m playing in more leagues with more people in a variety of formats than I ever would’ve thought was possible.
And no league has been a tougher task, yet a more enjoyable one than the “Scott Fish Bowl” (SFB), referred to this season as “SFBX,” being the 10th installment of the league.
For those unfamiliar, SFB is not only viewed as the world’s largest fantasy football league that brings more than 1,400 individuals, analysts and fans together. But thanks in due to Scott Fish (@ScottFish24), the league’s compassionate founder, it is dedicated to promoting Fantasy Cares, a charity run by Fish that is currently driven to deliver toys to kids who otherwise would not get presents to open on Christmas.
If you need more background on the league, its impact or what it means to myself and others to play in it, feel free to check out this preseason column discussing that.
After 10 weeks of exhilarating action, using the most intricate scoring format I’ve ever seen, I find myself at 5-5 and in possession of a Projected Points Wildcard playoff spot. While I rank in the top 16 in points forced for my 96-man conference, my roster is far from perfect.
I’ve been primarily carried by the graces of Tom Brady, Justin Jefferson, Josh Jacobs and late-round darling Justin Herbert. As the days and weeks have progressed, I have found myself increasingly anxious about the looming SFBX playoffs.
Yes, this feeling partially stems from the fact that I’ve been riding the hot hands of players like Cole Beasley and Jerry Jeudy in my receiver slots. But also exists because I’m in unfamiliar territory. The pressure is increasing as the finish line is beginning to come into sight.
In an attempt to ease my worries, as well as anyone else who finds themselves in these uncharted waters, I sought advice from some SFB veterans to take with us as we come down the stretch.
Here’s what I learned:
For everyone, no matter how accustomed you are to fantasy football, you have to admit this year has been somewhat perplexed. More than 50 percent of the top 24 players selected in drafts this season have majorly fell short of expectation, whether it be due to injury or just simply underperforming. And COVID-19 has had its fair share of mixing things up everywhere, from no preseason games to the way Injured Reserve (IR) is managed.
But despite these misfortunes and miscalculations suffered, we have to continue to play it out to the best of our abilities.
Mark Ringo (@MarkRingo12) is SleepersandBusts.com’s senior fantasy analyst, writer and editor-in-chief. Ringo is what you’d call a veteran fantasy player, coming into his second appearance in the SFB with more than 28 years of experience playing the game.
“Well, unfortunately, I’m pretty much out of it, but one of the things I believe in (and I know Scott Fish believes in), is don’t quit,” he said. “Fight until the end. When you’re out of it, your job is to play spoiler. Submit your lineup, make sure no one is out for that week, and at least force the other owners to have to beat your team’s best.”
Depth is King
It’s never over until it’s over, especially in fantasy football. This is a lesson well known by Dan Clasgens (@DanClasgens), host of “Fantistics Insider Football” on SiriusXM, “High School Football Tonight” on ESPN1530 and “The GetsSportsInfo Podcast” and publisher at TriStateFootball.com.
In 2018, Clasgens finished the SFB8 regular season undefeated and entered the playoffs as the league’s No. 1 overall scorer. A part of Clasgens’ success stemmed from Patrick Mahomes’ MVP season. However, he fell just short of the league’s championship after being unable to recover from Cam Newton, his second quarterback, getting injured.
“Depth is king in the SFB, especially at QB,” he said. “With byes out of the way, owners need to handcuff key players. With the larger roster size this becomes easier…Keep grinding. As people drop out, the waiver wire will have less competition so keep churning those last couple spots on your roster.”
Keep Working the Waiver Wire Tirelessly
In a league like SFB with no trading, there really does only seem to be one way to consistently improve your team, especially as we come down the stretch.
“Keep working the waiver wire tirelessly to improve your team,” said Tommy Mo (@2on1FFB), host of “2on1: Fantasy Sports” and senior film analyst, ranker and writer for The Undroppables.
Mo, who’s making his second SFB appearance, hasn’t done well either time, according to his standards. This was largely due to first-round pick woes, drafting Melvin Gordon last year and Saquon Barkley this season. But he hasn’t let that stop him from giving it his all.
“Final standings are going to be based on point total and wins, so if you’re not at the top of your division right now, good luck,” Mo said. “But if you are, just keep racking up those points. Stay active, try to win your division and break some hearts along the way if you aren’t making the playoffs.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend Up on Waivers
One of the biggest struggles I’ve personally made in my first season, largely due to most of my fantasy success stemming from leagues that use waiver order priority, is finding the correct amount of my Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) to spend on desired free agents.
I’ve been a receiver-needy team all season, yet have whiffed out on big-time talents like Chase Claypool, Travis Fulgham and Jakobi Meyers by just being outbid.
“Don’t be afraid of blowing FAAB early to lock up a player with starting ability,” said Ryan Cearfoss (@Foss534), cohost of the “Armchair Fantasy Show” on GoingFor2.com and analyst for The Dynasty Draft Room, who’s in his fourth stint in the SFB. “This season I had Christian McCaffrey with my first pick and spent 60% of my FAAB on James Robinson, which has kept me in the playoff picture.”
Remember It’s Redraft
One of the coolest aspects of the SFB is the amount of different types of fantasy fans and analysts it brings together who are used to playing in all kinds of leagues, dynasty included. However, this can also pose a challenge in the shifting of strategies throughout the season, from the way we approach the draft to the amount of capital we’re willing to spend on the waivers.
“The best advice I can give anyone that plays in the SFB is don’t forget it’s redraft,” said Geoff Lambert (@GeoffLambert77), a three-time SFB veteran who’s the founder of GoingFor2.com, host of “GoingFor2Live” and a contributor for FantasyPros. “A lot of us dynasty players during the time of the draft have rookie fever. We just had our rookie drafts, we are all excited about their future prospects, but in the SFB, you don’t get to keep them next year. You need this year’s production.”
Stay Attentive to Scoring Quirks
As mentioned before, SFB has an incredibly unique scoring format – especially for the quarterback position attempting to reward real-life performance over garbage-time stat-padding that happens in most leagues.
Jay Felicio (@GMenJay), editor/writer at GoingFor2.com, co-host of “GoingFor2Live” and managing editor of SleeperWire who’s taking his third stab at the SFB, keeps this in mind throughout the season and down the stretch.
“Pay attention to the scoring quirks,” Felicio said. “Even though it’s a Superflex league, with the way Scott tweaked scoring this year, it’s very easy for non-productive quarterbacks to score negative points. Don’t force a second quarterback in for the sake of it. Starting a guy like Golden Tate, who you’re lucky to get 10 points out of, is better than getting negative points from Andy Dalton or Baker Mayfield.”
Set High-Upside Lineups in the Playoffs
Taking Felicio’s advice about finding ways to manipulate the scoring format is sound and holds true throughout the entirety of the league. And when it comes to the playoffs, you need to continue to do so, while also now chasing upside. With such large player pools remaining, the league becomes very similar to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), where you simply need to score the most points, no matter what.
If choosing between two players in the playoffs, the general tie-breaker seems to go to the player with the highest upside.
Have Fun & Remember Why We Play
On what felt like an endless quest to find the advice needed down the stretch in the SFB, I garnered a ton of sought-after intel and advice. But the one thing, the sole theme that continued to make its way through every conversation I had with each of these veteran players was to simply “have fun.”
Recognize the privilege we all have to play in such a special event. And let us not lose sight of the real reason why we play in the SFB: for charity.
Now, let’s get to it.
The following start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft League. And In the spirit of coming down the stretch in the SFB, this week’s start/sit selections will also be relevant and recommended for it as well.
Quarterback I’d Start this Week:
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay): I know what you’re thinking here. Aaron Rodgers is playing the Indianapolis Colts, the No. 1-ranked defense against the pass, and you’re worried about starting him.
Don’t be. Rodgers is currently QB5 on the season, has finished a week as a top five option at the position five times and as QB1 seven times in nine starts. He should get his No. 2 receiver Allen Lazard back this week. And quite frankly, as long as Davante Adams and Aaron Jones are both by Rodgers’ side, this team can’t be stopped – no matter how good the opposing defense is.
Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:
Carson Wentz (Philadelphia): Whether you’re planning on starting Carson Wentz this week in a typical redraft league or SFBX, I would highly advise against doing so.
Although the Browns defense has been exposed at times this year, they have an elite defensive line, led by Myles Garrett. I think the worry of Philadelphia’s offensive line not being able to hold, and a combination of some bad weather headed for Cleveland once again on Sunday (57 percent chance of precipitation) puts me all the way out on Wentz here in Week 11.
Additionally, Wentz is QB27 is SFBX scoring and has scored less than one total fantasy point twice so far this year. If I have him there, I’m referring back to Felicio’s advice earlier about starting another position in lieu of a second QB. Anyone feels safer than Wentz this week.
Running Back I’d Start this Week:
Damien Harris & Rex Burkhead (New England): This one’s simple, really. Aside from the Cardinals and Ravens, the two teams with the most mobile quarterbacks, the Patriots rush more than any team in football.
This week, they play the Houston Texans, who allow the most rushing yards to opposing backs per game (154.3) than any other team, and by a wide margin, too. I’m trusting Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and these two uniquely talented running backs to get it done once again and get the Patriots one game closer to their 12th straight playoff appearance.
Running Back I’d Sit this Week:
Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis): Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Despite a matchup against the Green Bay Packers for Jonathan Taylor and a bottom-three defense against opposing running backs, I’m benching him.
He was outpaced by backfield mates Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, who had his third 20-plus fantasy point performance on the season. In a game where I expect the Packers’ offense to have their way with the Colts, I expect more of the same from Hines, as they will likely need his speed and versatility to keep up.
Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:
Justin Jefferson (Minnesota): My SFBX ride-or-die Justin Jefferson has been nothing short of amazing so far as a rookie, eclipsing more than 20 PPR points three times and 30 points twice, settling him in as the WR18 on the season.
This week, the Cowboys, whose secondary has been atrocious since the departure of Byron Jones, travel to Minnesota. More touchdowns than anyone else in the league and more than 175 yards per game go to opposing receivers from the Cowboys. And while this may not be the friendliest of game scripts for Jefferson and the entire Minnesota passing offense, it should more than suffice.
Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:
D.J. Moore (Carolina): I get it, I get it. I missed on D.J. Moore in Week 10, placing him on my sit list. He was agile, explosive and more important than anything, scored more than 19 fantasy points on my bench in leagues I had him in.
And while I’ll own up to my mistake, I am not starting him again here in Week 11. Not only is Teddy Bridgewater questionable for this contest, but it’s also against the Lions, who are extremely susceptible on the ground and middle-of-the-road against the pass.
And to make matters worse for Moore, he will probably draw extensive coverage from the 2020 No. 3 overall pick, cornerback Jeff Okudah, who is finally beginning to heat up.
If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.
And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.