Start, Sit & the Scott Fish Bowl (A Come-up Story)
I don’t seek validation as a writer.
I’m not interested in follower milestones or SEO rankings.
Instead, I seek wisdom, truth and healing through storytelling.
However, like anybody’s come-up story, there are sometimes these extraordinary moments that overwhelm you with emotion and serve as a momentarily feeling of disbelief.
For me, this moment came as I opened a recent email from Scott Fish, one of fantasy sports’ most influential and inspiring individuals, inviting me to the 10th season of his fantasy league, the “Scott Fish Bowl” (SFB).
To many, the SFB is simply known as the world’s largest fantasy football league. However, the 1,440-team, 120-division league represents so much more than fantasy football.
Originally known as the “FFOasis Invitational,” and won by now ESPN’s Mike Clay in its first season, SFB is designed to help promote Fantasy Cares, a charity run by Fish and primarily focused on buying toys for underprivileged kids for Christmas.
I remember growing up and listening to people like Matthew Berry and Clay, who were my heroes, talk about playing in SFB.
To be chosen among so many worthy fellow fantasy analysts and fans really is a dream come true. It humbles me and leaves me wondering: What have I done to deserve such a prestigious honor?
See, I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania – a place where having dreams that required leaving that town one day were often looked at as strange, even to your own family.
Despite realizing that I may have a gift for writing in the second grade, I never fully-owned or embraced it in order to fit in.
By the time I was 16, I thought I had more real-life experiences than others had in a lifetime. And although those experiences brought me perception and countless lessons learned, they did not bring me knowledge of bigger issues, such as racial and gender inequality.
I don’t think it was until years later while having a conversation with some friends from The Penn, my college newspaper, that I truly began to understand what being a kind human being is all about.
With the help of others, I realized that it didn’t matter who you were – black, white, male, female, straight, gay, transgender, nonbinary or whatever labels people use – we all deserve to live in a world where we are treated and seen as equals.
It was there, while leading the newspaper’s transformation from a 94-year-old print publication to an all-digital platform as editor-in-chief, that I wrote my first “Start, Sit & Seth” column – originally just to help fill pages in the sports section.
Since then, whether it was writing for The Penn, Dynasty Football Factory or now my own site, with every word that I put to paper (or keyboard, technically) while writing these columns, I felt closer to becoming the man I want to be. A kinder, wiser and more understanding and aware one.
Part of what I’ve already learned about what it means to be a member of The SFB is to care. Sure, we can just go about our lives and play fantasy football. But, it’s those real-life issues that we, as influencers, need to care about changing. It’s up to us to be leaders, using our voices for good and to help others.
One way that Fish encourages SFB participants to do just that is to donate all or a portion of an entry fee to a charity. I’m happy to announce that, in its first year of play, “The Penn’s All-Star Fantasy Football League” will be donating a portion of our prize poll to a charity of the winner’s choice.
And while this spot in the SFB has allowed me an opportunity to hit pause and reflect on my journey to this point, it also serves as a reminder of how far I have yet to go.
I will continue to share others’ inspiring stories, and I will keep attempting to use my own story to be a light in the world as I offer advice about life and fantasy sports.
This season, I’m playing the SFB for all those kids who grew up or are growing up with people telling them they can’t do something.
Whatever you aspire to be, as long as you have a passion for it, do whatever you can do to chase it. Don’t ever let anyone get in the way of your aspirations. Keep the ones who rally around you close, and don’t be afraid to cut out the ones who stand in your way.
But, come the draft time Monday, I won’t be the only fantasy analyst playing with a purpose.
Pat Fitzmaurice (@Fitz_FF), host of the “Fitz on Fantasy” podcast and lead fantasy expert at TheFootballGirl.com is one of the premier voices in the fantasy sports media industry. He’ll be drafting three slots behind me in the Operation Division.
“If I’m playing for anyone, I suppose I’m playing for my 13-year-old son, Ben,” Fitzmaurice said in a June 30 Twitter direct message. “He’s well on his way to becoming a degenerate sports junkie like his dad, and he’s already in two fantasy football leagues of his own. Ben knows all about the SFB, knows that all the fantasy analysts take part and likes to critique my draft picks. After finishing 921st last year, I don’t want the kid to see his old man have another lousy showing.”
Over in the Magic The Gathering Division, Mike Tulanko (@TheThirdMike), Godfather of the @FF_Breakdown board, is drafting from the 11th slot. Although it’s only his first time in the league, he embodies everything that SFB is all about.
Four years ago, before even being familiar with SFB, Tulanko started “The Giving League” to do something positive in the world with the game he loves.
“We have a short amount of time on the globe. Every moment of that time you dedicate to helping someone else is a moment that is worth living,” he said in a June 30 tweet. “Whether you make it in or don’t, you should always strive to make someone’s day better than it was before. You’ll enjoy life a lot more if you do. I guarantee it.”
The fans selected to join SFB, who make up about a third of the field, also follow the same giving mentality that this league is all about.
“I’ve been involved with various non-profits since I was 18, mostly youth mentorship and anything that helps others draws my attention,” Clinton Holmgren (@ClintonHolmgren), a first-time SFB participant said in a June 30 tweet. “Playing fantasy football is a bonus.”
All in all, no matter who you are and what your come-up story is – if you’ve been invited to SFBX or hope to be invited to a future installment – we must continue helping others and assist them in their own come-ups.
Now, let’s get to it.
The following start/sit selections are based on not only stats, trends and film research, but also to the current Average Draft Position (ADP) each player currently has in SFBX mock drafts.
For more information about the scoring and rules for SFBX please visit the league’s official site.
Players I Would Draft in SFBX:
Zach Ertz (Philadelphia): Truthfully, it bothers me how the fantasy community has already crowned Travis Kelce and George Kittle as the TE1 and TE2 this season.
Zach Ertz, who in most drafts is also being drafted behind Mark Andrews, has had over 100 targets for five straight seasons while averaging 5.6 touchdowns per year during that span.
Last season, Ertz scored more SFB points than every wide receiver other than Michael Thomas, according to Goingfor2.
The Eagles already lost Brandon Brooks, arguably their best guard, for the season to an Achilles tear. And with Jason Peters still unsigned, Philadelphia’s offensive line looks the shakiest it has in years.
That lack of protection could increase their usage of 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers) when they already used it on a league-high of 46.1% of their snaps last season.
And with Carson Wentz’s favorite red-zone target, Alshon Jeffery, likely to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List, Ertz’s early-season value, especially in tight end-premium leagues like the SFB, should outweigh his ever-fluent ADP.
Derrick Henry (Tennessee): Derrick Henry’s ADP is continuing to fall in all formats as there are still some questions around the legitimacy of his stellar RB5 Points Per Reception (PPR) performance last season.
And while the question marks around Ryan Tannehill and the defense after trading Jurell Casey, their five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman, are legitimate – getting Henry in the middle of the second round in the SFB could be an absolute steal.
Remember, unlike most leagues today, SFB doesn’t award a full PPR. Instead, it offers a half PPR and for first downs. And Henry, despite playing with a less-than-impressive Marcus Mariota starting for six weeks, was third in the league in rushing first downs.
In 2019, if using SFB scoring, Henry was the clear RB3 and within a half-point of besting Aaron Jones for RB2.
Dwayne Haskins (Washington): Following the Cam Newton signing, it’s likely that Dwayne Haskins will be one of the final, if not the final, starting quarterbacks drafted in SFBX.
But, could the second-year Ohio State product, who was oftentimes criticized for being too immature to be the face of an NFL franchise, actually be a difference-maker this season for SFBX participants? I’m going to go out on an island and say, yes.
The Redskins were a complete mess from the get-go last season, which eventually led to the firing of Jay Gruden following an 0-5 start.
Now, they have a component head coach in Ron Rivera, who was able to get a formidable 62 percent completion rate out of Kyle Allen, of all people, last season.
And they know they have some talent in their receivers this season with Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon on the outside and Steven Sims Jr. lining up in the slot.
Although it wasn’t always pretty for Washington last season, Haskins did show some highlights like in Week 12 when he led a game-winning drive against the Lions. In that game, he also showed the ability to hang in the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and deliver some very nice throws. I also think he’s more mobile than he gets credit for, which could help raise his floor.
Yes, his decision making needs to improve this season to make him fantasy viable, especially in leagues like SFBX where quarterbacks get dinged so much for incompletions, interceptions and sacks.
But, he has a lot of upside there for a cheaply priced QB3 in super-flex, making him a target of mine come later rounds.
Players I Wouldn’t Draft in SFBX:
Philip Rivers (Indianapolis): Given the half-point bonus for a completion and the point deduction for an incompletion in SFBX, you would think that Philip Rivers, the current “Captain Checkdown” of the NFL, would be more viable in this scoring format.
But, think again. Rivers, despite being in the top-10 in completion percentage last season, would’ve been QB22 in SFB scoring last season, four spots below his PPR finish – behind players who didn’t play a full season like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Daniel Jones.
Sure, he’s behind a better offensive line in Indianapolis. But, his receiving targets, outside of T.Y. Hilton, are a downgrade. And he lost his safety valve in Austin Ekeler who accounted for 23.5 percent of his completions
The upside just isn’t there this season to justify Rivers’ ADP that’s above players like Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater.
James White (New England): It’s no secret that receiving backs’ values diminish in SFB scoring. For instance, last season while finishing as PPR RB18, he would’ve finished as SFB RB29.
However, since Newton’s signing in New England, James White’s ADP has been going up based on Newton’s prior success with Christian McCaffrey.
But even with his receiving and rushing first downs totaled, White still moved the chains less last season than forgotten players like Latavius Murray, Phillip Lindsay and Gus Edwards.
Despite this, White is still going in mock drafts around pick 112, according to The Football Workshop’s SFBX Mock App, ahead of all those backs, and even others like Tevin Coleman, Zack Moss and Marlon Mack — all of whom will certainly garner more work on the ground than White.
In this format, I prefer waiting a good 60 picks later to grab New England’s second-year back Damien Harris, who could see a slew of carries each week, especially if starter Sony Michel continues to be inefficient.
Tyreek Hill (Kansas City): What’s always set Tyreek Hill apart from other tier-one receivers is his lack of pure volume. But since his rookie season, Hill’s big-play ability has always made up for what he lacked in consistent volume.
However, that big-play ability just can’t justify Hill’s top-20 SFBX ADP this season. Given how devalued receivers are in this format, it’s hard to be comfortable taking any receiver in the top-three rounds outside of Michael Thomas and Davante Adams.
Even with Hill’s 16-game pace last season there were still 38 different players who would’ve outscored him using SFB scoring.
I know not wanting arguably the best quarterback in the league’s number one wide receiver can come off as a hot take. But, quietly Hill has only been a WR2 or better in 21 of 43 games over the last three seasons – having closer consistency to Amari Cooper than Thomas or Julio Jones.
Taking Hill at his current ADP in the SFBX could put your team in serious jeopardy early on, come draft time.
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.