Thursday, November 27, 2008

Champions! Really????

Well yes!!! Really!!!
Come on, will you say. A champion full of himself. I should stop reading right now. Please don't! I won't even talk about the performance of my teams, in the champions league (Sweetness conference) or in any of the ten more leagues in which I play. What I want to talk about is "differences". (Experienced players won't learn a lot here but first year and newbies might).
After 12 weeks in the "sweetness conference" I have come to notice, more than ever before, some of the things that made these guys champions of their league. And taking a look at the best teams in each league I play, I do notice the same things!
First, I will clear out some aspects of the game that I am not going to adress. The FAB is important to field a winning team. Yes! The use of the waiver wire all season long too (may be not as much as the FAB, I admit, but close). But once the FAB is done and you are as active as you can be on the waiver wire to improve your team, and putting aside luck, and injuries which we cannot do a lot about, what can be done to improve our chances to win more games or to score more FPs?

STRATEGY!

And most champions have learned that, believe me!
So here is what I noticed in my champions league.... and confirmed by looking at the best FPs producing teams in my ten other leagues.

1. FP s+ and offensive bonus: Champions play within their offensive scheme. The vast majority of them anyway should I say. And that does make a difference. To illustrate this I checked the average FP s+ of each of my opponents in the Sweetness Conference and found out that for the games they played against me they averaged 15.2 FP s+ a game (and this include a team which the manager abandonned at the start of the season). I checked the same for some of my other leagues and the average was around 11 FP s+ per game. A difference of 4 FP each week to which you must add the offensive bonus (not much at the start of the season but quite a difference maker as the weeks go by). For the fun of it I took a look at the teams in all my leagues that produce the most fantasy points and they do play systematically play within their offensive scheme and are getting those bonus points. Yea! I know! A better team will produce more bonus points... but not if the manager plays outside his offensive scheme. So for those of you who don't (and there are many in my leagues) you should think about this strategy. I am not saying that you should absolutly always play 100% within your scheme, but most of the time yes you should. Those were averages I cited before, but if you are among those that play outside their offensive scheme frequently, you could be losing anywhere from 1 to 20 FPs a week (and sometimes more...).

2. Defensive coverage (stopping power): Another difference maker here... and a big one. I observed in the Sweetness Conference league and everywhere else that the best FPs producing teams succeed, a vast majority of the time, to have a much better defensive coverage than their opponents (by that I mean 10% or more). A lot of points lost here by managers who don't put enough care managing this aspect of GDR strategy. A special note to those of you who fix their defensive coverage at the start of the season and do not touch it thereafter. You are doomed!!!!! At least when you play against champions. Believe me they do notice it and you will be losing FPs by the ton! Think of something between 15 and 40 FPs each game. So vary your defensive coverage and, contrary to the offensive scheme, it can pay a lot to play outside your defensive scheme to better cover an opponent offense. You can easily look at your opponent average offense from the previous games, helping you to play a performing defense. Opinions vary here but personnally I do not believe that you should change your defensive scheme during the season. You can get good defensive coverage while playing outside your scheme without changing it! But at the start of the year you should take into account the offensive schemes of your opponents to better choose your defensive scheme. Champions do!

3. Blitzing: Yea! Blitzing! Not everyone sees that as useful, but believe me it is. And here i am speaking mostly to those of you setting their commitment to blitzing at zero, therefore never gaining a FP out of it! Well guys, a majority of champions use blitzing... and use it very well. If you are set on zero commitment, you are losing points, clear and simple. If you are just a bit careful with blitzing you will rarely show negative points out of it, and most weeks you should make at least 3 or more FPs. Believe me, champions do and most of them fully commit to blitzing (set at 10). Take a bit of time and consider this! You almost never see a week with zero blitz. Personnally I never have. Weeks with 7 or more plitz are rare, unless you have on your team the 4 or 5 best DL on the market or you are facing a QB that get sacked 4 times a week on average (which is rare too).... and even then, with bye weeks and injuries, 7 or more blitz are and will stay the exception. So you will have between 1 and 6 blitz a week. Make some test and you will see that you can at least safely blitz. You might lose some points 1 or 2 times during the season, but you will be adding points much more often.

Yes! I am nearly done ;)

Champions know that every single point counts... and you should realize that too. This season I even won a game by less than 1/10 of a point. Luck? May be. But he had a 1% defensive coverage on me while I had a 19% defensive coverage against him (he lost 14,.5 FPs there)... and I had one of those bad week blitzing.

For all those less experienced players among you and for those to come next year, believe me Strategy in GDR is quite a difference maker and you should put a lot of attention to it!

Hope these observations will be useful to some of you in their future matchups and good luck!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Champion's League Added

A new Football Champion's League has been added for the 2008 season!  The Sweetness Conference has come into existence!  Named of course after Sweetness himself, Walter Payton.  This league is a 16-teamer, full of champions from the 2007 GameDayRitual season.

In case you're not familiar with Payton, see this.

Good luck to all participating in the inaugural Sweetness Conference season!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Time to Represent

As the winner of the #1 Attendance football league last year, GDR Front Office, my reward is a chance to represent our league against 15 other league Champs in the Deacon Jones Conference.

Well I quickly found out a FAB for a 16 team league (such as this champions league) is much different than a FAB for a 12 team league (like the GDR Front Office). The main difference the prices of the stars is more than I am used/willing to paying for them.

Notes from the FAB....
some of my top signings:
Gostkowski, S - K - NEP - $1/1
Morrison, K - LB - OAK - $4.5/3
Smith, J - DL - CIN - $3.5/1
Suggs, T - DL - BAL - $3.5/1
Ward, H - WR - PIT - $4.5/3
Boldin, A - WR - ARZ - $8/3/pb
Drew, MJ - RB - JAX - $8/3/pb
Manning, E - QB - NYG $6.5/1

Some near misses (all with a less than 2 difference in my E3YV and the winning bid), Oh how things could have been different:
Bulger, Edge James, Urlacher, DeMeco Ryans, Peppers, B. Marshall, and Rothlisberger

Some signings (by other teams) where I wasn't even close:
Driver $12/1
McNabb $13/2/pb
Stallworth, D $8.5/3
Manning, P $21/3/pb
T.O. $12/3/pb
Benson, C $8/3/pb

Looking over the rosters it is going to be tough for me to win my division and get in the playoffs. I really don't have any stars and will need to try and wheel and deal or hope some 'sleepers' come through for me. Guys I have that could fall into that category would be: Quinn/Schaub, Tatum Bell, Heath Evans, Demetrius Williams, Jacoby Jones, and Landon Johnson.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Overview of FAB and FA

The FAB and initial Free Agency period has ended and it's now time to evaluate how well the preseason went.

The FAB started out somewhat painfully for me. I was fairly reserved in my bids and attempted to steer away from the "top end" talent in the first couple of waves. This resulted in a total of seven signings on the initial two waves which is equal to the lowest number of players I inked to contracts in each of the following waves. The slow start resulted in the loss of four players purely due to GM Rating. Some may question that the GM Rating made the difference but when you have the exact same offer to a player than was accepted for contract terms and you injected two of those players into the FAB, there is only one thing to point your finger at. There was a contract price value difference of 0.06 on three players and 0.03 and the last...that's one slim margin. When all was said and done though, I had thirty-one players on my roster at the end of the FAB and plenty of money to spend on Free Agents.

The Free Agency period was fast and furious but really lacked any feel of urgency. I easily signed virtually anyone I introduced into bidding during FA and have fleshed-out my roster with enough depth to field any offensive or defensive alignment.

I've seen that some people are not fond of the new GM Rating modifiers. I personally like the idea of your rating being adjusted at the time of signing but I still would prefer that points not be awarded when you make your original offer. With the legacy-based nature of GDR, I believe that a 100 rating should not be achievable in a single season. As things currently stand it is possible to earn 4 points per signed player. With careful bidding a GM could reach a rating in the 90's by the end of the second wave without many problems. For some reason this doesn't feel right to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

GM ratings

I concur with Gunslingers. The new GM setup is well intentioned but more punitive than appropriate. Many owners are willing to snipe/overbid for players they absolutely want during the FAB and this methodology (while completely legit) tends to punish the other owners who are more reserved during the FAB.

I feel I was lucky because I could check in enough during the FAB to keep building and maintaining my manager rating. I am in the high 90s continually, but it is a frustrating process of staying there. I completely understand why the new negative values were assigned but that doesn't mean they work well in practice.

It should be revisited next season for sure.

West Hartford Murder

Saturday, August 25, 2007

GM Changes Kicked My Tail.

I don't know if I am alone in this or not, but the changes to how points are awarded during FAB to the GM hit me hard.  I think they probably need to be refined a little.  Let me explain. For every player you put a bid in and do not sign it is -1 point to your GM rating. I read the rule changes, but they did not sink in until about 1/2 through the first day of signings and by that time I had already lost about 6 or 7 points. My GM rating looks worse than a stock market chart during a bear market.  My GM rating reached a high of about 75 after day 2 signings, but then plummeted to a low of 42 during the next day.  I was taking drastic measures to sign anyone I could.  Let me give you a little picture of how bad it got on day 3 of signings. I lost 15 players by less than 4 points. 13 of those were by less than 3 points and 6 were less than 2 points.  I lost 2 player by a combined .o8 of a point.  I felt like I could not catch a break at all, and I didn't. I think of the 5 days, I signed only 1 player that was in a yellow status.  Sucks being me.

That is where I think it should be refined. I lost points on very competitive offers. So here is my FAB over view on losing points:  
  • 33 by less than 4 pts
  • 27 by less than 3 pts
  • 13 by less than 2 pts
  • 3 by less than 1 pt
That is a total lost of 33 points for having very competitive offers.

I have will have to work extremely hard to be competitive this year, and I am up to the challenge.  Not that I want any player to get hurt, but I am looking for some WRs to be injured or to get benched so I can pick up the next guy in line.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Defense! Defense! Does it matter in the FAB?

Hmm, I had anticipated posting this before now but that little fantasy sports interrupt called "work" intervened and disrupted my schedule. Oh well, what I have to say about defense is still pertinent. Does it pay to draft defensive players in the FAB? Actually, my premise is reinforced and borne out through the post-FAB process that has been taking place the past couple of days. And my premise is this: don't waste a lot of time and precious FAB resources on defensive players! I know that lots of people will disagree with me on this one and don't misunderstand, I'm not suggesting you don't want to place the likes of a Brian Urlacher into the FAB; although good luck signing him for anywhere near a reasonable sum. But don't get overly worried if you come out of the FAB with only a handful of defensive players. Here's what has transpired in the Champ's League post-FAB process: plenty of blue chip defensive LBs, DBs and DLs have been placed on the Free Agent market to round out even 16 team rosters! And, don't forget this factor, with the exception of a few season-to-season standouts the cast of stud defenders changes more significantly from season to season than do the offensive studs. Last year I ended up with at least half of my defenders by season's end being pickups off the FA market rather than the guys I had drafted. And I thought I had drafted a stand-out batch of defenders. I got hit with injuries, suspensions and worse in my defender ranks last year and, out of necessity, saw a huge number of in-season FA signings. And those defenders were just as beneficial to my team defense points total as I had expected to get out of the original guys I FAB-ed.

So, my theory is this, hold back a small portion of FAB money to add to your post-FAB $10 million and then go after those post-FAB Free Agents that make the most sense to round out your team. My experience has been that the post-FAB activity is much less intensive for these guys and you don't end up with nearly the inflated signing dollars that you see in the FAB. Try to lock down at least one of the stud players at each defensive position in the FAB and then look to the post-FAB to round out the defense...there will be plenty of decent players still available.