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Man’s League Recap: Week 1 Blues/Week 2 Cruise


This is part of an ongoing series chronicling my wacky journey through the ESPN Fantasy Focus Man’s League. For some background on the league itself and my draft strategy/level of sheer exuberance about being in it (hint: it’s something like this), check out Part 1 here.

There are many things in life that are great to encounter while drunk: karaoke, the beach, beautiful European women who’ve mistaken you for a celebrity, nachos. Add this to the list, which I encountered at 2 a.m. on Saturday night of Week 1. Please take a moment to click on that link. It’s the best, most creative, best executed piece of fantasy shit-talking I’ve ever seen. “Piano Ballad Vinnie,” living up to his name, wrote this in advance of our Week 1 matchup, and was even thoughtful enough to include the written lyrics on the league message board.

I woke up this mornin’…
I had a feelin’…
Somebody was startin’ a petition…
To get me thrown out of the league
But Mike I don’t blame you
Knowing you have to lose
‘Cause I know… yes I know
And I know… yes I know…
You’re gonna have the Man’s League Week 1 Blues!

While drinking, I couldn’t stop laughing at how amazing it was. Unfortunately, Vinnie got the last laugh, as my team performed on Sunday like it had followed my lead and chased Fireball shots with rail tequila shots, which, in case anyone is wondering, is an epic error in judgment and basic human decency. Toby Gerhart and Torrey Smith each produced the same amount of points as Vinnie’s kicker, EJ Manuel (Vinnie’s OP) performed like a functional NFL quarterback, and going into Monday night, I needed Michael Floyd and Ladarius Green to combine for 30 points. If anyone watched those games, you know that they didn’t quite get there, and on Tuesday I woke up 0-1 and in 14th place.

“Dejected” would be a good way to describe how I felt. “In the depths of despair, awash in a bleak hell-scape of misery and oblivion,” would be another.  I had felt so good about getting into this league, and all I could muster in Week 1 were 72 measly points. Vinnie’s crooning had been correct. I had the Week 1 Man’s League Blues.

They say the best way to get over the blues is laughing at others’ misfortune:

Another good way is to keep busy, and so I started plugging away on improving my team. The two problem areas to address were running back and tight end, as I felt deep at wide receiver and being deep at QB was the foundation of my draft strategy. I was (and am) extremely concerned about Gerhart, so my immediate goal was to replace him in my starting lineup. To do that I leveraged my WR depth and packaged Kelvin Benjamin and Mark Ingram, who I considered a great sell-high candidate,1 to get Reggie Bush. I don’t love Bush in standard scoring by any means, but in a 16-team league he’s a perfectly fine RB2.

You also may have heard some news about a fellow named Ray Rice, and to bolster my long term RB depth I used my high waiver claim to snag Rice’s potential future replacement and Max Mulitz’ boy, Lorenzo Taliaferro.

Regular readers of the site may be aware that I write the weekly TE efficiency reports, and using the Fantasy Efficiency App, I sought a replacement for my starter, Green. Despite being designed by NASA in a lab to be the ultimate TD scoring machine, Green is stuck behind some bum named Anthony Gates or something, so he isn’t a viable starter for my team. I was looking into Larry Donnell and Levine Toilolo, who looked like serviceable options, but I was bailed out when someone dropped Travis Kelce in the first round of waivers and I pounced immediately.

After these changes, I was ready to go to battle with “French Jacoby Ellsbury” in Week 2.

Things got off to a good start on Thursday night, when Justin Tucker outscored the combined efforts of Le’Veon Bell and Dennis Pitta. Sunday solidified my love of 2 QB leagues, as I got to be one of maybe 10 fantasy players in the United States who got to root against this guy. Eli Manning did actually perform admirably, but I got a STUD performance of out of Giovani Bernard, and a cool 27 points from the Patriots D/ST. Yes, this was because they feasted on the QB of my beloved Minnesota Vikings, but to me the sight of a Vikings QB throwing a horrendous interception is like the sight of a stabbing victim to an ER doctor. Nothing I haven’t seen 1,000 times before, and luckily that was BY FAR the worst thing that happened with Vikings organization all week and their season will surely be a magical thrill ride from here on out.

Going into Monday night, what should have been the deciding clash of the week (My Nick Foles vs. Jacoby’s Andrew Luck) was rendered irrelevant because I was already winning by about 30 points. In the end I tied for the most points of the week, and now sit at eighth place heading into week three.

The Evil Pod Vader

Who did I tie for the most points in Week 2? Unfortunately, it was exactly who you think.2 Pod rode the magic of Darren Sproles and some solid performances from Julian Edleman, Frank Gore, and Eric Decker to a Week 2 victory over “Blair Walsh Taylor.” This performance followed a Week 1 defeat at the hands of “7 Hour James,” which I referenced earlier and which was warming to the soul. Pod’s long-term outlook still looks good, and his total points place him fourth in the standings. In case you’re wondering: yes, I did throw up in my mouth writing that last sentence. Next up for Pod: Kickstarter Ted, who drafted Mike Glennon as his only QB at the auction.3 But never fear: he’s since traded for the immortal Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Next up for me: “Booksigning Juliana.” Juliana openly mocked my $36 purchase of Jay Cutler during the auction draft, so here’s hoping Cutler throws 11 touchdowns Monday night against the Jets.

Have a great week everybody! (Except Pod. Obviously).

P.S. In my last post I mentioned that the only way I will be interviewed on the Fantasy Focus podcast is if I win the league or if I play Pod Vader in the playoffs. But last week Pod posted on the message boards that everyone in the league will definitely get interviewed no matter what. So, given Pod’s history of follow-through and execution, it looks like I have about a 70 percent chance of getting interviewed.

P.P.S. Check out what “Piano Ballad Vinnie” cooked up for his Week 2 battle with Heart Attack Derrick. The guy’s got some real talent.

P.P.P.S. I wish he wasn’t a Packers fan.

  1. I just had this weird feeling that he was about to break his hand and be out for a month.  (back)
  2. Provided you have basic reading comprehension skills.  (back)
  3. To be fair to Ted, his Internet connection was spotty, so a lot of his team was auto-drafted. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure the computer isn’t programmed to bid negative dollar values, which is what I’m assuming Ted did to get Glennon.  (back)

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