We could sit here and debate all day about whether it’s better strategy to take advantage of the FFPC’s weighted tight end scoring by grabbing a top guy early, or if you should draft a high-upside guy later, or if you should just stream until you find a starter, or if you should get really crazy and just pick two every-week starters in the early rounds.
But I think everyone would agree that a team should have at least one TE on its roster who is at the stadium that week, in uniform, ready to play. And in Week 14, when we would be starting as the top-ranked team in our three-week quest to win the $250,000 FFPC Main Event grand prize, that’s something we didn’t have.
Let me reiterate: We had no TE to start.
Put another way: We took a zero at TE.
If “getting Gronked” is what happens when Rob Gronkowski plows through hapless defenders on his way to the end zone (or into prone defenders’ backs when they’re on the sideline after the play has ended), then that was seemingly what had happened to our fantasy team. Gronk’s concussion-inducing late hit got him suspended for Monday night’s game, and because our backup, Coby Fleener, had already been placed on injured reserve, we magnanimously gave the other 288 teams in the field an early holiday gift: our lineup with nine starters instead of 10.
Oh well, it was a nice run, but all good things must come to an end.
Or do they? In a week in which Zach Ertz was sidelined by a concussion, Jimmy Graham got goose-egged by the Jaguars defense, and Travis Kelce dropped a TD, had one called back on review and another negated by a penalty, we nearly had our highest score of the season. Time and again, circumstances that should have made our road more difficult have turned into mere speed bumps: the suspension of our top pick, Ezekiel Elliott; injuries to the high-performing quarterbacks who throw to two of our top WRs, DeAndre Hopkins, and Davante Adams; and, this week, Gronk’s suspension.
On Sunday, Hopkins had three receptions for 37 yards when starter Tom Savage was concussed. Third-stringer T.J. Yates – signed off the street five weeks ago – then locked on to his top wideout for an additional eight completions for 112 yards and two TDs. Adams had no points in the first half, then had 10 catches for 84 yards and two scores in the second half and overtime. Jarvis Landry found the end zone twice. Add another TD from Devin Funchess, and our four WRs scored seven times. While our top running back, Mark Ingram, failed to take advantage of being the Saints’ feature back after Alvin Kamara’s concussion early in last Thursday’s game against the Falcons, we got a solid game out of Giovani Bernard, a waiver-wire drop candidate for most of the year who put up his highest point total of the season filling in for Joe Mixon.
In the end, we played a perfect lineup.
Out of the top 10 teams with the highest scoring averages during the regular season, we outscored all but one of them – with nine starters! The team we failed to outscore posted its highest total of the season – and the most points in Week 14 – to move into first place with two more weeks of the championship round remaining.
As for the team I help run with my three fellow co-owners, that’s us, still at 11th place overall. This weekend, we actually get to field a lineup with all 10 starters. In Week 16, we get to field a lineup with Ezekiel Elliott.
It’s all coming together. Just how we drew it up.