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High Staked: Looking Back at an FFPC Bare Knuckle Title

Veteran high stakes fantasy football player Monty Phan chronicles his season.

A year after coming oh-so close to winning the FFPC Main Event, the team I help manage with three friends finished our three-week championship round run in the middle of the pack, out of contention for any extra cash.

Honestly, it was a boring run. Any hope that Todd Gurley would help us cash in – as he did for so many other teams, save ours, during his epic year-end run last season – were dashed when he sat out Week 16, forcing us to start Tevin Coleman instead. The move followed our pattern of lineup ineptitude; we sat Coleman when he had a great Week 15, just like we benched Jarvis Landry during his Week 14 explosion and started him in his subsequent less-than-stellar performances. After seeing what fresh-off-the-street C.J. Anderson did against the soft Arizona defense, it’s absolutely in the realm of possibility that having Gurley last weekend would have won us money.

Oh well.

Last weekend still resulted in a big win, however. As I’ve mentioned before, I took part in the FFPC’s Bare Knuckle best-ball league, where 12 teams draft immediately following the opening Thursday night game without the aid of any cheatsheets, smart phones, laptops or even strategizing with a co-drafter. All you have is your memory and the draft board showing who’s already been picked. Each drafter gets 30 seconds per pick.

The 16-week season just ended, and after spending most of the season among the top three teams in the league, I finished at the top of the standings for the first time. Actually, it’s “our” team, but my teammates’ “contribution” is mainly getting drunk and mocking me from the audience for taking so many kickers. But the fourth and final kicker I drafted was Jason Myers, who was second-best overall at the position. So, just for that, I’m taking all the credit for the team’s success.

bareknuckle_2018_finalstandings

Of course, luck played a part. The Chiefs and Colts defenses both finished among the top five at the position. There were key injuries – A.J. Green, Rex Burkhead and O.J. Howard were the most notable – but none that crippled the team, aside from a two-week late-season stretch where we took zeroes at tight end because none of ours played.

In order to win a league like this, you almost always have to hit on a few rookies or late-round sleepers. My previous best Bare Knuckle finish was placing second in 2015, my first year in the contest, when I nabbed rookie David Johnson. This year’s season-saving picks were Nick Chubb in the 11th, Tyler Boyd in the 24th, and Josh Allen – oft-volatile rookie quarterbacks are great for late-round best-ball dart throws – in the 26th.

bareknuckle_2018

The worst part about winning the league? It means I have to wait nine months to draft my next team.

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