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Bracket Busting: Kicking It Into High Gear

Kickers don’t matter, right up until they do. But let’s start at the beginning here.

Every fantasy football team can be broken down into a functionally infinite number of decisions. Sure, the major decisions are obvious and limited, “Who do I draft here?”, “Which guy should I start this week?”, but there are a million smaller choices we make with decision-trees that stretch out to the horizon.

“Who do I bid on with my FAAB dollars?”, “How much do I bid?”, “Who do I drop?” are complex decisions, especially when it comes to bid amounts.

Dwarfing all these in complexity though, is a league’s trade market. The number of possible trade combinations is greater than our feeble brains can deal with. The trade offer screen is a blank canvas and the roster grid is our palette, and it’s up to us to conjure offers from the ether using the limited information available to us.

All of these disparate choices we make over the course of a season, from our first draft pick to the players we start in the championship game, are what create a fantasy team. Your team isn’t just a team of players, it’s an agglomeration of the decisions you made throughout the year to make your record what it is. Even the smallest choice can have a huge impact, as anyone who has lost a FAAB bid for a breakout player by $1, or lost a matchup by a tenth of a point due to the wrong sit/start decision, can attest.

I’m telling you all this because it’s the type of shit that goes through my head when I realize: “uh-oh, we may have fucked up!”

And of course it did. We ended the Sunday afternoon games 9.2 points behind our opponent, with just Matt Prater, our newly acquired kicker, left to go on Monday night. Much to our dismay, and to that of Cowboys fans, Brett Maher had scored 15.4 points as the Cowboys settled for field goals over touchdowns in their loss to the previously winless Jets. Those points would have easily secured the win for us, and Monty and I could have slept peacefully on Sunday night.

Instead, that one little decision to change kickers crept into our nightmares. There are crappy ways to lose a fantasy matchup, but losing because of you switched kickers is the stuff that keeps you up at night. It would be one thing if we had held on to Maher and he had just come up short. It’s another thing entirely when it was one of your decisions involving the most random position in football, and a capricious one at that, that gets you.

This story does have a happy ending though. Prater had a monster game, and lifted us to victory over the only other 4-1 team in the league. Sometimes, it’s the forgotten positions that can really decide a week. If you removed the PK and DST from this matchup, the score would have been 131.3 to 130.4, less than a point difference.

Now we’re back at the top of the standings, second in total points, and trying to make all the right decisions to win this week’s matchup.

Make sure you tune back in next week to find out just exactly how we screw up the decision on whether or not to start the injured Amari Cooper against the dreadful Eagles secondary.

Image Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Matt Prater.

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