I usually choose my words carefully, and the title of this article is an example of this. My first season in this particular league was terrible. A post-mortem is defined as: “An examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death.” This team was dead on arrival. Immediately following the draft I shared my thoughts, so it’s only right that I share with you the sad outcome of my first season that ended with a 3-10 record. For informational purposes starting lineups consisted of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 2 Flex, a kicker and a defense.
Below is my roster post draft:
Too Young to Compete
This team was incredibly young with six rookies on the roster. Just one of those rookies, Kerryon Johnson, made an impact to start the season. When I first reviewed my draft, it was clear that I was painfully thin at running back and could struggle at the position. Johnson gave me double-digit scoring in eight of nine weeks starting in week two but didn’t play again after week eleven. Nick Chubb was an absolute stud from weeks seven through the end of the season averaging 16.5 points per game. Before week seven, he averaged 4.88 points per game because…Hue Jackson.
Going young at wide receiver hurt as well. Neither Courtland Sutton or Anthony Miller broke out. Amari Cooper‘s finally snapped his year and a half scoring slump after he escaped from Oakland. Brandin Cooks did what he does, finishing as the WR19 in points per game, scoring in double-digits in 12 of 15 weeks he played.
D.J. Moore finished the year as WR42 on just 82 targets. He put up one WR1 week, two WR2 weeks and two WR3 weeks. There were several weeks sprinkled in were he finished outside of the top 100 receivers as well. Moore did have one four-game stretch, from 11 through 14, that showed what he could do when used as a focal point of the offense. He averaged 8.25 targets, six receptions, and 17.17 points per game during that run.
Those four games also accounted for four of the five games that Moore had at least eight targets. Moore saw a season-high nine targets during that stretch as well. On the season he averaged just five targets per game but starting in week 11 Moore saw his number called more often seeing nearly eight targets a game.
Devin Funchess‘s assumed exit from Carolina via free agency would allow Moore to begin the 2019 season as the WR1, if not the number one target, for Carolina and Moore has already shown what he can do with increased usage.
With the dependability of Cooks, Cooper finally with a team that seems to understand that he should be the first target in the offense every week, Sutton ready to assume the WR1 role in Denver and Moore ready to do the same in Carolina I’m satisfied with my starting wide receivers.
Corey Coleman and Albert Wilson were both misses but were survivable misses. Ty Montgomery was no help at all. I cut Ito Smith for Buck Allen the first week of the season. This looks worse now that Tevin Coleman is ready to move on from the Falcons in the offseason. But in FFPC leagues you only roster 20 players in-season, including a kicker and a defense, which increases the difficulty of stashing players. At the time Devonta Freeman was healthy, and there was no reason to think Smith would see the field much in 2018.
I also drafted a defense in the 12th round, which was a clear error of judgment. Overthinking the format, where you must roster a defense at all times I overvalued defense in general and the Jaguars defense specifically.
Overcompensation and in-season mistakes
To make matters worse, I didn’t just have a bad draft; my poor decision making continued all season long. When I lost Hunter Henry for the year, I traded him and a 2019 1st (which turned out to be the 1.03) to acquire Evan Engram. When Engram did play, he was solid finishing as a TE1 in seven out of eleven games played. He missed five games, so that means he was essentially useless in nine games.
Post draft I knew I was thin at running back but thought I would be able to find decent options on the waivers. But due to the poor QB play, most of the season became a game of whack-a-mole for the QB and RB positions trying to hit on the right waiver add each week and failing miserably. After Week nine, with my season circling the drain at 1-8 I traded away Kerryon Johnson for what turned into the 1.02 in the 2019 rookie draft. The return was fair, but knowing that my running backs were in shambles, this probably wasn’t the wisest move.
Work in Progress
Since the season’s ended, I’ve attempted to backfill the running back position. I traded Tyler Boyd, who in one of my few good moves of the season I picked up off waivers, and a couple of 3rd round rookie picks for Phillip Lindsay. I also made a smaller move in acquiring Carlos Hyde with the hopes he can find a role wherever he lands in 2019.
During and after the season I’ve also made a couple moves to strengthen my tight end position since FFPC leagues are tight end premium leagues. I’ve added Chris Herndon and Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst. Herndon and Andrews both finished in the top 16 at the position and should only improve in the future. At quarterback, I added Lamar Jackson via trade. With a solid rushing floor, if Jackson can get to 200 yards per game passing, a figure he hit just once in the 2018 season, he could be a league winner. Even with minimal passing, he was able to produce in the final seven weeks of the year, finishing as a QB1 in five games and as the QB15 and QB16 in the other two contests.
Work To Do
Rosters need to be cut to 16 players by March 31st with Ty Montgomery the likeliest player to be expunged from my roster. With the 1.02 and 1.04 picks in the rookie draft, I may have to adjust my usual belief of not drafting for need and snag David Montgomery, or another running back depending on their landing spot. I’ve sent out multiple offers including both picks trying to acquire a top tier running back but haven’t been able to entice anyone to pull the trigger just yet. While the 2018 season was as bad as can be, I love my wide receivers, like my tight ends leaving me with work to do at running back and quarterback. That’s one of the aspects that makes dynasty so much fun. There’s always next year.