28 December 2013

A season of wēijī: (2/3) It's One Surprise after Another

Wēiyī:  Mandarin for 'crisis.'
Yesterday, I described how I formed Time and Again, my best fantasy-football team this season.  For what ended up being no special reason, I put the Timers through a computer-run draft, disallowing any players who played for Florida NFL or college teams.  On that objective, the draft was a smashing success.

On the imaginary gridiron, unfortunately, Time and Again had a weak bench.  The good news is that weak drafts can have a huge upside:  if you've been stuck with one, you should plan to scan the waiver wire every week.  Keep this in mind as the Timers' story progresses from one instance of wēiyī to another.

Wēiyī Moment, Week 1

Danny Amendola, who was supposed to be my #2 wide receiver, took an injury in Week 1.  At the time, the free agent from St. Louis was regarded as New England's new top receiver, so dropping him was out of the question.  To address what looked like a temporary gap, I added Amendola's Patriot teammate, Julian Edelman, who played well enough to earn a permanent roster spot.  Fortune would have other plans for Edelman, but the Timers made it through this crisis.

Wēiyī Moment, Week 4

Kansas City WR Dwayne Bowe, the only Florida native on the Timers' roster, proved to be a bust, and needed replacement.  The first move to replace Bowe had to also address the Packers' bye week.  Enter the Kansas City Chiefs, who would score in double digits for the Timers six times.  Their superior performance allowed me to eventually drop a fading Packer defense.

That move patched a temporary hole, but to handle this crisis, I still needed a new wide receiver.  For that, I needed Josh Gordon.  No one in the Timers' league had seen much in Gordon.  He missed the first two games under a drug-related suspension.  Even worse, he played for Cleveland.  Still, several fantasy-football experts recommended him, and I was desperate enough to pick him off the waiver wire.  He started for the Timers in Week 4, scored a creditable 7 points, and secured his spot at WR2.  Eventually, Gordon became the NFL's top-ranked fantasy receiver.

Now the crisis was solved.

Wēiyī Moment, Week 6

I would need both Gordon and the Chiefs in Week 4, just to squeak by for a 5-point win, because I was also looking for a new running back.  LeSean McCoy was humming along, but his Timer teammate, Ahmad Bradshaw, had encountered bad injury trouble  after Week 2.

My first attempt to replace Bradshaw led to the acquisition of James Starks (yes, another Packer) -- but Starks took a major injury the same week.  It turned out that Atlanta's Jason Snelling couldn't fill the Timers' RB2 need, either.  Time and Again had somehow managed to advance to 5-0, but unless I could find a second running back, the team was in trouble.

Snelling's Week 6 replacement, Pittsburgh RB Le'Veon Bell, ended up being one answer.  By now, Bradshaw had been formally placed on injured reserve, so I also picked up Chicago wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.  [Yay! A Bear!]  Both started immediately, making small contributions as the Timers turned in the first of four 130-point performances.  Both would also reach the NFL fantasy-leader board by season's end.  Crisis solved.

Non-wēiyī Moment, Week 8

With the wide receiver and running back positions secure (and Aaron Rodgers still online), it was time to start improving my flex position.  Week 8 brought an opportunity to snag another rising star, St. Louis RB Zac Stacy.  He also proved to be a critical success; from here on, he, Bell, Jeffery and Amendola would be fighting for the RB2 and flex positions.  [And the perfectly capable Julian Edelman would end up the odd man off the Time and Again roster.]

As the Packers and Bears started play on Monday night, 4 November 2013, the Timers had already assured themselves another win.  With three major crises successfully resolved, they were about to go to 9-0, with no one to challenge them.

In the conclusion:  Time and Again confronts its most dangerous moment of wēiyī.

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