31 December 2013

A season of wēijī: (3/3) A Trip 'round the Gravity Well

Wēiyī:  Mandarin for "crisis."
Welcome back to the longest post in the history of this little blog.  For those just tuning in, Part 1 of "A Season of Wēiyī" describes how Time and Again, the team that would become my first fantasy-football champion, got started for its 2013 season.  Part 2 chronicled the Timers' "monents of wēiyī," a series of crisis points that strengthened the team.  At the end of Part 2, I teased the arrival yet another crisis in Week 9.

Entr'acte: How LeSean McCoy missed out on an MVP award

Time and Again RB Le'Veon Bell (26)
carries the ball for Pittsburgh.
(Image via sportsmole.co.uk.)
Before I detail that final crisis, let me go back to one of the moments of wēiyī from Part 2.  LeSean McCoy just ended the Eagles' 2013 regular season as the NFL's rushing champion.  The case for naming him the Most Valuable Player for any fantasy-football team is as strong as it is clear.  On Time and Again, however, Le'Veon Bell's Week 6 pickup assured the team's security at the running-back position.  Without Bell, the Timers would have depended too much on McCoy; with him, I could turn my attention to other positions.

In that light, it makes sense to make Bell, not McCoy, the Timers' MVP.

Moment of wēiyī, Weeks 9-12

By early November, most of the Timers' final roster had been assembled.  The last game of Week 9 was an affair between the Packers and the Bears.  With QB Aaron Rodgers still to play, the 7-1 Timers had already clinched their game that week.

Then, as the cliché goes, disaster struck.  On the Packers' first series, a devastating tackle left Rodgers with a broken collarbone.  No one knew how bad the injury was, but now the Timers didn't have a quarterback.

In desperation, I replaced tight end Martellus Bennett (yay! a Bear!) with Tennessee QB Jake Locker, who was returning from injury himself.  Locker, who had been hot earlier in the year, faced Jacksonville in Week 10.  What could possibly go wrong if I used him to replace Rodgers?

A lot, it turned out.  Locker lasted less than a half in his first start for the Timers.  He left the field having actually subtracted a point from the Timers's total.  Time and Again managed to win, but only because it faced a bottom-of-the-table opponent.

Fortunately, I had also picked up Philadelphia QB Nick Foles in Week 10.  He didn't start for the Timers because, frankly, I still had doubts about him.  Also, Foles still had his bye week ahead of him.

No worries.  When Foles's bye did come in Week 12, I just picked up Josh McCown, who himself was relieving Jay Cutler.  [Yay!  A Bear!]  Until Cutler came back, I enjoyed the luxury of choosing between the NFL's two hottest quarterbacks not surnamed Manning.  McCown's acquisition would be the team's last.

In the end, this crisis had the same effect on Time and Again that a celestial body has on a spacecraft flying by it.  Such a ship enters the body's gravity well, picks up tremendous speed, then, with a well-timed rocket blast, escapes.  Just as that vessel re-enters space much faster than before, the Timers emerged from this crisis as a virtually unbeatable team.

Time to par-teeeee!

Enjoy the celebratory soundtrack.  You know you want to!

How powerful had Time and Again become the end? Consider that, in standard fantasy-football scoring, 100 points is usually good enough to win. 110 is considered excellent, and anything above 125 is outstanding.

  • In Week 13, the finalized Timers scored 150, and could have scored 180.
  • In Week 14, the regular-season finale, they scored 144 and could've reached 171.
  • In the playoff semifinal, the actual and maximum scores were 154 and 162.
  • The Timers won the championship game with only 107 points, but could have finished with 134. 

It certainly did feel nice to have to select wide receivers and running backs from this roster. In fantasy-football terms, Time and Again included three top-ten receivers (including the top two), along with three top-ten running backs, two top-five quarterbacks, and the second-best tight end. Here's the final Timer depth chart, with the six players who were originally drafted shown in colored italics.

  • Quarterbacks: Nick Foles (Philadelphia), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Josh McCown (Chicago)
  • Running backs: LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia), Le'Veon Bell (Pittsburgh), Zac Stacy (St. Louis), Andre Brown (New York Giants)
  • Wide receivers: Josh Gordon (Cleveland), A.J. Green (Cincinnati), Alshon Jeffery (Chicago), Danny Amendola (New England) 
  • Tight end: Vernon Davis (San Francisco) 
  • Kicker: Justin Tucker (Baltimore) 
  • Defenses/special teams: Kansas City, Buffalo

This will probably be the final season for Time and Again. Next year, I will be commissioner in a new family league. My team there will probably have a different name. If that team is even as remotely good as the Timers, I'll be thrilled.

No comments: