Our Best Fantasy Blunders

Now that the fantasy football season is almost here, I felt the need to reflect upon my performance in last year's league. It should have been better, but like a lot of people, I was a victim of the multiple injury bug (although owning Chad Johnson was one of the highlights of my life).

I had a particular transaction that I've looked back upon and asked myself a million times: what the hell was I thinking? You will see that below.

This prompted me to come up with a list, which ended up being very very long, of our best fantasy blunders. You'll notice that almost all of these are in fantasy baseball, and within the past few years. It was hard to do some of the research because of "lack of documentation." But this is a great list nonetheless--showing that we've been able to squeeze in a lot of stupidity in a short amount of time.

10. Tony-Trading Jonathan Papelbon for Mark Buehrle (2006)
Tony took Papelbon in the 25th round of this year's draft. He rode that hot start and turned it into one of the better pitchers in the game. Good trade right? Not even close! Mark Buehrle has turned into a left handed version of Jose Lima, while Papelbon has been near perfect throughout this season with his sub 1.00 ERA. The sad thing: Tony is used to this by now.

9. York (left) & Andy - Skipping Pujols in separate 2006 drafts
At the beginning of the season, there was a big debate over who should be picked #1 in baseball drafts: A-Rod or Pujols? Naturally being from St. Louis and one of the die hards of Cardinal Nation, there is only one logical choice here. Oh yeah, and we named a website after him. But despite being Cardinal fans, Andy and York both passed on Albert. York chose A-Rod. That's fine...except it's a keeper league. Andy decided to throw everyone a curve ball and went with Derek Lee! His reason: He suspected Albert of being on steroids. Needless to say, the guys picking #2 did not have to use much time thinking about their decision.

8. Tony-Dropped Ben Sheets and Brad Lidge in same week (2004)
Record-wise, Ben Sheets didn't have a stellar year, but putting up 264 K's and a 2.70 ERA is very helpful, to say the least, in fantasy. Brad Lidge decided to be a monster set-up man and eventual closer for the 2004 Wild Card Champs. His amazing stat that year was the 157 K's in 95 innings pitched. Both were drafted by Tony and let go a couple weeks into April. To no ones' surprise, Tony was not in the money that year, prompting a team-for-team 60 man trade between him and me at the end of the season.

7. Shaun-Preston Wilson: 2nd round pick (2004)
"Hey he can repeat his 2003 season, right guys?" After a 9th place finish (out of ten), 2004 was the last year I used my own instincts at a draft. Now I take the advice of the people who get paid to talk about fantasy baseball. Good call.

6. Tony-Selecting 5 pitchers in first 5 rounds, then maxing out innings August 31st, hoping for players' strike (2002)
You won't find anyone more ballsy than Tony, who decided to own the pitching categories in '02, by taking five starting pitchers in the first five rounds. I remember Tim Hudson and Matt Morris being on his team (remember when they were good?), and three other studs. Honestly he did own the pitching categories all year. Unfortunately in this league, we use an innings limit of 1350. Towards the end of August, Tony was very close to the limit and he should have been a little more choosy with his starters. But wait! There was major rumblings going on that the players would go on strike at the end of August, remember? So Tony put all his chips in the middle of the table, betting on a Full House, only to see someone else lay down a bunch of Aces. This move dropped Tony from 1st to 4th...and out of the money.

5. Ben-Trading Travis Hafner for Odalis Perez (2005)
The Mets needed pitching help in 2004, that's why they went out and got Victor Zambrano. Ben needed pitching help in 2005, that's why he went out and got Odalis Perez. Well, you can't win them all. Tony returned the favor to Ben a year later (see #10).

4. York-Mariano Rivera: 3rd overall pick (2002)
Actual fantasy experts are probably gasping at the above sentence. I'll answer some questions for you: Yes, it was a mixed league. Yes, that says "3rd overall." No, York is not a Yankees fan. Yes, he loves saves. And yes, we're still confused too.

3. Josh-Justin Morneau: 5th round pick, AL league (2005)
Josh taking Justin Morneau will be forever talked about amongst our group. We have all taken a verbal beating over these picks and transactions, but Josh usually hears the most crap about "the Justin Morneau pick." I'll set the scene for you: this was only a 6 team league, and Josh was on the 4th/5th round turn. So his 5th round pick here was the 25th overall. In case you forgot, the AL didn't suck last year either. Josh steps up to the podium--yes we had a podium for this draft--says something along the lines of "I may be doing this a little early," and the rest is history. To his credit, Morneau is having a monster 2006 season, and would have been better in '05 if not for a beanball to his head. But this pick is legendary in the annals of history, and would be #1 on this list if the first two didn't suck so bad.

2. Shaun-Dropped Larry Johnson for Antowain Smith (2005)
Okay so it looks dumb on paper, but let me explain: I added Antowain Smith because I wanted to take advantage of his team (the Saints) playing against the ugly Rams defense. Smith ran for a whopping 56 yards and no touchdowns. My top RB Priest Holmes decided to get hurt soon after that, and I was not quick enough to pick LJ back up. I think he had a decent final 8 weeks last year; I'm not sure, I was too busy crying in the corner of my bedroom to care.

1. Justin-Mark Prior: 1st overall pick (2004)
Homerism at it's finest! Justin's fantasy record is not very stellar, and this decision making is a good reason why. Mark Prior was scheduled to be out for a month or so to begin the 2004 season. But Justin, a Cubs fan, decided to ignore these "medical reports" and this so-called "conventional wisdom," by taking Prior #1. Justin finished 10th out of 10, while getting six wins out of "Hurt Flex." Thanks for playing Justin. D'oh indeed.


Dallas J. Hawk said...

That was a great list. I have will have to do some research tonight but I know there are a couple to add that should at least get honorable mention. One for sure comes to mind although I can't remember what year it was but Marlon drafted Steve Finley in the 2nd round of an 8 team mixed league. I don't know how my pick of A-Rod can be lumped in with the Derek Lee pick. That Derek Lee number 1 pick is almost as bad as the Mark Prior pick where as my pick of A-Rod thought it did not work out as well as I had hoped but still it was not in the same league as Derek Lee. Although Mark Prior number #1 is still the gold standard.

Anonymous said...

Boldest statement: "Mark Buehrle has turned into a left handed version of Jose Lima". But does Buehrle sing the anthem before the game? Lima also flipped me and some buddies the bird while warming up at Busch one afternoon probably six years ago. I can't say we didn't deserve it.

I've drafted A-Rod over Pujols a couple of times. Really never bit me in the ass until this year. That wouldn't have even made the list if A-Rod was putting up some sort of fight this year. But since he's not, I just thank God that I have some decent closers to make up points. That York picture is great though. But D-Lee #1? WOW!!!

Would Justin be interested in a Prior and Angel Pagan for Pujols deal? Just throwing it out there.

Anyone picking up Preston Wilson now that he's patroling leftfield at Busch?

Anonymous said...

there are a few honorable mentions:

-tony took jeff fassero in the first round of a league that started in may. at the time fassero was 4-0 (circa 93 according to tony). you can probably assume what happened after that.

-also via tony: some guy (circa 95) bid $30 on antonio osuna in an auction league. he has told the story multiple times and i love when he describes how quickly the room went silent. needless to say, that guy was not outbid.

-josh took oliver perez in the 5th round in a mix league last year. didn't pan out too well.

-i took barry bonds in the first round of an NL league last year...ONE WHOLE DAY before his press conference on crutches. the one where he talks about being tired and his son was wearing a barry sanders jersey. i would have loved to put this on the list, but i somehow still finished first in the standings.

-josh took renteria in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft. he had a decent season, but nothing close to his '03 numbers.

i think there was a few more that i can't think of right now, but it is fun to reflect upon this stuff. the best part is that everyone's got at least 3 or 4 moves/draft picks that they think of automatically and just cringe thinking about it. no matter how good you are at this, it happens.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention two personal experiences...

Had a guy debate on taking Carlos Beltran #1 overall last season. And also heard this classic; "I can't believe he's still on the board. I'll take Jeff Conine!" Didn't know the guy that well, and he isn't invited to play fantasy football if that tells you anything.

Scott said...

I got one to top you all.
J.J. Arrington. 2nd Round.

Dre said...

How about this one: I made it to the 17th week last year in football and all I had to do to win the title was beat my best friend's mom, who had a team just to fill a spot. So knowing the Colts were playing all the 2nd stringers, I picked up Jim Sorgi, Troy Walters, and Ben Utecht, who all scored TDs...but I didn't start them because New Year's was on a Saturday, and I partied so late that I didn't wake up in time to set my lineup. My friend's mom did a victory dance in my face when I saw her. I'm still crying.

Annie Fresh said...

Can I vote for this to become an instant classic?!

Anonymous said...

yeah tony, what else do you want from me?