My hopes were high when I drafted my home league team on September 5, 2022. Drafting ninth in a ten-team league, I took Joe Mixon in the first round. Seventy-five days later, Mixon and fifth-round pick Mike Williams are the only drafted players still on my roster.
The old adage in fantasy football is that you can’t win your league in the first two rounds, but you can lose it. Extend that to the first five rounds, and it’s a lock that your team is going to be circling the drain by the trade deadline. That was certainly the case with mine.
Mixon, Najee Harris, Kyle Pitts, James Conner and Williams were my first five picks. I can declare them all busts, except for Mixon who is currently RB8 in PPR leagues. Of course, Harris started showing signs of life after I traded him, but he’s still only RB22.
Pitts, one of the Big Three tight ends, is TE12 but is averaging less than five points per game. I traded him a month ago in a deal to acquire Jeff Wilson Jr. Of course, I dropped Wilson after the Christian McCaffrey trade and before he was shipped off to Miami.
Conner, a player who was notorious for not being able to stay healthy, had two double-digit fantasy games in his first five before getting injured. When he had 23.6 points in Week 10, I traded him as part of a deal that included Lamar Jackson.
I must confess that I was excited about getting Jackson, the QB5, coming off his bye to play Carolina on Sunday. In the past, and quarterback has been a deep position and I could afford to wait late in the draft to acquire one. But not this year.
Jackson, just like everyone else, proved to be a disappointment. He managed only 15.46 points. What happened to the Jackson that scored 42.62 and 39.42 points in back-to-back weeks earlier in the season. That was the Jackson I traded for.
Another player I was excited about in Week 11 was Williams. Returning after a three-week absence, he had a dream matchup with the Chiefs on Sunday night. He managed one catch and reinjured his ankle on that play early in the first half. Injury bust.
My sixth-round pick on draft day was Diontae Johnson. When I traded him for Eno Benjamin, he was averaging 11.6 points per game. After Week 11, he’s averaging less than 10 points per game and hasn’t caught a touchdown pass. What a bust.
Another player I was high on was Brandin Cooks. Things started out well with my seventh-round pick garnering 22 targets in the first two games. But he hasn’t been targeted more than seven times since then, and he has only four double-digit games. Bust.
My eight-round pick was Marquise Brown, and he was returning tremendous value, averaging more than 20 points per game, until he fractured his foot in Week 6. With a lengthy absence, I finally had to drop him to hold Williams to my only IR spot.
Rounding out my other draft picks, I traded ninth-round pick Antonio Gibson early in the season, dropped Elijah Moore, dropped Matthew Stafford, dropped Drake London and dropped Darrel Williams. I seldom hold on to defenses, or kickers.
I had my share of bad luck with this team, but I also made some bad draft picks and trades. When things go wrong, you can always blame fate. However, the fantasy managers who takes responsibility for his mistakes can learn from them.
This is my seventh year playing fantasy football, and I’ve never had a losing season. But after Week 11, I’m 3-8 and guaranteed a losing record with this team. I hate losing. I hate missing the playoffs. But I’m not going to quit trying to win.
If you’re wondering why anyone would continue to do their best after they’re eliminated from the playoffs, you have a character flaw. You lack integrity. Other teams in your league are fighting for the playoffs, and you owe them your best.
So, Doubting Thomas has a new name – at least in this league. My new name is Spoiler Thomas. My job is to beat each of my last three opponents and hurt their playoff chances. That includes my own flesh and blood, Nathan, in the final matchup.
Before you feel too sorry for me, you should know that I have two other teams. One is 5-6 and still has a shot at making the playoffs. The other team is 7-4 and currently in third place. I hope to win at least one league championship before it’s all over.
Thomas L. Seltzer, AKA Doubting Thomas, writes about football and baseball for CreativeSports. Be sure to follow Thomas on Twitter@ThomasLSeltzer1.