2011 set me up for 2012. I finally understood how fantasy football worked, and I was able to go into my second-ever fantasy draft with a better approach than the year before. Once the date was set, I began doing a little prep work for the draft and then seemed to leave it at that. I did no prep last year and got to the championship game, so I don’t need to do that much, right? Wrong.
Anyway, draft day finally arrived, and here’s who I picked up:
Round 1 – Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
Round 2 – Cam Newton, QB, CAR
Round 3 – Percy Harvin, WR, MIN
Round 4 – Roy Helu, RB, WSH
Round 5 – Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
Round 6 – DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI
Round 7 – C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
Round 8 – Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE
Round 9 – Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
Round 10 – Jets D/ST
Round 11 – Bills D/ST
Round 12 – Dan Bailey, K, DAL
Round 13 – Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
Round 14 – Nate Washington, WR, TEN
Round 15 – Dexter McCluster, RB, KC
Round 16 – Kevin Smith, RB, DET
Round 17 – Marcedes Lewis, TE, JAC
Honestly – I wasn’t really happy with this roster. But just one week after the draft, I made a trade which turned my roster from ‘average’ to ‘good’. Following seven-days of deliberation, I offered one team my second-round pick Cam Newton and my sixth-round pick DeSean Jackson for QB Tony Romo and WR Brandon Marshall. Thankfully, the trade was accepted, and I was richer for it. As it turned out, there wasn’t much of a difference between Newton and Romo, so it was a like-for-like swap in that respect. But when it came to the wide receivers in the trade, DeSean Jackson was dealt again in October by the team I traded him to thanks to under-performance, and then he was dropped in November after being placed on injured reserve. Brandon Marshall, on the other hand, finished the season with over 1,500 yards as the second-best wide receiver behind Calvin Johnson.
Immediately, the dividends of the trade paid off and I won my first game, opening up the season 1-0. But elation quickly turned to panic as a four-game skid landed me at 1-4, far from a playoff slot. I needed to do something to stop the slide, because my season was in danger of being over before it had ever really got going. To make matters worse there weren’t really any upgrades on waivers, and I couldn’t find a trade partner.
My team alternated the next four games; a win, a loss, win, loss to leave me at 3-6. Things really weren’t looking good at this point. To have any chance of making the playoffs, I needed to win my three remaining regular season games and have other results go my way – and that’s exactly how it played out. I won three straight, and in the final week of the regular season, my rival for the second wild card spot lost before all my players had finished. All I needed to do was secure the victory to qualify for the playoffs – and that’s exactly what Tony Romo, Brandon Marshall and company did.
Unfortunately, I came up against a better team in the first round, and bowed out unceremoniously. I still class this season as a success though, because a poor draft and even poorer early season form could’ve cost me. But I managed to turn it around and qualify for the playoffs for the second time in two attempts.