Reality Sports Online FA Auction/Site Review


 I'd start my fantasy season with Calvin Johnson, wouldn't you? Photo by Mike Morbeck.
Start your fantasy season with Calvin Johnson? How about signing him to a two-year deal? Even better. Find out where you can do it online and no Excel needed.  Photo by Mike Morbeck.

This weekend I donned the commissioner hat of a fantasy league for the first time in six years. This is no run-of-the-mill league. Not only are the owners an extraordinary group of fantasy writers, but Reality Sports Online’s style of game and draft application is taking fantasy football in a direction I want to go.

Sigmund Bloom equated the process to an expedition to undiscovered territory. Thanks to your’s truly, who opted to have each team sign 25 players in the free agent auction it felt like a never-ending quest. Fortunately, there were no fatalities and most of our adventurers made it to the end. The overwhelming sentiment was that they relished the journey.

I believe if you’re the type of fantasy owner who reads my work or the work of guys in the league below, you’ll relish what RSO has to offer. Today, I’m covering the start-up process of this league, providing my takes on each team, and reviewing the RSO site and application.

In subsequent posts, I’m going to profile the rest of the teams.

Taking the Plunge with Reality Sports Online’s Front Office Format (Salary Cap-Keeper-Dynasty -Contract-Auction Format)

Have you ever learned a skill that appears more daunting than it actually is? My wife has a good example – installing tile. She’s been tiling kitchens and bathrooms for years – it was even a part of what she did when she owned her own business.

At first, the idea of getting these individual pieces on a wall at the appropriate level and coordination of color seemed difficult to her when thinking about how few mistakes one can make during this process. But a little front-end preparation revealed it was a lot easier than she imagined.

RSO’s format can have that kind of feel at first and the learning curve seems a lot steeper than it really is. Once you spend a few minutes learning the rules and trying out the draft room, you realize the process is not only intuitive, but it might be one of the most promising ways to run a league that I have seen yet.

To use a more dramatic example of RSO’s learning curve, I immediately thought of Bud (played by Ed Harris) from the movie The Abyss when he dons a tricked-out deep-sea diving helmet that requires him to breathe liquid:

There’s an initial fear factor, but then it’s a lot more natural than you’d expect. The reason is many of you hardcore owners are doing contract or keeper leagues now, but spending time keeping up with your own spreadsheets and calculations. RSO is among the first I’ve seen that are doing it for you.

There are a few kinks to work out to make the RSO platform a little more flexible when it comes to setting up pre-draft lists and adding players to a nomination queue, but I have tried numerous auction sites over the years and the application on the whole is intuitive, smooth, and had no breakdowns. Try a league at RSO and use the promotion code RSP20%OFF to earn a 20 percent discount.

RSO won the FSTA’s 2012 Rookie of the Year Award and was a Finalist for the Most Innovative Product Award. I get the vibe that these guys are working hard to make the product the best it can be and they appear open and responsive to feedback.

The Basics

RSO is a league management fantasy football website runs keeper leagues that operate with contract values that mimic the NFL’s system. The site owners are former NFL employees – one of them helped run a team’s cap. I think I can boil down the details to keep it simple:

  • Each team is given approximately $123 million in cap space (the number moves each year with the NFL cap).
  • Leagues can be a wide variety of sizes: Offense w/team defense or IDP.
  • Every year there is a rookie draft (serpentine) and free agent auction draft that is completed in one sitting.*
  • There are three basic contract types:
    • A standard, three-year or four-year deal for your rookie draft picks based on the draft order (contract settings determined by commissioner).
    • A standard, one-year deal as determined by the winning bid in a free agent auction.
    • Three types of multi-year contracts that your league can determine how many each team can offer:
      • Four-year
      • Three-year
      • Two-year
  • The site manages trades and free agency according to the cap and it’s all automated.

The multi-year contracts and the auction is what seems harder than it really is. The auction room tracks how much cap room you have and what it’s going to cost you to win a player. One you use all your multi-year deals, the site only allows you to bid with one-year deals. It’s also encouraged that you save $5-$10 million of your $123 million for drop/adds.

Once you see how it all flows, it’s really just a facet of what makes RSO’s league format something I want to try again and again.

*We got the benefit of doing a slow rookie draft due to the schedules of our writers but after using the application, we could have easily done everything in one night if we had 20-man rosters and shorter nomination and bid times.
Pick rookies with a snake draft, sign the rest like the NFL - free agency at Reality Sports Online. Photo by John Martinez-Paviliga
Pick rookies with a snake draft, sign the rest like the NFL – free agency at Reality Sports Online. Photo by John Martinez-Paviliga

Contract/Auction Strategy

A good example of this contract strategy in play is how an owner chooses to award its multi-year deals. Some owners will regard a stud like Calvin Johnson as player they will try to sign with a four-year deal. This makes sense: the longer the deal, the less money paid per year and the easier it is on your cap room if Johnson continues to have the same quality career for the next four years.

The risk is if Johnson gets hurt or under performs. Then you’re in a deal that’s costing you money over the next four years and you’ll still have some of this money on your books during that time even if you cut Johnson. All of this is calculated for you on the site, so it’s not something you have to dwell on until it’s time to start thinking about roster moves. You don’t have to be a capologist to play this game, but it spells out the details so you feel like you’re one.

Another strategy could be to sign young, ascending talents to long-term deals. Perhaps you love T.Y. Hilton’s game or you think Russell Wilson is about to reach Drew Brees territory and you want to sign them at a minimal cost and hope they become studs after you locked them into a bargain rate. Of course, the risk is they never take that next step and you’ve tied up mediocre talent.

These contracts become more important when making trades, dropping/adding players, and how much money you have available for future rookie drafts and free agent auctions. This is where RSO’s format takes on some of the realism of the NFL.

Let’s say Michael Floyd has a break-out year opposite Larry Fitzgerald now that Carson Palmer is in Arizona and Bruce Arians drafted a couple of guards. If a team only signed Floyd to a 1-year deal, they might not be able to afford to get him back in 2014 and could lose him to a team with a lot of cap room at that point.

Waldman’s RSO Writer’s League Strategy: Rookie Draft and Free Agent Auction

Here’s the basics about this 14-team league:

Scoring Basics

  • PPR w/a 1-point bonus after 10 receptions
  • 4 pts/Pass TD; 6 pts/Rush-Rec TDs
  • Points bonuses at 100, 150, and 200 yards rushing and receiving
  • Points bonuses at 300, 350, and 400 yards passing
  • Penalties for interceptions

Roster, Draft, and Cap/Contract Basics

  • Starting lineups: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (WR/TE), 1 DEF, 1 K
  • 30 Roster spots and 3 IR spots
  • Five-round, serpentine rookie draft (no trades)
  • Each team has the following number of multi-year contracts available in the Free Agent Auction Draft
    • 4-year Free Agency Contracts (1)
    • 3 -year Free Agency Contracts (2)
    • 2 -year Free Agency Contracts (3)
    • 1-year contracts (19)
  • Note: rookie contracts in the serpentine draft are all three-year deals at a tiered value according to draft spot. Rookie contracts offered in the free agency draft are “free agent deals,” which means it can be a multi-year deal or a one-year deal based on bid.

I had the eight-spot in this 14-team rookie draft and I stuck close to the RSP Post-Draft playbook with one major exception:

  • 1.08 – WR Keenan Allen
  • 2.07 – WR Da’Rick Rogers
  • 3.08 – WR Marquess Wilson
  • 4.07 – TE Luke Willson
  • 5.08 – QB Sean Renfree

While RSO allows for a third running back as a flex-play in its league setup options, I personally dislike it. There’s something that goes against my football aesthetic when I see fantasy leagues with a third running back. I play in them all the time, but since this was “my” league I got to make the rules.

The strategic influence of this wrinkle to starting lineups is that receiver and tight end depth become a little more important if thinking long-term. On the one hand, running backs tend to make a bigger impact early so I can see how drafting backs makes more sense in a league like this because at least you get a year or two of strong production from a top-end runner before they become free agents and the market value sky-rockets. Receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks might take a few years and never deliver a return on investment with your squad.

As I finish writing this last paragraph I wonder if I didn’t make a mistake to take running backs with Lacy, Lattimore, Franklin, and Stacy all on the board. However, those were the only backs left in the first round who I felt have a strong chance to make an impact in the first three seasons and not enough to dislodge me from Allen.

Rogers has the kind of upside to render draft status useless. Photo by Wade Rackley.
Rogers has the kind of upside to render draft status useless. Photo by Wade Rackley.

Rookie Thoughts

Keenan Allen: This is a PPR league with yards and reception bonuses and I think Allen has the type of versatile skill set to see a lot of targets from the slot, but also used on the perimeter. I regard Allen as a player similar to Michael Crabtree, but with more upside due to his quarterback. All apologies to Colin Kapernick, who is a promising young player, but Phillip Rivers is a better down field passer and at this point a savvier quarterback.  The San Diego offense under Mike McCoy should feature enough short passing for Allen to provide quality fantasy production this year. As a player whose draft stock was littered with risk, I see Allen as one of the safer picks in this draft class.

Da’Rick Rogers: Once Travis Kelce and Stedman Bailey left with the picks just ahead of me, I opted for the upside of Rogers. Steve Johnson’s recurrent groin issues and the lack of quality receivers in this depth chart before the 2013 NFL Draft make this a nice landing spot for the rookie. Rogers reminds me of a mix of Dwayne Bowe and Terrell Owens. If Rogers even approaches these comps, I have a player with 70-catch potential and the skills to be the most productive receiver on this Bills team. I think Robert Woods is a better technician and will see the most time this year among the rookies if Johnson can stay healthy. However, Johnson’s leg issue could open the door for Rogers in 2014 if the rookie behaves.

Marquess Wilson: There’s a common theme with my first three picks. All three are wide receivers with first- or second-round talent who slid due to factors outside game film study in the pre-draft evaluation process. At just 20 years of age, Wilson will have three years of NFL experience by the time most players his age get drafted. My hope is that Wilson doesn’t break my heart by coming into his own late in year three when I can’t reap any return on him. I think he’s a great fit for Jay Cutler and capable of stepping into the starting lineup this year if called upon. I love his ability to adjust to the ball. He makes a lot of tough catches and can play outside or in the slot due to his quickness. If he can take this difficult year and turn it into a learning experience, he could be the most productive receiver I drafted on this list. I think Marc Trestman and the Bears have similar sentiments.

Luke Willson: Wilson fits the athletic profile of tight end capable of developing into a primary contributor in fantasy leagues.   His 4.5-speed the body of an in-line tight end is every bit as promising as his Rice teammate Vance McDonald, but an ankle injury prevented Willson from making the same impression on NFL teams last year. He made an early impact in mini camp and at this point, I decided to take the chance on Willson’s prospects of developing into a high-end TE1 rather than settling for prospects at the position that I rated higher, but have less upside.

Sean Renfree: Admittedly this probably a wasted pick.  Renfree and Wilson are why I wish I opted for four-year contracts for rookies instead of three. I think the Duke quarterback has the skills to earn the No.2 role in Atlanta this year if he can return from a torn pectoral muscle by July. If not, I still think he can do enough to earn the No.3 spot and work his way into the backup role by 2014. I’m banking on a chance for Renfree to showcase his wares in preseason or a Matt Ryan injury so Renfree can attract a market once he becomes a free agent. I also planned to take Matt Ryan but I execute as well as I should and Football Diehards owner Bob Harris earn Ryan at a steal.  More below.

Pre-Auction Strategy

The running joke in the auction chat room was that by the time we figured out the best ways to approach this league, we’d be halfway through the auction and without the funds to do anything about it.  Looking back at my pre-auction strategy I would say my experience was not the same. I had a good clue, but my poor analysis of my cap hindered my execution.

With just one, four-year deal I hoped to spend it on a quarterback. They have the longest fantasy lifespan of any position and it made the most sense to anchor a high-end starter at that position to my roster for multiple years. The two players I decided to target were Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson. If I could land one at a reasonable price with my four-year deal, I’d feel great about the long-term outlook of my team.

I also wanted one stud at running back and wide receiver signed to a deal of no less than a two-years so my team can have a chance to remain competitive as my one-year contracts turn over in 2014 and my rookies continue to develop. These are the two positions I hoped to acquire the most depth – especially at receiver. I believe wide outs are the easiest to trade and I want to afford myself flexibility to make deals.

As for executing an auction for your team, there are three basic ways to do it:

  • Studs and Duds: Spend a high percentage of cap on a few big-name starters and then pay the minimum for a supporting cast and depth. This is the most aggressive approach. I won three writers leagues in two years with this technique but its name would be more apt as Studs or Duds because it’s often either/or as a team outcome with this approach.
  • Middle of the Road: This technique is about setting hard budgets for players and pacing yourself. You don’t go over certain bid amounts. The downside is you rarely land the known studs, but the upside is that you acquire quality depth and spread a number of viable options across your starting lineup. If your fantasy performers demonstrate week-to-week consistency at a high level, you have a winner.
  • Control the End: My friend, Footballguys.com co-owner, and one-time, regular auction competitor David Dodds loves to wait until the rest of the league has spent enough of its cap for him to maintain control of the auction and win the discount deals – and there are always enough – to build a quality team. Dodds loves to talk ridiculous trash to his competition. It’s a common joke among those of us who draft with him that he’s still picking from his top-50 list 200 picks into a draft.

Personally, I try to incorporate a mix of the first two methods. I aim for at least two studs and then opt for mid-level starters – mid-range WR2s and RB2s, and low-end QB1s and TE1s – hoping that half of them have strong years. Then I try to stay patient long enough to have some money at the end and pick a few late-round hopefuls with high upside.

The problem with auction drafts is that I don’t do them as much as I’d like. They are by far my favorite form of league, but time constraints limit me from joining new leagues. If I can convince half of my leagues to adopt this format, I’d be pleased.

Until then, I don’t get as much practice with auctions as I’d like and there are pitfalls I have to be especially careful to avoid:

  • Impulse Buying: It’s easy to get an itchy trigger finger in the opening 50 picks when you see stud after stud coming off the board and you have all of your money in your pocket. I don’t mind paying premium for a couple of players, but when a “couple” is used casually to mean “3 or 4″ you can derail your strategy really fast.
  • Trigger Shyness: For me, this happens when I don’t feel clear about player value once the bidding comes down to me and another owner over a player. A couple of seconds of hesitation can cost you a good deal despite a bidding war that seems to go on for minutes at a time.
  • Sticking It to Yourself: One of my favorite aspects about auction leagues is watching owners engage in the practice of increasing the bid on players to police other owners from earning deep discounts. Jim Day and Chad Parsons’ were the best at this on Friday night. They jacked up bid after bid, but made deft exits at the right time to make sure their opponents paid at least what the player was worth – if not more. The danger is that if you pick the wrong player to enforce this strategy, you can get stuck with a guy you don’t want.

In an auction with fantasy writers these practices can get magnified if you’re not careful. Especially with wily vets like Bob Harris, who claims he’s never drafted in an auction league. The Hall of Fame fantasy writer (yes, there is such a distinction) is not a shark as much as he’s a spider with a lair somewhere in the southwest. He spins a really pretty web . . .

Bob Harris stole Matt Ryan and I was the Keystone Cops. Photo by Football Schedule.
Bob Harris stole Matt Ryan and I was the Keystone Cops. Photo by Football Schedule.

My Auction 

I won’t know until I dig deeper into the rest of the rosters, but at first glance I feel better about my team than I did during the auction. I made three mistakes during my draft – one from each category above – and I nearly hamstrung my efforts. Yet, I pulled out some solid deals in the mid-to-late rounds. Perhaps my marathon film study sessions helped me as my competition get sharper as others faded into the night.  Probably not, but it sounds good.

I will be profiling other teams soon. Until then, you can see all the rosters here and the complete auction results. The contract amount is in increments of millions.  The “R” next to player’s names is for “reserve” a designation based on my potential starting lineup.

Quarterback Yrs $ Running Back Yrs $ Wide Receiver Yrs $
Jay Cutler (CHI) 1 4.0 Arian Foster (HOU) 2 51.0 Calvin Johnson (DET) 2 69.5
Carson Palmer (ARI) R 1 3.0 Steven Jackson (ATL) 1 16.5 Cecil Shorts (JAC) 4 18.5
Alex Smith (KC) R 2 2.5 Ryan Williams (ARI) R 1 2.5 DeSean Jackson (PHI) 3 10.5
Sean Renfree (ATL) R 3 R Ben Tate (HOU) R 3 7.5 Keenan Allen (SD) 3 R
Alex Green (GB) R 1 0.5 LaVon Brazill (IND) R 1 0.5
Shaun Draughn (KC) R 1 0.5 Marvin Jones (CIN) R 1 1.0
Cedric Peerman (CIN) R 1 0.5 Domenik Hixon (CAR) R 1 0.5
Bobby Rainey (BAL) R 1 0.5 Earl Bennett (CHI) R 1 0.5
Marquess Wilson (CHI) R 3 R
Da’Rick Rogers (BUF) R 3 R
Kenbrell Thompkins (NE) R 1 0.5

Quarterbacks

Here’s where I made the biggest auction gaffe for my team. I got into a bidding war with Bob Harris for Matt Ryan. Mike MacGregor recently acquired Tom Brady with a three-year deal for $40 million. I’d say a deal that comes out at a little more than $13.3 million per year for Brady is a strong buy – even at Brady’s age.

As the competition dropped to the wayside on Ryan, Harris and I were creeping north of $30 million and I hesitated on Ryan’s value. I didn’t have a clear cut-off on Ryan. Was it too much? Clock ticking . . . Didn’t Brady go off the board for more? Clock ticking . . .What was that amount again? 4 . . . 3 . . . Should I use a four-year or three-year deal? 2 . . .

I click the four-year deal, but not in enough time and Harris signs Ryan – perhaps the quarterback in the NFL with the best mix of consistency, years left, upside, and surrounding talent in the league for a paltry $31.5 million for 3 years.

Steal.

I’m a little upset with myself at this point, but Russell Wilson is still left in the auction. The problem is that the next owner smartly nominates Russell Wilson immediately after Harris nabs Ryan at this nice discount, which means Wilson is now in a pool with a bunch of owners who just woke up and realized they let Ryan go off the board for a song.

I realized right after losing the Ryan bid that I was willing to pay $14-15 million per year for the Falcons quarterback so I will probably have to pay at least that much for Wilson based on what just happened. Sure enough the bidding comes down to me and Officer Jim Day of the RSO Writers League Bidding Police Precinct 411.

Within seconds Day and I raise Wilson’s price from $9 million per year to $12 million and climbing. When we reach $15 million per year – alternating with 3- and 4-year offers – I’m stretching beyond my comfort zone because I already spent big money on two other players. Ultimately, I decided to stand down on Wilson and Day landed the Seahawk as his backup to Peyton Manning with a 4-year deal at $63.5 million (total).

Day will have trade bait with that four-year deal if he wants to dangle it. So I opted for plan B – a quarterback by committee with two players I think have a realistic shot at low-end QB1 production and the talent to deliver even more to fantasy owners if the offensive lines improve: Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer for a combined $7 million. While it’s half the price of Wilson – it’s conceivable I get half the quarterback play, too.

Still, I feel good about what’s happening in Chicago with Marc Trestman as the architect and I like the possibilities the Cardinals have with Palmer, Floyd, Fitzgerald, and most important, the upgrades along the offensive line.  I wish I didn’t have to talk about Alex Smith, but “what had happened was . . . ” I tried to increase the bid on Smith early and realized I was doing so with Alex Smith.

Don’t get me wrong, Palmer and Cutler could get hurt by mid season if the Bears and Cardinals offensive lines revert to recent form so Smith could be useful. I also paid a whopping $2 million for 2 years. It may not be what I meant to do, but it was a minor mistake compared to letting Matt Ryan slip in the dark of night to Harris.

cropped-troy-polamalu-by-karen-blaha1.jpg

Running Backs

I had to nab a stud here. I could have gone with a younger guy with upside, but decided I didn’t want to be a part of a bidding war for Trent Richardson or Doug Martin. Football Outsiders writer Rivers McCown nabbed Martin for a reasonable $67.5 million for 3 years, paying somewhere around $22 million of his current year cap as guaranteed money for 2013. This actually looked like a nice deal  compared to what Jason Wood shelled out for Adrian Peterson – a two-year signing for $71 million.

It was on the heels of that Peterson deal that Arian Foster hit the block and instead of trying to slow roll the bid a little higher and hope I got a deal, I decided to go strong to the hole and hope my competition would hesitate. My competition was still messing around with contracts for $4 million when I upped the number to a two-year, $40 million deal.

If I remember correctly, most of the bids dropped out and after the next competing bid that inched skyward of $41 million, I came hard over the top again with $50 and wound up winning at 2 years, $51 million for Foster. Not a great deal compared to Martin or even Mike MacGregor’s, 4-year $97 million signing of Trent Richardson at a little less per year for twice the tenure, but Harris has a two-year deal on Jamaal Charles for $60.5 million and Tim Stafford has C.J. Spiller at 3 years, $75 million.

I can live with what I paid for Foster – especially for two years.

Steven Jackson at one year for $16.5 million seems pricey for his recent performances in St. Louis, but if you think he still has the juice for at least one more year then he’s at least as skilled as Michael Turner – the Atlanta runner, who had at least 1300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in three of his four seasons between 2009-2011.

I’ll pay $16.5 million for that kind of production. Heck, I’ll pay it for top-20 production for one year and that’s what Turner delivered last year despite a more pass happy system and operating at a step slower than he appeared in the past.

Ben Tate fortunately didn’t get added to the block right after Foster joined my team or else I probably would have to pay a little more. As Lance Zierlein noted, getting Tate at three years, $7.5 million is a nice deal considering that he’ll be a free agent in 2014. I’m not a huge Tate fan, but I have to agree.

Few backs move to a new team in recent years and become studs. Michael Turner, Marshawn Lynch, and Reggie Bush come to mind and they are the minority.  However, even if Tate joins a committee the price is still good value.

Ryan Williams’ stock is at rock bottom. He’s coming off his second injury in two years and Bruce Arians named Rashard Mendenhall the starter. Still, Williams  has starter talent. Arizona’s upgrades make me feel like I could get $2.5 million dollar’s worth (at least) from a finally healthy Williams as my second back off the bench.

Alex Green is a cheap option who still has a chance to make the team. We’ll see if he’s finally healthy enough to compete at the level he’s capable. Shaun Draughn surprised me last year. I saw him at North Carolina and thought he was a good, but not great college runner. He looks a lot quicker than I remember from his days in Chapel Hill. He might still give the Chiefs competition a run for that No.2 spot. Cedric Peerman and Bobby Rainey are two players I believe have the talent, but lack the opportunity.

I just realized I have three receivers from Cal on my squad. DeSean Jackson needs to play to that form to help me contend. Photo by Avinashkunnath.
I just realized I have three receivers from Cal on my squad. DeSean Jackson needs to play to that form to help me contend. Photo by Avinashkunnath.

Wide Receiver

I probably overpaid for Calvin Johnson. My deal came on the heels of Lance Zierlein giving up $92.5 million for three years. I should have resisted, but I admit that I got impulsive with the prospect of having Johnson on my team. He has been a top-five fantasy receiver for three straight years, he’s been the top fantasy receiver overall for two years straight (even with only 5 touchdowns in 2012), and he’s winning against triple coverage. He’ll be 28 in September. If there’s a player in a PPR league worth this kind of money, Johnson is it.

Although I paid a premium for the best wide receiver in football I did have some pleasant surprises in the middle rounds. My four-year deal went to a player I didn’t anticipate signing: Cecil Shorts. A polarizing player in the fantasy community, Shorts has big-play skills but spotty quarterback play has some people down on the receiver’s future. Chase Stuart gives a balanced opinion with the stats and some context to the numbers. At 4 years, $18.5 million I paid for a young player with high-end No.2 upside without a good quarterback at a No.3 receiver price point.

I also think DeSean Jackson could be a steal at $10.5 million over 3 years. I’m not chest-thumping this signing yet, because he hasn’t had starter numbers since 2011 and he hasn’t truly played like one since 2010. If he an return to 2009-2010 form, I’ll have a formidable corps at a bargain – even with Calvin Johnson.

Bryan Fontaine has one of my favorite receiving trios in this league: Dwayne Bowe, Larry Fitzgerald, and Dez Bryant for a total of $108.5 million. My trio has the potential to match that production as a unit at a $10 million savings. I also have two of my deals of at least three years whereas Fontaine only has one deal over two years. I’m not trying to tell you that my corps is better than Fontaine’s group, but I’m not as far away as it appears on paper.

Domenik Hixon is skilled enough to win the slot job in Carolina and even outplay Brandon LaFell. The rest of my wideouts are RSP favorites with chances to earn playing time this year: Marvin JonesLaVon Brazill, and Earl Bennett all have potential to contribute and they’re excellent players with the ball in the air.

Can't go wrong with this VD. Photo by The Bay Area Bias.
Can’t go wrong with this VD even if I went wrong with Smith. Photo by The Bay Area Bias.
Tight End Yrs $ Kicker Yrs $ Defense Yrs $
Vernon Davis (SF) 1 8.0 Sebastian Janikowski (OAK) 1 0.5 Seattle 1 2.5
Dwayne Allen (IND) R 1 2.5 Robbie Gould (CHI) R 1 0.5 Detroit 1 0.5
Luke Willson (SEA) R 3 R

Tight Ends, Kickers, and Defenses

If Vernon Davis produces like he did during the 2012 season, I overpaid. If Davis plays like has in the postseason, I’ll have a bargain. I think he’s the best all-around tight end in football, but he doesn’t get the chance to show it as a receiver due to quarterback play. Hopefully Kaepernick continues to find Davis like he did in January. I’m a Dwayne Allen fan and I believe he’ll provide good bye-week value.

Janikowski and Gould are like the Odd Couple. One is on a team that might have trouble scoring but can boot it from 60 yards. The other lacks great range, but should see more opportunities due to the offense. I’ll roll with these two for a total of $1 million.

I paid about twice as much for Seattle than I wanted, but it’s another case of paying for value. Detroit is my bye-week option.

Team Outlook

I’m not going to say my team is a great contender. If I got Matt Ryan or Russell Wilson I think I’d feel a little more confident. As it stands, I think my team is in the middle of the pack. The upside of I think Johnson, Foster, and Steven Jackson will keep me competitive as long as I get similar play from Cecil Shorts and Vernon Davis at their best stretches of 2012. If Cutler, Palmer, or DeSean Jackson play to their potential I’ll have a real shot.

Stay tuned this week for more analysis of RSO teams and try a league. Use the promotion code RSP20%OFF to earn a 20 percent discount.

Post Script: My team led the league in points last year, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.

 

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