RSO Writers’ League Team Profile: Ryan McDowell, DLF

Lots of Luck for Ryan McDowell's team - $103.5 million of him. But he also snagged some deals. Photo by Angie Six
Lots of Luck for Ryan McDowell’s team – $103.5 million of him. But he also snagged some deals. Photo by Angie Six

Once a month during the season, I’ll be writing about the Reality Sports Online Keeper Salary Cap League that I started with 13 other football writers. If you’re seeking a great GM experience that offers the complexities of realistic contract negotiations and salary cap ramifications in an easy-to-use league management system that does all the work for you, join an RSO leagueUse the promotion code RSP20%OFF to earn a 20 percent discount.

Pre-draft strategy

Heading into this auction, I was a bit anxious, mainly about venturing to a new site. That was a bit out of my comfort zone, but the team at RSO could not have made that any easier. Following the tutorials they provided, I felt comfortable with the software and couldn’t wait to get started.

My usual plan with auctions is to target a few specific players at each position and go after them. I typically don’t study average auction values or even assign an estimated budget because auctions seem to each be so different. It is difficult to compare one to another and I think it is crucial to be able to make snap decisions as the value of players is adjusted based on when they are nominated and the remaining funds available to teams.

Entering this auction, what I focused most on was the limited use of long-term contracts. I knew I wanted to use my four-year deal and likely both of my three-year contracts on quarterbacks and wide receivers. I narrowed my list of targets down even further with the potential long-term deals in mind.

McDowell’s Team

Mike Glennon (TB) R
Matt Scott (JAC) R
Andrew Luck (IND) 4 years/$103.5 million
Ryan Tannehill (MIA) 2 years/$9 million
Ryan Mallett (NE) 1 year/$500,000
Giovani Bernard (CIN) R
Latavius Murray (OAK) R
Jason Snelling (ATL) R 1 year/$500,000
Chris Johnson (TEN) 1 year/$12 million
Stevan Ridley (NE) 2 years/$16 million
LaRod Stephens-Howling (PIT) 1 year/$500,000
Danario Alexander (SD) 1 year/$3.5 million
Stephen Hill (NYJ) 1 year/$1.5 million
Justin Blackmon (JAC) 2 years/$10.5 million
Nick Toon (NO) 1 year/$500,000
Josh Gordon (CLE) 3 years/$19 million
Jacoby Jones (BAL) 1 year/$500,000
James Jones (GB) 1 year/$7.5 million
Hakeem Nicks (NYG) 3 years/$54 million
Julian Edelman (NE) R
Rob Housler (ARI) 1 year/$6 million
Joel Dreessen (DEN) 1 year/$500,000
Virgil Green (DEN) 1 year/$500,000
Josh Brown (NYG) 1 year/$1.5 million
Mason Crosby (GB) 1 year/$500,000
Packers Defense 1 year/$500,000
Falcons Defense 1 year/$500,000
Raiders Defense 1 year/$500,000

How did the auction unfold for you?

Would Gordon be the best receiver of the 2013 Draft class? Cleveland thinks so. Photo by Erik Daniel Drost.
I wanted Gordon, but was tentative with the first nomination while feeling out the process. McDowell capitalized. Photo by Erik Daniel Drost.

After nabbing the first nominated player, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon on a three-year deal for $19 million, I began to experience some technical difficulty. I had to close the site and start again, which led to my draft board listing all available players to fail. While this was an inconvenience, it was a small hurdle. Next, I had trouble with my home internet, which ultimately led to me speeding across the street to my office in the middle of the auction.

Once I was setup there, it was not long until one of my top targets, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was nominated. I was engaged in a bidding war and ultimately overpaid, but got my guy on a four-year deal. I recently stated that Luck might be the safest player to own in a dynasty league, so he is a great option to tag with the lone four-year contract.

Next, I chose to focus on grabbing some deals at running back. I knew with the rapid change from year to year at the position, I did not want to give long-term deals. My next three wins brought me Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall and Stevan Ridley for a total of $31 million, including Ridley on a two-year deal (McDowell has since traded away Mendenhall to Matt Papson’s team for Dennis Pitta).

With some depth at running back, it was time to turn back to the wideouts and I grabbed Hakeem Nicks (3 years/$54 million), Justin Blackmon (2 years/$10.5 million) and James Jones (1 year/$7.5 million). I loved the balance of my team at this point and went on to add my defenses, kickers and young depth at each position. With the auction winding down and my team running out of money, I still had no tight end. I targeted a pair of the most hyped young tight ends of the off-season, Jordan Cameron and Rob Housler. After Bryan Fontaine pushed my limits on Cameron, I focused on Housler and severely overpaid, giving him a one year deal for $6 million.

Because I had acquired solid running back depth and did not feel comfortable with Housler as my starter, I later dealt Mendenhall in a package deal to acquire Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, who should be a much more reliable option as my starting tight end.

Best Deals (Millions in years)

  • Josh Gordon (3 years/$19 million)
  • Stevan Ridley (2 years/$13 million)
  • Justin Blackmon (2 years/$10.5 million)

Worst (Millions in years)

  • Andrew Luck (4 years/$103.5 million)
  • Rob Housler (1 year/$6 million)

Good deals for other owners

Jeff Tefertiller's deal with RG3 has McDowell feeling some buyer's remorse with Luck. Photo by Mike Davis.
Jeff Tefertiller’s deal with RG3 has McDowell feeling some buyer’s remorse with Luck. Photo by Mike Davis.
  • (Lance Zierlein) Anquan Boldin (1 year/$4 million)- Boldin should be a solid starter in this format and came very cheap.
  • (Rivers McCown) Doug Martin (3 years/$67.5 million)- The Martin nomination came early and I think everyone was still feeling things out. Well done!
  • (Jeff Tefertiller) Robert Griffin III (3 years/$46 million)- This deal really makes me re-think my Luck contract.
  • (Sigmund Bloom) Martellus Bennett (1 year/$0.5 million)- Again, we all fell asleep at the wheel. This would have been a much better choice for me than Housler.

Questionable deals for owners (IMHO)

  • (Bryan Fontaine) Isaiah Pead (4 years/$7 million)- Giving a possible RBBC the only four-year deal is too risky for me. If it works out, Fontaine is getting a steal though.
  • (Jason Wood) Jared Cook (3 years/$5.5 million)= Again, Cook is too unproven and I would not want to give a mid-level tight end one of the valuable three-year deals.
  • (Lance Zierlein) TY Hilton (4 years/$26.5 million)- I really like Hilton, he just would not have been my choice to give the lone four-year contract.

Fave team other than mine

Jeff Tefertiller- Jeff was the talk of the auction early on as he threw out some big contracts early. Of course, that meant that he had to sit and wait for some deals at the end of the auction, but the end result looks good to me. He is loaded with studs at almost every starting position, including Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Ray Rice, Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garcon and Torrey Smith. Of course, Jeff will need to find a RB2 and a solid tight end, but in a fourteen team league, there will always be some holes.

Impressions of Reality Sports Online

As I mentioned, I had some early technical issues, but I think that is mostly due to my disappointing Time Warner internet service. The RSO software was smooth and easy to catch on to. It offered a service that I had never envisioned and challenged me to think on my feet, as I not only bid on the services of players, but assigned them contracts at the same time. I would certainly recommend other fantasy players to try out the RSO platform.

Short-term / Long-term View of Team

Stop me if you’ve heard this…but I really like my team for both the short-term and long-term. Although my team is filled with young players, I feel comfortable relying on most of those as starters for the 2013 season, including players like Luck, Gordon and Blackmon. At the same time, the youth of those players offers upside and promise for future success.

After the auction, I was really liking my depth at wide receiver, especially for a fourteen team league, and then Gordon and Blackmon were both suspended multiple games. As a result, the first two to four weeks will be a balancing act, but I still have Jones, Alexander and Nicks to lean on.

I am looking forward to the challenge of managing the contracts this time next year, as well as future seasons. It will be crucial to remain active and dedicated to the league in order to succeed.

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