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Last year I included footage of the summer’s steak dinner, but this summer I forgot to record any, maybe in part because I was paying. The only memento of the evening is the following tweet from Jeff Erickson:
The problem with the steak sidebet is as follows: There are typically six of us eating steak, and the three highest points-finishers eat for free, the fourth buys for himself, the fifth for himself and one other person and last for himself and two others.
But we don’t break down the bill individually, but by percentages. Fourth place pays 1/6, fifth, 1/3 and last, 1/2. That means if you finish fifth, as I did, I’m paying 1/3 of the check no matter what. So the $60 side of lobster (or whatever it cost, I didn’t ask) was only $20 for me. That is moral hazard.
(Incidentally, Erickson accepted a bite of the lobster, so he’s complicit.)
I say this only to emphasize that in this $20 buy-in league with a significant sidebet where finishing in third is as good as finishing in first, you’re really playing more to avoid downside than to achieve glory or greatness. (Glory is eating for free while some poor bastard cringes as you order the shrimp cocktail, shrimp scampi appetizer, wedge salad, steak with lobster and fries and dessert, as I did. And I did this despite having to pay for 1/3 of it.)
To that end, I planned to draft a team that punted QB and second running back, but was strong everywhere else. I punted QB because in a league with five-man benches, you really can’t hold two for very long, and playable ones appear on the waiver wire all the time. And I think waiver wire backs with a path to carries are more playable than waiver wire receivers with a path to targets.
In any event, it’s a 14-team league, we had a $200 budget, it’s half-PPR and we use IDPs, though they are only a small part of the overall scoring.
Here are the results — I’ll comment on my buys below:
QB: Jared Goff and Brock Purdy — I was the last one to nab a QB and spent by far the least money on them ($3) total. I trust Goff a little bit, Purdy has some upside with those weapons, and I expect other teams to drop their second QBs before long. Plus, Jordan Love and Matthew Stafford were undrafted — there are always QBs available.
RB: Bijan Robinson, Jerick McKinnon, D’Onta Foreman, Chase Edmonds — I loved getting Robinson for $6 less than Christian McCaffrey in a half-PPR where Robinson’s arguably the RB1. The other backs are shaky af but I’ll be active on the waiver wire looking to shore that up.
WR: Amon-Ra St.Brown, Christian Watson, Chris Godwin, Zay Flowers, Jackson Smith-Njigba — This is the strength of my team in a 14-team league. I will use one of the rookies in the flex. I got into a bidding war over Flowers late, so maybe I overpaid for him, but he’s got a decent chance to be the No. 2 target for Lamar Jackson. I now have three shares of Watson in three leagues, and that makes me nervous. I like him, but Alan Seslowsky is jinxing him on social media by acting like he can’t fail, and he definitely could fail with Jordan Love as his QB. I paid up for Godwin too who I think could have a massive year now that he’s another year removed from the ACL, and there’s no pass-catching depth beyond him and Mike Evans.
TE: Darren Waller, Dalton Kincaid — I love Waller this year — he’s my TE2, behind only Travis Kelce. I bought Kincaid with my second-to-last pick for my max bid of $5 just because I wanted a share of the ultra-hyped rookie. I could see him being Josh Allen’s No. 3 target out of the gate.
K: Younghoe Koo — I needed a Younghoe in my life, and now I have one.
DL Dexter Lawrence — Elite defensive tackle I figured I could get for $1 who gets a lot of tackles for a D-lineman. Maybe I should have aimed for more upside with someone like Aidan Hutchinson, but I only thought of that after I got Lawrence, and unlike Tim Schuler, I was not going to buy two defensive linemen.
LB Roquan Smith — He was the top LB on the rankings I copied and pasted, and I was price-enforcing, thinking someone would go $4, but they didn’t.
DB Richie Grant — A guy high up on the cheat sheet who is ostensiby healthy and available for $1.