Friday, December 07, 2007

Bloggers in Vegas, and Fantasy Football Whining

With all the bloggers but me either out in Las Vegas or traveling on their way there at this point, most of my audience is hopefully going to be away from their laptops and PDAs and instead hanging out live in real life with other real life bloggers instead of just their cheesy avatars and chatbox personalities. I know from personal experience what a fun and exciting time this will be, in particular for the new bloggers and first-time live Vegas attendees like schaubs, Jordan, Buddy, IT and so many others of the new crowd of poker bloggers during 2007. My own memories of my two WPBT gatherings the past two summers are ones that I will not soon forget and really are some of the most incredible times I've had in my adult life. There is just something about Las Vegas that is impossible to describe, impossible to explain, unless you just live it for yourself, there really is. And being there with a bunch of men and women that you've come to know and like, even if you've never actually seen them before, is something well worth any price to make the time and get out there for the trip.

With much of my audience not in front of the pc today, I thought it might be fun to just link back to some of my own posts here about my two trips out with the group to Vegas. My stories are a little different from some in that I have been out there during World Series of Poker time for both of my blogger gatherings, and playing in the WSOP which I've satellited in to in each of the past two years has been a major focus of my trips in addition to kicking it live with the old school guys like Al, Iggy, Pauly and Speaker in addition to some of my favorite newer bloggers like Chad, Don, Smokkee and Iak and many others whom I definitely consider to be good friends of mine today, largely as a result of my two live visits to Sin City and the time I've spent with everyone there. So here for your enjoyment are some of my posts about my two visits to Las Vegas in the summers of 2007 and 2006 to hang with the bloggers and play in the World Series of Poker.

My recount of my early drubbing out of the 2006 World Series of Poker by a river suckout by the reigning world champion. My god that sucked.

My recap of my very first trip out to meet the bloggers in Vegas in early July, 2006

How I cashed in the World Series of Poker, June 2007. Still one of my all-time favorite posts, for the subject matter but also I think the quality of the analysis. Took lots of notes and I think I really captured the feeling and most of the big hands of my run in the shorthanded nlh event.

My recap of the awesome time I had with the bloggers over the rest of the weekend in June 2007.

Lastly, I thought I would bitch a little bit about the blogger fantasy football league this year, since Chad has all those visitors in town today and hopefully won't see this post to comment on what a whiney li'l bitch I'm being. Basically, Chad set this league up and attacked my manhood to the point that I felt compelled to agree to pay $100 into this league. It was only after I agreed that I found out that Chad would be running the league on Fanball, which I can say without hesitation is they gheyest, shittiest, most thoughtless and difficult site to ever play fantasy football on in the history of our galaxy. Seriously. This site is so poorly run and poorly set up that I still can't believe I lost a hundy playing in this thing, at a hobby like fantasy football which I never otherwise put actual money on.

Why does this league suck so bad, you might ask? Well, how about this.

For starters, the scoring in this league is all screwed up, in particular when it comes to the team defenses. One problem is that this league actually uses yardage allowed as part of the team defense scores. As in, if the team gives up a bunch of points but only 150 yards rushing and 133 yards passing, the team defense actually gets points based on that in addition to points allowed, sacks, interceptions and all the things you usually see in a "normal" fantasy football league. As a result, the team defenses in this league end up scoring a way inordinately large number of points every week as compared to the other positions in the league. And even though everyone in the league participates evenly in that fuckup, it's still a fuckup in the league, make no mistake, and there's a reason that no other fantasy league in the history of time runs the defense scoring in this way. The end result was that the average number of points scored against me by the defense in this league was 29 fucking points per week! Think about that number! Every single week I faced an average of 29 points scored against me just from my opponent's team defense. In a league where 90-100 points was generally enough to win each week's game, a good third of that number of points were put up every single week against me just from the team defense alone. How fucking ghey.

But the bigger issue is the setup of the league itself. The league is idiotically designed in two five-team divisions, as if there is any possible need for any divisions in a 10-team league. The whole notion is assinine, and what happened in our league this year could not be a better example of why no other fantasy football site anywhere includes divisional play as its default. Take a look at the final regular season standings in the blogger league this year:

I mean, I almost have to feel bad for the schmike who collaborated to set this whole divisional fantasy play thing up. Why would you ever run a fantasy league this way? Because look what happens. Up top you have the "East Division", otherwise known as the "Shitty Division With Not a Single Good Team In It". These guys end up playing each other team in that division twice during the season, and each team in the other division just once. Then at the bottom you have the "West Division" that I was in, which is also known as "The Division With All the Good Teams In It". Here, we also play every team in our division twice apiece, and the teams in the East only once each. So, rather than just do a random schedule where every team plays every other team once and then randomly some of the others twice, instead I am forced to play each of Vegas, Schaubs and Folsom twice, while I'm only playing shitty teams like Manhattan, Anguila, Cleveland, basically every team up in the East division just once. And yet somehow we are all ranked together to compete for the top four playoff spots! How can a league be set up this way?!!

And before you start thinking I'm just using after-the-fact sour grapes to make my complaints, let me point out the "PF" column ("points for") to the right of each team's record. This is fantasy football, so in the end the only thing that dictates how good or bad a team did is how many fantasy points it scored during the season. Now take a look at those scores across the board in this league. You will see that the top scoring team was Vegas Hurricanes with 1325 total fantasy points. Good year, good team. The next most prolific fantasy scoring team was Schaubs with 1262 points. Another good season. Next comes Folsom City at 1218. Are you noticing a trend here? In absolute and irrefutable terms, the three best fantasy teams in the entire league were all in the West Division. This means that I paid $100 to play in a league where I got to play 6 of my 13 regular season games against the undisputed three best teams in the league, and as a result my record ends up looking horrible. Meanwhile, the donkeys upstairs in the East Division only had to play these three best teams in the league one time apiece. But we all paid the same $100 to compete in one big free-for-all for the four best overall records to make the playoffs! Recockulous!!

One other interesting thing to note is the "PA" column ("points against"). This is how many fantasy points were scored against each team by their opponents during the season. Now, you should know that as a general rule I run about as bad in fantasy football every year as I do in poker every night. I manage to end up with the top 1 or 2 most points scored against every single fantasy team I ever play with in every league I play, every single year. It's just one of those things with me. So, for interest's sake the first thing you will notice is that I ended up with the second most points against all season. And there is no coincidence that me and Brock's Bombers have by far the most points scored against, and also the fewest wins, in the entire league. Those two stats are inextricably intertwined in any heads-up fantasy football league. But more than that, this "PA" stat shows better than anything I ever could have exactly why this divisional setup is a jucking froke. Look at the points against for every team in the West Division there on the bottom. Now look at the points against for every team in the East Division above. Notice anything curious there? That's right -- the top 5 most points against in the entire 10-team league were all in the same fucking division, one through five!! Every single fucking team in the West Division got hosed this year. Even the luckiest team in the West -- Folsom City -- has 1127 fantasy points scored by its opponents this year. And meanwhile, the team in the East with the most fantasy points scored against it throughout the entire season -- Window Lickers -- has only 1116 points against.

How sick is that? Now I ask again, can you really believe I paid the same $100 as everyone else to play in this league that is just horribly unbalanced right from the getgo? Fanball should be fucking embarrassed to take part in this kind of irregular bullshit. All I know is, I got stuck into a league that uses divisions to enforce a systematic scheduling imbalance that forces me to play the 3 best scoring teams in the league twice each while the other five donkeys in the other division only have to play those three top teams once. This results in me having the most points scored against me out of all but one team in the league, and I end up with the worst record in the league. All this despite my doing a great job managing my team all year, and ending up within a stone's throw (11 total fantasy points) of the 5th most fantasy points scored out of the ten teams. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say my team was awesome or anything this year. Obviously with just 1082 total points scored my team was nothing to write home about, even though I did draft the best team on draft day like I always do. But in the end, because of this divisional structure I had 130 more points scored against me than the team with the most points against in the other division. Think about that, all you fantasy football players out there. Who is going to be able to overcome literally a 10-point deficit versus even the unluckiest team in the other division in every single game of the season? The whole concept makes no sense at all. None whatsoever.

So then look at the total records in the league. The three best teams in the league by fantasy points scored, all in the West division, all made the playoffs at 8-5. Meanwhile, the other two of us who got stuck playing each of those three best teams 6 times out of 13 total games obviously got screwed, ending up at 3-10 for the year. But then look up top at that pussified East division. Here the teams all got to play 8 games out of 13 against mediocre teams, none of whom scored more than 1146 total fantasy points on the season, nowhere near the top 3 teams in the league. And the result? No 3-10 teams like in the West, but rather a bunch of mediocre bullshit records ranging from the truly bad 5-8 in that league to 8-5 for that league winner in the Maryland Redskins. What's more, look at that Maryland Redskins team for a second, the only team from the East to make the playoffs. That team only scored a total of 1092 fantasy points, a full 130 less than any of the big hitters in the league overall, and just 20 points more than the worst team in West! In fact, that team that is going to playoffs because of the pussyass schedule it played only scored 2 more fantasy points than it gave up all season! What the phuck?!! What it comes down to is that the East division has nothing but mediocre teams, none of which would have been anywhere near .500 if this league played a more balanced, truly randomized schedule.

So in the end, I got talked into paying $100 to play in a league that ended up having a totally unbalanced schedule that forced me to play half of my 13 games against the undisputed best teams in the league, while half of the ten teams in the league only had to play 3 of their 13 games against those 3 undisputed best teams. The points for and points against numbers clearly bear out the very noticeable and unfair effects of this imbalanced scheduling. And it proved to be a league with idiotic scoring that even a true window licker would not use for a fantasy football league, one which enabled the team defenses to put up a full third of the entire points scored in many weeks. It's recockulous. If I had known this, you could not have paid me to play in this league. I guess I should have looked into all of this stuff before agreeing to play with these donkeys, but to be honest I assumed no normal human being would ever be willing to play under these circumstances. Lessons learned. Next year if you guys want to play actual fantasy football in an actual league where actual logic and actual fairness are used to set things up, Yahoo! Sports is always available. Punkasses.

Hope everyone enjoys Vegas this weekend. Wish I was there!

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Blogger 23skidoo said...

Man I wish I had your energy for getting worked up. ;)

While I'd agree to most of the commentary on the division structure, all of the scoring categories were listed. Why do you think I picked up another top 5 defense along the way?

I also disagree with your luck comment regarding my team. I worked my ass off to find waiver wire players to fill in gaps left by BOTH of my starting RB's.
I'm also a bit disappointed by the lack of trading in the league.

Regardless, it was well established pretty early on that the league stunk for the most part, and I will NEVER participate in a league on Fanball again.

I hope we can do a H2H league on yahoo or CBS next year.

Cheers, and sorry I missed you in NY.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

Just a few things:

-You should know how the scoring works before your draft, and adjust accordingly. If low-yardage defenses are more valuable, than treat them that way.

-While the division set up can be gay (I'm in a 12-team league with FOUR divisions...yeah, 3 teams in each division), you still had the third-lowest point total out of the entire league, so division or no division your team sucks. Also, even in leagues with no divisions, there are always going to be lucksacs that win more games with fewer points, and people who get screwed and score a lot of points but have a crappy record.

-Usually having the best draft day means dick (And that's mostly subjective anyways). It's all about being able to pick up the key free agents (ie. Derek Anderson, Wes Welker, etc.) or make the right trades. That's what wins fantasy leagues.

Just for the record, I'd be hesitant to drop money in any league that wasn't on Yahoo or ESPN. I know how their interfaces work, and I feel comfortable on their systems. But I would hate to end up on some strange system and realize it's ridiculous to try and search for the FA you want.

12:37 AM  
Blogger CEMfromMD said...

The one thing that you missed that is even more crazier in my opinion is that there is an OFF week this week. I also agree if you are going to take the top 4 teams, why even have a divisional set-up. Sure some people will play the "better" teams more then once, but they wont be all group in the same division and have to play them all twice. Not sure I completely agree that I lucked out to get in the playoffs, as I lost two staight games at the end and had a lower point total at the end was the lack of production of my quarterback (Brady) the last two weeks, without him though I was only a 6-7 team most likely at best.

12:45 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Although I agree with Mike completely about adjusting your draft based on scoring systems I feel that it is difficult to project the impact of every scoring nuance pre-draft.

This would be more pronounced with yardage being part of team defense.

Shame you're not going to Las Vegas.

12:47 AM  
Blogger JL514 said...

Excellent Rant. My day is more complete - Thank you.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

You are right, fan ball was a disaster. I only used that site because at my old job we had a league where it was $200 to get in, $20 per loss, $10 pre free agent, $15 per player traded etc. So fan ball was the only site who could handle those financial settings. I was not ready for all the settings involved in this league, it was ridiculous. But all of us had to fight the BS. I missed the playoffs by one game and lost two games when I scored over 100 to two teams with defenses getting 30 or more. The scoring system was supposed to be CBS sports line format auto imported. It definitely sucked, but it sucked for all of us. I apologize, really should of used ESPN instead!

3:51 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

You are a real man, Chad. And you're right, for a league with all those financial settings, Fanball seems to be the only way to go. But for people who actually know and like fantasy football, I got about 10 times gheyer just from playing in our league this year.

Next year I say we do this again but on Yahoo! Sports. I've played multiple teams over 7 straight years there and they really have the shit together.

You weren't supposed to see today's post btw. I forgot even with the bloggers out there I guess today is just business as usual for you since you live in Vegas all the time. Dam you Vegas-living donks.

And btw, I didn't even get into how impossible -- not just hard, but literally impossible in most cases I found -- Fanball made it to pick up free agents that were dropped during the week. Effing unbelievable how hard these aholes make it to just have some fun with your friends.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

Dude, you are only ahead of two others in points for, so you were not going to do well in either division (8/10 in points scored).

A can't beleive I could not get you to play in the Blogger Fantasy Football Battle, when you entered this mess for $100. Next Year????

We missed you in Vegas.

12:26 AM  

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