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Drafting with Guppies


Muggsy
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I did a draft last night, with people from the restaurant I bartend at...

 

many of them had never dne fantasy before, many of the others had very little experience. I was sitting there with the only other guy who has played in many league before and we were both so frustrated by the 6th or 7th round we couldn't see straight, even though we both ended up with great teams...

 

I only joined this league 'cuz they needed the extra person and it was a cheap buy-in, I figured I use it as a warm up to my big money leagues this weekend.

 

do you guys hate drafting with guppies or are you excited at their stupidity and thrilled to end up with a great team you are confidant will devour the league(barring injuries)?

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I enjoy playing with Guppies after I read this little gem.

 

Ten Tips for Drafting With Guppies

Guest Submission posted 8/22 by Sean McIndoe, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

If you're reading this site, you probably consider yourself a fantasy football shark (or, at least, a shark-in-training). That means you probably prefer to play in leagues with other sharks. Fair enough.

 

But there's also a good chance that you'll play in at least one league this year against non-sharks. Maybe it's with coworkers, maybe it's your old college buddies, or maybe it's the guys at the local bar. It's a fun league, but not a shark-infested one. Around here, the sharks call these people "guppies".

 

Let's be honest: Sharks laugh at guppies. Sharks look down at them. Visit the FBG message boards and the contempt for guppies is almost palpable. How can these guys even feed themselves, let alone expect to compete with us?

 

But here's the dirty little secret: When sharks swim with guppies, they often get crushed. It happens all the time. If you're reading this article, it may be because it's already happened to you.

 

Don't let it happen again.

 

The guppy vs. the shark

What is a guppy? He's the guy who enjoys fantasy football, but doesn't obsess over it. He'll buy a magazine and check a web site or two, but he doesn't scour the Internet looking for any nugget of information. He'll have a cheat sheet, but he doesn't do his own projections. He's in it for fun, but doesn't take it too seriously.

 

In short, he's most of the world's fantasy football players. He's a good guy, but he's no shark.

 

Most importantly, the guppy is not stupid. Folks here throw the term around as an insult. Don't be fooled. The guppy knows his NFL just as well as you do. He knows the players and teams. He's not that dumb guy at the draft who makes rookie mistakes, ignores bye weeks and drafts Barry Sanders "just in case".

 

The guppy is just as smart as you are. He just doesn't follow the standard fantasy shark gameplan, and that makes him different. And unless you know how the guppy is different, that makes him dangerous.

 

Why guppies win

Think about it: Sharks prepare for fantasy football seasons by visiting web sites run by other sharks. They debate their fellow sharks on the message boards and compete with them in mock drafts. They look for information about average draft position to see what the other sharks are thinking. They drink the shark Kool-Aid

 

Sharks assume they'll dominate the guppies, with their VBD and ADP and giant shark brains. Then they head off to their guppy league draft... and are left wondering what the hell happened when their precious shark gameplan falls apart by the end of round two.

 

Here's why: Guppies are dangerous because they work from a different playbook than you're used to. They don't think like you. They're unpredictable... or at least they seem that way.

 

Guppies do follow patterns. The catch is that they don't follow the ones you're used to when you swim with sharks. You need to make some adjustments. But with some preparation and a few tweaks to your game plan you can exploit their tendencies and weaknesses, while avoiding getting caught in a draft day trap.

 

Here are ten crucial tendencies of guppies that you'll need to know if want to swim with the guppies:

 

Tendency #1: They don't do RB Stud

Here's the dirty secret of RB Stud Theory: It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. You need to draft RBs high in shark leagues, because everyone else is going to be drafting RBs. That's why you see expert mocks starting with 14 straight RB picks. Sharks live in fear of RB Stud.

 

Guppies, on the other hand, couldn't care less. Yes, they realize that RBs are the key to winning, and they will focus on having a solid running game, but they don't go overboard. They will take quarterbacks in round one. They will take Steve Smith and Peyton Manning with their first two picks. They won't often take three RBs with their first three picks. And as a result, sharks who try to play by RB Stud rules end up getting burned in guppy leagues.

 

Picture this: you're drafting third in a ten-team league. You happily snap up Larry Johnson with your first round pick. After a quick QB run, you're overjoyed to see Rudi Johnson still somehow on the board at 2.8 and grab him too. At 3.3, you can't believe your luck when Cedric Benson is there for the taking. You're living the fantasy shark's dream.

 

Then you wake up: While you sit and wait for your fourth pick, your opponents are happily snapping up WRs, QBs and even the top TEs. Some of these guys only have one RB so far, but they don't seem to care. These guppies have ignored RBs in favor of stud QBs and WRs, the cardinal sin of fantasy football. But they're not paying the price like they're supposed to, because solid guys like Thomas Jones and Ahman Green are still on the board in round four.

 

Your mock draft told you that you could grab Drew Brees or Anquan Boldin in the fourth, but they're long gone. Your VBD keeps spitting out the names of RBs, but the WRs and QBs are falling off the board so quickly that your draft board is a mess. And as you sit there, with your three stud RBs already in place, eying all the other top RBs still on the board, you find yourself muttering the words "With my fourth pick, I take Jon Kitna".

 

If you've never drafted with guppies, the paragraph above seems ridiculous. But anyone who's played in a guppy league before is nodding right now.

 

The lesson: Even though it goes against everything you think you know about fantasy football, you can afford to wait on RBs in guppy leagues. Load up on RBs because you want to, not because you have to. Jerious Norwood will not be gone by round three. Carson Palmer will be. Don't get caught.

 

Tendency #2: They don't work in tiers

You don't need to be a shark to know who the best six WRs are this year, or who the top three QBs are. Chances are, a fantasy player with even meager knowledge of the NFL could come up with a cheatsheet that wouldn't be far off from yours, at least in the early rounds. But most guppies see the cheat sheet as a linear progression, whereas sharks know that the key is in the tiers.

 

Guppies will recognize the importance of tiers on a surface level, but many will not adjust their drafting strategies accordingly. That means that high second tier guys like Jamal Lewis and Donald Driver will go earlier than you'll expect based on ADP. Sharks see a drop-off after Manning/Brady/Palmer at QB and adjust accordingly. Guppies just move down to the next guy on their list.

 

Tendency #3: They're more likely to get caught up in runs

Runs are a powerful thing. Even the most experienced shark has probably given in to the urge to jump in on a run out of fear of being frozen out of a position. Guppies are no different, and are in fact more likely to follow a run, especially in the middle rounds when the familiar names are starting to disappear off the board.

 

You can exploit this by sticking to a value approach and ignoring the runs. If you're the type, you could even try to encourage runs by making offhand comments ("Boy, those TEs are flying off the board...").

 

Tendency #4: They love the veterans...

Guppies will typically put more faith in big name players on the downside of their careers. When push comes to shove in the heat of a draft, a guppy likes the idea of calling out a familiar name. That means they'll have guys like Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis and of course Brett Favre a little higher on their draft boards than you do.

 

They also won't be scared off by those successful but aging guys like Marvin Harrison. If you have your heart set on any of these guys, be prepared to move earlier than you would in a shark league.

 

Tendency #5: ... and the rookies

Similarly, guppies tend to love rookies. They still remember the year some guy won the league with Randy Moss, and don't realize how rarely a non-RB rookie will be worth drafting. The more hype a guy has had, the quicker he'll go. Expect guys like Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson to go earlier than normal in your guppy league. Guys like Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell may be drafted in the late round of redraft leagues. And expect somebody to make their move on Calvin Johnson well before you'd want to.

 

Tendency #6: They're not good at projecting breakouts

If guppies love rookies and love veterans, who's left? The in-between guys, specifically guys in their second-through-fourth seasons who have yet to break out. Guys who have talent, but have worn out their rookie buzz and haven't yet become household names. These are the guys you can target in a guppy league.

 

With the exception of the occasional trendy sleepers who are getting plenty of press already, breakout candidates are easy pickings in guppy leagues. For example, it's not difficult to imaging coming out of your draft with strong value picks like DeAngelo Williams, Lee Evans or Roy Williams, all well below their ADP.

 

Note that there's an obvious exception to this rule: Heavily hyped players of any age will go earlier than expected in guppy drafts. Michael Vick was the poster child of this phenomenon. This year, Randy Moss is back on the list. Vince Young could be on his way.

 

Tendency #7: They'll overlook training camp surprises

Every year we see players get hurt, get suspended, lose their jobs, etc. during training camp and the exhibition schedule. Sharks, of course, will know about it the moment it happens.

 

The guppy, on the other hand, is probably using a magazine from June as their cheat sheet. That doesn't mean he doesn't know about the injuries. He may even know who the backups are. But he's working from a cheat sheet that doesn't list those guys, and the chances are he takes the easy way out: he scratches the injured stud off the list and let's someone else worry about figuring out where to slot the replacement in.

 

The exception is the over-hyped training camp breakouts. If a guy has been featured on the home page of ESPN.com under the headline "The Can't Miss Kid", all bets are off.

 

(By the way, the practical application of this tendency is that guppies rarely know what's happening with the Denver Broncos backfield. Then again, neither does Mike Shanahan.)

 

Tendency #8: They like to fill out their lineup before drafting backups

Most guppies will prefer to have a QB, two RBs and two WRs by the end of round five (or three WRs after round six, in three-WR leagues). The odds of any one position being drained early (like RB always is in a shark league) are slim.

 

In other words, expect to see more good RBs and fewer WRs and QBs available in the middle rounds than you're used to. Adjust your drafting strategy accordingly if you need to.

 

Tendency #9: They're more aggressive about QBs

Quarterbacks are the undisputed stars of the real-life football world. They're the biggest names,

and have the biggest impact on who wins and loses. For guppies, that often translated into higher

QB rankings in fantasy cheatsheets.

 

Sharks can rhyme off a half-dozen well-worn reasons to wait on a QB, and those reasons may be valid. But guppies will usually move more quickly. That means a QB run is likely, as early as the first and second round. Be prepared.

 

What's more, very often the first backup a guppy will take will be a QB. It's not unusual for guppies to have two QBs by the end of the seventh or eighth round. That means that if you plan to wait past then to take yours, expect to get a mid-second or even third tier guy.

 

That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but you're fooling yourself if you've penciled in

Phillip Rivers for round nine.

 

Tendency #10: They take kickers and defenses early and often

Some guppies will take the strategy of filling their starting lineup first even further, by adding TEs, Ks and defenses into the mix. Most guppies will at the very least take their kickers and defenses earlier than you'd expect. And many will take two of each, just to cover off their bye weeks.

 

(This trend has actually slowed in recent years as more and more magazines warn readers not to take kickers and defenses too early. But it still happens.)

 

For the most part, this works to the shark's advantage. The second half of many guppy drafts will be full of kicker, defense and tight end picks. If you're willing to wait as long as possible on

kickers and defenses, and to take only one of each, you can use these late rounds to chase sleepers at RB, WR and QB.

 

However, just keep in mind that you'll have slim picking in that final round. The old shark standby about how "there are always good kickers left in the last round" may not hold true in guppy leagues. Similarly, taking a defense late could mean going with a mediocre team with a good schedule, since last year's best units will be long gone.

 

In Summary

 

Follow the RB Stud gameplan if you like, but don't go overboard. Understand that there will be RBs available in the middle rounds that would never be there in a shark league.

 

 

Either be willing to take those elite QBs and WRs early, or forget them altogether. You will not get a stud at any skill position in round four.

 

 

Be ready for position runs. And be ready for a second run on QB in the middle rounds.

 

 

Target young non-rookies who are ready to breakout, and aggressively go after them in the middle and late rounds.

 

 

If you must have a top kicker or defense, be ready to take them far earlier than you normally would. If you can live without, be realistic about what will be left and be ready to base picks on schedule instead of talent.

 

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Tendency #1: They don't do RB Stud

Here's the dirty secret of RB Stud Theory: It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. You need to draft RBs high in shark leagues, because everyone else is going to be drafting RBs. That's why you see expert mocks starting with 14 straight RB picks. Sharks live in fear of RB Stud.

 

Guppies, on the other hand, couldn't care less. Yes, they realize that RBs are the key to winning, and they will focus on having a solid running game, but they don't go overboard. They will take quarterbacks in round one. They will take Steve Smith and Peyton Manning with their first two picks. They won't often take three RBs with their first three picks. And as a result, sharks who try to play by RB Stud rules end up getting burned in guppy leagues.

 

Picture this: you're drafting third in a ten-team league. You happily snap up Larry Johnson with your first round pick. After a quick QB run, you're overjoyed to see Rudi Johnson still somehow on the board at 2.8 and grab him too. At 3.3, you can't believe your luck when Cedric Benson is there for the taking. You're living the fantasy shark's dream.

 

Then you wake up: While you sit and wait for your fourth pick, your opponents are happily snapping up WRs, QBs and even the top TEs. Some of these guys only have one RB so far, but they don't seem to care. These guppies have ignored RBs in favor of stud QBs and WRs, the cardinal sin of fantasy football. But they're not paying the price like they're supposed to, because solid guys like Thomas Jones and Ahman Green are still on the board in round four.

 

Your mock draft told you that you could grab Drew Brees or Anquan Boldin in the fourth, but they're long gone. Your VBD keeps spitting out the names of RBs, but the WRs and QBs are falling off the board so quickly that your draft board is a mess. And as you sit there, with your three stud RBs already in place, eying all the other top RBs still on the board, you find yourself muttering the words "With my fourth pick, I take Jon Kitna".

 

If you've never drafted with guppies, the paragraph above seems ridiculous. But anyone who's played in a guppy league before is nodding right now.

 

The lesson: Even though it goes against everything you think you know about fantasy football, you can afford to wait on RBs in guppy leagues. Load up on RBs because you want to, not because you have to. Jerious Norwood will not be gone by round three. Carson Palmer will be. Don't get caught.

 

This has been driving me up a f'in wall in my "guppie" league.

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This has been driving me up a f'in wall in my "guppie" league.

+2

last year in my office league Brady, Hasselbeck and Peyton were taken in the first round...while I don't expect Hass to be gone this time, I fully expect the other two to be. I try to fight the urge but always end up taking RBs.

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the "Guppies", in my league got a little better this year. There was only one laughable team, and of the first 20 pick, 16 were RBs.

Sounds like my guppy league. 3 of our guppies from last year weren't there this year. One guy got kicked out because he sucked so bad and the other two guys had their buddies draft for them. :D

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My local had 9 QBs gone within the first 3 rounds (12 team league). In short...as a noob compared to most on this board...I wish I would have read this a week ago. I think I still did alright (somehow Kitna was left in the 6th round...much after Hassel, rivers, young, etc. were gone) so you can get lucky, but it was definitely different then I was expecting. I guess you just always have to be flexible. I've known some of the guys in my local for a long time so I tried to just guess what they were going to do. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. I'd say guppies are annoying, but I also like the waiver wire more in guppie leagues than I do in the sharks. I picked up MJD much later in my local last year than he probably went in most of your leagues...so there is an upside if your draft doesn't work out.

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The thing is that in a guppie league, the stud RB theory goes up in smoke because they value different things - QBs are just as rare as RBs, in a sense - there are only 32 starters, and most backups have ZERO value - so that when "stud QBs" start flying off the board, the relative scarcity increases and QB value goes UP and RB value drops.

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God I wish I would have read this last week before my Guppy draft. My guys at work need one more and it only made for an 8 team league. I usually play in a 14 team and nothing under 12 teams. I get the 4th pick, targeting Addai, draft starts, LT, Jackson, Alexander. Curve ball, talked myself out of LJ and took Addai, then it goes Romo :D , Westbrook, Chicago D :D , with the announcement that Defense wins championships :wacko: from the Bears fan, and the round finishes with Henry. Round two snakes back and goes Bush, Colston, McGahee, MBIII, and I still end up with LJ, :D Young, Gore, Manning. By this time I'm scratching my head. It's a 3 WR must start league and round three I use conventional wisdom and take Rudi :sick: , the guppies take S Smith, Owens, Brady, Brees, McNabb, and at that point I realize I just got slammed by the guppies. :wacko:

 

The Chicago Bears fan's starting line up ended up

QB Brady

RB Benson, MJD

WR Colston 2nd pick, Berrian, S Moss

TE Gonzalez

D Chicago 1st pick

 

Are you kidding me :wacko:

 

The best team ended up going to a guy that was auto picking. From the 2 spot

 

QB Palmer

RB Jackson, Gore

WR S Smith, Holt, Walker

TE Cooley

D Miami

 

I had a better draft in my 14 team league and 28 players were already kept because I've been in that league for 7 years and pretty much knew what was going to happen and almost predicted the entire first round. Guppies scare me :wacko:

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That was a great article, I never realized what was going on in my league until this year without reading that article. I won the league in 2005 but was awful last year. They act like guppies even though the league is 5 years old.

 

Last year I drafted McGahee the Portis at 1.08 and then at 2.05 and was very happy when I got Bledsoe and Favre very late, UGH!

 

This year I said I'm getting a top QB if it kills me. Sure enough the run with Manning in at 1.07, Brady 2.04, Palmer 2.07, Bulger at 2.10. I "had" to take Brees at 2.11.

 

I liked the feeling and went with TO at 3.02 and was still able to get Lynch in the 5th and Thomas Jones in the 4th.

 

I suffered at defense as a result, there was a guppy run in the 5th with 4 d's in a row. I got the Dolphins in the 10th. Just Ok.

 

I will take SJax, Bres, TO over McGahee and Portis any year.

 

The article is dead on and the stragety worked I think. Even experienced guys act like guppies and now the light finally came on as to why for me. Know your enemies!!!!!

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This article is a definite MUST read for every "expert" here at The Huddle.

 

Agree - had our office draft last night (12 teams).

3 teams subscribe to FBG; me and one of our young staff I turned onto are using The Huddle data.

 

Don't you know, he goes and gives the Huddle Top 120 to one of the Guppies (stupid :D stupid :wacko: stupid :wacko: ) - and she's the only woman in the League (granted she knows a little about fantasy football, but a BIG Eagles homer). All the rest are there with guppy fooder.

 

Well, here is most of her team ...

 

QB - P RIvers & McNair

RB - Addai, B Jacobs, Benson, Chris Brown

WR - Fitz, L Coles, Galloway, D Bennett, T Williamson

TE - Cooley

PK - Kaeding

D/ST - Broncos

 

Not bad for a woman, but whe was just going down the top 120 - I think I might just have to :D this noob who gave her the list!

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Great read. The same thing happened to me last year at work. While I was piling up rbs/wrs, other teams were drafting 2-3 QBs in the first 7 rounds and I ended up with Kurt Warner in the 7th...ugh. Too bad my stockpile of rbs/wrs included Ronnie Brown, Holt, Fitzgerald, Julius Jones and DeAngelo Williams. Gore was able to at least keep me respectable.

 

This year at work I have the 14th pick in a 14-team league. I'm probably going RB/WR, unless a couple of RBs fall to me, and then a QB in my next pair of picks, so I'm not suck with Eli Manning as my starting QB.

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that article was great, very funny and very true!

 

some of my biggest problems the other night weren't with early runs on QBs or WRs, I ended up just fine at those positions.

 

I was referring more to the names of players that hadn't been drafted being thrown about, the noobs that kept trying to take guys that had been drafted three rounds(or more) earlier, the constant "Hey, Michael Vick's still on the board", and finally if I had to hear "Housyourmama" or "put it on the board....Champioship" one more time i was going to beat somebody :wacko::D:wacko::D:wacko: !!

 

It was a VERY long night.

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JJ posted that article in another thread 3 hours before my draft here at work. I of course forwarded it to ALL of them to get in there heads. It helped them to draft a little better, but Manning still went #7. Believe it or not I drafted Bush at #6. I have him ranked a little higher in a redraft league, we'll see how it pans out.

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My local league is a guppy league. I've won the SB 3 out of the last 4 years and came in second the other year. I love it, it is easy money. It is a league with my brother and a bunch of his college friends. After the first year I realized I could go RB, WR, WR, RB and still get a very good RB#2 in the 4th round. One year I even went RB, WR, TE, WR, RB and cleaned up. They love taking the big names early but like the article says they you can get younger player with upside very late in the draft.

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I love my guppy league, but last year it was a total heartbreaker. It's a his-n-her with some wives and girlfriends involved. I got LT with the third pick, finished the season in first, and outscored the second place team by 250 total points.

 

However: My girlfriend's team beat me twice, with and without McNabb. Still haven't heard the end of that. And I somehow lost in both the semifinals and the third place consolation after completely dominating the whole season. It's always fun to have the best team in the league and then finish out of the money like a chump.

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I think using the "Drafting form the Basement" strategy actually helped me in my guppy league. It kept me focussed on the WR and less on the RBs.

 

I was drafting 12/12 and still reached good RBs and Kitna.

 

3 QBs went in the first round.

 

Gates in the second

 

CHI D in the third.

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I just came back from a guppie league ...its my 3rd year won the first year and tragically lost the last tow years ..injureies hurt me...this year the team is stacked

 

QB..Kitna..Farve....Qb's did go early ...but everyone made fun of Kitna but i was happye

RB..Gore..Henry...Benson...Jacobs....Got Jacobs in 7th???

WR..R.Williams...TO..TJ Hou...Gallaway

TE..Davis

K Akers..they went early as well

TD..Miami..GB...same goes with defence went early

 

It was 14 rounds of shock after shcck....it was a 10 team league and i can't be happier ...but with this lineup iI hope we can domate

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This has been driving me up a f'in wall in my "guppie" league.

 

 

Then don't follow the herd. I've been banging this drum for five or six years. Chasing running backs because everyone else is chasing running backs is just dumb. Stop drafting RB/RB/RB, stop docking QBs points for the TDs they throw, and switch to an auction format. Play real fantasy football, not "whose running back cheat sheet turned out to be most right".

 

Peace

policy

Edited by policyvote
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