The Zone Read - Celebrity Eliminator: The Craziest League You’ll Ever Play In - Clock Dodgers
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The Zone Read – Celebrity Eliminator: The Craziest League You’ll Ever Play In

One of the most appealing aspects of fantasy football is the wide variety of ways there are to play. There is the original “standard scoring” format, where players only get points for touchdowns and yardage, but then there are several other variations of that format that include bonuses for receptions, carries and even special teams contributions. There is almost no limit to the way leagues can be customized, from the inclusion of defensive players to the modification of starting rosters. This year however, I’ve found myself participating in a league that has no rival in terms of ridiculousness.

Those of you familiar with the Fantasy Life App have likely seen a few blurbs floating around lately advertising the “Celebrity Charity Leagues” run by John Bosch and a collective of other well-known members of the industry. The league serves to benefit the Toys for Tots foundation through the $10 league fee (although there is still a payout for the league champion and runner-up). It’s a great cause that is setup by Scott Fish and is well worth supporting, and I strongly encourage you to toss your hat into the ring as well, for the benefit of the charity but also because it’s a lot of fun.  

There are a variety of league options that people can join, but the one I will be writing about today is the Eliminator League. It operates exactly as it sounds; the lowest scoring team each week is eliminated, plain and simple. It’s a 17 team (yes, you read that right) best-ball format run through MyFantasyLeague, where only the 8 best scores on your 16 team roster count towards your final weekly score. The league format is far from standard however; here’s a breakdown of the scoring settings:

Roster Format:

QB: 0-2

WR: 0-8

RB: 0-8

TE: 0-8

K: 0-8

D/ST: 0-8

Umm…what?  

You read that right; there is no set structure for the way rosters are to be set up. Think of it as a superflex on whatever Lavar Ball is smoking, you have the freedom to draft your team however you choose. If you want to fill 16 roster spots with only kickers, you can absolutely do so. The caveat is obviously with the quarterback position, where only a maximum of 2 scores can count. Speaking of scoring, here’s where things get even more interesting:

Scoring Settings:

Passing

TD: 6 pts

Yards: .04 pts

INT: -2

2 pt conversion: 2 pts

Okay, nothing too crazy so far…

Rushing

TD: 6

Yards: .125 pts

2 pt conversion: 2 pts

Whoa, okay.  Big boost for rushing yards (*coughCamNewtoncough*)

Receiving

TD: 6

Yards: .1 pts

Receptions: .75 pts

2 pt conversion: 2 pts

(TE: +.75ppr)

¾ pt ppr?  That’s a new one for me.  Did you catch the added boost for tight ends at the bottom?  Yowza.

Perhaps the most interesting part about the league is the way that the draft itself is constructed.  It’s not snake, it’s not NFL style, and it’s not auction either.  So how does it work?  The format is called “3RR” (don’t ask me what that means).  Here’s how it looks:

Round 1: 1-17

Round 2: 17-1

Round 3: 17-1

Round 4: 1-17

Round 5: 1-17

Round 6: 17-1

In essence, it’s a snake that repeats its turn for an extra round.  So the 1st overall pick gets two players in the top 34, but they don’t get that juicy back to back spot at the turn until the following round.  It definitely adds a new layer of strategy to making your picks, forcing players who draft towards the ends to reach big-time for guys they want.

Don’t just take my word on it though, let’s get the perspective from some other people.  A few of the guys that are in the league with me have agreed to conduct a brief survey just to show their mindset and strategy throughout the draft.  The draft is ongoing (at the moment we are in the midst of round 5) and when it is completed I will conduct a follow-up survey to gauge their reflections.  

Question 1: What particular strategy (if any) did you have for this draft?

Brooks: Grab as many studs at the skill positions as I could while everyone else picked quarterbacks.

Tyler: I had the 4th pick and decided to go with Tom Brady.  I could have been happy with 1 quarterback but I decided around the mid 2nd round as I waited for my next pick that I would take another quarterback.  I picked Ryan Tannehill which I’m not thrilled about, but he still averaged 15 fantasy points a game, which I’ll take in the late 3rd round due to the 3RR draft format.

Sam: My original strategy was to eschew the quarterback position for the first two rounds, assuming others would do that as well.  Unfortunately, by the time my second pick came around I realized that strategy would not work.

Michael: I didn’t really have a strategy going into the draft.  Just for fun, I’ve been targeting as many Raiders players as I can early on.

Jeff: With leagues that allow you to start two quarterbacks, I almost always try to start two even if they aren’t the best at the position.  Even lower-level talents usually put up good numbers, and they aren’t as prone to injury as skill position players can be.

Question 2: How has the formatting changed your typical draft style/strategy?

Brooks: I started trying to get high end players at the skill positions; the scoring format counts the top 8 players no matter the position so the value should be in my favor.

Tyler: Plain and simple I usually wait on QB’s and TE’s, so this format is persuading me to adjust my strategy and I’m okay with that.  I always believe not to necessarily have a hardline strategy, but to instead be really flexible as the draft goes.  How I shape my team is based on who’s left instead of forcing a player because it fit my pre-draft strategy.

Sam: Two things jump out: 1) Two quarterbacks among 17 teams means you HAVE to get your two relatively early.  No one wants to be stuck with Hackenberg and McCown as their QB2.  2) Not doing a typical snake draft puts the people at the turns in a tough position.  With the 2nd overall pick I usually like to start a run, or at least get out ahead of one.  With the modified draft style I really had to be selective with my first 4 picks.

Michael: I usually don’t target quarterbacks this early, but because of the format you’re almost forced to.

Jeff: I still took Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round because he is an elite receiving talent.  In the second round however I took Derek Carr because he was the best quarterback still available at that point.

Question 3: What has been the biggest surprise of this draft to you so far?

Brooks: To me the biggest surprise was Deshaun Watson and Brian Hoyer being the best quarterbacks available at the end of the 4th round.

Tyler: It’s a bit obvious since it happened to me but T.Y. Hilton falling to me in round 2 at 31 overall was a big surprise.

Sam: Everything has been a surprise. I thought that everybody would follow the usual pattern, targeting quarterbacks and tight ends later. With the odd draft format and number of opponents however, by round 2 I had abandoned whatever plans I entered the draft with. I have also been pleasantly surprised by how active the group chat has been; conversation about football, daily life and everything else makes the league that much more fun to be a part of.

Michael: There haven’t been too many surprises so far; most of the league seems to have adapted to the formatting fairly well.

Jeff: Quarterbacks were drafted extremely fast.  It wasn’t all that surprising, but it still forced me to adjust my draft strategy.

Question 4: How has the formatting changed the way that you value certain players/positions?

Brooks: I tried to hold out and grab great players at the runningback and tight end positions, but with 16 other owners taking quarterbacks early I lost big on value. Quarterback seems like the most valuable position because they can usually net anywhere from 18-30 points per matchup.

Tyler: I’m considering ignoring the runningback position completely.  If a good value falls to me then I’ll take it, but I won’t take a player at that position just for the sake of taking one.

Sam: Obviously the quarterback position is extremely valuable, but so are tight ends with the additional receiving bonus.  After 4 rounds I have yet to grab one, and even though it’s early I’m growing concerned that I could miss out before my next pick.

Michael: The value of quarterbacks and pass catchers receives a large boost in this format.

Jeff: I will probably target more receivers than runningbacks due to the ¾ pt ppr.  I’m hoping Christian McCaffrey can put up good production with the extra receiving bonus.  I’m also more likely to target boom-or-bust players in this format, rather than the conservative “safe floor” players that I would usually target.

As you can see, there are two predominant trains of thought that have emerged due to the unorthodox league formatting: quarterbacks and pass-catchers are incredibly valuable.  To give you a better idea of how the draft has shaken out so far, here is a look at all of the league rosters through 5 complete rounds (in order from pick #1-17):

@bftgpod

Rd 1-Aaron Rodgers

Rd 2-Philip Rivers

Rd 3-DeAnder Hopkins

Rd 4-Demaryius Thomas

Rd 5-Tyler Eifert

___________________

@Sbt1030

Rd 1-David Johnson

Rd 2-Matt Stafford

Rd 3-Sam Bradford

Rd 4-Leonard Fournette

Rd 5-Jamison Crowder

___________________

@ClockDodgerspod

Rd 1-Le’Veon Bell

Rd 2-Jameis Winston

Rd 3-Joe Flacco

Rd 4-Greg Olsen

Rd 5-Jimmy Graham

___________________

@Trademfla

Rd 1-Tom Brady

Rd 2-T.Y. Hilton

Rd 3-Ryan Tannehill

Rd 4-Alshon Jeffrey

Rd 5-Julian Edelman

___________________

@Brooks205FFL

Rd 1-Ezekiel Elliott

Rd 2-Rob Gronkowski

Rd 3-Jordan Reed

Rd 4-Alex Smith

Rd 5-Willie Snead

___________________

@NeilNagle22

Rd 1-Antonio Brown

Rd 2-Marcus Mariota

Rd 3-Doug Baldwin

Rd 4-Brian Hoyer

Rd 5-Stefon Diggs

___________________

@TheOtherFFGuy

Rd 1-Drew Brees

Rd 2-Jay Ajayi

Rd 3-Eli Manning

Rd 4-Allen Robinson

Rd 5-Carlos Hyde

___________________

@JJK

Rd 1-Odell Beckham Jr.

Rd 2-Derek Carr

Rd 3-Blake Bortles

Rd 4-Christian McCaffrey

Rd 5-Terrelle Pryor

___________________

@dresrohrer

Rd 1-Andrew Luck

Rd 2-Demarco Murray

Rd 3-Carson Palmer

Rd 4-Larry Fitzgerald

Rd 5-Eddie Lacy

___________________

@rruxin

Rd 1-Julio Jones

Rd 2-Dez Bryant

Rd 3-Tyrod Taylor

Rd 4-Jared Goff

Rd 5-Golden Tate

___________________

@bdduff

Rd 1-Mike Evans

Rd 2-Kirk Cousins

Rd 3-Carson Wentz

Rd 4-Brandin Cooks

Rd 5-Dalvin Cook

___________________

@caldyyy

Rd 1-Matt Ryan

Rd 2-Amari Cooper

Rd 3-Lamar Miller

Rd 4-Marshawn Lynch

Rd 5-Michael Crabtree

___________________

@FLtim2fresh

Rd 1-AJ Green

Rd 2-Todd Gurley

Rd 3-Andy Dalton

Rd 4-Jarvis Landry

Rd 5-Tyreek Hill

___________________

@nhsportsguy

Rd 1-Devonta Freeman

Rd 2-Michael Thomas

Rd 3-Travis Kelce

Rd 4-Isaiah Crowell

Rd 5-Davante Adams

___________________

@FL2drinkminimum

Rd 1-Lesean McCoy

Rd 2-Cam Newton

Rd 3-Ben Roethlisberger

Rd 4-Ty Montgomery

Rd 5-Tevin Coleman

___________________

@Dembones_FLA

Rd 1-Jordy Nelson

Rd 2-Russell Wilson

Rd 3-Dak Prescott

Rd 4-Joe Mixon

Rd 5-Martavis Bryant

___________________

@PaulRyan15

Rd 1-Melvin Gordon

Rd 2-Jordan Howard

Rd 3-Keenan Allen

Rd 4-Sammy Watkins

Rd 5-Ameer Abdullah

___________________

As you can see, there have been a wide variety of approaches to the draft.  Some went with quarterbacks early and often, while others held out, or have so far punted the position altogether in lieu of talent that fell at other positions.  Ultimately it’s hard to tell if one strategy is better than the other, as all it takes is one down week to knock a team out of contention for the rest of the season.

I hope that you found this article interesting, but more than that I hope it has piqued your interest enough for you to consider entering one of these leagues for yourself.  I can say with good confidence that you have likely never competed in a league like this before, so if you are looking for something new to try then this might just be for you.  More than that, the proceeds go to help a worthy cause; all you have to do is draft.  If you’re at all interested, follow this link for more information:

http://fantasycares.net

There are several other leagues that you can join, but if you really want a twist the “Celebrity Eliminator League” is the one you want!

(Credit to @Trademfla, @Brooks205FFL, @SBT1030, @JJK and @caldyyy for their input.)

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