To win a Big Ten fantasy football championship, you need to scout well, manage, and strategize by starting the right players at the right time. But it takes good works and a little luck to reach the promised land.
A properly run BTFF league on Fantrax — still to our knowledge the only game in town — requires fealty to mysterious, otherworldly forces in the form of a randomly decided waiver wire process. The Wire is God. We don’t know how it works. Fantrax doesn’t know how it works. But work it does, bestowing glory on some and denying others their claims for reasons unknown.
Week One is the most vital time to claim players, as depth chart pecking orders become significantly clearer, and championships can be won or lost or successful claims. Here’s a preview of the best available prospects on the Big Ten fantasy waiver wire given all that went down in weak one.
According to the Book of Kings, Yaweh summoned Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, a strong waiver wire pickup in His fantasy prophet league. Given the potential of Purdue’s offense, players with doubts at QB may have reason to summon the Boilermakers’ young Elijah Sindelar, who split snaps and fantasy points evenly with likely first-round pick David Blough in a closer-than-expected lou to Lossiville. Most assumed Blough would be the starter, but Sindelar was a Brohm noser in camp, sucking up to his new head coach and weaseling his way into the rotation, while a lingering shoulder injury has Blough sucking wind on the sideline. He looks as likely as Blough to start, and play, and he’s far and away the top available quarterback, scoring 14.5 fantasy points in limited time against Louisville. (Next closest was Penn State backup Tommy Stevens, who put up 10 in garbage time against the Zipples).
Tyrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill proceeded to tear up the Longhorns in Austin on Saturday, combining for over 35 fantasy points. Pigrome also tore up his knee, unfortunately, and Hill will be the starter going forward. If Hill is still around, consider taking him. There was significant buzz before the season that despite being a true freshman, he flashed signs of being ready, is the future at QB, and nearly won the job outright, and he has a tune-up against Towson this weekend. But expect growing pains, as well, particularly as we hit Big Ten season..
In other news, John O’Korn had a good game for Michigan, putting up 1.6 points in a few drives against Florida, and if Wilton Speight keeps throwing pick-sixes, he may wind up being the guy Jim Harbaugh leans on over redshirt freshman Brandon Peters. On second thought, it was just O’K.
Petya Lunt won his Week 1 fantasy prophet league game by foretelling the Curse of the Starting Illinois Running Back. As it was predicted by pious Petya, presumed starter and last-year-baller Kendrick Foster was seemingly usurped, not by presumed backup Reggie Corbin — who was nowhere to be seen — but by outtanowhere true freshman Mike Epstein, a coaches’ pet who put up 23.5 against Ball State, the fourth highest total of any RB. (Why prescient Petya, having prophesied Kendrick Foster’s demotion, then drafted him as one of his starting running backs is beyond me, but I have a feeling the cosmic Illini ballet has yet to play out, and I assure you, Petya is watching eagerly from a balcony box.)
Like me, Mike Epstein is a six foot white guy who went to a high school named for St. Thomas Aquinas (John O’Korn’s high school in Ft. Lauderdale to be exact, if you needed more proof that forces beyond our control are at work in the Big Ten). Epstein could steal the starting job and put up 120+ points on the year. He could just as easily fail to score another 23.5 the rest of the season.
Buckeye backup Antonio Williams put up 17 and change on the strength of two garbage touchdowns, ahem, that would have been scored by JK Dobbins in a just world… and Madre London, thought to be third in the Sparty rotation, scored a touchdown and put up 11. Meanwhile the starter, LJ Scott, fumbled twice and put up negative fantasy. Who’s to say London doesn’t end up the team’s top back? Who’s to say LJ Scott doesn’t fumble out of school?
A number of other backs put up between 5-9 points in week one and probably aren’t going to alter your fantasy fortunes much… unless you’re a true believer in Purdue, in which case, definitely pick up Richie Worship and start praying for more carries.
The Wire is capricious, but She usually answers the prayers of those who need immaculate receptions, sending them down like .5 manna from heaven. Pass catchers abound this week, and we’re keeping it in the family:
Levern’s brother Taivon Jacobs will be many people’s top Wire option of all. He scored 26, putting up over 80 yards receiving and returning and scoring a touchdown against Texas.
Purdue’s Jackson Anthrop may be the best Anthrop yet, scoring 25 in his first career game and making his mother Jana so proud that she liked one of our tweets. We’d be her favorite Big Ten humor site, but she doesn’t like to name favorites — wise words from a woman whose given birth to several leading Big Ten fantasy receivers.
Others, like Minnesota Vikings GM and OSU legend Chris Spielman’s brother Rick Spielman, have to adopt. Spielman’s non-biological son JD scored 21 fantasy points in his first ever game for the Huskers.
Johnnie Dixon had a long touchdown for the Buckeyes on Thursday and put up 13, as did Northwestern’s Bennett Skowronek, behind 8 receptions, almost as many as the 10 Luke Timiam recorded for the Hoosiers. If your religious beliefs skew more towards a broom and boiling cauldron, your man is Rutgers’ sophomore Dacoven Bailey, who caught a score against the Huskies and would almost certainly have been burned at the stake had he been in attendance at the birth of college football game in the 1600s.
They say it’s not polite to talk religion or politics at the dinner table, but I’d add Big Ten Fantasy Football tight ends to that list. No other subject in our league features more varied beliefs or provokes more disagreements. There are the deeply religious, who never fail to pick a top tight end in the early rounds, and who patiently await the tight end times, when those who can block and catch will be raptured.
Then you have atheists (like Petya) who say they only draft a tight end in a late round because you’re required to, bitching about it like one who resents In God We Trust on money. Put ‘em together and it’s like a Jainist meeting an exterminator.
In moments of doubt, the pious must wonder: Why do good tight ends happen to bad people? Well, good person or evil, you should be contemplating picking up MSU’s Matt Sokol if he is still available; he scored 10.5 in week one. Zander Neuville also put up 9 for Wisconsin.
Then there’s the curious case of Michigan TE Nick Eubanks. The Wolverines’ tight end race is a crapshoot, but given formation and production, it’s possible Eubanks is the best bet in the clubhouse. M had him split out wide, and he caught two balls for 61 yards, one a deep ball, good for 7.1 fantasy points. Eubanks is the third highest scoring tight end available on our Wire this week. He may be Michigan’s starter and in for a big season.
Iowa’s Miguel Recinos beat out Keith Duncan for the starting job and put up 7 points against Wyoming. Freshman Matt Coghlin got the nod for MSU and kicked 5 extra points. Andrew Harte is Rutgers’ placekicker, and may take the rest of the season to get to 18.5. And finally the Brohm Brahmins, believing in the holiness of duality, played 2 kickers as they played 2 quarterbacks. JD Dellinger and Spencer Evans both kicked 2 extra points. How zen of them.
If any of those players are available and you’re in need, take a gander.
Purdue! The Beleagueredmakers weren’t so boiled after all, holding the fucking Heisman Trophy winning QB in check and posting 9 fantasy points. No one saw that coming. Still, we’d hesitate to endorse dropping any players who posted positive contributions in favor of the ‘Due, at least until we find out whether the lipstick on the pig is waterproof.
In closing, remember, if one or all of your claims whiff, there may not be cause for lamentation. Ironically, sometimes a denied waiver wire claim is a blessing, preventing your too-itchy trigger finger from overreacting. It can cost you your season if you drop future superstars — after all, is Devine Ozigbo really in full-on purgatory? Is Mike Weber? Fantrax, in denying your desires with obscene dispassion, can save you from yourself.
Most waiver wires clear at 10AM, so get your prayers in now. Happy hunting!