WHEN THE BRITISH naturalist George Shaw received a weird specimen from Australia in 1799 - one with a mole's fur, a duck's bill and spurs on its rear legs - he did what any skeptical scientist would do: He looked for the stitching and glue that would reveal it to be a hoax. "It was impossible not to entertain some distant doubts as to the genuine nature of the animal," Shaw wrote of the seemingly built-by-committee creature, which he eventually named "platypus".
Over the past few years, there have been two very popular articles written by our very own Chase Stuart that look at an interesting approach to building a fantasy team with late value picks. Based upon the theory of using both Strength of Schedule ("SOS") and taking two players as a combination to build one very good player, he has discussed both Team Defense by Committee ("TDBC") and Quarterback by Committee ("QBBC") as a general fantasy league strategy. In general I think that this is a wise move because very early on in fantasy drafts there are a ton of RB and WR prospects to go after to build a great team. While there are a few studs at QB and also a few choice defenses, I do not see a huge need in leagues to pursue either too hard in the beginning stages of a fantasy draft.
So with this in mind, I started to think about what else can be done with the committee approach. Tight end? Perhaps. Wide receiver? A possibility, but it might be better to look at third WR options than any other option. What about running back? Hmmm, that might work. What if I could put together all of this and make a total team using committees? Would that even be possible?
Yes, Virginia, there is a Team Platypus.
With all of these concepts discussed here:
- QBBC - Quarterback By Committee (Chase Stuart)
- RB2BC (PPR) - Running Back #2 By Committee (PPR) (Jeff Pasquino)
- WR3BC (PPR) - Wide Receiver #3 By Committee (PPR) (Jeff Pasquino)
- TEBC (PPR) - Tight End By Committee (PPR) (Jeff Pasquino)
- DTBC - Defensive Team By Committee (Chase Stuart)
I've taken a good shot at putting together an Ultimate Team By Committee (UTBC). For the Mike Hermans of the world, I hope you don't mind that I will pass on the kicker by committee. Leave that one for some else to think about.
Let's address what we need here in Rounds 5-14. We want to get RB2BC, WR3BC, TEBC and QBBC established. Looking back at the articles highlighted above we can now modify our earlier RB2BC and WR3BC recommendations if necessary in order to secure all the committee duos we want to roster.
IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK.....
|1||1 to 12||WR1 or RB1|
|2||13 to 24||WR2 or RB1|
|3||25 to 36||WR2/3 or RB1|
|4||37 to 48||RB1 (if no RB yet) or WR3|
|5||49 to 60||62||RB2BC #1 - Giovani Bernard|
|6||61 to 72||64 / 68 / 7||RB2BC #2 - Ryan Mathews or Jonathan Stewart or Frank Gore|
|7||73 to 84||78 / 73 / 88||WR3BC#1 - Michael Crabtree or Tyler Lockett or DeSean Jackson|
|8||85 to 96||85 / 90 / 113||WR3BC#2 - Josh Gordon or Sterling Shepard or Tavon Austin|
|9||97 to 108||111||QBBC #1 - Jameis Winston|
|10||109 to 120||106 / 124||TEBC #1 - Martellus Bennett or Dwayne Allen|
|11||121 to 132||129||TEBC #2 - Jason Witten|
|12||133 to 144||177||QBBC #2 - Jay Cutler|
|13||145 to 156||Best Player available|
|14||157 to 168||Best Player available|
|15||169 to 180||Best Player available|
|16||181 to 192||Best Player available|
|17||193 to 204||Best Player available|
|18||205 to 216||240+||DTBC #1 - Chicago Bears|
|19||217 to 228||240+||DTBC #2 - New York Giants|
|20||229 to 240||Kicker|
Table 1: The Ultimate Team By Committee (UTBC) Blueprint for PPR Leagues
Some of you may notice that there's a bit of inconsistency in Rounds 5 through 12. That's a good observation, and I can explain. Based on the combinations of QB, WR, RB and TE committees I had to tweak the selections to fit everyone onto the roster. I'll go over these tweaks, position by position, including the comments.
- Running Back - (RB2BC): This one goes right according to the script of Gio Bernard and either Ryan Mathews or Jonathan Stewart. Both Mathews and Stewart should be available in Round 6, but the "disaster plan" would be to fall back to Frank Gore (ADP 77) in Round 6. All three pairings are Top 4 results according to the article, so all is well with this plan.
- Wide Receiver - (WR3BC): For WR3BC the original plan is still the goal, which is to start with either Michael Crabtree, Tyler Lockett or DeSean Jackson in Round 7 and then come right back with another receiver in Round 8. The options for the second half of the duo definitely start with Josh Gordon, but his ADP has risen to 85, so secondary options such as Sterling Shepard (ADP 90) and Tavon Austin (ADP 113) are necessary as "just in case" fallbacks.
- Tight End - (TEBC): The tight end story is tricky with the mixing of QBBC in Rounds 9-12. Ideally, Martellus Bennett (ADP 106) slides into Round 10 but that is by no means a given. The most likely TEBC in this plan would be Dwayne Allen (ADP 124) and Jason Witten (ADP 129) in Rounds 10 and 11 - which happens to be the top duo in the TEBC article - so no value is really lost with this approach.
- Quarterback - (QBBC): Quarterbacks are tougher this year, mostly because of the projected ADP clustering the QB2s in Rounds 10-12. For QBBC the good news is that Chase Stuart outlines a ton of options. I happen to think that his choice to lead the committee this year is very solid with the selection of Jameis Winston (ADP 111), but I struggle getting Kirk Cousins (ADP 119) to fit in a reasonable UTBC plan. Since TB-WASH is the 15th best pair on his chart, I feel that my alternate QB2 selection of Jay Cutler (ADP 177) is very reasonable. Chicago and Tampa are the 19th best pair - a modest drop in value - and the ADP savings is immense.
- Team Defense - (DTBC): The team defense duo is still Chicago and the New York Giants, and the good news is that all of the desired committee players are available after Round 15 - so taking the Bears and Giants in the final three rounds (along with a kicker) are still a strong option. Both have ADPs beyond 240, so just take the one you think is more likely to go first in your league (if at all) in Round 18 and the other in Round 19, followed by your kicker in the final round.
The good news is that we have numerous options this year to form the Ultimate Team By Committee (UTBC). Like in several past years, there has to be some tweaking to get all the committees into the roster, but with some flexibility (and the supporting articles), all five committees are ripe for the picking with barely any changes to the five plans needed at all. That means 10 of 20 picks are already done for you, so you can focus on the first four rounds and then value picks in Rounds 13-17.
No plan is infallible, so that is why we have so many alternate backup scenarios planned out before the draft. Eliminate surprises and plan for contingencies. That's what we do - we adapt. Darwin would be proud.
Best of luck this year.
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org.