Guillotine League: Week 9 Recap and Week 10 Preview

This week I finally spent big on free agents, and then went and got Saquon Barkley in a blockbuster trade.

In this series, I track weekly progress in my guillotine league. For the main post, covering the league’s details and my overall Bid Low, Bid Late strategy, click here.

(Note: I am stuck on Cape Cod without any wireless access this weekend. This update may be missing some of the usual information.)

Consistent with my weakness at running back since the beginning of the season, I was nervous about the position as Week 9 approached. Mixon was on bye, Thompson was injured, and I lost my confidence that McCoy would be okay against the Bears. So I spent a bunch of time making RB moves: adding them, dropping them, and trying to trade for them.

Trades

In the course of throwing out offers for RBs, I threw out offers out for some that would be more than a fill-in for a tough week, but might actually be good for the long term – RBs like Zeke, Saquon and Gurley. Saquon would have been especially useless for surviving Week 9, because he was on bye, but the owner indicated some interest, so we kept talking.

Eventually we worked a trade out on Sunday morning: I gave Mixon and A.J. Green, both of whom were on bye, plus JuJu Smith-Schuster, for Saquon Barkley. This got some negative comments in my league’s Facebook group by people who thought I gave up way too much for Saquon, but I stand by it. I’ll try to write a separate strategy article on why trades like this, which I would never do in a conventional league, made sense for me in a guillotine league. The short version is that Saquon is a very probable Week 16 starter, an every week starter with high production until then, and I didn’t have to spend any FAAB to get him.

Trading for Barkley did not help me in a Week 9 at all due to the bye. In fact, it hurt me because I lost Juju. I consoled myself with the fact that he had a tough matchup against the Ravens, and I put in Adam Humphries to replace him. That turned out to be a helpful move, since he finished second among WRs with 28.9 points.

But I also traded for some RBs to use last week. I didn’t want to risk it with Kapri Bibbs, and Mike Davis didn’t look like an option with Chris Carson active. So I was happy to land Peyton Barber and Austin Ekeler, who I figured had safe floors. I traded LeSean McCoy to get them both.

Well, Barber and Ekeler did badly. I would have been much better off going with Bibbs and Davis. But my team did well overall, scoring 135.5 points, good for 4th out of 9 teams, on the strength of Humphries’ excellent day, a matching score by Kelce, and a good game by Newton.

My Week 9 Lineup

QB: Cam Newton 21.2
RB: Austin Ekeler 4.4
RB: Peyton Barber 6
WR: Jarvis Landry 11
WR: Doug Baldwin 11.7
TE: Travis Kelce 28.9
Flex: Adam Humphries 28.9
Flex: Sammy Watkins 11.4
Flex: Corey Davis 12

Total: 135.5

Bench: Jeffery, Barkley, M. Davis, Smallwood, C. Thompson, Bibbs, D. Freeman, Goedert, Fitzgerald, Hyde, Booker.

The Chop

Players chopped after Week 9 included David Johnson, Emmanuel Sanders, Cooper Kupp, Dalvin Cook, TY Hilton, Rob Gronkowski, and Kirk Cousins.

I overbid. I didn’t realize this was the week when everyone else who had FAAB left (4 out of 7 teams) reduces their bids considerably. Last week a team spent $150 on Tyreek and another spent $111 on Kerryon. This week only David Johnson earned bids of over $30 by anyone other than me.

I got Johnson for $68, Kupp for $47, Cook for $46, Gronk for $24 and Cousins for $16. Hilton went for $20. Sanders went for $10.

I made a couple of bidding mistakes besides overbidding in general.

First, I spent FAAB on players who are not that valuable and who I should have known would be available much cheaper. Namely, Gronk and Cousins. I bid on Gronk only because deep in my heart so believe that Gronk-Kelce are the 1-2 tight ends, way ahead of everyone else, and having both on my team is a useful keepaway. That’s probably dumb, and a waste of a roster spot as well as FAAB. I should have gone with my head and not my heart. That being said, I will need a TE fill-in when Kelce is on bye, and Gronk will do fine if he’s playing. It’s just that he is an expensive fill-in.

I paid for Cousins just for the sake of having a good backup QB. But in an 8-team league who needs a backup QB? Dumb move on my part.

The other mistake I made was not making a backup bid on Sanders. I had a $45 bid on him, but placed him in the same slot as Kupp because I didn’t want to spend on both. But I should have bid $15-$20 on him in a different slot to avoid someone else getting him super-cheap, which is what happened.

Live and learn.

Later in the week I picked up Lockett for $6 out of concern that Baldwin could be inactive.

I now have 458 FAAB left. After me (from memory) the numbers are 135, 90, 60, 23, 0, 0 and 0.

Deflation

Though I overpaid for Gronk at $24, this price is deflated compared to the past. After Week 4, he went for $312; after Week 6 he went for $151. That works out to about 33% weekly deflation.

T.Y. Hilton went for $301 after Week 5, $20 after Week 9. That’s about 50% deflation, or a halving in price every week.

Outlook

My team’s outlook in Week 10 very much depends on what happens to the Giants-49ers Monday night game, which may be postponed due to the California wildfires.

The decision in that should be announced in time for Sunday night football, which means I would need to be able to substitute someone from the Philly-Dallas game, which in my case means Wendell Smallwood.

I am feeling okay about my chances this week. There are at this point teams that haven’t had any FAAB in several weeks, and are starting players like Elijah McGuire and Maurice Harris.

There is also the effect of probability. It is still early enough in the season that bad teams get by on luck. I entered each team’s projected output according to ESPN into my survival calculator, and calculated my probability of surviving based on assumed standards deviations of 10 and 15 points. The results were 95% of survival for standard deviation 10, and 91% for standard deviation 15. Unlike last week, this week I think ESPN underestimated my team rather than overestimating it.

Starting Lineup

This looks like my starting lineup right now.

QB: Cam Newton
RB: Saquon Barkley
RB: David Johnson
WR: Alshon Jeffery
WR: Jarvis Landry
TE: Travis Kelce
FLEX: Doug Baldwin
FLEX: Adam Humphries
FLEX: Cooper Kupp

Well, off I go to Great Island.

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