Pinstripe Bowl shocked the fantasy football world by winning the 2020 championship on the season’s final night. Last year’s champions were contenders from start to finish, hanging out in the top spot a few times and never falling out of playoff contention.
The path to back-to-back league titles started with the live draft on Sunday, August 29, 2021. Being crowned champions doesn’t necessarily mean that your team will draft last, although it happened this year.
We dropped down five spots from 2020, selecting 10th overall this year. In the snake draft, our picks came in at 10, 11, 30, 31, 50, 51, 70, 71, 90, 91, 110, 111, 130, 131, 150, 151. Watching and waiting for the nine other teams to make 18 picks before another opportunity was a slow and painful process.
In preparation for this year’s draft, management decided not to participate in any mock drafts and let the chips fall where they may.
When the clock started on Pinstripe Bowl’s first selection, the team had missed out on all the marquee running-backs; however, they found themselves with the undisputed best wide receiver in the league. Tyreek Hill (Kansas City), waiting for them in the tenth spot. There was much chatter in the group about Hill’s ability to carry a team to the finals; yet, this particular selection only occurred because he was the best player available at the time. There could have been a few options to explore if the team wasn’t in a win-now mode since Hill is not a particular fan favorite by management.
Our first selection closed out the first round, which went in this order: Dalvin Cook (Minnesota), Christian McCaffrey (Carolina), Alvin Kamara (New Orleans), Derrick Henry (Tennessee), Saquon Barkley (New York), Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas), Aaron Jones (Green Bay), Nick Chubb (Cleveland), and Davante Adams (Green Bay).
The Bowl’s next pick immediately followed. Since the league relies heavily on running backs for points, the team drafted Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis), the highest-rated running back left on the board. It was a tough decision to executive since Stefon Diggs (Buffalo) was also available. Diggs has been part of the franchise for many seasons and was the one player who put the team over the top in the championship last season. He was the next pick, 11th overall, before Travis Kelce (Kansas City) went 12th overall.
Like last season, Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City) went early in the third round, becoming the first quarterback to be selected. Josh Allen (Buffalo) joined him shortly after that and was player management coveted yet missed out on. After a quick refocus, the Bowl drafted an elite tight end, George Kittle (San Francisco). Kittle will be catching passes from Kyler Murray (Arizona), who was the team’s quarterback for the majority of the 2020 season. Murray became the 31st overall pick and third quarterback taken at this point in the draft.
Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas) was a vital member of the championship team and found a new home midway through the fifth round, which led the Bowl to go back to the drawing board for their following selection. When the clock started on their next pick, Adam Thielen (Minnesota) joined the team as Murray’s second wide receiver option. After evaluating the players in the queue, management executed their next pick right away, selecting Chase Claypool (Pittsburgh) with their 51st pick in the sixth round.
As the snake draft made its way through the seventh round, former Pinstripe Bowl franchise icon Tom Brady (Tampa Bay) heard his name called early in the round, thus sending the Bowl into a scramble for the next pick. Since the team missed out on Brady, they grabbed the next best thing from Tampa, Ronald Jones II, to add to their running back pool.
Then with the very next pick to kick off the eighth round, Kareem Hunt (Cleveland) joined the squad.
In a move questioned by many in the league, the second pick made in the eighth round happened to be the first defensive unit (Los Angeles Rams) selected. Then, in another questionable move, the first kicker (Justin Ticker – Baltimore) was drafted in the ninth round. That pick came right before the Bowl selected Robby Anderson from the Carolina Panthers to close out another round.
After Anderson, management pulled the trigger on their defensive corps by selecting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to kick off the tenth round. The Bucs selection was just the third unit taken by this point in the draft. The kicker the team was most interested in, Nick Folk (New England), was selected close to the end of the tenth round, so management was left to find someone else to recruit.
Instead of filling that gap right away, they opted to select another running back, Devin Singletary (Buffalo), to finish the 11th round of the draft. Then to start the 12th round, Corey Davis (New York Jets) became one of just a handful of Jets players to make it out of the draft with a team.
By this point in the draft, time seemed to stand still, and management did not stay focused on the task at hand. Distractions led to many random selections in the final rounds, leading some to question who was behind the screen, hitting the submit button.
The team already employed one of the league’s best defensive corps, but management made a bone head play and selected the Buffalo Bills to end the 13th round. They then followed up that miscue by making another grave error, picking another Indianapolis running back, Nyheim Hines. Not only did the team now have two defensive units to employ, but they also had two of the top running backs from the same team.
In the 14th round, rookie quarterbacks Trey Lance (San Francisco) and Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville) found fantasy homes to begin what should be outstanding NFL careers in their respective cities. When the Bowl’s turn to draft at the end of the round came about, the team selected Nelson Agholor (New England), who saw some action last season, getting into the lineup a few times down the stretch.
The final round, 15th, started with the Bowl’s selection of Ryan Succop (Tampa Bay) as their kicker, which created a run of kicker selections. Five of the final ten selections were kickers. The last pick in the draft was Emmanuel Sanders (Buffalo), a former Pinstripe Bowl member who was on the team for a brief stint in 2020.
As mentioned earlier, this year, management decided to show up at the draft table and roll the dice. There were no mock drafts or sleepless nights crawling the internet looking for the latest tips about who to draft. The “no game plan” strategy worked last year, and as painful as it was to lose out on Brady in the draft, the team came together and secured the franchise’s first-ever championship. The same mentality may or may not work for 2021, but the experts at Yahoo Fantasy seem to think we will be just fine.
According to Yahoo’s early matchup predictions, Pinstripe Bowl is on pace for a 10-5 season, which improves the 8-6 record the team finished with last year. The boys are on pace to score 2008.03 points and give up 1941.92 points, leading to some tightly contested matchups. The experts claim our new rivals are KerryMy Johnson. However, the battles are most intense with Garoppolypse Now and Nukl Busters.
As we take a deep dive into the projected statistics, there is a lot to digest, but here are the highlights. Pinstripe Bowl is on pace to be the fifth-best team in total points, 3880.62, about one week’s worth (142) behind the leader WATCH WHAT U SAQUON, who will have 4022.62.
Out of the six statistical positions, Pinstripe Bowl’s best area of attack will be in the defensive department with a projected 240.88 points, tops in the league. The team’s next best categories are the wide receivers and running backs, slated to be the third-best corps in the league. The wide-outs are on pace for 1586.45 points, some 358.85 points behind the projected league leader WATCH WHAT U SAQUON (1945.30). Meanwhile, the tailbacks are looking to secure 1159.86 points, a few hundred behind KerryMy Johnson (1749.08) in the category. Johnson is the only team predicted to surpass 1500 points with their running backs.
Despite having one of the best kickers in the lineup (Succop), Pinstripe Bowl may only score 169.92 points, a whopping 168.16 points behind Nukl Busters. The Busters auto-drafted their team and are the only ones projected to score more than 200 points in the category.
Since the Bowl only have one quarterback (Murray) and one tight end (Kittle), the predictions in the final two categories don’t indicate that the team has a shot at repeating as champions. Things may change as the season unfolds, but for now, Kittle should collect 279.32 points, the seventh-best total in the league. Cleveland Steamers is the only team with over 500 projected points, the top number in the category. Murray, meanwhile, is on pace for 444.19 points, the second worse number in the quarterback category. Trump Towers stocked up on signal-callers and should score 1177.72 points, only one of two teams on pace for the 1000 point club.
It is never easy to repeat as champions, especially in fantasy sports. Injuries and roster mismanagement are critical factors in the success or failure of any team. People often say luck is the greatest thing a manager needs to succeed in fantasy sports. However, strategic planning and analysis are just as important.
There is a lot of pressure on the Pinstripe Bowl, and their opponents will want to exact some revenge for their recent successes. With an additional week added to the schedule this season, 15 instead of 14, it will be fun to watch as fantasy owners across the league spend many sleepless nights thinking about what happens every week while overthinking what could have been.