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Can The Machine Save My Fantasy Football Season -- Week 5 Update

Just prior to the season starting, I wrote a piece detailing how I was using a new product from Advanced Sports Logic called The Machine to help me recover from a fantasy football draft that still haunts me today, five weeks into the season. While most people use The Machine to help with their actual drafts, I’m putting the product to the test for its in-season capabilities. It is supposed to help me with lineup decisions, waiver pick-ups and trade offers and I vowed to follow its advice to the letter, even if I disagreed with the moves it was suggesting. You can click here for the introductory piece that was done here on the RotoWire blog here at RotoSynthesis and then here for the first update that was posted on my personal site, RotobuzzGuy.com. Today, we’re going to bring you fully up to date with my roster in this league, it’s changes and other details involved.

For those who haven’t clicked, back, here’s what my roster looked like after the waiver pick-ups were done following Week 1 in the NFL:

STARTERS


QB Andrew Luck
RB Adrian Peterson
RB Stevan Ridley
WR Dez Bryant
WR Mike Wallace
WR Chris Givens
TE Brandon Myers
FLX Ahmad Bradshaw
DEF Cincinnati Bengals
K Kai Forbath


BENCH


QB Alex Smith
RB Andre Brown
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
WR Vincent Brown
WR Quinton Patton

As I said back in that second piece, I was enamored with The Machine’s suggestions after that first week. I was concerned that with so many other potentially big names available, I was missing out with the suggestions of Heyward-Bey and a kicker upgrade. Still, I plodded through.

With Kai Forbath injured and declared inactive for Week 2, The Machine guided me towards San Francisco kicker Phil Dawson, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as I was handily beaten and sitting at 0-2. My team was weak. Luck is a serviceable quarterback and I have a pair of playmakers in AP and Dez Bryant, but beyond that, there’s a lot of finger-crossing going on. With any luck, The Machine was going to help me through this.

The following week, only two moves were recommended to me by The Machine – add Oakland receiver Rod Streater (drop Quinton Patton) and add the Titans defense at the expense of the recently-acquired Heyward-Bey. Again, not moves that I totally agreed with, but the changes were made, nonetheless. Though hindsight is always 20/20, I thought a pick-up of Green Bay running back James Starks or Ravens receiver Marlon Brown appeared to be better pick-ups at the time. Obviously I think differently now, but once you start turning over your roster during the season, sometimes you just have to go week by week.

After a tie in Week 3, I was relieved that I didn’t fall to 0-3, but my team really deserved to lose considering the weak point total is put up. I was lucky to escape without the loss. But when The Machine had no recommendations for me on the waiver wire, I was concerned. But as I found out later, the boys over at ASL were concerned with some of the waiver recommendations being made and changed around the formula that chooses the free agents. Obviously things were now being weighted differently and past performance of former benchwarmers or rookies wasn’t being factored in as much. Like all good things like The Machine, there is an evolution that needs to take place – better than trial and error, but close.

Somehow, without making any roster changes, I managed to eke out my first win of the season. It was by no means commanding, but a win is a win and I was finally off the schnide. A record of 1-2-1 isn’t exactly the thing upon which fantasy dreams are built, but at least I was heading in the right direction with back-to-back weeks without a loss..

After my first win, the changes made to The Machine’s waiver recommendation process were obviously in full-swing. I said goodbye to Andre Brown, Vincent Brown, Phil Dawson, the Titans defense and Ahmad Bradshaw and welcomed in Rashad Jennings, Rashard Mendenhall, Jerome Simpson, Mason Crosby and the Panthers defense. With Adrian Peterson on a bye, I was relieved to see a pair of running backs on the recommendation list, and even more so when we learned Stevan Ridley would be out as well. By the command of The Machine, I walked into Week 5 with a starting roster that looked like this:

STARTERS


QB Andrew Luck
RB Rashard Mendenhall
RB Rashad Jennings
WR Dez Bryant
WR Mike Wallace
WR Chris Givens
TE Brandon Myers
FLX Rod Streater
DEF Carolina Panthers
K Mason Crosby


BENCH


QB Alex Smith
RB Adrian Peterson
RB Stevan Ridley
WR Jerome Simpson
DEF Cincinnati Bengals

It wasn’t the strongest of lineups, but guess what…?

It worked. A relatively strong showing for a few of these guys and suddenly I’m now 2-2-1 heading into Week 6, very much looking forward to how The Machine will strengthen my team next.

One thing that I didn’t go over in detail would be the trade recommendations. Each week I have asked The Machine for potential trade offers to make. Obviously there was an abundance of offers to be made, but not one has been accepted. Most of them revolved around me giving up AP, but the asking price for the number one running back in the game was just too high for everyone in the league. I’ll keep at it, but this league, like many others, doesn’t seem to be too big on trading. We’ll see though. You never know.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

 

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