Monday, September 23, 2013

The Frustration That Is Fantasy Football

There's nothing more helpless than a coach standing on the sidelines watching his team fall apart.  Even more so in Fantasy Football where you have no control over what happens in game.  Fantasy coaches owning the Denver defense unanimously groaned when Danny Trevathan picked up a loose ball with no one to get in the way of 6 more points, only to start his celebration too early, dropping the football before he broke the plane of the end zone

One of the most infamous events happened in 2007 when Brian Westbrook took a knee against the Cowboys denying millions of fantasy owners a valuable touchdown.  Maurice Jones-Drew did the same thing in 2009 against the Jets, kneeling at the 1 yard line while down 1 point with about a minute and a half left, and no timeouts for the Jets.  The Jags then killed time until they kicked the winning field goal as time expired.  ESPN even did a bit after giving an estimate of how many fantasy coaches lost because of that move.

This year I am very much feeling the pain of coaching in my office league, but for different reasons. I studied up on what's known as Value Based Drafting (see here) before our draft, and picked up what looks to be a stellar team. Week 1 proved it to be so.  I ended up with 102 points, 3rd highest in the league...And I lost.  Because my opponent had who else but Peyton Manning and his Week 1 revenge game against the Ravens.

Week 2 looked better. I had dropped Sam Bradford and picked up Philip Rivers to compliment my Tight End pick of Antonio Gates, but left him on the bench.  After all, my QB nearly posted the greatest comeback in Fantasy Football history over Manning.  I was thinking "It's Kaepernick...What could go wrong?!"  Insert Seattle's huge, veiny defensive reaming, and I was 0-2 with a 14 point loss.  Insult to injury?  Rivers and his 29 points against Philly would have given me a 19 point victory instead.

After kicking myself in the butt for a week for that move, I looked at the week 3 match-ups...49er's at Indy, Kansas City at Philly?!  BIG WEEK!  To add to it, my opponent was MIA with 2 inactive players.  I watched Thursday night as the Chiefs defense unloaded on Michael Vick and Jamal Charles cut through the Philly defense.  I was up 45-0 on the back of 3 players.  I was ready to coast to victory.

Then Sunday came.  I watched as Rivers (on the bench again) struggled, but posted decent numbers against the Titans in their loss, and watched the Ravens mercilessly demolish the Texans (For the Hot Wing Conspiracy League) with their defense that was non-existant in week 1.  Next, I watched helplessly as Indianapolis shut down the 49er's offense and saddled Kaepernick with negative points for the 2nd week in a row.  All was not lost though.  My 45 point sprint on Thursday had left me only down 8 points with Damarius Thomas and Julius Thomas still left to play.  All I needed was their last player to be a non-factor, and history was in my favor.  Weeks 1 & 2 had only netted 5 points total, and they were playing...Daaaaah Bearssss.  That player was Antonio Brown.  Unfortunate for me, the Bears went ahead 17-0 early, forcing Big Ben to go to the air, and Brown was there to catch them pulling in 196 yards and scoring both of Pittsburgh's only 2 touchdowns.  I'm now down 90-60 against a team...with TWO inactive players!  I do have some glimmer of hope.  If Manning can perform like Week 1 again, I have Damarius Thomas and Julius Thomas who combined in week 1 for 45 points.  Unfortunately in week 2, they only accounted for 10 points total.

After tonight, I might very well be 0-3 with the 2nd highest scoring team in the league.  I swear I will have no hair by week 7.

UPDATE: Final score - 71 - 90. Julius and Damarius Thomas had ok, but not fantastic nights.  I don't feel as bad because even with my optimal line-up I would have lost by 1.  However, it would be nice to have had the projected +14 points from my QB, rather than -3.
I'm 0-3 but 4th in points instead of 2nd.  It irritates the piss out of me that the league leader at 3-0 is tied for 7th, 20 points behind me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Perfect Example of Government to Private Sector Disconnect

If you haven't heard, the Senate just passed a bill 74-20 that will require online retailers to gather sales taxes based on the purchaser's address.  This is something that on a consumer side could be very costly, not only for the consumer who may end up paying as much as 6, 10, or even 12% in some areas in additional taxes.  Having grown up in Tennessee where the tax can be as high as 9.75% and I could not stand how much extra I had to pay.
Then came websites like Amazon that allowed you to buy the exact same items as in the store, but didn't require state sales tax because they did not have a distribution center in the state.  And at nearly 10%, the shipping cost of most items was less than the sales tax on most items over $100.  Then when Amazon included free super saver shipping on items over $25, my brick-and-mortar shopping diminished down to groceries and must-have items.

That's the consumer side of the bill, however I am more concerned about the company side of the bill and how it's going to affect their business.
1) Companies now will have to track every single transaction, where it is shipped, and will have to file a sales tax form for every single locality that has even one transaction.  There are over 7,500 different sales tax jurisdictions in the United States (with over 1,000 tax code changes to keep track of in the last year alone).  Look at this map below (Source: Journal of Accountancy) This represents every single sales tax locality in the United States.  And don't forget, many localities charge different tax rates for items based on their use.

In 2010 Amazon reported 13.7 Million items were sold to addresses all over the world on JUST Black Friday.  The logistical nightmare of this task is enough to make accountants all over the country cringe. iTunes is another company whose accountants will feel the hair on their neck stand up if this passes with an estimated 1.2 Billion sales for just music in 2007.

2) Companies may lose revenue based on this.  As mentioned, for two items priced the same, the difference in having to pay sales tax may be enough to justify waiting to get the item.  A perfect example of this is the Electronic Arts' online retail outlet, Origin.  There you can buy video games, start to download them immediately, and not have to pay sales tax.  Origin is not able to reduce the price of their games because they have to ensure that the big box stores like Best Buy, Wal Mart, Target, etc... are able to sell their copies as well.  With that being the case, the only benefit this site has over some place like Best Buy is the fact that you don't have to pay sales tax on your new $60 video game.  This effect may not be great for other websites who offer discount prices, but for some (like Origin) it may completely destroy their entire business model.

Why would something like this bother me?  Because it shows just how much of a disconnect there is between the government and the private sector.  A legislator looks at this bill and decides "Hey, this looks easy enough." and votes yes without researching how amazingly complex this task will be for companies to keep track of.

Chalk this up as yet another reason why I believe we need "Professionals who are legislators", not "Professional Legislators."