GMRRFFA Special Feature: Is Florida Good (in Fantasy Football, or Otherwise)?

We shit on Florida a lot at the Riff Raff Fantasy Football League.  Well, when I say "we", I mean me.  If you read my bio a few months ago, I said Florida was the one state that we needed to get rid of.  In fact, I said:

Special Guest GMRRFFA Columnist Coop Contemplating new ways to take cheap shots at the Sunshine State
Bye Florida! I mean, Florida is really one of the most shitted up (nope, pissed up, nope, C-worded up, nope, cocksuckered up, motherfuckered up, tits up, nope, nope none of those work, see, gotta go with Fuck, it really is versatile), states. Florida is a fucked up hot mess of a state, with old ass racist farts who want to pretend they are accepting of all the diversity they have in the 3rd largest state in the country but are just as racist as anyone coming out of Mississippi. When you hear about some crazy fucker (Motherfucker or Cocksucker could have worked here) eating someone's face, or trying to fuck a python, or riding bearback on a missile, you go "What the Fuck", until you realize where they are from, and then you say, "Oh, yeah, its Florida." Don't get me started on their fucking elections!

The league came to the obvious realization of this fact, and since then, it has been a running meme in our league.  When crazy shit happens in the world, we see where it happened, and it just naturally follows that, of course, it happened in Florida.  A sampling of the crazy ass headlines that have been shared in our group chats from the past few months:

  • Florida man found a grenade while fishing and then took the explosive to Taco Bell

  • Secretary of State resigns after photos emerge of his blackface costume mocking Katrina victims

  • Zoo employee killed while attempting to rape an alligator

  • Police dog given Narcan for overdose back at work

  • Florida teacher accused of smearing feces at park, disrupting child's birthday party after workout dispute

  • There's a growing population of Wild Monkeys With a Deadly Herpes Virus in Florida

  • Video of a raccoon chasing down and killing an iguana

  • Florida students arrested for threatening to kill professor over 7am exam

  • A Buzzfeed article titled "The 40 Most Insane Things that Happened in Florida in 2018", which included ..."Florida Men-1 Disguised in Bull Costume-Allegedly Tried to Burn Down Ex-Boyfriend's Home with Spaghetti Sauce" and "Florida man hid legless fugitive girlfriend in plastic tote."

  • Florida woman faces an aggravated assault charge after authorities say she passed gas in line at a dollar store and pulled a knife on a man who complained about it.

  • Florida Elects DiSantis and Scott

  • 11- and 12-year-old girls planned to kill classmates, drink their blood, police say

One of the above headlines was actually from a parody/satire website.  But can you tell which one?  No, you can't, because all of these stories are completely plausible in Florida.  The Darwin Awards could have their own wing of a museum dedicated to Florida.  But Florida can't be all bad, can it

Can it

After a few drinks last week at a party for my flag football league, I began to take pity on Florida.  Leave it to cheap beer to make a man get all sympathetic.  I had a brilliant idea for unearthing some good in Florida while also filling the deadness in me that can only be satiated by fantasy football.  I took a look at what kind of fantasy football team I could put together with just players from Florida schools.  Its way too complicated to go into high schools or places of birth (but maybe after another night of more drinks, I will get ambitious), but relatively easy to see what colleges current NFL players went to. There are over 100 players in the NFL who went to one of Florida's fine schools of higher learning, plus another 40 who went to Florida State( Commissioner's Note: I see what you did there). Could I assemble a competitive team from what Florida has to offer?

I'm not going to have a D/ST, and I am not getting into the weeds of IDP, but I took a look at the available offensive players that could fill a starting lineup of 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 1 RB/WR/TE Flex, and 1 K, along with seven bench spots and even an IR spot in a PPR league.


Quarterback:  Oof, this is going to be the weak spot of this team, but honestly, this shouldn't surprise anyone.  Think about how successful Florida schools have been over the past several years at the NCAA level.  They really haven't been.  None have made the CFP playoffs in the five years of its existence.  And even in the BCS era, the Florida schools were not known for outstanding QB play, except for Tim Tebow.  But there were two standouts (I use that word charitably); one of who will be the starting QB for this team:  Jameis Winston (Florida State 12-14).

Famous Jameis averaged 15.2 points per game over a 16 game season, but its important to focus on his average of the games he actually played since he was suspended for three games, benched for two and half, and just awful for two more.  If you take the 11 games he played in, Jameis averaged 22.1 points, which rockets him up from the 22nd-best QB in the league to the 12th, just ahead of the GOAT and behind Captain Kirk.  That said, do you trust Jameis to lead your team?  Team Motley didn't; keeping him from his 2017 squad, but only rolling him out during Big Ben's Bye this season.  Will anyone give the Lobster King a chance next season with the QB whisperer Bruce Arians at the helm of the Bucs?

Running Backs:  Now this is where the team shines.  There is a lot of depth here that will be the workhorses for this team.  Leading the backfield tandem is breakout star Marlon Mack (USF 14-16).  Marlon was the 20th ranked RB in the league...despite missing four games due to injury.  You can understand why Smeet treats him like the one ring.  Despite some of the injury concerns, Smeet kept the Mack Daddy last year and upon the Return of the Mack, he knifed his way for 15.4 points per game.

The Mack Truck will be joined in the backfield by Lamar Miller (Miami 09-11), the 22nd ranked RB this year.  A solid 11.3 points per game really undersells just how productive Miller was throughout this season.  Discard the two games he missed due to injury, and the Week 15 game where he was injured in the 2nd quarter after only 3 carries; he averaged 16 carries a game and was 11th in rushing yards on the season... he just didn't have much use in the passing game and had little success in hitting the end zone.  Still, a strong (if not overwhelming tandem) of running backs.

Wide Receivers:  One stud and one dud.  T.Y. Hilton (FIU 08-11) gets the top spot among the wide-outs.  The #14 wide-out this season had only two "bad" weeks all season; a 1 for 5, 34 yd dud against Oakland in Week 8, and another dud against the Titans in Week 17...when no one really cared.  Like teammate Marlon Mack, he missed two games due to injury but otherwise averaged 17.7 point per game and was 10th in total yards on the season.  T.Y was drafted for $56 this season in GMRRFFA.  By comparison, the WR who was right behind him in the final rankings was the $131 OBJ

After that, its a little bleak.  There is some rising stars, some bottle rockets, and some flops, but no one that you can feel confident trusting week in and week out.  But we gotta fill the spot (or Tito Galen will get upset), so the highest performing of the options is Antonio Callaway (UF 15-17).  When I first started scanning the lists of Florida-educated players in the NFL, I dismissed Callaway as someone who might be good enough for Team Florida.  And for much of the season, that was probably the case.  He averaged 8.3 points per game in his rookie season, and its hard to say he had a "Post-Hue" bump in productivity like the rest of the Browns did, as he was really only able to eek out two more points per game during the Gregg Williams era.  Callaway was picked up three times this season in GMRRFFA (twice by Stabs).  Team Florida would prefer not to have him at all...until you see the rest of the options.

Tight End:  Another place where we have some solid depth.  We might stash a few Floridians on the bench, but to start, we roll out Trey Burton (UF 10-13).  Undrafted out of The Swamp , he was chomping at the bit behind Zach Ertz and Brent Celek on the Eagles roster for four years.  But given the chance to start for the Da Bears, he shined, as the 7th-ranked TE this season.  He was tied for 4th among TEs in touchdowns, which pumped up his stats a bit as he was closer to the middle of the pack in targets, receptions, and yards, and 4th in the sloth of Bears pass catchers. 

(I'll admit, I had to look up what a group of bears was called.  Some people use the term "sleuth" as well, which is has no etymological origins with the term "sleuth" that we associate with gumshoes.  Interestingly, a group of sloths {the actual animal sloth, not a grouping of groups of bears} is called a "bed", as is a group of oysters, clams, and other bivalves.  Thus completes today's grammar and zoology lesson).

Flex: Dalvin Cook (FSU 14-16) has some real flex appeal.  It remains to be seen though if Cook can become more than flex worthy.  He had an ADP of 13.6 in ESPN Snake Draft leagues last year, with an AAV (average auction value) of 45.2, which put him the  8th most popular RB, ahead of Melvin Gordon, Run-CMC...and LeVeon Bell.  Despite a rookie season that was mostly lost to injury, he was kept for $51 this past GMRRFFA season by yours truly.  This AV made him the 11th-most expensive RB in our league.  His production however, made him only the 30th best in our league (oops), largely due to the five games he missed due to injury.  This put him behind stud backs like Jalen Richard, Nyheim Hines, and  TJ Yeldon!  For the cost of a Cook, you could get a Chubb, a Johnson, and a Blount....and save $4 plus get 267 more points. Cook realistically only had two bad games all season (two point stinkers in Weeks 4 and 11).  But he has only played 15 games over the past two seasons, making it hard to keep on your roster without an IR spot to stash him in.  That said, when the boy is on...he is on, and it will interesting to see if he is worth being kept for $61, and what the rest of the league is willing to pay for him in his 3rd year.

Kicker:  I'm not putting any kickers on the bench, so only one guy gets to represent the legs of Florida.  Amazingly, only one Florida school has kickers in the NFL...and they have three of them.  "Oh No" Graham Gano (FSU 05-08) has his moments, including a 63-yarder in Week 5, and Sebastian Janikowski (FSU 97-99) is a Hall-of-Famer on his last hamstring, but the newest FSU model, Dustin Hopkins (FSU 09-12), will be starting for Team Florida.  Hopkins averaged 7.5 points per game, good for 13th best among kickers (tied with Adam Vinatieri).  Hopkins was perfect on short FGs, only missed one XP and one long field goal, but fell behind Cody Parkey with zero double doinks on the season (Commissioner's Note: GFY Coop... I'm ending my campaign to set you up with AOC).  He continues to be one of the more accurate kickers in the league, but his scoring will always be limited playing for the Covington Catholic Redskins.


This is where the most difficult decisions are.  The bench is often a reflection of an owner's personality.  Do they want to provide balanced reserves to their starters?  Is their room for some long-term prospects who may take half of a season to peak? 2nd QB?  Pro-Handcuff? (The Commish is from what Mrs. Riff Raff tells me). I prefer the balanced approach, with room for a project.  To that end:

Wide Receivers: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (USF 15-17) and TreQuan Smith (UCF 15-17).  The 65th and 73rd ranked receivers respectively, they could have been even better if they started the ascendancy at the beginning of the season.  MVS was the 4th receiver in the Packers rotation to start the season, and then suffered in an offense that didn't really care to play offense down the stretch.  3Quan only really got to shine once Ted Ginn went down, and then was forgotten down the stretch.

Running Backs:  Latavius Murray (UCF 08-12), Duke Johnson (Miami 12-14), and Frank Gore (Miami 1801-1804).  Murray, despite starting the season as a handcuff, was nearly as productive as Dalvin Cook in the Minnesota backfield, averaging 8.4 ppg, good enough for 37th.  Right behind him was The Duke at 38th, chronically underutilized on the Browns, his season was statistically even worse in the post-Jackson area.  The Incredible Gore  keeps pounding in his old age, averaging 6.5 ppg, good enough for 47th in the league.

Tight End: Greg Olsen (Miami 03-06).  We are at the bottom of the bench here, so while Chris Thompson (FSU 09-12) had slightly higher PPG on the season, as did Phillip Dorsett (Miami 11-14), I am going with the old reliable (reliably injured) TE given the depth we already have at RB, and that Dorsett really only had value in three games all season.  Sure, Olsen only played nine games this season, but he had more than eight points in six of them...and in two of the other three, he had a 95-year old Cam Newton throwing to him (for those of you new here, Cam Newton aged 66-years immediately upon the Unicorn trading for him).

Quarterback: Blake Bortles (UCF 11-13)  This one is painful.  I am half tempted to take Colts backup QB Brad "Boom" Kaaya (Miami 14-16). We all know what Bortles did last season.  Benched in favor of Cody Kessler?!!!?!!  One monster game in Week 2 (42.5 points).  Four other strong games.  But FIVE games in single digits!  Like I said, Florida schools have not been QB mills the past decade.  Before Bortles, the last Florida-educated quarterback to get drafted and start a game in the NFL was EJ Manuel (FSU) in 2013.  Before that?  Christian Ponder (FSU) in 2011.  Before that?  Tim Tebow (UF) and Rusty Smith (FAU) in 2010.  These can actually be considered the glory days of Florida-educated quarterbacks, because before these guys you have to go to 2003 and pull out Rex Grossman to find a guy who started in the NFL.

Injured ReserveDevonta Freeman (FSU 11-13).  Freeman was the 5th-most expensive RB taken in GMRRFFA ($81 by Stabs).  Given his production the past few seasons, can you blame Stabs?  But alas, it was a lost season.  Still worthy of a stash on the IR spot...until at least Greg Olsen and Dalvin Cook need it.

So, does Team Florida have a chance?  I developed a statistical model that runs a multivariate analysis to render an algorithmic regression analysis of terms that I pulled out of my ass.  Who do I look like, FIL?  There are any number of ways to properly analyze this, but the beer is wearing off, so I just did an overly simplistic ppg average for the starting lineup, which came out to......88.4 points per game this season.  (Commissioner's Note: The Unicorn is intrigued by this lineup) EIGHTY-EIGHT POINT FOUR!?!! I wrote this whole thing thinking that Florida had some redeeming value but, EIGHTY-EIGHT POINT FOUR!!!!   I mean, yeah, Smeet would love that production each week, but 88.4!!!! 

So, the 88.4 points per game is a little bit deceptive (actually, very deceptive, given that we aren't optimizing lineups and what not), but we also don't have a D/ST unit.  So, for the benefit of comparison, I am going to take the average of the Top 14 defenses in the league (since there are 14 teams in our league).  This comes out to 10.1 ppg, giving Team Florida 98.5 points a game...just good enough to edge out Smeet's 98.2 ppg average (sorry Smeet) and dwarfed by Garcia's league leading 145.3 ppg.

I guess I should give Florida credit that we were even able to assemble a "competitive" team in the first place.  I would wager that only probably 10 states have enough alums of their colleges at the skill positions to be competitive (FL, TX, CA, OH, MI, NC, maybe LA, OK, IN, and GA). 

Perhaps one day I will be drunk enough to want to dig into some of these other states.  But what I have learned in writing this piece is that it is more work than I expected...and that FLORIDA STILL SUCKS!!!

Riff Raff

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