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Adam Harstad

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Adam Harstad last won the day on October 1 2015

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About Adam Harstad

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  • Birthday 03/27/1984

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  1. Hey @MikeIke. You probably don't really know me, since I've never ventured much into the FFA. Joe linked me to this thread, though, and I wanted to come by and offer my perspective, too. When I was 13 and my brother was 15, my mom used to get her nails professionally done. Mostly because my mom is a hyper-sociable person, and professional nail appointments are professional chat appointments. (You gotta do something while the lacquer dries, right?) Her favorite nail tech at the time, we'll call her "Sharon", was around 26 and had a 12-year-old daughter, we'll call her "Mary". Sharon kept telling my mom about how she just couldn't handle Mary, she was doing the best she could but she was a single mother who had dropped out of high school, she didn't have any money, she didn't have any career prospects, she didn't have any parental role models, and she just didn't know what to do. So my mom and dad-- amazing, awe-inspiring people that they are-- took in Mary and raised her as their own. It was really weird, and hard. That part about how your kids would probably wind up fooling around with Padme? Well, my brother and Mary had already had several hot-and-heavy makeout sessions (they didn't realize she was going to become our "sister" at the time), and I had a huge crush on her for like the first year she lived with us. (I was 13. She was hot.) Eventually, things got to the point where the very thought of fooling around with Mary became super-weird. And I was really, really, really glad by that point that I *hadn't* fooled around with her. Because suuuuuuuuuuper-weird. But had there been an opportunity before we reached that point, oh hell yeah, it'd have happened. Throwing a pair of non-Westermarcked mixed-gender kids in the middle of puberty together under the same roof is dangerous. Take precautions. The early going with Mary living with us was really rough. I'm not going to compare it to what you're going through, but she rebelled early and hard. She'd basically been raising herself for a few years and she chafed at any restrictions whatsoever. She repeatedly stole money from everyone in the house and lied about it. She frequently disappeared without warning, sometimes overnight. She lied, played one family member against another, etc. Basically just causing chaos however she could. As others have opined, this was because of her life experience. Kids are phenomenally good at learning. That's their whole reason for existence, really. And what Mary had learned was that when things got tough, people got rid of her. After seeing how easily that lesson sank in on her second family with Mary, I shudder to think how well Padme has internalized it by her fifth family. Anyway, Mary figured sooner or later we were going to abandon her, so unconsciously she wouldn't allow herself to get close to us. She kept trying to push us away, to make us abandon her and prove her right. That was basically life for us for a year. And after about a year of it, she realized that we weren't going anywhere and gave it up. There was never any formal cessation of hostilities or anything, she just wound down. Actually, "wound down" gives the wrong impression. Things got much, much worse... and then they sort of stopped. And after that, things were pretty good. There was drama, but mostly of the "she's a 13-year-old girl" variety. If I had to hazard a guess based on the (very, very) limited information I have, I'd hypothesize that Padme's behavior best fits this model. It explains why she's so loving to her sister: her sister is the one person she can count on not to abandon her, who doesn't demand anything of her or judge her. It also means if you give up on her, it just "proves" to her that her mental model is correct, and everyone really *will* abandon her when things get hard. Which is a really ####ty situation for you to find yourself in, essentially held emotional hostage to this girl's needs. If I'm right, if there's no underlying mental disorder, then this is not exactly good news. Mental disorders are, in many ways, preferable. (Coming from someone with major family history of mental disorders ranging from depression to bipolar to dissociative identity disorder, borderline personality, you name it.) Once there's a diagnosis, there's usually some sort of plan of action. Things are hard, but the path is basically known. Defense mechanisms don't lend themselves to a plan of action. Basically, the "plan of action" is "put up with as much #### as you humanly can". With no idea whether "as much #### as you humanly can" is as much #### as she's prepared to dish out. With no guidance on when the #### will eventually end, or even if it ever will. She might be irreparably broken, (think: your interaction with her biological father). She might be repairable but beyond your ability. You're a good man, but good intentions are a poor substitute for expertise, and your obligations will always be potential stumbling blocks. We were able to weather Mary's ####. But it easily could have gone differently. Had she brought hard drugs into our house, or introduced my brother or I to them, that probably would have been a red line. Had my brother and I started hanging out with acquaintances of hers with gang affiliations, that would, too. Had she exacerbated my family's existing mental conditions in a dangerous way, the health and safety of my family would have taken precedence over her rehabilitation. We were incredibly lucky that she never crossed any lines that there was no coming back from. I offer no judgment for anyone in a situation where those lines *are* crossed. One final coda. You might think my family is a success story, and in many ways we were. But also, in many ways, we weren't. Mary remained close with Sharon. Sharon was her mother. Closer, in fact; now that Sharon was freed from the obligations of parenthood, she was free to be Mary's best friend. They shared clothes, went shopping together, gossipped about boys. Sharon gabbed about the single lifestyle she was finally able to lead, and Mary considered it so glamorous and enviable. My dad got a promotion that required us to move out of state. We discussed it with Mary and told her how much we wanted her to come with. She wanted to come, too. We had a house built and Mary would get a bedroom with her very own bathroom for the first time in her life. We promised to fly her back for holidays and summers so she could still see her mom plenty. Everyone was excited. Except for Sharon, who decided that having a daughter was actually so much fun (now that she didn't have to do anything) and who didn't want to lose her bestie. Sharon waged a covert war for Mary's affections, persuading Mary to choose her instead of us. My parents refused to play dirty, because who wants to try to convince a kid not to love and trust her mother? Sharon eventually won, convincing Mary that life with her would be a non-stop slumber party. We moved. Mary stayed. A while later, we found out that Mary had gone to visit extended family in California, and when she'd returned, Sharon had moved without telling her where. Mary crashed on friends' couches until eventually they kicked her out. Then she moved in with her boyfriend, who was 4 or 5 years older. She dropped out of high school, moved to California, and had kids really young. We lost touch, and I have no idea where she is today or what she's up to. You could say that all of our time and effort was for nothing, but that's not really true. I mean, Mary still had us in her life for two years, and they were good years. My family learned a lot about sacrifice, and love, and also about how some problems don't really have solutions, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth trying to solve anyway. Because of this amazing thing my parents did, I know a lot more today about the meaning and shape of selflessness. They set an example for me to strive to live up to. I have two little boys, age 5 and 1. Knowing what I know, would I take in a Mary of my own? Certainly not now. I don't have the energy or resources to commit to that kind of project right now. A decade from now? Who knows. Honestly, I'd probably be more likely to donate a kidney anonymously. Organ donation is quick and easy by comparison. It has a clearly-defined beginning, middle, and end-point. But maybe. As you're seeing, there's a lot of bad that can (and inevitably will) arise from that choice. But sometimes there's a lot of good, too. Sometimes the good manages to outweigh the bad. And sometimes it doesn't, but at least you can go to bed at night and tell yourself that just because a problem doesn't have a solution doesn't mean you didn't try to solve it, anyway, and there's value in that, too.
  2. So... ummm... the Bucs just cut Bernard Reedy.
  3. This is one of those places where comparisons between NFL and fantasy really fall apart. Buffalo giving Peterman starts *MAKES PETERMAN A BETTER PLAYER*. He is gaining experience. You can practice all you want, but there's no substitute for actual game action. Additionally, Buffalo giving Peterman starts *GIVES BUFFALO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT PETERMAN*. They'll never be able to tell if he's worth keeping around or cutting if they don't eventually start him. In fantasy football, neither of those two effects come into play. Nathan Peterman will be exactly as good next Tuesday whether he's started by 8% of the fantasy teams that own him or 87% of the fantasy teams that own him. Additionally, every one of his owners will know exactly as much about how good he is whether they start him or leave him on their bench. So really this is comparing apples and dump trucks. If I played in a crazy dynasty league that gave players a 0.1 point bonus for every additional week you had started them before and where you weren't allowed to watch any players play, read any game recaps involving those players, or check out their numbers in the box score unless you actually had them in your starting lineup... then hell yeah, I'd say a bad team could start Peterman to their heart's content. How else were they going to make him a better player in the long-term or even find out how good he was in the first place?
  4. It's a question of costs. Trading a prospect for an aging star is (losing asset that helps me in the future, when I will be competitive) to (acquire asset that helps me now, when I am not competitive). Cutting a prospect for a bye-week fill-in is (losing asset that helps me in the future, when I will be competitive) to (acquire asset that helps me now, when I am not competitive). I mean, if the league has 30-man rosters and an owner is holding on to Zach Miller rather than acquiring a bye-week fill-in, sure, that's egregious. If the league has 20-man rosters, the owner has seven guys on IR, and it's more a question of dropping Gerald Everett to acquire a bye-week fill-in... I've got no problem with that owner starting someone injured or on bye. I wrote about intentionally taking a zero (for non-tanking reasons) last year. Relevant section quoted:
  5. All teams that are not contending for a title behave differently from teams that are contending for a title. Maybe a team would be interested in trading for Larry Fitzgerald in week two when they're 1-1, but not in week 10 when they're 3-7. If preference reversals were proof of tanking, then "not trading for aging stars" would qualify as tanking. The reason teams behave differently late in the season is because they have more clarity as to whether they are a contending team or not. "Changing priorities based on new information" is not tanking. Now, if a team is starting players on bye because "a) it helps their draft position", then yeah, that's the exact definition of tanking per the definition I supplied. But not cutting a player they like for a player they don't like just to score an extra 5 points late in a lost-cause season isn't tanking. It's... not wanting to cut players you like for players you don't like. In deeper leagues you shouldn't see too much of teams unable to field a competitive lineup. In shallower leagues... hell, I've started players on a bye when I was in the middle of a heated race for a bye myself. The odds of one random player making the difference between a win and a loss are far, far smaller than most people assume, and sometimes I'll take an extra 5% chance of losing in order to keep a prospect I really like.
  6. Again, there's a difference between top 5 ex ante and top 5 ex post. Few guys are always top 5 ex post. More guys are always top 5 ex ante. MFL's ADP data is down right now, but I suspect you'd find a lot more guys who are consistently drafted high going into the season. Bailey is Dan Bailey. He, Gost, and Tucker are the most accurate kickers in history, (Bailey currently sits atop the leaderboard). All three have phenomenal job security, which is worth something at a position where it's a rarity. He's having a down year this year, but since entering the league in 2011, he has finished 5th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 12th, and 8th, which is comparable to Tucker (8th, 7th, 10th, 7th, 2nd). I don't play in dynasty leagues with kickers, but if I did, there's no way I'd be dropping him for Chandler Catanzaro or Will Lutz just to fill out a starting lineup for a week. Whether Jax and Zeuerlein are new additions is irrelevant. (Zeuerlein has been great for a while, he was just stuck with a Jeff Fisher offense.) If you had to put money on where they are going to be drafted going into next year, do you think it's more likely they're top 5 at their position or outside of the top 5 at their position? If the former, why would a rebuilding team want to cut a top 5 ex ante player at the position?
  7. Eh. Nobody is "top 3" every year, even at QB or RB or WR, (see: Drew Brees, Julio Jones). But it's very reasonable to believe kickers like Gostkowski, Tucker, Bailey, and Zeuerlein and defenses like Seattle and Jacksonville are noticeably more valuable than whatever flotsam is sitting around on waivers in any given week.
  8. A few years back, I wrote a pair of articles explaining why tanking was unhealthy for a league and offering practical tips to disincentivize it. The definition I've used for tanking is: taking actions an owner otherwise would not have taken if draft order was not a consideration. If draft position was determined alphabetically, or via an arm wrestling competition after the season was over, or any other arbitrary way unrelated to actual fantasy performance, no owner would bench Le'Veon Bell for Austin Ekeler. There'd be nothing for them to get out of it. So benching Bell for Ekeler fails the "tanking test". On the other hand, if draft position were awarded arbitrarily, plenty of teams might still choose to start a player on a bye rather than cutting a quality prospect for a second kicker. So that's not tanking.
  9. Ironically, my long-time dynasty league is actually named "Bush League", but that kind of behavior still isn't legal, technically or otherwise. I just reworked the constitution this offseason and put in a bunch of very broad language to make it clear we were a "spirit of the law" league and not a "letter of the law" league, precisely to discourage that kind of "if it's not explicitly forbidden then it's implicitly allowed" mentality. Provided you can find a quality commissioner you trust, I highly recommend switching to a "spirit of the rules" model and broadly empowering the commissioner to deal with whatever comes up. Also, every league should have a "sportsmanship" clause. Example language from our constitution: This commissioner believes that overly precise rules are an invitation to owners to search for loopholes. As such, this league favors broadly defined rules with a clear intent and a commissioner fully empowered to address issues either foreseen or unforeseen at his discretion. Unanticipated situations have a habit of coming up, and I have a habit of creating ad hoc solutions to address them on the fly. When crafting these solutions, I'm attempting to serve the overall interests of the league to the best of my ability. I have been known to get things wrong. If you believe I am getting a ruling wrong, don't hesitate to tell me. Vetoes are stupid. With that said, if a trade ever arises that seems really sketchy, owners are allowed to object. I'm not setting hard and fast rules for what the objection process looks like. I will address each objection on a case-by-case basis and issue resolutions at my discretion. Mistakes will happen, and since this is just a damn game, broad allowances will be granted to correct for them. (Mistakes mean honest errors. "I changed my mind" is not a mistake.) Sportsmanship: Owners must make a good-faith effort to field the most competitive lineup they are capable of fielding on any given week. Owners must refrain from any activities that could be construed as "poor sportsmanship". These activities include, but are not limited to: "renting" or "loaning" players, intentionally losing games to get a favorable matchup, whining excessively about any league rulings, intentionally picking up/dropping players you have no interest in just to put them on the 24-hour waivers, intentionally destroying the competitive balance of the league (such as by cutting your best players), and being an annoying rules lawyer. As always, warnings and penalties will be issued at my discretion. Powers not explicitly granted to the commissioner are not implicitly denied to the commissioner. This league is a dictatorship and I am empowered to do whatever I want whenever I want for whatever reason I want. By participating in this league, you signal that you trust me not to abuse this absolute power to fornicate everything up. I, in turn, promise to do everything in my power to make this league as awesome as possible for everyone involved. The "find a good commish" part is obviously the key, and honestly isn't always an option. Detailed constitutions are a decent protection from a mediocre-to-bad commissioner, if nothing else.
  10. Hey @Stompin' Tom Connors , I appreciate the look. Basic explanation is: my approach has a lot of skepticism built into it. In my experience, there are few players on most teams whose hold on their job is more tenuous than the top returner, *especially* when that guy isn't an established star like Devin Hester or even a well-worn journeyman like Brandon Tate or even Andre Roberts. So I look at someone like Reedy-- a 175-pound undrafted free agent who didn't even see the active roster until his 4th season in the league-- and think "what are the odds this guy holds down the job all year?" When there's an established, experienced alternative already on the roster, one who will definitely be active on gamedays no matter what, I hedge my bets a good bit, because I've seen a lot of returners go from full-time to unemployed after one ill-timed fumble. Returners make for easy scapegoats. So even when Antonio Brown hadn't lined up deep to field a punt once through three weeks, I was still projecting him for a substantial chunk of Pittsburgh's punt returns, and sure enough, the Steelers switched him back in full-time in week 4. But I do agree that, given that it's week 10, the skepticism should be much less aggressive at this point. I'll fade it out a bit in my next update. I'll also try to rework it so it applies more starting in week N+1 than in week N; I'm more confident that Reedy takes 90% of the returns this next week than I am he takes 90% of the returns the week after. I appreciate the glance over, though, and please hit me up if you have any other questions or suggestions.
  11. I'm obviously not privy to FBGs' financials, but I see enough of the broad strokes to posit (with a great degree of confidence) that ad revenue is a substantially smaller stream than subscriber revenue. If DFS ads all ended tomorrow, FBGs survives just fine. They probably have to let some of the DFS staff go, but the site itself is fine. If all subscriber revenue disappeared tomorrow, FBGs would be shuttered by the end of the month. No redraft, no dynasty, no IDP, no DFS, no contests, no message boards. Subscribers are the business. Footballguys has a good working relationship with FanDuel. (As far as I know, they have a good working relationship with all of their sponsors.) But suggesting FBGs works for FanDuel... nah. That'd be like saying the NFL works for Coors. (Actually, it'd probably be more true in the NFL's case; advertising makes up a much larger share of their overall revenue.)
  12. It's really good advice. It's advice that's getting emailed to the staff and shared on the FBGs slack channel all the time. It's the reason why Doug and Keith worked overtime to get MyFBG Classic restored after customers said loud and clear that they didn't like the new My.Footballguys. It's the reason why DFS is getting separated out and non-DFS subscribers are getting a price cut after non-stop complaints about seeing all that DFS coverage. Customers complained, the business responded in big and visible ways. I don't want to get too much into private communication, but I just sorted my inbox for all emails from Joe. Last email: story about an interaction with a customer and the importance of taking five seconds to listen instead of reflexively assuming you know already. Two emails ago was forwarding a customer question he thought I could help with. Three emails ago was about preseason checks, (woot!), and four emails ago was a long discussion on the importance of building trust, including the following line: "there's some sort of universal law that says something along the lines of "companies and people that do the right things and take care of and value the customer will win out". Without all the yelling and sizzle and look at me stuff. That's how we've tried to build Footballguys." Five and six emails ago were both passing along some customer praise, seven emails ago was discussing a specific article with me, and eight emails ago was an all-hands-on-deck call to the staff to get MyFBG Classic tested as quickly as possible so we could get it back into the hands of the customers, who had made it clear that they wanted it back. This is not an aberration. When we hear from Joe, (about twice a week via email, more via Slack), this is almost always what it's about. Listen to customers. Here's an example of listening to customers. Here's why it's important to listen to customers. Here's how to listen to customers who are angry. Here's a thing we desperately need your help with because our customers said they wanted it. There's an entire channel in our staff Slack chat devoted to company culture, the importance of building trust and relationships, how the site was founded on providing something of value and the importance of making a friend instead of a sale. I've worked a lot of places. All of them pay lip service to "customer is king". I've said before that this is by far the company I am most proud to be associated with, because I have never for the slightest second believed that "customer is king" was ever lip service here. Footballguys screws up, for sure. The rollout of MyFBGs this year was a disaster, and I think all parties involved will readily agree. But never confuse screwing up with not caring. Going further, can you think of any other company on the planet that not only hosts a free message board for subscribers and non-subscribers alike to congregate, but also leaves open and undisturbed long threads of customers bashing the service they are providing, their sales tactics, questioning their motivations, etc? I mean, has anyone in this thread had any outside interference? Posts deleted, warnings to be a little bit less critical, anything? Is there another company out there right now that is that radically transparent, that actively enables and even assists in connecting upset customers with each other so they can pool complaints and even attempt to convince others about what's wrong? I'm not saying this in a "be grateful we let you speak, peons" sort of way-- you guys know me better than that. I'm just saying that this is a pretty radical level of transparency. I literally cannot think of a single company that allows this level of transparency regarding customer complaints. Footballguys would be fully within their rights to delete all negative comments about their products from the message board. After all, they're a business, their goal is selling products, and these very public negative complaints probably hurt that bottom line, right? Could you imagine going to Time Warner Cable's website and seeing a tab titled "what our customers are saying about us" that actually listed exactly what their customers were saying about them? Could you imagine Spirit Airlines hosting a message board for customers to talk about their flying experience? Why would Footballguys allow this kind of radical, unprecedented transparency, even though it probably hurts the bottom line? I don't know. I'm not Joe or David, I've never been inside their heads. But to me it suggests that they place a pretty high value on honest, unfiltered feedback. This doesn't look like the sort of thing you'd see from a company that wasn't interested in listening to its customers. At least, in my opinion. Which is totally in line with everything else I've ever seen and heard from them in my ten years as a subscriber and four years as a staffer.
  13. Yup. Pharoh Cooper could get some, too, but I'd be surprised if Austin isn't handling the majority of them. Edit: I've tentatively got Austin projected for 66% of LA's punt returns, but that's largely just me being pretty conservative on the heels of the big extension. I wouldn't at all be surprised if that number wound up being more like the 90% he's averaged over the last two years.
  14. As a fellow Texan, my general policy is to assume that the state government is going to screw me in the most thorough and ingenious way possible. That way if it turns out I'm wrong, it's a pleasant surprise. I'm not pleasantly surprised that often, though.
  15. I would say don't sleep on the impact that algorithms and drafting software had on season-long fantasy football either. Most of the impact was felt over a decade ago at this point and it's pretty thoroughly worked its way through the system, but entering a draft in 2003 with the Draft Dominator was basically shooting fish in a barrel. The problem is by now all those gains have been internalized. Almost nobody drafts without the aid of computer-generated projections. Every hosting site has its own player projections now, and all of those player projections are computer-generated. ESPN's player projections used to be something of a joke, because ESPN didn't care. Now they *have to* care if they want to stay competitive, so they just hired Mike Clay, one of the most proven and accurate projectors in the industry, as a full-time fantasy guy. Clay is using algorithms and computers to create his super-accurate projections, and then those projections are filtering down all the way to the guy or gal who showed up at the fantasy draft after doing literally zero prep and just drafts off of the stock ESPN player rankings. Or even down to the guy or gal who doesn't even bother showing up and gets his team autodrafted. I had a friend who couldn't make the draft in a friends-and-family league on ESPN last year, so he got autodrafted. Ten years ago, that would have been a (metaphorical) death sentence. Last year, he wound up with a quality team. The landscape has changed, but those changes are sometimes hard to see because they're so far in the rear-view mirror. (And as an aside, like Maurile, I appreciate the kind words. )