My First Scott Fish Bowl (Part 1)
By Joe Goodwin
My Scott Fish Bowl Origin Story
During late spring, Twitter becomes a buzz as the first wave of Scott Fish Bowl invites begins to roll out and hit registered mailboxes with an email proclaiming their inclusion into the Fish Bowl.
Asking yourself what is the Fish Bowl.
Well, this year is the 13th iteration of the Fish Bowl.
In the beginning, Scott Fish (and the FantasyCares team) decided since many fantasy managers are fearless in spending money to play the fantasy game they enjoy, why not include a charitable component to fantasy football?
And, with that, the Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) was born.
The primary purpose of the charity is Toys for Tots. However, the organization has aided many other organizations, including Coats for Kids, Go Pantry, Feeding America, ALS One, and many others.
What started as a small tournament to raise money for presents for under-served youths has become a considerable feather in a fantasy manager's cap when they are invited into the tournament, with the invites being so exclusive to a select number of participants.
And full disclosure, I am no different.
Once I heard of the Fish Bowl, I wanted to be in it. I saw all the Twitter posts from successful players who had been selected, and I wanted to experience the joy of posting my acceptance into the Fish Bowl.
In my first year, I did not get in. I was disappointed, but I moved on.
I didn't get an invite the following year, but I participated in a satellite tournament and was honored to participate. I wanted to win my division and be automatically invited to the following year's tournament. Well, that didn't happen, but the experience was terrific.
Last year, although still not receiving a Fish Bowl invite, I was happy to participate in another satellite. After getting acclimated to the format, I was ready to triumph. Well, I did have fun, but I did not prevail. The SFB format is like no other in fantasy football and requires some savvy and a lot of luck.
For 2023, my chances would be better to get an invite. Why wouldn't they be? I'm an accomplished writer for Dynasty Pros Football (that is sarcasm, I am entirely aware that I have accomplished very little).
And when the invites started rolling out in late May, I checked my email every few hours in hopes that a magical email would be there.
Well, I waited. And I checked. And I waited some more.
Then, on a glorious morning on June 1st, I saw the email I had waited years to get:
"Hey, Goody! Guess What? I am personally inviting you to be.."
And with that, I was officially in the Scott Fish Bowl, or SFB13 for shorthand.
That day my coffee tasted better. The air was fresher. I had finally made my first Fish Bowl!
First, I donated to the Fantasy Cares organization (That's the reason for the tournament in the first place!!!).
I then made my much anticipated Twitter Post declaring my acceptance into the Fish Bowl.
The reception and congrats from other fantasy football creators were overwhelming. And I was now part of a select group of fantasy managers who play in the Fish Bowl.
I also got to check out the SFB merch available. If you have not seen it all, check it out here:
In case you were wondering, I selected the SFB John's Roast Pork Shirt in navy.
Also available are hats, shirts, and sweatshirts for all genders. And if it interests you, you can also purchase a customizable AVI that best represents you.
All proceeds go to the Fantasy Cares organization.
Once the dust had settled on taking care of the extra-curricular activities, I had a decision to make: what division/draft do I want to participate in?
The Draft Type and Position
When you are accepted into the Fish Bowl, one of the new developments in the format is the Live Drafts!
In 2022, the Fish Bowl expanded to include live drafts across the globe.
I was excited to know that my hometown of Philadelphia was one of the many locations hosting live drafts in 2023.
I immediately targeted the Philly Live Drafts and then had to choose my division.
I could choose from: Geno's, Pat's, John's Roast Pork, or Charley's.
I based my decision solely on the sandwich I thought was best; I realize that may sound weird to some. Geno's and Pat's are tourist traps and offer only a "solid" cheesesteak. For those that have sampled many cheesesteaks, Jim's on South Street, D'Allesandro's, or Steve's Prince of Steaks all offer a cheesesteak that makes most sandwiches embarrassed even to be called a sandwich in comparison.
With that knowledge, I selected the John's Roast Pork Division; it was by far the best sandwich of the group.
Once I determined my division, I could select my draft slot.
Full disclosure, being in the middle (picks 5-9) of the draft is the worst possible position to draft from. That's my opinion. I hate the wait. I hate having a target but waiting for 10 to 18 picks before selecting. And most of the time, watching that target get sniped just a few selections before my own.
Picking at the beginning of the draft guarantees a manager a top-tier quarterback, an ideal situation to be in, with the format being Super Flex. However, the Fish Bowl has 3rd round reversal (3RR). Need to become more familiar with 3RR? After the 2nd round is complete, the draft reverts to the 12th team selected in the first round, and the draft continues. So, if you pick 1.12, you are also 2.01 and 3.01. Based on that information, I took the 12th pick in the John's Roast Pork Division. The 3RR is the crucial factor in wanting to select pick 1.12.
Pre Draft Preparation
With the draft spot not secured, I could begin my pre-draft preparation. A lot of people do not believe in mock drafts. And there are a lot of reasons why. Mock Drafts can be misleading, with managers drafting a "theory" to see how it looks.
For example, one manager may be testing a theory of drafting RB, RB to start the draft, then letting the auto draft finish making the selections. We all know most managers are not just drafting by Average Draft Position (ADP).
So, I get why some managers don't like mock drafts.
For me, I'm different.
I like to test theories. What if I don't pick a QB with my first two picks? What if I go zero RB? I want to try how these scenarios play out to see if the team build is something I like or not.
Before the actual draft, I participated in 6 mock drafts; some were filled with many motivated managers that were very involved, while other drafts saw as many as eight teams being auto-drafted at the conclusion.
Thank goodness for Geoff Lambert and the Going for 2 team!
Their discord server is a valuable tool for any SFB manager.
You can find mock drafts to participate in and get up-to-date ADP, cheatsheets, general chat, and even join a draft pick-specific group to share ideas.
That is an essential component of the Fish Bowl beyond donating to charity: building relationships with other fantasy managers through various social media sites.
I joined a Twitter group specific to those that had the 12th pick. And, even as I write this, it probably has at least 2-3 posts per minute with managers sharing intel on how their draft is going and what players are falling or rising.
In addition to my "12th pick" group, I was also in a Twitter group specific to those of us that were live drafting in Philly, and once we all met at the draft, we even created a Twitter group for the John's Roast Pork division.
The Scott Fish Bowl is so much more than just fantasy football. Yes, that is the core of why all these relationships start, but as we continue to talk and grow as a smaller community, we are finding so much more than just a love of fantasy football. I am using this opportunity to meet new people and build relationships. If they haven't already, I hope those that read this get motivated to get more involved and forge new relationships with other SFB13 participants.
With the 12th pick, my mock drafts showed me I would see a top 12 QB available and many wide receivers or running backs. The settings for the Fish Bowl lean heavily to tight ends and quarterbacks. Knowing this heading in, I would like to be able to draft Marc Andrews with one of my first two picks and select the highest remaining quarterback on my board. Well, with pick 10, fellow Dynasty Pros creator Steve Uetz selected Mark Andrews. And just like most drafts, I now had to pivot due to this "wrench" thrown in my direction. In addition to two tight ends being drafted before me, we also saw eight quarterbacks drafted (Hurts, Allen, Jackson, Mahomes, Burrow, Herbert, Fields, and Lawrence).
This is where the mock drafts helped me. I had planned for this scenario and would use that information to guide me to my best options. I could take my two favorite RBs and then stack up everywhere else for the next 5 to 6 rounds or go RB and WR to diversify. In my mock drafts, I liked the value of RB in the middle rounds, so I decided that RB, RB was not the best choice. With all the information available, and the anxiety of drafting live in front of 60 people, I grabbed my #1 RB and #2 WR in Christian McCaffery and Ja'Marr Chase.
And with that, my draft began.
With 3RR, I knew I would have a lot of options. I could grab a QB and secure at least one top-tier QB or go in a different direction. Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones, and Kirk Cousins were the best available; although good QBs, I didn't think any were worthy of the 3.01.
In our draft, after Kelce and Andrews were gone, the tight end position was left with Hockenson, Waller, and Goedert. Then, the position takes a huge drop. I tettered back and forth on grabbing Hockenson and securing a Top 5 tight end in a league where tight ends are valued above all other positions. There were also a lot of wide receivers in the talent pool to choose from: AJ Brown, CeeDee Lamb, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Pairing any of those players with Chase would be solid, but the receiver position is the least valued in the format, and the position could be addressed later in the draft.
So, I turned my attention to the available running backs. The running backs available at this point were: Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Najee Harris.
So who did I choose? Based on this year's settings, Josh Jacobs would have been the overall #1 player in SFB. With his contract situation a little shaky, many fantasy managers have selected other players over him. So, I proudly walked up to the draft board and drafted Josh Jacobs with the first pick in the 3rd round.
Every draft is different, and at this juncture, my strategy of waiting on the quarterback was going to work.
One of my fellow draftmates looked at me and wondered out loud if my strategy of waiting on QB would work.
This is where the pre-draft work pays off!
I had tried this scenario multiple times and felt comfortable waiting till round 4/5 to address it.
After seeing Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones, and Kirk Cousins off the board, I knew this was where I would draft my two starting QBs. My best choices at this point were: Geno Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Jared Goff. All are good value at this point in the draft, but I decided on taking Geno Smith and Russell Wilson. I like to focus on the weapons a quarterback has to use during a game. I love the DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba trio in Seattle and Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy in Denver. Those two quarterbacks are ideally suited to lead my team.
At this point in the draft, my team is:
Ja" Marr Chase
Remember the pre-draft work? Well, here is where it paid off again.
I knew that the value at receiver would be there heading into the 6/7 turn, and I was ready to pounce. Before my next pick, six receivers, nine running backs, five quarterbacks, and 2 tight ends had been drafted.
Some fantasy managers overlook a player's heirarchy within the offense.
Some receivers may be extremely good but may also be the 2nd or 3rd option in their offense. At this point in the draft, I was able to draft two receivers that are both primed to be the WR #1 on their teams: DJ Moore and Drake London. I love adding both receivers to Ja'Marr Chase on my team. I considered stacking my two quarterbacks with their receivers, Tyler Lockett and Jerry Jeudy. However, I chose to go with receivers I believe will be the unquestioned top receivers on their respective teams. Full disclosure, the other player I seriously considered was Terry McLaurin. But I'll get to that in a minute…
Heading into my 8/9 turn, I had an incredible balance in my team. I still need to address the tight-end position, but I missed the elite guys and have decided to wait. Since we are a Super Flex league, 2 QBs can start each week. I like to ensure I have three QBs on my roster in Super Flex. And at this point, only a few remaining QB’s are entering the season as a starter. I also was getting feedback from my nephew that he had been looking at some stacks (we discussed some of that earlier) and asked if I saw any still available. That is when I turned my attention to two stacks I thought could be successful this year.
Option 1 was Kenny Pickett and Diontae Johnson. However, both were drafted just ahead of where I was.
The 2nd option was a stack I liked as more information on their usage for the upcoming season became available: Sam Howell and Jahan Dotson.
Earlier, I talked about how I considered McLaurin in my 6/7 turn but ultimately went with Moore and London. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had taken McLaurin over Moore. Then, my selection of Howell would have been a great stack at this point in the draft. So, I pivoted and took Howell and Dotson. I was encouraged by Dotson's seven touchdowns last year, two more than McLaurin.
So, at this point in the draft, I have the following:
QB: Geno Smith, Russell Wilson, and Sam Howell
RB: Christian McCaffery, Josh Jacobs
WR: Ja'Marr Chase, DJ Moore, Drake London, Jahan Dotson
I feel good about the talent I have drafted and encouraged with the players I like still available.
There is still plenty of work to be done in completing my first Scott Fish Bowl draft.
Thank you to all the fantasy managers in the John's Roast Pork Division for making this experience unforgettable.
Stay tuned for Part 2 to see when I address the tight end position and how my draft finishes.
Full time teacher, full time fantasy sports enthusiast. I try to look at fantasy sports through my own lens and share that vision with my readers I love to explore and find new, and exciting fantasy football options including: C2C, dynasty, IDP, and Devy. See me on Twitter @JGoody77
Always willing to give advice, reach out via Twitter