Inaugural High Stakes League update 5

Updated: November 4th 2021

Hello fellow fantasy football enthusiasts and welcome back.  This time, we are just going to focus on the league.  After all, much has happened and much has already been sorted out.

We still have a little time until the trade deadline of Tuesday, 11/9.  So, we may not see the flurry of last minute trades just yet.  But, several happened last week after two teams look to already be out of contention and began selling off star players in the final year of their contract to gain more draft picks, or other advantages, for the next season.  Other star players still have yet to move but have been officially offered up on the league’s trade block.  Names like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill.  Absolute game changers.  But, salty salaries do remain an obstacle.  We’ll see how creative these owners can get to make something happen.  I have faith though.  If there is something we have plenty of on the RSO site, in all of my leagues, it’s trades.  The league setup seems to offer more ways to equalize a trade to make almost anything possible.  Clearly, this league will probably see more action than the disappointing NFL trade deadline where we saw… <checks notes> …zero big name players on the move.

If you follow my tweets @RSOHighStakes you may have seen a preview of this next mention.  When the games completed Sunday night, we had ourselves quite an upset that assured us a shakeup of the standings.  The tanking, #12 seed, These Truths to be Self Richard Dent shocked “The Don” Piccolo, just days after completing a trade with him.  A tough outcome for both as “The Don” relinquishes his number one seed, These Truths relinquishes his right to the 1st pick of the ’22 draft, and we have two new, happy owners in their places.

Y-Town, who had the first seed for most of this season, wins his game and retakes the high ground despite a tough challenge from the Wendell Takeover Project in the game of the week.  It was one of those match ups where these were the top two scoring teams this week and they just happened to play each other.  Ouch.  It’s been a tough run for Wendell who started on fire the first two weeks of the season and was our points leader.  Then, McCaffrey went down and so did this Wendell squad.  Since then going 2-4.  Fortunately, their points total makes them the #5 seed right now in the playoff picture.  Let’s take a look at that picture:

  1. Y Town  6-2, 1251 pts
  2. “The Don” Piccolo  6-2, 1066 pts
  3. XFL Stars  5-3, 1264 pts
  4. Big Tings 5-3, 1111 pts
  5. Wendell Takeover Project 4-4, 1118 pts
  6. Rodge and Dodge 4-4, 1104 pts

In the hunt:

7.  Borderland Bombers 4-4, 1044 pts

8.  Schless is More 3-5, 1035 pts

9.  DC Guardians 3-5, 1021 pts

10.  Philadelphia Freeways 5-3, 984 pts

Already out are These Truths (2-6, 964) and NJ Generals (1-7, 962).  Near the top is our points leader, XFL Stars.  Remember, our league takes the first four teams by record (points tie breaker), then the final two playoff teams by points.  That means XFL Stars has a long way to fall to actually be out of the picture.  Y Town as well.  Everyone else is vulnerable.

Another great game worthy of mention from this past weekend went down between Schless is More and Big Tings.  Big Tings was looking for a Monday night miracle and they got it.  Daniel Jones may not be getting a lot of wins in New York but he pulled this one off for his fantasy owners, Big Tings.  Maybe send they guy some edible arrangements to thank him?  Or, maybe, you prefer to send an arrangement to Darius Slayton who was a starter for Schless is More and put up a big fat zero?  In the end, only half a point separated these two teams with Big Tings coming out the victor at 131.60 to 131.10.  Folks, this is a PPR league.  Slayton even got two looks.  And he dropped a doughnut.  While that’s really rough, when you are 3-5, or 4-4, points are what matter.  So, this could have been more of a heartbreaker but we’ll see in week 14 how much that win matters to Schless.  On the other hand, Big Tings sits at 5-3 now and is in a much better position.

On tap for week 9 is a great match up between the #3 seed and #4 seed.  XFL Stars versus Big Tings.  Both teams will each be without two of their starters due to bye weeks. XFL is going to miss Fournette and Godwin whereas Big Tings will surely miss Swift and McLaurin.  Right now, the projections suggest roughly a 130 – 120 win for XFL Stars.  But, there’s a reason we play the game.  Good luck to both.

Have I mentioned that we are looking to expand the High Stakes League’s next year?  Ideally, we are looking at adding two more leagues at once and possibly linking all three leagues in a networked conference.  So, make sure your name is on the waiting list if you have any interest at all.  If we only have enough to form one league this coming season you may have to wait an extra year depending on how far down the list you fall.  You can email RSO or message me through any of my social media outlets at any time and it is currently free to get on to the list.

Join me next week as we discuss any of the trades made at the deadline and we update our standings.  I’m also going ask our season one winners, Philadelphia Freeways, how they’ve spent all that money they won.  Have a great week everyone.

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural High Stakes League update 3

Updated: October 18th 2021

Welcome back.  We’re still getting these updates up to current but, if you missed last week’s, you can view it here.

Once again I want to congratulate Dave, owner of Philadelphia Freeways, for being our season one champion.  Their strategy and depth took them all the way to the title.  Not to mention a nice payout.  After two seasons of entry fees and only one payout so far, those Philly Freeways are the only ones in the green.  Interestingly, five weeks into season two, they have the lowest points scored in the league by far.  But, we’ll get a little more into the current season in my next update.  I want to step back and talk about this offseason we just had in 2021.  It was one for the ages.

For those of you who have already found and play on RSO you already know that they’ve finally figured out the best way to deliver the most complete ownership experience in fantasy football.  That starts in the offseason.  An offseason is something that many leagues don’t even have.  Fellow RSO players, can you even imagine gong back to not having an offseason?  We now have year around fantasy football.  Just like nature intended.  It’s a beautiful thing.  How about that salary cap reduction this year though?  For many owners and many leagues this year was a new challenge not seen before.  I’ve seen some owners in trouble, on a rare occasion, entering the rookie draft in the past.  But not very often.  Not only did many teams need to get under the cap, but many simply saw the writing on the wall.  Getting salary to use in the auction this year was on everybody’s mind and a top priority.  If you like trading, and seemingly most everyone does in fantasy football, the challenge of gaining salary to use in the auction caused some anxiety but also presented the opportunity of a lifetime to wheel and deal like you were down in the pits of the New York Stock exchange.  Buy! Sell! Hold!  The deals were coming in fast and furious.  Player values were changing and evolving versus last season.  Draft picks were being slung around like an octopus bartender acting in some new version of Tom Cruise’s Cocktail.  Oh yes, fellow owners, it was a glorious time in RSO land.  And it was only May.  Since last season was the first for this particular league, most teams had maxed out their salary caps.  That’s why so many owners needed to make moves.  But, I suspect this was happening in most RSO leagues.  In fact, I’d love to get some feedback.  Once this story posts to my Twitter account (Give me a follow, eh?) @RSOHighStakes please reply with your story of a crazy offseason trade that was made to move some salary.  I know there are some good ones out there.

I know I said we have year around football here on RSO.  It’s a true statement.  And it is glorious.  But, there is often a down time.  After the rookie draft (for many leagues this is in May) things tend to simmer down for a little while.  The league is still open.  Deals can and do happen.  But June and July are definitely the fantasy football doldrums.  Our league still saw one trade in July and then one trade August 1st.  Then the players starting falling off rosters one by one as the deadline before the auction approached.  Wow, this growing list of free agents was starting to look real nice and owners in our league really did not have a lot of money to spend.  It was starting to become painfully obvious that this auction was going to have some tremendous deals doled out and the beneficiaries were set up to reap the rewards for many seasons.  A butterfly effect that could lead to a dynasty.  Three days before the auction, our deadline hit to make moves to find salary, as is standard in RSO leagues.  Many thought this was the last moment to find salary.  But, au contraire mon frère!  This guy right here had one more trick up his sleeve.

So, here we are at that auction deadline and it appears Philadelphia Freeways has a commanding lead on salary to use at the auction.  Last year’s champ.  This season’s most salary entering the auction.  Well done, sir!  Looks like about $44m to spend (Most teams had a similar number of spots to fill) and the next closest is at $32m.  Roughly 33% more cash on hand than the next closest owner.  Myself, I had about $22m (and I still had the 5th most to spend).  Now, let’s step over here to have a brief side conversation.  Look, I commission other leagues outside of this one.  In my leagues, we utilize a rule that states we cannot place a player on our IR unless that player has been placed on NFL IR.  But, in this High Stakes league, we can place a player on IR at any time for any reason.  Injury or not.  It’s not my own personal preference but that’s irrelevant.  Know the rules of your league!  I can’t stress this enough.  Many of the advantages an owner gains is by simply understanding the rules and the scoring system better than anyone else and therefore, how they can best take advantage of the system they play within.  This is why many commissioners tend to always do well.  No one knows the system like they do.  Anyone can.  But many don’t take the time.  So, you see where this was heading.  I knew this league allowed it and there was never going to be a more important year to wield salary so I made a tough, but savvy, move, in my opinion.  It wasn’t even going to be tough initially.  But, then the run of preseason RB injuries hit and I was forced to reconsider my strategy.  So, here was the scenario.  We start two RB’s and it’s a 12 team Superflex PPR league.  I’m sitting on Clyde Edwards-Helaire and I drafted Trey Sermon and Travis Etienne.  I signed CEH to a massive 4-year contract in front of the ’20 season and he was due about $37m this year.  I think it’s fair to say most preseason rankings had him outside the top 10 so I felt like his value was not fully there but, more importantly, placing him on IR would almost double the salary I had to use this season and give me the 2nd most money to spend in the auction at around $40m.  I felt all along I could get two starting RB’s in the auction with that kind of money.  Nothing fancy, but starters nonetheless, and probably one more upside RB that might even start for his team at some point.  Then that Etienne injury hit and the decision to IR CEH became a much more agonizing one.  One that I ultimately made anyways.  Understand that dropping CEH would’ve lead to an accelerated cap hit in ’22 that I wanted to avoid as well.  IR bought me one extra season to consider him and his value.  So, I got the extra $18.5m but left myself thin at RB with only Sermon listed on my active roster entering the auction.

So, was I the only owner who had this bright idea?  This is the High Stakes League.  Of course not.  Another owner decided to shut down Tua and his $16m contract giving him an extra $8m and had a similar amount of salary as myself at about $40m.  Turns out we both made these moves within 5 minutes of the start of our auction.  I discovered afterwards that it created the intended chaos for some people when they saw other owners showed up with more cash to spend.  Another owner in the league spoke up a few days after the auction to ask how certain teams ended up with more money.  It was explained and discussed.  He wasn’t mad and appreciated the approach.  We also decided to discuss a few more things in the offseason regarding IR.  That’s how it goes, right?  Something new pops up and you address it.  My fellow commissioners know this all too well.

Interesting side note that both CEH and Tua have since went IR.  Prophetic.

At one point in time in our league chats, season one Champion Dave (Philly Freeways) lamented that RSO had ruined all other fantasy football for him.  I was quick to agree.  This is exactly how I already felt and this past offseason provides a lot of reasons to understand why.  Absolute excitement from start to finish.  No less than four different opportunities to employ strategies and gain a little more of an advantage.  From getting under the salary cap, to the rookie draft, to gaining maximum salary for the auction, to the actual auction.  No site before RSO has been so complete.  Add in the excitement and chaos of the reduced salary cap and all it’s effects and this is an offseason I won’t soon forget.  Thanks for reliving it with me.

As for the current season, I have to note that we now have one team at 5-0.  A squad called “Y-Town.”  They also have a fair lead in total points this season too, proving it’s no fluke.  Congrats Y-Town on the hot start.  More to come on the current season in the next update.

If you have any interest at all in the next High Stakes leagues looking to form next year be sure to follow @realitysportson on Twitter along with myself @RSOHighStakes.  Also read those emails.  Get on the list and make sure you start to get notified of the next league’s progress.

See you next time!


Matt Russell

RSO High Stakes League Storyteller



More Analysis by Matt Russell

Inaugural RSO High Stakes League update 1

Updated: September 23rd 2021

If you read any of the email updates from Stephen at RSO, you probably remember him talking about the desire to start a High Stakes League on the RSO platform.  I remember because I considered it but, perhaps not as strongly as some people.  It seemed awesome but finances – can I afford it?  And what level am I really?  You’ll understand soon enough I’ve never lacked confidence in anything I do but jumping up to the next level, whatever that may be in fantasy football, is a decision that takes some readiness.  Especially depending on where your finances are and mine were not quite there just yet.  A friend of mine that introduced me to the RSO platform in 2014 was considering joining though, probably a bit more strongly than I.  He expressed interest to RSO so that he could receive the email updates as the league tried to form which would put him in position to join if he ultimately felt comfortable.  This was great because he still shared the info with me as it came available.

Fast forward to August 2020.  The Inaugural RSO High Stakes League is close to being full but they still need one more team filled.  Stephen mentions in another RSO email update that the league is still looking for that last owner but Stephen himself may need to fill that role if they don’t find one, as a backup plan.  Regardless, the league is a go.  It’s happening and getting off the ground finally in this crazy 2020 that we went through.  Well, it just so happens that I got paid a couple days earlier.  I rehabilitate homes and sell them so my paydays come in chunks.  Very large chunks.  Usually only once per year.  So, I’ll be damned if the timing wasn’t lining up perfectly.  I reached out to my buddy to see if he joined.  He says no.  He’s going to watch and see how it goes first.  Gah!  What to do.  Well, I emailed Stephen and tell him the timing is right.  I’m considering it.  Just had a few more questions.

Then the internal thoughts.  $2k is a lot of money even though I have it right now but I’m no ice cream tycoon.  Considering RSO is more of a Dynasty format, you can’t just consider one season of costs either.  You have to consider whether you can put out this kind of money every year.  So, $2k every year indefinitely?  That’s a hard pill to swallow.  Look, I’ve been running fantasy football leagues for 20 years.  Part of running a league is recruiting when you have a spot to fill.  Quite frankly, in my opinion, if you want a fun league you want good players and people who have confidence.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve told a person that it only costs you money if you don’t win, I’d be a tycoon of some sort, I assure you.  So, let’s just say I answered that concern myself.  Now, the confidence in my ability.  I’d been seeking, for a while, a challenge on the highest level.  Can one be a fantasy football professional?  Like, in Texas Hold ‘Em?  What about sponsored?  How do we know who the best are in this world?  There’s not many clear or easy answers to these questions and high stakes leagues, for now, seem to be the closest we can get to the highest level of fantasy football competition.  The fact that RSO has made this league official and put it on a pedestal with some promotion definitely gives it a feel of professionalism, from my point of view.  For me, something like this is what I had been seeking.  A chance to prove I could hang with the big dogs.  I decided to go for it.  Besides, how much more than me could these clowns know anyways?

Why is my first update about my decision to join?  Because RSO has big plans for more leagues like this and I think some of my thoughts are probably similar to many of yours out there.  I know you have the confidence.  You aren’t any different than I am.  An average guy who loves football, fantasy football, and the Chicago Bears (What?  Everyone doesn’t love the Bears?  I don’t believe you).  Now it’s time to step up your game and see if you have what it takes to compete on the next level.  Stay tuned for more information about future official RSO high stakes leagues.

Now that I’ve called the other owners clowns and promoted my own confidence on hanging with the big dogs you must be curious if I was the Champ of season one.  Well…..let’s just save the season one outcome for my next update.  I hope you’ll check it out.  See you next time.

Matt Russell

RSO High Stakes League storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell