T Nation

Fantasy Football Wit & Wisdom

Give that I’m going to be playing in at least two leagues this year, I thought I would appeal to T-Nation in an attempt to distill some wisdom on the top players to draft this year? I just plunked down $50 (in monopoly money of course, as gambling is illegal in Virginia and is a passtime that engages moral degenerates…) and I hope to get at least some of it back at the end of the year.

Thoughts? Relative wealth at positions (i.e. better to draft a quarterback high because of a talent dearth whereas backs are cheap?)? Also, any thoughts on defenders? (Our league has ample defensive scoring opportunities for turnovers and sacks).

Right now I’m thinking that Randy Moss is a high pick. I like Priest Holmes, but not sure as to his durability. I think Corey Dillon could be huge. For QBs, I think it’s Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper, and then the quality dips (we’re talking fantasy points here, not whether I’d want to build a team around them).

Also, slight digression, but for fans of the column, TMQ is back:

http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story/7562631

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Give that I’m going to be playing in at least two leagues this year, I thought I would appeal to T-Nation in an attempt to distill some wisdom on the top players to draft this year? I just plunked down $50 (in monopoly money of course, as gambling is illegal in Virginia and is a passtime that engages moral degenerates…) and I hope to get at least some of it back at the end of the year.

Thoughts? Relative wealth at positions (i.e. better to draft a quarterback high because of a talent dearth whereas backs are cheap?)? Also, any thoughts on defenders? (Our league has ample defensive scoring opportunities for turnovers and sacks).

Right now I’m thinking that Randy Moss is a high pick. I like Priest Holmes, but not sure as to his durability. I think Corey Dillon could be huge. For QBs, I think it’s Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper, and then the quality dips (we’re talking fantasy points here, not whether I’d want to build a team around them).

Also, slight digression, but for fans of the column, TMQ is back:

http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story/7562631[/quote]

That depends entirely on your scoring system. Generally, I wouldn’t even pick a reciever or QB until ALL the top tier RBs are gone. By that, I mean Priest, L.T., Portis, Green, Deuce, Shaun Alexander, Jamal, Edge, and maybe Fred Taylor. I just checked the results of my draft, and Harrison was the first pick. Not a wise strategy. He won’t give you as many points as a lot of those top RBs. For WRs, I would say Moss, Holt, Harrison and T.O. (in no particular order). Keep in mind, this depends totally on how you score. Read the “experts” on your site. They usually have a guideline on how to pick for each scoring system.

I’m getting geared up for Football season as well.

I’d have to agree with what was said before, Running Backs should be taken First and perhaps even Second with 90% of Football Fantasy teams.

Some exceptions would be a guy like Michael Vick who potentially can run and throw for both yards and TD’s. Basically, he’s got the potential to be like Peyton Manning (maybe a little less with Atlanta’s ‘improved’ receiving core) and a 2nd tier RB. I’m in a 15 team league and will likely gamble on Vick if I’m picking past the 10th pick, maybe earlier.

Dillon is a good call, but I don’t know what the Pat’s run numbers were like last year. He’s a late 1st round, early 2nd round guy, by most accounts. Moss is a guy, like Vick who is better than most at his position and can warrant a pick. Bear in mind that it is easier to pick up WR’s off of your FA list than it is easier to get an RB, hance the emphasis.

Post the categories and positions and I’m sure you could get some more help.

Yeah, I’ve always read that RBs should go first, but last year had some really disappointing injuries – particularly Faulk – along with some really strong WR performances.

Just from looking, it seems that the position where having one of the top guys, vs. an adequate guy, could make the biggest difference is at QB. Last season, Peyton Manning an Culpepper (when he wasn’t hurt) were off the charts, and the Rams QB was really good in the games he played as well.

Maybe I’m just bitter because I took Ricky Williams with my top pick last year…

Anyway though, I wonder how the change of scenery will affect the top guys who got traded? Portis - he’s going to Joe Gibbs, who will definitely run him a bunch. But will the Skins line be as good at opening holes as was Denver’s? Especially seeing that the Skins lost their tackle? Dillon - I think he’ll do much better in NE, provided he gets enough touches to keep him happy. NE threw an awful lot last season, but that may have been because their backs sucked.

Speaking of running backs, how would you rank them? I would like to see how people put together a top 5 or top 10 list.

I’ll work on mine and post later or tomorrow.

Take runningbacks early and often, especially if you have flex spots. if you have flex spots make sure you can fill all of them up with Running backs EVERYSINGLE TIME OUT. Dont worry about picking a good QB. There are tons of them and you only need one. In most cases I see no need to pick one before the 5th or 6th round. Let other people think Michael Vick, Manning and C-Pep are more valuable than a second or third tier RB…thats their mistake and your gain. My draft last year I target Matt Hasselback as my QB to get and got him in the middle rounds 6-8th if i remember correctly. He wound up be great, meanwhile I got jamal Lewis with my third pick. While someone else was wasting their third pick with a QB…now we obviously no which one worked out better. also, if the 1st and second tier RBs are already gone and the top tier WR (holt, harrison, t.o, and moss) are gone, then grab a good TE, Gonzo if you can get him, Shockey, Winslow, or Heap if you cant. There are very few productive TEs and therefore they are much more valuable than a second tier WR. Gonzo had 10 TDs last year which is a ton, and you can always find productive WR’s in a little bit later (i did this with Chad Johnson last year)

I employed this strategy last year with great draft results, I wound up drafting something like 6 of the top 15 total point scorers in my league and finished with 8 of the top 20. I got the other through through trades, by trading 3rd tier RBs i got in the mid to late rounds such as Willie Green, dom davis, moe williams, rudi johnson, olandis gary and trading them away for Santana Moss and an injured Faulk among others since I was already stacked at RB having drafted Ladaninan, Ahman Green and Jamal Lewis.

Running backs are gold, and dont forget it. They are chips whose value almost always goes up throughout the season as injuries acrue. In a 8 team league with 2 WR, 2 Rb, 2 flex, TE, and QB I had by the end of the season as my starting team Hasselback, Santana Moss, Chad Johnson, Ahman Green, Jamal Lewis, Ladanian Tomlinson, Marshal Faulk, and Gonzo…

biltritewave makes a good point, although indirectly. It often depends on what positions you have. Flex positions should take RB’s, but if it’s later 2nd round, early 3rd round and you can choose between a stud WR and a mediocre RB, the Stud WR will often out produce a mediocre RB. Often, the best players will offer the best choice. Afterall, if you take a WR, you can often trade for a RB.

But every draft has the one guy slip. Vlad Guerrero slipped to mid second round in my baseball pool. Still, if Jamal Lewis is around in the third round (even last year) you have to wonder who you’re drafting against. Then it’s a question of how far can a player slip before someone else notices. If you’re drafting on Yahoo and some of the others are Auto Drafting, that changes when you take people as well, because the auto-draft can often take ‘the best rated player’ regardless of position. That’s how one team ended up with Javy Lopez and IRod in the same baseball pool. I had to take Posada with my second pick (way too early) because there weren’t going to be an catchers left.

Have a gameplan, but try to react as best as you can to the draft as it happens.

Good stuff. I think the size of the league matters a lot, because the more players you have (who know anything at all about football), the less likely you’re going to get a late-round steal like Hasselback or that Jamal Lewis will fall to the 3rd round (I got him in the 2nd last year). My league could have upwards of 20 players, so I just have to avoid another Ricky-Williams-esque debacle pick, or I will be screwed from the get go.

BTW, if you all like stats and analysis, you should check out this website:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com

Bubba Barrister.

You just can’t keep from liking what Travis Henry is looking like this year, especially with Mcgahey barking up his tree.

I’d consider him a sleeper as it pertains to the key running backs that will be drafted initially.

Don’t bet the farm on him, but keep him in your pocket as the draft unfolds.

B.

i wouldn’t go reciever high, because they are one of the few positions that rely on another player’s performance… randy moss might be primed to have an excellent year, but if daunte gets hurt, he suffers… that being said, here are my picks (including a few sleeprs)

QB: Manning, Vick, Favre (dont forget he lead the NFL in td passes), perhaps culpepper, hasselback (its alot easier to throw when teams are shoving 9 in the box to stop shaun alexander)

sleeprs: garcia, mcnabb and gannon, a good strategy is to take a RB and WR early, then snatch gannon in the later rounds (round 3ish), he’s going to be solid

RB: Shaun Alexander, hands down, ran for 1400 yards for an offensive line that only recently has been upgraded, with a good qb and strong receiving core, he’s primed for another good year
Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, LaDanian tomlinson, and… yes im serious… Willis McGahee out of buffalo, he’s going to break out
Stay away from Portis, the loss of Jon Janson is going to haunt the skins at left tackle, esp since they are having QB issues

sleeprs: dillon, staley

im not sure about jamal lewis, esp if he is going to miss games half way thru the season for his court appearances, it be better to go with a priest holmes or tomlinson if you have a high pick

WR: moss, harrison, coles (even w/o a realy quarterack, he’s still good for 1100 and 7 td’s) torry holt, peerless price, terell owens

sleepers: fitzgerald, mccarien (longest per catch average last year, now with solid tampa offense), koren robbinson, darell jackson,carlos rogers

TE: the usual gang, gonzalez, shockey, heap, becht, and thats pretty much about it

i’ll get to defenses at a later post

Sweet –

I like the “sleeper” angle – I think that’s what’s going to end up separating the men from the boys in my big league – well, that and the luck factor for injuries.

Any opinions on any of the rookies? McGahee is basically a rookie – I think he’s a sleeper too, although it will depend on how many touches he gets. I’m not talking about rookie QBs here, but a lot of time RBs and WRs can get some really good numbers.

Also, what about return guys? I guess it depends on how your league is scored – last year in my Yahoo league the guy who won it all had Dante Hall, which was huge in the first half of the season. It seems there’s rarely a repeat of a really good year for return guys though.

Remember that Dante, while scoring all those return TDs, almost set a record. Like 4 games in a row, was it? Holmes scored a TD and a half per game. Return men may give you an edge (a very slight one ), but your RBs will make or break you.

Post your scoring, if return guys are valuable.

Macgehee wont be worth much unless you are in like a 12 team league with 10 plus starters, he wont get the touches at all for you to want to start him over the RB;s you should be picking from the beginining.

For a sleeper running back Chris Brown in Tennesse, Kevin Jones in Detroit, Lee Suggs in Cleveland and Quentin Griffin in Denver should work.

For WR’s I would keep an eye on on Justin McCareins on the Jets who will play a nice foil to Santana Moss. Might want to look into Freddie Mitchell who will get lots of looks with T.O grabbing most of the coverage. Also might want to look at Chris Chambers and Jerry Porter. Chambers is going to get a ton of the offense with no Ricky Williams, and Porter is finally going to be the number 1 in Oakland.

I am targeting my Matt Hasselback of this year…and Gannon, Bulger, Plummer are all up there. I wouldnt look to grab one earlier than the 8-10th round though. They should drop that far assuming you are in a ten team league, no way any QB, let alone a gimp like Gannon who has collins breathing down his neck should be taken in the 3rd round

I just picked up both Brown and Jones (Kevin). Can’t believe they were still available. Lucky me. :slight_smile:

[quote]biltritewave wrote:
Post your scoring, if return guys are valuable.

Macgehee wont be worth much unless you are in like a 12 team league with 10 plus starters, he wont get the touches at all for you to want to start him over the RB;s you should be picking from the beginining.

For a sleeper running back Chris Brown in Tennesse, Kevin Jones in Detroit, Lee Suggs in Cleveland and Quentin Griffin in Denver should work.

For WR’s I would keep an eye on on Justin McCareins on the Jets who will play a nice foil to Santana Moss. Might want to look into Freddie Mitchell who will get lots of looks with T.O grabbing most of the coverage. Also might want to look at Chris Chambers and Jerry Porter. Chambers is going to get a ton of the offense with no Ricky Williams, and Porter is finally going to be the number 1 in Oakland.

I am targeting my Matt Hasselback of this year…and Gannon, Bulger, Plummer are all up there. I wouldnt look to grab one earlier than the 8-10th round though. They should drop that far assuming you are in a ten team league, no way any QB, let alone a gimp like Gannon who has collins breathing down his neck should be taken in the 3rd round[/quote]

sorry, mccariens does play for the jets, thats who i was thinking off, and i was assuming he was in an office type fantasy football league (since he had bet money), where teams get in the low 20’s easy (thereby gannon beaing a solid pick in the 3rd round)

also, i dont think freddie mitchell will be anything spectacular, becasue we all know TO will start bitching if ol freddie starts getting more balls his way then TO himself

chambers… no, that offense has nothing going for it now, one good (not great) reciever is not going to fix that team (unless i somehow missed his movement away from miami… in which case i dont know what im talking about now)

porter… absolutely, he completely slipped my mind, i wasnt looking at anything when i typed that list

yeah, i am a little confused actually. Is this an auction league or a standard H2H yahoo type league.

Makes a world of difference

I think chambers can be a solid #3 WR, possibly a good #2.

Thats awesome that those guys are still on your Waiver Wire.

People to watch out for in the first couple weeks of the season to see how their situation progresses are :onterrio smith/bennet, tatum bell/griffin, suggs/green, thomas jones/anthony thomas…those could be interesting running back situations with possibly the winner of the battle be waiting for you on the waiver wire

oh and grab duckett in the later rounds…he gets goalline carries and look for them to use his power running game to comlement vick.

I will let you in on what I did right and wrong last season. I had first overall pick and bought into the Holmes knee problem crap and picked Williams. That was mistake number one. Backs like Holmes/Tomlinson/Lewis get the majority of carries for thier teams and produce VERY well. If receptions count in your league, I had Pittman/McCallister as my back ups which did quite well. Most of the stud backs were gone by the time it got back to me in the 2nd, but Moss was there for reasons unknown so I snapped him up (Manning,Culpepper,McNabb went ahead of him). I traded for Stephen Davis in week 3 and was set at my back spot. Receivers went Moss/Boston/Buress(huge mistake not taking Hines Ward who was available at the time. Buress is not worth anything take Ward everytime (I can’t believe nobody has suggested him yet as a second or even first receiver). I had Mushin Muhammed as my back up, didn’t pan out. I waited until round 7 to get M. Hasselback and in the 10th I got Maddox to back him up, Gannon rounded out my Q’s in the 11th. I took the Seahawks/Ravens D. Ravens in the 8th, (2nd D picked after TB went I didn’t want to hold out). TE was C. Lewis, who I dropped to get Kleinsasser off waivers, then traded him for B. Williams straight up at about game 6 (did ok with that, about even). Kicker was the eagles kicker, I forget his name, was the 3rd K chosen after Vanderjagt, and the Rams’ K.
I did pretty good and came in second in my 10 person league. I did drop Buress at about halfway, VERY bad choice to keep him that long.
Pick up a stud back and stud WR in the first 3 rounds, after the 2nd the caliber of backs falls off dramatically, so I would go for a stud WR. Don’t forget rookies like Roy Williams, Kellen Winslow II, and the like, they are good sleeper picks. I think Joey Harrington and Williams are going to blow up this season keep an eye on them as they would both be good backups and potential starters that should fall to mid/late draft.
I also picked up Keenan McCardell(dropped Buress) at about game 5 and he just kept getting me points while Keyshawn kept bitching about the ball. KJ might not be a bad pick now that he is back with the Big Tuna in the big D, should get more looks at least (definately not a no.1 or2 though).
Hope this helps. Remember that you can propose trades before the draft is over and to make some moves in the first few weeks if a player is heating up. Snatch up those hot players whose trade value may go up or who could eclipse one of your starters (Garner/Jones) come to mind. I really like L. Coles this year as well, I forget who mentioned him earlier.
Later on, Good Luck.

Regarding kickers and D, never take a kicker before your final pick, and never take one of the big name D’s because you would presumably have to do it very early to get them which is not good. You can usually find a platoon Defense that has a ridiciliously easy strength of schedule, just takes a little work. I did this last year and it wound up that my D was playing against the crappy teams week in and week out which makes my two headed D monster as good if not better than any single D.

For those who asked, the league is cbssportsline, and here is the are the parameters and the scoring:

Player Pool: AFC and NFC Players.
Positions: QB, RB, WR, TE, ST, LB, DL, DB and K.
Transactions: ? Lineup deadline is 5 minutes before gametime for each player.
? Owners may set lineups.
? Owners may make trades post season.
? Add/drops are handled by a waivers process.
? The waivers process runs everyday until the season starts, at which time the process will run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
? The waiver order resets after each weeks’ games.
? Dropped players remain on waivers for at least 2 day(s).
? Trades must be approved by the commissioner.
? No trades can be made after the trade deadline of 10/30/04.

Schedule: Playoffs start in Week 15 and last for 2 Weeks.
Scoring: Head-to-Head, Points Based System.
Scoring based on total stats each period

Scoring for Offensive Categories
FG - Field Goals 3 points
Plus 2 points for a FG of 50+ Yds

FL - Fumble Lost, Including ST plays -3 points
MFG - Missed Field Goal -1 point
Plus -1 point for a MFG of 0 to 29 Yds

MXP - Missed Extra Point -1 point
Pa2P - Passing Two-point Conversion 2 points
PaInt - Passing Interception -3 points
PaTD - Passing TD 6 points
Plus 1 point for a PaTD of 20 to 29 Yds
Plus 2 points for a PaTD of 30+ Yds

PaYd - Passing Yards 0 - 199 PaYds = 1 point for every 25 PaYds
200+ PaYds = 2 points for every 20 PaYds
Plus a 3 point bonus @ 225+ PaYd
Plus a 5 point bonus @ 300+ PaYd
Plus a 8 point bonus @ 375+ PaYd

Re2P - Receiving Two-point Conversion 2 points
ReTD - Receiving TD 6 points
Plus 1 point for a ReTD of 20 to 29 Yds
Plus 2 points for a ReTD of 30 to 39 Yds
Plus 3 points for a ReTD of 40+ Yds

ReYd - Receiving Yards 0 - 99 ReYds = 1 point for every 10 ReYds
100+ ReYds = 2 points for every 10 ReYds
Plus a 3 point bonus @ 100+ ReYd
Plus a 5 point bonus @ 150+ ReYd

Recpt - Reception 0+ Recpts = 1 point for every 1 Recpt

Ru2P - Rushing Two-point Conversion 2 points
RuTD - Rushing TD 6 points
Plus 1 point for a RuTD of 20 to 29 Yds
Plus 2 points for a RuTD of 30 to 39 Yds
Plus 3 points for a RuTD of 40+ Yds

RuYd - Rushing Yards 0 - 99 RuYds = 1 point for every 10 RuYds
100+ RuYds = 2 points for every 10 RuYds
Plus a 3 point bonus @ 100+ RuYd
Plus a 5 point bonus @ 150+ RuYd
Plus a 8 point bonus @ 200+ RuYd

XP - Extra Points 1 point

Scoring for Defensive Categories
DFR - Defensive/ST Fumble Recovered (ID/DT/DST) 3 points
DFTD - Defensive TD 6 points
FF - Forced Fumble 3 points
Int - Interceptions 4 points
PDef - Pass Defensed (ID only) 1 point
SACK - Sack 1 - 1 SACK = 2 points for every 1 SACK
2 - 3 SACKs = 3 points for every 1 SACK
4+ SACKs = 4 points for every 1 SACK
Plus a 3 point bonus @ 3+ SACK

STY - Safety 7 points
TK - Tackle (ID/DT/DST) 1+ TK = 1 point for every 1 TK
Plus a 3 point bonus @ 15+ TK

Obviously, turnovers can kill you here – and defense can score a bunch. I figure safety on a team with a bad defense is the best defensive player, as such players will get a lot of tackles, have a lot of opportunities for INTs and even the occasional fumble recovery. LBs on teams with good defenses are probably next, followed by sackmaster LBs and then sackmaster DEs.

Hmm - just noticed there aren’t any points for special teamers this year – commish must not have appreciated Dante Hall last year…

Barrister,

Given those positions, I would change your draft strategy a little.

If you get one of the first 5 picks, take Holmes, Tomlinson, Alexander, McAllister, Portis (top three in that order anyway). Past that, because there’s only 1 RB spot and no Util spot, if you get a late first round pick, target the weaker positions.

For instance, Tony Gonzalez is like a WR at a weak position (TE). So you can target him in the second round, depending on who’s left. A guy like C-Pep, Vick or Manning may be the best bet for your first pick.

3rd or 4th pick is when you start grabbing darkhorse RB’s and WR’s. The idea is you’re not going to beat a guy who has Tomlinson or Holmes at RB, but you can give him a sh*t kicking each week at QB and TE and still hold your own with the darkhorse picks.

Target guys like Vanderjet (IND K) and Jeff Wilkins (STL K) earlier than most because those guys will get you 10-20 points a game and on a much more consistent basis than most WR’s. Ray Lewis and other MLB’s will also rake in the points on a much more consistent basis as well.

Given that it’s head to head, you can plan on beating most teams at the more ‘obscure’ categories while perhaps giving away points to there RB (in comparison to what yours gets each week).

In short, if you draft early, take the best players available at every position in the order of RB, QB, TE/WR, etc. If you pick late, take the best players at the weakest positions.

I’m drafting one of two teams tomorrow night, so wish me luck.

Rob gave good advice. I am in a Yahoo! league, so RBs are God. In your league, the positions are weighted a little more evenly. I would say if you can’t get Preist, L.T., Deuce, or Shaun Alexander, get Manning or Culpepper. With that 8 pt. bonus for 375+ yds, you can rack up some serious points. A 375 yd passer is much more common than a 200 yd rusher or reciever.