Archive for July, 2008

Is Jessica Simpson better than Gisele?

July 30th, 2008

Quarterbacks!?! Quarterbacks?!? Yes quarterbacks. People love them the most, but they also love to hate them. So which ones should you draft? I don’t know, but I do have some sage advice for you.

Last year Peyton Manning was the #1 ranked QB in most pre-draft rankings, but then Tom Brady decided to date Gisele. That alone should’ve been enough for Brady, but he decided to break several single season passing records. Now it’s obvious that Brady is #1, but who’s #2 or for that matter #22?

Well it all starts with what your league scoring is. Do interceptions count against you? Do rushing carries count? Do you get extra points for having the last name of Manning? Knowing what your league scoring will help you figure out what players should be valued and who should be left for dead. Take for instance Jon Kitna, he threw for 4,068 yards and 18 TDs last year. Not bad right? Only if your league doesn’t count his 20 INTs last year.

So without further ado here’s my top 25 QBs as of July 30:

  1. Tom Brady – What can be said except that he’s dating Gisele.
  2. Peyton Manning – He’s a little banged up, but he’s always consistent.
  3. Tony Romo – When you have T.O. and Witten everything is easier.
  4. Drew Brees – Jeremy Shockey actually has a good QB to throw him the ball.
  5. Carson Palmer – He still has Chad Johnson and TJ Housmanzadeh to throw to.
  6. Matt Hasselbeck – Mike Holmgren is still the coach right?
  7. Derek Anderson – He has way too much talent to be bad, … right?
  8. Ben Roethlisberger – I don’t expect him to throw for more than 3500 yards, but he should still put up some good numbers.
  9. Donovan McNabb – He would be so much higher if he wouldn’t get hurt so much.
  10. David Garrard – He doesn’t have a lot of good receivers, but then again he didn’t last year when he threw for 2,509 yards and 18 TDs.
  11. Jay Cutler – He had a solid year last year despite the whole diabetes thing.
  12. Philip Rivers – If he plays like he did in the playoffs he should finish higher than this, but I won’t put a whole lot of money on that.
  13. Eli Manning – He’s a least consistent, plus his last name is Manning.
  14. Aaron Rodgers – All he has to do is get the ball to the receivers and they’ll do the rest.
  15. Marc Bulger – Take a look at McNabb’s comment.
  16. Jake Delhomme – Steve Smith’s favorite QB is back, but maybe not fully healthy.
  17. Jason Campbell – He should have a solid year with a new offense.
  18. Matt Shaub – Health is an issue, and so is inexperience.
  19. Alex Smith – He’s bound to be better. Maybe? Hopefully!
  20. Vince Young – His rushing numbers should always help him out.
  21. Trent Edwards – I feel like he’ll do better in his second year on the job.
  22. Jeff Garcia – He doesn’t throw many TDs, but he doesn’t throw INTs either.
  23. Jon Kitna – He throws a fair amount of TDs, but he also throws a lot of INTs.
  24. JaMarcus Russell – Hey he’s got some decent weapons.
  25. Brett Favre – Why not take a flyer on him just in case he does play this year. He’s better than the rest even if he doesn’t play.

First in a Series: Draft Strategy – How to Understand What Your Competition is Thinking

July 15th, 2008

One key element to a successful draft is correctly guessing what your opponents are going to do. This doesn’t just include the person drafting before you – I’m talking about all 7, 9, 11, or 15 other opponents in your league.

The reason? Because the picks that come before and after yours are really important to getting good value from your own. You want to know if there will be any good QB’s left in the next round if you choose a RB or WR in the current round. You want to know what RBs will be left if you choose a QB with your 1st or 2nd pick. If your league allows you to trade draft picks, this is even more important, since that gives you the ability to target specific players (or take advantage of opponents who’re targeting specific players).

Alternatively, if you react to other team’s picks without considering those teams’ other picks, then you’ll end up following the crowd, and you probably won’t end up with a very talented team. In other words, if you select your QB and TE whenever there’s a QB or TE rush, then you may miss out on a talented position player who’s still out there. (Think when the New York Giants selected WR Steve Smith with their 2nd round pick in 2007. Smith ended up being a key contributor – among many others – in their run to the Super Bowl).

So how do you find out what your opponents are thinking?

There’s several aspects to that, but the first I’ll discuss is understanding your opponents’ biases for certain players.

Everyone has biases for certain players. Everyone. If you think you don’t, then you’re lying to yourself. It’s human to be biased in things like player selections in Fantasy Football drafts. (For more detail on this topic, see this speech on Investor Overconfidence by Terry Odean)

Some biases you can’t easily guess, such as when Opponent X has been burned twice by San Diego WRs, so they’ll never draft a San Diego WR ever again. Those biases you don’t have to worry about. They’re random, and thus a waste of time to try to understand or foresee.

But some biases you can more easily see, and these typically fall into three categories:

1) Home-team players. This is the easiest to understand and guess. The idea is that So-and-So is an X fan, so they’ll favor players from Team X. For example, the commisioner in our 16 team league is a huge Eagles fan. It’s very easy to predict that he’ll have a strong desire to get Eagles QB McNabb, or WRs Curtis / Brown on his team. (He already has RB Westbrook as a keeper). This bias is stronger for some opponents than others. Just make sure to get the obvious ones down, such as those opponents who include their home team in their fantasy team names. (As a side note, you can read more about our Comissioner, Dave, here. That link also has a bio on his friend and colleague, John, who’s also in our 16 team league. John’s a huge Pats fan, and thus I’m guessing a lock to draft WR Wes Welker with his 4th round pick).

2) Players formerly on your fantasy team. In my case, when I do mock drafts, part of me screams “DRAFT LEE EVANS WITH YOUR FIFTH PICK”, even though I know full well that this is akin to choosing to see “Journey to the Center of the Earth” over “The Dark Knight” or “Hellboy II”. You don’t need to memorize every player on your opponents’ former rosters. Just try to get a sense of their top four to six players: the reason being that you’ll see some of them pick those same guys, for no other reason than that they’re familar with them.

This post talked about biases unique to each opponent. I’ll discuss biases common across all opponents in a later post.

In the meantime, you should start to get handle on the opponents within your league.

Eventually, you should be able to put together the general and specific intentions of your opponents, to understand how they should affect your draft strategy, and to know when the time is right to make a bold or unexpected pick.

Debunking The Third-Year Wide Receiver Myth

July 10th, 2008

Tristian Cockcroft (I’m not making that up) from ESPN.com has a great article about the so-called “breakout year” that’s commonly expected from third-year wide receivers.

If you’re obsessive about this subject, I suggest you check it out.

Alternatively, if you’re counting on Third Year WR Brandon Marshall to be this year’s #1 fantasy WR, then here’s some breaking news for you: HE ALREADY BROKE OUT LAST YEAR. Plus he think’s he’s entitled to drive like Kurt Busch on Denver’s freeways, so you might need to adjust your projections for him to account for his forthcoming suspension. (Will it be two games? four games? Preseason or Regular season? . . . . )

Sleepers Galore!

July 8th, 2008

The long anticipated and also long delayed return of Fantasy Champ has arrived. I think it is a pretty good time to return. Baseball is just over half way through, the Celtics just made Kobe cry, and football is just around the corner. Without further ado let’s get down to it.

 

 

I’m going to start this year off with rookies and sleepers. Everyone has their can’t miss “Sleeper” pick, and there is always stud rookies that are going to destroy the league. In all actuality there are very few sleepers and even fewer rookies that have big fantasy football impact. In turn here is my list of top sleepers and rookies.

 

 

QB Sleepers:

 


Aaron Rodgers
– Now I know some of you are going to call me a homer, … well go ahead. It really has nothing to do with Rodgers as much as it has to do with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and the rest of the skill position players. The Packers had the highest yards after catch average in the league last year.

 


Jason Campbell
– So here’s the Campbell equation: Young talented QB – Run heavy offense – Brandon Lloyd + Pass oriented head coach = More development and bigger numbers.

 


Trent Edwards
– He’s smart, has a good arm, and is very accurate. On top of all of that he has Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch to help him out. Don’t expect big numbers from him, but he should be a serviceable backup.

 


QB Rookies:

 

Don’t draft one! Don’t be that guy that gets the rookie QB thinking he’s going to be as good as he was in college. The QB position is the toughest position to learn, so it takes at least a year or two before guys start showing how good they really are.

 


RB Sleepers:

 


Julius Jones
– Here’s the tricky thing with Jones, he’s not a 25 carry a game guy. On the flip side, he is a 15 -20 carry and 5 catches a game guy. I don’t expect him to get 2,000 yards this season just because he’s the starting RB is Seattle. I do however expect at least 1,100 yards rushing and probably 300 yards receiving. He’ll also throw in 5 TDs or so to make him a good #3 RB.

 


Thomas Jones
– A lot of people have jumped off the Thomas Jones band wagon. Well lets be honest I don’t know how many people were ever on the Jones band wagon. This year Jones has something he didn’t have last year … and that’s a good O-Line. The Jets added Alan Faneca and Damien Woody to play alongside Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Remember Jones had over 1,100 yards rushing and over 200 yards receiving last year.

 


RB Rookies:

 


Matt Forte
– Am I confident that he’ll be the starting RB for Chicago? No. Do I think he’ll definitely rush for over 1,000 yards? No. Has he got a chance to do both? Yes! That is more than can be said about most rookie RBs.

 


Jonathan Stewart
– He’s not going to be the main guy in Carolina. He may not even get more than 5 carries a game, but he will more than likely be the goal line RB. Plus, he’s got a lot of upside.

 


Darren McFadden
– Just think about Adrian Peterson’s impact last year. Nuff said.

 


WR Sleepers:

 


Anthony Gonzalez
– He didn’t really pull a Brandon Stokley or a Wes Welker his rookie year in Indy, but he did have 576 yards and 3 TDs. Now those numbers don’t look to impressive, but he put up 264 yards and 3 TDs in the last 4 weeks of the season. Looks to me like Manning has a new security blanket.

 


Bryant Johnson
– He was always a solid #3 WR in Arizona, but now he’s expected to be the #1 in San Fran. That’s not always a good thing, unless of course you have Mike Martz as your new Offensive Coordinator. With Martz around Johnson should see plenty of passing plays.

 


Jerry Porter
– He has moved out of Oakland and into Jacksonville. Reggie Williams had 629 yards and 10 TDs playing with David Garrard last year. Is anyone going to disagree that Porter is better than Williams?

 


WR Rookies:

 


I hate rookie WRs since they take about half a year to develop. Even Dwayne Bowe last year took sometime before he started killing people. But here are some guys to take late late round flyers on or to look for to pickup half way through the season:

 

 

Devin Thomas, Limas Sweed, DeSean Jackson, and James Hardy.

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