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» Futures: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

The Wildcats receiver isn't the best athlete you'll ever see, but Matt Waldman says he could be an effective pro with small improvements in his technique.

04 Jan 2006

2006 Playoff Fantasy Draft

Time for the third annual Football Outsiders Playoff Fantasy Draft. You'll find the first one here and the second one here. Hopefully this is up early enough to help give ideas to some of our readers who are doing their own playoff fantasy drafts later in the week.

The playoff fantasy game works like this: Each player drafts a QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, K, and a defense. You get the fantasy points for your guys, but if they go out (either for injury or because their team loses) you do not get to replace them. So you need to balance fantasy quality (Steve Smith!) with teams likely to lose in the first round (Steve Smith!) Total score for the entire playoffs wins.

Our fantasy scoring is as follows:

  • 6 pts for rushing or receiving TD, 4 pts for passing TD
  • 1 pt for every 10 yards rushing or receiving, 20 yards passing
  • -2 pts for lost fumble or interception
  • 2 pts for 2 pt conversion of any kind
  • Kickers: 3 pts for FG 1-39 yd, 4 pts for 40-49 yd, 6 pts for 50+ yd, and 1 pt for every extra point
  • Defense: 2 pts for interception or fumble recovery, 6 pts for TD, 4 pts for safety, 1 pt for sack, and then -1 pt for every 7 pts allowed (and a bonus 5 pts for a shutout)

It's a standard back-and-forth draft featuring the following cast of characters: Jason Beattie (staff cartoonist), Vivek Ramgopal (Scramble for the Ball), Ned Macey (Any Given Sunday), Aaron Schatz (unknown vagrant), Al Bogdan (Scramble for the Ball), and Tim Gerheim (FO assistant editor, grammar police, and tortured Texans fan).

Round 1

Jason: Shaun Alexander, RB, SEA. Easiest ... first pick ... ever.

Vivek: Edgerrin James, RB, IND. I'm not going to be able to ride one NFL team to the unofficial, self-proclaimed title of "King of All Playoff Fantasy Football" like I did last year with the Eagles. I just don't have that feeling about any team in either conference, so I'll have to go with the runner who I'm hoping will get at least two games -- Edge.

Ned: Peyton Manning, QB, IND. I swore to myself I was going to try and avoid Colts so that if they lose to New England, at least my fantasy team wouldn't be killed, but I'm overruling myself and taking Manning. I just don't trust the Giants, so I can't take Tiki, and I think there is a fall-off after that. Conceivably, Hasselbeck is more likely to win two games than Manning because of the relative strength of the conferences. I guess I would still bet on the Colts to win the Super Bowl, and if they do, I should be in good shape with Peyton.

Aaron: Tiki Barber, RB, NYG. You know, I usually would much rather take a running back early in these things. The best choice here, especially with the Colts starting to look vulnerable, would be that two-headed monster from the current number one team in weighted DVOA, "RB DENVER." Alas, the two-headed monster has two heads. That leaves me with this debate: Matt Hasselbeck vs. Tiki Barber. Matt Hasselbeck has a much better chance of making it to the Super Bowl, and he was the number four quarterback in fantasy football this year. Who could have predicted that? (Oh, yes, us.) But Tiki had just a monster season, and our ratings say the Giants are better than the Panthers, plus they have home field advantage. At that point, the Giants probably go off to Seattle, and even if the Seahawks win, that should be another shootout with lots of running. And there's that small chance of a four-game postseason for New York's favorite author of children's books. I'll go with the daring choice instead of the safe choice.

Al: Thomas Jones, RB, CHI. I love Thomas Jones here. I would have taken him over Tiki. The Giants aren't going anywhere this postseason with Don Bosco Prep's linebacking corps and a quarterback who will soon be enshrined in Bill Simmons' face pantheon. Did anyone else see the game on New Year's Eve? Everytime Manning threw a pass five yards away from Plaxico Burress, Eli had a look on his face that was equal parts astonishment at where the ball was ending up and fear that Plaxico was going to beat him up after the game for being such an awful quarterback. Sure, they'll probably get back Carolina, but I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't.

Oh yeah, Thomas Jones. Chicago has as good of a chance as anyone to get out of the NFC. With that defense and a potentially competent passing game to keep opposing defenses honest, Jones should be in line for a few nice games in the post-season.

Tim: Cadillac Williams, RB, TB. I might pick Rudi Johnson except I expect Cincinnati to lose to Pittsburgh. So I have to go with Cadillac Williams and hope the Bucs make some noise.

Round 2

Tim: Tom Brady, QB, NE. It's between Matt Hasselbeck and Tom Brady. The H-Back is probably a better fantasy quarterback, but I'm leaning toward Brady because he gets an extra game, and my faith in the Patriots in the playoffs in this millenium is nigh unshakeable.

Al: Marvin Harrison, WR, IND. I normally don't like picking a WR this early, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the RB I really want will still be there for me on the way back. If the Colts go to the Super Bowl, the difference in production between Harrison and the #18 WR is greater than that of whatever RB I would take here and the #12 RB. Even with a broken hand he was one of the most productive fantasy wide receivers this season. With potentially three games indoors, there's no reason to expect him not to be that productive during the playoffs.

Aaron: Matt Hasselbeck, QB, SEA. After my big speech about whether I should take Tiki Barber or Matt Hasselbeck, I get to take both. I'm getting the feeling that a lot of us are expecting different upsets along the way. I'm much higher on the Giants than Al is, despite the problems at ILB. I'm also seeing a Bengals loss to the Steelers as a very good possibility -- which means the Patriots go into Denver in round two to meet a rested Broncos squad. I love my team, but I just can't buy the "Patriots magic beans" theory. That's what I call the belief of Patriots fans that nothing that happened in the regular season matters and that no injuries to the Patriots matter, because the Patriots will always win the Super Bowl as long as Bill Belichick is coaching and Tom Brady is playing quarterback. But there's no way to turn Ellis Hobbs and James Sanders into Ronnie Lott and Deion Sanders. People act as if Bill Belichick has some magic beans that instantly render the other teams helpless in the playoffs. I don't think the Broncos are affected by the magic beans.

Ned: Rudi Johnson, RB, CIN. I guess I'm the one who is truly in the minority in thiniking Cincinnati is going to win this week. A smart man who needs a running back would probably take Dillon here even given his struggles this year, as he is almost assured 2 playoff games (although I think Jacksonville with a healthy Leftwich would beat the Patriots on a neutral field, no way that team goes up north and wins). But, I think I'll ride with Rudi Johnson. I've been backing the Bengals all year, and a couple loose games after they clinched the division are not enough to get me off the bandwagon now.

Vivek: Jake Plummer, QB, DEN. I'm not touching the first round matchups yet. There are too many questions for Sunday. Can the Giants overcome their injuries? How will Byron Leftwich play after his injury? Has Chris Simms matured enough? Can the Redskins exact revenge for Mike Alstott's "touchdown" earlier in the season? Will the lack of playoff seasoning hurt the Bengals? With that being said, I'll take Jake Plummer and let the next few picks decide my other running back and wide receivers.

Jason: Mike Anderson, RB, DEN. And now ... with these two picks, I will look like a major Bronco homer. (While admittedly I am, I try not to let that cloud my judgement too much...) Like Vivek, I am still wary of the first round matchups, and Mike Anderson is the last remaining starting RB with a bye. Even with Bell stealing some carries, and maybe even a TD or two, I like his chances to put up big numbers.

Round 3

Jason: Rod Smith, WR, DEN. I thought about going QB with my other pick, but since only Al and I are left, I'll hold off. So that leaves me grabbing the best WR on the board. Rod Smith is the clear #1 in Denver. He wins out over Darrell Jackson (injured), Reggie Wayne (second banana), and Muhsin Muhammad (weak offense).

Vivek: DeShaun Foster, RB, CAR. Given the fact that Al is in contention for one of New York's starting linebacker spots, I'll bank on the Panthers winning on the road this week. The Panthers (6-2 on the road) will not be intimidated by the Meadowlands, where the Giants lost only once all season. I'm not expecting a 100-yard game for Foster (his only two 100-yard games this year came against the Falcons), but potentially two or three games makes him an attractive pick to me.

Ned: Corey Dillon, RB, NE. He has 13 TDs in 11 games even if he has struggled on a per carry basis. The Patriots should win at least one game, so I think Dillon is a safer play than Portis who is a much better back. I do think Washington will win that game, but I guess I'm taking the safer bet in Dillon.

Aaron: Reggie Wayne, WR, IND. I know that the Giants have some injuries at linebacker, but they had those injuries when they beat the Chiefs, who were the hottest team in the league by the end of the season. I'm trying to figure out which Panthers player is supposed to take advantage of the linebacker problem. Foster? Mike Seidman?

Reggie Wayne or Darrell Jackson? Should I tie myself to one passing game so strongly? Nah. Wayne it is.

Al: Chad Johnson, WR, CIN. Against Kansas City, the Giants at least had their backups. Now, New York is out of backups. Last week the Giants only had one active LB that was on their roster before Week 15 -- Nick Greisen. I think they can still get past Carolina, but asking them to do more than that is a bit much.

I'm going to play with fire and take a somewhat educated guess that Tim won't take the RB I want. I'll grab the best WR on the board.

Tim: Steve Smith, WR, CAR. Well, I could take Portis, and be assured of making it out of this weekend with exactly one back still playing, who would then lose to Seattle or Chicago. If Pittsburgh had a back worth drafting I might do that. But since I don't want to do any of those things, I'll take Steve Smith. Because I love Steve Smith.

Round 4

Tim: Muhsin Muhammad, WR, CHI. I'll go out on a limb with my second pick and take Muhsin Muhammad. I'm high on the Bears, and I think he'll be a much bigger part of their offense than any of Seattle's receivers. Muhammad is a new man now that Rex Grossman is back.

Maybe it's because I'm picking last, which is that much tougher when it's a smaller talent pool, but I really have the feeling that I have no idea what I'm doing at this point.

Al: Clinton Portis, RB, WAS. I like both your WR picks there. If the Bears go to the Super Bowl, Muhammad should be solid. Even if the Panthers lose to New York, Steve Smith could have a huge game. The past two weeks, New York's cornerbacks have been burned when left one on one with Santana and Randy Moss. Will Allen, Curtis Deloatch, and Corey Webster aren't good enough to handle an elite receiver without safety help. For whatever reason -- poor play, offensive misdirection, overcompensation for weakness at linebacker -- that safety help hasn't been coming. Smith wouldn't have made it back to you in the next round.

I was banking on the fact that you wouldn't grab both RB from the same first round game so I could take Clinton Portis here. Washington has been playing as well as anyone in the league these past few weeks. They're a much better team than they were during that great game with Tampa earlier in the season. Anthony Davis is going to have a tough time containing Phillip Daniels, who has just been unstoppable late in the year.

All that means I like Washington's chances of pulling off the upset, which means two more Clinton Portis press conferences and two games to help my team.

Aaron: Darrell Jackson, WR, SEA. Yes, I love the Portis pick. Washington and Seattle are basically tied in weighted DVOA and the Redskins have been really hot. I didn't take Portis because I had two different running backs I was looking at and my hope was that one of them would make it past Tim and Al, and I was right. Going with my "Even if the Patriots can beat Indy, they would lose to Denver" theory, I will be taking Tatum Bell. But I don't have to take him until the draft comes back the other direction, as Jason, Vivek, and Ned each have two running backs.

In past years when we've done this, there's been some discussion of which teams we think are going to the Super Bowl. There's less of that going on this year and I think that's because every team seems to have a weakness. The only one that doesn't is Seattle, but then you remember that the Giants nearly beat them at home and you think, well, they could lose too. Anyway, are any of us really confident in pronouncing, "Team X and Team Y are going to the Super Bowl?"

For my next pick, I'll take a fully rested Darrell Jackson.

Ned: Santana Moss, WR, WAS. Last night when I was putting a list together for this draft, I noticed how quickly the wide receiver pool became shallow. Then today I proceeded to draft a quarterback and two running backs with my first three picks. Brilliant. Anyway, I guess I'm stuck going receiver now. Having passed on Portis, I'll now back up my belief that Washington will win this weekend and take Santana Moss.

As for the lack of consensus on who will make the Super Bowl, I think rather than weaknesses from top teams (what's Indy's real weakness, or Denver's?) there are so many good teams this year that even the divisional round games should be competitive. That's my opinion anyway.

Vivek: Joey Galloway, WR, TB. I'm definitely in the minority here by thinking that the Bucs will end Washington's streak. As impressive as the run has been, there are three factors in my mind that give the edge to Tampa Bay: home field advantage, the maturation of Chris Simms from the teams' first meeting and a healthier Cadillac Williams. Washington's secondary has not been healthy all season, and Shawn Springs is questionable for this week with a groin injury. Add in the fact that Carlos Rogers has not played in three weeks, and Joey Galloway should have a big game.

Jason: Hines Ward, WR, PIT. Since I can't decide which Giants receiver to take, I'm gonna grab Hines Ward instead. (Ummm, what kind of logic is that? Can the excuse be that I'm the illogical one in this group?) Though I do think Pittsburgh is on a roll and has a great chance to upset Cincinnati.

Round 5

Jason: Jerramy Stevens, TE, SEA. With my other pick, I'm gonna break the seal on other positions and grab the first tight end, Jeramy Stevens. 3 TDs in his last three games, and the tight end position looks to drop off pretty fast this year...

Vivek: Chicago Bears, DT. Wow, it took until the last pick of the fourth round for someone to grab a Steeler. Jason snagged my next pick with Ward. I think this week's Cincy-Pitt matchup will look more like the teams' first matchup, a slower game that featured a lot of blitzing on Pittsburgh's part. I'm eager to see the reaction to my next pick: Chicago Defense. No wide receiver jumps out at me right now. The ones left could be one and done or are second options. So I'll go with the best defense in the league who should play at least two rounds.

Ned: Bobby Engram, WR, SEA. I really thought I was going to go Plaxico here, but I am just not sure about them against Carolina. I was thinking he could have a big day against Seattle who is banged up in the secondary, but not only would the Giants have to beat the Carolina, 50/50 at best, but the Buccaneers would have to beat the Redskins. So, I'm going with Bobby Engram in the hopes of getting three solid games out of him. He started catching touchdowns late in the year, and with Jackson back fully healthy, he should see a lot of single coverage.

Aaron: Tatum Bell, RB, DEN. Like I said before, Tatum Bell. Congratulations, Tim, you win the "get to wait until the end to pick a running back" award.

We're still waiting on somebody to take someone from Jacksonville. Is this "east coast media bias," or recognition that the Jags were fading at the end of the year until the final week, or acknowledgement that they may be without three important defensive starters against the Patriots?

Al: Indianapolis Colts, DT. I think we're just like the betting public, who doesn't think Jacksonville stands much of a chance going on the road to New England, making the Jaguars an 7.5-point underdog.

Viv took one of my Super Bowl pick defenses, so I might as well grab the other one here and take Indianapolis. All I'm looking for from a defense in these leagues is games. The Colts are the best bet left to get three games.

Tim: Chris Cooley, TE, WAS. I almost just drafted a running back, because I forgot that you guys couldn't. It was clearly unfair to do this right after New Year's; I've been sleepy or hung over ever since then. OK, I'm definitely taking Chris Cooley. With any luck, I'll have a player on each side of every game this weekend, and I'll go insane watching them.

Round 6

Tim: Ashley Lelie, WR, DEN. Then I think I'll take Ashley Lelie, not so much because I want him or he's that good, but because I have almost nobody with a first round bye and his team's good. And I certainly refuse to take a kicker or defense this early in any fantasy draft.

Al: Carson Palmer, QB, CIN. I'll leave Eli Manning for Jason and take Carson Palmer. I don't understand why Cincinnati is a home underdog in this playoff game. This team beat Pittsburgh on the road a month ago with Palmer having a good game. The Steelers had trouble putting away the Lions last week in a must-win game for them. Now they're supposed to go on the road and beat Cincinnati? I don't see it happening.

Aaron: Mike Vanderjagt, K, IND. If all you want from a fantasy defense in a playoff fantasy game is as many games as possible, that goes double for your playoff fantasy kicker. Give me the Idiot.

Ned: Jimmy Smith, WR, JAC. The pick of Smith is probably not intelligent given he is likely only going to play one game, and I could have gotten Josh Brown or someone who likely will play three games. But, after some brief study of DVOA numbers, it became absurd to me that nobody had taken anyone from Jacksonville. Of the 12 teams in the playoffs, only one entered Week 17 with a positive defensive DVOA, the Patriots. The defense ranks 12th against the run and 30th against the pass. The fact that the Patriots are eight point favorites seems ridiculous to me. I know the Bucs win was convincing, but what else have they done? Their weighted DVOA is below the Jaguars who have played the last few games without Leftwich. For the past eight weeks, the Patriots have had Seymour, Bruschi, and Colvin all starting.

Not counting Week 17, the Patriots played six games against quarterbacks who finished in the top 12 in DVOA and nine against quarterbacks who did not. Their record against good quarterbacks was 1-5 and against bad quarterbacks was 9-0. The only highly ranked qb they beat was Roethlisberger who didn't play great but did hit Ward for an 85-yard touchdown and completed a 49-yard pass to Randle-El before the ill-advised reverse. The Patriots playing with all their current defensive starters except for maybe whoever is playing for Harrison let Trent Green throw for 323 yards.

Byron Leftwich is ninth in DVOA. If he's healthy, and Will Carroll seems to think he could've played last week, he should be fine. As long as Del Rio doesn't decide that to win in the playoffs they need to run the ball, a definite possibility, the Jaguars should score points.

The Jaguars are better than the Patriots, and while I still think New Engalnd will win because of the Florida team going to the cold weather stat, I have to believe it will be much closer than people expect. Jacksonville has 4 losses on the season, and three are to Denver and Indianapolis who have higher season-long DVOAs than any team since the 2002 Bucs. They have only lost one game by more than 8 points. They almost lost to the PIttsburgh Maddoxes, but they beat a full-strength Seattle and Cincinnati team. Anyway, New Engalnd will win by 20 now that I've written all this, but I just couldn't not take advantage of the largest defensive weakness in the whole playoffs, the New England pass defense.

Tim: I'm obviously not doing enough research. Maybe I should just hire a monkey to throw darts.

Jason: Sorry. I'm already picking a team. Plus they don't trust me with sharp objects.

Vivek: Deion Branch, WR, NE. I have to drink some of the New England Kool-Aid as well.

Jason: Joe Jurevicius, WR, SEA. Well, with Superbowl MVP Deion Branch fianally off the board, I'm gonna have to go with the token white wideout of the draft: Joe Jurevicious! (He may not get the yards, but with 10 TDs on the year, he always seems to be a red zone threat, even with Jackson and Engram healthy) I'll leave the rest of you who still need a WR to be baffled by the Burress-Houshmandzadeh-Toomer mess left on the board.

Round 7

Jason: Josh Brown, K, SEA. And while I'm putting all my eggs in one basket, I'll grab Josh Brown too. Looking forward to picking a defense and QB of the scrap heap next time around...

Vivek: Dallas Clark, TE, IND. Here's hoping for three catches for 40 yards times three games.

Ned: Jason Elam, K, DEN. In an effort to guarantee a 4th place finish, I will take my seventh player from a seventh different team. I'll go with Jason Elam figuring on at least two playoff games. I still fear the Colts beat the Patriots only to lose to the Broncos irony, so hopefully the pain of that will be mitigated by my having the Broncos kicker.

Aaron: Seattle Seahawks, DT. And now, a fantasy defense. From teams with byes -- the teams most likely to play three games -- we've got two choices, Denver and Seattle. According to our scoring system, Denver had 96 points this year, and Seattle 95. (I know this because we use this system in our regular league, and I looked it up. By the way, everyone congratulate Jason for winning first place. I was third with my team, "Larry Johnson and some dudes off the street.")

But I digress. Seattle's defensive numbers were helped significantly by their schedule, but they still ended up seventh in adjusted sack rate. Denver was dead last. I like Denver's chances to go to Detroit, but as far as game-to-game consistency, I'll take sacks over turnovers.

Al: Jeremy Shockey, TE, NYG. I've been down on New York, but I still think they'll get past Carolina. So I'll go with the best TE available - Jeremy Shockey, who should be good to go against the Panthers.

Tim: Denver Broncos, DT. Time to pick my kicker and my defense. This will probably be the only fantasy draft in the history of the universe in which somebody drafts a running back who will start with the last overall pick.

Thanks to following the Texans through the last two weeks of the season through the Reggie Bush Bowl, I became a strength-of-schedule junkie. I looked today into a sort of renormalized strength of schedule for each team that excludes the effect of that team's wins on the schedule strength. Take out Denver's wins and their schedule moves from the 18th hardest to a tie for third. The fact that they won 13 games against that is astounding. I'm like Aaron; I would have taken a Denver running back early if not for the committee factor. But unlike Aaron, I really want to take the Broncos defense, because Seattle had the easiest schedule in the league. So I will.

Round 8

Tim: Robby Gould, K, CHI. Washington had the second hardest schedule no matter how you slice it, and if I could take its defense and Denver's kicker I would. But I don't really want to do it the other way round, partly because I already hitched my wagon at least a little bit to the Bucs train. So instead I'll try to reverse my trend of taking Wild Card players, even though every instinct I have says to take Jeff Reed, and get Robby Gould because Chicago's is the only kicker left with a first-round bye.

Al: Plaxico Burress, WR, NYG. I'll stay with the Giants theme and take Plaxico here. I'll just have to hope that Eli starts throwing the ball only a foot above his head instead of five feet too high.

Aaron: Ben Watson, TE, NE. Ha! Al, I had been thinking about taking either Shockey or Burress and I figured there was no way you would take one of them since you were so down on the Giants. I figured that since I took Tiki so early, the best way to win this thing was for the Giants to go far, and if the Giants were going to go far, I might as well get a couple more of them. Then you went ahead to take both guys.

I suppose the proper response here is to take Amani Toomer. But there's another receiver I like just as much -- T.J. Whosyourdaddy -- and the only other person needing a receiver is Vivek. Vivek, I'll let you make the decision for me so I can make a total homer pick, the kind of guy who should have some big plays, especially if middle linebacker Mike Peterson can't play. Ben Watson.

By the way, since part of the goal is to help people who may have their own fantasy drafts, I should point out that Denver Jeb Putzier has no touchdowns this year and had just two last year. The Broncos didn't throw him a single pass in a goal-to-go situation and he had only five passes in the red zone otherwise. This is why I did not take Jeb Putzier.

Ned: New York Giants, DT. Ok, I'm down to tight end and defense, but I have two tight ends I have no preference on, so I'll wait for Vivek to take his. That leaves defense. All four teams with byes have been taken. I want no part of any of the AFC defenses because the good defenses, Pitt and Jacksonville, are playing good offenses (and I think they're going to lose). In the NFC, I am trying to identify which team will play Chicago in the second round. Rex Grossman may be better than Kyle Orton, but I'm seeing at least two picks in this game.

Washington as the 6th seed can't play Chicago, so they're out (and they have no cornerbacks left). Even without cornerbacks, however, I think they'll beat TB, so that leaves the winner of the Carolina-NYG game. That game should be a turnoverfest with Delhomme and Manning taking turns tossing the ball to the other team. Carolina is the better defense, but I think the Giants will win the game, thus making them the better pick for this draft.

Vivek: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, CIN. Mr. Schatz, meet Mr. Toomer. I'll take Housh. The Cincy receiver is my first (and possibly only) pick for a team that I don't see winning at least one game.

Jason: Eli Manning, QB, NYG. I'll take Eli as my QB. While I did briefly consider Rex Grossman, I will instead lean towards a player who has a legitimate chance to crack double digits each time he plays. Let the best-of-the-rest teams have ol' Rex to head up their squads.

Round 9

Jason: New England Patriots, DT. And I'll get my own little piece of the Pats. I'm just just glad Ned made a crappy pick for his D so I could get this one.

Vivek: Adam Vinatieri, K, NE. Greatest postseason kicker of all time.

Ned: Heath Miller, TE, PIT. Apparently Vivek already had a tight end. I'm a moron, particularly since I obviously wanted Clark on my own team and should have realized who took him. Anyway, since my team is probably beyond the point where a tight end will make a difference, I'll complete my terrible no two players from the same team strategy with Heath Miller. Cincinnati is terrible against tight ends according to DVOA, and Miller has over 100 yards and a touchdown during their two previous meetings. If I hadn't taken Rudi Johnson in Round 2 and thus predicted a Bengals victory, I would really like this pick.

Aaron: Amani Toomer, WR, NYG.

Al: Jay Feely, K, NYG. I really didn't say all those mean things about the Giants before as some sort of reverse psychology so that I could end up with three Giants. But Jay Feely is tops on my board so I have to grab him. I would really rather have three Bears instead of three Giants, but after I grabbed Jones, Muhammad and the Chicago defense didn't make it back to me. Somehow my roster is filled with Bengals and Giants, two teams that no one is very confident will make it to the second round. If I get two games out of both of them, I like my chances in this league.

Tim: Jerome Bettis, RB, PIT. There are only two teams whose running back positions haven't yet been tapped: Pittsburgh and Jacksonville. And I just don't want Fred Taylor. For one thing, I see the Jags losing in the first round. For another, Greg Jones has been more effective in a lot of situations, including around the goal line. For a similar reason, I'm taking Jerome Bettis ahead of Taylor or Willie Parker. He's more in the mold of how you beat Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and he's a safer bet to score a touchdown.


2006 Football Outsiders Playoff Fantasy Teams
  JASON VIVEK NED
QB Manning, NYG Plummer, Den Manning, IND
RB Alexander, SEA James, IND Johnson, CIN
RB Anderson, DEN Foster, CAR Dillon, NE
WR Smith, DEN Galloway, TB Moss, WAS
WR Ward, PIT Branch, NE Engram, SEA
WR Jurevicius, SEA Houshmandzadeh, CIN Smith, JAC
TE Stevens, SEA Clark, IND Miller, PIT
K Brown, SEA Vinatieri, NE Elam, DEN
DEF New England Chicago New York Giants
  AARON AL TIM
QB Hasselbeck, SEA Palmer, CIN Brady, NE
RB Barber, NYG Jones, CHI Williams, TB
RB Bell, DEN Portis, WAS Bettis
WR Wayne, IND Harrison, IND Smith, CAR
WR Jackson, SEA Johnson, CIN Muhammad, CHI
WR Toomer, NYG Burress, NYG Lelie, DEN
TE Watson, NE Shockey, NYG Cooley, WAS
K Vanderjagt, IND Feely, NYG Gould, CHI
DEF Seattle Indianapolis Denver

Once again this year, we invite people to list their "best of the rest" teams in the comments, and you can fill your team with all the Jaguars you want. We'll track which of those teams does the best and see if someone can dethrone reigning "best of the rest" champ "El Angelo." The scores for all these teams will be updated each week in Scramble for the Ball.

Scramble for the Ball Best Bets

Vivek: (0-3 last week, 24-28-1 overall)

I needed one and a half more points from Houston, one and a half from the Giants and one from Tampa Bay last week. Three losses by four measy points. I guess I ended as the Chargers of Best Bets.

Pittsburgh +1.5 over CINCINNATI

A lot of blitzing from the Pittsburgh defense and a heavy dose of Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis will dictate the tempo of this game. Like I said in the roundtable above, expect a game much more like these teams' first meeting.

TAMPA BAY -1.5 over Washington

Washington's last playoff appearance resulted in a loss to Tampa Bay, and this go around should have the same end result. Mike Alstott's phantom two-point conversion in Week 10 started a 6-2 run to the Division crown for the Bucs. I'll admit that wins over Atlanta and New Orleans (twice each) and a spanking at the hands of the Patriots might diminish the impressiveness of that stretch, but Tampa Bay now has a healthy Cadillac Williams and a much more seasoned Chris Simms. This will be the game of the week.

Jacksonville +7.5 over NEW ENGLAND

Take Jacksonville with the points, but New England straight up. Soon to be annointed 2005 MVP Tom Brady will (surprise, surprise) be the biggest difference maker here, as I can see Bill Belichick going with a lot of three receiver sets to create matchup problems with the Jacksonville secondary.

Carolina +2.5 over GIANTS

I do not trust Eli Manning's inconsistent arm against the secondary of the Panthers. The Ken Lucas-Plaxico Burress matchup could decide the outcome of the game, and Lucas' abilities mean that the team will not have to double team New York's go-to receiver. This frees up the safeties to go for the picks against Manning. When Carolina has the ball, expect the Giants to have a hard time taking down Deshaun Foster with its injuries in the linebacking corps. I'm pulling for the G-Men, but I'm having a hard time seeing a win.

Al: (2-8-1last week, 23-27-2 overall)

Washington +1.5 over TAMPA BAY

Washington has played better than anyone in the NFC in the second half of the season. When they lost arguably the best regular season game of the year against Tampa Bay in Week 10, Washington was missing Sean Taylor, which allowed Chris Simms to light up the Washington defense in the middle of the field. With Taylor back, Simms won't have as much success throwing downfield, even if the Washington cornerbacks are a bit banged up.

Jacksonville +7.5 over NEW ENGLAND

By almost any measure, Jacksonville was a better football team than New England was this season. This game should be much closer than people are betting on, especially if Byron Leftwich has fully recovered from his injury. Sure, the Jaguars will have trouble running the ball against the rejuvenated front seven of New England, but with no precipitation expected Saturday night in Foxboro, Leftwich should be able to throw the ball against the beleaguered New England secondary.

NY GIANTS -2.5 over Carolina

Steve Smith could get over 200 receiving yards, but New York should be able to contain the rest of Carolina's offense to come away with a win. On offense, the New York offensive line will need to dominate Carolina's defensive line like Dallas did two weeks ago so that Tiki Barber can have similar success to that which Julius Jones had nearly 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Carolina's pass defense has been good this year, but they haven't been doing it by containing opposing tight ends or running backs, the strengths of New York's passing attack. This will be a close game throughout, but I like New York's chances of pulling this out.

CINCINNATI +1.5 over Pittsburgh

When was the last time a home team was this big of an underdog in the playoffs? Maybe you can make an argument that the Steelers are the better team right now, but not better enough to be a road favorite over a team that beat them at home a month ago.

Posted by: admin on 04 Jan 2006

90 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2006, 9:34pm by RLB

Comments

1
by Fourth (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 3:27pm

I like Aaron's team to win this thing. My best of the rest: QB - Grossman(Chi); RBs - F. Taylor(Jax), W. Parker(Pit); WRs - B. Stokely(Ind), M. Jones(Jax), J. Gage(Chi); TE - J. Putzier(Den); K - S. Graham(Cin); D - Tampa Bay. I didn't bother to check on injuries so if someone is hurt don't mock me too much, I'll edit later.

2
by Israel (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 3:32pm

I love one part of this chart. Everyone has a team designation except one. Just plain "Bettis." Even better would have been just plain "Jerome."

3
by Sean D. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 3:39pm

Best of the Rest:
QB: Rex Grossman
RB: Kyle Johnson
RB: Willie Parker
WR: David Givens
WR: Antwaan Randel El
WR: Chirs Henry
TE: Wesley Duke
K: Jeff Reed
DEF: Pittsburgh

4
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 3:43pm

Here goes nothing - why would I know anything about playoffs?

QB - Roethlisberger, Pit
RB - Parker, Pit
RB - Taylor, Jac
WR - Wilford, Jac
WR - Proehl, Car
WR - Stokley, Ind
TE - Fletcher, Ind
K - Hall, Was
DEF - Redskins

5
by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:10pm

Okay, here's a shot in the dark:

QB: Brunell, WAS
RB: Parker, PIT
RB: Taylor, JAC
WR: Randle-El, PIT
WR: Givens, NE
WR: Gage, CHI
TE: Desmond Clark, CHI
K: Hall, WAS
D: WAS

I really didn't want to pick Taylor & Parker like everyone else, but unless you forsee a lot of carries for Ron Dayne, I don't know that there's any other viable choice.

6
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:12pm

My team-
Grossman
W. Parker
K. Johnson
D. Givens
C. Henry
J. Putzier
Washington DEF
Graham

Okay, I see Wash over Tampa, Cincy over Pitt, Pats upsetting Indy (then losing to Denver)... hopefully K. Johnson can vulture a few TDs catches for me, and while I see Pitt exiting early, I don't see any better options than Parker... hopefully he'll get a few points in a shootout vs. Cincy.

7
by Tim Gerheim :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:14pm

If I'd put just "Jerome" you might have gotten confused and thought I'd picked Southeast Jerome.

8
by lk6 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:16pm

It couldn't be "Jerome", because Al picked Jerome in round 4.

9
by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:17pm

Loading up on Steelers and Bucs:

QB: Roethlisberger, PIT
RB: Parker, PIT
RB: Alstott, TB
WR: Randle El, PIT
WR: Wilford, JAX
WR: Stokley, IND
TE: (the other) Alex Smith, TB
K: Reed, PIT
D; Tampa Bay

10
by David (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:18pm

Here's my best bet, and it will either do very well or very poorly...

QB: Roethlisberger PIT
RB: W Parker PIT
RB: K Faulk NE
WR: Givens NE
WR: Randel-El PIT
WR: Stokely IND
TE: Vrabel, NE
K: Hall WAS
DEF: Tampa Bay

All I ask is for one catch, Mike...

11
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:22pm

If I'm actually going to try and win this thing, I need to find an upset team to ride, and that looks like the Panthers.

QB - Jake Delhomme (Car)
RB - Willie Parker (Pit)
RB - Fred Taylor (Jax)
WR - David Givens (NE)
WR - Michael Clayton (TB)
WR - Ricky Proehl (Car)
TE - Bryan Fletcher (Ind)
K - John Kasay (Car)
DEF - Carolina

12
by DerekZ (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:23pm

Best of the Rest Team:

QB - Grossman, CHI
RB - Parker, PIT
RB - Faulk, NE
WR - Givens, NE
WR - Wilford, JAC
WR - Stokely, IND
TE - Alexander, DEN
K - Scobee, JAC
DEF - Carolina

13
by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:32pm

Best of the Rest:
QB - Simms, TB
RB - Faulk, NE and Perry, CIN
WR - Givens, NE; Stokley, IND; and Berrian, CHI
TE - Putzier, DEN
K - Graham, CIN
Def - TB

14
by Drew (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:34pm

A lot of people are picking Stokley... He's done very little this year. But I guess I should put up or shut up --

QB: B. Roethlisberger, PIT
RB: F. Taylor, JAX
RB: W. Parker, PIT
WR: D. Givens, NE
WR: C. Henry, CIN
WR: E. Wilford, JAX
TE: B. Flethcher, IND
K: J. Hall, WAS
DEF: Washington

15
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:42pm

My Unwanted Bottom of the Barrel Leftover All Stars:

QB: Mark Brunell WAS
RB: Fred Taylor JAC
RB: Kyle Johnson DEN
WR: ER-NEST WIL-FORD JAC
WR: Matt Jones JAC
WR: Bernard Berrian CHI
TE: Jeb Putzier DEN
K: Shayne Graham CIN
DEF: Cincinatti

Go Jags!

16
by DNL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:44pm

Assuming that a player on a bye week gets no points for that week, here's my

Best of the Rest:

QB, Brunell
RB, Brandon Jacobs
RB, Chris Perry
WR, David Givens
WR, Ernesto Wilfredo (RF, Yankees)
WR, Keary Colbert
TE, Mike Vrabel. If I can't have Vrabel by rule, then I'll take Bryan Fletcher
PK, John Hall
DF, Washington

17
by Al (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:04pm

Kudos for the Vrabel picks at TE. Wish I had thought of that myself. He'll likely outscore half the TEs taken in the actual draft.

18
by jimmo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:05pm

q-roethlisberger
r-faulk
r-jacobs
w- randle-el
w- givens
w- drew carter
te- mike sellers
k- jeff reed
d- Pitt

19
by geoff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:25pm

OK, my turn:
 
QB - B. Roethslisberger, PIT
RB - W. Parker, PIT
RB - K. Faulk, NE
WR - D. Givens, NE (We need 3? Yikes)
WR - A. Randle-El, PIT
WR - J. Gage, CHI
TE - M. Vrabel, NE (only half-kidding)
K - J. Reed, PIT
DT - PIT

20
by b-man (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:43pm

Vrabel is so 1st half of season. Ashworth is the new Vrabel.

21
by Ian (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:46pm

I don't like Viv's team, because Plummer doesn't always put up numbers, even if the Broncos are winning, DeShaun Foster could easily be worth almost nothing (he should have taken Steve Smith there), and Branch and Housh don't do much for me. I don't like Ned's team because of the wideout trio of Moss, Engram and Jimmy Smith (ugh). Tim will be the token "1st place after the 1st round, and last place after the last round" team. Aaron has the most balanced team. I don't like Al's Burress/Shockey/Feely trio, but I really like the rest of his team, especially if Washington upsets Tampa Bay. And then there's Jason's team, which is a very good team. Eli Manning though? If he had a better QB I'd rate his team as the tops, but as-is, I'd rank it pretty even with Al and Aaron.

22
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:50pm

I don't think taking only one player from a team is that unsound a strategy. It only takes one game for a team like Al's to get knocked out.

Before today, I couldn't name Chicago's kicker if you told me what it was.

23
by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:51pm

Ok, so all the bye kickers and defenses are gone, as well as both for the NYG and NE. With the 'flags fly forever' theory, I'm a' go for the gold and try to load up one one team. I like the chalk in the NFC a lot more than in the AFC, despite Indy's strength, so I'll break ties by taking Pittsburgh. Besides, it lets me be a homer :)

BOTR
QB - Ben Roethlisberger
RB - Willie Parker
RB - Fred Taylor
WR - Brandon Stokely
WR - David Givens
WR - Matt Jones (don't act like you don't know the name)
TE - Jeb Putzier
K - Jeff Reed
Def - Pittsburgh

24
by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 6:18pm

I think LaBrandon Toefield at this point's a better play than Fred Taylor.

25
by RW (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 6:34pm

QB -- Brunnel, WAS
RB -- Taylor, JAX
RB -- Jacbos, NYG
WR -- Randle El, PIT
WR -- Stokley, IND
WR -- Toomer, NYG
TE -- Fletcher, IND
K -- Graham, CIN
DEF -- Redskins

Gotta go for the Coughlin crapshoot -- Giants going deep and Brandon Jacbos stealing goal line carries in the post-season, too.

26
by Jody (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:10pm

QB Delhomme CAR
RB Parker PIT
RB Perry CIN
REC Givens NE
REC Wilford JAX
REC Proehl CAR
TE VRabel NE
K Graham CIN
DEF CIN
wow. cats, pats and iron. I could be done this Sunday, but I picked CAR to lose the SUPE back in August, and for Indy to beat CIN in the AFC, so here's hoping for some longevity.

27
by Joon (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:52pm

BOTR is hard. i think brunell and leftwich are like three times better than any other player available at other positions, the idea being that the skins should beat tampa and then won't have to play chicago, and leftwich has a very favorable first-round matchup (pats' pass D) and of course, in order to win this thing i might as well load up on jags and see if they can play three or even four games. (it could happen.) might as well go for all the marbles, although this will very likely leave me with an awful score when the jags lose.

QB: leftwich, jax
RB: taylor, jax
RB: parker, pit
WR: wilford, jax
WR: jones, jax
WR: stokely, ind
TE: putzier, den
K: scobee, jax
D: um... jax, why not

28
by Rollo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 9:07pm

Ahh, I'm presented with an invitation to be a complete homer - clearly the team with the most untapped offensive potential is the Jags. If my gamble that Leftwich becomes on fire pays off I could see this team winning two games, as long as the defense keeps barely holding things together. If the Jags lose round one I'm done, but such is the nature of the BOTR beast.

QB: Leftwich, JAX
RB: G. Jones, JAX
RB: Parker, PIT
WR: Wilford, JAX
WR: M. Jones, JAX
WR: Berrian, CHI
TE: Fletcher, IND
K: Scobee, JAX
DEF: JAX

29
by Dean from Oz (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:11pm

QB Grossman
RB Parker, Taylor
WR Stokley, Givens, Henry
TE Vrabel
KI Reed
DE WAS

30
by Björn (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:23pm

Best of the Rest

QB - Jake Delhomme (Car)
RB - Stephen Davis (Car)
RB - Patrick Pass (NE)
WR - Chris Henry (Cin)
WR - David Givens (NE)
WR - DJ Hackett (Sea)
TE - Mike Sellers (Was) (I was going to take Vrabel, but this year, Belichek will line Vrabel up as a decoy. The NFL must have picked up on it if 20 people on a messageboard all pick Vrabel as a pointgetter!)
K - John Kasay (Car)
D - Carolina (Go Eli go!)

31
by El Angelo (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:03am

Back to defend my title! Heck, I'd be happy if I can just beat Teddy44. Ultimately, I think Best of the Rest is a referendum on the wildcard weekend games. My picks...

QB: Mark Brunell, Washington
RB: Willie Parker, Pittsburgh
RB: Rock Cartwright, Washington
WR: Antwaan Randle-El, Pittsburgh
WR: David Givens, New England
WR: Bernard Berrian, Chicago
TE: Jeb Putzier, Denver
K: Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh
Defense: Washington Redskins

32
by Beige Tangerine (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:34am

#14 took my comment, and 2/3 of my team for good measure :)

QB: Leftwich, JAC
RB: Parker, PIT
RB: Taylor, JAC
WR: Wilford, JAC
WR: Givens, NE
WR: Randle El, PIT
TE: Sellers, WAS
K: Hall, WAS
Def: Washington

33
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:39am

Plummer looks like a poor pick to me because his best games seem to usually come when the Broncos lose. But then, it could work if he has two unimpressive games in the AFC playoffs and then has a huge game (in terms of fantasy points, where the 4 interceptions don't hurt you as much) as the Broncos lose the Super Bowl...

34
by Rob G. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:55am

First time here, but I will take a chance and some interesting picks earlier, especially Rock Cartwright. I see Washington, Pitt, NE, and Carolina winning

QB: Brunell, WAS
RB: Parker. PIT
RB: LaDell Betts, WAS
WR: Givens, NE
WR: Randle-El, PIT
WR: Thrash, WAS
TE: Sellers, WAS
K: Hall, WAS
DEF: WAS

35
by Chris M (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:12am

I don't get this worry about Jacksonville in cold weather. They had a big win against Green Bay (when they were a pretty good team) last year on the road in December. I'm not sure I favor them, but I think they have to be respected.

36
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:56am

Clearly, the way to win this thing is to take as many Patriots as possible, since the top-secret NFL PATRIOT ACT will guarantee them four victories over the course of this postseason.

In all seriousness-

Since all of the good Giants were taken, precluding a homer team, and I don't have faith in anyof the NFC teams to beat whoever they're playing, I'll revert to my preseason predictions and hope Pittsburgh goes all the way. This'll either be a spectacular success, or an even more spectacular failure.

QB: Roethlisberger, PIT
RB: Parker, PIT
RB: Jacobs, NYG
WR: Randle-El, PIT
WR: Givens, NE
WR: Stokley, IND
TE: Vrabel, NE (oh, why the hell not)
K: Reed, PIT
D: Pittsburgh

37
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 5:30am

QB: Jake Delhomme
RB: Fast Willie Parker
RB: Fred Taylor
WR: Ernest Wilford
WR: David Givens
WR: Ricky Proehl
TE: Daniel Graham
PK: John Kasay
Def: Carolina

38
by Ian (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:46am

My best of the rest team (Chicago-Pittsburgh Super Bowl perhaps?):

QB: Grossman
RB: Willie Parker
RB: Cedric Benson
WR: Bernard Berrian
WR: Justin Gage
WR: Antawn Randle El
TE: Desmond Clark
K: Josh Reed
DT: Pittsburgh

39
by Sam B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:45am

QB: "T" Rex Grossman
RB: "Fast" Willie Parker
RB: Rock "Rock" Cartwright
WR: Dave Givens
WR: Matt Jones
WR: Antwaaan Randle-El
TE: Mike "Goal-line" Vrabel
K: Jeff Reed
D: Carolina

40
by Spike (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:21pm

Just play the guys who get in the end zone, I say.

QB: Grossman, CHI
RB: Alstott, TB
RB: K. Johnson, DEN
WR: Gage, CHI
WR: Henry, CIN
WR: Toomer, NYG
TE: Fletcher, IND
K: Graham, CIN
D: TB

41
by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:58pm

Spike,

You're 1 WR short: Aaron took Toomer in the last round.

42
by Teddy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:08pm

Back to extend my season-long Loser League dominance over El Angelo and right the wrongs of last year:

QB: Rex Grossman CHI
RB: Willie Parker PIT
RB: Kevin Faulk NE
WR: David Givens NE
WR: Justin Gage CHI
WR: Brandon Stokely IND
TE: Daniel Graham NE
K: Josh Reed
D: CAR

43
by Wooba-Gooba (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:38pm

I will take a daring approach and load up on Panthers. Could there possibly be a rematch of XXXVIII? Probably not, but what the heck...

QB: Delhomme, CAR
RB: Faulk, NE
RB: Parker, PIT
WR: Givens, NE
WR: Randel El, PIT
WR: Toomer, NYG
TE: Mangum, CAR
K: Kasay, CAR
DEF: Carolina

I'd have taken Vrabel as TE, but since I doubt that Yahoo! would allow me to draft him as TE, I'll go with a more traditional TE pick.

44
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:58pm

I'll take the advice of #24, along with no other strategy whatsoever:

QB Brunell (WAS)
RB Toefield (JAX)
RB Parker (PIT)
WR Wilford (JAX)
WR Antwaan Randle-El (PIT)
WR Gage (CHI)
TE Fletcher (IND)
K Hall (WAS)
D Washington

45
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:59pm

Here's hoping the Redskins pull an upset or two.

QB: Mark Brunell, WAS
RB: Willie Parker, PIT
RB: Kyle Johnson, DEN
WR: Brandon Stokely, IND
WR: Justin Gage, CHI
WR: David Givens, NE
TE: Mike Sellers, WAS
K: Shayne Graham, CIN
DEF: Washington

46
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:37pm

How about a 'Best of the Rest: Loser League Challenge'?

47
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:05pm

BoR - I'll name the team "Boom or Bust"
They can also be used as my loser league picks...

QB: Chris Simms (TB)
RB: Pittman (TB)
RB: Sellers (Wash)
WR: Wilford (Jax)
WR: Stokely (Ind)
WR: Hackett (Sea)
TE: Royal (Wash)
K: Kasay (Car)
D:Tampa Bay

48
by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 8:45pm

NYC is fun.

QB- Roethlisberger (PIT)
RB- Taylor (JAX)
RB- Parker (PIT)
WR- Gage (CHI)
WR- Toomer (NYG)
WR- Randle-El (PIT)
TE- Miller (PIT). Someone will figure out the Vrabel thing. Someday....
K- Reed (PIT)
D- CAR. Too many steelers.

I think the home-field thing is overstated, since PIT is actually a better team on the road. That and they had Cinci by the throat at the end of the last meeting and completely shot themselves in the foot.

49
by hector (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:21pm

Why not take two QBs per fantasy team? Adds a significant amount to the strategy element. All leagues should consider this.

50
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:54pm

Aaron did well. Barber AND Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck was pretty much a steal in the 2nd round there.

51
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:11pm

OK, I don't understand why there was a rush on Broncos early on. They might not even play two games! If they do, they'll probably get trashed by Indy (assuming Indy gets to the AFC Championship Game) in the 2nd one.
I wouldn't have touched any Broncos in the first two rounds, especially not Mike Anderson.

52
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:22pm

I like Ned's Corey Dillon pick much better than the Deshaun Foster pick before that. Dillon is practically guaranteed to see two games (if not more), while Foster will be lucky to play in a 2nd.
Jason:
You couldn't decide on Plaxico Burress over Amani Toomer?
Ned:
The Giants beating the Panthers is likely, not "50/50 at best." Clearly, people's beliefs about the first round games decided their selections for them, and I suppose that makes sense. I'd put a Giants win at 60/40 or so.

53
by Jon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:36pm

Bolding it so that people notice: A few people have picked Amani Toomer for their "best of the rest" teams, but Aaron drafted him in the last round.

If Jacksonville upsets New England, my team has a chance.

QB: Leftwich (JAX)
RB: Parker (PIT)
RB: Taylor (JAX)
WR: Wilford (JAX)
WR: Jones (JAX)
WR: Randle El (PIT)
TE: Putzier (DEN)
K: Scobee (JAX)
D: JAX

54
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:16am

Byron Leftwich is ninth in DVOA. If he’s healthy, and Will Carroll seems to think he could’ve played last week, he should be fine.

Everyone knows he could've played last week. I'm surprised Del Rio didn't give him a few series.
I'll have my Best of the Rest team up soon, hopefully. Slim pickings again.

55
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:06am

My team:

QB- Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
RB- Free Willie Parker (PIT)
RB- Fred Taylor (JAX)
WR- Brandon Stokley (IND)
WR- David Givens (NE)
WR- Antwaan Randle El (PIT)
TE: Alex Smith (TB)
K: Jeff Reed (PIT)
DEF: Tampa Bay

It came down to Ben or Rex at QB. Tough choice. I might be the first one here to spell Stokley correctly, :P
TEs were tough. It came down to Smith, Graham, or Putzier for me.
Basically, I need Pittsburgh and Tampa to beat in the Super Bowl. :D

How did 3 Seattle WRs go ahead of Plexiglass? Wow.
Also, color me shocked that the NE defense lasted until the end. I wish I could have them for my Best of the Rest team.
Several people drafted guys who are not on the board (Toomer, Heath MIller, etc.).

RE: 30

Stephen Davis might be done for the year. He was placed on IR, IIRC.

RE: 42

Josh Reed doesn't play in the NFL. ;)

56
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:28am

I noticed several people drafted Cooley or Sellers. Do Cooley or Sellers count as TEs or FBs? Can we take them?

57
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 4:56am

Sid,
I think the answer should be both. The Redskins list Cooley as starting H-Back and Sellers as his backup. In one back sets they can line up as a TE, but they can also line up as the FB.

I don't know if many readers know this but Sellers was a good player in the CFL with the Winnipeg Bombers before he returned to the Redskins. The Blue Bombers taut him as an "Unstoppable Force" and he is considered a "man-mountain fullback" who can run, catch, lead the team in special teams tackles, and open holes for the leagues second leading rusher. In his first stint in the CFL he had double duty and was a FB and defensive lineman...

58
by Reno (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 7:32am

QB - Mark Brunell (WAS)
RB - Chris Perry (CIN)
RB - Brandon Jacobs (NYG)
WR - Chris Henry (CIN)
WR - Brandon Stokley (IND)
WR - David Givens (NE)
TE - Mike Sellers (WAS)
K - Shayne Graham (CIN)
DEF - Washington

I'm actually kind of suprised that nobody's jumped on Michael Pittman, I took Perry mainly because I think the Bengals will win and Bucs will lose.

59
by Spike (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 11:33am

Grumble grumble...darn columnist taking Toomer when he clearly meant "David Tyree." Updated BOTR list, then:

QB: Grossman, CHI
RB: Alstott, TB
RB: K. Johnson, DEN
WR: Gage, CHI
WR: Henry, CIN
WR: Wilford, JAX
TE: Fletcher, IND
K: Graham, CIN
D: TB

60
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:54pm

Grrr.. I have to decide who will win the TB/WAS game. That determines my pick at DEF and TE.

61
by RW (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:03pm

D'oh! I'm one of those who failed reading comprehension and picked Toomer. Sub Wilford for Toomer for my team (comment #25)

QB — Brunell, WAS
RB — Taylor, JAX
RB — Jacbos, NYG
WR — Randle El, PIT
WR — Stokley, IND
WR — Wilford, JAX
TE — Fletcher, IND
K — Graham, CIN
DEF — Redskins

62
by Wooba-Gooba (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 2:14pm

Updated B.o.t.R. roster for my Toomer gaffe. Thanks for pointing that out, Jon.

QB: Delhomme, CAR
RB: Faulk, NE
RB: Parker, PIT
WR: Givens, NE
WR: Randel El, PIT
WR: Stokley, IND
TE: Mangum, CAR
K: Kasay, CAR
DEF: Carolina

63
by Clark (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 4:53pm

QB -- Rex Grossman, CHI
RB -- Fred Taylor, JAX
RB -- Dominic Rhodes, IND
WR -- David Givens, NE
WR -- Brandon Stokley, IND
WR -- Justin Gage, CHI
TE -- Daniel Graham, NE
K -- Shayne Graham, CIN
DT -- Cincinnati

Too much from 4 teams for my taste, but I think two of them are really good bets to get to their conference title games. There aren't many good RB left, so I'm banking that the Colts go far and Rhodes has a chance to get some action. I'm covered no matter what happens with the New England-Jacksonville matchup, and I've teased a couple of Bengals options who, particularly the defense, I feel are getting overlooked here.

64
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 5:00pm

I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and stick with my team. To me, Tampa-Washington is a toss-up no matter how I look at it.

All things being equal, Cooley is a better option than Alex Smith, but I picked Tampa so I'll stick with it and hope.

65
by Jon (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 5:30pm

Sid, you couldn't have taken Chris Cooley, because Tim drafted Chris Cooley in the 5th round.

66
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 5:48pm

Whoops. Good thing I didn't then. :)

The reason I thought he was available was because I saw several people select Cooley.

So that's 3 guys who readers drafted that are actually off the board:
Amani Toomer, Heath Miller, and Chris Cooley.

The main options for TE have to be Daniel Graham, Jeb Putzier, and Alex Smith.
Sellers and Vrabel only score TDs, so I guess they might be possibilities, but I'd stay away.

67
by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 7:01pm

RE: #57

I have been telling people about Sellers for months, but nobody ever listens. Winnipeg might be the only team in the last 10 years to use their fullback to gain yards. He was a terror when paired with 5'6" 175lb tailback Charles Roberts. Roberts still gets good yardage, but Winnipeg is terrible in short yardage.

RE: 55

Thanks for the heads up on Davis. I thought he was hurt, but I couldn't find mention of him anywhere. I'm also swapping some Panthers for Redskins, so my team actually complies with my pool picks for this week. My updated BOTR team is:

QB - Mark Brunell (Was)
RB - Willie Parker (Pit)
RB - Patrick Pass (NE)
WR - Chris Henry (Cin)
WR - David Givens (NE)
WR - DJ Hackett (Sea)
TE - Mike Sellers (Was)
K - John Kasay (Car)
D - Washington (Go Chris go!)

68
by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 10:24pm

Alex SMith and Tampa defense done, and so are my chances.

69
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 5:22pm

Re #51: OK, I don’t understand why there was a rush on Broncos early on. They might not even play two games! If they do, they’ll probably get trashed by Indy (assuming Indy gets to the AFC Championship Game) in the 2nd one.
I wouldn’t have touched any Broncos in the first two rounds, especially not Mike Anderson.

Point #1- home teams win something like 80% of the time in the second round. In addition, Indy (36.6% DVOA) and Denver (36.5% DVOA) were the two best teams in the league by a sizeable margin (#3, KC, was 5% behind, and the next best AFC Playoff team was Pittsburgh, 10% behind). If you look at weighted DVOA, it makes an even STRONGER case, as Denver is 43.1%, Indy is 35.9%, and the next best AFC playoff team is Pitt at 22.1%, a full TWENTY PERCENT BEHIND DENVER.

Denver and Indy are CLEARLY the class of the NFL- which coupled with the 80% win rate in the second round, and the biggest HFA in football, means that Denver is extremely likely to get at least 2 games, and not all that unlikely to get a third, too. In fact, I'd say that Denver's probably the MOST likely team to get 2 games, since unless Jacksonville won (which they didn't), Denver's first opponent would have a worse DVOA (both full and weighted) than Indy's, guaranteed.

Second, Mike Anderson was one of the top 10 RBs in fantasy football. If you ignore the first two games, where he was injured and lost a ton of carries, and the last game, where he sat, only 7 RBs averaged more points per game than Anderson did- and two of those were DomDavis and Priest Holmes, who both missed significant time. He scored more TDs than anyone except Alexander, James, and Tomlinson during that span, too. In fact, he averaged 80 yards and a score every single game over that stretch. Despite all the hype about Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson was one of the best fantasy backs in all of football this season.

Anyway, my "Best of the Rest" team is looking pretty good right about now. Watson went off huge, and the Panthers are ALL OVER New York, pitching a 20-0 shutout with a trio of turnovers and a pair of sacks. I just hope I didn't just curse myself by saying that.

70
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 5:25pm

Looks like the Carolina defense would have been a GREAT fantasy defense here.

Anyway, do points count against a D if they're scored by the opposing D or special teams? That wasn't made clear.

71
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 8:09pm

RE: 69

I think Pittsburgh will beat Cincy. Are you that confident you'll defeat New England? I'm not.

72
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 8:12pm

I think Aaron and Al are both in some trouble here. Their drafts looked good assuming the Giants would win, but now Aaron lost his 1st round pick and one of his WRs (and they got very little points for him in the one game they did play), and Al lost a WR, a TE, and a K, also with almost no production.
Meanwhile, Tim lost his first round pick (very little production), but still has Steve Smith alive. Vivek is looking good, getting a surprising amount of points out of Deshaun Foster.

73
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 8:51pm

Re #71: Nothing can ever be certain, of course (remember, 4-12 Miami beat SB Champion New England last season). That said, yes, I feel confident that Denver is a better, more balanced team than New England. In addition, there's the bye week and the fact that the home team wins 80% of the time in the divisionals.

First, let's look at DVOA. Denver ranks 2nd with 36.5%. New England ranks 15th with 4.4%. That's a 32.1% DVOA advantage. In addition, someone's said that HFA was worth about 17% DVOA (and Denver, undefeated at home, has an above-average HFA, I'm sure you'd agree). That means Denver's effective DVOA should be about 49.1% higher than New England's. For comparison purposes, if New England played New Orleans at home, their effective DVOA advantage would be 49.6%.

Now wait a second, you say... look how much better New England is playing recently! Okay, let's look at weighted DVOA, which takes into account how well they've played recently (and does NOT factor in what happened in the Miami game after Brady left). Denver's 43.1% weighted is tops in the league. New England is 13th at 5.1%. That means the effective WEIGHTED-DVOA gap is 55%- an even LARGER margin. This is comparable to how much better New England would be than Houston if the game was in New England.

Denver is 8-0 at home this season- including, unless you've forgotten, a home drubbing of New England earlier this year. If you want to bring up recent history of the Pats playoff successes, then I'll bring up recent history, too. No coach in the NFL has a better post-bye winning percentage than Mike Shanahan, and Denver has won 3 of the last 4 games against New England (the one loss was a very narrow loss with Danny Kanell at QB in the infamous "intentional safety" game).

So am I certain that Denver will beat New England? Of course not. Am I *CONFIDENT* that Denver will beat New England? Absolutely. Denver is a drastically better team, Denver is a drastically healthier team, and Denver is at home.

74
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 10:23pm

I don't know, Kibbles. I think Denver was rooting for Cincinnati today, because everyone knows that New England is a tough playoff matchup, especially when relatively healthy.

On thread topic:

If I could go back and take a team now, it would run like this:

QB: Roethlisberger
RB: Parker and K.Faulk
WR: Randle El, Givens, and Stokley (I got one thing right!)
TE: No one? I guess Putzier or Graham, but man, there is nothing here.
K: Jeff Reed
DEF: Carolina or Washington

Hindsight 20-20, as always. :P

75
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 11:15pm

I agree Denver would have rather faced an ice-cold Cincinnati team than New England, but I think at this point it's just semantics. Denver is clearly one of the best teams in the entire NFL by a pretty significant margin. New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville... it would make no difference. Denver is better than any of them, and should be expected to win handily over any of them. Whether they will or not is in question, but they definitely SHOULD be expected to win handily.

Besides, I think Pitt has a better chance of upsetting Indy than New England did (a bad pass defense is not a good thing to take into Indy if you want to win)- and I'd much rather face ANYONE but Indy in the AFC championship.

76
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:05am

Besides, I think Pitt has a better chance of upsetting Indy than New England did (a bad pass defense is not a good thing to take into Indy if you want to win)- and I’d much rather face ANYONE but Indy in the AFC championship.

If you're looking only at this season, you may be right. You can't ignore history, though.
Also, I don't think the NE pass defense is that bad. San Diego showed you just need to have a strong 3-4 up front to disrupt Peyton's rhythm. The CBs don't have to be world-beaters.
If NE went to Indy (it might end up happening anyway), that game would be about a pick'em in my eyes. Maybe a small edge to Indy.

77
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:45am

All season long I've looked forward to an opportunity for the Broncos to eliminate the Patriots and finally end all of the butt-kissing that they have received from the media lately (that includes you, Sean Salisbury!)

Don't get me wrong, the Patriots are a great team, but the fact that they're getting more respect than the Broncos is ridiculous. During the week leading up the WC games I dont I heard the Broncos even being mentioned once except as a possible scenario for a NE-IND AFC champ game. Quite frankly, that's irresponsible journalism.

The Broncos went 13-3, won their last 4 games, went 7-3 against winning teams, 8-0 at home, and won the toughest division in football, the AFC West, by 3 games!

Why that doesnt gain the Broncos any respect is befuddling to me, and the fact that the 11-6 Patriots are getting all the press makes me sick.

Memo to Tom Brady: Your team gets more respect than any other team in the league, even Indy, so please dont whine about it to the media--they're already drooling at the thought of a NE-IND game, they wont hear you.

NE wouldn't win against IND and they sure as hell wont win against Denver next week.

(If only Denver had an answer for Manning, short of injuring him, they could even get to the SB)

78
by jimmo (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 1:22am

kibbles re: Mike Anderson, since ignoring games, please also throw out the week five game vs. Washington (11-34, 2-16, 0 TDs) and the Thanksgiving game vs. Dallas (11-31,2-6, 0 TDs) and the Baltimore game (8-21, no catches, no scores).
Also throwing out the week 17 matchup as you did, because that week shouldn't be played in fantasy anyway, that is still five games of useless play from a RB. Couple that with the specter of Bell looming nearly every week, and the numerous injury questions particularly early and late, and you have, most often, fantasy death.

Don't be misled by the average scores per week; Anderson's inconsistency is quite costly at the RB position. While we're throwing out games, toss out the week 11 Jets game, and he's down to ten total TDs (very respectable) and about 65 yards a game. Very Stephen Davis-like.
But of course, we can't throw out games. Weeks one and two count, so does week 11. It adds up in my book to an average fantasy year: he was great as a mid to late round, third RB steal; if anybody drafted him as a reliable #2 back or god forbid a #1, I'd have to believe the majority of those GMs ended the year disappointed.

79
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:35am

Speaking of Salisbury, he said at the beginning of the season that he'd walk from Bristol to Washington in January if the Redskins made the playoffs.

80
by RLB (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 4:48am

Where are the results of week 1?

These are the figures I have gleaned from week 1:

Jason:
E. Manning,NYG -3 and out.
Ward,PIT 7.
NE Defense, 16.
Total 20.

Vivek:
Foster,CAR 15.
Galloway,TB 6 and out.
Branch,NE 3.
Houshmandzadeh,CIN 8 and out.
Vinatieri, NE 4.
Total 36.

Ned:
RJohnson,CIN 12 and out.
Dillon,NE 5.
Moss,WAS 2.
Smith,JAC 3 and out.
Miller,PIT 1.
NYG Defense, 1 and out.
Total 24.

Aaron:
Barber,NYG 6 and out.
Toomer,NYG 3 and out.
Watson,NE 15.
Total 24.

Al:
Palmer,CIN 3 and out.
Portis,WAS 11.
CJohnson,CIN 5 and out.
Burress,NYG 0 and out.
Shockey,NYG 5 and out.
Feeley,NYG 0 and out.
Total 24.

Tim:
Brady,NE 22.
Williams,TB 3 and out.
Bettis,PIT 11.
Smith,CAR 21.
Total 57.

So, if I am correct(?), Week 1:

1. Tim 57.
2. Vivek 36.
3. Ned, Aaron, Al 24.
6. Jason 20.

81
by RLB (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 5:20am

Denver Broncos! Superbowl winners in 2006, you bet! No one else has a chance.

82
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:09pm

re: #80

Funny, looking at my picks for the playoffs, I've got 57 points (or 56, if TB giving up 17 means -3 points.) Of course, that's the advantage of drafting nearly everybody remaining in the first round.

How did everybody else's best of the rest do?

83
by RLB (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 12:35pm

Re 82:

I don't know how you did? Your points are by your own calculations, as are mine. At least I have broken mine down to individual stats, which can be challenged by anyone who wants and is able to do so. Did you document your choices here before the playoffs began?

It was not my intent to take everyone's picks into account. After all, fair is fair, and the initial participants on FO drafted their players in a fair manner. And so that is all I'm going to evaluate.

84
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 5:36pm

RLB, no criticism intended. Just a quick checkup to see how I did, hope to see how others did. Thought it was kind of neat to be tied with Tim at this point.

In terms of the breakdown, which I didn't think anybody would be interested in, here it is:

Roethlisberger: 22 (208 pass yds, 3 pass td)
Parker: 13 (38 rush yds, 41 rec yds, 1 rec td)
Faulk: 9 (51 rush yds, 45 rec yds)
Givens: 6 (3 rec yds, 1 rec td)
Randle El: 1 (15 rec yds)
Stokely: n/a
Vrabel: 0
Hall: 6 ( 2 XP, 1 47 yd FG)
TB Def: 0 or -1 (1 TO, team gave up 17 points)

85
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 6:05pm

Oops! Forgot to include sacks:

Roethlisberger: 22 (208 pass yds, 3 pass td)
Parker: 13 (38 rush yds, 41 rec yds, 1 rec td)
Faulk: 9 (51 rush yds, 45 rec yds)
Givens: 6 (3 rec yds, 1 rec td)
Randle El: 1 (15 rec yds)
Stokely: n/a
Vrabel: 0
Hall: 6 ( 2 XP, 1 47 yd FG)
TB Def: 1 or 2 (1 TO, 2 sacks, team gave up 17 points)

57 or 58 total

In terms of documentation, check out post #10 on this thread....

86
by RLB (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 12:32am

Re: 85

I could be wrong, but I think the TB defense got 3 pts, 2 for the interception, 2 for 2 sacks, and -1 for allowing 11 pts. The TB defense didn't "allow" the six points scored by Washington's defense.

I didn't check the rest of your scores, but I think with the TB defense at 3, your total would be 60.

87
by Wooba-Gooba (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 2:44pm

Assuming that I did this correctly, I should have 70 points and no one yet eliminated from the playoffs.

Delhomme: 11 (140 pass yds, 1 TD)
Faulk: 9 (51 rush yds, 45 rec yds)
Parker: 13 (38 rush yds, 41 rec yds, 1 TD)
Givens: 6 (6 rec yds, 1 TD)
Randel El: 1 (5 rush yds, 15 rec yds)
Stokley: DNP
Mangum: 1 (11 rec yds)
Kasay: 12 (2 1-39, 1 40-49, 2 PAT)
Carolina: 17 (0 pts, 4 sacks, 4 TO)

88
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 7:55pm

What we know after the wild card round is that Al is done. He's basically a lock to finish last.

89
by The Cartoonist (not verified) :: Wed, 01/11/2006 - 2:20am

For defensive team scoring purposes in this league, all points scored against a team count, even if it is scored against the offense or special teams. Maybe Chris Simms should have learned to tackle better...

And to think, I almost picked Big Ben over Eli. Oh well, at least I still have the rest of my team. Alexander alone could potentially carry my team to victory.

90
by RLB (not verified) :: Wed, 01/11/2006 - 9:34pm

Re: 85 and 89

Thanks Jason, I wasn't sure how that worked!

So David, looks like you got a 59 in the first week, since TB's defense is a 2 (and if your other scores are correct).