Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz

Rumble in the … Hurricane?

Tom: It’s time for another year of the Football Outsiders Staff Fantasy League, in which various FO staff members (and sometimes former staff members) try to outwit, survive, and outlast the others and earn as much honor and glory as regular updates in Scramble can provide. As was the case last year, I will be actively managing a team, while Mike will be providing you with the weekly recaps/mockery.

Mike: Oh, will I ever. Sadly, Overlord/Dictator/Saucier-In-Chief Aaron lost power due to Hurricane Irene, and Danny was ill on the day of the draft, so we were left with two auto-drafts, neither of which were planned. On the bright side, this means I won't have to manage a team of auto-draft rejects this year, as the CBORG experiment will take a hiatus. This job won't be quite as fun without Ian playing, but I shall persevere.

Tom: You poor dear. League rules are generic ESPN standard, and a starting lineup of two wide receivers, two running backs, and one offensive flex position in addition to your normal QB/TE/K/DST.


QB: Peyton Manning, IND (4-31), Eli Manning, NYG (10-91)
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (1-10), Michael Turner, ATL (2-11), Mike Tolbert, SD (8-71), Javon Ringer, TEN (14-131)
WR: Mike Williams, TB (3-30), Wes Welker, NE (5-50), Julio Jones, ATL (7-70), Plaxico Burress, NYJ (9-90), Brad Smith, BUF (11-110), Dexter McCluster, KC (15-150)
TE: Dallas Clark, IND (6-51), Tony Gonzalez, ATL (13-130)
K: Matt Bryant, ATL (16-151)
DST: Jets (12-111)

Mike: I like Peyton Manning/Michael Turner at 10/11, assuming that’s how they went.

Tom: Ah, but I cleverly at first did not give you where players were drafted. Actually, Bradshaw and Turner went 10/11.

Mike: Oh. 10th is a hard place to pick, but a platoon back is probably not the way to go.

Tom: I agree. Turner, whatever his flaws, is at least his team's lead back.

Mike: Exactly. That's why I thought at first that it was Turner/Manning as 10/11.

Tom: I think Mike Tolbert might actually be a better play.

Mike: Really?

Tom: OK, that may be a bit much.

Mike: I was going to say, that's a bit of a stretch

Tom: If this were a PPR league, I wouldn't even have minded a Bradshaw pick. But Brandon Jacobs looks -- and the Giants seem to think Brandon Jacobs looks -- like a back who can be productive with carries.

Mike: And this preseason, even, Bradshaw's been most impressive catching out of the backfield.

Tom: I'm also not sure what to think about his wideouts. I think Tampa will throw the ball a lot, so Williams will get catches. Welker obviously should get thrown the ball a lot.

Mike: Welker was a fine pick. Jones was taken way too high; I got him near the end of both my drafts. Burress is a risk, but I think a well-calculated one.

Tom: Jones is the guy I'm conflicted on as well. I think people (in general, not necessarily Will) are reading Atlanta's big move up in the draft and the tea leaves this preseason as a sign they're going to be throwing the ball to him an awful lot.

Mike: Well, it's no question that Atlanta needs someone opposite Roddy White.

Tom: I'm very skeptical Jones will get enough targets.

Mike: And they did a good job making sure they have a body there. There's a chance that this will give the rest of the Atlanta offense some credibility. Which means ... the defense will spread a bit so they can throw it to White, not so that they can throw it to Jones, yes.

Tom: The problem with Burress in my eyes is the Jets are a very run-heavy team and he's a second or even third wideout whose value will come from red zone work. Which means his performance will probably be very inconsistent. And there's that whole "two years out of football" thing.

Mike: He's a risk, but he has considerable upside. More than any other receiver in the ninth round, I'd imagine.

Tom: I'd almost rather have a wideout in an offense that's likely to have a lot of passing volume. Even an Andre Roberts or Brandon Gibson/Random STL WR.

Mike: I can see that. Heck, random St. Louis receiver was my late-round strategy this year, but Burress, if he can get back into his old form, is going to be far and away the best target Mark Sanchez has. Unlike us, the Jets actually believe in Sanchez, so I can see a world where Burress becomes a viable WR2.

Tom: Holmes is no longer a Steeler, Mike, you don't have to run him down so people don't realize he's awesome.

Mike: Who, me?

(Mike whistles innocently).


QB: Drew Brees, NO (3-22), Joe Flacco, BAL (11-102)
RB: Arian Foster, HOU (1-2), Matt Forte, CHI (2-19), Knowshon Moreno, DEN (5-42), Tim Hightower, WAS (8-79), Marshawn Lynch, SEA (9-82)
WR: Stevie Johnson, BUF (6-59), Anquan Boldin, BAL (7-62), Lance Moore, NO (10-99), Jacoby Ford, OAK (12-119), Jordan Shipley, CIN (14-139)
TE: Antonio Gates, SD (4-39), Rob Gronkowski, NE (16-159)
K: Adam Vinatieri, IND (15-141)
DST: Bears (13-122)

Mike: I will preface this commentary by mentioning that my Calculus teacher in high school prefaced the lesson on Euler by dressing up ... as Gauss. He then proceeded to complain about how much of a jerk Euler was.

Tom: I think my first mention of Euler in math class came with the near-mandatory legend of how he summed the numbers 1 through 100 almost instantly.

Mike: Verily, he was a god among men. And Gauss. Anyway.

Tom: No matter how much Mr. Tanier loves Jacoby Ford (which he does), I'd be wary of going into a season with Stevie Johnson and Anquan Boldin as my top two fantasy wide receivers. Aaron went for the bargain basement wideouts strategy last year, with pretty good effect. That said, he also benefited from last year's "wacky waiver rules that greatly privilege people without non-FO day jobs," which are not part of this year's rules.

Mike: While I think Tanier has done a decent job with that, I'm more impressed with Tanier's top of the draft. I like all of those picks in all of those slots. Well, Gates may be early, but still, I think that’s a solid core right there, plus his bargain receivers.

Tom: Gates and Stevie Johnson or Colston/Bowe/Dez and Witten? I'd also guess Antonio Gates will start to slow down one of these years. Then again, Tony Gonzalez outlasted my slowing-down predictions by about three years.

Mike: He's probably already in the slow-down phase. Of course, that means he's just a valuable tight end as opposed to a mid-range receiver, numbers-wise.

Tom: He did have that remarkable season last year ... before getting hurt.

Mike: Yeah. It looks like there was a mid-late round run on defenses. True?

Tom: The first four picks of the 12th round were all defense. Tanier got the Bears in the 13th, sixth taken.

Mike: He did all right for himself, although I'm not convinced the Bears DST will be good enough to justify that slot this year.

Tom: We shall see about that one.

EQUIPO DEL JEFE (Aaron Schatz)

QB: Matt Schaub, HOU (6-52), Matt Cassel (13-129)
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC (1-9), LeSean McCoy, PHI (2-12), Darren McFadden, OAK (3-29), Jonathan Stewart, CAR (7-69), Pierre Thomas, NO (9-89), Michael Bush, OAK (11-109), Ricky Williams, BAL (15-149)
WR: Reggie Wayne, IND (4-32), Jeremy Maclin, PHI (5-49), Mario Manningham, NYG (8-72)
TE: Marcedes Lewis, JAC (10-92), Kellen Winslow, TB (14-132)
K: Josh Brown, STL (16-152)
DST: Steelers (12-112)

Tom: As I mentioned earlier, the Head Honcho got Irene'd. That said, this draft doesn't seem that terrible.

Mike: ESPN has solid rankings. For various reasons which will be detailed at a later time, I missed the first round in both of my Yahoo! drafts and in each of them ended up with ... Ray Rice.

Tom: Judging by the auto-selected IDPs taken in my Yahoo! draft this weekend, it'd be tough to do worse. The second tight end and Matt Cassel were a bit of a waste, and I'm not sure Marcedes Lewis is a good volume bet.

Mike: I love McFadden in the third round.

Tom: Oakland's offensive line scares me.

Mike: You know what doesn't scare me? Any of the AFC West defenses.

Tom: They don't have a right tackle, they're starting Jared Veldheer at left tackle, Samson Satele's not a people-mover at center and their divisional foes all run a 3-4. And Tom Cable went to Seattle. Oh, yeah, Kevin Boss isn't bad but he's a worse blocker than Zach Miller, now in Seattle with Cable and Robert Gallery.

Mike: Oh, I agree with you, but the AFC West defenses are very bad.

Tom: Except San Diego. And Kansas City's defense has some very good young parts in the secondary. Plus McFadden does have that wacky injury. He's a guy I'm staying far away from this year.

Mike: Well, I think the injury bumps him to the third round. Late second, maybe. Aaron got him late-third. I like the pick. Well done, computer.

Tom: He'll need another wideout.

Mike: Definitely, especially since Maclin is shaky.

Tom: Not so much shaky, I'd say, as potentially quite variable.

Mike: Well, that's what I mean, in so many words. I’m not in love with Wayne either.

Tom: We'll see. I think he'll get a lot of volume, and when Peyton is in the lineup (which should be a lot), he'll be productive.

Mike: Actually, what I might do if I were him would be to see what happens with McFadden, and if he eats up some cupcakes try to trade him off for two receivers. Of course, the rest of the league is reading this column and is now expecting that strategy. Sorry, boss.

Tom: I'm not sure I'd go that far ... but your general point, that he has running back depth that might be leveraged into a wide receiver upgrade, is a sound one.

Mike: We'll see. It's a shame he's left cleaning up wreckage after two horrible disasters: Irene and ESPN auto-draft.


QB: Michael Vick, PHI (2-18), Josh Freeman, TB (8-78), Jay Cutler, CHI (13-123)
RB: Chris Johnson, TEN (1-3), BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE (6-58), C.J. Spiller, BUF (11-103)
WR: Hakeem Nicks, WR (3-23), DeSean Jackson, PHI (4-38), Dez Bryant, DAL (5-43), Austin Collie, IND (9-83), A.J. Green, CIN (10-98), Jordy Nelson, GB (12-118), James Jones, GB (14-138)
TE: Jason Witten, DAL (7-63)
K: Rob Bironas, TEN (16-158)
DST: Falcons (15-143)

Mike: Another auto-draft! Seppuku for everyone!

Tom: Unfortunately an early autodraft prevented us from answering the question "Just how far would Chris Johnson fall?" I had the eighth pick in my IDP draft (PPR, plus some other interesting rules) and actually passed on him to draft LeSean McCoy.

Mike: Angry running back/leveraging declining team/brings great dishonor.

Tom: And if Johnson's holdout extends into the regular season, his two running backs are Green-Ellis and Spiller.

Mike: I think he's kind of boned in general.

Tom: I foresee a trade between the two auto-drafted teams.

Mike: Indeed. I find it odd that ESPN valued receivers so highly, although if Law Firm was the best available, maybe not.

Tom: Patriots running backs all scare me. I don't know how exactly they'll use Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, but it seems inevitable they'll steal some of his carriers.

Mike: On a team that is very much not about running. In fact, a team that has somewhat aped the Martz style of using short passes (to Welker) as a running game replacement.

Tom: That, or they'll move the tight ends around and screw with defenses that way. Which requires you to have the same magic eight-ball Belichick does to see if he's a good fit.

Mike: I suppose the machine is programmed to get two quarterbacks. I can't think of any other reason to bother drafting Jay Cutler.

Tom: Vick's inevitable injury?

Mike: Is Cutler going to be any better than whatever waiver junk is lying around, or whatever promoted backup comes around on waivers before then?

Tom: Maybe, maybe not. I'm not going to get too excited over a 13th-round pick.

Mike: I guess my continuing Cutler-rage is showing. As as far as auto-draft team trades, I'm not even sure I like the receivers here. I just don't like this team, period.

Tom: Let's say the wideouts are potentially really good. But, yes, I'm down on the team as a whole as well.


QB: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (6-54), Kevin Kolb, ARI (10-94)
RB: Shonn Greene, NYJ (3-27), Felix Jones, DAL (4-34), Ryan Mathews, SD (5-47), Daniel Thomas, MIA (8-74), Roy Helu, WAS (15-147)
WR: Andre Johnson, HOU (1-7), Larry Fitzgerald, ATL (2-14), Brandon Marshall, MIA (7-67), Lee Evans, BAL (11-107)
TE: Jimmy Graham, NO (9-87), Tony Moeaki, KC (13-127)
K: Mason Crosby, GB (16-154)
DST: Eagles (12-114), Ravens (14-134)

Tom: This is potentially a really good team. I have serious questions about all of his running backs, but they could all be very productive.

Mike: They could. I think it's more accurate to say that this is almost a great team. If one of the three running backs were more solid, it would be. I suppose that's what you get when you prioritize receivers though, which is kind of strange in a non-PPR league. Especially since Fitzthulu will be working out a new quarterback.

Tom: Fitzthulu still had some volume last year, and whatever Kolb's many limitations, he's a vast, vast upgrade on those guys.

Mike: He is. I'm not necessarily criticizing the pick. It's just uncommon to see a draft like this. I like Roethlisberger in the sixth and he got pretty good value with his running backs so I can't quite complain. They’re just unimpressive.

Tom: If I had this roster, I'd know I have a chance to win the league. I prefer that to a more average team that doesn't seem to have the potential for greatness.

Mike: This sounds like a segue.

Tom: Sorry, not intended as one, but let's mosey on to the next team anyway.


QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB (1-8), Sam Bradford, STL (10-93)
RB: Peyton Hillis, CLE (3-28), DeAngelo Williams, CAR (4-33), Cedric Benson, CIN (5-48), Brandon Jacobs, NYG (9-88), Ronnie Brown, PHI (13-128)
WR: Roddy White, ATL (2-13), Santana Moss, WAS (6-53), Kenny Britt, TEN (7-68), Robert Meachem, NO (11-108), Antonio Brown, PIT (16-153)
TE: Owen Daniels, HOU (8-73), Greg Olsen, CAR (14-133)
K: Neil Rackers, HOU (15-148)
DST: Lions (12-113)

Mike: Segue to ... your ... team ... nevermind.

Tom: My team is the raisin in the sausage end.

Mike: How lovely.

Tom: I had a teacher in high school who used that phrase. He was Danish.

Mike: I would make a disparaging comment about the Danes, but they are so nondescript that I can't come up with one. I will take this opportunity to revel in Rob taking Steelers preseason sensation Brown as his late-round flyer. I wonder how much he hated himself while he clicked "draft."

Tom: As a loyal son of Georgetown, I am now required to note that he went to Syracuse and is therefore almost certainly absolutely amoral. Therefore, he probably felt no self-hate at all.

Mike: Man, a Cincy fan can't catch a break with this crowd.

Tom: I like the first two and last two rounds of his draft. There, something positive.

Mike: I'm not a fan of Rodgers at eighth overall.

Tom: Maybe it is a little high, but with the clear top tier of running backs off the board, what should he have done? Do you like MJD, Bradshaw, and Turner that much?

Mike: You know, I honestly don't have an answer to that. I know that at least one of them will be a better choice in retrospect but I have no idea which.

Tom: I don't want my first round pick to screw over my team. Rodgers won't.

Mike: I thought you just said you wanted a volatile team with potential for greatness!

Tom: I prefer first-round picks with a strong chance of regularly good-and-above productivity and later-round picks with a good chance of explosive or strongly consistent production.

Mike: Fair enough. I do like Peyton Hillis, I'll say that, and Antonio Brown has potential to be a solid WR2.

Tom: Of course Eric Steinbach just went out for the year, so the left side of the Browns offensive line, which was a great strength last year, is now weakened. I can’t blame Rob for not knowing that at the time of the draft, of course.

Mike: Of course. I can actually see this being a pretty good wide receiver corps, although I'm willing to bet it's going to be White/Meachem/Brown

Tom: We'll see. I'm very curious to see how Kenny Britt does this year.

Mike: When did the Titans become so dysfunctional?

Tom: 1960.

Mike: It has somewhat snuck up on me.

Tom: In 1963, coach Sammy Baugh fined a player whom management viewed as a malcontent for not knowing the playbook. Quarterback George Blanda then went to his friendly local media reporter and told him this was nonsense, because the team didn't have a playbook. The fine was rescinded, because the Oilers indeed did not have a playbook.

Mike: ... wow. I guess this just betrays my lack of Oilers knowledge.

Tom: For shame.

Mike: Or for sanity, it seems.


QB: Philip Rivers, SD (2-16)
RB: Jamaal Charles, KC (1-5), LeGarrette Blount, TB (4-36), Beanie Wells, ARI (5-45), Ryan Grant, GB (6-56), Jerome Harrison, DET (10-96), Ryan Torain, WAS (11-105), Ben Tate, HOU (13-125)
WR: Mike Wallace, PIT (3-25), Percy Harvin, MIN (7-65), Sidney Rice, SEA (8-76), Malcom Floyd, SD (9-85), Braylon Edwards, SF (12-116)
TE: Zach Miller, SEA (14-136)
K: Nate Kaeding, SD (15-145)
DST: Browns (16-156)

Tom: Yes, Ben managed to hold his nose long enough to actually draft Beanie Wells.

Mike: Blount isn't going to be Tampa Bay's third-down back, so there goes that production.

Tom: If he gets the bulk of the carries and the goal-line work, he'll be a decent RB2.

Mike: Fair enough. Nobody expected Blount to be a passing weapon, anyway. Why is Ben holding his nose over Wells?

Tom: He’s a Cardinals fan, and doesn't personally think Wells is very good.

Mike: He's definitely good enough for RB2/3, so good on Ben for being mercenary about this.

Tom: I just wish I liked better his wideouts after Wallace.

Mike: He also, as far as I can tell, seems to be the only person other than me to ever draft Ryan Torain. He has 2.5 solid running backs. Sure, it would be nice to have a great WR2. But this isn't a PPR league, and he has 1 good receiver. Plus, there's a good chance two of Bount, Wells, Grant and Torain actually come through and become solid performers. Well, a decent chance.

Tom: Grant is part of an RBBC, I'd guess. I'd rather have a better WR2 than a better RB4.

Mike: You would trade the RB4 for the WR2. And a tight end, just to remind tight ends of how poorly they are valued.

Tom: Hah.

Mike: But this team seems like the best of both worlds: all the guys at the top are solid performers, and his bench has the potential to have big games any given week.

Tom: On the bench.

Mike: It's not going to be random. Wells will either succeed or he won't, Blount will either build on last year or he won't, and injury will either propel Grant and/or Torain into ascendance or it won't.

Tom: For the teams themselves, it won't be truly random, no.

Mike: Ben won't be biting his nails.

Tom: I'm just not as convinced as you it'll be predictable on a week-to-week basis which of his players will and won't be productive that week.

Mike: It's just a matter of playing the likely performers until he sees if his depth is going to come through for him.

Tom: Good luck with that.


QB: Tom Brady, NE (3-26), Colt McCoy, CLE (13-126)
RB: Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (1-6), Steven Jackson, STL (2-15), Fred Jackson, BUF (7-66), James Starks, GB (9-86), LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ (12-115), Thomas Jones, KC (15-145)
WR: Miles Austin, DAL (4-35), Dwayne Bowe, KC (5-46), Pierre Garcon, IND (8-75), Steve Smith, CAR (10-95), Davone Bess, MIA (14-135)
TE: Vernon Davis, SF (6-55)
K: Garrett Hartley, NO (16-155)
DST: Packers (11-106)

Mike: OK, I was about to say that Ben's team was my favorite. It's a good thing I didn't, because this team is.

Tom: Once again, the tech guy in the league of football writers has what looks like a good team, though I don't love it as much as I did last year's team.

Mike: Trust the tech guy to go with someone who knows the rules and regulations. I dunno, I like this team a lot. He has one of the top quarterbacks, plus two clear starters for RB1 and RB2. He has a tight end that will actually give significant value, and while his receivers aren't earth-shattering, Austin and Bowe are nothing to sneeze at.

Tom: Unless you think there's a decent chance the Rams won't be very good and Jackson is really slowing down. Josh McDaniels completely narfed the Broncos theretofore good running game. It feels like the kind of team that's in every game, wins its fair share, and finishes third or something.

Mike: Why would you say that, though? Even assuming Jackson has question marks.

Tom: I just don't see enough upside.

Mike: He's still a sole back, which is more than anyone else can say about their RB2.

Tom: Aside from Cadillac Williams playing passing downs.

Mike: I guess we're going to just have to disagree. I see a ton of upside.

Tom: Yup, agree to disagree.


QB: Matt Ryan, ATL (6-57), Matthew Stafford, QB (9-84)
RB: Ray Rice, BAL (1-4), Jahvid Best, DET (5-44), Mark Ingram, NO (8-77), Willis McGahee, DEN (10-97)
WR: Calvin Johnson, DET (2-17), Vincent Jackson, SD (3-24), Santonio Holmes, NYJ (4-37), Chad Ochocinco, NE (11-104), Danny Amendola, STL (13-124), Andre Roberts, ARI (16-157)
TE: Jermichael Finley, GB (7-64), Aaron Hernandez, NE (12-117)
K: Stephen Gostkowski, NE (14-137)
DST: Saints(15-144)

Mike: RAY RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE! The bane of my existence.

Tom: Why? Just because he plays for a division rival?

Mike: No, because I don't think he's going to have a good year. Pittsburgh has a top-flight defense. Cincinnati is going to have a good-to-very-good defense. Even the Browns aren't looking too bad against the run.

Tom: We shall see about those.

Mike: And the Dragon-based offense isn't particularly conductive to a productive running game.

Tom: This isn't the first year of the Dragon-based offense, and Rice has been productive. Sean needs a second productive back. I think he could get it out of Best, Ingram, or McGahee, but it's far from guaranteed.

Mike: Another receiver-heavy early draft. There must've been something in the water.

Tom: One thing I noticed between the two drafts I did is that once you scythe out the top X number of backs, KUBIAK suggests a long list of wideouts with few running backs in there.

Mike: That's probably a function of projections. Wide receiver performance is really hard to predict.

Tom: I've noticed. I do like Sean's wideouts. Given our prior Julio Jones discussion, I'm not sure that I'm sold on Ryan as even a second-level fantasy quarterback, though I may be underrating him.

Mike: For what it's worth, had I actually just stuck with Ryan instead of lashing myself to the SS Broncos, I probably had a pretty good chance of winning one of my leagues last year.

Tom: And Josh McDaniels earns more spite from FO!

Mike: I should mention that Danny Amendola is the talk of St. Louis' camp and is therefore a really great late-round pick. But, of course, McDaniels has burned us before! Stupid Josh McDaniels, stealin' my points.

Tom: I don't trust the Rams' wideout depth chart at all. Let it shake out at cutdown date and somebody random, like Reche Caldwell in 2006, will catch a lot of balls.


QB: Tony Romo, DAL (5-41), David Garrard, JAC (12-120)
RB: Adrian Peterson, MIN (1-1), Frank Gore, SF (2-20), Joseph Addai (7-61), Reggie Bush, MIA (8-80)
WR: Greg Jennings, GB (3-21), Marques Colston, NO (4-40), Brandon Lloyd, DEN (6-60), Mike Thomas, JAC (9-81), Johnny Knox, CHI (11-101), Roy Williams, CHI (13-121), Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE (16-160)
TE: Jared Cook, TEN (10-100)
K: Billy Cundiff, BAL (15-141)
DST: Chargers (14-140)

Mike: Can't go wrong with Purple Jesus.

Tom: I've had mixed feelings about my team already. I loved it, then hated it, and now I think I like the top end but kind of lost my way late in the draft. I had a relatively easy time going with Peterson over Foster. It's not the hamstring injury, but rather that I think Foster will regress a little more than KUBIAK thinks and may lose some carries.

Mike: I think any strategy that involves two Chicago receivers is a good candidate for "losing your way."

Tom: One way that I lost my way was I ran out of time in the 12th round. And since I was picking back-to-back it autodrafted Roy Williams in the 13th. Stupid ESPN interface.

Mike: Wow, that is stupid.

Tom: I actually put Garrard in the queue for the 12th, essentially because I panicked. I wanted a quarterback with a Week 5 bye, and all the guys I really wanted were gone. Garrard looked like a least-worst option. I'll be happy to cut Roy Williams whenever that happens. I freely admit to overdrafting Cook, but I think he has decent upside and I wanted him on my team.

Mike: That does sound like a panic; Garrard is injured and has had a hideous preseason.

Tom: Quarterbacks were coming off the board, and I felt like I had to do something.

Mike: Fair enough.

Tom: If there was another player I liked, I'd have drafted them. But I was frantically searching and checking and at the end of my 1:30, Garrard was it.

Mike: I see. Anyway, the team itself is pretty solid. Romo will be erratic, but Romo owners are used to that.

Tom: He'll have decent volume and reasonable productivity. Maybe I should've taken Roethlisberger or Schaub there instead, but I'm fine with what I did.

Mike: I personally would go with one of them, but Romo's not a bad choice.

Tom: I'm not that concerned.

Scramble Mailbag

Jere: Our league had its draft last week, and I was picking eighth of 12. It's a PPR league with 1 point per 20 yds receiving and 6 points per touchdown pass and a ½ point per completion; the other vaguaries are less important. The curious issue is that my first three picks were three of my best players from last year: Ray Rice (1st round/8th pick), Roddy White (2/17) and Matt Forte (3/32). I drafted White and Forte last year, and traded Randy Moss for Rice after his Week 3 two-touchdown game. (no, I didn't win my league but I think that was the trade of the year!)

Anyway, as I decided to select Forte in the third round, I realized my team was shaping like last years team and so I was wondering what you both think of this in principle. The rest of my starters include Big Ben, Mario Manningham, Mike Thomas, Jason Whitten and Reggie Bush in flex (Vinatieri and Jets D). Bench includes Massaquoi, Dixon, Tolbert, Ward, Pettigrew and McNabb. Thoughts or critiques as you see fit. Thanks for the time guys, and look forward to another season of the Scramble!

Tom: I ended up with two fantasy teams last year that looked a lot like each other. I don't have any problem with the idea of similar teams, so long as there's a decent reason behind it.

Mike: White and Manningham isn't a great one-two punch, but you could do worse. Reggie Bush is probably going to be useless. Or low-mid receiver numbers, but his receptions are screwed up by the fact that people are still pretending he's a running back.

Tom: I think Mike Thomas is a good volume receiver. Early signs are Daniel Thomas isn't in favor in Miami, and Bush should be getting both some volume and goal-line carries.

Mike: Can Bush actually do anything with goal-line carries?

Tom: Or if not goal-line carries, red zone work where they throw the ball to him as much as he runs it.

Mike: I suppose. I'm not buying Bush until he proves himself actually useful.

Tom: As a flex option in a league with .5 PPR, I think he's a fine move. Disclosure: I own him in both the Staff League and my IDP league, which is full PPR. And I had him in the PPR League I played in in 2009. He was fine in that league.

Mike: We shall see. Other than that, this seems like a solid team, although my reservations about Rice persist.

Tom: I'm not a fan of the bench. Dixon's status worries me, Massaquoi is a big meh. Is that Hines or Derrick Ward? Hines did fall off last year and may be hitting the wall, while Derrick has probably fallen behind Ben Tate in the pecking order.

Your Scramble writers take next week off as the FO staff sojourns to the secret FO Volcano Cave to select who will win predict what teams will win what in the coming year. Keep sending those emails to Contact Us; Tom and Mike will answer your questions during the off week, and run any particularly interesting ones when Scramble returns to console everyone after the inevitable Week 1 panic attack.


17 comments, Last at 09 Sep 2011, 4:15pm

1 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

Just for the record, and to preserve my reputation, I was sick all weekend, and a medication-induced coma kept me unconscious almost all day. I think my "picks" prove that out. C'mon, no conscious non-Chicagoan would take Jay Cutler or even make it possible for him to be auto-drafted (and even some Chicagoans wouldn't)! I'll mold this team into greatness soon enough, though.

2 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

I'll clarify as well: I wasn't really focusing on receivers, that's just the way the RB board shook out for me. I think the RB Tier One is six backs deep, and I had the seventh pick. Andre Johnson, to me, is alone as the best WR, so that was an easy pick.

After that, I was hoping that either McCoy, Jones-Drew, or Turner made it back around. Didn't happen. I think Jones-Drew might have had Aaron not been auto-drafting. I didn't think Gore, Jackson, or Forte were really head and shoulders above what I would get in the third round, so I went with Fitz.

3 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

Better Call Saul! was a better name, but I also do enjoy Los Pollos Hermanos. I'm planning on naming a team somewhere this season "The One Who Knocks."

15 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

I indeed thought about that as a team name, but given the likelihood my team would stink, I thought better about using such a swag name. Next season, perhaps.

I used up 88 of the 90 seconds in the first round paralyzed over which back to take. None of them jumped out and yelled 'pick me!' so I played it safe with Rodgers. I'll take the security of a sure thing at QB over worrying every week about MJD or Turner.

Otherwise, unless Britt breaks out, I could be in for another season of playing off for 5th place.

5 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

"I think my first mention of Euler in math class came with the near-mandatory legend of how he summed the numbers 1 through 100 almost instantly." Actually, i think it was gauss who performed that nifty trick

7 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

Just finished a fantasy draft and I got Mike Vick and Peyton Manning on it...we start one QB, but Manning fell to the 5th round and I couldn't let him slide when do I trade one of the extra QBs?

8 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

Just finished a fantasy draft and I got Mike Vick and Peyton Manning on it...we start one QB, but Manning fell to the 5th round and I couldn't let him slide when do I trade one of the extra QBs?

11 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

For the mailbag question I think maybe you guys read the point scoring wrong. To me it looks like it's a 1 PPR league, with 0.5 points per completion for the QB. Or am I misunderstanding?

16 Re: Scramble for the Ball: 2011 FO Staff League

Ask and ye shall receive.

Round: 1
** (1) Wagstaff's Ringers - Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Edmonton Eulers - Arian Foster RB
(3) Intentional Rounding - Chris Johnson RB
(4) That's Great Hustle! - Ray Rice RB
(5) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Jamaal Charles RB
(6) Team Holman - Rashard Mendenhall RB
(7) Known Chumpsky - Andre Johnson WR
(8) Los Pollos Hermanos - Aaron Rodgers QB
(9) Equipo del Jefe - Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(10) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Ahmad Bradshaw RB

Round: 2
(11) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Michael Turner RB
(12) Equipo del Jefe - LeSean McCoy RB
(13) Los Pollos Hermanos - Roddy White WR
(14) Known Chumpsky - Larry Fitzgerald WR
(15) Team Holman - Steven Jackson RB
(16) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Philip Rivers QB
(17) That's Great Hustle! - Calvin Johnson WR
(18) Intentional Rounding - Michael Vick QB
(19) Edmonton Eulers - Matt Forte RB
** (20) Wagstaff's Ringers - Frank Gore RB

Round: 3
** (21) Wagstaff's Ringers - Greg Jennings WR
(22) Edmonton Eulers - Drew Brees QB
(23) Intentional Rounding - Hakeem Nicks WR
(24) That's Great Hustle! - Vincent Jackson WR
(25) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Mike Wallace WR
(26) Team Holman - Tom Brady QB
(27) Known Chumpsky - Shonn Greene RB
(28) Los Pollos Hermanos - Peyton Hillis RB
(29) Equipo del Jefe - Darren McFadden RB
(30) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Mike Williams WR

Round: 4
(31) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Peyton Manning QB
(32) Equipo del Jefe - Reggie Wayne WR
(33) Los Pollos Hermanos - DeAngelo Williams RB
(34) Known Chumpsky - Felix Jones RB
(35) Team Holman - Miles Austin WR
(36) Parts Unknown Mufflers - LeGarrette Blount RB
(37) That's Great Hustle! - Santonio Holmes WR
(38) Intentional Rounding - DeSean Jackson WR
(39) Edmonton Eulers - Antonio Gates TE
** (40) Wagstaff's Ringers - Marques Colston WR

Round: 5
** (41) Wagstaff's Ringers - Tony Romo QB
(42) Edmonton Eulers - Knowshon Moreno RB
(43) Intentional Rounding - Dez Bryant WR
(44) That's Great Hustle! - Jahvid Best RB
(45) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Beanie Wells RB
(46) Team Holman - Dwayne Bowe WR
(47) Known Chumpsky - Ryan Mathews RB
(48) Los Pollos Hermanos - Cedric Benson RB
(49) Equipo del Jefe - Jeremy Maclin WR
(50) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Wes Welker WR

Round: 6
(51) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Dallas Clark TE
(52) Equipo del Jefe - Matt Schaub QB
(53) Los Pollos Hermanos - Santana Moss WR
(54) Known Chumpsky - Ben Roethlisberger QB
(55) Team Holman - Vernon Davis TE
(56) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Ryan Grant RB
(57) That's Great Hustle! - Matt Ryan QB
(58) Intentional Rounding - BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB
(59) Edmonton Eulers - Steve Johnson WR
** (60) Wagstaff's Ringers - Brandon Lloyd WR

Round: 7
** (61) Wagstaff's Ringers - Joseph Addai RB
(62) Edmonton Eulers - Anquan Boldin WR
(63) Intentional Rounding - Jason Witten TE
(64) That's Great Hustle! - Jermichael Finley TE
(65) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Percy Harvin WR
(66) Team Holman - Fred Jackson RB
(67) Known Chumpsky - Brandon Marshall WR
(68) Los Pollos Hermanos - Kenny Britt WR
(69) Equipo del Jefe - Jonathan Stewart RB
(70) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Julio Jones WR

Round: 8
(71) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Mike Tolbert RB
(72) Equipo del Jefe - Mario Manningham WR
(73) Los Pollos Hermanos - Owen Daniels TE
(74) Known Chumpsky - Daniel Thomas RB
(75) Team Holman - Pierre Garcon WR
(76) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Sidney Rice WR
(77) That's Great Hustle! - Mark Ingram RB
(78) Intentional Rounding - Josh Freeman QB
(79) Edmonton Eulers - Tim Hightower RB
** (80) Wagstaff's Ringers - Reggie Bush RB

Round: 9
** (81) Wagstaff's Ringers - Mike Thomas WR
(82) Edmonton Eulers - Marshawn Lynch RB
(83) Intentional Rounding - Austin Collie WR
(84) That's Great Hustle! - Matthew Stafford QB
(85) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Malcom Floyd WR
(86) Team Holman - James Starks RB
(87) Known Chumpsky - Jimmy Graham TE
(88) Los Pollos Hermanos - Brandon Jacobs RB
(89) Equipo del Jefe - Pierre Thomas RB
(90) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Plaxico Burress WR

Round: 10
(91) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Eli Manning QB
(92) Equipo del Jefe - Marcedes Lewis TE
(93) Los Pollos Hermanos - Sam Bradford QB
(94) Known Chumpsky - Kevin Kolb QB
(95) Team Holman - Steve Smith WR
(96) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Jerome Harrison RB
(97) That's Great Hustle! - Willis McGahee RB
(98) Intentional Rounding - A.J. Green WR
(99) Edmonton Eulers - Lance Moore WR
** (100) Wagstaff's Ringers - Jared Cook TE

Round: 11
** (101) Wagstaff's Ringers - Johnny Knox WR
(102) Edmonton Eulers - Joe Flacco QB
(103) Intentional Rounding - C.J. Spiller RB
(104) That's Great Hustle! - Chad Ochocinco WR
(105) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Ryan Torain RB
(106) Team Holman - Packers D/ST D/ST
(107) Known Chumpsky - Lee Evans WR
(108) Los Pollos Hermanos - Robert Meachem WR
(109) Equipo del Jefe - Michael Bush RB
(110) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Brad Smith WR

Round: 12
(111) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Jets D/ST D/ST
(112) Equipo del Jefe - Steelers D/ST D/ST
(113) Los Pollos Hermanos - Lions D/ST D/ST
(114) Known Chumpsky - Eagles D/ST D/ST
(115) Team Holman - LaDainian Tomlinson RB
(116) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Braylon Edwards WR
(117) That's Great Hustle! - Aaron Hernandez TE
(118) Intentional Rounding - Jordy Nelson WR
(119) Edmonton Eulers - Jacoby Ford WR
** (120) Wagstaff's Ringers - David Garrard QB

Round: 13
** (121) Wagstaff's Ringers - Roy Williams WR
(122) Edmonton Eulers - Bears D/ST D/ST
(123) Intentional Rounding - Jay Cutler QB
(124) That's Great Hustle! - Danny Amendola WR
(125) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Ben Tate RB
(126) Team Holman - Colt McCoy QB
(127) Known Chumpsky - Tony Moeaki TE
(128) Los Pollos Hermanos - Ronnie Brown RB
(129) Equipo del Jefe - Matt Cassel QB
(130) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Tony Gonzalez TE

Round: 14
(131) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Javon Ringer RB
(132) Equipo del Jefe - Kellen Winslow TE
(133) Los Pollos Hermanos - Greg Olsen TE
(134) Known Chumpsky - Ravens D/ST D/ST
(135) Team Holman - Davone Bess WR
(136) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Zach Miller TE
(137) That's Great Hustle! - Stephen Gostkowski K
(138) Intentional Rounding - James Jones WR
(139) Edmonton Eulers - Jordan Shipley WR
** (140) Wagstaff's Ringers - Chargers D/ST D/ST

Round: 15
** (141) Wagstaff's Ringers - Billy Cundiff K
(142) Edmonton Eulers - Adam Vinatieri K
(143) Intentional Rounding - Falcons D/ST D/ST
(144) That's Great Hustle! - Saints D/ST D/ST
(145) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Nate Kaeding K
(146) Team Holman - Thomas Jones RB
(147) Known Chumpsky - Roy Helu RB
(148) Los Pollos Hermanos - Neil Rackers K
(149) Equipo del Jefe - Ricky Williams RB
(150) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Dexter McCluster WR

Round: 16
(151) Dyscalculia Plus Ones - Matt Bryant K
(152) Equipo del Jefe - Josh Brown K
(153) Los Pollos Hermanos - Antonio Brown WR
(154) Known Chumpsky - Mason Crosby K
(155) Team Holman - Garrett Hartley K
(156) Parts Unknown Mufflers - Browns D/ST D/ST
(157) That's Great Hustle! - Andre Roberts WR
(158) Intentional Rounding - Rob Bironas K
(159) Edmonton Eulers - Rob Gronkowski TE
** (160) Wagstaff's Ringers - Mohamed Massaquoi WR