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25 Aug 2005

Scramble Fantasy Draft Mailbag

By Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

Al: Over the next two weeks we're going to be dedicating Scramble for the Ball solely to answering your questions as fantasy draft season starts to seriously heat up. If you would like your questions answered in this space next week, submit them through the contact form.

First, we received a number of emails from people looking for the KUBIAK projections spreadsheet. To get the spreadsheet, scroll down on the main page and click the link below where it says "Support the Outsiders." With a minimum donation of $10 through Paypal or Amazon, you can get the spreadsheet. Just be aware that Aaron sends out the spreadsheet himself (yes, that's stupid, and yes, we'll make it automatic next year) so if he's away from his computer it may take a couple hours to get the projections. You also need to click "yes" when Paypal or Amazon asks you if you want to notify FO of your donation, or else we won't know you have donated.

Now, onto the questions.

Matt L writes:

Hey there -- thanks in advance for your opinions. First pick, ten team league, basic scoring (4 pts for td passes). Would you pick a running back -- I guess LT -- or Manning with hopes of grabbing RB's later on? I know it's unusual to pick a non-RB with the first pick, but I'm intrigued by this idea, and the discussion board seems to go both ways on the issue. What do you guys think?

Al: The difference between LaDainian Tomlinson and the running back you'd be forced to start if you picked Manning at #1 will be much greater than the difference between Manning and the quarterback you'd start if you picked Tomlinson #1. If you take Manning at #1, the running back you should expect to draft when it gets back to you with your second round pick according to the latest average draft position data from AntSports.com is Brian Westbrook. Based on the latest KUBIAK projections, that would net you 577 fantasy points on the year.

If you grabbed Tomlinson at #1 and the best available quarterback at your pick in the second round, which according to AntSports would be Daunte Culpepper, you end up with 637 fantasy points for the year. Even if Culpepper is gone and you really want to get a QB with that next pick so you take Donovan McNabb, according to our projections you'll end up with 620 fantasy points.

If you're smart, you'll wait until the 4th/5th round to grab your quarterback and pick up another running back and a wide receiver at the turn of the 2nd and 3rd. You should be able to still get someone like Marc Bulger or Kerry Collins as your starting QB. According to KUBIAK, a Collins/Tomlinson pairing would score you 576 fantasy points, neck and neck with a Manning/Westbrook tandem.

Todd K writes:

Hey guys. I'm picking fifth in a twelve team league. I know that Peyton, LT, and Shaun Alexander will be gone by the time it gets to me. I'm hoping for Edgerrin James to drop to me at 5, but if the person ahead of me grabs him, who do I go with? Priest? Thanks.

Al: I'd stay away from Priest Holmes this year. When I grabbed him at #1 in the Scramble Survivor League last year, I was worried that at 31 age would finally catch up with Holmes. As myself and countless other owners who had the #1 pick last year learned, it did, as Priest missed half the season with injuries. Now he's 32, and there's really no reason to expect him to play a full 16 games. Even if Priest does stay injury free, Larry Johnson is going to take away some carries from Holmes, reducing the odds of another 2000 yard, 20 TD year.

That being said, if Edge is gone at #5, I don't love your options. I'd suggest Domanick Davis. KUBIAK sees Davis, Tiki Barber, Kevin Jones, and Julius Jones as the best available players on the board. Davis is the least likely to be available to you when it comes back in the second round. Pro Football Prospectus 2005 cover boy Kevin Jones is moving up draft boards, but I've seen drafts as recently as this week where he was still available late in the second round. As good as he was last season, Barber is lasting until the second round in most drafts I've seen. Davis could probably last until the 7th or 8th pick in the round, but there's no way he makes it past the turn.

Vivek: I'm not as sold on Davis as a clear cut first rounder this year, but I would take Priest in a heartbeat. Holmes is still a touchdown machine and will single-handedly win games for you while he's active. Look no further than his 14 touchdowns in eight games last year. If you are worried about his health, grab Johnson as insurance. Davis has Jonathan Wells (if his finger heals) and Vernand Morency to take away some carries. I know it's the preseason, but the Texans can't ignore Morency's 90 rushing yards last weekend.

Justin asks:

You guys have Antonio Gates as the #1 tight end. Does that change now that he's suspended for the first week of the year?

Al: I think so. Gates was #1 according to KUBIAK ahead of Witten and Gonzo, but not by that much. The loss of a game of production from Gates would move him down to third among tight ends. He should still outperform players like Alge Crumpler and Randy McMichael, but I wouldn't take Gates before the fourth round now. Of course he'll likely be gone by then, so I guess I won't end up with Gates in too many leagues this year.

You also have to consider that if you take Gates you'll be forced to carry two tight ends on your roster going into Week 1. There's really no reason to ever carry a back up tight end on your roster in most systems, except for your starter's bye weeks. Now, with Gates, you lose an opportunity to draft and carry a young running back with potential upside, or the backup to your top running back on your bench because you'll need to have Chris Cooley sitting there to play Week 1.

Vivek: Agreed. The only exception would be if you carry as many bench spots as starting slots and can afford to hold onto a backup TE for one week.

Amol writes in:

I run a fantasy baseball league whose scoring system is based on Bill James' Win Shares statistic, and I was wondering if you guys had any advice on how to set up a fantasy football league which is similarly sabermetrically (for lack of a better term) inclined. I realize that most of what you do is based on play-by-play data that I can't use, but any advice would be appreciated.

Oh, also, I wanted to make sure that football statistics are double counted. For example, is an interception is also counted as an incomplete pass for the quarterback and a pass defended for the interceptor? I'm assuming that it is, since that's how it is in baseball, and, really, that's the way that makes sense, but I thought I'd double check.

Al: My understanding is that the stats are double counted like you say. Someone please correct me if my understanding is wrong.

As for a fantasy league that uses advanced football metrics, I don't know of any off-hand. Most, if not all, of the pay sites on the web allow you to customize your league's scoring system however you wish, but I believe they all still require you to base the scoring on traditional league stats. There is the recently launched PROTRADE, which Aaron has worked on, but that's more of a stock exchange type system than your typical fantasy league. That's a good idea to keep in the back of our minds, though, for the next expansion of the website.

Vivek: I did some digging (and signing up for free trials) for a while and wasn't able to find any leagues that will allow you to "sabermetric-ize" the scoring system. The closest I got was Sabermetrics for Fantasy Golf.

Lenny writes in:

I'm curious as to how the pre-season injuries affect your thoughts on team projections. Obviously Grossman being out will affect the Bears though all the post-injury over-under numbers I see are at 6.5 not 5 even after the injury. Butler's out in St Louis; J. Williams out at least 6 games in Indy; Staley hurting again for Pitt; Williams out in Oakland; Spears in Dallas etc.

Al: The only one of those injuries that has me changing my initial thoughts on how the teams will do this year is Grossman's injury in Chicago. Orton seems to have played well in the pre-season, but it looks like they're going with Hutchinson at QB at least for the immediate future. Combine that with the Benson holdout, and it's looking less and less likely that the offensive turnaround I expected from Chicago is going to happen this year. I was planning to pick them as the division champs in a weak NFC North, but I'm not sure if I can do that anymore.

Vivek: I'm wavering on my OVER pick from the North Over/Unders a few weeks ago. A "Kurt Warner replacing Trent Green" situation only comes along as often as the Colts shut out an opponent. I'm not sure if any QB could salvage this season with the Bears' offensive line. The only other injury that you mentioned that worries me is Duce Staley's knee. He could miss the first few regular season games and might not be 100% for a little while. You have to wonder when the Bus will finally break down. The Steelers need Staley to carry the offense with Bettis -- it is almost unrealistic to expect the same season from Roethlisberger. The line for the number of wins for the Steelers was ten, so the OVER is still a sure bet, but the Ravens may make a bigger push for the division title if Staley is hampered by injuries during the season.

Adam H. writes:

Hello, long time reader since the original duo, first time writer. Just wanted to see what you thought of my draft for this pool I've gotten into at work. You get one point per win for every win over the season (halfpoint for a tie) with 8 people in the pool drafting four teams each. There are tie breakers but I don't see them having enough influence on picks to discuss. I drew the 7th out of 8 slots as my drafting position in a snake type draft. The first round went R1P1: GB (absentee, those were his wishes) R1P2: NE R1P3: CAR R1P4: PHI R1P5:IND R1P6: MIN R1P7(me): PIT R1P8: NYJ. The rest of my picks were R2P2: BAL (my team, felt it was a good compromise of upping my enjoyment and not much, if a reach at all with this pick) R3P7:BUF (ecstatic, why are they still here?) R4P2: SEA (I'm through the roof now, this is a fantastic draft in my eyes with this final pick) Just seeing if you had any thoughts on this that you wanted to share. I'm not particularly happy with the format, but it was this or nothing at work.

Al: Seattle in the fourth round is a steal. I can't imagine 25 teams I would have taken before them. I would have taken them before Buffalo in the third round. While I think Buffalo will finish with a winning record this year, they lost their starting left tackle and have an inexperienced quarterback behind center. If their defense moves back towards the pack, it's very likely that Seattle will finish with the better record.

Our projection system isn't that high on your selections, though. Adding up the mean projected wins of your four teams, we end up with 34.6. That's better than what you'd expect from drafting four random teams, but not enough to be a prohibitive favorite going into the season. Which teams doesn't the projection system like? You'll have to wait two weeks to find out when Aaron unveils all the mean projected wins in our annual predictions column.

Former Outsider Ian asks a question about our upcoming auction league:

Every year in our auction-style football draft, I spend virtually all of my auction money on two running backs, spend a little on a quarterback, and fill my wide receiver spots with cheap options with upside. Who do you see as wide receivers who will go for cheap money at the end of the auction, but will be serviceable as starters throughout this season?

Al: Or, who should Ian make sure he grabs before I get a chance to at the end of the auction next week? I'm all about helping the readers, though, so I'll give away some of my cheap wide receiver sleepers even if it costs me the ability to pick up one or two of them in two weeks.

Usually when you talk about cheap auction wide receivers, you're talking about a team's #2 receiving threat. Two #2's that I like that you should be able to get for close to your league's minimum are Greg Lewis in Philadelphia and Keary Colbert in Carolina. Both are entering the first season as their teams #2 receiving option following up successful campaigns where they started the year further down on the depth chart. Lewis will be a nice downfield complement with Terrell Owens. Lewis is fast enough to beat most of the single coverage he'll be seeing while teams double up on T.O. If your league gives you bonuses for long touchdowns, he'll even have more value.

Colbert should see his first full year as a starter, although he ended up starting most of last season after Steve Smith went down in Week 1. Now paired with Smith, I'd expect Colbert to at least put up the 700+ receiving yards he saw last season while getting a few of the touchdown catches that went Muhammad's way last season. Colbert is a versatile receiver that the Panthers expect to line up all over the field. Carolina will move him around to create mismatches that Jake Delhomme should be able to exploit.

Vivek: This won't happen for Ian, but in two drafts I've seen people forget about Steve Smith. Last night I grabbed him in the 13th and 15th rounds. (I don't recommend concurrent drafts.) A clear case of out of sight, out of mind. He should return to his #1 status now that his leg has healed. As for true end of the draft guys, take a look at Antonio Bryant. Someone on the Browns has to catch the ball, and he has solidified his status as the number one option with a good preseason. With that mentality, Brandon Lloyd could help you out as well.

Parag G asks:

1. Who wins the Minnesota RB battle?

2. Who wins the Denver RB battle?

3. Better rookie year and better long term: Mark Clayton or Mike Williams?

Al: 1) It's now looking like Michael Bennett won't be able to play in the season opener, although our own Will Carroll thinks he'll be ready to go Week 1. If he really can't go, Mewelde Moore has to be the favorite to get the majority of the carries in his absence. He's leading the Vikings in rushing yards in the pre-season and did well last year when called on to start three games. If Bennett's injury isn't serious, I'd still expect him to get the majority of the carries this season. But Moore is who I'd go with for Week 1.

2) I just hope it's not Ron Dayne. Mike Anderson is listed at #1 on the depth chart now, but I'd be surprised if Tatum Bell didn't get the majority of the carries this year. Either could put up 1000 yards in Denver's offense, but Bell was Denver's best running back last year. The one thing that may hold him back is his poor blocking ability. I haven't watched any Denver pre-season games to see if he's improved in that facet of his game.

In any event, as a rule I try to stay away from Denver running backs in fantasy league. You're only asking for trouble. Even if Bell is the primary back, Anderson is going to get a fair share of carries. Plus Mike Shanahan is the worst coach in the league in dealing with injury reporting. How many people out there have lost a matchup because their Denver running back was a "game time decision"? The auction league Ian mentioned in the last email actually created a playing time rule based on Shanahan's propensity for not telling anyone which of his players will be playing on a given Sunday until kickoff.

3) I'd rather have Clayton for this year. Williams will be competing with Roy Williams and Charles Rogers for catches, while Clayton only has to beat out Clarence Moore and Randy Hymes for playing time. Williams also hasn't played football in a year, while Clayton was praised going into the draft for his ability to run precise routes. That should translate into NFL success quickly.

Vivek: Bennett has been killing me for a few years, and I just grabbed him this week in a draft. The door was wide open for him to get 250-plus carries this year without Onterrio Smith, but now a neck injury puts him in a precarious situation in terms of his starting slot. Bennett should still see a bulk of the workload, but a solid game from Moore could cut into his opportunities.

The Denver running back situation always scares me because Shanahan might decide to plug and play with any of his guys at any time. Mike Anderson might be designated the starter, but you can expect Tatum Bell to grab 15-18 carries per game early on before bumping that number up.

I'm going to go against Al (sorry Parag, we've essentially rendered ourselves useless for your fantasy question) and pick up Williams. Even as a number three receiver, Williams could catch 50-60 balls this year in Steve Mariucci's system. The Lions' opponents cannot exclusively defend against pass with Kevin Jones in the backfield, so the Lions could thrive in the three-receiver sets (regardless of who is the quarterback). Another point in Williams' favor is the fact that Charles Rogers has been on the field just a bit more than Art Monk the past two years. Williams could be quickly elevated to the second slot. The Harrington-Boller conversation isn't one of Marino-Montana proportions, but Harrington or Garcia could still pile up big fantasy numbers while I don't see Boller having the potential to top 3000 yards. There might not even be enough opportunities for Clayton with Jamal Lewis on the ground and Derrick Mason as the number one option.

And finally, we close this week's mailbag with Scramble aficionado NEPAT1 Don, who poses a very unique fantasy question.

I'm in a league that likes to break the mold in terms of scoring categories. On ESPN.com this year, teams can draft coaches. Six points for every win, 3 point bonus for a margin of victory > 25 points, 2 for 15-24 and 1 for < 15. Any suggestions when I should take a coach and who the top three should be?

Vivek: Definitely unique. I can't answer when to take a coach without seeing the rest of the scoring system, but using ESPN's default scoring system (4 points for passing TD, 6 for rushing/receiving TD and a point for every passing/rushing/receiving yards), a 10-win coach should get you about as many points as a backup running back. Any defenses, kicker or tight end you draft in a 10-team league will probably score more than the coach.

Disregard the margin of victory. A one point squeaker is just as valuable as a two touchdown win. Bill Cowher would have only gotten one bonus point versus a team with 14 one-point wins. Dungy and Vermeil have a chance at topping that, but the 6-point wins are more valuable. Going by history, Belichick, Reid, and Dungy should be the first ones taken, but with the last round picks.

Al: Coaches? What's next, punters? Oh, I see that ESPN allows you to draft punters as well. If you draft either a coach or a punter before the last rounds of the draft, please email me so I can invite you into one of my leagues. Now we turn you over to Aaron for some updated KUBIAK projections.

Aaron: Thanks, Al. Remember that there are some other KUBIAK projections that have been adjusted since the book was finished, which you will find here (including Chicago and Denver changes for numerous players) and here (with changes for Seattle, San Francisco, Carolina, and Atlanta wideouts).

The first adjusted KUBIAK projection is for Antonio Gates, but it just takes the old projection and multiplies it by 15/16. Otherwise, I agree with Al and Vivek: If you are in a league where you have a limited bench, move Gates down to the third tight end taken, but if you are in a league where it is easy or required to stash a backup tight end, just think of Gates as having two bye weeks this year, and grab a backup with a good matchup Week 1.

Next, let's change a few wide receivers. From reading the Dallas Morning News, it was clear that Quincy Morgan has dropped far down the depth chart in Big D, which is fine with us -- PFP 2005 has nice things to say about Patrick Crayton. Glenn is now WR2 in my projections, but ends up slightly lower than Crayton because of a higher injury risk. Glenn's projection is now 506 yards, 3.0 TD, Patrick Crayton is 532 yards, 3.1 TD, and Morgan is 250 yards, 1.4 TD. (TD numbers are in decimals because these projections represent the average of a range of possibilities.)

With Andre' Davis traded to New England, Antonio Bryant becomes the clear number two in Cleveland. (Let's be honest, Edwards isn't listed at number one right now but he probably will be number one for most of the year.) Bryant's numbers improve to 718 yards, 3.9 TD. Davis in New England now projects to 387 yards, 2.4 TD.

Added Friday morning: It's now being reported that Duce Staley will miss at least a couple games, probably the first three, due to injury, so let's give some of his carries to Jerome Bettis and Verron Haynes to make up for those missing games:

Pittsburgh RB RuYD RuTD RecYD RecTD
Duce Staley 571 4.1 94 0.6
Jerome Bettis 673 8.8 44 0.2
Verron Haynes 520 2.8 202 1.0

Last, and least, the San Francisco quarterbacks. The projection in the book said that we doubted Rattay would really start in Week 1. Whoops. But seriously, who the heck is drafting these guys in fantasy football? Rattay was good for a few games last year but you know he's just going to get broken quickly, and Smith looks awful right now. Anyway, for you masochists, Rattay now projects to throw for 1721 yards with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, plus 60 rushing yards and 0.3 rushing TD. Smith now projects to throw 1752 yards (we assume he plays a couple more games than Rattay) with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, plus 100 rushing yards and 1.3 rushing TD.

Finally, you'll find my new "alternative" Tiki Barber projection for all you Brandon Jacobs fans discussed here. Use with caution, because preseason hype is often completely overblown.

One last note. This week, I experimented by leaving the goofy Microsoft "smart quote" characters in this column. If the column looks weird to you because you cannot read those quote marks, and they come out as strange text, please email us and let us know what kind of browser set up you have, so we know in the future if we have to avoid the smart quotes or not.

Posted by: scramble on 25 Aug 2005

50 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2010, 3:14am by uggs outlet


by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:29pm

Aaah! Neon pink! My eyes, my eyes!

Seriously guys, good read (the coaches drafting sounds kinda cool, though the points are obviously way too low) but that pink, man. The pain.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:43pm

It's supposed to be purple. Is it not purple? That's "editor comment" font.

by Vivek (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:45pm

I got a recap of the draft involving head coaches that Don referenced above. The coaches went way too early in this 19 round draft. I think people got spooked towards the end of round 13 and started the run on coaches. That just sounds awkward to say.

Rd 13 – NE, PHI
Rd 15 – BAL
Rd 16 – MIN
Rd 18 – CAR

The coaches went before Eric Johnson, Tyrone Calico, Mawelde Moore and Kurt Warner.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:56pm

I guess it is more purple. I actually like it when it's used as "editor comments" - it draws the eye - but when it's this huge multi-paragraph portion, it just makes me go "Aaah!"

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:57pm

I have to say, I think you guys are way off in your Denver RB assessment. When has Shanny ever platooned his backs, other than one season where he had 3 guys who had rushed for 1000 yards in the past 3 seasons, and one kept getting injured? Beyond that, the #1 back ALWAYS gets 250+ carries, and the #2 back ALWAYS gets under 100.

At this point, I think Anderson represents real value. I'd say that Anderson and Bell have about a 50/50 chance of winning the starting job for the season (I actually give the edge to Anderson). Anderson has shown in the past that once he has it, he doesn't relenquish it. It's also important to note that he'd won the RB job outright last season before going out with injury. So, in short, both Anderson and Bell have an equal shot (being generous) of becoming the starting RB and rushing for 1500 yards. One will require a third round pick and passing on WRs such as Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson. One will require an 8th round pick and can be made after you have your entire starting lineup (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE) filled up except for kickers and defenses.

In the interest of full disclosure, I participated in 5 drafts this season, all of them held early. In 3 of them, I snagged Anderson in the 14th, 15th, or later, saying all along that he wasn't going to relinquish the starting job. In the fourth, he was snagged a round before I was about to jump on him by an incredibly savvy owner. The fifth was a keeper league with only 8 teams, and he went in the 8th, which was definitely too rich for my blood when I already had Westbrook, Duece McCallister, Tiki Barber, and Steven Jackson. In none of the leagues do I own Tatum Bell.

Anyway, people have been mocking me for a month now, calling me a Denver homer and an idiot and blind, and telling me that Mike Anderson was at the top of a depth chart as a motivational ploy. In the past week, though, it's all been worth it seeing the incredibly nervous look in every Tatum Bell owner's eyes.

by Stew (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 3:08pm

Editor Comment Purple is to fonts as banana daiquiris are to alcoholic beverages.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 3:17pm

It's purple on my browser: IE 6.0.28

I can't believe ESPN allows you to draft punters. I proposed punters last year to get in on the Gardoki fever created by the Steelers big offseason acquisition last year.

Good mailbag, I own Bennett in one league and was able to pick Moore off of the waiver wire immediately after the draft.

by Ian (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 3:58pm

"Keary Colbert, $1"

by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 4:46pm

I agree with Pat. Small spots of the purple are okay. Big blocks of the purple sear my eyes with a blinding pain.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 5:02pm

I agree with Kibbles on the necessity of getting a denver back, I just don't know which one. Bell and Anderson are the two top guys there, but I don't see either of them staying healthy through the year. I don't see Griffin getting the s tarting job unless the other two are injured, and I wouldn't want Dayne or Clarett on my football team, fantasy or otherwise.

by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 5:32pm

I actually think that the most significant injury so far isn't Rex Grossman but Jeremetrius Butler. It's unclear that Grossman would be that much better than what Hutchinson and Orton have shown this preseason, but it's very clear that the Rams don't have a #1 corner on their roster to replace Butler. Because St. Louis was so bad on defense last year, Butler's effective play kind of gets overlooked, but he was a quality starter, and the dropoff from him to Travis Fisher and even more importantly, from Fisher to the guys who are going to have to step up and take the #2, 3, and 4 spots is enormous.

It's not like anyone was going to pick the Rams defense, but it's worth remembering when valuing #2 receivers in the NFC West.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 6:24pm

You talk, I listen. Purple is gone.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 6:43pm

On the Mike Williams front, Len Pasquerelli says that Mooch has been working the big man at the X and Y in case R. Williams or Rogers gets hurt as well as focusing his reps on red zone stuff. So I'd say he's a better bet to get TDs than Clayton and may (with an injury opportunity) get as many yards. If the Lions WRs stay healthy Clayton has a better chance to rack up more yards, but Moore, Lewis and Heap are all more likely to get red zone touches.

by fyo (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 6:47pm

Yeah, the purple multi-block post hurts, thanks for killing it, but the smart quotes are fine. I'm using Firefox on Linux and checked with Konquerer and Opera as well (no problems there either). I'm guessing that a really old browser would have to be used - and those people have bigger problems than not seeing quotes correctly.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 6:57pm

Re #11: Look at Chicago's offense last season before and after Grossman got injured. It went from sort of bad to HISTORICALLY bad. Plus Grossman's injury absolutely kills Thomas Jones's value, and possibly Benson's as well (if he doesn't kill it all himself, first).

by El Angelo (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 7:12pm

re #15: You're absolutely correct, but bear in mind that Craig Krenzel & Jonathan Quinn were prominently involved in that. I suppose Orton could be awful, but I have to think he'll be no worse than replacement level.

by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 7:17pm

Understood, but there is a big difference between last year, when the backups were Jonathan Quinn and Craig Krenzel, and when Hutchinson was being brought in off the street and thrown out onto the field without even knowing the offense and this year when Hutchinson and Orton have been working out with the team all year. Obviously it's only the preseason, but Hutchinson and Orton have actually played reasonably well so far, which gives you hope that Chicago can get an adequate performance out of their quarterback spot. It's highly unlikely that we see a repeat of what happened last year in Chicago.

by Nick (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 7:23pm

I am in a league with 6 pt. TDs, 25 pt. passing yards and 10 yards for recieving and rushing yards. (10 team league, 1 QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF)

I took Manning first overall pick. I was able to get J. Jones and T. Holt coming back, then I stole Westbrook and D. Bennett i the fourth and fifth. To ensure my RB position, I drafted R. Brown and C. Williams, along with F. Taylor. I also drafted T. Heap and J. Porter and PFP's #1 kicker, David Akers.

I would say that drafting Manning worked out for me.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 7:30pm


Hey, you could just look at QB DVOA as well. Krenzel, Hutchinson, and Quinn were -82.6%/-46.0%/-56.6%.

Grossman was phenomenal! He was -18.8%!


Keep in mind that -14% is replacement level. I think it's Jeff (Blake|George) time!

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 7:33pm

Oh, and regarding Benson's value: there was a news story out today that as soon as he got word on the Bears ultimatum, his agent shipped luxury cars back to Texas and put Benson's house up for sale.

Soo.... I don't think Benson's going to be a Bear this season. I doubt he'll be an NFL player either, but hey.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 10:33pm

If you grabbed Tomlinson at #1 and the best available quarterback at your pick in the second round, which according to AntSports would be Daunte Culpepper, you end up with 637 fantasy points for the year. Even if Culpepper is gone and you really want to get a QB with that next pick so you take Donovan McNabb, according to our projections you’ll end up with 620 fantasy points.

Of course, when the jerks (said in the nicest way possible, of course!) in your league go QB crazy early on, that sort of changes things...

I took LT with the first overall pick; by the time my second pick rolled around at the end of the second round, 8 quarterbacks had already been taken. Still, I wound up with Jake Delhomme, Carson Palmer, and Ben Roethlisberger, along with LT and Tiki Barber, so I can't complain too much. By contrast, the guy who took Manning (#2), wound up with Clinton Portis, Lamont Jordan, and Tatum Bell at RB. I'll take my chances, I think.

Bizarrely, running backs like Curtis Martin, Kevin Jones, and Rudi Johnson slipped to the 8th round (8 team league).

Overall, it was a very strange draft. Didn't go the way I was expecting at all.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 10:48pm

Inre: #18

It's unlikely that in leagues where the managers are not completely asleep at the wheel that Julius Jones will last to the 21st pick. The fact that you could get Westbrook in the 4th round pretty much confirms this. The saving grace may be that all TDs are 6 points, increasing the value of QBs, but for most people taking Peyton number one overall is a little bit crazy.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 11:38pm

I just used the form, and then realized that the next mailbag will be *after* my league's draft. Feel free to still use it, but I'll throw my quandry out here, and see what advice follows.

Al and Vivek helped me towards the end of last year, and I won my league. Dynasty league (all keepers, so the draft is all rookies and the rare worthwhile free agent). For my question, assume the free agents are not worthwhile.

The league's scoring rules are essentially 6 pts for a TD (run, pass, catch). There are single bonus points for 100 yards rushing or receiving, or 300 yards passing. Straightforward, although it does put an emphasis on QBs.

I won't give the full roster, but here are the key players: QBs Carson Palmer and David Carr, RBs LT and Shaun Alexander, WRs Roy Williams, Santana Moss, Antonio Bryant (and to a lesser degree, Brandon Lloyd and I also have Darius Watts and Jason Whitten-- TEs count as WRs). I have no depth at all at RB behind the big two. We start 1 QB, 2RB, 3WR. I am set at K and there are no worthwhile Ds to upgrade and I wouldn't be considering either in the first few rounds anyway.

As champ, I have the 12th pick (12 team league, natch). After doing a few mock drafts with various other owners, I am confident that I will have a shot at two of the following three WRs: Mark Clayton (Bal), Matt Jones (Jax), and an outside chance at Mike Williams (Det). I have, in weaker Giants fan moments, entertained thoughts of Brandon Jacobs, who I want in round 2 but doubt will be there.

I don't know if my bigger need is upgrading WR or giving me depth at RB. I also don't know if my priority is on improving my repeat chances for this year, or thinking long term. I'm interested in opinions on what folks would do in my shoes.

FWIW, I think (no, I know) I got really lucky to win last year. I thought I was a year away, especially when Palmer got injured. In this QB heavy league, I beat, in order, the Culpepper, Manning, and McNabb teams while playing either Carr or the retired Vinny Testeverde to secure the title. I like my team much better this year, but which way do I go?

by Glenn (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 11:42pm

Well, I knew going in that it would suck, but ESPN's Fantasy Football show tonight sucked even more than I expected. A bunch of guys (and Suzy Kobler) who know football - let's give them the benefit of the doubt on that for argument's sake - and know zero about fantasy strategy and how to build a team that will last into a championship. Eric Karabell was on the sidelines trying to wade through the muck and be diplomatic in dissecting some of the picks, but it was a train wreck of a show.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 11:43pm

So I just realized, I gave all the info, but not the question (although it may have been easy to figure out).
Assume that M. Williams, M. Clayton, M. Jones, and B. Jacobs are there for me. Who would you take and why? Even better-- rank them. Remember, this is a dynasty league. Whoever I take is mine until I either trade or cut them.

by Lou (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 12:32am

So just finished my draft and I'm looking for advice. 14 teams, 6pt Pass TD, 20/20/50yd=1pt (so scoring is more TD heavy). I was picking 13th.
QB: Culpepper (2), K: Akers (6), Def: Minnesota (14)
RB(3: McGahee (1), S. Jackson (3), C. Williams (4), T. Henry (11), D. Blaylock (12), M. Moore (15)
WR(3): E. Kennison (5), L. Fitzgerald (7), TJ Housh...(8), J. McCareins (9), S. Parker (13)

I was thrilled with my RB picks, although I might have been too fast in picking Cadillac because of the huge run on WRs that was going on. So my questions, which of my three mid-level RBs [Henry, Blaylock, Moore] should I be offering in trade for a better WR? And which WR should I start in 3rd position? Thanks in advance!

by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 12:48am

Anyone want to share how they would rank team defenses? Unless I'm mistaken it's not in the Kubiak spreadsheet.

by John (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 1:12am

#26: I would check with the Priest Holmes owner, to see if you can get a wideout from him for Blaylock.

by David (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 1:47am


I've never played in a dynasty league, or even a keeper, so take this advice with a grain of salt. my order would be Williams, Jacobs, Clayton. Jones will take too long to develop. Williams matches nicely with your other Williams, but may take a while to fully develop as WRs take about 3 full years to RBs two or so. But, Williams has less blocking him than Jacobs does in NY. Clayton depends on Boller to get him the ball and he's not going to beat out Mason for number one any time soon.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 4:31am

Re #28: I don't know about the Priest Holmes owner, but the Curtis Martin owner might be a little bit interested, since Derrick Blaylock is now a New York Jet.

Re #18: The only kickers worth drafting in any but the latest rounds are Elam and Akers. Elam has finished top 10 for 8 straight seasons, and Akers has done it for 5. The next closest streak is Ryan Longwell with 3 consecutive seasons.

Too often a kicker goes from the flavor of the minute to yesterday's news. Three seasons ago, Grammatica was the #1 kicker in almost every draft, and now he's kicked off the team. Two seasons ago, Jeff Wilkins was flirting with setting an all-time kicker scoring record, and then last season he's fallen off the face of the fantasy planet. The only "sure things" are Elam and Akers. For the rest of it, you're much better off grabbing a kicker on a top-10 offense. There's no guarantee that they'll be a top-10 kicker, but they've historically got about a 66% shot, and those are the best numbers you're going to get.

For the record, no kicker from a bottom 10 offense has scored in the top half of the league in at least 5 seasons.

by El Angelo (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 11:00am

Heck, in a league I was in 2 years ago, John Carney went in the 5th round. JOHN CARNEY! The guy who drafted him still hasn't heard the end of it, and it was 3 times as funny after Carney shanked that PAT after the Saints made that insane TD return.

Now for a real question: I've got the 3rd pick in a standard (4 pts passing TD, 6 for rest) league. All indications are the Tomlinson & Alexander are going 1-2. I have no desire to take Manning that early, Holmes is too injury-prone for my tastes, and I think it's crazy to take a WR early. So is it dumb to take James, Dillon, McCallister or even Kevin Jones at the 3rd spot?

by Aaron (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 11:44am

Yes, I didn't get to a team defense projection system this offseason -- I promise one for next year's book.

I've added one more KUBIAK change above, reflecting Duce Staley's injury probably costing him the first three games of the year, maybe more. I'm not changing the Eagles RB based on the Buckhalter injury, however, because I'm assuming they'll sign a veteran straight-ahead style back (Levens again?) rather than use Moats in that role.

by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 11:53am

OK my draft occured overnight [Yahoo auto draft - (1QB, 1RB, 2WR, 1FLX, 1TE, K, TMDEF)]. I had the 16th pick in a 16 team league, and missed Tiki by 1 pick. I got both Joneses back to back & set myself up for Witten & Hasselbeck.

My team:
QB: Hasselbeck
RB: J.Jones
FLX: K.Jones
WR: Burress & S.Moss
TE: Witten
K: Kasay
DEF: Phi (JAx backup)
Bench: Carr (QB), Gaffney (WR), Henry(RB) & Ma.Jones (WR)

I'm pretty happy with my team.

by War N\' Peace (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 12:22pm

#23 - From what you presented it's difficult to determine... If you have little depth at RB, I would be strong pressed to address that position. Especially in a dynasty league, where you need to look for longterm domination not just a stopgap. Brandon Jacobs will never be an every down back. It's just not going to happen. At best he'll be a part-time guy who would get all the goalline carries.

This year's draft class brought a lot of options at RB... obviously the big guns will be gone: Arrington, Brown, Caddy, Benson, Moats, Shelton...

Have you considered some guys like Frank Gore, Ciatrick Fason, Alvin Pearman?? Maybe those are too risky, but if you are a believer in the Kubiak... Gore is money. Maybe those guys are taken already... i don't know.

by Nick (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 2:01pm

Re: 22, The thing that made me decide to do it was that, based on PFP's projections, Manning would be worth over 100 points more than LT. Plus, in every league I was in last season (with 6 point TDs) the team with Manning won. (Not that he wil repeat last season, but he's always been healthy and can single-handedly win a fantasy league) If PFPs projection system works out, I'm projected to score the most points of any team in my league.

If I could just upgrade over Westbrook and Porter, and trade for Heap for Witten... it would be no contest.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 6:22pm

"The thing that made me decide to do it was that, based on PFP’s projections, Manning would be worth over 100 points more than LT."

Right, but it's not good fantasy strategy to draft players based on their overall point scoring ability, you have to take it in comparison to the other players you could get at that position.

I'm not disputing that taking Peyton Manning number 1 overall worked for you, based on your roster it clearly did. I would not consider it sound strategy. Based on the players you were able to secure (Julius Jones with pick 20/21 and Westbrook with 40th pick) I'm guessing the other owners were not paying attention, there's no way they fall that far in a competetive league. As I pointed out the 6 pt. for passing TDs helps justify the Manning pick, but doesn't totally sell me.

Given that you were able to get Westbrook at pick 40, you should be able to trade Heap or Boo Williams straight up for Witten.

by Moe Szyslak (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 9:56am

What does KUBIAK think of Willie Parker as a starter (considering the Bus has to get an MRI today...and MRI = suspicion of a tear...)?

by max (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 10:47am

Disagree with you assessment on Grossman v. Butler.
1. The Bears have no backup at the most important position on the field.
2. DeJuan Groce has look surprisingly good in preseason replacing Butler. He has actually been their best CB, including Fisher.
3. While Butler was fine in coverage, he was very weak against the run, Warrick Dunn embarrased him in the playoffs.
4. The Pats lost both of their corners last year (including HOFer Law) and won the SB. What if they lost Brady?

by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 3:45pm

Part of the reason Gore is money with KUBIAK is that we projected him for a bigger expected role, given how bad Barlow was last year. We didn't do that with Fason, since he's a fifth-stringer. Admittedly, "expected role" is a subjective measure, but one we have to include lest we predict some fourth-string running back to get 1500 yards.

On that note, let's see what Jerome's MRI says and then we'll kick out some new Verron Haynes and Willie Parker projections.

by Sean (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 8:58pm

Re 38:

Let me be clear- I'm not saying that losing a quarterback is more damaging than losing a cornerback; I'm saying that downgrading from an effective cornerback to an ineffective cornerback is more damaging than downgrading from one marginal quarterback to another somewhat more marginal quarterback. I'm assuming that the Bears backups are going to perform at a higher level than they did last year. The analogy isn't "What would happen to the Patriots if they lost Tom Brady?" It's "What would happen to the Ravens if they lost Kyle Boller?" Something, but probably not something catastrophic.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Sun, 08/28/2005 - 12:56pm

I've never really paid attention to my fantasy football league as real stats and games have been more important.

But all of the talk on this site has convinced me otherwise, and I have some questions,

10 teams

Quarterback 1
Running Back 2
Wide Receiver 2
Tight End 1
Kicker 1
Defense & Special Teams 1
Bench 6

Passing TDs 0-49 yards = 6 points
50+ yards = 12 points

Passing Yards = 1 point for every 25 yards 5 points at 400 yards

Rushing TDs 0-49 yards = 6 points
50+ yards = 12 points

Rushing Yards 1 point for every 10 yards 5 points at 150 yards

Head to Head.

What do I make of all of this? Is following normal fantasy football advice okay in this senario?

And you should always take an extra running back in the floating position, right?

by Nick (not verified) :: Sun, 08/28/2005 - 10:01pm

Re#36: Ok, this site is all about performance analysis, so lets' crunch the numbers. (I'm not being confrontational, just having a conversation)
Current Team:
Name, points, pos. rank, pts. behind top player at the pos.

Manning 380, (1), 0
Jones 260 (6), 31
Holt 184 (1), 0
Westbrook 224, (13) 67

Your Suggested Team:
Tomlinson 291, (1), 0
Jones 260, (6), 31

Then if I get the top QB at the last third/first fourth round pick, I get...
Hasselbeck 320, (4), 60
Holt (1) 184, (1), 0

Total points for my Team: 1048
Total points for your suggested team: 1055

However, J. Jones slipped to me because the guy drafting in front of me didn’t have a QB, so he took McNabb instead of Jones. If we replace Julius with the next best RB available, we get…

Tomlinson 291, (1), 0
Holt 184 (1), 0
R. Johnson 242, (9), 49
McNabb 345, (3), 35

However, throw in the fact that I have Brown and Williams to start against weak DEF, and it is a bout a draw. However, you are correct, your way would have yielded 14 points, but given the fact that the projections are meant to be “mean� projections, I’ll call it even with a slight nod to your way.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 08/28/2005 - 10:15pm

Nathan, I will assume your league does receiving yards/TDS the same as rushing?

Yes, DEFINITELY RB at your floater. I inputed your scoring into a cheatsheet making program I bought [click my name for details, and I would definitely recommend it], and using the projections in the Prospectus, it says that the top 16 RBs should outscore the #1 WR, and the top 28 RBs should outscore the #1 TE. In fact, if everyone starts 3 RBs, then the worst starting RB (#30 Warrick Dunn) is still better than Nate Burleson the #18 WR.

Even with this league being 6 pts per passing TD (which means QBs will score the most points), I would take RBs with my first two picks (and even my 3rd if a top 3 QB or a top 4 WR wasn't available).

Like everyone in a TE required league, I would recommend you try to get Jason Witten in the 5th round. Getting Gonzalez, Gates, or Witten is like starting a 3rd WR instead of a TE. And Witten goes the latest of those 3.

Wait on taking a QB. I would recommend getting Matt Hasselbeck or Kerry Collins in the 6th or 7th round.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 08/28/2005 - 10:43pm

Oh, let me tell you about my league's draft. I was drafting 9th out of 10. Our scoring is pretty normal except 1 pt per reception (which raises WR, TEs, and pass catching RBs), and major TE scoring. I'm talking 2 pts per reception and 1 pt every 5 yards for TEs. In this league, Gonzalez was projected to be the highest scoring non TE. Plus, we require backups at every position, including DEF, K, and TE.

My team is:
QBs Donovan McNabb and Chad Pennington
RBs Deuce McAllister, Julius Jones, J.J. Arrington, T.J. Duckett, and Mike Anderson
WRs Hines Ward, Rod Smith, Santana Moss, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh
TEs Randy McMichael and Jeb Putzier
K David Akers and Matt Stover
D/ST Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams

by Dan Babbitt (not verified) :: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 1:36pm

regarding the Pittsburgh RB situation - it appears that Willie Parker is ahead of Haynes on the depth chart. he came in ahead of Haynes this weekend.

by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 1:55pm

I, for one, am glad to have projections for Rattay and Smith in SF. Why, you ask? Loser League! Which reminds me, is FO going to have a site-wide LL like last year? If so, it should start up really soon.

by Heath (not verified) :: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 10:02pm

Keary Colbert $2.75

by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 12:45am

Thank you very much Zac, I really appreciate the advice, and would have never guessed that RB's would be that important.

Friday is the draft, I'm getting excited. :)

by MP (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 7:14am

I really hope the Steve Smith comment (going in the 13th and 15th rounds in 2 drafts) was a misprint. Either that, or you are playing in two of the weakest and/or smallest leagues I have ever heard of. He went in the 3rd round in my league, but more relevant is that his ADP is 4th-5th round for a 12-team league.

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