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The question is not whether Saquon Barkley is the best running back in this draft class. The question is whether any running back, even one as good as Barkley, warrants a top-five draft selection in the NFL in 2018.

01 Sep 2005

Scramble Fantasy Draft Mailbag II

by Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

Vivek: FOX and ESPN have their fantasy draft shows, so welcome to our Fantasy Draft Mailbag special, part two. Al and I tackle your "Manning versus Tomlinson" and "How the heck do I autodraft?" questions this week. Also take a look at last week's mailbag for answers to earlier questions or drop us a note with the contact form.

Brian asks:

I'm drafting for a 12 team league where you start 1qb/2rb/3wr/1FLEX/te/k/def. I draft 12th/13th. Another wrinkle is that players get 1 pt for each reception. Needless to say the league is geared heavily towards WR's. I usually draft RB's 1st and 2nd round. My questions based on this line up and scoring system are:

1. Should my 1st few round focus on stud WRs or stud RBs?

2. For the FLEX spot should I look to start a RB or a WR?

Al: I tend to favor starting three running backs over four wide receivers. So my recommendation would be to make sure you spend three of your first four draft picks on running backs to make sure that you're playing starters in your lineup every week. If I was in this league I would likely go something like RB/RB/WR/RB. Unless everyone goes WR crazy, you should still be able to get a decent #1 wide receiver like Darrell Jackson at that point.

No matter what you do, I'd stock up on RB and WR as long as possible. I wouldn't think of going tight end until I had backups at both RB and WR. I likely wouldn't even think about drafting a quarterback until the eighth or ninth round. Even if every other team had drafted their starting and backup quarterback before you, you're still going to have 8 starting quarterbacks to choose from for your starter and backup. If you draft a quarterback and/or tight end too early and neglect your starting wide receiver and running back spots, you'll be looking at the possibility of having to play the crappy part of a RBBC or a #2 wide receiver on a bad team at your flex spot every week.

Vivek: I agree with Al about not drafting a quarterback until the middle rounds -- where you can still probably get a Jake Plummer or Jake Delhomme (who quietly piled up 3800 yards and 29 touchdowns last year) -- and also the position preference for your first three picks. That fourth pick is where we go our separate ways. I'm thinking about who will be available at this point. That fourth pick is going to have you debating between Isaac Bruce and Mike Anderson or Cadillac Williams. I wouldn't count on those two runners to get you any more production for the length of your season than someone who you can grab a few rounds later -- JJ Arrington or Michael Bennett.

With your receiver scoring system, you can probably get #1 fantasy numbers from a #2 receiver.

Gerry asks:

Guys-- you helped me win my dynasty (all keepers) league last year. Danke.

My two main needs on my team are WR (I have Roy Williams, Santana Moss, Antonio Bryant as my three best, with a few others of the ilk of Brandon Lloyd and Darius Watts) and to give myself some RB depth (I have LT and Shaun Alexander but nada after that). 12 team TD-only league.

As the champ, I have the last pick of round 1. I have done a few mock drafts with a few other owners, and it looks like I am going to have a shot at either Mark Clayton (BAL) or Matt Jones (JAC). When I am letting my Giants fandom overcome me, I am eyeing Brandon Jacobs, although my inclination it to pray for him lasting to pick 24 (doubtful).

Of the three, who would you take and why?

Al: Gerry also asked about this in the comment thread from last week, since his draft actually happened before this column went up. But we'll answer the question here anyway. Out of Clayton, Jones, and Jacobs, I'd go with Jacobs. Viv and I are in a dynasty-like keeper league together, and Jacobs was gone way before pick 24. Clayton and Jones are more likely to be there in the second round. Plus, like you said, you could use some RB depth. It's not likely Jacobs will be very valuable this year, but if Tiki gets hurt he'll likely get the majority of the carries. Although I like Clayton, he's not going to put up huge fantasy numbers this year as the #2 receiver in Baltimore. I'd be shocked if Matt Jones was worth owning this year, since he's learning a new position in an offense that shouldn't be expected to put many points on the board anyway.

Long term, I'd rather take a risk that a rookie backup will become a starter in a year or two than that a rookie receiver will turn into someone better than the five receivers you already have on your roster. Tiki is 30 this year and hasn't ruled out retiring at the end of the season to move into the broadcast booth. If that happens, and Jacobs is at all effective this season, you'll have a starting RB on your hands in 2006.

Vivek: If Mark Clayton was playing for Brett Favre, Dante Culpepper, or Payton Manning, this would be a no brainer for me. But the reality is that he has Kyle Boller, which according to KUBIAK amounts to 556 yards and three touchdowns. I'd take the chance that Jacobs turns into a Duckett-like back and gets 4-7 touchdowns with limited carries through the course of the season.

David B asks:

I have pick number one this year. Who should I pick? We have serpentine drafting. The lineup is: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2WR, 1TE, 1K, 1DST, with some complex scoring rules.

(Ed. note: League rules edited out for brevity -- they include point per reception, six points for a passing TD, and lots of extra points for long plays.)

Brad is faced with a similar situation, but with a different scoring system and writes:

I drew the 1st pick in a 14 team Yahoo league and am trying to decide between Tomlinson and Manning. Rushing and passing TDs are both worth 6 point. Each completion is worth .25 and each reception is worth .50. 1 point for each 15 rushing yards and 1 for each 40 passing. The draft goes down and then back up, so I won't pick again until 28 and 29.

Al: Don't any of our readers draft at the end of the first round?

I only included the relevant scoring categories for this discussion and I'm assuming for David a 10 team league, even though the answer turns out to be the same in a 12-teamer as well. You still should go with LT as #1, although according to the KUBIAK projections and my quick math, Manning should go at #2. By my math, KUBIAK projects Tomlinson to be 172 fantasy points better than the #20 running back, J.J. Arrington -- the worst running back that should be starting for a team in your league. Manning is only 155 fantasy points better than the #10 quarterback, Aaron Brooks.

Even though Manning will likely put up more total points than Tomlinson over the course of the season, that doesn't matter. When ranking players you need to look at how much better they are than the player at their position they'd be replacing on your roster, not their total production. The great fantasy website FootballGuys.com was the first to really popularize this method, which they call Value Based Drafting. I highly recommend that everyone read their explanation of VBD before they draft.

Vivek: The basic trend is that running backs get more valuable in deeper leagues, so the same should apply for Brad. The higher number of passing yards to gain a point is balanced out by the reward for completions. I assume that receivers need 15 yards as well for a point, so a nice 10 catch game could make the WRs a bit more attractive than typical drafts.

But to answer your initial question: like Al said, LT.

Bill J writes:

I'm in a 16-team league with 6 pts for TD passes and yardage points only for big games (for example, one point for 250 yards passing, then one point for every 25 yards over 250). It ends up very QB-centric. I've got second pick, and P. Manning is likely to go No. 1. I'm torn between Tomlinson and going QB (Culpepper? McNabb?), because after last year (Manning, drafted third, was all-time leader scorer in a 16-year-old league), QBs will go earlier than in the past. If Manning's there at 2, I'm leaning toward taking him. We start just one QB, 2 RBs, 2 WR/TEs, 1 K and 1 D. Thoughts?

Vivek: If this were an eight team league, then I might consider Culpepper, but if you take him at two, you will be stuck with Nick Goings and Mewelde Moore as your starting backfield. Yes, this is a QB-favored scoring system, but if you take out Manning's 49 and Culpepper's 39, the next seven highest TD throwers all had between 27 and 31.

Al: Have to disagree with you, Bill. I still don't see any reason to stretch to grab a quarterback, unless you believe that Peyton Manning will once again throw for 49 TDs. If you believe, like I do, that he'll do something more modest, like in the mid 30's range, you should take a running back at #2.

Look at your league settings. There will be 32 starting running backs in your fantasy league. There aren't 32 clear starting running backs in the NFL right now. If you don't grab a running back early, you run the very real risk of having to start half of a running back by committee every week at your two starting spots. Will that plus Peyton Manning equal a fantasy championship? Last year it might have, but I wouldn't bet on Manning's yet again having the greatest quarterback season of all time (OK, #2 according to Aaron).

Bill in NYC writes:

Is there a knack to how to order an autopick draft? For instance, if you want to nab two good RBs first, then a good WR or QB; but don't want your first three picks to be RBs.

Al: Each website does autopicks differently. For example, ESPN says that their “system selects the highest-rated available player -- without exceeding any roster maximums -- that can fill one of the undrafted roster slots, including bench slots.� Yahoo “looks to see which starting positions you need to fill, then selects the highest-rated player based on either our default ranking or your pre-rankings to fill one of those positions.

I prefer the ESPN method myself; it more closely mirrors how I think most people draft. Personally, I almost always look to grab at least one backup at running back, quarterback, and wide receiver before I think about picking up a kicker and defense. Under the ESPN autopick system that can happen. Under Yahoo, I won't start grabbing backup running backs until the eighth or ninth round, even if someone I have ranked in my top 20 is still sitting there in round five.

So, to get around to answering your question Bill, if you're in a Yahoo league that only allows you to start two running backs, just rank all the running backs ahead of everyone else and you're guaranteed to have them picked for you in the first two rounds. Since those positions are filled, Yahoo will start drafting your top remaining quarterbacks or wide receivers since you still need to fill in your starters at those positions.

Vivek: Because of server problems, my entire ESPN league went onto autodraft last week for rounds 7-14. During that time, only skill positions were taken. Yahoo, as Al mentioned, can make your team the laughing stock of your league. Take a look at my buddy Alan's Yahoo autodraft team (in draft order):

Willis McGahee, Domanick Davis, Tatum Bell, Reggie Wayne, Drew Brees, Muhsin Muhammad.

Fine so far, but now here is where it gets fun for everyone except Alan:

Randy McMichael, Adam Vinatieri, Colts Defense, Rueben Droughns, Joey Harrington, Joey Galloway, Lawrence Tynes, Jim Kleinsasser, and Maurice Hicks. The first four were taken before Derrick Mason, Jake Plummer, Ashley Lelie, and Chad Pennington.

Face it. Yahoo will make you take a defense, kicker, and tight end. Make sure you pull the first tier at those positions well above the second tier, or else like Alan, you'll be faced with two kickers and two tight ends on your team, something that should never happen.

And of course the obvious piece of advice, move the injured guys on your rankings to 900 or however low it goes. You don't want to get stuck with Rex Grossman.

Al: Not to go off on too much of a tangent here, but this brings up a huge pet peeve I have with Yahoo autopick leagues, and that is this damned WR/TE flex position. I completely understand why someone might want to turn all the WR positions into WR/TE positions and not force owners to carry a TE. But why commissioners include separate WR, TE, and WR/TE positions in the starting roster requirements, I'll never comprehend.

The reason the WR/TE screws up your autodraft if you're not careful -- and I'm talking from experience here -- is that if you've ranked your players without taking this position into account, your tight ends in your rankings will be ranked higher than higher-scoring wide receivers below them. For example, in your basic 12 team, 3 WR league, KUBIAK has Todd Heap ranked #49 overall with a projected 88 fantasy points on the season. The player ranked #50, wide receiver Roy Williams, is projected to finish the year with 129 fantasy points, more than Heap. The reason Heap is ranked higher is because his production is compared to that of the other tight ends in the NFL. Because of the positional scarcity at TE, getting 88 points from Heap at TE will help your team more than 129 from Williams at WR. If the top two players available are Heap and Williams, and you still have your TE slot open, you should draft Heap.

However, if you've already drafted a tight end, and you need to fill your WR/TE slot, there is no way you should grab Heap in that spot. When filling that roster spot, all the available tight ends are thrown into the same pool with the other wide receivers. Whatever value Heap gives you due to the scarcity of viable tight end options is completely lost when he's thrown in with the more productive wide receivers.

So, if you haven't ranked your players by taking the WR/TE position into account, you end up with things like three tight ends on your roster -- starters at TE, WR/TE, and a backup -- instead of higher scoring wide receivers that you would have preferred to have on your team. My advice is that if you're in a Yahoo league that requires you to start both a TE and a WR/TE and you're doing an auto draft, keep the top three tight ends -- Gates, Gonzo, and Witten -- where they normally would be in the rankings, but bump every other tight end down significantly.

Next week: Our annual look at the results of an auction league featuring members of the FO staff, plus the first week of Best Bets.

Posted by: scramble on 01 Sep 2005

68 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2010, 3:07am by uggs outlet


by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 11:50am

Value based drafting is indeed a great strategy, and thank you for again linking to it. After doind tireless analysis on drafting, I came to the same conclusions which the Football Guys came to.

I plan to do more research on successful free agent scouting. Do you have any references to lead me to? While it's true that a great draft is half the battle, free agency is the other half. I'd like to develop a methodical analysis of when to pick up free agents and when to let go unproductive players. I've never really seen a comprehensive and quality system of approcahing the waiver wire during the season, and the most successful players with the WW seem to go by intuition and tireless work on it. Surely we can do better.

Questions to ponder about the WW:
1) Statistically speaking, what position is the easiet to find quality starters off the WW?
2) What is the hardest?
3) When do you invest in a project to stash on the bench, and when do you let him develop in the FA?
4) Does playing matchup defense make sense?
5) How valuable is each bench position, and what is the optimal combination of reserve players to maximize scoring potential over the season?

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 12:05pm

A few general questions I'd love to see some thoughts about:

1. Given recent FFL history (Boldin, Warner), can it ever make sense to intentionally lose one's first game to get the first waiver pick?

2. Similar to Pawnking: at what FFL positions is there the most week-to-week scoring variance that is predictable based on matchups? In other words, when does it make sense to grab a WR just because he's playing SF and bench your normal guys?

by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 12:23pm

What is the ideal pick for this year? The positioning? Early in the round, or late?

by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 12:48pm

A few things:

First, I disagree that drafting two TEs is automatically bad. I think it all depends on how the draft shakes out. I, for instance, picked Jason Witten in some appropriately middle round, but with my last pick I took Cooley. I still have two backups at RB and WR and a backup at QB. It all depends.

Second, avoid autodrafting as if your life depended on it. One guy in my league autodrafted, and he ended up with Antonio Gates as the...number 5 OVERALL pick. Yikes.

by SJM (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 1:29pm

Re: #4

I can beat that. A guy in my league autodrafted and his #1 pick, in the middle of the round or so, was BRANDON STOKLEY.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 1:32pm

I drew the second choice, I choose 2.

Now can I avoid choosing Peyton... Tomorrow morning's the draft, so far I have no will. I'm such a homer.

by Aaron B. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 2:38pm

Ok guys. Little help.

10-team League (QB,RB,RB,WR,WR,WR,TE,K,DEF)
I drafted 10th and wound up with this:

QB: Matt Hasslebeck, David Carr

RB: Deuce McAllister, Julius Jones, Kevin Jones, Mike Anderson, Larry Johnson

WR: Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin, Issac Bruce, Jimmy Smith, Charles Rogers

TE: Chris Cooley

K: Sebastian Janikowski

DEF: Tampa Bay

Notes: I obviously have a glut of running backs. When Kevin Jones was still on the board at the end of the fourth round, I couldn't help myself even though I already had McAllistar and J. Jones.

So, how would you guys improve this team? I'm not very happy with Cooley as my starting tight end, I wish I had a receiver in the Holt/Harrison/Moss/Owens/C. Johnson/A. Johnson tier, and TB's defense doesn't thrill me.

Which of my running backs would you guys use as trade bait to improve my team? Am I better off waiting until the season starts and the inevitable running back injuries begin?

by Vivek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 2:54pm

Aaron B -

Getting pretty greedy there, aren't we? Boldin and Bruce make up a pretty good 1-2 punch. You're in a 10 team league where pretty much everyone will have two solid starting RBs. I don't see anyone trading a top WR for a RB, when it might just be a minor upgrade.

I've always been a fan of keeping depth and trading later to fill any injury/down year caused needs. Hold tight with your big three runners and see if you can pawn off Anderson after a big Week 1. Anderson and a WR might net you someone on your WR wish list.

I think you can pick up a better TE than Cooley on the waiver wire though. Don't waste trade bait on a TE upgrade, unless it's for one of the big three.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 2:54pm

I'd say trade McAllister. He's a good fantasy back, but Anderson and one of the Jonses will be better, espicially with the ongoing distraction of the Saints playing on the road every week.

by Vivek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 2:58pm

My favorite draft position in a 10 or 12 team league is #7.

The running back you'd get at 4 is the same as the one you'd get at 8. Seven gives you at least a choice and you can nab a Culpepper/Moss/Harrison on the way back up, or even a Stephen Jackson.

by Aaron B. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 3:58pm

Thanks for the advice, Vivek.

The TE's on the waiver wire aren't exactly compelling. For some reason, a couple of guys in this league have two tight ends on thier roster, which leaves the free agent pool pretty thin.

The top available guys on waivers are players like Putzier (Having some kind of foot injury), Troupe (battling Stephen Alexander for playing time), Ben Watson (Who knows what to expect between him and Graham) and Kleinsasser (Coming off injury and contending with Wiggins).

All things considered, would you drop Cooley for one of those guys? Have any other deep sleeper TE candidates?

by kevin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 5:10pm

re #2:

Recent history?? First of all, hindsight is 20/20 . . . second of all, the warner incident happened six years ago. . . In 1999, after week 1, after St Louis beat Baltimore easily, FEW people were talking about Warner's performance . . . it wasnt that big a deal AT THAT TIME. A few weeks later, after he replicated that effort , ONLY THEN was it a big deal . . . you wouldnt have known that after week 1 . . .

secondly, why would you ever tank a game for a guy that may or may not help you . . . just doesnt make sense . . .

translation: always play to WIN . . .

by geoff (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 5:17pm

Maybe it's just my Pats bias, but I'd drop Cooley for Watson.

by carl s (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 5:40pm

We had our draft scheduled, and when 1 person complained it got changed to a time when I couldn't do it, and now we can't change back. Yahoo auto, here I come! After reading the above, I can hardly wait.

by John (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 6:01pm

Re # 12

With regards to Warner in 1999, I remember everyone talking about the former stock boy who put up 300+ yards and 3 TD's. People who needed a QB picked him up, but people weren't dropping Brett Farve to get him. Nobody knew he had 38 more TD's in him that year. Or that Steve Beurlein of all people would put up 36 TD's total.

Every year there is a guy(s) who come out of "nowhere" and put up crazy numbers and everybody tries to pick them up. Some of them pan out and some of them are one hit wonders. I wouldn't intentionlly tank the first game just to have first dibs in the lottery.

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 6:54pm

I actually picked up Warner before the season started; I had drafted Green, and figured, "I liked this offense with Faulk in it. If Warner ends up being good, there's no way I'll be able to get him *after* the game."

His first week, he put up 316y and 3tds against the Ravens D.

In 2003, Boldin shocked everyone with a 217y/2td performance, and ended up being great the rest of the season.

Of course, in 2002 I believe the most-added after week one was Shane Matthews, who threw for 327y/3td against Arizona. (The next week, 62y/0td against Philadelphia).

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 1:24am

We had our draft tonight - I hate picking in the middle of the round, you don't get the nice double you get for picking near the end, nor the top players you get for picking at the start. 10 teams, QB RB RB WR WR WR WR/RB TE K DEF

QB: M. Hasselbeck, J. Delhomme
RB: W. McGahee, C. Portis, T. Duckett, L. Johnson
WR: C. Johnson, R. Wayne, I. Bruce, D. Givens, T. Houshmandzadeh
TE: T. Heap
K: Janikowski
DEF: Pittsburgh

What should I change here? How do I upgrade this team? I also have Cooley from Washington, who is listed on Yahoo as eligible to be placed as either RB or TE (manager's choice) on any given week. I consider him expendable right now if I want a waiver pickup, but who knows.



by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 1:35am

Errr, two starting WRs, not three. What's the point of having the preview if I barely skim it...


by Sean (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 5:00am

Re 17: Actually, I think you have a terrific team. It's low profile in terms of names, but you can really mix and match with that personnel. You've got two quality quarterbacks, two very solid runners with good depth, and I love your receivers.

by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:18am

I'm in a 14 team league where I start 2 RBs. My RBs are:

T. Barber, R. Johnson, D. Blaylock, C. Perry, F. Gore

I'd like to be able to get B. Jacobs in case something happens to Tiki. Should I try to trade Blaylock to get Jacobs? If Martin gets hurt, Blaylock could be gold. But if Tiki gets hurt, I'm in a lot of trouble without his backup. How much effort should I put into getting Jacobs?

by Nathan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 12:03pm

I couldn't avoid choosing Manning. Hasslebeck lasted forever, and I missed out on that.

Here's my team

QB Manning, Carr
RB Kevin Jones, Rudi Johnson, Kevan Barlow, Thomas Jones, Frank Gore, JJ Arrington
WR Plaxico Burress, Rod Smith, Eddie Kennison, Donte' Stallworth
TE Jason Witten
K Mike Vanderjagt
DEF Indianapolis

Eh, :)

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 12:10pm

As long as we're talking about (week) one-shot wonders, there's a certain embattled starter who threw for 195 yards and 4 TDs with no picks in week 1 two years ago; he only had one game with 3 TDs the rest of the season, and it was in week 17, when most fantasy leagues are done.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 12:45pm

I've just joined a Yahoo! football league and I'd like to know what settings people recommend for a small, casual league.

I've played Yahoo a lot previously, and I know that like most fantasy leagues, RBs are much more important than other positions. Are thereany recommendations on how to balance the positions more? More points for receiving yardage? Only 1 RB per team?

by pawnking (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 12:46pm

Kubiak is really really high on Hasselbeck. I haven't found any other site with him ranked as high as he is here. Why is this?

Speaking of Kubiak, how good has it been in predictive value? Ha anyone done any regression analysis on Kubiak vs, say, whatever cbs sportsline does for projections? Nobody predicted the season Peyton had last year, but how close did Kubiak come vs. other systems?

And when will the DVOA 2005 predictions come out?

by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 1:36pm

Scott, one thing you can do is go RB/WR/WR/flex, where the flex position can either be RB or WR. That helps temper some of the RB stockpiling in drafts.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 2:16pm

I'd like to say Hail, oh Hail to the Yahoo Autopick System.

I didn't use it - it usually annoys me when people don't show up for the live drafts - what's the point of joining in the league? However, one of my colleagues will rue the day he didn't show up and, after filling up all the required positions, it just picked the highest player available each round - and he ended up with 3 kickers on his roster.


by Malene, Dk (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 3:29pm

Fantasy Novice needing help!

Just completed the drafts of my two first fantasy teams - got money riding on it, so I need advice.

12 team leagues, starting 1QB/3WR/2RB/TE/K/Def - (+Flex in league 2) - pretty standard scoring system I guess.

Here's what I ended up with - How did I do? please tell me: what should I look out for, regarding starters, players I should trade, positions where I need to upgrade, etc? :

QB: Delhomme, Pennington
RB: McGahee, Portis, Dillon, Carnell Williams
WR: Ward, Steve Smith, Lee Evans, Stokley, Bradford
TE: L.J. Smith, K: Lindell
Def: Panthers, Eagles

QB: Plummer, Brees
RB: Alexander, Julius Jones, Mewelde Moore, Derrick Blaylock
Flex: Kevin Jones
WR: Reggie Wayne, Burleson, Fitzgerald, Greg Lewis, Calico, Plaxico Burress
TE: Witten, K: Kasay Def: Eagles

Help really appreciated!

by Kevin (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 5:15pm

Re#24: You have to pick up the book if you want the answer . . .

by Aaron (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 6:49pm

I'll be running 2005 mean DVOA projections Monday night. This is the first year of KUBIAK so there's no way to test its performance in 2004. If it makes people feel better, I used a simplified version last year in an auction with a bunch of the FO staff and won the league. (Despite his age, I bought Curtis Martin as the cheapest starting RB because my numbers said the Jets had an easy schedule.)

The Hasselbeck thing was discussed in a New York Times article two weeks ago as well as the fantasy chat linked on my name. It mostly has to do with luck on third downs last year, the same reason we were the only people to predict that San Diego's offense would be good last year.

OK, now something important for people drafting this weekend. You need to take a couple players really low on our projections and remove them entirely: Nick Goings, Peerless Price, David Terrell (probably replaced by Andre' Davis), Jerome Pathon (probably replaced by Peter Warrick). And Rex Grossman might still be on there by accident, but you know not to draft him. Most people won't be in a league so deep that this matters.

by Terry (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 2:51am

Don't know if Adam will see this-- but I'm thinking Eli will be better than Ramsey/Campbell, but I've probably got the room to hold on to both of them.

Now, I'm in a funny league where the starting positions are QB, 2WR, 2RB, 3WR/RB, TE, K, DEF.

My roster:

QB: Brett Favre
RB: Julius Jones, Edgerrin James, Brian Westbrook, J.J. Arrington, Travis Henry, Chester Taylor
WR: Jerry Porter, Derrick Mason, Plaxico Burress, Santana Moss, David Patten (a mistake pick-- I have a trade going probably going through for Palmer), Greg Lewis, Kevin Curtis
K: Sebastian Janikowski
DEF: Philadelphia

Now, someone's proposed to me Chris Brown for J.J Arrington. Thoughts? Should my first priority be to upgrade my WR corps, or should I hang on to my stronghold of RBs?

by Jody (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:53pm

27: Team 1 is very good. Your wekest spots, which are not very weak, are #3 REC and TE. With your QB and RBs, you could even play matchups every week. "Who is facing the worse defense?" And CAR gets the turnover-prone NFC South for 6 games, which is always good. Team 2 is also very stacked. I love the top 2 RBs, with KJones as Flex. I'm not a big fan of Brees (one year wonder?) or Plummer (I expect DEN to be really bad, but he may be passing from behind a lot).
30: keep Arrington, don't go for the very injury prone Chris Brown.

by Ron Bartreuse (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 2:46pm

I've pretty much stood pat with the teams I've drafted so far - I don't think anything can be done to improve right now, but maybe someone else has a suggestion?

Team 1:
10 team league.
Start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 WR/TE, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF.

QB: Favre, Griese
RB: McAlister, J. Jones, D. Foster, W. Dunn, F. Taylor, C. Taylor, D. Blaylock
WR: A. Johnson, Michael Clayton, A. Lelie, C. Rogers, K. McCardell
TE: R. McMichael
K: R. Longwell
DEF: Carolina

Team 2:
10 team league - 2 keepers.
Start 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 of everything else. Must have backups at every position.

QB: A. Brooks, B. Leftwich
RB: W. McGahee(kept), J. Lewis(kept), C. Williams, M. Anderson, R. Williams
WR: J. Walker, J. Horn, A. Lelie, P. Burress
TE: R. McMichael, B. Troupe
K: A. Vinatieri, J. Brown
DEF: Atlanta, Minnesota

by David (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 7:16pm

Al and Vivek,

I'm afraid I can't share your preference for the ESPN approach over the Yahoo approach. In Yahoo, the public leagues all draft the same, so every team is futzing around with tight ends and kickers in the middle rounds. There's no loss in competitive advantage unless some people are live drafting and you are not.

Now, in an ESPN draft I was recently in, someone autodrafting got bitten badly by the "highest ranked available player" approach. He spent the middle rounds filling up all of his bench slots with committee and backup RBs, while the rest of us were getting pesky things like starting WRs and QBs. He had filled out all of his bench slots with RBs before the computer selected a second receiver for him. He ended up with no bench WRs, and fighting the other auto-pick team for the best two of these four: Carr, Boller, Roethlisberger, McNair. I like having RB depth too, but not to the exclusion of all other team goals.

The ESPN approach may have upside, but the results may be more variable on the down end as well.

by Peder (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 8:33pm

This is the first year that I've played fantasy football and I'm not sure how to approach figuring out which receivers to start. I've got Wayne, Bennett, Branch, Rod Smith and Houshmandzadeh. Should I be judging by opposing defences? Or do I have some Must Start guys? Also, my week one opponent has Peyton Manning. Should I start Wayne in hopes of balancing out his performance? Thanks!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 9:19pm

Now that Garcia's broken his leg and may be out for the season, who will be starting for Detroit from week 4 on?

(By the way, I don't really care about fantasy football at all, I just had heard that on many sites Garcia was going ahead of Harrington, which I just thought was hilarious. How often does the backup get taken first?)

by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 9:25pm

Peder, I'd start Wayne and Bennett until other players make clear that, based on matchups, they deserve to be options. WR can be very matchup-dependent, and there will be times you'll want to start Smith ahead of Bennett, maybe Branch, but early on, just start the best players.

by Peder (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:14pm

Thanks, Adam. I can start three of them. Any suggestions on the third one?

by Brian (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:10am

What does everyone think of Jamal Lewis this year?

by Dan Babbitt (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 10:22am

Well, the day has finally arrived. I'm picking 6th in a 10 team league and barring any major surprises from the guys drafting in front of me, Julius Jones will be my first round selection. No one in my league has heard of this site, so I'm going to unleash it and the book on them after the draft. There are a couple of statheads that will instantly fall in love with it and one or two Joe Morgan types that will want to flush it down the toilet, but you can't please everyone.

by Dan Babbitt (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 10:26am

re: #38

You'll have to buy the book to find out exactly what FO wrote about Lewis, but I found this reader comment on the Sports Guy's site to be very interesting but do not know how applicable it is.


and Maryland reader Chris F. scared me off Jamal Lewis with the following e-mail this weekend:

"Let me give you some inside skinny on him. Do not [ignore] the four months he spent in jail. I work in a jail and while he may not have been doing hard time, the experience will affect him. The food sucks in jail. We try to fill them with fatty/carbo laden food. He either ate badly or not at all. This is not like 'The Wire' where the CO brings in good food for the well-connected inmates. Also, most jails/prisons that have short-timer inmates do not provide weights. The liability is too high as is the risk of injury. Jamal may have done some cardio work in prison but due to a poor diet and lack of weights, he most certainly lost muscle. These top athletes are used to the best food, equipment, and staff to keep them in shape year round and Jamal missed all of this for a large portion of his offseason. Plus the time on house arrest where he did not have access to the Ravens' facilities will also be a factor. Look for a very off year for him and stay away in the first round. He is already injury prone and with the rust and loss of muscle I hope someone wastes a first-round pick on him in my league(s). Just my two pennies worth."

by jw (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 2:21pm

any suggestions on positions I should look at improving?
10 team holdoverleague starting

Tampa Def
Phila Def

by Jody (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:31pm

RB question. which two should I start: Edge vs BAL, K Jones vs GB, S Jackson vs SF? Scoring is 6 for TD, 1 pt for every 10 yds rushing or receiving (totalled separately), 5 pts bonus for 100 yd game.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:39pm

Jody, this may be the unpopular call, but I think you have to sit Kevin Jones for Jackson, given the matchups.

by Dan Babbitt (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:13pm

I love this team and am the defending champion. 10 teams, 8 make the playoffs (big dynamic), playoffs are weeks 14-16.

FYI: I used (for the first 6 rounds) the free excel spreadsheet provided by footballguys.com combined with the projections from Pro Football Prospectus 2005.

1 point per 10 yards receiving and rushing for QBs, WRs, RBs & TEs.

1 point per 20 yards throwing, 6 points per all tds, penalties for ints and fumbles

start 1 qb, 2 wr, 1 rb, 1 wr/rb, 1 te, 1 k, 1 def/special teams.

my results from the 6th position in a 15 round snake draft:

julius jones
roy w.
new england def
santana moss
josh brown
duce staley

Willie Parker, Bettis and Staley went 4,5 and 6 in the 15th round.

by David (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 8:49pm

I've been wondering: Can you adjust the KUBIAK projection to your particular league's points system without laboriously changing every cell in the Fantasy points column? Can you have all of the formulas in that column shift (such as adjusting the value of yards or passing TDs)?

Any help from MS excel wizards would be much appreciated...

by Colin (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:28am

i'm in a 10 team league. qb, 2rb, 3wr, te, k, def. picked 9th. your opinions?

matt hasselbeck, jake plummer
tiki barber, kevin jones, kevan barlow, tatum bell
reggie wayne, drew bennet, eddie kennison, tj houshmandzadah, ronald curry
alge crumpler
new england D, tampa D

it's a pretty loose league and alot of the guys didn't prepare much so some positions fell hard while others got snapped up quickly, like wr and tight end. i worry somewhat about tiki and kevin jones not scoring enough as projected. and whether crumpler's knee becomes an issue. what do you guys think?

by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:39am

David - you should just be able to copy the cell containing the formula, then highlight the rest of the cells in the column and paste. It should automatically adjust B2 to B3, etc.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 1:18am

Matt, you are a life saver! Thanks!

by Reinhard (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 7:06pm

Hmm... I have a good matchup question:

Julius Jones @ SD -or-
Mike Anderson @ Miami

standard scoring.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:44am

As it turns out, I got both Clayton and Jacobs. There are a handful of vets available (we have 22 man rosters, and FA pickups are forbidden after week 10) and that helped Jacobs fall. For those curious, the draft went like this (?- questionable IMO, ! good pick IMO, !? surprising in some fashion):

1) C. Williams
2) Ro. Brown
3) C. Benson
4) JJ. Arrington
5) Re. Brown
6) A. Smith
7) B. Edwards
8) M. Williams
9) T. Williamson
10) M. Jones
11) Willie Parker
12) M. Clayton?

13) Mike Anderson
14) M. Nugent?
15) R. Moats
16) A. Rodgers?!
17) M. Bradley
18) R. White
19) F. Gore
20) J. Campbell?
21) Eddie Kennison!!
22) V. Jackson
23) K. Orton
24) B. Jacobs

I also snagged Frye in round 3. So overall, I feel good about the way things went.

by Walt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 9:29am

First time fantasy player with the draft last Sunday afternoon. 12 team league, high performance scoring with 6 pts for all TDs and 1 pt per reception: QB/2RB/2WR/TE/FLEX/K/DEF. Drafted #7 in a serpentine draft and followed the projections from FO which had me going a completely different way a few times. I think I had an ok draft but the consensus immediately slotted me in for a mid-table finish. I made a rookie mistake and didn’t watch my bye-weeks so I know I’ll have some RB and WR issues in weeks 3 and 8. Any suggestions for changes? Bennett @ TB or Smith @ Mia for a week 1 flex. Thanks

QB: Drew Brees, David Carr
RB: Domanick Davis, Kevin Jones, M. Bennett, F. Gore, N. Davenport
WR: Reggie Wayne, Darrell Jackson, Rod Smith, E. Kennison, Gaffney
TE: E. Johnson, J. Wiggins
DEF: Washington
K: M. Nugent

by David (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 10:27am


I think that you'll be fine. Your starting RBs are great, your WRs are deep and good. I'm not enthralled with Brees this year, given the schedule, but your backup should be able to take up the slack if he falters. Same deal with your TEs, although I'd ordinarily suggest dumping one as you really don't generally need two. Of course, I like Wiggins over Johnson: even with Kleinsasser back, I think that Johnson's difficulties with defensive attention after his breakout are more important. The only weak spot on your team is the flex position. Typically, you want a third RB starting there, but unless Bennett breaks out of the committee structure, you'll be playing matchups with a third WR. So keep a close eye on the waiver wire for breakout RBs and if Anderson's still on the wire, nab him!

by Adam (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 2:10pm

Walt: What David said.

Does anyone have a strong opinion in terms of ranking K Curtis, A Randle El and S Parker in terms of potential to be starting FFL WRs this season?

by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 5:51pm

KUBIAK question:

I noticed that the spreadsheet formulas devalue the Kickers' value-based-drafting points by half. Any reason for this? If Vanderjagt is really expected to score 25 points over the baseline kicker, then isn't that indicative he might be worth taking earlier than you'd think? Is it that kickers are expected to be more variable week to week?

by jay (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 6:08pm

I'm in a deep, competitive 16 team league. 14 player rosters (plus two injury spots, but none of my players are hurt). TQB rather than individuals at that spot. I like my team pretty well, but I've got to drop two before kickoff Thursday. Of the following, I'm thinking about ditching Rackers and Matt Jones, but I'd appreciate feedback. I'm reluctant to ditch the Cincy defense because the only other available D/ST right now is SF and the 'Niners are off the same week as Philly. I don't love my WR depth, but my backs seem too good to give up, and I like the injury protection I have at TE.

QBs: Panthers, Saints
RBs: McAlister, L. Jordan, C. Williams, C. Taylor
WRs: R. Wayne, D. Branch, E. Moulds, Matt Jones
TEs: J. Witten, C. Anderson
D/STs: Philly, Cincy
Ks: Rackers, D. Brien

by jay (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 6:47pm

Re. 55:
Sorry, forgot to add that we start 1QB, 2RBs, 2 WRs, 1TE, 1K and 1 D/St. Thanks.

by Adam (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:00pm

Jay, drop a kicker and drop C Anderson -- when would you bench Witten?

by jay (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:42pm

Thanks, Adam. The only week I'd bench Witten is his bye week, or (obviously) if he gets hurt. It just seems like Anderson has some good upside. If he gets hot, my hope is that he could bring me a better receiver than Matt Jones in a trade.

by Towwb (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 10:46pm

Matchup question of my own, at WR, standard ESPN league:

I've got Bruce (SF), Wayne (Balt), Porter (NE), Stokley (Balt again), and Lelie (Miami), or could pick up Greg Lewis (Atl) or Colbert (NO). I've got Bruce locked in to one WR slot, but do I try to play matchup with one of my other guys (I'm leaning towards Lelie) or grab Lewis/Colbert for a week?

by jay (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 12:05am

Re. 59:

It may just be that he's the best receiver I've got, but I'd be inclined to start Wayne pretty much whatever the matchup.

by Mike K (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 12:43pm

Quick Rankings:
10 Best Defenses and 10 best individual defenders. Or even just the top few.

I have the spreadsheet, but haven't scraped to gether the cash for the actual book yet, so help me out here. Fantasy novice, draft is tonight (Wed.). Thanks, Mike.

by Mike K (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 1:20pm

Make that just team defenses.

Also, what round do you typically aim to draft a D? Or to put it another way, what positions do you look to fill before you draft a D?

by Terry (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 12:12am

Sorry for the answer begging, it's just that I'd love any thoughts at all on #30...

by Crazy Melvin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 1:30am

This is my first year in FFB and I am running two teams. Just had a draft yesterday (Wed.) and am looking for some advice/comments. League format is a bit strange: 8 teams, 6 pts/TD (all), 1pt/40pyds, 1pt/10ryds, 1pt/10recyds
Starters: 2QB,2RB,2WR, 1 TE, 1WR/TE, 2WR/RB, 2K, 2DT with 4 backups.

Here's how my draft shaped up:

Round Pick Name Team Pos
1 6 James, Edgerrin IND RB
2 11 Davis, Domanick HOU RB
3 22 Westbrook, Brian PHI RB
4 27 Johnson, Chad CIN WR
5 38 Bulger, Marc STL QB
6 43 Clayton, Michael TB WR
7 54 Burleson, Nate MIN WR
8 59 Witten, Jason DAL TE
9 70 Williams, Roy DET WR
10 75 Plummer, Jake DEN QB
11 86 Bills D BUF DT
12 91 Patriots D NE DT
13 102 Smith, Rod DEN WR
14 107 Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
15 118 Leftwich, Byron JAC QB
16 123 Edinger, Paul MIN K
17 134 Edwards, Braylon CLE WR
18 139 Kaeding, Nate SD K

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 09/08/2005 - 5:08pm


You can't go far wrong by using the weighted DVOA under Just The Stats -> TEAM DEFENSE.

by Noelle Hansen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 7:08am

I am a first year FF owner.. my yahoo league has 16 teams I was 13th in the draft.. boohoo. Here is my adjusted roster after one week, 1-0 YEAH! I am feeling very insecure in the WR dept. should I propose a trade there with one of my RBs? If so any suggestions on who to acquire and who to give up? Thanx in advance for your thoughts.

QB: T Green, D Carr
RB: C Dillion, B Westbrook, L Johnson, D Blaylock
WR: E Kennison, S Parker, M Jenkins, Bri Johnson, K Washington
TE: T Heap, S Heiden
K: M Nugent
Def Tampa Bay

by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 11:28pm

Hey guys, question here... i got real into the whole buy low/sell high deal and i decided to offer Plaxico Burress and LJ Smith for the (so far) underachiving Andre Johnson... Basically, have i made a mistake...? I'm sort of regretting it as it was accepted 2 hours after plaxico had one of the finest fantasy performances by a reciever this year.

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