How y’all doing? A big Texas howdy for all y’all out there on FantasySharks. I’m the newest contributor to this site, and I’m going to be doing it with a little Texas style. As I’ve been sweltering in the Texas heat for the past month, I’ve also been roping up all the information that I can on the latest fantasy football news, analysis, player movement, injuries and anything else I can fit in my saddle bags.
First off let me say that the way you win your league is to score more points than the other ranch hands in your league. Easy enough, but I keep seeing some folks just not paying attention. Know your league rules inside and out and how to make the most of them. I’ll be playing in four leagues this year. Anymore and I find myself in a gunfight with myself every week. A player on one of my teams will be on one of my rival’s teams in another league. I like rooting for my own work horses and mine alone.
I’m not a football expert; if you want insight into football saddle up on over to ESPN. I’m a fantasy football statesman. I’m here to help you score the most points and kick your leaguemates off their high horses. Knowing who the Top 5 wide receivers on the St. Louis Rams are isn’t going to help you win. Knowing which defense is sipping from the horse trough, instead of taking whiskey shots, will help you. During the season, knowing which defense is a good matchup and which is a bad one will help you make the decisions on which non-stud player to start. Hopefully I can give you some insight so you’ll be riding into the playoffs with the biggest steers you can, instead of getting bucked off the bull.
As I write this, I’m in an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) dynasty league 42-round draft. It’s an email style draft where each cowboy gets up to 12 hours to make his pick. Been going on for around 10 days now. Fun draft, but been seeing some guys do some dumb stuff. This league starts one running back, two wide receivers, one tight end, one running back-one wide receiver flex, and one wide receiver-tight end flex. One guy drafts Cedric Benson in the seventh round (which is about where he should go in this league) as his third running back. Then in his comments for the pick says “Phsss, I’ll flex this guy with a smile on my face.” Way to shoot yourself in the foot there pal, the max you can start is two running backs. My point – know your rules. Another nice move I caught some guys napping on: this league is a tiered points per reception (PPR) league, with running backs getting 0.7 points per reception, wide receivers get 1.0, and tight ends get 1.2. Why does this matter? Well, when I found myself searching the range for a third wide receiver to play, I decided to use the rules to my advantage, and I rounded up Jason Witten for my team. In a later round, I grabbed another Top 10 tight end. I’ll be flexing Witten in the wide receiver-tight end spot every week and watch him pull in more points than the other wide receivers I could have taken. Knowing your rules is very important.
Avoiding Saloon Brawls in your league
After all my years of playing fantasy football I’ve found that having a good, binding set of rules for your league will take many of the saloon brawls out of your league and make it a much smoother ride through the season. One of the rules that I’ve been trying to talk all of my leagues into doing is blind bidding for waivers. Blind bidding is the fairest way for waivers to work. If you haven’t tried it, do it and you’ll never go back to the other waiver wire systems again. No more bad team gets the first pick, no more bickering over who should get the top pick. If your stud running back goes down and you don’t have his backup sitting on your bench, you’re spending those blind bidding bucks quicker than Chad Ochocinco gets bucked off a bull.
The Big D (and I don’t mean Dallas)
As I said earlier, one of my leagues is an IDP dynasty league. While I’m no IDP expert and I’ll offer no insight for IDPers, one nice thing about playing in an IDP league is that it gives you a little more insight into those defensive guys that look like the blue ribbon bull at the state fair. I know most of you think that the defense spot on your roster is one that you should wait until the last round to rope in, and you’re right. Mostly. The turnover of multiple defensive players every year changes which teams are starting material from year to year. Here is a chart showing how many points each defense scored in the last three years and how much they are projected to score based on last year’s points allowed. Sharks league rules for defenses were used.
This chart is like a stop light in that green is good, red is bad. In my experience being a good fantasy defense is 80 percent skill of the players and 20 percent how tough the schedule is. Take a look above and you can see that Green Bay and Philadelphia have been some of the top defenses for the past three years. The good defenses are usually good; the bad ones are usually bad. The 2011 projection column shows which defense has a good schedule or a bad one this coming season. The projected points are taken by looking at each team’s 2011 schedule and putting in the 2010 points given up by each opponents offense. This is purely a statistical look in, and takes no account of player moves this offseason. A few things jump out at me from this:
1. Philadelphia and Green Bay look like locks to be the biggest bull at the rodeo again this year. If you want them you’re going to have to pick them early.
2. Baltimore has been getting worse for the past three years straight, but somehow they keep getting picked earlier than the last round.
3. Arizona: They could be bucked up to the Top 5. Even with the loss of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie they should do well. With Kevin Kolb in the saddle, hopefully the defense is fresher. They can probably be had in the last round.
4. Atlanta: They’ve been quietly moving up the board in recent years. With what looks like an easy schedule they should become starter material. Last round material as well.
3rd-and-10 Random thoughts from the ranch
2. Peyton Hillis’ yards per carry over the last four games last year were: 5.1, 4.2, 2.9 and 2.2 in that order. The two backs behind him on the depth chart are Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson. Although Jackson didn’t produce running for Green Bay last year he did average 7.9 yards per reception. Guess who’s coming in on 3rd-and-long this year?
3. The Indianapolis Colts have the easiest schedule for quarterbacks and wide receivers this year, and end the season with games at New England, at Baltimore, and home against Tennessee and Houston in Weeks 13-16. All of those teams were in the Bottom 10 for points given up to quarterbacks and wide receivers last year.
4. Joseph Addai had more fantasy points playing in eight games than Donald Brown had playing in 13. In seasons where Addai plays more than 12 games he has 10-plus touchdowns. Right now his average draft position (ADP) is between Fred Jackson and Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells. Addai is 28 years old. For a flex play I’ll take Addai every time.
5. If you’re looking for a deep, deep sleeper, look at Jacksonville wide receiver Jason Hill. The guy had 233 yards in the last four games of the season, and Mike Sims-Walker is no longer with Jacksonville. Not saying he’s going to breakout, but if you’re looking late, why not give it a go?
6. The fullback making holes for Arian Foster last year, Vonte Leach, is now playing for Baltimore.
7. If you take Ben Roethlisberger’s stats from last year for 12 games and stretch them to 16, he scores within two points of both Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Last year Pittsburgh had a strength of schedule of 27th; this year they have the third. Roethlisberger is being drafted as the 10th overall quarterback with an ADP in the seventh round. Brady and Brees have ADPs in the third round.
8. Mark Sanchez has a career 3-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio when he plays in temperatures less than 40 degrees. His Week 14-16 schedule is against Kansas City, at Philadelphia and against the New York Giants.
9. Colt McCoy threw eight of his nine interceptions last year against Pittsburgh or Baltimore. In Weeks 13-16 he plays them a combined three times.
10. In Mario Manningham’s last three games last year he had stat lines of 16 receptions, 346 yards and four touchdowns. In all those games, he went for at least 101 yards and a touchdown. Steve Smith is no longer in New York.
Fourth Quarter Roundup
There you have it. My first article for all y’all to dig into. I’ll be offering more little tidbits and analysis throughout the preseason and as the season rides along. I hope y’all enjoyed.