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Fantasy Football Outlook 2010

August 10, 2010

It’s that time of year again, the first preseason football has taken place, the magazines have hit the shelves and fantasy football leagues are starting to open back up. Drafts are right around the corner.  My league’s draft is a 32 hours away and counting.  It’s the 6th year that I’ll be playing in this league, and it’s like an unofficial holiday among friends –equal to that of a birthday. It’s marked with beer, grilled food, and a

So what are my suggestions for a banner Fantasy football draft? Here you go:

First off let me say that a) my league has 8 members in it, so it’s a bit smaller of a league but my advice is still worthy and b) My league favors Packer players. Must be something to do with living in Wisconsin. But Aaron Rodgers will be over drafted, so will Ryan Grant, the packers defense and JerMichael Finely. It’s just a fact.

Second, let me explain the points system for my league. It’s uses the standard yahoo points scoring system as a base, but has some changes. There is one quarterback three wide receivers two running backs a tight end kicker defense and six bench spots.

Passing yards are 50 yards per point; 2 points at 300 yards; 4 points at 400 yards; 6 points at 500 yards. 6 points for a passing touchdown.

Rushing and receiving yards are: 25 yards per point; 2 points at 150 yards; 4 points at 200 yards; 6 points at 250 yards. Touchdowns worth 6.

Fumbles and interceptions are worth -2.

As you can see it’s a bit of a touchdown heavy league, stingy on yards. So you need to grab players accordingly.

As you can see it’s a bit of a touchdown heavy league, stingy on yards. So you need to grab players accordingly.

My first tip to fantasy owners is: Jump The Shark. Running backs are a dime a dozen and if you can’t nab a top 3 Quarterback, you should focus on wide receivers. In nearly every mock draft, the top five spots in any draft are very set.  The teams that aren’t mine are represented by the letters A,B, C, D, E, G, H. (I am F)

  1. Chris Johnson (A)
  2. Adrian Peterson (B)
  3. Ray Rice (c)
  4. Mo-Jo Drew (D)
  5. Frank Gore (E)

Those 5 will go somewhere in that order, if you have a pick after the top 5, and one of those players are on the board, grab them. However if you have the 6th pick and you have a decision to make: do you go for the 6th best running back or a Wide receiver. The best receiver in the game is Andre Johnson and the 6th best running back is Michael Turner. Turner has an injury concern, and fantasy owners were burned by him last year. Go for Andre Johnson, wait a round or two, pick up running backs then.  I’ll be doing that with the 6th pick.

6. Andre Johnson

My second round pick in the 8 person league is 11th. Tough to say who will fall to me with this pick. I’m hard pressed to believe that the two guys drafting with the 7,10 and 8,9 picks respectively will pass on Aaron Rodgers twice. If they do, he’s mine. However, I think the more logical assumption will be that one of those guys grabs a quarterback, which could start a run on that position.  Don’t fall into that trap and think you need to settle for the second or third best quarterback right away. Also with the 7-10th picks, these two guys will have to think they need to grab another running back. With these spots they could be tempted to go for two solid running backs, but they’re players I’ll avoid. As said before, Turner may not be healthy, and he’s pretty one dimensional. Steven Jackson is once again the only offensive talent in St. Louis, plus he’s got back issues. Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Greene are the next backs available. Greene will lose carries and touchdowns to LT, there is no question about it. I’m putting him on my players to avoid list. However G likes Shonne Green, He can take him.

7. Michael Turner (G)

8. Aaron Rodgers (h)

9.  Rashard Mendenhall (H) –this is a tough pick to predict

10. Shonne Greene (G)

With the 11th pick the best players on the board are Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne and Larry Fitzgerald. Two of these players are on my avoid list. Without Wes Welker, Randy Moss’s production should be significantly limited. Especially when you take into consideration that New England’s running back situation is the same level of mediocrity it’s always been. Fitzgerald doesn’t have Kurt Warner to throw to him or Boldin to draw coverage. I don’t think Breston is at that level yet to step up. I don’t have the confidence in Matt Leinart yet, so that makes this pick pretty easy:

11. Reggie Wayne.  (However if Wayne is off the board here, I’m going to sink down and grab Calvin Johnson).

The rest of picks between mine at the 11th and my next pick in the 3rd round at 22 will be about quarterbacks and second running backs. There are a lot of running backs to avoid in this area. As said, put Shonne Greene and Steven Jackson on that list. Smile when someone wastes a pick on Moss and Fitzgerald. Hope that decisions get made for you when DeAngelo Williams and JaMaal Charles (who could lose carries and TDs to Thomas Jones) slip off the board. No telling how the Panthers will be using their running game or which back will show up which week. There’s a good chance Stewart will be taken too early if Williams gets nabbed in the 2nd round too. I know, speaking from my league at a personal level, Ryan Grant and Chris Wells will be taken by this point. Drew Brees and Payton Manning almost certainly be gone by this point and there is a chance Romo and Brady will be too (But I see this as less likely Those guys will be taken by teams scared they’re going to be left out of the quarterback scramble). After a certain point this becomes a crapshoot. And perhaps I’ve over predicting running backs, when there are some top notch wide receivers on the board here. Calvin Johnson may not make it to my 22nd pick, Miles Austin might not either.  The fact that I can predict to this point with any level of accuracy may be a miracle.

12. Drew Brees(E)

13. Steven Jackson(D)

14. Randy Moss(C)

15. Larry Fitzgerald (B)

16. DeAngelo Williams(A)

17. Peyton Manning (A)

18. Ryan Grant(B)

19. Jamaal Charles (C)

20. Jonathan Stewart(D)

21. Pierre Thomas(E)

With the 22nd pick, you might be tempted to take I might be tempted to take my 3rd wide receiver, but I won’t. In most leagues, I’d be lucky to get this player in the third round, but in my league I’ll be accused of taking this player too early.

22. Ryan Matthews (F!)

He’s a good rookie running back. And I have a knack for drafting rookie running backs. I’ve gotten Forte and AP late in the past, but Matthews is too good running in a system that gave LT two extra years of work. Virtually guaranteed rookie of the year. There is a good chance he’ll put up top 5 RB numbers, but even if he only hits his projected value, he’s only 3 touchdowns and a few hundred yards behind Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson. And I got him in the 3rd round, and I have two top Wide receivers before most teams have one.

Finishing off the 3rd round will be tricky. I know my league doesn’t favor players with checkered pasts so Cedric Benson could stay on the board, but health and suspensions make me want to leave him there too. If Charles isn’t taken at this point, he will be, probably an above mentioned quarterback will be taken here if they haven’t already.

The top of the fourth round is where things will get interesting. But the most important thing is to pay attention to who everyone else is drafting. I think this is a key that is rather overlooked. With an early pick in the 4th round, You have to consider “Can you wait on a certain player, or do you have to reach? Because he won’t be on the board when the draft comes back to you?” Can you wait on a certain player because every team picking behind you has two running backs already or do you have to snatch your second because some teams drafting behind you need a second running back, or first wide receiver.

23.  Tom Brady (G)

24.Cedric Benson(H)

25. Greg Jennings(H)

26. Brandon Marshall(G)

26. Anquan Boldin (G)

My pick in the 4th round at the 22nd spot is very up in the air based off this list.  I highly doubt Miles Austin makes it back to me, but if he is, that will make my life so much easier. Same thing goes for Greg Jennings. Because of the uncertainty of Brett Favre, Sidney Rice’s numbers and draft value may go down quicker than any of the girls on Chad Ochocinco’s reality show. There is a better chance that Roddy White is still on the board, with a developing Matt Ryan, he may quietly find elite company with Johnson, Moss and Wayne but he gets over looked. I’ll leave Marques Colston for E since he loves Saints players. The likelihood this happens is pretty low. Like I said I may be over-valuing running backs in the 11-20 range, but I suspect that a quality of those backs will draw other guys away from drafting wide receivers. Even going outside the top 15 on Wide receivers, there is still a high chance that either Steve Smith (though I suspect team A will over draft the NY one), DeSean Jackson or Michael Crabtree is on the board. My true goal in the fourth round is DeSean Jackson (you’ll find out why later), but if any top 10 or so WR is still on the board at this point (which is a high likelihood), I’ll grab that player first.

Notice how we haven’t taken a quarterback? and I won’t take him in the 5th round either. For that pick I’ll probably pick my second running back, but that depends on the people drafting behind me. by this point a majority of them will have 2 running backs and a quarterback, working on their first wide receiver. However it might be more likely to think they’re going to be going for their second running back or even their quarterback, fearing that they can no longer wait and those teams will grab a quarterback . I suspect there will be a good chance that I could pick up LeSean McCoy, Cedric Benson or even Brandon Jacobs, At worst my second running back will be Matt Forte, a player I believe is due for a comeback season.

If at this point, 6 or 7 other teams have quarterbacks, I may use my early 6th round pick on a tight end. Three of them could be getting popped off by this round -because in all honesty a third WR and tight end put up similiar numbers. There is a good chance that a top tight end out scores the number 3 wide receiver. However since I have 3 top recievers, and two running backs, the 6th round is the place to get the tight ends. -Other teams will have just picked up or are targeting their second wide receiver if they drafted RB-QB-RB-WR-WR.  I suspect that Gates and Clark may be off the board by this point (By teams D and E), and there might even be a chance that Vernon Davis was WAY over drafted by team A, I suspect that I’ll have to chose between Jason Witten and JerMichael Finley. I really (emphasis REALLY) like Ocho-Ocho. He’s quickly becoming Aaron Rogers favorite target, and though he got popped and missed a few games this year I think he might be the best packers tight end since Chumura.

The 7th round is where I go for a quarterback, while I let other teams duke it out for tight ends and number three running backs. Even assuming that, Cutler is over rated and Favre isn’t coming back, I believe that Kevin Kolb will still be on the board and will be a tremendous player. He may have only played a short time last year, but the Eagles were ready to give McNabb the boot because of Kolb’s performance, and the Eagles have historically been fantasy gold

the 8th round is where I get my defense, but if 7 teams have quarterbacks drafted at this point, I’ll put Kolb in the 8th which is equally to an Mother-Fing STEAL. By the 8th round every team will have a full slot of players so the run on defenses will begin. Drafting a defense in my league is like having an 8 way staring contest. Whoever breaks to grab one first will cause a domino effect and each team will grab one. Going for the Jets, Packers, Vikings or Eagles are all good options. But the Bears, Chargers, Giants, steelers, saints and Ravens are all viable options. If I’m late to the party for the defenses I hope someone takes a team from that second list and I can sneak in on a top 6 team like the 49ers (YES) and the Cardinals.

For the bench I’m going to look for rookies. It’s my thing. Logically you’ll only need your bench players sporadically to fill in on bye weeks. Keep an eye on those otherwise you’re wasting a pick. For running backs I’m going to look to Jahvid Best, C.J. Spiller, Ben Tate or Montario Hardesty. But any of those players come with a risk. Best and Hardesty play for bad teams, Spiller and Tate are not guaranteed the number one spot. Safer picks are Ronnie Brown, either Cowboys running backs or either Raiders running backs. Justin Forsett is a sleeper option here.

For bench wide recievers, I may look towards rookies again. If I don’t get Miles Austin, Dez Bryant jumps to the top of my list. Arrelious Benn and DeMaryius Thomas also make my list. Brandon LaFell and Golden Tate to a lesser extent. After the first 20 wide recievers, you stop seeing 1000 yard 7 touch down projections. Thats a touchdown every other game at best.  (Which is why you need 3 top 10-15 if you can). Safer bench recievers are Masaquoi, Steve Breston, Terrell Owens, Tennesse’s top options or the Bears top options. Britt and Washington (Tennessee) or Hester and Aromashodu (Bears) could be sleepers.

If you decide to take a bench Tight end (I don’t advise this), there are still quality options out side of the top 10. Likely players you can get on waivers for a week or two. I think Chris Cooley is overrated, but catching passes from McNabb may increase his value to a starter. I’d avoid Owen Daniels because of injury. Look for someone to get confused and think Anthony Fasano, Todd Heap, Greg Olsen and Tony Scheffler are good back up options. Heath Miller, Jonh Carlson and Kellen Winslow are suitable back ups. I bet Visanthe Shiancoe gets crossed off a lot of fantasy lists without Favre, but even with T-Jackson he might still be a viable back up.

My final tip for fantasy players – the last round is for kickers, don’t go for one before that. Hell don’t even draft one, watch how the pre-season shakes out and then pick one up.

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