Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I actually enjoyed the third rendition of Warehouse 13 right up to the last few scenes. It was going so well and then it all came crashing down once again. Let's start with the positives. There were some very funny scenes where Micah punched Pete in the nose several times because she had been taken over by the "infection". There was no character development in this episode which is actually a good thing because the show does such a poor job of it. Apparently the hacker from last week is back and messing with the power system of Warehouse 13. Artie has a heck of a time keeping the place lit. It was fairly amusing. I guess this hacker business is here to stay for a while. In the very last scene Artie watches the power grid go down and the words " knock knock" show up on the grid. Artie, in his most ominous voice, says "he's in". Not the high point in the episode. What really turned me off was the final action scene where the sheriff had been infected and started shooting up the church. I was fine with it until he took off his jacket to reveal a bomb strapped to his chest. Do we really need this? The low point came when he hit the button to set off the explosives. Instead of a detonation it triggered a 1:00 timer. Why would he put a timer on the bomb. It makes no sense. Terrible. Terrible I tell you. As you could guess they are able to save everyone, blah blah blah. At least this episode didn't bore me. See you next week.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My mother taught me many important lessons in life and I would like to share one of those with you today. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That rule of life made this a very hard piece to write, so I have decided to say only good things about the show. Anything that looks like (this) should be considered an absolute lie, my mother never told me not to lie, and you should feel free to enter the antonym of that word. For those of you from Indiana, antonym means opposite. Yes, I believe all people from Indiana are stupid and would have no clue to the meaning of antonym. Let’s get this party started.
I just finished the second rendition of the (smash hit) Warehouse 13. This may be the most (brilliant) show in the last 20 years. The (groundbreaking) writing carries this show to (unparalleled heights). We have a new (champion) of sci-fi and it's name is Warehouse 13.
The second episode begins with a bank robbery. The (completely original) use of cops trying to stop bank robbers is the foundation on which this (dazzling) story line hinges. The only (boring) part of this episode was Pete playing ping pong with a mirror. I (hated) the 80’s porn music when the sexy FBI agent Balsky entered the crime scene. Anyone else notice that Pete squints his face when he speaks? He really (sells) his scenes. The highlight of this episode must have been Artie’s use of the word, rankled. Rankled is a truly underrated word. It is very (difficult) to summarize this (marvelous) plot in 100 words or less but I will try. Pete and Micah are charged with stopping bank robbers who steal by playing a song that makes people so happy that they don’t care if the bank is robbed. The bank robber is the daughter of the composer of the happy song. She is stealing in order to buy all of her father’s songs back from an evil agent who “stole” them. After catching them, Micah and Pete decide to let them go. This drives Micah to call her estranged father in an attempt to reestablish their relationship. 96 words, not too bad. If you would like to check out this (incredible) show you can follow this link to Hulu. See you next week.
I have already done my homework. I know the guys I will target at specific price ranges. I have a plan A, B, C, and D. If those plans come crashing down around me I feel that I have enough experience to be able to make something up on the fly because of all the practice I have put into place. I typically let the other owners in the draft room dictate what strategy I employ. As most of you know, I love me some A.P., but not at $70. If the best RB in the game is going for $63 then you better believe that I am jumping on that train. Because I set a budget for each position I am able to restrain myself from overspending at any one position. My budget breaks down like this; $100 for RB, $25 for QB, $65 for WR, $8 for TE, and $1 each for K and D. The asking price of 2 players typically dictates what direction my draft goes. The first is A. Peterson. In most drafts he is one of the first players put up for auction. If I nab him in the low $60’s I know that I’m not drafting another RB for a while. That is unless someone throws out a lower rated guy sooner than normal. The 2nd player that is an indicator for my draft is M. Forte. Forte is the only other RB that I am willing to spend big bucks on. If I do land Forte, I will approach the draft the same way as if I signed A.P. but knowing that there is an extra $10 in my back pocket to spend on an upgraded bench or another top tier WR. If both Peterson and Forte slip past me I simply move down to the next group of guys, plan C, and go on with my draft. Now, if every one of Williams, L.T., Gore, and Slaton goes for outrageous prices we turn to plan D. Plan D is all about quantity. I hoard RBs who range from $15-$25 and hope a couple of them pan out.
The following is a list of five things that I will do or bring with me on draft day:
1. A list that is broken down by position of all available players ranked in order of the most you are willing to pay for each player. Break this list into tiers and highlight your real targets.
2. A chart, on one piece of paper, that shows the players drafted and cash remaining of every team.
3. Your team budget. How many dollars you are allocating for each position. Update this budget as you spend.
4. A poker face. Not a MP3 file of the stupid song, but a cool demeanor. Don’t get into a bidding war just because you are upset someone is bidding up your player.
5. List of sleepers. You need to have at least 5 guys at the three key positions. More than once in your draft a $1 sleeper will be bumped up to $2 by some jerk that is only doing it to be a jerk. If you only have one sleeper, you may fall into the trap of paying $7/$8 for a guy who is really only worth $1 or $2 max.
Now it’s time to enter the draft room. Let me give you some highlights…
How about we will start with some overpriced RBs, eh? Peterson went for a whopping $75, M. Turner for $65, S. Jackson got up to $56, a $61 Forte, $26 for K. Smith, and last but not least is a ridiculous $56 for Bandon Jacobs. I thought the best buys came in the form of W. Parker for $15, R. Williams for $1 could be a sleeper, I like a $8 C. Benson, M. Barber went for $27 when I have seen him go in the mid $30s, and a $16 Addai may be worth a gamble. There weren’t a lot of big surprises at WR or QB. The top guys got up there in price with Brees going for $46 and Fitzgerald bringing home $48. Before I break down my team I wanted to point out a couple of big mistakes by other owners.
One owner, let’s call him Bob, has a shit ton of expensive RBs. M. Forte (61), K. Smith (26), R. Brown (22), T. Jones (21), and R. Grant (20). Bob also drafted a $34 R. Moss, which I don’t think is a bad price, but left the rest of the team in shambles. Joe Flacco is the starting QB. D. Driver is the #2 WR with guys like Muhammad and Jenkins as the back-up WRs. Maybe he can deal one of his RBs for a decent QB or WR but Bob has to count on at least 4 of his 5 RBs getting off to great starts to be able to afford trading one.
We have another owner who went the complete opposite direction. Let’s call him Ron. Ron started off by drafting a $46 D. Brees. If you have read my “QBs grow on trees” article you know how I feel about this move and if you haven’t read it, read it as soon as you finish this. Anyway, Ron has a couple of very nice WRs to go along with Brees in A. Johnson (41) and S. Smith (31). Guess what Ron doesn’t have. That’s right, RBs or any depth at all. His RBs include; Portis (33), Sproles (10), Norwood (2), and Hightower (2). That doesn’t look like a championship group to me. Portis is a #2 fantasy RB and Sproles may be a #3, but is more useful as a #4. Overpaying for a QB and two stud WRs is no way to win.
My team is far from perfect, but I think they are pretty darn good. Here it is.
QB Aaron Rodgers 19 – Going to be a top 5 QB.
RB DeAngelo Williams 47 – The #1 fantasy RB last year for $28 less than A. Peterson.
RB Pierre Thomas 19 – I may have overpaid slightly here.
RB/WR Darren McFadden 17 – I hope one of McFadden or Thomas pan out.
WR Reggie Wayne 26 – A little less than I expected to pay for this stud WR.
WR Greg Jennings 26 – 3 players later White went for $22. I may have paid a bit much.
TE Greg Olsen 5 – I love me some Greg Olson. Top 3 TE this year. You’ll thank me later.
D/ST Jets D/ST 1 – Don’t care.
K Ryan Longwell 1 – Don’t care.
BE Vincent Jackson 15 WR – I spent way too much here. It was my big mistake of the draft.
BE Matt Hasselbeck 2 QB – Gerrard went for $4 so I moved to my second choice.
BE Torry Holt 7 WR – I got a go-to WR for $7, he may be old but I like it.
BE Felix Jones 4 RB – Could be a great value if Barber gets hurt again.
BE Donald Brown 5 RB – I love this rookie. Perhaps this year’s Matt Forte.
BE Rashard Mendenhall 2 RB – I have a man-crush on Rashard.
BE Devin Hester 4 WR – Hopefully Hester can become Cutler’s Brandon Marshall.
The only complaint I have about my team is that I don’t have a reliable #2 RB. I do feel like one of the 5 RBs on my roster other than Williams will step it up. I love my group of WRs. Wayne and Jennings are about as solid as it gets and Jackson appears poised for a breakout year. Holt should be a solid spot starter if needed and Hester has potential. This team has balance, depth, and potential. I can smell another fantasy championship coming my way.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
If you have been following any of my work at the Illiniseoul Nation you know that I like to budget $60-$65 for the WR position. If you haven’t been following the excellent information at Illiniseoul Nation, then I wish you luck in your futile attempt to achieve fantasy football greatness. I hope you have a Chad Ochocinco type season. Yeah, that’s right, Chad was dreadful last year. The supposed top ten WR finished 52nd amongst his peers. You know who else was bad? Roy E. Williams. This classic WR flop finished 74th. Neither of these underwhelming wide outs compare to the ugliness that is the Chicago scrubs. Do you know they haven’t won the World Series in 101 years? That’s a long time. Cubs, actually stands for Completely Useless By September. Have I mentioned that the cubs are bad? Not the bad that means good either. I’m talking bad like, it was bad to be a Lion last season bad. I hate the cubs. So if you want to have a good team, spend no more than $70 on WRs and try to make that number closer to $60. If you would like to finish in the bottom half of your league this year, please ignore me, spend $90 to get Moss and Fitzgerald, and be happy looking up at all your friends in the standings who didn’t fall for the WR hype.
As usual, we need to start by breaking these guys up into tiers. I am basing these rankings on a non PPR format. Here we go…
Tier A: L. Fitzgerald (48), A. Johnson (42), R. Moss (38), C. Johnson (38). None of these guys will be on my team this year unless they slide significantly lower than their average draft prices.
Tier B: S. Smith (29), R. Wayne (27), B. Jennings (26), R. White (24). I love this group. I think all 4 have a legit chance to be top 5 fantasy WRs. The only player in this group to finish outside the top 6 was R. Wayne. Why spend $10 or even $20 more for tier A player when you can grab these guys.
Tier C: T. Owens (22), A. Boldin (22), M. Colston (21), D. Bowe (19), W. Welker (17), B. Marshall (17), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (17), Roy E. Williams (16). I am all about value and value is not located in tier C. Let’s break it down. T.O. can’t get off the line of scrimmage and is now in Buffalo. A. Boldin went from option 1b to option 2 last season when Fitz clearly emerged as the go to guy. M. Colston is a giant injury risk. I like D. Bowe with his new QB, he is the exception to this group. I like Welker in a PPR league. I don’t like B. Marshall with his new QB. Housh is an injury risk and is playing with a QB that is an injury risk, not a good combo. Williams stinks, I don’t care that he is now the #1 WR option in Dallas.
Tier D: B. Edwards (15), C. Ochocinco (13), V. Jackson (12), A. Bryant (10), L. Evans (9), D. Jackson (9). This tier has it all; high risk/high reward, an old player who isn’t good any more, guys who have great value, potential in a more potent offense, and a 2nd year player who may be poised for a great season.
Tier E: Almost everyone else.
Sleepers: Players that I’m not going to talk about today, but you can buy them for a buck.
My strategy is fairly simple. I am going after 2 of the guys in tier B. I don’t really care which 2 I get so I am going after the 2 with the best value. Let’s say you drop $28 on Jennings and $22 on White, you have spent $50 but have your starting wide outs set. You are left with $10-$15 for your backups. If you have 3 RBs that you are comfortable starting, which you should, spend your $15 on 3 guys you feel have high upside. What you are looking for is one of those guys to break out. The only way your third WR is getting on the field is if one of your starters is injured, your starter has a bye week, or he is out producing your 3rd RB. What I am saying is that conservative is not the way to go here. I say spend the majority of your left over budget on one guy. I like A. Bryant or V. Jackson. A lot of people also like L. Evans and D. Jackson. Pick whichever guy you think is prime for a big season and go for it. Now buy two more WRs for a buck a piece. I’ll be throwing out my WR sleepers later in the year.
I don’t recommend it, but if you want to go out and spend $50 on Fitzgerald you can still be successful. You really have to do your homework though. There is only going to be $15, at most, in the budget for 1 more starter and 3 bench players. The hardest thing to do is not bid on a second WR until you get down to the guys that are truly in your price range. It is very easy to overspend on WRs and it can really destroy your team on draft day. If we are going to spend big on our top WR, I like tier A in this order; Fitz, Moss, A. Johnson, and C. Johnson. I know Moss finished 10th last year and the other guys were 1-2-3 but Moss has more upside than any receiver in football. The strange thing is that Moss’ upside doesn’t depend on what he does. If Brady is great, Moss will be great. If Brady stinks, Moss will stink. Which is exactly why I hate WRs.
Next week I will be putting out my dream and nightmare scenarios for an auction draft. I won’t be doing anything about K’s, D’s, or TE’s because I don’t care and neither should you.
Please leave your comments or questions below. Have a great day.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Let me start by saying that I wasn’t expecting the acting to be very good. I mean it’s not like it is a primetime network show. So the acting, while not very good, didn’t completely turn me off.
The special effects, which were less than stellar, didn’t make me dislike the show either. Even the fact that they “stole” scenes from other shows and movies really didn’t bother me. The problem was the overall plot of the episode and the story arc of a show which could have been so much better.
There is a scene where a man is controlled by someone else and for a reason that really isn’t crucial to the plot sprays gasoline from a pump and lights himself on fire. I think that scene came straight from the first season of Fringe. I may be incorrect on Fringe being the source but I know I have seen it somewhere before. There was also a “magical comb” that was used in a scene straight from the end of “Raiders of the Lost Arc”. I guess the show is supposed to be a mix of sci-fi giants like the X-files and Fringe, but it really doesn’t pull it off. Speaking of special effects, there is a very corny scene where an older guy flies through the air on a zip line inside the warehouse that looks like something out of a bad 80’s flick.
The problem with the plot of the first episode is that it simply wasn’t all that interesting. Perhaps if they would have packed the whole show into one hour instead of extending it to two hours it would have been better. The best part of the show is a warehouse where all of our countries secrets are kept, but they gave away all the mystery of the show in the first 20 minutes. The show would have been much more intriguing if they wouldn’t have shown the inside of the warehouse at all. Instead they could have given the two main characters assignments to recover all these supernatural objects and bring them back to the warehouse, but never be allowed in. At least that would have given me a reason to watch the next episode. Right now the only hope I have is that they come up with more interesting objects to find and that really doesn’t float my boat. Perhaps they will come up with some kind of story arc that will be deeply fulfilling, but I doubt it. I’ll check the show out a couple more times just to see if they can prove me wrong. Overall I give it a 3 out of 10.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Speaking of great ideas, let’s jump back into FFB budgets. We have $200 to spend, so how much should go to RB’s? As I have said earlier, I am not touching Brady or Brees in a fantasy auction so I will only spend about $25 total on the QB position for 1 starter and a back up. Obviously, if you are in a 2 QB league, that number will increase. I am also not willing to shell out big bucks for one of the top 3 TE’s. So I will be spending less than $10 on that position. It should be more like $5 but let’s play it safe and call it $10. I always allocate $1 each for kicker and defense. That leaves us with $163 for WR/RB. I believe you can have a very productive WR corps for $63 dollars, leaving $100 for RB’s.
Now that we have our $100 budget set for RB’s, how should we spend that money? First, let’s take a look at the A.P. approach. Say you land Mr. Peterson for $70. You now have $30 left for another starter and a couple back-ups. We are going to have to move all the way down to tier D to get someone in our price range. My advice would be to grab one of the following four players for $15 or less. Your choices are P. Thomas, McFadden, Stewart, or Ward. Time to turn your eyes towards tier F. My plan would be to grab 2 of those guys for $5 or less. That leaves you with 4 RB’s and $5 to spend on a couple sleepers.
If A.P. is not your guy you should be able to obtain a much more balanced rushing attack. A lot of people like Forte this year, so let’s start buy spending $55 on him. You could go all in and spend the rest of your budget on guys like Williams, Gore, Slaton, or Jacobs. Any of those guys would make for a great 1-2 punch, but you would be stuck grabbing sleepers to fill out your bench. Then you would have to start praying that neither of your starters have an injury. A more practical approach would be to grab someone from the top of tier D like Smith, Brown, Jones, or Grant for around $20. That’s still a nice 1-2 punch but leaves you $15 to fill out a solid bench.
If you’ve gotten this far, allow me to walk you through one more approach that is even more conservative. This is my “quantity over quality” approach. I like to have one “semi-stud” using this approach. Let’s start with a $40 F. Gore. Combine him with a couple of $15 risk/reward lottery tickets of McFadden and Ward. Dip down to tier E and grab 2 more. I’ll take Parker for $13 and White for $12. You still have $5 to pick a player from tier F to fill out a very solid group of 6 RB’s. It may not be a sexy approach but you are counting on McFadden, Ward, or one of your E level picks to be extremely productive. You would be protected against injuries and have some trade bait if Parker of White are more productive that projected. Keep in mind that you can never have to many RB’s because there are always injuries that lead to trade opportunities.
The moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived. That’s right; it’s time for the overrated and underrated section of our program.
Overrated – C. Johnson (50). I’m still not buying the speedy RB who failed to break a run for more than 25 yards last season. Especially when I think White is going to have another stellar year.
Underrated – T. Jones (20). As I said before, Jones finished the year 4th among fantasy RB’s last year. While I don’t think Jones is a top 5 back this year, $20 is
a great price to pay for a border line top ten RB.
Overrated – M. Lynch (18). With a suspension looming I can’t justify spending close to $20 to land this guy. Even when he was on the field last year he wasn’t all that productive.
Underrated – W. Parker (13). I know Parker has been unable to stay healthy, but I am more than willing to spend less than $15 for top ten ability.
Overrated – K. Smith (23). I just checked. He still plays for the Lions and there terrible offensive line. Even if he gets off to a good start, the opponent is simply going to stack the line of scrimmage and stuff him. The only Lion I want on my team is still Calvin Johnson.
Underrated – Forte (55). A top 5 RB last year when the team had no passing game. Forte should see a lot more running lanes this year. I believe he can be the #1 fantasy back this season.
Overrated – R. Bush (11). If you are not in a PPR league there is no reason to be paying double digit dollars for this guy. I wouldn’t pay more than $5.
Underrated – D. Williams (46). It’s fairly simple. Williams was the #1 fantasy RB last year and he is rated as the #8 RB this year. That’s great value.
That's all for today. I'll be back soon with the WR breakdown. Have a good one.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Let’s Talk Tiers.
I have my tiers broken down A-F. I tend to pay very little attention to how many players are in each tier. My only goal is to place players of similar value/talent in the same tier.
Tier A consists of: (1-4)
A.P. (71) leads the way for this group of RB’s. He typically commands a minimum of $65 and can go for as much as $80. A.P. is the best RB with the least amount of questions which is why he commands more draft dollars than any other player. If you are an A.P. guy I understand why, but if you are going to draft him you need to have a plan on how to fill out your roster with minimal funds. I have outlined a strategy for this in “Why snake when you can auction”.
Turner (62) had a break-out season last year, but is that enough to gamble $60 of your fantasy dollars?
MJD (57) is finally the “feature” back with Fred Taylor out of the picture.
Forte (55) had an amazing rookie season where he ranked 5th among fantasy RB’s. With the addition of Cutler, Forte should see more open space to run through as opposing teams can no longer stack the box. I don’t think it is out of the question for Forte to be the number 1 fantasy back this year.
Tier B consists of: (5-11)
Jackson (51) has missed 4 games in each of the last 2 seasons. He is great when he is healthy but how often will that be?
C. Johnson (50) is a speedy running back that had a less fantasy stats then most suspect last season. If you thought he was a top 10 back, you were mistaken. He ended the year at #11. Johnson was held back by White who finished the year with 15 TD. From what I am reading White has lost a bunch of weight and is in very good shape. This could spell trouble for fantasy owners who think Johnson will break into the top ten this year. I almost forgot to mention that despite Johnson’s great speed, he failed to break a run of over 25 yards last season.
L.T. (48) was taken in the top 3 of every draft last year. This year he is rated as the #7 running back. Despite his “down year” L.T. managed to finish 6th among RB’s. There is talk out of San Diego about limiting the carries of Sproles, which is a good sign for potential L.T. owners.
D. Williams (46) finished the year as the top rated RB in 2008. The only thing to fear about Williams is another talented RB on his team named Stewart. If Stewart can stay healthy he should take a lot of carries and scores away from Williams.
F. Gore (40) should benefit from being the best RB on a team who is moving to a run first offense.
S. Slaton (39) finished 7th among RB’s last year. He should continue to be a workhorse as he doesn’t have any competition from other RB’s on the roster. For $40 Slaton could provide top 5 production this year.
B. Jacobs (38) finished outside the top 10 RB’s despite scoring 15 TD’s last year. Ward is no longer there to take carries away from Jacobs this year, but that might not be such a good thing since Jacobs does tend to be injury prone. Buyers beware.
Tier C consists of: (12-14)
C. Portis (33) still finished 9th among RB’s despite going 7 weeks in the middle of the season without a TD. His slow finish to last season is what has dropped him to C level.
M. Barber (30) scored 5 of his 7 TD’s in the first 4 games of the season. In the last 4 games Barber only gained 15 yards on 13 attempts. If the Cowboys have a healthy Jones and Choice in the backfield it should keep Barber healthy for goal-line opportunities in which he can thrive.
B. Westbrook (29) was essentially hit or miss last year. He had 5 games where he scored more than 20 points, including three 30 point games. Westbrook also had 9 games where he failed to score 10 fantasy points. Yet he managed to stay in the top 10 of RB’s. Similar to Steven Jackson, Westbrook is great when healthy. But if you want to take a gamble on a high injury risk player you can grab Westbrook for $30 while Jackson will run you $50.
Tier D consists of: (15-23)
K. Smith (23) plays for the Lions and they still stink. However, he did score 15+ points in each of his last three games. But he does play for the Lions.
R. Brown (22) is in a contract season and appears to be healthy. I like it.
T. Jones (20) was a top 5 RB last year. Wait, what did you say? I said T. Jones was a top 5 RB last year. In fact, he was #4. I couldn’t believe it either. The Jets will have to run the ball a lot this year with a rookie QB but I don’t know if Jones can handle the workload. I believe he turns 31 during the season. I don’t mind paying in the high teens to see if Jones can repeat his production but I wouldn’t blame people for passing on him either.
R. Grant (19) annoyed fantasy owners last year by not scoring or eclipsing 100 yards until week 7. He was a little better in the 2nd half but failed to break into the top 20.
M. Lynch (18) is a pretty good RB. He has top 10 potential, BUT he tends to get in some trouble. His worth won’t be determined until we find out how long his suspension will be.
P. Thomas (17) should see more carries with McAllister out of the picture. It would be nice for Thomas if the brittle Bush would get injured again as well. Outlook is promising.
D. McFadden (16) still plays for the Raiders (sigh). Turf toe destroyed his rookie campaign but he has the skills to be a top 10 performer if he can stay healthy. This is a big risk/reward play.
J. Stewart (15) had a very nice rookie year behind Williams. Stewart should get plenty of carries on the goal line. He should put up close to top 20 numbers and would creep up even higher if Williams were to have any kind of setback.
D. Ward (14) will be out of the giant shadow of Brandon Jacobs this year. Ward should get a much larger workload than he is used to. If he can hold up all year he will easily be a top 20 back and has the potential to break out with a top 10 campaign. I like the upside.
Tier E consists of: (24-29)
J. Addai (14) only scored 107 points in an injury riddled season. I am not buying a resurgence.
W. Parker (13) only scored 104 points in an injury riddled season, sound familiar?
L. Johnson (13) could be cut by the Chiefs. Not a good sign for Johnson owners. Anyone notice how many old guys are in tier E?
N. Moreno (12) is not an old guy but he does play in Denver. We all know that Denver is where fantasy backs go to die.
R. Bush (11) would not receive a bid of over $5 from me in a standard league but if we are talking PPR I might go as high as $15.
L. White (11) hasn’t received much love this year. All I have to say is this; he was a top 20 back last year, he is a monster at the goal line, he has reportedly lost a lot of weight, and it may cost you less than $10 to grab him. How about that for some love.
Tier F consists of: (30-37)
A. Bradshaw (7) will split time with Jacobs this year. He only scored 43 points last year, but with Ward gone he should see a lot more carries. What he does with those carries remains to be seen.
J. Lewis (7) is old and I don’t trust him. Prove me wrong.
C. Benson (5) is a guy I love this year and I hate Cedric Benson. In his last 3 games he scored 15, 15, and 18 points. Not too shabby. You could find many worse ways to spend $5.
D. Sproles (5) is a must have If you own L.T. but has value on your roster even if you don’t own L.T. We have seen Sproles be explosive at times last year and owners will hope for more of that in 2009.
F. Jones (4). Please read Sproles but substitute Barber for L.T.
D. Brown (4) is a rookie RB for the Colts. I love this guy, mainly because I don’t like Rhodes or Addai.
F. Taylor (3) is now in New England and seems to me like the perfect player to fit into the Patriots system. I think he has a chance to be a top 20-25 back this year. At $3 that is a great value.
For those of you new to fantasy auctions let me break down how it works. If you understand how they work please feel free to skip this section. There are many sites where you can participate in an auction draft. The one I use has a major tv network that starts with E and ends in N. I am going to assume a 10 team format that uses standard scoring and positions, but you can use any format that you would in a regular snake draft league. The object is to build the best roster possible using only a $200 budget. In this format you must fill a 16 player roster where you start 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 RB/WR, 1 TE, 1 DEF, 1 K and have 7 bench slots. One owner at a time nominates a player to go on the block. The 30 second clock and the fun begins. There is no limit on how much you can spend on any player except that you have to spend at least $1 for every roster spot. That means if you have 2 bench spots left to fill and $6 left in the budget your maximum bid would be $5 since you have to save $1 for your last spot. The computer keeps track of the max bids and also lets you know the average amount you have left for each spot. The bottom line is that whoever puts in the high bid on a player earns his services, is drafted, and the amount you bid comes out of your budget. The next owner puts a player on the block and the cycle continues until all the owners have a full roster.
Let’s talk some strategy. I told you earlier that you could have A.P., Fitz, and Brees all on your team, but this may not be the smartest thing to do. You pick up A.P. for $65, Fitz for $42, and Brees for $33. You only have $60 left for the other 13 players on your roster. If you are all about the sleepers this isn’t a bad strategy to use since you can find cheap productive guys to fill out your roster. This strategy is typically referred to as “studs and duds”. It has its obvious advantages. You have A.P., Fitz, and Brees, who could each be #1 at their position, all on your team. The problem is that you will not be able to draft much depth because you simply won’t have the money to draft any other “good” players. If you suffer injuries, as every team does, you may not be able to recover. If you are experienced in fantasy football and have done your homework on which cheap players to target then this is the strategy for you. Most of us don’t have the time it takes to do the research necessary to be successful with this strategy.
Every player has a pre-draft value assigned to them which you can change before the draft begins. For example A.P. has the highest at $61. A strategy that I find effective is drafting on value. This strategy takes some work but not nearly as much as the studs and duds method. I recommend going in and setting your own values. It is my belief that A.P. is by far the best fantasy player this year. I actually give him a value of $65. On the other hand T.O. has a set value of $20. I don’t think he is worth that much (which is a topic I won’t get into today) so I rate him at about $16. Once you have your values set you are ready to draft. What you are looking for are players who are undervalued. Honestly, you don’t even need to look at their name. The only thing that matters is your dollar rating for that player. If you can get someone at .80 on the dollar, go out and do it. If you are a new owner, this is a great way to get your feet wet and puts you into position to win your league. This method should force you to avoid overpaying for players and give you quality depth.
There are hundreds of other strategies you can employ for your auction draft and they all can be effective. The hardest part of any draft is knowing when to abandon your game plan. If things just aren’t going your way, just go to your back-up plan. Yes, you need to have a back-up plan. If you wanted Tom Brady but some jerk just won’t stop bidding, he’s up to $46, and you’ve only got $80 left it may be time to rethink things. Come on, you could get a Warner/Boldin combo for the same $40. The point is you need to have a plan B and C.
I use the Juiced Penguins strategy. What I do is slot out a dollar amount to each roster spot. I also have 2 or more players that “should” fall under that amount at each slot. Let me break out my very early chart.
QB- $10 – I am looking for one of Roethlisburger, Cutler, or Cassel.
RB1- $70 – I love me some A.P.. If he goes over $70 I will settle on Forte or MJD and spend less than $60 on one of them. That $10+ goes to the bench.
RB2- $30 – Brown, Portis, or Barber. Typically you can grab Brown for less than $25.
WR1- $25 – Jennings, Wayne, or White.
WR2- $20 – Bowe, Colston, Roy E. Williams.
RB/WR - $10 – There are a ton of guys here that I like. I am looking for best value here. This is the point where, hopefully, other owners are running out of money and you can find value.
TE - $1 – I’m not getting Gonzalez or Whitten so I’m only spending a dollar here.
DEF - $1 – Pick your favorite, but don’t spend over $1.
K – $1 – I only spend the dollar because I have to.
If things go really poorly I will have spent $168. I haven’t seen a draft this year where I spent the max on every player. Typically I have $45 or more to spend on the bench. I have some deep sleepers that I am going to save for my positional breakdowns that will fill up my bench for very little money but I like guys like L. Evans, S. Moss, D. Sprolles, Bradshaw, and Benson for under $10 that are upper end type bench players with upside. Just for fun let’s look how a team employing this strategy could turn out.
QB- Cutler $10, Gerrard $4
RB- A.P. $65, Brown $26, Sproles $12, Benson $9, Taylor $6, Mendenhall $3
WR- Jennings $25, Bowe $20, S. Moss $8, Hester $5, Lloyd $1
TE- $1 Miller
DEF- $1 Patriots
K- $1 Gould
Looks like a contender to me and I have $3 left over. On the site I mentioned earlier you can actually improve your drafting skills using their mock auction draft. This program allows you to draft a team but there is no actual league. It’s a great way to get a feel for how the trends work and to try out different strategies. I actually drafted this exact team yesterday. Too bad it’s not in a real league because it looks like a winner. One last piece of advice before I sign off, never make trades while intoxicated.
Let’s have a little chat about QB’s in an auction style draft format. I am a big fan of setting up tiers before I go into my war room for draft day. So the question is who are the top tier QB’s this year. It is fairly cut and dry.
Tier A consists of Brees (43), Brady (41), and Manning (31). The dollar values in the brackets represent the average cost in standard ESPN auction drafts.
So who is in tier B? It is a rather large group of 6 quality QB’s including Warner (19), Rodgers (18), Rivers (16), Romo (16), Ryan (14), and McNabb (11).
Let’s break down tier C. Keep in mind that in a standard 10 team league that only 10 QB’s will start every week, so only 1 of this next group will be a starter week in and week out. The group includes Schaub (10), Cutler (8), Cassel (8), Roethlisburger (7), and Palmer (6). So if you are the one owner left without a QB you should have your choice of these QB’s. I doubt another owner will get in a bidding war for a backup QB.
Tier D includes 4 guys who aren’t the sexiest group of guys, no offense to Eli Manning, but certainly have value. This group would represent the bottom of the top 20 QB’s. Your back up QB choices include E. Manning (3), Farve (3), Flacco (2), Hasselbeck (2), Pennington (1), Garrard (1), and Campbell (1).
Now that we have our 4 tiers broken down let’s discuss some value come draft day. If I were to ask you who the top rated fantasy QB was last year, would you guess Drew Brees? If you would, you are one for one right now. How about a tougher one, who was the 2nd rated passer last year? Kurt Warner…no. MVP Payton Manning…no. It was none other than first time starter Aaron Rodgers. If you had the opportunity to draft player A for $43 and receive 295 fantasy points or draft player B for $18 and receive 278 points, who do you take? If you are choosing player A, Drew Brees, I have to question your fantasy expertise. To take it a step further, do you really think Brees can reproduce his near record setting stats from last year? Do you really think that Rodgers won’t be better this season with a year of experience under his belt? Even if the fantasy production repeats itself, the $25 of difference you have to pay to get Brees is worth a whole lot more than 17 fantasy points. It is worth something more like the difference between Roddy White ($24) who scored 172 fantasy points and Ted Ginn Jr ($2) who scored 101 fantasy points. Give me the combo of Rodgers and White who combine for 54 points more than Brees and Ginn Jr. every day and twice on draft day. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? The same logic goes for Tom Brady who could score more than 300 points this year, but at the price you have to pay for him it is still not worth it. I would say the same for Payton Manning but you can typically get him for $10 less than Brady or Brees. If you are looking to avoid risk at your QB position I have no problem dropping $30 for Payton.
We have been through the top 2 rated QB’s from last season, but who were #3 and #4? Payton Manning has to be in the there right? Wrong, Payton actually dropped out of the top 5 last year, finishing at #6. Rivers (16) was #3 and Cutler (8) was #4. Philip Rivers didn’t miss a game last year and had a QB rating under 90 only 4 times. As Darren Sproles becomes more involved in the Chargers offense I envision 4 or 5 cheap dump off passes broken for TD’s this season. If L.T. is healthy this year the Chargers may go back to more of a running game but I find it hard to believe that Rivers won’t get his. Cutler is much harder to predict. Last season he had a QB rating under 90 in half of his games. Cutler was throwing non-stop last season which led to over 4500 passing yards and 25 TD’s. The problem is he also threw 18 interceptions. Now Cutler makes the move to Chicago’s run happy offense. Chicago’s highest rated fantasy receiver Devin Hester only scored 78 points last year. The Bears do have a decent TE in Olson for Cutler to throw to, but he certainly doesn’t have the weapons he had in Denver. The bottom line on Cutler is that for under $10 he is worth a shot as a high upside back up who could fill in if your “starter” is injured or slumping. He would also be great trade bait if he plays well. If you are drafting Cutler to be your fantasy starter you better have a backup plan.
Coming in at #5 last year was Kurt Warner. If you read any of my stuff from last year you know that I predicted Warner wouldn’t last past week 7. Well, I was wrong. Warner was great last year but I refuse to believe. I still believe he is an injury risk and will not be on my team this year. Now if Kurt can stay healthy for a second season in a row there is zero reason to believe that he won’t be a top 5 QB again next year. The thing is someone is going to love Warner and will pay $20 for him. I say give me Rodgers or Rivers, even if I have to pay the same $20.
Let me finish up with 4 underrated and overrated QB’s I haven’t mentioned yet.
Underrated – McNabb (11) had a solid season despite all the turmoil. He finished as the 7th rated QB. He has some new weapons, although young weapons, and an improved offensive line. For $11 you get a guy who is a sure fire top 10 QB with a legit shot at being top 5.
Overrated – Brett Farve (3). Yeah you heard me Brett Farve. I don’t care if he is the starting QB for the Vikings next year, which he is not as of this moment. Last year he was the 16th rated fantasy passer. Farve was horrible in the 2nd half. Do you really think things will get better this season? I enjoy throwing his name out there in fantasy drafts and watching in complete amusement as owners lose their minds and drop $5 to $10 on Farve. If I get stuck with him for the dollar I nominate him at I will trade him if he is named the Vikings starter or drop him if he never signs and grab a different back up from the waiver wire.
Underrated – David Garrard (1). I think Garrard is the best back up QB in the game. Even in a “down year” last season he was still able to rack up 206 fantasy points, which was good for 11th among fantasy QB’s. Torry Holt’s arrival combined with MJD being on the field more often this year should only help Garrard’s numbers.
Overrated – Tom Brady (41) hasn’t played football for a long time. Will he ever put up his 2007 numbers again? Even if he does is he worth a bid of over $40. The same argument I used against drafting Brees can be used here. Brady scares me and there is no way I am paying over $40 for a player who scares me. I really hope someone else in my league does though.
Underrated – Matt Cassel (8) is rated as the #12 QB going into the season. Last year he was a top 10 QB (#8) in his first year on the field. I know he is no longer in New England but Kansas City does have a great receiver in Dwayne Bowe. I am not a huge fan of Matt but if I had an injury risk starter, Cassel would sure help me sleep better at night.
Overrated – Schaub (10). Maybe it’s because I believed in him last year and he barely broke the top 20 (#18). Who is paying $10 for this guy? I just don’t get it. I know he has Andre Johnson to throw to but come on. Maybe Sexy Rexy Grossman is starting in Houston by week 8. That is how confident I am in this guy. They also have Dan Orlovsky who is a better QB than Schaub. Sorry about the rant but this guy stinks. He has also missed 5 games in each of the last 2 seasons.
Underrated – Chad Pennington (1) never gets any respect. I know the future in Miami is Chad Henne, but the future is not this season. Pennington had a great year last year. He finished as the 10th rated passer in fantasy football. If he winds up in your starting lineup for a game or two he won’t kill you. Pennington only had 2 games last year with a QB rating under 70. On the flip side he had 8 games with a passer rating over 100. That’s good enough to be my back up QB, especially for $1.
Overrated – Matt Ryan (14) was the golden boy in the NFL last season. The rookie led the terrible Falcons to the playoffs. It was amazing, but how did his fantasy stats stand up? He must have been top ten, right? Nope, he finished a mediocre 15th among QB’s. Now don’t get me wrong, the kid has a high powered offense with great weapons, but I see a sophomore slump in my crystal ball. I think there is a chance for him to break into the top 10 QB’s but I think there is a better chance that he will remain somewhere around 15th. To land Ryan you have to pay top 8 QB money, which I am not willing to do.
I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings. If you did, be sure to check back in for the RB addition where I will break down the position by tiers and give some fantasy draft advice as well as go over some of my more underrated and overrated players. I am also planning on throwing out some bargain basement sleepers as well. See you then.