Everybody has 15 minutes of fame.
Turns out the Texans aren't too thrilled with their star running back disclosing his hamstring pull, which could cost Foster 3 weeks. He's saying that he's good to go for week 1, but let's just say the people who drafted Ben Tate are bouncing off walls right about now.
What's bad for Houston's nondisclosure policy is a confusing mess for fantasy owners. What was once a no-brainer top 3 pick is now a bit more questionable. Three weeks isn't the end of the world but it's kind of a long time to be without a number one pick when Ray Rice, Andre Johnson and Shady McCoy are sitting right there winking at you.
So how far does he fall? By claiming that he'll be available for week 1 Foster throws a haze over the whole proceeding.
So it's just a matter of:
a) do you believe Foster's tweet or do you believe the follow up? and/or
b) is Foster missing the first 3 weeks worth passing him up?
I'd bet that he goes in the top 5 unless his Hammy tweets more bad news.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Everybody has 15 minutes of fame.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Each year, drafting seems to get a little bit harder.
There are a variety of possible explanations for this, early onset dementia, my own personal loss of fantasy knowledge, maybe an aggregate boost of all the knowledge of the owners I'm drafting against. Or it might be as simple as the old adage: The more you learn, the less you know.
When I drafted my first team back in the summer of 2000 my fantasy IQ was registering somehwere in the lower ranges of imbecile.
"How hard can this be?" I thought as I imagined how I would spend my winnings? Maybe one of those new Segways, those'll be everywhere in 5 years, I'm sure of it.
What could have been an ugly experience turned into fantasy gold when I lucked into the first overall pick and Marshall Faulk in year when Faulk turned in one of the most dominating fantasy years ever. I ended up finishing in second place that year and was pretty convinced I was a fantasy genius.
Eleven years and countless drafts later, nothing seems as simple as it did on that blistering Florida day. Now I realize that not only do I know very little about how things will shake out, I know even less about how they should shake out. None of us really do. Sure, at the draft I'll call someone an inbred sissy for taking Matt Forte in the first round, but I have no idea how Forte will do. If Forte makes the man happy, who am I to judge?
Having traded away my first round pick to gain keeper rights over Michael Vick in the 15th round I took Anquan Boldin in the 2nd. Then, after a massive run on RBs that removed names like AP, Rice, McCoy, Foster, Jackson, Turner, Blount, Gore, Bradshaw, Best (Deep Breath) Bradshaw, Felix, Gore, CJ, Benson, Moreno and Deangelo (nevermind keepers like Shonn Green, Jamaal Charles, MJD, Mendenhall & McFadden) there was hardly a second string running back to be found. So I went with Mark Ingram. I'm not sold on it, probably my biggest stretch of the draft, but when they all start going you have to rewrite the plan.
And that's the reality of understanding fantasy drafts. Since you can't spend an entire draft picking sleepers, and you can't rely on other people to only pick guys you hate, you have to be able to react and roll with the punches (sometimes literally).
My other league is an online draft and due to a fairly large percentage of doofuses who can't remember times or dates or who insist on being in equatorial New Guinea that weekend we get a lot of autodrafts. And of course if you have the computer picking for 3 guys it helps to dampen a run on a commodity, because the computer doesn't care that 23 running backs are off the table before the middle of the 3rd round, autodraft just says: "You need a quarterback in the 3rd round - enjoy Tony Romo" and just like that, it happens.
On the other hand participating in a live draft - where everyone is in attendence - is a bit like going to the zoo 5 minutes after they just unlocked all the cages. Absolute chaos. Drunk people staring at the draft board for 5 full mintues and then accidentally selecting somebody's keeper. The constant din of disapproval alone would be enough to cause an inexperienced hand to head to a corner and weep uncontrollably. And I'm personally responsible for probably less than 60% of that public derision, so yeah, there's a lot to go around.
I think my team is OK. Like anyone else we'll get devoured if we get a bunch of injuries and we might not make the playoffs if at least one of our questionable picks doesn't turn into something decent ahem Ingram . But pretty much everyone is in the same boat -- except the guy who drafted Forte -- he's toast.
And whether I get any smarter, any dumber or any more polite in the years to come it really is irrelevant - I come for the competition but I stay for the theater. If I thought my wife, kids or parents wouldn't watch it I'd sell the rights to our draft to a reality producer and make a killing. I swear a good draft will make the Housewives of New Jersey look like a Junior League bake sale.
And we may not have much - but we have a killer draft.
Monday, August 22, 2011
And I came up with a shtick,
that'll be lamer than Hell,
but will rhyme with Mike Vick.
OK. A better writer than me would have given that stanza more than 13 seconds of thought before rhyming shtick with Vick. more importantly, a better writer than me never would have bothered with imbecilic rhymes in the first place, but I live with two toddlers who respond only to things that rhyme. For example:
This diaper of yours
is always so full
I'm beginning to think
that you are part Bull
Fine, I'll stop. Back to business. Like many of you I have my first draft of the season this Saturday. Two of them in fact. The first for my own league and the second for my favorite league - my keeper league. After 9 seasons of fantasy ball and 4 seasons in a keeper-style league I can honestly say that if you can convince your commissioner to take the extra time and energy to go keeper, you should do it. The advantages far outnumber the weaknesses (which as far as I can tell fall solely on the person managing the league - sorry Steve).
In no particular order
1) When you can keep a few players (we keep 2) you can develop a core team around which you build over time. Maybe you have a stud QB and a stud receiver, you know that you won't have to be overworried about those positions with your first couple of picks. This is especially nice if you can keep a top QB. The guy who won last year has been keeping Drew Brees since he became a Saint. This will be his last year to hold him, thankfully - but he created a championship team out of his ability to keep a top tier QB.
2) Consequently you get more interesting drafts. Since everyone isn't chasing blindly after the same top tier guys you get a lot more diversity among the picks. Our drafts aren't even remotely similar to any Average Drafts you see online. Last year Peyton Manning went 1st. That guy didn't finish in the money or anything, but he thought a top QB was his best chance so he took it.
3) This format opens to the door to more generational thinking. Last year a team named the Stompers picked up Michael Vick off waivers (in this league the lower you take somebody the longer you can keep them - so this was a huge windfall for the Stompers). This year my team traded the Stompers my 1st round pick in 2011 and my 3rd round pick in 2012 for rights to Vick. Could be a huge mistake on either of our parts, but it certainly will provide for a lively draft.
4) This particular keeper format moves any potential keeper up two rounds each year they are kept, and you are not allowed to keep anyone drafted in the 1st two rounds. So guys that come out of college with a ton of buzz can almost never be keepers, but all those sleepers that come out of nowhere can sit on an owner's team for as long as 7 years before they are forced back into the general draft pool. A few years ago a guy took a 9th round flyer on Chris Johnson who was (at the time) getting split evenly with Len Dale White. A few sandwiches later White is a non-entity and the Chris Johnson gets to be kept the next 3 seasons. Wham!
Not that there's anything wrong with the standard draft. Shaking up the fantasy snow globe every year means everyone always starts with a clean slate. But where's the fun in that? The best players can reap sometimes small, sometimes huge year-over-year benefits from drafting wisely, and we all like that.
A general question for those wiser than I
I'm entering my first Auction-Style league this year. What have you learned? What are important drafting strategies beyond: "Don't overpay for Eli Manning!"
I'm anticipating a bit of a learning curve here, but the draft is no time to find out all the things you don't know. Post your tips in the comments. Thanks.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Time to stock the fridge, hide the delicates, give the neighbor the keys and get down to some serious draftin'!
If 2010 was the year of Arian Foster and inappropriate pictures of Favre's QB, then what will 2011 be? Will it be the year the league lowered our expectations so much that anything short of a strike would make for the greatest football season ever? I'm afraid so.* But what the hell, quality entertainment isn't everything, just look at ABC Family (shudders to think.)
So on with the show. I'm not going to bother telling you about Michael Vick or Adrian Peterson because you are going to draft them 1 & 2 no matter what I say. Which is fine. For once the top 8 or 9 picks are all quite workable. No Frank Gores, Steven Jacksons or Randy Mosses out there cluttering up the top line with their emeritus status. Jackson and Gore have finally slipped peacefully into the second round where they will still be drafted too high, and Moss has straight cashed out. Thank God!
The last thing you want is that debate over the return on your investment. And barring injury, this years top pix ought to have no trouble bringing the fantasy points. Ray Rice is the only guy on that list who stands out as a question mark and I'd take him in a second.
Players I love:
Calvin Johnson - It's easy to be dismissive of the Lions because of, well, they are the Lions. But you don't profit from buying a stock when it's at the apex, you buy low then ride that to the top. Megatron could be the best receiver to have in the league this year if no one's shoulder shatters (looking at you here Stafford).
Larry Fitzgerald - There are two things that can happen to a wide receiver to ruin their year: Injury and crappy QB play. Last year the Cards had a lot of the latter. Kevin Kolb should be an enourmous upgrade at QB and captain dreadlocks can help him get there.
Matt Forte - Roy Williams and Marion Barber should help Forte get back to the level he played at his rookie season. Not saying that Roy is be all end all at WR, he clearly isn't, but for the Bears he's an upgrade from Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, which opens the game up for Cutler and therefore opens it up for Forte.
Miles Austin - You simply can't overstate chemistry between QBs and receivers and Romo loves himself some Miles Austin.
DeAngelo Williams - He is a bargain in the 4th round. Offense will be better and when Cam steps in he'll draw a lot of attention away from the other backs.
Wes Welker - His knee is made of Christmas miracles, what else do you need to know?
Ryan Grant - Average Draft position is top of the fifth round. If he stays healthy he's far and away the best rushing option on a wide open offense. No one's stacking the box against Green Bay.
Felix Jones - You know what? Fine. I say this every freaking year. And every freaking year this guy gets run out of Dallas by Marion Barber. But Barber is gone and you can't lose carries to a guy who isn't there. Having said that I retract this pick if the Cowboys pick up Tiki Barber in free agency (which they won't, right, seriously, they'd better not).
Fred Jackson - (See Felix Jones only replace the name Barber with Lynch). After Marshawn left Fred had a good season. I think he's a monster waiting to happen. You don't like it? Well, that's why you didn't finish in 3rd place in 2 out of 3 leagues last year. My creds are huge.
Time is running low here so let's hit a coupla sleepers and then say one thing in general about quarterbacks before the battery on my iPad dies (I've been watching Friday Night Lights for 16 hours straight).
1) Sleepers - Tim Hightower, Michael Bush, Danny Amendola, Rashad Jennings, Ben Tate and Steve Breaston.
2) QBs. Really? Does it matter at this point? The rules are so QB friendly that 8 guys are solid starts. If you can't figure out which they are then, well, I'm sorry. So don't reach for Rodgers or Vick, someone will and you can just wait a minute and get yourself a Stafford or a Rivers or a Brady. Those guys are pretty good, you know.
*Speaking of lowered expectations...you probably thought I was going to hit you with a linear run down of top picks position-by-position, didn't you? Not this year, baby. But I'll guarantee you this, if you draft 3 of the guys I've mentioned and you put a cork in your QB envy, you'll finish in the money and if you don't I'll let you read this site for free all next year.
Good luck, bro.