Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fantasy Football Ramblings...

Now that baseball's regular season has been over for more than a week, I've actually been able to transition pretty fully from fantasy baseball mode into fantasy football mode... It seems to never fail - I have good drafts, but for whatever reason, my football teams usually seem to get off to slow starts. I'm thinking it's probably because I'm so focused on my fantasy baseball teams and trying to win those leagues that my football leagues and teams do tend to get a little neglected until the calendar hits October... That's OK though... it's not how you start, it's how you FINISH!!! I won three leagues last year out of the seven I was in, and the one team I had that did get off to a good start didn't even make the playoffs! Last year, one of my teams was 6-7 during the regular season and won the league championship, so if you're sitting at 1-4 or 2-3 right now, DON'T PANIC, there's still hope!!!

There's one thing most of you fantasy players are probably well-familiar with at this point - lopsided trade proposals. I seem to be getting a plethora of them of late! Yesterday I was offered Carolina's backup RB DeAngelo Williams in that same league I won last year for Jacksonville's little dynamo, Maurice Jones-Drew... Williams has all of six carries the past two weeks. By the way, if you own Williams, it's time to dump him unless you are using him as insurance, as DeShawn Foster is the only Carolina RB getting touches or looks... And check this out - just now in another league, someone offered me WR Jerricho Cotchery of the Jets for Larry Johnson!!! Hmmmm. Johnson was the number three overall draft pick in Yahoo leagues this year, while Cotchery went in the middle of the ninth round around position 85. I basically just told that owner something to the effect that "I think you meant to offer me someone else for LJ, didn't you?" By the way, it turns out that he meant to make me a different offer so I don't feel so bad now. Buy low, sell high. It works pretty much in any realm of life - economics or fantasy sports. Don't EVER get caught on the short end!

As for Jones-Drew, yes, he's off to a slow start this year, but he's still the same player that scored 16 touchdowns last year. Judging by that 52 yard touchdown run he had last week against Kansas City and the rest of his touches, he looks like he's just fine - he simply needs a few more chances per game. Unlike Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, Johnson and Shawn Alexander don't appear to be on the way to getting well anytime soon. The consensus #2, 3 & 4 draft picks this year are certainly looking like fantasy duds so far... as I've said before, running backs are NOT nearly as reliable as quarterbacks, wide receivers or tight ends. That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to try and trade for them now as you know that they can put up some BIG numbers if/when they're healthy.

Check out this year's top 10 overall draft picks and look at where they stand so far in fantasy points accumulated and their overall rank in parenthsis through week five in your typical Yahoo league. Assume 20 yards per point passing, 10 yards per point receiving or rushing, 6 points for any touchdown, 2 points per 2-point conversion and -2 points per interception or fumble lost.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) - RB: 73 (T19)
2. Steven Jackson (StL) - RB: 22 (T144)
3. Larry Johnson (KC) - RB: 35 (T89)
4. Shawn Alexander (Sea) - RB: 49 (T56)
5. Frank Gore (SF) - RB: 53 (T50)
6. Peyton Manning (Ind) - QB: 125 (3)
7. Joseph Addai (Ind) - RB: 73 (T19)
8. Rudi Johnson (Cin) - RB: 28 (T86)
9. Willie Parker (Pit) - RB: 54 (T47)
10. Brian Westbrook (Phi) - RB: 67 (27)

Does anyone now understand why I don't advocate taking running backs early??? Simply put they're inconsistent, unreliable, and much more prone to injury than players at the other offensive positions. Tomlinson, Addai and Westrbook have been decent this year, but nothing special. In fact, they are the only three of the top 9 drafted RB's in the overall top 45 in points scored! That's not good and just goes to show just how overvalued running backs are on draft day. As for the rest, they've been HUGE disappointments so far. And yes, I own Johnson in a couple of leagues - lately he's been been riding my pine. There's no sign of life there.... yet! I'm not about to sell him low though!

Who is doing well, you may ask, asides from Peyton Manning??? Check out the overall top 10 fantasy players and their fantasy point totals...

1. Tom Brady (NE) - QB: 156
2. Tony Romo (Dal) - QB: 151
3. Peyton Manning (Ind) - QB: 125
4. Brett Favre (GB) - QB: 117
5. Derek Anderson (Cle) - QB: 116
6. Carson Palmer (Cin) - QB: 106
7. Ben Roethlisberger (Pit) - QB: 100
8. Ronnie Brown (Mia) - RB: 99
9. Jon Kitna (Det) - QB: 97
10. Randy Moss (NE) - WR: 95

Hmmmm... Lots of quarterbacks, one running back and a wide receiver. If you happened to get Brady (who I said was overrated coming into the season - oops!!!) or Romo in your drafts well, count your lucky stars... Both of these guys have tallied more than TWICE as many points as Tomlinson! Manning has been a rock as usual - there is no single more consistently reliable fantasy player than him - this is why I take him and shy away from the less reliable running backs year after year on draft day. And look at the energizer Favre... still going strong, setting all kinds of NFL records, and once again being a HUGE fantasy contributor.

FYI, Antonio Gates is doing just fine at tight end - drafted on average 28th in Yahoo leagues, he's #30 overall in fantasy points scored, putting up 64 points so far... he's the TE equivalent of Manning at QB - consistent and always reliable. If you happen to have those two on your fantasy teams (as I do in many leagues), chances are you're doing just fine.


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