Friday, 3 August 2007

Fantasy Football Quick Look

Of course the subject of Fantasy Football dominates entire blogs and covering too much in a short span is not easy. But I'm excited to take a bit of time away from updating our fantasy football cheat sheets at to give you some thoughts about fantasy football. Both specific to the 2007 season hot button topics and some general drafting advice that is time tested.

Early in the 2007 training camp season there are a few big stories we are asked about often. First is Larry Johnson. Is he going to sign? And when? To be honest, we simply don't know. We suspect he will sign, but not until late in camp. But this is just one of many reasons we've had LJ sliding down our draft board most of the summer. The Chiefs offensive line is not close to what it was 2-3 years ago, they've lost 2 hall of famers in the past 2 seasons. Yes, Herm Edwards likes to run, but he also doesn't mind kicking FGs - overall the KC offense will be less potent than even last year, certainly nowhere near 2 years ago. There is also the injury concern, 370 carries is A LOT - say all you will about a young back, low number of previous career carries (incl college) - he carried the ball A LOT last season. Perhaps not blocking and not catching anything helped save some wear and tear but LJ is due to breakdown - contributing to that would be a lack of a full training camp. Now we add the possibility of a return from Priest Holmes.....that story is still developing to say the least but it could also take away from Johnson's carries. He's still a solid player, just not a #2 or #3 pick that most national publications have him. That's the safe place, but the accurate place is more like 4th or 5th!

So this leads naturally to....if not LJ who? At we like Frank Gore and Joseph Addai. Of course I realize this is hardly going out on a limb but recommending these 2 before Larry Johnson is not advice you'll get many other places. Addai has a great offensive line to run behind and a superb passing game that defenses worry about first. We saw Edge James numbers fall when he left the cushy spot of Indy RB so we expect to see Addai's numbers rise quickly as we settles in as THE guy in the Colts backfield. Frank Gore's broken hand isn't great news by any means but it came early enough in the pre-season that it shouldn't be a regular season factor. This guy is the real deal and the 49ers are getting better.

I'll mention two other backs...okay 3....first is Shaun Alexander. He was the league MVP just 2 years ago - how quickly people forget. He is getting older and the foot injury may be lingering (and that's scary) but a bounce back season is very possible. No, he won't have MVP season numbers again but with the weak defenses on the Seahawks schedule he may put up nice numbers this season. Laurence Maroney is another name to be close attention to...if you grab him in the late first round of a fantasy football draft you've done VERY well. This guy on this team with no Corey Dillion has Top 5 numbers potential. Marshawn Lynch - if only he had any talent around him....this guy is a stud RB and perhaps only Top 10 this season he is a name to watch.

I can't talk about 2007 stories without mentioning Mike Vick. I'll save my personal commentary on the dirt bag this guy and his "posse" are and stick to fantasy football implications. It's simple. Don't draft Vick. Considering the recent toughening of the NFL concerning player conduct I'd be shocked if Vick saw the field this season. That said, he is (or WAS) one of the games biggest stars so if an exception is out there this could be it. But I'm certainly not ready to gamble on it.

So on to some fantasy football tips and insights that are time tested.
Draft Tip #1 - RB, RB, RB - Okay, maybe just RB, RB but then RB again soon. There simply are not that many top shelf RBs in the NFL. Unlike QBs and WRs the drop off is quick and far with RBs. After the Top 8, certainly the Top 12 the decline in likely production is significant, get past the Top 20 and the drop off is very noticeable...Top 30, forget it - at this point you're hoping for an injury ahead of your scrub. Not drafting a RB first is rarely a good decision. Sure, there are some leagues with crazy scoring that over favors WRs and QBs and that changes, which is why a customizable fantasy football cheat sheet is a good idea for leagues with unusual scoring rules. But in most fantasy football leagues RB is king and getting 1 good one is tough enough, much less two so we almost always draft RB first and second. The rare exception to not drafting an RB second is if you're in a spot with a wrap around draft in which your next (3rd) pick is coming back around and you can get a Top 3 WR or Top 2 QB (Peyton and Carson right now) since with #3 you'll still be able to get a solid RB but those guys may not have lasted even 2-4 more picks.

That brings us to another tip (notice I'm not numbering them anymore, after #1 they'll all in a tie for #2) - look ahead when it's time to draft. Don't just consider your best option right now. Consider what may be there next round. This will help you with this round. If you look down your cheat sheet and see nothing attractive at RB after the one guy you still like but still see 3-4 WRs likely to be there in the next round your decision is easy - and this example is common. Always more WRs and QBs, not always another RB. In fact my teams often have 3 RBs after 4 rounds (WR being the other) - certainly after 5 rounds I'll have 3 RBs and 2 WRs - notice no QB....

So why not a QB yet? Because after Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer and maybe Tom Brady (although his FFB numbers aren't on their level) the drop is big and it's a drop to a big group. Drew Brees is trying to get himself out of, or at least to the top of that "pack" but the difference between the number 4 or 5 QB and the 13th of 14th QB minimal. You'll be much better off building depth at RB and WR than taking a QB that you can have 2 round later.

One last bit of advice as I think I've probably already worn out my welcome as a guest blogger here....draft sober. Seriously. You have 364 other days of the year to get drunk. You're going to live and die each weekend with your fantasy football team - make it as good as possible by drafting with a clear head.

Thanks for the time and good luck to all in fantasy football this season!