Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arian Foster and Chris Johnson and the top 13 RB's: To Handcuff or Not?

Handcuffing Arian Foster and Chris Johnson, but at what cost?

If you are in a draft and get Foster or Johnson in the first round, then once you have filled out all of your starters, then you should look to add Tate or Ringer as insurance.

That pretty much goes for just about any first or second round RB.

Here are the top 13 RB's and their cuff buddies, in not particular order:

Ray Rice
Ricky Williams
Arian Foster
Ben Tate
Jamaal Charles
Thomas Jones
Adrian L. Peterson
Toby Gerhardt
Chris D. Johnson
Javon Ringer
Frank Gore
Kendall Hunter
Darren McFadden
Michael Bush
Steven Jackson
Cadillac Williams
Rashard Mendenhall
Mewelde Moore
Maurice Jones-Drew
Rashad Jennings
Peyton Hillis
Montario Hardesty
LeSean McCoy
Ronnie Brown
Matt Forte
Marion Barber

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheaper to Keeper?

Ugh...with the playoffs in sight last season, I made some trades that have left me bereft of any strong tangible holdover prospects.  Here are the top prospects that I have to chose from in our 12 Team, 6 points for all TD league (points per reception at 6 plus), with a $200 budget and 18 man roster.  We can hold up to 3.

Drew Brees, $57 – Can probably get for slightly less than this if thrown back
Andre Johnson, $50 – Will probably go for this if thrown back
Knowshon Moreno, $35 – May go for more or slightly less, depending on what others are keeping

Cedric Benson, $20 – His recent legal issues have me saying, no thanks

Jay Cutler, $19 – Best value in a QB-heavy league?
Brandon Jacobs, $15 – Will probably go for less if thrown back
Jonathan Stewart, $14 – Will possibly go for slightly more…see Knowshon Moreno explained above
Santana Moss, $12 – Actually, kind of tempting.  If he had a better QB, then why not, he may go for around this amount anyway

Slim pickings, I know. So, since our league is very QB friendly, I kept Cutler. And since I didn't see any value in anyone else, I kept Andre Johnson.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Converting to a More Standard League

I have been in a fantasy football league for 15 or so years, starting back in the mid-90's when I was living in Boston.

Since there was no standard roster size or scoring, you can imagine that our league had quite an imaginative flair.  For instance, a 40 yard touchdown play would be worth 18 points to the WR/RB and 10 points for the QB.  Also, kickers that hit from 50 plus yards got an additional 3 points.  That's right, 6 points for a FG!

It was all good and fun...but as we lost owners due to marriages, became apparent that recruiting new members was difficult since it took a new owner about 3 seasons to acclimate to our scoring system.  So we have attempted to change the rules each year to become more in line with standard scoring leagues.

The biggest change, and mistake, was cutting all touchdowns to 6 points.  Sound good?  Well, we didn't take into account the fact that your average starting QB scores twice as many touchdowns as your average RB/WR.  So there was a big advantage to teams that had top 5 QB's.  Since we are an auction league, it didn't hit me until about an hour into our auction that something was amiss when Eli Manning went for $26 (this was 3 years ago and we have a $200 budget).  Fortunately, I held over a revitalized Kurt Warner for $10.  But my backups were horrible and you need them in our league because we have bonus payouts for total team points, including bench scoring, at the end of the year.

So, it's nice that we are getting more standardized...we will finally be adding TE as a position this season...but my advice is to be careful when you make a dramatic change or changes.  And be sure you know your rules and the impact of any changes.

Sleepers? Let them rest...

Having a short list of sleepers is a great idea.  But the question is, what good is the list if you have to roster 2 or 3 guys and pass up on roster flexibility?

And does Christopher Harris really want to take credit for pinpointing Arian Foster as a sleeper?  One full year before he got the starting job?  So, what...for those in keeper leagues we were supposed to roster Foster (I like that) and kill a spot in 2009 in the off chance that Ben Tate gets injured and Steve Slaton gets the dropsies? 

I am not saying don't have a list of sleepers, but have them at the ready when an injury pops up.  For instance...Kendall Hunter looks great (in preseason) and if I have Frank Gore I am definitely looking to add him to my roster.  But Hunter is only worth keeping if Gore gets hurt. 

My recommendation?  Pick the top 10 offenses...find the weak link in each offense...locate the player that steps in for that weak link when an injury happens.  Most important, be at your computer when that happens to put a claim in on your awakening sleeper.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Is There Such a Thing as a QB Handcuff? Vince Young...come on down...

Handcuffing has been going on for years in fantasy sports.  We have been "handcuffing" the backup running back to our first round picks for years. 

Well, this year there is a scenario that, in my opinion, is likely to happen.  Michael Vick is going in the first or second round in all drafts, and highly sought in auctions.  If he goes down due to injury, which is a probably scenario given his style of play, then doesn't it make sense to pick up Vince Young late in your draft?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Third Year Wide Receivers - Is There Any Value Here?'s a list:

Hakeem Nicks and Mike Wallace are already top 10 they won't sneak up on anybody come draft about a Massaquoi?

Yeah, let's go there...Maclin scares me...Heyward-Bey is a joke, much like his owner. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Auction Strategy Number 3 - Wait for it...wait for it...QB's

Let some other guy overpay for Michael Vick, who is likely to get hurt by Week 4 and miss 3 games (and 20% of his "value.")  Throw him out in the second round, if possible, by this time, everyone has settled in and has seen a couple of first round bargains happen and a QB or two have gove, so they get a little nervous.

Once you determine the value of Vick in your league - always subjective due to differing formats - big him up to about 75% of what you have him valued, or more importantly, what you think your league will value him.  If the bidding is between 2 other owners, let them move him up in price and sit back and wait.  Be sure to throw in another dollar if the bidding stalls below 85%, but be sure you do not get stuck with him at or above 90% of full value.

Then...wait...and wait...and wait...keeping 10% of your budget handy for a Matt Ryan or Big Ben.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Holdout...what to do about Chris Johnson?

Every year this happens.  Some top line player holds out.  Back in the day, when all we cared about was our hometown team...there was only a 1 in 30 chance that we would be effected as fans.

Now that we are all doing Fantasy Football, the Holdout of 2011, Chris Johnson, has a lot more meaning for all of us. 

My recommendation?  Get Johnson at a discount, then be sure to get his backup, Javon Ringer, once you have the rest of your lineup set.  In a draft, this may mean taking Ringer as high as the 8th or 9th round.  But if you are able to get Johnson in the 2nd round...meaning you are getting first round talent at second round prices, then this is viable. 

In an auction, once you have valued Johnson if he were to play a full season, knock of 25% of that value, then bid up to that price.  If you get him, then again, be sure to get Ringer.  If you don't get Johnson at a discount, be sure to bid up Ringer to about 10% of the value of Johnson.  Make the owner of Johnson pay for that hedge.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Top 12 RB's with Dollar Value

Top 12 RB's with Dollar Value (assume a 12 team league with $200 budget)

You have to get one of these...if not two to even compete!

$ 62
Arian Foster - HOU
$ 59
LeSean McCoy - PHI
$ 58
Chris Johnson - TEN
$ 55
Matt Forte - CHI
$ 55
Adrian Peterson - MIN
$ 55
Ray Rice - BAL
$ 51
Maurice Jones-Drew - JAC
$ 50
Darren McFadden - OAK
$ 50
Jamaal Charles - KC
$ 49
Knowshon Moreno - DEN

Fantasy Football Auction Strategy Number 2 - Throw out Throw ups early and often

In any auction where there is a limited budget, you want to get the most money out of your fellow owners as quickly as possible.  The best way to do that is to nominate players that you have absolutely no interest in. 

For instance, say you think that Michael Vick played way over his head last year and he is destined for ruin.  Or at least miss 4 to 6 games due to injury because of his playing style.

Nominate him ASAP.  And put a price tag out there that is 15 to 20 percent less than his value.  Sit back and watch the feeding frenzy.  You may have to throw another bid in there to keep the ball rolling, but be careful not to go over 88 to 90 percent of projected value. 

So, then...the idea is to nominate players that you don't like, but play up like you do like them somewhat.  Go into your auction with a list of 10 names that you despise with what you think your league will value them at and another annotation with a 15% discount. 

I say 10, because by that time, 100 to 120 players have been nominated, and roughly 75% of the auction dollars are spent.  This is the time where you start making hay.  You may have to pay 10% more on a $10 guy...but in a whole dollar sense, that is exactly one whole dollar. 

Think of it this way.  If you had to spend 10% more on your $50 guy...that would be $5.  Cheaper to keeper and pay up on the lower end and build depth.  With bye weeks and injuries, this is very important. 

Have a second list of $5 to $10 players that you would be willing to go up a buck or two to land.

Good luck and happy bidding. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's all about ROI, right? Matt Ryan is the big winner here!

What fantasy sports comes down to is ROI...Return on Investment.  Whether you are in a draft league or auction league, you need to have your top dollar and first rounders perform to that level, and a late rounder or two perform as first rounders.

So who is it going to be this year? 

Here's my Top 5 for ROI:
1.  Matt Ryan - going as top 12, but will perform as the number 4 QB
2.  Marshawn Lynch - going in the top 20, but will perform as a top 10
3.  Pierre Garcon - takes the torch from Reggie Wayne as the number one guy in Indy
4.  Josh Morgan - No. 1 WR is Michael Crabtree, but Crabtree smells more like No. 2
5.  Early Doucet - Again, this is about value, not dominating...Doucet is the No. 2 guy with a true No. 1 in Fitzgerald taking up coverage and a real QB in Kevin Kolb

Honorable Mention: Kevin Kolb.  Sometimes its all about opportunity.  Or second chances, right Mike Vick?