Distance Scoring League Analysis
The “Gut Feeling” is often synonymous with a sense
of desperation resulting from a lack of preparation. The Gut Check
is a huge proponent of studying the numbers, but there’s
a point where one can place too much emphasis on the wrong information.
This can result in the undervaluing or overlooking a player’s
potential. Therefore, The Weekly Gut Check is devoted to examining
the frame of reference behind certain number-driven guidelines
that fantasy football owners use to make decisions.
Although The Weekly Gut Check doesn’t claim to be psychic,
he does believe that he can dispel certain numbers biases and
help you make the best choices for your team. We’ll keep
a running tally of The Weekly Gut Check’s insights. This
way you can gauge his views as something to seriously consider,
or at least seriously consider running the opposite way as fast
as you can!
This is my first year in a showcase league sponsored by Fantasy
scoring is standard performance with bonus points per reception,
per rush attempt, and per pass completion. In addition, bonus points
are awarded according to the length of the touchdown. Overall, this
system rewards players who have a high number of touches and big
plays and team defenses score big based on sacks, turnovers, and
points and yardage allowed. This is one of the more complex scoring
systems I’ve ever experience in a fantasy football league.
The first thing I did to prepare for the draft was to examine
the scoring leaders by position from the previous year. The top
30 players overall broke out like this:
- 8 were backs and 6 of them were top 12 players in the
- 20 were quarterbacks and 6 of them were top 12 players
in the league.
- 1 receiver (Marvin Harrison), ranked 27th overall.
- 1 defense (Baltimore Ravens), ranked 16th overall.
Honestly, I didn’t see much different in the scoring totals
overall or by position in this league that led me to severely
alter my typical re-draft plan with the exception of bumping up
when to acquire my first quarterback and my only defense.
My valuation of backs changed slightly with the point per reception
format and the fact bonus points are awarded for distances of
scores. While this system gave an edge to players with a demonstrated
tendency to score on long runs, passes, or receptions, it only
did so if everything else were relatively equal between him and
another player. The points for attempts, completions, and receptions
counteract the big-play bonuses because the players with the heavy
workloads will do as well, if not consistently better than the
occasional, big-play artist.
The key appears to be finding the players with a high workload
and big-play capability. Frank
Gore was my first pick at 1.03, because he had a all the components
I want from a stud back in this league:
- He had a high rate of touches in 2006, but did not surpass
the oft-discussed, 370-f/carry threshold.
- Gore has demonstrated the ability to catch the ball out
of the backfield.
- He had the most big-play rushes of any back in the NFL
- He’s only in his 3rd year and 2nd season as a starter.
- His offense should improve this year at both skill positions
and offensive line
Seriously, what’s not to like about him other than a hand
injury? I love how people say the hand injury reminds everyone
about Gores injury history. Hello? The hand bone is not connected
to the knee ligaments! Jamal Lewis had knee surgery twice before
his 2000-yard season. Hines Ward plays football without an ACL
in one knee. Willis McGahee has proven he can be productive after
tearing his ligaments at Miami. Edgerrin James has been one of
the more consistently high-producers in football despite tearing
his ACL during his 3rd season. Gore is 4 years removed from his
last ligament tear. Again, he broke his hand and missed the preseason—Ladainian
Tomlinson doesn’t play in the preseason. Gore had more big-play
rushes than LT last year. Although he was the 4th back overall
in this league last year, I don’t believe LJ or Alexander
will headline this list in 2007—enough said.
Jones-Drew was my next back. He may share touches with Taylor
but he was also one of the more frequent big-play runners both
close and far from the stripe. He’s an excellent receiver
and the Jags will need to maximize that skill from the 2nd-year
back even with Taylor on the field at the same time. He was the
10th-most productive back in 2006 despite scoring a combined 5
points during the first two weeks of the season. I know people
fear Jones-Drew won’t score as many touchdowns, but I believe
he’ll come close to double-digits and improve his yardage
total in year two.
At this point it was time to get a receiver—four elite
receivers came off the board, but no one took the 2006 leading
point-getter in this league at the position: Marvin
Harrison. Reggie Wayne is the hip choice right now. Mike MacGregor
would have a Fathead of Wayne if his family would allow it, but
that doesn’t mean he’s surpassed Harrison as Peyton’s
favorite end zone target. Last I checked Harrison had 12 scores
to Wayne’s 9 and 95 receptions to Wayne’s 86. In fact,
he had nine more targets! Harrison also had 9 scores from the
redzone—one more than Wayne. There’s nothing to take
away from Wayne, but Harrison is still not only option one on
the Colts, but was also the best receiver in this league last
year. It is reasonable to expect that Harrison will slow down
sometime, but I’ll stick with him for one more year.
Some of the elite names at quarterback were flying off the board
by my pick in round four, but Jon
Kitna was still in the pool. Since six quarterbacks had already
gone, I decided it was time to pull the trigger. Interestingly,
one of the squads listed my team as the weakest drated because
I did not get a quality starter at the quarterback position. I’m
not sure what he observed on Sundays, but Jon Kitna was the 4th-ranked
quarterback in this league in 2006 while in his first year in
a Martz-based offense, an inconsistent running game, and so-so
offensive line. With another year in the system and the addition
of Calvin Johnson, Kitna should perform as well, if not better
than his 2006 stats. Since this owner has Peyton Manning on his
roster, he didn’t think much of someone like Kitna,
but the stats paired with this scoring system tell a different
story. With another deep threat in Johnson to stretch the field,
Kitna should cut his interceptions and possibly up his touchdown
total in ’07.
of field-stretchers, I picked Lee
Evans as my #2 receiver in the fifth round. Five of his eight
scores were from at least 40 yards away. It is likely the Bills
will need to throw with the same regularity they did in 2006.
Evans is beginning to look like a young Jimmy Smith in this offense.
I’ll gladly take this #1 receiver at the price of a #2.
Now that Warrick Dunn has returned, I’m feeling the pangs
of hindsight with my sixth round selection of Jerious
Norwood. The second-year Falcon should see plenty of opportunities
on the field, but not as the full-time starter I anticipated when
Dunn had back surgery. It might have made more sense to take Ahman
Green or Chester Taylor here. It may still pan out to have Norwood,
a super-talented back with excellent breakaway capabilities.
I drafted the Patriots defense next—about 3-5 rounds earlier
than I generally take any team unit—because the rest of
the elite units were gone and wanted my team to have a solid,
if not spectacular unit at this position. New England should be
a more prolific offense this year, which will allow the defense
to play with bigger leads and be more aggressive. This can only
help me as a fantasy owner.
Shockey has lost a bit of his luster as an elite tight end,
but he’s still a huge part of the Giants offense. Like the
Pats, he’s a solid option who will perform at elite moments
during the season.
Then there’s Chris
Chambers. He’s still the Dolphins primary receiver.
On paper it would seem Trent Green would be an upgrade to Joey
Harrington at the quarterback position, but I’m not sold
that the former Chief was able to take the rest of his game off
the turf when he was carted away last season. Regardless, Chambers
and Lee Evans are very similar players in size and skill set.
Chambers just needs more consistency. Most people are shying away
from him because they were burned in 2006 after a career year
in 2005. I think Chambers is a low risk option as a #3 fantasy
receiver and believe he’ll out perform his draft status.
If not, I have at least two other options whom I thought were
With 9 rounds in the books, here’s my roster thus far:
Chambers should rebound and I anticipate Gore and Jones-Drew to
swap scoring totals this year. I believe Evans and Shockey will
remain consistent to last year and Norwood should improve.
||20 Yd+ TDs
But it is the mid-rounds of a draft that often tell the story
and I think I did fairly well with my next several picks. Lendale
White has upside for the Titans because Travis Henry is gone,
Chris Henry is an extremely raw rookie who I doubt will see the
field unless Chris Brown and White get hurt, and Brown is not
proven to be much of a short yardage runner. White should at least
get the redzone touches and it is clear the Titans want the second-year
runner to win the job as a return on their investment. White has
demonstrated more toughness in practice this year and if he can
remain relatively healthy, he should be a sold #3 RB who could
do better. As a Titans fan, I believe this team is underrated.
The defense will actually perform better this year without Pac-Man
Jones. Not because Jones isn’t a talent, but offenses still
had plenty of time to complete passes away from Jones due to the
Titans difficulty rushing the passer. It appears DE Antwaan Odom
is coming into his own and paired with Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tennessee
will force offenses to make quicker decisions and more mistakes.
I also like Tennessee’s offensive line—it’s
an above average group and they have always been good run blockers.
Don’t be surprised if Tennessee overtakes Jacksonville in
the AFC as the runner up team. If they do, White will be a big
factor on the ground.
in round eleven seems like a potential steal to me. Six of his
seven scores were from over 20 yards away and he’s paired
with a different, but equally good, quarterback in Tom Brady.
If Randy Moss rebounds, Stallworth could be a huge beneficiary.
If not, the former Eagle and Saint still has the skills to perform
more like a #2 fantasy receiver at the draft day value of a #4.
Health has always been the issue with Stallworth, but I’ll
gladly take my chances here.
I then chose a couple of back up runners who will see the field
often in Chris
Brown and Mike
Bell. Both are capable of high production. Brown still has
a chance to be the Titans starter and he is a big play back. Bell
doesn’t have the same kind of speed, but he’ll get
the call if Travis Henry can’t stay healthy.
is a solid prospect this late. I’ve already discussed the
development of his offense and he has demonstrated solid improvement
each year. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he takes the
step Philip Rivers did in 2006. I then took the chance on Brian
Leonard because I’m playing the odds that Steven Jackson
will experience a similar drop off as most of the 370-f/carry
backs in years past.
Steve McNair, Charles Sharon, David Boston, (Giants rookie) Steve
Smith, and Matt Stover round out my draft. McNair is a solid bye
week player, who is often good enough to captain your squad for
a few weeks. Sharon is a reach, but I felt like taking the chance
when it was a possibility he could win a job. He’s on the
roster bubble at this point, but I believe he makes the team.
David Boston looks like he could win the starting job and as long
as the traffic incident doesn’t blow up in his face he has
the skills to be a quality starter at a bargain basement rate.
I’ve talked enough about Steve Smith, the Giants rookie.
Although I’ll find out for sure as the season goes along,
a scoring system of this type does not seem to have as big of
an impact on how one should rate these players anyhow. You always
want to draft players who are likely to receive a high number
of chances with the ball and especially in scoring situations.
I only had to make two adjustments in this draft and that was
to pick a QB and Team Defense 3-4 rounds earlier than usual. This
wasn’t something I planned going into the draft as much
as reading the situation and reacting appropriately.
Crank Score Updates
Crank Score Projections
||S. Smith (Car)
||M. Jones Drew
||T. J. Housh
Not many changes this week. Chester
Taylor and Marion Barber move up the board because they solidified
their opportunities to begin the season in roles similar to 2006.
I’m still probably undervaluing Barber, but I think if there
is a back that I’m doubtful will maintain his touchdown
total from 2006, it’s him. Not due to his skills, but opportunities
in general may change.
Steve McNair, Jeff Garcia, and Joey Harrington move up. They
are all still back ups from a draft standpoint, but I think the
two veterans in Baltimore and Tampa are more solid options to
invest as a #2 QB for your squad. They’ll probably be on
your waiver wire because they lack the upside of some other signal
callers who will be drafted before them so just understand the
value is there.