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Facts and Advice You Can Take to the Bank

By: — August 13, 2010 @ 8:29 am

As drafts and auctions are ramping up for leagues across North America, fantasy football fanatics are being inundated with information on how to pick their teams.

Some of it is useful, some of it is not. Some of it is boring, some of it is not.

This article has two of those four features. I leave it to you to decide which two they are.

1. Aaron Rodgers had 304 yards and five touchdowns rushing last year and the 60 fantasy points that provided is the reason why he was fantasy football’s top ranked quarterback.

2. There is no reason to suggest why he won’t accomplish both feats again in 2010.

He's good.

3. Andre Johnson has topped 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.

4. I believe that the best predictor of future performance is past performance.

5. Larry Fitzgerald had the 15th most receiving yards in the league in 2009 but was the fourth-ranked fantasy wide receiver courtesy of his 13 touchdowns.

6. Kurt Warner retired and has been replaced by Matt Leinart.

7. Whereas Warner’s career completion percentage was 65.7% and his yards per attempt were 7.8, Leinart has compiled a completion rate of 57.1% to go along with an average yards per attempt of 5.6.

8. Reggie Wayne is 31 years old and only had 385 yards and two touchdowns during the last seven games of 2009.

9. Overall, I’m a lot more concerned about the top 15 fantasy wide receivers than I was last year.

10. The San Diego Chargers traded to move up in the first round of the NFL Draft in order to select Ryan Mathews and they have a very good offense.

11. I think Ryan Mathews will win the NFL’s Rookie Offensive Player of the Year award.

12. When the Buffalo Bills selected C.J. Spiller in the first round, Fred Jackson became the unqualified biggest fantasy loser from the NFL Draft.

13. I think C.J. Spiller will finish the year with 1,050 total yards and five touchdowns.

14. Amongst tight ends, Jason Witten had the second most receiving yards with 1,030 but finished tied with 17 other players for 25th most touchdowns with only two.

15. In seven seasons in the league, Witten has averaged fewer than four touchdowns per year.

16. The average size of the Cowboys top three wide receivers is just under 6’3” and 218 pounds.

17. Ronnie Brown has missed 20 games over five years and finished two of those years on injured reserve.

18. Ricky Williams is 33 years old and had his highest average yards per carry in 2009 to go along with the second most touchdowns of his career.

19. During the last 12 weeks of the 2009 season, Ray Rice had 42 redzone touches while Willis McGahee had 16.

20. McGahee had a surprising 146 fantasy points last year but 113 of them came in five games, including the first three games of the season. In one of my leagues, he was on the bench for all five of those games.

21. During the last four games of last season, Chris Wells had 14 red zone touches while Tim Hightower had six.

22. During his two years in the league, Tim Hightower has 96 receptions (63 last year) to go along with 18 touchdowns.

23. There are fantasy football leagues that award a point per reception.

24. Owen Daniels would have been the top ranked fantasy tight end in 2009 had an ACL injury not ended his season.

25. Of Jamaal Charles’ 189 fantasy points, 85 came in three games against the Bills, Browns and Broncos during weeks 14, 15 and 17.

26. The Chiefs signed Thomas Jones during the off-season.

27. Jerome Harrison did nothing for three years and 89 of his 150 fantasy points came in three games against the Chiefs, Raiders and Jaguars.

28. The Browns drafted Montario Hardesty in the second round and general manager Tom Heckert said he views Hardesty as a feature back.

29. I am always sceptical of running backs who get a large portion of their fantasy points either at the end of the season or in a few games against weak opposition.

30. I am a Rams fan and think that Steven Jackson is the third best running back in the league. Despite that, I can tell you that there are at least seven running backs I will take instead of him because they will have more touchdown opportunities in 2010.

31. Hakeem Nicks had 115 fantasy points on only 74 targets, ranking him fifth in that category (of players with at least 40 targets). That means he’s a big play waiting to happen and assures the Giants will use him more in 2010.

32. Average fantasy points per target is a statistic that you’re going to hear a lot about in the future, especially in articles focusing on dynasty/keeper leagues.

33. Jermichael Finley had 97 fantasy points in 13 games and averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game over the last five games of the 2009 season.

34. Mike Wallace had an exceptional rookie year with 756 yards and six touchdowns.

35. Ben Roethlisberger had the third most fantasy points per game amongst quarterbacks last year.

36. The Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets.

37. The Steelers threw the ball 536 times in 2009 while the Jets threw it a league low 393 times. That’s a difference of 143 or 8.9 fewer attempts per game.

38. Visanthe Shiancoe has caught 18 touchdown passes over the last two years but has never topped 600 yards receiving.

39. With Ben Tate out with a hamstring injury, Arian Foster has been in as the first string Texans running back.

40. The Houston Texans will have an outstanding offense in 2010.

41. The Baltimore Ravens ran 128 plays in the red zone last year and 95 of them were runs and 33 were passes.

42. Of the 8,004 fantasy points the top-30 ranked fantasy quarterbacks combined to score, 31.1% of those points came on touchdown passes.

43. Joe Flacco didn’t get a lot of chances to throw touchdown passes last year and the Ravens aren’t about the abandon their run game in the red zone in 2010.

44. Most people think Greg Olsen is a talented tight end but no tight end in a Mike Martz offense has ever topped 380 yards.

45. Mike Martz is a stubborn man.

46. People tend to think of Devery Henderson as a solid deep threat but he has 16 touchdown receptions over the last five years (excluding his rookie season when he played one game).

47. Robert Meachem scored nine touchdowns in 2009, the first year he received extended playing time.

48. The Seahawks have tried desperately this offseason to replace Julius Jones as the team’s lead running back including trading for an out-of-shape LenDale White and an injured Leon Washington.

49. If I don’t think a team likes a player, then I don’t like relying on those players for my fantasy teams, especially in dynasty leagues.

50. At times, I have had to go against my own advice but I will not rely on Jones in 2010 (repeat ten times).

51. Justin Forsett had four games with 10 or more carries and accumulated 397 rushing yards in those games while averaging 6.3 yards per carry.

52. I like Forsett based on his current ADP of 6.01.

53. Coaches tend to talk up their players when there is a roster deficiency in order to drive down the trade value of players they are interested in. The Seahawks Pete Carroll sure has been talking up Forsett this summer and the Bills sure would like to trade Marshawn Lynch (despite what they’re saying).

54. The teams in the NFC North have to face the teams in the NFC East and the AFC East, which makes the Bears, Lions, Packers and the Vikings losers from a scheduling perspective.

55. The teams in the AFC West get to face the teams in the NFC West and the AFC South, which makes the Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers winners from a scheduling perspective.

56. Most of Eddie Royal’s 2009 targets came on short passes yet he caught only 46.8% of his targets whereas Brandon Marshall had more deep targets and caught 65.6% of his targets.

57. Brandon Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins.

58. There is a reason why the Denver Broncos drafted Demaryius Thomas in the first round and Eric Decker in the third round.

59. Now you know what that reason was.

60. During his three years as the Texans starter, Matt Schaub has started 11 games twice and 16 games once.

61. I believe in the law of averages (so should you).

62. As a rookie, Mohamad Massaquoi led the Browns with 624 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

63. Massaquoi caught 35.8% of his targets ranking him 94th amongst wide receivers with at least 40 targets.

64. I don’t think that was entirely because of the quarterback play in Cleveland last year.

65. Roy Williams caught 44% of his targets in 2009.

66. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Dez Bryant in the first round of the NFL Draft.

67. Pierre Garcon caught 51% of his targets last year. Austin Collie caught 67% of his targets and Anthony Gonzalez caught 72% of his targets during his first two years in the league.

68. Peyton Manning connected on 72.2% of his targets to players not named Pierre Garcon.

69. Quarterbacks like to throw to receivers who catch the ball, especially really good ones like Peyton Manning and Tony Romo.

70. Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen tied for the most red zone touches amongst tight ends with Brent Celek finishing third.

71. The Falcons, Bears and Eagles failed to acquire a big wide receiver during the offseason (or more accurately, none who are expected to contribute in 2010).

72. Reggie Bush’s touches have declined three straight years, hitting 117 last year.

73. In any situation, success is a function of opportunity, ability and motivation.

74. Fantasy success cannot be achieved with minimal opportunity and is rarely achieved by players with declining opportunities.

75. At the end of all of my job interviews, I finish by stating that success requires three components – ability, motivation and opportunity, if you can provide the opportunity then I will provide the ability and motivation. This applies to fantasy football as well.

76. Brandon Pettigrew had 5 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the three games before he suffered a season-ending knee injury.

77. The Lions traded for Tony Scheffler during the offseason.

78. Panthers quarterback Matt Moore and wide receiver Steve Smith connected 20 times for 378 yards and three touchdowns in the four games they started together.

79. I don’t think Jimmy Clausen is going to unseat Moore in 2010.


80. LaDainian Tomlinson’s current ADP is 9.10.

81. Tomlinson backs up Shonn Greene, who had 541 rushing yards as a rookie.

82. The Jets ran the ball far more than any team in the NFL last year.

83. I like veteran running backs backing up largely unproven players playing in offenses that run heavily.

84. There are plenty of backup running backs being drafted before LaDainian Tomlinson.

85. I don’t know why that is.

86. Michael Bush of the Raiders has received 15 or more touches in six games over the course of his career.

87. He has averaged 122 total yards in those six games.

88. Darren McFadden of the Raiders has received 15 or more touches in five games over the course of his career.

89. He has averaged 93 total yards in those five games.

90. The current average draft positions for Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis are 1.06, 4.06 and 5.03 yet Alex Smith’s ADP is 12.03.

91. Alex Smith averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game during the eleven games he received extensive playing time last year.

92. I don’t know why Alex Smith isn’t being viewed as a sleeper at quarterback.

93. Ryan Grant is the undisputed lead running back for the Green Bay Packers.

94. The Packers had an explosive offense in 2009 and figure to have one again this year.

95. Ryan Grant’s is currently being taken 13th overall amongst running backs.

96. Marcedes Lewis has increased his yardage total every year but has never scored more than two touchdowns.

97. You have not read anything yet about kickers.

98. You have not read anything yet about defenses.

99. That’s because there’s no point wasting your time guessing how kickers and defenses will perform. Use the last two selections in your draft or your last two auction dollars to fill these positions.

100. If you liked this article, then you should check back regularly for fantasy tips and advice to help you win your league.

Analyzing ADP – Wide Receivers

By: — September 8, 2009 @ 7:30 am

We analyzed the average draft position of quarterbacks and now we’re on to the wide receivers. With the number of stud running backs dwindling and numerous solid fantasy options at tight end, the wide receiver position is more than ever likely to determine your fantasy success or failure.

When it comes to drafting wide receivers, there has been a general trend to avoid solid veteran receivers who are unlikely to produce a surprise top ten fantasy season in favor of younger wide receivers who have upside but lack a history of production and are, for the most part, unproven. That being said, there are always a few big names that generally get drafted before they should.


Terrell Owens, BUF (ADP 3.10) – Owens has missed significant time during Buffalo’s preseason, QB Trent Edwards has looked horrible (and tentative) and the Bills have an inexperienced offensive line that will likely be amongst the league’s worst. The O-line will likely relegate the team to few deep throws and Edwards does not appear to have changed from his low risk approach of the past two seasons. Add it all up and Owens carries significant risk from both production and disruption perspectives.

Lee Evans, BUF (ADP 6.05) – Evans is a big play threat playing in a conservative offense led by a quarterback who is reluctant to throw deep. At his current ADP, he is the 25th receiver off the board and it is easy to find plenty of better options than Evans.

Lance Moore, NO (ADP 7.02) – He was one our projected busts and his current ADP (29th wide receiver) makes him an overvalued player in fantasy drafts. As we noted previously, in the six games that Reggie Bush missed, Moore averaged 15.5 points per game. In the other ten games, Moore averaged six points per game. In the five games in which Marques Colston, Bush and Moore all played, Moore averaged 3.3 points per game. If you draft Moore, you are banking on one or both of Colston and Bush being injured. That was his recipe for fantasy success in 2008. Remember that when you decide to overpay for Moore.

Anthony Gonzalez, IND (ADP 4.12) – Amongst wide receivers, Gonzalez is currently sandwiched between DeSean Jackson of the Eagles and Brandon Marshall of the Broncos. If that seems odd, that’s because it is. While Gonzalez possesses decent talent and plays in what figures to be a solid Indy offense, he isn’t a great red zone threat and his average yards per catch declined in his second season as he received more attention from opposing defenses due to Marvin Harrison’s decline. Gonzalez is a solid option as your third receiver but drafting him as a low end number two will prove costly.

Percy Harvin, MIN (ADP 8.02) – Let’s go back to the comparison we used above. Harvin is sandwiched between Jerricho Cotchery of the Jets and Derrick Mason of the Ravens. Harvin doesn’t have a defined role but we keep hearing that he will be used in multiple roles (wildcat, quick screens, reverses, out of the backfield). Given his lack of maturity and the number of roles he is being expected to learn, it seems more likely that he will struggle to remember his assignments. Given the history of rookie wide receivers and Harvin’s undefined role in Minnesota, this ADP makes no sense whatsoever.


Derrick Mason, BAL (ADP 9.02) – Although there is a small risk he could reconsider the retirement option, there is also a high probability that Mason will provide significant production in 2009. He has chalked up seven, 1,000 yard seasons over the last eight years and missed only six games during his 12 years in the league. In summary, he’s consistently healthy, consistently productive and his ADP represents little cost with a solid upside. What more can you ask for?

Hines Ward, PIT (ADP 7.03) – As we noted, veteran receivers are often undervalued so it isn’t a surprise that our second bargain at receiver is another veteran. Ward is coming off a 1,047 yard, seven touchdown season in which he was slowed in two games due to injury. Add in that the Pittsburgh running game isn’t what it once was, Santonio Holmes has yet to eclipse Ward as Ben Roethlisberger‘s main target and security blanket and Ward is a solid fantasy option in 2009.

Josh Morgan, SF (ADP 10.09) – Rookie hotshot Michael Crabtree‘s ADP is 9.10 and Morgan’s is 10.09. While Crabtree hasn’t signed a contract or proven anything, Morgan has taken over as the team’s number one wide receiver after an impressive rookie season that could have been outstanding were it not for injuries, the team’s reluctance to play the rookie more and the situation at quarterback. Basically, the talent is there and he has an opportunity to produce given the team’s current lack of depth at wide receiver. Look for Morgan to be a surprise fantasy performer in 2009.

Brandon Marshall, DEN (ADP 4.12) – Marshall clearly carries major risk given his ongoing feud with Denver management. However, he finished 10th in the wide receiver rankings in 2007 and followed that up with an 11th place ranking last year. He has caught 206 balls over the last two years, is in an offense that figures to rely heavily on the pass and is playing for a team that figures to be behind early and often. Plus, can new head coach Josh McDaniels really afford to run both his star QB and his star WR out of town before he’s even coached a game? Stranger things have surely happened but that sounds like career suicide. If he’s playing, Marshall will produce and it says here that McDaniels needs Marshall playing if he wants to return as head coach in 2010.

Domenik Hixon, NYG (ADP 10.05) – Hixon isn’t an overly talented wide receiver but, given the poor performance of the team’s young receivers during the preseason, he figures to be the team’s top receiving threat in 2009. With the Giants possessing a solid running game and one of the league’s better offensive lines, Hixon is unlikely to be regularly double teamed. In the middle of the 10th round, the receiver options are limited so grabbing the number one receiver on a team with a solid offense is excellent value.

Analyzing ADP – Quarterbacks

By: — September 7, 2009 @ 10:40 am

As we noted in one of our draft strategy articles, value is king when deciding which players to select in your fantasy football draft or auction. Every year there are certain players that are picked too early or are available late for various reasons. Sometimes a player’s outlook is generally being regarded more optimistically than it should be or perhaps an injury or change in a team’s personnel has caused a player’s stock to fall.

Analyzing average draft position (ADP) data is a great way to find value in your league’s draft or auction. In 2008, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner provided outstanding value because his ADP was the ninth pick in the 11th round in 12 team leagues, one spot below Jon Kitna, then of the Detroit Lions. This despite the fact that Warner had put up outstanding fantasy seasons previously with the high powered Rams offense, that it was widely known he was going to start over Matt Leinart because of Leinart’s meltdown in the team’s third preseason game and that the team was stacked with outstanding players at the offensive skill positions. Nonetheless, Warner was generally available as a backup fantasy quarterback.

Owners were rewarded with a great season. Warner was remarkably consistent (at least one TD pass in 15 games, 11 games with at least 250 yards passing) and finished as the 4th ranked fantasy QB. Throw away a game against the Patriots in a blizzard in New England when most owners likely benched him and he would have finished as the 2nd ranked fantasy QB.


Matt Ryan, ATL (ADP 6.07) – Quite predictably, the 2nd year pivot is being overdrafted in fantasy leagues this year. He finished a respectable 15th in the fantasy rankings as a rookie but is going off the board as the 9th best QB this year. Although 9th seems a bit optimistic, the biggest problem is that he’s going in the middle of the 6th round ahead of decent quality third receivers and running backs. In Atlanta’s run heavy offense, he doesn’t provide much opportunity for a top five performance but he’s being drafted as such.

Brett Favre, MIN (ADP 9.11) – He’s already banged up, he looked awful in his debut, the team lacks a true number one wide receiver and they will run the ball plenty. Favre is at best a low quality backup with limited upside. Players that figure to be high quality backups are still available when Favre comes off the board. Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel and David Garrard are a few examples of players with much more upside and less risk who are available after Favre gets drafted.

Peyton Manning, IND (ADP 3.02) – It’s hard to put Manning in here but the bottom line is that he’s being drafted ahead of Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner, each of whom should be ranked ahead of Manning, and he simply isn’t worth a high 3rd round pick. Manning’s points per game have declined from 23 to 21 to 19 over the past three seasons and the Colts no longer possess three quality wide receivers. Manning is remarkably consistent and never misses a game but his ADP does not represent solid value.


David Garrard, JAX (ADP 12.01) – Some players are undervalued every year and Garrard is one of those players. Perhaps it’s because he not a glamour quarterback, he doesn’t play in a big market and the team has never had a true number one wideout during his tenure. Of course, he was the 9th ranked fantasy QB in 2008 and 15th in 2007 when he only played in 12 games. Based on average points and excluding players with a minimal number of starts, he was ranked 12th in 2007. Plus, the team added Torry Holt in the offseason, who, even though he is clearly in decline, represents Garrard’s most reliable wide receiver over the last two years.

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (ADP 10.01) – Hasselbeck’s age (34 in September) and wonky back are certainly cause for concern in fantasy circles. However, his current ADP makes him the 15th quarterback off the board although there is a solid chance that, if healthy, he will crack the top 10 or 12. With Seattle’s run game a mess and the team possessing three solid receivers as well as an excellent pass catching tight end, look for the Seahawks to throw the ball plenty in 2008. The Seahawks followed a similar strategy in 2007 when Hasselbeck finished as the 7th ranked QB.

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