Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Old Name, Stale Game

From a fantasy perspective, one of the biggest mistakes owners can make is to draft someone purely on name recognition. It is a ploy I see people who are relatively new to fantasy football try in drafts. Guys who draft these types of players high are the ones who always ask annoying questions during a game, who can't name more than 5 current starting QB's, who root for whatever team is hot and who like the Cowboys because they are "America's Team."

I can think of several such players who, while they have serious name-recognition, should not be drafted in the top 10 rounds:

1. Warren Sapp. Yeah, he's jolly and think's he's a badass as a member of Raider nation, but shit, this guy isn't even one of the top 5 defensive players on his team (Kirk Morrison, Derrick Burgess, Stuart Schweigert, Tommy Kelly and Fabian Washington are better fantasy picks).

2. Brett Favre. This one is well documented, and I almost feel guilty putting this on my list because I like him so much. But he, and the Pack, are on their last leg. Here's hoping he and Greg Jennings hook up (football wise, that is) many times this year, as I drafted Jennings with my last pick.

3. Jamal Lewis. I'm taking a chance on this one, as he may have a good year after all. I just get the gut feeling that his best days are way behind him. Plus, Mike Anderson is breathing down his neck and is a WAY more solid back. Don't be surprised if Lewis, injured or not, is the backup by year end to Anderson.

4. Steve McNair. Here's hoping he proves me wrong and shows how incredibly inept and stupid the TN Titans really are. Still, he isn't a top 15 QB in my book, and is way injury prone. I hope he wins NFL Comeback Player of this year this year, though.

5. Keyshawn Johnson. He's old and has a QB who is more of a game-manager than a big play fantasy QB. He has to share the field with Steve Smith and (crazy as this sounds) I think Keary Colbert might be a fantasy sleeper.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Flaunt your Willie!

Two weeks ago, with my second-round pick (#21 overall), I selected Willie Parker in our fantasy draft.

Among other noteable players, I passed on Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush.

Upon making this selection, here were some of the comments from other owners:

"Looks like you are on autodraft"
"I'm gonna enjoy whoppin your ass in week 6"

Willie Parker is not listed as one of football's top-tiered backs (he is listed as #10 on one list at http://www.faketeams.com/story/2006/8/28/73627/0009) and that is understandable: the league is rife with hall of fame running backs. Tomlinson, Alexander, Larry Johnson, Barber will all be enshrined in Canton (provided they stay healthy). So it is understandable if Willie Parker gets overlooked.

But make no mistake about it: Willie Parker is going to have a monster season. I predict he will have at least 1500 yards and 12 TD's.


1. Ben Roethlisberger's health. In games where Big Ben is not playing, expect Parker's carries to increase 10-20% I wouldn't characterize Ben as injury-prone, but he did miss 4 games last year. Plus, there is this emergency appendectomy, which means he won't play for at least the first game of the year. Expect Cowher to keep Charlie Batch on a short leash (won't let him throw as much), which should mean more carries for Parker.

2. The Bus is gone. There is no more Jerome Bettis to take his goal-line carries, so I would expect his TD total to at least double (from 4 to 8).

3. He is young and fast. Really fast. Young, quick running backs intrigue me from a fantasy perspective.

4. Antwaan Randle El. I think Steelers fans underestimated his worth. Losing him gives Pittsburgh one less big-play option downfield.

I am, for the most part, against making trades in the preseason. But if you have the chance to lock in Willie Parker, and you don't have to trade Alexander, Tomlinson, Johnson, or Ronnie Brown, then do it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Trouble in Big D...

First, I think people should get off of Mike Vanderjagt's back. Especially fantasy owners.

Yeah, he did schdoink two potentially game-winning field goals during last week's tie with Minnesota, and yeah, he isn't great in the post-season. All of that is, no doubt, karma for what he said about Payton Manning

He is still heads-and-shoulders better than anything the Dallas Cowboys had last year. Besides, from a fantasy perspective, who cares what happens in the pre- or post- seasons? He will be a solid fantasy contributor this year.

Furthermore, I'm not so sure that Terrell Owens is going to tear the Boys apart like some people think. Granted, he proved how much of a Grade-A asshole he is by what he did to Donovan McNabb last year. But let's face it: when he is on, he's on. He wants nothing more than to win, so forgive him for getting pissy when his team isn't.

No, the problem with the Cowboys isn't TO or Vanderjagt. Count on them to have solid fantasy years.

Two men will keep the Boys from achieving their full potential in 2006

Bill Parcels and Drew Bledsoe.

Drew Bledsoe is, well, old. He will have a solid year and, for his sake, I hope by the end of the year he is the "Comeback Player of the Year." Still, though, he is 34, and may not have that many more great years ahead of him.

What I don't understand is why the Cowboys don't draft a QB for the future and then groom him behind a more experienced veteran QB. Maybe that is what they are trying to do with Tony Romo and, if that is the case, good for them (although I doubt Romo has what it takes to lead). Consider these decent QB's that they have passed on the last 3 years in the draft:

2006: Kellen Clemens, Tarvaris Jackson
2005: Aaron Rodgers, Charlie Frye, Kyle Orton
2004: Matt Schaub

Can you imagine what life would be like in D-Land if Parcells/Jones had the foresight to draft Matt Schaub and then groom him? He could have carried the clipboard behind Vinny Testaverde for a year, learned the ropes, and then advanced to where he rightfully belongs: as a starter in the NFL. Imagine Schaub throwing the ball 25 times/game to Owens and Terry Glenn for the next 5-10 years...

It is Parcells and Jerry Jones' lack of vision and inability to look beyond the current year that has doomed this franchise. I don't buy this shit about their being in a tough division (which is the excuse that will be used when they miss the playoffs this year).

I could be wrong, and Tony Romo could be the next Troy Aikman. But I doubt it...

"Sounds like someone is living in the past man. Contemporize!" (Simpsons episode 4F17, original air date 4/20/1997).

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sammy's Pain is Ronnie's Gain

Make no mistake about it: Miami is going to throw the ball this year.

With Culpepper tossing to Chris Chambers and Marty Booker, expect a high-flying passing attack in Miami. I predict Daunte will easily pass for 3500 yards and 30 TD's in 2006, provided he stays healthy.

Despite their high-flying passing attack potential, it is the Dolphins running game that has me intrigued. Everyone knows about Ronnie Brown, of course.

He was already slated to be the feature back for Miami and was already going to rush for 1200+ yards. But now that Sammy Morris is facing a suspension for failing a drug test (triggered by his taking Sudafed in the off-season???), Ronnie Brown is pretty much it at RB. See the Yahoo article below:


Any danger of Sammy Morris taking away goal-line carries from Ronnie Brown is gone, at least for the first 4 games of the year. The team still has Travis Minor, but he won't pose much of a threat to fantasy owners to take away carries from Brown.

It won't be unreasonable to expect Brown to carry the ball 25 times/game during the first 4 games of the year. That is twice his average from last year. Even when Morris returns, Brown will already be on a pace to break the Dolphins single-season rushing record and thus won't lose that many carries.

Bottom line: if you are drafting in the next week and have anything lower than the 3rd pick (after Johnson, Tomlinson and Alexander go), take Ronnie Brown. The other owners will drop a major WTF when you do, but come October, you will look like a genius.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Too early for trades??

The 2006 NFL season has yet to start, and already I have had two trade offers.

The first trade offer was a large-scale, deal-breaking, convoluted trade offer (involving 6 total players ) that I automatically rejected. I have learned the hard way that these trades usually don't bode well for me and my teams, especially early-on. Generally, trades involving more than 4 total players are not win-win situations.

The second trade offer was simple: I would get Mushin Muhammed and the other owner would get Donte Stallworth. Tempting, really, but I have a gut feeling Stallworth will do well in Philly. I'm hanging onto him for now.

However, it wasn't really the players involved that bothered me or the number of players. I think making trades before the season starts is, about 95% of the time, really stupid. I can only think of 2 exceptions to this rule:

1. You drafted a player who subsequently gets injured in a pre-season game and will be out for at least 4 regular-season weeks. You want to pawn him off on someone else who thinks he has potential later down the line.

2. Your league employs an auto-draft, and you ended up with a mix of players that is insane (3 kickers, 4 QB's, etc).

In my case, neither of the above applied. All players involved are very healthy, and our league had a live draft. One of the trade requests was submitted roughly a week after the draft. I politely rejected it, but wanted to scream "If you didn't want that player, then why the hell did you draft him?"

Making a trade request during the preseason indicates a lack of draft-day preparedness in my opinion. If in week 3 or 4, you need a player I have and Muhammed is the best you have to offer, then we can talk.

Agree or disagree? Let me know.