Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Keep an Eye on Gore...and Chester Taylor

Word from 49ers training camp is that Frank Gore broke a bone in his right hand during practice on Monday - during a non-contact drill even. Oh Gore. He will be re-evaluated in a week and is likely to miss most of the preseason. Read more here with Yahoo Sports. For the fantasy impact, check out Greg Rosenthal's blog, Pancake Block.

In other RB news, Chester Taylor also sustained an injury during training camp this morning. The Hazean has the details for you but personally I find this downward spiral of RBs a little disconcerting...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Solid Football Weekend

This weekend proved to be a great football weekend. I am going to my first Monday Night Football game, baby. Broncos non-season tickets went on sale this past Saturday and we got tickets for the Nov 19, Monday Night Broncos-Titans game. Knowing Colorado's weather it is likely to either be 70 degrees and balmy that night or 30 degrees with a foot of snow. I'll pull for the former.

This was the weekend of the fantasy football podcast for me. Two podcasts to check out:
1. The Sports Guy talks with Matthew Berry about fantasy football
2. Bruno Boys wrap up their coverage of the league with talk of the AFC West

Time to go camping! Training camp has arrived and I'm thrilled. Here in Denver, there were multiple news specials on the Broncos training camp with interesting stuff including Marcus Thomas, a 300+ pound DT starting things off right with a series of round offs and back flips - extremely impressive. There's some concern about the WR position with both Rod Smith and Brandon Marshall injured; David Kircus stepped up with the play-of-the-day during yesterday's practice [photo: Jamie Schwaberow]. I'll be making my own trip down to Dove Valley one morning next week and will report back any tidbits I see/learn there.

In other fantasy news, check out NFL.com's article listing 15 guys to keep an eye on - they might not be drafted but could certainly come in handy as the season rolls on: Players who can become viable options.

And for those more concerned about your impending draft than about waiver wire finds, check out The Huddle's How to Tab Value Running Backs or ProFantasySports.com's The 'Don't Touchables' that looks at some overrated and underrated players.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fantasy Football Rap

Have you all seen this yet? I'm highly amused by this...thanks to FantasyFootballGoat.com for the link. Enjoy!

The Injury Hawk & The Round 2 Selection Debate

I can think of few things that unravel a championship fantasy team like an injury. We all have to weigh the injury factor on draft day when we're staring down the Clinton Portis decision. Or the Donovan McNabb decision. Or the Warrick Dunn decision [photo: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images]. Or the Kevin Jones decision (the list goes on...). You've got to be a hawk when it comes to injuries - so for some assistance turn to SI's The Hurting.

On another note, I've found an interesting disparity between those who are picking up another RB in the 2nd round versus those who are going with a WR in the second round. Gregg Rosenthal makes a good case for picking up a WR in his blog, Pancake Blocks. However in 2007 Wide Receiver Profiles, ProFantasySports.com is convincing in their argument that this year there is great depth at the WR position and missing out on an RB2 to get one of the few top WRs could be more damaging in the long run. To me, so much of it depends on your draft position and competition of course. Check out that PFS.com WR article for a nice synopsis on basically all WRs you'd ever even consider drafting.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mock Draft Final Results

Over the past few weeks I've been part of a 2-round mock draft with fellow football bloggers. On Tuesday, the final draft selection was made and the results are listed below. There were a surprising number of QBs taken so early but the explanations and analysis for all choices were enlightening. In a couple of weeks we'll be drafting for real in a football blogger draft for the season. Unfortunately I will be on an airplane during the draft (trust me, I'd get out of it if I could) but this should be a good time to test Yahoo's auto drafting skills. Or perhaps just my pre-draft player ranking skills.

First round

  1. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers [TINO Sports Page]
  2. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams [The Hazean]
  3. Joseph Addai, RB, Colts [MWC Football]
  4. Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs [Blaine Clancy]
  5. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers [Fantasy Football Librarian]
  6. Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles [Curveballs for Jesus]
  7. Peyton Manning, QB, Colts [Next Gen Pro Football]
  8. Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots [Cheesesteaks & Stuff]
  9. Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals [Signal to Noise]
  10. Travis Henry, RB, Broncos [NFL Minute]
  11. Rudi Johnson, RB, Bengals [FanProphet]
  12. Willie Parker, RB, Steelers [The Extrapolater]

Second round

  1. Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks [The Extrapolater]
  2. Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens [FanProphet]
  3. Reggie Bush, RB, Saints [NFL Minute]
  4. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars [Signal to Noise]
  5. Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints [Cheesesteaks & Stuff]
  6. Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins [Next Gen Pro Football]
  7. Drew Brees, QB, Saints [Curveballs for Jesus]
  8. Cedric Benson, RB, Bears [Fantasy Football Librarian]
  9. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers [The NFL Guru]
  10. Thomas Jones, RB, Jets [MWC Football]
  11. Chad Johnson, WR, Bengals [The Hazean]
  12. Marvin Harrison, WR, Colts [TINO Sports Page]

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Making the O-Line Grade

Greetings, FF fans. Great news for all - football season is another day closer. Last night I woke up in a cold sweat from a nightmare that I foolishly somehow drafted a TE in round 1. Maybe that was just me (yes, honestly), but I know the rest of you are just as pumped for the arrival of the 2007 football season. So let's welcome it in with some Training Camp Previews from Fanball.

Looking for a little insight on the defensive side? Bruno Boys provides a list of 3 sleeper defenses in their article Bruno Boys Crystal Ball: Three Sleeper Fantasy Defenses.

Many of you liked the offensive line rankings that I've linked to in the past; so if you're in the market for more, check out ProFantasySports.com's Offensive Line Report - they provide not only a quick letter grade for each of the 32 lines but also a more in-depth summary for a handful of teams such as the Lions, Colts, and Chiefs. This article is part of PFS's Draft Kit, which is not only free (thanks PFS!) but is also shaping up to be extremely informative. You can find just about any ranking you want here - keeper/dynasty, rookie, IDP, Top 200, positional rankings, whatever. And for you college football lovers, there's a substantial section devoted to college fantasy info (personal side note: there are two Northwestern players on the list of Top 200 college players - this doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me, as an alum that actually expects good things out of the Wildcats, I'm excited to see it [Tyrell Sutton photo: Darron Cummings, AP]).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cheatsheets Galore

I'm in the process of amassing overall fantasy draft rankings and creating an average ranking position for the Top 100 players based on expert and not-so-expert opinions. While scouring the web for these rankings, I came across 159 Cheatsheets from Clayton Gray on Footballguys.com. You have to check this out. This guy taken several of the most popular scoring systems and created an individualized ranking for each of the possible starting lineup permutations. So let's say you're in a league where all TDs are worth 6 points, receptions are worth 1 point, passing yards are 1 point per 20 yards and rushing yards are 1 point per 10 yards...and you're lineup is a 2QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1PK, 1DT. Well never fear, here's your ranking. And if you're in a different league that only gives 4 points for TDs, but otherwise all the details are the same - again, no problem, here's that individualized ranking. There are small but important differences between the two. I mean, this took some serious time and energy. I am impressed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Training Camp...so. very. close.

I opened the Denver Post this weekend to find a multi-page Broncos Training Camp Preview waiting for me. This was extremely exciting - after months of waiting for more than a single article or footnote on the NFL/indictments, I have several pages of Broncos info. Football is back, baby.

For those Broncos fans or just Jay Cutler fans out there, check out Fanball.com's Jay OK for the fantasy outlook on a rising star that Brandon Stokely likens to Peyton Manning. Somewhere my Knoxville-native husband just shuddered at the thought that anyone could possibly be likened to a football god like Peyton.

It appears as though the Best Sports Stuff blog is going to be providing us with a series called Fantasy Football Sleeper of the Day - the series starts here with JP Losman [photo: Winslow Townson, AP].

FootballOutsiders.com has just made my day. Check out their review of CBS Sportsline.com NFL IDP Experts League they were involved in recently - it's 29 rounds. Yes, 29. And chock full o' IDPs and Special Teams. Trust me, getting your hands on expert opinions for drafts like this with IDPs is priceless for the info and the good laughs.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm not the only librarian out there...

...who loves fantasy football. And perhaps more importantly, my fellow librarian-also-blogger understands why I think my research/library background aids in unearthing helpful fantasy football info. For those interested in the deep, dark librarian-ish details, check out the Research Quest blog that declared fantasy sports the national sport of librarians. Yes, a national sport for librarians. Nice work, Paul.

For those wanting more fantasy football info and less library talk, don't worry, I've got you covered.
1. Rotoworld's Evan Silva gives valuable QB drafting advice, particularly for those of you who end up not taking a top QB...Evan's advice? Hold out and pair up some later round QBs as your strategy for winning. Interesting stuff in Targeting Mid-Round QBs.

2. A free draft guide? Wait, that actually exists these days? Yes, it is chock full o' info - see the Fox Fantasy Draft Guide for rankings, sleepers, busts, and team reports.

3. Read up on the Chester Taylor vs Adrian Peterson battle for as the Vikings #1 RB at SI's Camp Battles: Minnesota RB [photo: Ted S. Warren, AP].

Mock Draft, Pick #20

As noted in an earlier post, I'm part of a 2-round mock draft with 11 other football bloggers. With my first pick (#5) I selected Frank Gore. The rest of the picks from round 1 & 2 can be seen here.

Now my turn has arrived again and I must admit, I'm fairly pleased with my options. Part of me is very tempted to start the WR train but I'd rather go with another RB, someone who is bound to provide more consistency than even the best WR (agree? disagree?). But with the 20th pick there's no such thing as a sure bet - each of these guys has fallen to #20 for a reason. So I've whittled my options down to the following less-than-awesome-but-still-pretty-amazing guys: Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, and Cedric Benson.

Clinton Portis
Pros:

  • In 8 games in 2006, he had 523 yards rushing, 170 receiving and 7 TDs
  • Previous to 2006, he was averaging 1,483 yards and 11 TDs a season
  • Nice receiver, peaking with 40 receptions in 2004
  • As TJI points out, having a work-in-progress QB like Jason Campbell could mean good things for an established runner like Portis
  • He's actually only 25 - surprising, right? I thought he had to be at least 27 or 28. Nope, a youthful 25.
  • Ahead of schedule with his injury recovery - he participated in light drills during minicamp
Cons:
  • Ladell Betts - reupped with the Skins and looking like he could take a lot of runs from Portis (interesting note: Ladell is actually 2 years older than Portis)
  • History of injuries and lots of question marks on his current status
  • Performance drop-off from Denver to Washington (5.5 yard/carry avg with Broncos to 4.1 in 2006)
Edge
Pros:
  • Strong finish to 2006 season - in last 5 games, he had 3 100+ yard games and 3 TDs in the last 4 games
  • New coach, Ken Whisenhunt, wants to find ways to employ the Edge a little more (see Willie Parker's running game as an example) - he anticipates the Edge having about 325 carries for the season
  • Arizona o-line is slowly maybe hopefully potentially is possibly getting a little better
  • His awesomeness in Indy
  • In 3 seasons, he has only missed one game
Cons:
  • His poor performance for the majority of 2006
  • The fact that he's in Arizona; will anything good happen there, ever? There's so much talent there, how is the team still so shoddy?
  • He underwent minor knee surgery during the offseason - but really this could be good or bad; it reduced the swelling on his knee that bothered him in 2006...but then again, is knee surgery ever a good sign?
  • Coaching staff's desire to find a backup for the Edge, indicating some definite loss of touches/TDs
Cedric Benson
Pros:
  • In last 7 games of 2006, he rushed for 432 yards and 3 TDs while still sharing the workload with Thomas Jones
  • The Bears love to run, particularly when the options are between Rex throwing or Cedric running
  • Strong numbers and durability in college: at Texas, "Benson carried the rock 1,112 times for 5,540 yards and 64 touchdowns"
  • The Bears would not have let Thomas Jones go if Cedric Benson wasn't capable of being their featured back
Cons:
  • The Bears predilection for using multiple backs over the past several seasons (and have you guys seen Garrett Wolfe in action? Amazing. With a little time this guy is bound to be a big playmaker with the Bears)
  • Not much of a receiver, only caught 9 passes in his first 2 seasons
  • Lots of unknowns about his unknown skills, his endurance throughout the season, his ability to stay healthy - overall, he has just been untested thus far
  • Unfortunate Super Bowl performance with a fumble and injury on his only 2 carries
  • Holds the record for longest rookie holdout in franchise history - not the most likable guy on the team
So who do I pick? This has been a really hard choice - mostly between Clinton Portis and Cedric Benson. Either one is a pretty big gamble but I'm going with Cedric Benson [photo: Getty Images]. I'm basing this on the fact that Chicago is just a better team than the Redskins and the Bears are fortunate enough to play the Lions, the Vikings, and the Packers twice each - that just equals RB success. I anticipate some NFC North games where the Bears are up big and they finish the game by letting Benson run it out. The potential for Benson to have a steady season with double digit TDs is definitely there. This has been a tough call for me, but the consistent numbers that could come from Benson are enough to outweigh the risk involved with Clinton Portis.It has been a pleasure drafting with you all and I look forward to keeping up with your blogs. Good luck this season!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Burning Questions, Your Kicker & Top Sleepers

Are you sitting around, staring at the work e-mails piling up and yet you can't stop yourself from staring into space and pondering the burning questions of the 2007 football season? Will Peyton return to Super Bowl greatness this year? Is there life without Tiki? What will happen to Pep...or for that matter, Vick, Rex, Romo, Randy Moss, and a slew of others? If so, you're in the right place. Not only do I lack judgment against those who can't focus on work when FOOTBALL is coming, but I have the answers to your top 15 NFL questions - as deemed by CBS Sportsline.

Next...the kicker. You are required to draft a kicker whether you like it or not. And who knows, perhaps you'll be jumping around singing the praises of the gold-footed Jason Elam because he's awesome, yes, but also because he helped you eke out a win over your fantasy nemesis. I've been there and I love Elam for it. So to help with the drafting of a kicker, see SportingNews.com's Kickers: Yes, you have to draft one.

Finally, another excellent Wednesday's Top Ten from The Hazean yesterday - this time they've pulled together a randomly-ordered Top Ten Sleepers for the 2007 season including such players as Jamal Lewis, DeDe Dorsey [photo: BBCSport], and Jerious Norwood.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WR and RB Changes for 2007

Here's another listing of o-lines - this one, Top 10 Offensive Lines, comes from FFToolbox.com [photo: Redskins.com].

Several of my fantasy leagues require that I start 2-3 WRs and a TE/WR (so often falls to a WR...), so I've been trying to find some solid WR-specific rankings to prepare for the season. The Huddle provides a list of WRs that they believe are slipping, becoming less valuable - check out 2007 Wide Receiver Turnover for the details. WR rankings to come soon - ranking/site suggestions are always welcome.

Perhaps you're wondering what will become of the RB in your keeper league that was traded during the offseason, such as Willis McGahee, Travis Henry or Jamal Lewis? Check out SportingNews.com's RBs: Old faces in new places for the scoop on those guys and several others. Bonus: if you like catching the daily weather forecast, this article's style might be right up your alley.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fantasy Fuel for a Monday

So last week I complained about the lack of TE rankings/postings out there and what do I immediately find? Another TE article, this time from FFToday.com - as part of their Building a Dynasty series they include both the long term and short term value as well as job security for each of their top 10 TEs [Antonio Gates photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA Today].

With the football season creeping closer every day, many drafters are putting the polish on their own personalized rankings...and others are just thinking about the draft for the first time this year. No problem - either way, check out FantasySharks.com's More Bang For Your Buck. They've looked at players who can be taken a little later in the draft and still produce the fantasy numbers you need - who wouldn't want advice like this? Exactly. So we've got more - ProFantasySports.com's Undervalued Players to Draft also takes you through a list of middle or late round draft picks that just might put up some big numbers.

Finally - another Offensive Line Ranking. These are not easy to find, my football fiends. In an earlier posting, I linked to Rotoworld's Going on the Offensive and was left wanting more o-line rankings. It merely whetted the o-line appetite. Fortunately, FootballDocs stepped up to the plate and created 2007's projected offensive line rankings; unfortunately, they are not all available for free. You can see the first three teams but then are requested to pay for the rest. I just don't roll that way. But for those that do, there appear to be separate pass blocking rankings, run blocking rankings, and then an in-depth ranking.

And because I'd rather close on a here's-free-fantasy-information note, click here for some helpful bye week suggestions from CBS Sportsline for your QB and RB fillers when your "stud workhorses" are on bye.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

FF Blog Love

Today I am conducting my FF searches through blogs only - I do love my Fabiano/NFL fantasy news but as I've mentioned before, I think excellent insight that many bloggers offer is often overlooked.

If you're in need of brief player profiles, check out DR U Fantasy Football GURU - every day a new profile has been added for a player you're likely to consider drafting. Peruse the ginormous archives to see all the profiles (a little kudos to ginormous for being added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year among other words including crunk and smackdown).

Looking for some info on QBs that you might want to draft other than Peyton? Squibkick.com offers up a lovefest for Marc Bulger but also includes a nice one-sentence recap on many other QBs in the league. Read up.

The TE. Oh the TE. I'll be honest, I loathed all my TEs last year. There were of course a few exceptional games but numbers in general were down on the TE front in 2006 and I've been left with some general TE angst [Chris Cooley photo: Matt Slocum, AP]. I also think there's a dearth of tight end rankings - no one seems to want to touch them at all...enter The Hazean and their Top 10 TEs for 2007. Thanks Haze dudes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Fantasy Buffet

The fantasy buffet for the day:

In Offseason Movement: QBs, FFToday provides some good fantasy insight on QBs that have shifted teams in the offseason - Trent Green, Matt Schaub, and Brad Johnson to name a few.

If you're in need of some fantasy prognistication for the 2007 season, have no fear. There are several options. First, check out FantasySharks.com's Boom or Bust 2007 for QBs, RBs, and WRs...personally, I appreciate the fact that several Broncos made the Boom list. Or try TheHuddle.com's 10 Players to Avoid in This Year's Fantasy Draft. From ProFantasySports.com there's A Few Names Not to Be Ignored, which lays out some sleeper options; some of these are more obvious picks than others. Again, love the Broncos sleeper TE pick with Tony Scheffler [photo: Cliff Grassmick, Daily Camera]. Saw him at training camp last August and even then he looked like he had some serious potential for connecting with Cutler - I can only imagine how he has benefited from a year in the pros.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Flying with Big Ben

Sorry, this post has no redeeming fantasy football value - just a quick note to say I think I almost flew on the same flight as Ben Roethlisberger this afternoon. My husband and I were on vacation visiting family for the long weekend and flew from Pittsburgh to Denver today; we arrived at the airport really early to accomodate another family member's flight time and tried to get on an earlier flight to Denver on stand-by. That earlier flight ended up being sold out so we didn't get on, but as we were sitting at the gate, first class boarded...and there was Big Ben. Or else a dead ringer for him. Not to sound like a star-struck teenager but it was pretty awesome. It would've been such a fine addition to the three hour flight to be able to muster up the gumption to meet the guy, too.


Our weekend also included a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio - a surprisingly crowded and entertaining place, to be honest. A few photos of interest for you include Larry Johnson's shoes when he set the record for rushing attempts in a season and Jason Elam's shoes when he kicked the 63-yarder record FG for the Broncos...geez, those are both shoe photos. Promise there are cooler items than just shoes there but apparently these are some of the only things I caught on film. More on fantasy football soon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pick #5

Greetings FF fans. It's time for my pick in the blogger mock draft set up by The Hazean. Pick #1 went to LT of course, pick #2 to SJax, and I'll be honest, I was surprised by pick #3 to Joseph Addai (though the more I thought about it, the more it made a lot of sense, nicely done MWC Football), and pick #4 to Larry Johnson.

So I gathered rankings from 12 different "experts" in the fantasy football field. I'm sitting here staring at my spreadsheet and am wondering just how much these supposed experts know. Of the 12 rankings, 4 have Frank Gore slotted in #5, 2 have Shaun Alexander, 2 have Willie Parker, and 1 each for Addai, Peyton, Westbrook, and then one guy ranked Gore/Westbrook/Bush/Addai all as equals. Interesting stuff. Larry Johnson just does not exist below the #3 ranking on any of these. So after some deliberation, and consideration of the fact that I won't be picking again until July 20th, I narrowed it down to the final two contenders for pick #5: Frank Gore and Shaun Alexander. Peyton was tempting but not at #5 - soon though, I imagine. I also really like Laurence Maroney but am not sure he's a #5 quite yet, either.

Let's start with Gore [photo: Phil Coale, AP]. I'm already crazy about this guy since he did wonders for two of my leagues last year. And as stated previously, we have a last name in common. I'm a total sucker for that sort of stuff...

Gore Pros:

Gore Cons:
  • As already stated, Gore is a yardage monster but his TD count is low
  • Adios, Norv Turner, and what does that do to Gore's stats? As noted by Fabiano, "former stud runners such as Stephen Davis, Ricky Williams and LaMont Jordan all produced decreased numbers the season after Turner left their respective teams."
  • Gore's history of knee and shoulder problems
  • Tied with Willie Parker for the highest number of RB fumbles last season with 7 fumbles

Shaun Alexander is up next [photo: squibkick.com]. Again, this guy did wonders for my league...but in 2005. But with great risk comes great reward, thus he's a final contender.

Alexander Pros:
Alexander Cons:
So with these considerations in mind, I surprise no one and take Frank Gore with pick #5.

Monday, July 02, 2007

FF Draft Homework

As I mentioned, I'm part of this two-round mock draft and I'm picking 5th...my pick is coming right up (this Thursday) and I'd like to be as prepared as possible. Only catch here is that I'm flying out of town towards the middle of eastern Ohio on the night of July 4th - and my pick needs to be up on July 5th. I'm confident the timing will work out though and to prepare, I've been searching high and low for lists of top picks. In fact, I have a spreadsheet going of 9 different sites/rankings. Seems like Blogger should let me post an excel spreadsheet but I'm not so sure about that...I'll see what I can do. And in the meantime, here's some of the research on the top picks:

The Huddle's Top 10 rankings for RB...only their Top 10 rankings for each position are free, which is something I really don't care for. What I'd like to know is if this is their full-time job - if so, I suppose it justifies the fee a little more since we all have make a living. In fact, in my dream world I am the Fantasy Football Librarian full-time. But still...the fee thing irks me.

But back to actual football - or at least actual fantasy football:

Top 200 Preseason Fantasy Rankings from ProFantasySports.com

RBs are the heart of the matter in any 2-round draft, so look no further that this: Fabiano brings us a short review of all 32 backfields in A Look at the Most Important Position

And an LJ rumor (that could have massive draft impact; [photo: MSNBC]) is dissected on scout.com this morning - Don't Believe the Hype: LJ to Dallas?