Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break 08 & fantasy football

It's Spring Break in Boulder, Colorado. Spring Break not only means that there aren't any students around campus (and yet I'm still here, library-ing away...), but it also means the NFL Draft is around the corner; the NFL Draft means that training camp is only is a season away; training camp means the first game is quickly approaching. So by my calculations, it's really about time that we rev up the fantasy preparations for 2008.

  • NFL.com released their 2008 Fantasy football mock draft 2.0 last week; I have to say, I'm surprised by some of the things I'm seeing. Frank Gore going 4th overall is intriguing - I love the guy and love the boldness of that pick. Not sure I'd have the guts to do it.
  • The Huddle takes a look at which NFL teams might be drafting a rookie RB in the draft this year (and beyond) and their reasons why in Rookie Running Backs by Team Needs.
  • n Finishing Strong, Pro Football Reference blog answers the question of whether or not a team's finish has an impact on how well they play the following season. They analyze finishes back to 1990 and determined that strong finishers do outperform the league average. Read on to see who this year's strong finishers were...
  • News from the Broncos on a freak accident that injured Brandon Marshall. He's expected to be out for several months and "might be ready to resume football activities" by training camp. Um, not cool. Oh Broncos...see what happens when you let Jason Elam go??
  • Football Outsiders continues their series of reviewing the free agency and draft needs status of teams in Four Downs: AFC South. By the way, want some stadium seats from the RCA Dome? Or Marvin Harrison's locker? Or just a 2x3 of sideline turf? Read on for links to your own piece of the Colts. At ridiculous prices of course.
Enjoy and happy spring break.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Catching up on fantasy football

I have a confession - I've let fantasy football slip to the back burner. When the off-season began, I vowed to blog several times a week, and now I see that I've let that fall a bit. It has been a crazy past few weeks for me (and is only getting busier!) and I think I've been neglecting the football in my life. So my apologies - with the NFL Draft now about a month away, I'll try to pick up my posting steam a little bit here. Read on for news and insights from the football world this week...

  • Football Outsiders's Four Downs: NFC South - part of a series that offers a concise summary of each NFC South team, their free-agency acquisitions and 2008 draft needs.
  • Those who know me and/or my blog probably know that I was very sorry to hear about Jason Elam leaving the Broncos to kick for the Falcons instead. The photo of me on this blog is from a Broncos game this past fall - it's probably to hard to notice, but I am wearing an Elam jersey. Yup, my one and only jersey is that of a kicker. That says a little something about how awesome Elam is, I think. So while I find it hard to imagine 1) why he would prefer to play for the Falcons or 2) who we will get to replace Elam, I do wish him all the best.
  • FFXtreme's Fantasy Football Players to Monitor is a list of possible gambles like Donovan McNabb and Todd Heap that you may want to keep an eye on before draft time arrives.
  • Football Jabber has some interesting QB analysis of Brady, Manning and Romo in Who's the Top Fantasy Dynasty QB in 2008?
  • I love reading the Jay Cutler love in Bruno Boys's Who Would You Rather Own in 2008?
As I've mentioned before, I'm very slowly working on an update to my How Accurate Were They in 2007? spreadsheet - I think I am trying to address too many concerns and please all commentors from my NYT blog...apparently, that just might not be possible. So it might be another week or two, but I will get an update up soon with a new overall ranking of how experts fared in ranking players during the pre-season. A position-specific ranking will also be included.

On a related note, I've been having some philosophical debates (mostly just with myself, yes) over what exactly a Top 100 ranking is actually capturing. In my accuracy analysis of these rankings mentioned above, I'm treating the rankings as though the experts are predicting the order of fantasy performers by fantasy point totals at season's end. Meaning that the ranking isn't supposed to be used as a blueprint for drafting - but clearly that's not exactly the case since most of these rankings stick to some combination of overall points and positional scarcity analysis. If they didn't, you'd see more lists that took slightly different approaches to their lists like Football Outsiders who - gasp! - ranked a few kickers in the Top 100. I'd be interested in hearing what the rest of you think a Top 100 ranking represents - or even hearing from some of the experts who compile these lists.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Finding Football Fun

Football entertainment in the off-season is hard to come by - but Cold, Hard Football Facts has done it again with a relatively amusing and not-too-time-consuming (I know you are all honing your NCAA brackets right now anyway) football poll. Now I'm looking around the massive study space just outside of my university library office, and I can tell that those of you who are in college or grad school are probably very busy with pre-spring break work. So take this poll, my friends. It's a quiz you can't fail. And for the rest of us who are suckers with real jobs, who perhaps attempted to relive the college glory days over a few pints of green beer last night, take a five minute break from that job and poll it up.

I do love Fantasy Football Xtreme - if you haven't been to this site before, it's definitely worth your time. One of the many reasons to love the site is that Smitty is always coming up with solid fantasy articles, particularly now during the long, parched stretch of the NFL off-season. Check out 2008 Strength of Schedule for Running Backs. While the exact 2008 schedule hasn't been set yet, the opponents schedule has been set...so bring on the analysis! One interesting nugget: KC's opponents rank nearly 22nd (out of 32) against the run - does this bode well for Larry Johnson or what? While I of course hope the Broncos and others facing KC might beef up their run D before the 2008 season arrives, this is certainly something to chew on as you mull over RB rankings.

Curious about how the NFL draft will go at the end of next month? There are numerous places to look for mock drafts, but check out Ask The Commish's Top 2008 NFL Draft Prospects by Position.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March Madness in the NFL

Okay, so there really isn't a whole lot of madness going on this month with respect to football. I just watched the Selection Show for college basketball's upcoming tournament and can feel the basketball excitement mounting in my household (my husband is a Knoxville, TN native). But as the basketball hype builds, don't forget - there is actually football news to read. For example:

  • D-Jax has left the Niners. The addition of Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson in the off-season made Darrell Jackson a bit obsolete for the 49ers - where will he go? Perhaps the Eagles, Redskins, Dallas, Bucs or Vikings. But will it even matter? Of more interest to me is Anquan Boldin, who is rumored to be on the move, possibly to one of those same teams. Boldin is not only the player with more potential, but his departure could have a big impact as well - Larry Fitzgerald owners, stay tuned for news on Boldin.
  • CoachBox has a poll on their site: what is the best ranking order for 2008, 1st round (for FF drafts)? All options include the trio of LT, AP and Brady. Of the 170+ votes at the time of this writing, 35% threw their support behind the order of Tomlinson, Peterson, Brady. This was the most popular trio while on the other hand, the two orderings that put LT 3rd were the least popular.
  • Are you in an IDP (individual defensive player) league? If so, keep an eye on ProFantasySports.com's series on IDP sleepers. As a Broncos fan, I am happy to link to PFS's On the Defensive - AFC West IDP Sleepers article but they also already have the AFC South IDP Sleepers and AFC North IDP Sleepers...with more to come.

It's dumping big, huge snowflakes here in Colorado right now and I have my fingers crossed that it might be a massive snowstorm - perhaps a snow day could be in my near future! If so, it might mean a lot more blogging about football tomorrow.

Finally, a hearty congrats to my sister who got engaged last week - I can't wait to welcome Pete, a big Pats fan, into the family.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Offseason Moves

Greetings fantasy football fans. We're getting pretty close to March Madness time so I'm impressed that so many of you are here, focusing on football instead. This makes perfect sense since football is of course the best possible sport out there...and there are still several free-agency updates coming in from around the NFL, so read on:

  • Warrick Dunn signs with TB. As FF Xtreme notes, "this is actually great news for Earnest Graham owners, as this signing makes it far less likely that the Bucs attack the running back position in this year's 2008 NFL Draft."
  • Cold, Hard Football Facts has linked up to all the "year in review" summaries released by each NFL team - there are some solid factoids in here, such as:
    • Jay Cutler’s 63.6 completion percentage was the third highest in franchise history
    • The Titans improved from 32nd in total defense in 2006 (369.7 YPG) to 5th in total defense in 2007 (291.6 YPG)
    • The Jaguars set franchise records for points (411, 25.7 PPG), TDs (50), TD passes (28) and yards per play (5.6).
  • Trent Green goes back to the Rams. As someone who has owned Marc Bulger at really unfortunate times and is intimately aware of his injury-proneness, knowing who his back-up will be in 2008 is essential. Though after learning that it will be Trent Green, I'm left with great uncertainty. Trent needs to retire. Is this really a good move for the Rams? Unclear.
  • As I've noted in an earlier post, I have an oddly high interest in Jesse Chatman's future whereabouts. Check out the Fifth Down's guest blogger for the week's thoughts on what it means for the Jets now that they've signed Chatman.
  • Need a visual to wrap your mind around all the free-agency moves so far? Check out The Huddle's 2008 NFL Off-season roster changes.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bronco Bailey Brothers

Couldn't help the alliteration of the Bailey brothers news - Boss Bailey has signed with the Broncos, and yes, he is indeed Champ Bailey's little brother. But more importantly I'd like to note that the brothers are named Champ and Boss. I mean come on, those are fantastic names! What foresight their parents seemed to have had. Why weren't my parents more creative in naming me? I could've been Boss rather than Sara. I mean, family and friends would have legitimately been required to call me Boss. That could have taken me places.

In other football news...

  • One of my favorite bloggers has updated the look of his page - stop by Fantasy Football Goat to see the new design he has going on. Okay, so that's not technically football news but if you haven't already noticed, fantasy football news is hard to come by these days.
  • Okay, I've totally misled you. This isn't football news either. Fantasy baseball news instead. I don't play fantasy baseball but my husband is in two leagues that are drafting online at the exact same time. He's requested my assistance to merely be a warm body watching over whichever draft he isn't on the clock for...but I can't help but feel like I need to have some basic knowledge of the best players in case there's total draft chaos (oh you know it happens...) and I have to draft somebody for him. I don't envision myself going over to the dark side (a.k.a. fantasy baseball) since I really don't dig the sport that much, but I'd like to acknowledge this could be the beginning of the end for me. My life from here on out could be just be defined by the spaces of time occupied by one fantasy sport after another. To inform myself of all things fantasy baseball, I plan on reading Fantasy Insider Online's MLB section.
  • Finally some football news. Check out The Huddle's For Every X article - get some greater insight on just how effective players were last season when they got their hands on the ball. Interesting stuff and I sure love the free and open access to The Huddle's materials during the off-season.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

NFL Draft Prep & FF Prep

I just occurred to me last night that I'll be on a plane, flying back east for a library conference during the NFL Draft on April 26. Rookie mistake, but my hopes for some live blogging of the NFL Draft are now squelched. It's probably for the best since there are so many other far more competent NFL Draft bloggers out there - for instance, check out Zobel's Blog, part of Draft Headquarters. For some wisdom on how things might go come Draft Day, check out Zobel's live chat transcript from last night.

For other thoughts and news in the football world, read on:

  • Favre sounds like he's really serious about not playing again - we'll see what happens, but personally I'm buying it for now. However, Troy Aikman is a little less convinced and hey, he certainly knows the world of the QB better than I do.
  • Earlier this week I posted some of Favre's fantasy numbers throughout his career for some perspective on how his fantasy output has varied over his time in the league. As I noted, Favre's best fantasy year was 1995, which is exactly the year that Football Outsiders has just painstakingly added to their data - so go old school and check out 1995 DVOA Ratings and Commentary for new insight on the league in the year in which I received my driver's license.
  • NFL.com's Michael Fabiano reviews the free-agency moves and their fantasy implications in Player movement alters fantasy football values.
  • Every NFL Draft fiend will be delighted by what Pro Football Reference has put together - check out the NFL Draft History and AFL Drafts for info on historical draft picks arranged by either franchise, year (1936-2007), or position. Includes career stats for players, too, which could be a total time sucker for me. I need to close that window immediately so I don't find myself sitting here three hours later, bleary-eyed and with lots of library work accruing.
  • If you're looking for a scouting report on some of the NFL Draft prospects, look no further than FFToolbox, which has a bunch of quality reports to keep you knowledgeable about the incoming rookies.
Last week I posted my 2007 version of How Accurate Were They?, where I looked at expert preseason rankings compared to season fantasy point totals to see which site was the most accurate with their rankings. I've been adding more site rankings and doing some tweaking over the past week - I need to do a little more work but am hoping to post about more of my findings this coming weekend. Additionally, Sports Data Hub is taking all of the rankings and incorporating them into their data section - they are still working on this project but soon you should be able to go in and play around with the preseason rankings vs fantasy point totals as you see fit. Just a quick note on that - you need to be a registered user of Sports Data Hub to access the data tool.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fantasy Favre

Brett Favre. I had at least four friends contact me this morning to make sure I had heard the news of Favre’s retirement. It would be hard to miss that news…but to be honest, I wasn’t convinced it was real at first. I mean this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Favre was retiring – and after all the recent talk about the Packers’s website having a retirement article on Favre up and then disappearing…I thought this might be the next series of faux Favre retirement announcements. But after reading more and more articles it is clear that Favre is ending calling it quits. So congrats to an excellent player...and since this is a fantasy football blog, let's celebrate Favre's career by taking a look at his fantasy stats.

Everyone has slightly different scoring, but I threw together a spreadsheet on Favre's stats over his years with the Packers and tallied up his fantasy points (I've had mixed success with sharing Google Spreadsheets - use the contact me button if you want the Excel version). I did some fairly standard things - 4 points per Pa TD, 6 points per Ru TD, 2 points per 2 PT conversions, 1 point per 20 Pa yards, 1 point per 10 Ru yards. Took off 2 points for interceptions and lost fumbles. And below you'll see the option of looking at total season fantasy points (FP) with or without completions added in - the far right column has 0.2 points per completion.

However you slice it, 1995 was Favre's most impressive fantasy season; not surprisingly, the mid-1990s were a fairly solid time for Favre both from a fantasy football and reality football standpoint. Cheers to Favre and here's to Aaron Rodgers as the next hot commodity on the fantasy QB scene!

YEAR FP w/o cmp
FP w/cmp
1992 233.15 293.55
1993 220.75 284.35
1994 332.3 404.9
1995 382.75 454.55
1996 354.55 419.55
1997 324.05 384.85
1998 309.9 379.3
1999 260.75 328.95
2000 253.4 321
2001 303.65 366.45
2002 264.2 332.4
2003 259.55 321.15
2004 296 365.2
2005 224.25 298.65
2006 237.15 305.75
2007 286.95 358.15
Totals
4539.35 5614.75

Monday, March 03, 2008

The FA News Keeps Rolling In...

I love how completely different all the Randy Moss news is - ESPN is reporting that maybe Moss and Culpepper would like to reunite and take their free agent selves to the same team in 2008; while the NFL Network is reporting that Moss and the Pats are very close to reaching negotiations. Love it.

Another big piece of news - Michael Turner signed with the Falcons (and Warrick Dunn was released). Now who will the Falcons draft with their number 3 overall pick come April? Not to overstate the obvious, but adding The Burner to the Falcons definitely moves Norwood down a few notches in terms of fantasy value.

Read on for more football knowledge - or just entertainment:

  • I'm back on Sports Grumblings! Every few weeks I'll be up there spouting off some opinions, so swing by. Check out my thoughts on Fantasy Football Grumblings: Free Agent Frenzy. Since I don't think SG has a comments section, feel free to post here with any thoughts - particularly other big FA fantasy impacts that I missed.
  • Big Ben is making the Big Bucks and sticking around Pittsburgh for another eight years.
  • The Bruno Boys have created the ultimate fantasy football player - check out The Ultimate Fantasy Football Player find out which players make up the cream of the crop.
  • Jesse Chatman (I somehow acquired him in a trade in my keeper league, meaning I might be overly interested in Chatman...) has a visit with the Jets on the docket thanks to the potentially overcrowded backfield in Miami in 2008. Frankly, if I'm the Dolphins, I'm hardly eager to make Ricky Williams the primary backup considering it took all of 6 plays before he was injured last November.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Weekend Updates on FA

Colorado weather is so crazy - yesterday I was outside running in the 70+ degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt; now I'm staring at several inches of blowing snow out our window. Sweet.

So speaking of Colorado, the Denver Broncos have acquired Keary Colbert in free agency to beef up their crew of receivers. Hmm. I'm not entirely ready to pass judgment on Colbert yet since I think he's had a dicey situation as of late in Carolina. But I'm kind of surprised that this is the best we could do with WRs. Perhaps we're saving up our big moves for changes on the D, as is desperately needed. But enough on the Broncos - there are all sorts of other free-agency moves worth noting:


For a status update on your favorite FA players, check out SportingNews.com's Super 99 NFL Free Agents. I've got a post coming to Sports Grumblings on the fantasy impact of some of these free-agency moves, so keep your eyes open for a link to that article.

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