Monday, June 30, 2008

True Colors

As I think every FFLibrarian regular might notice, I've played around with the colors and layout on the blog. After hearing a few comments from all of you, I decided that perhaps the dark background and light text just wasn't doing it for most of you. So I thought I'd play around with the colors (sorry for those of you who have been on the site this morning and seen several iterations of the new background) and I'd like to get some feedback from you all - if you have feelings on this extremely important topic, either leave me a comment or respond this week in the poll to the left side.

Onto football...

  • Rotoworld takes a look at whether or not you might be headed to a FF championship if you draft Randy Moss in the first round in Rating Randy.
  • A bunch of you have asked for resources on auction style drafts - Football Jabber does a great job of putting together articles on tips, strategies and suggestions for auction drafting. The best link on here though might be Fantasy Auctioneer's mock auction drafts - great for both the auction rookie as well as the seasoned auction pro.
  • For the past 10 days or so, the FF Goat has been posting offensive line analysis, which I'm just eating up with a spoon. So far we have the AFC East, AFC West and AFC South. Stay tuned to the Goat for more quality o-line material.
  • FF Starters has a top 10 IDP listing (with brief commentary) for linebackers, defensive backs and defensive linemen. As always, I just wish these lists were a little longer for those of us who need more than just the top 10 in each position.
  • Worried about the Edge or Fred Taylor due to their ancient age status in the RB world? Take a look at Sports Grumblings' Fantasy Forecast: Age Old Issues that looks at the question, how old is too old? You might be surprised...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Competition at its finest - and football of course

So it turns out that I'm really competitive. I probably could have figured this out many years ago as I was taking every grade I got on middle school tests to heart (yup, I said middle school, I was that much of a grade nerd), but somehow I've ignored the presence of this wicked competitive streak I have...until lately. Fantasy football really brings it out in me; during fantasy season I find myself ready to compete against anyone at anytime. For example, it's relatively common to find me gunning it on the road to beat out the loser who got in the right lane that ends in 50 yards, and then cackling with delight when I pull ahead and narrowly avoid a collision with said driver, regardless of the fact that it's a 70-year-old woman who probably can't see that well to begin with. I just get overly eager to win at everything; not my best trait. I'm guessing that a sizable chunk of people who play fantasy football fall into this highly competitive category, too. So I decided to try and dissipate my competitiveness into a few other realms and am funneling some of my crazy competitive streak into running some races this summer. Last night I ran in a 3K that involved 2 laps of a course on the streets of Boulder. The guy who won the competitive male heat finished the race in roughly as long as it took me to run one lap. Awesome. Nothing like running with elite athletes in Boulder to make you feel slow. I guess this just means I need to make up for my average running skills by kicking ass in fantasy football, right? Better than running an old lady off the road...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mock drafts abound

I filled in at the last minute for a mock draft last Thursday night with the FFToday staff - it ended up being only an okay draft for me, but it was excellent prep for 2008. And though my team/draft got no love at all from the FFToday guys (as evidenced in the votes for best draft on this Team by Team Recap), I still enjoyed getting a chance to draft with real live people this early in the season. Check out the Round by Round recap of the mock draft - it was a 10-team, serpentine draft with 16 rounds to field a 1 QB/ 2 RB/ 3 WR/ 1 TE/ 1 K/ 1 DEF lineup and the scoring system is noted on the recap page.

Fortunately I´ll have a chance to redeem myself later this week with a mock draft via email with West Coast Nonsense and his crew of football bloggers. I´ll keep you posted on how that mock draft goes...

Okay, I've been chugging my coffee like a Maxwell House pledge this morning, so I'm feeling a bit overly caffeinated. Let's dive into the football links for today:

  • Is Greg Jones worth keeping an eye on this year? Read CBS' Press Box View: Jaguars on the run for thoughts on whether or not Jones will eat into MJD or Taylor's fantasy production.
  • For those of you in auction leagues, check out Ask The Commish's Fantasy Football Auction Values.
  • ProFantasySports has some unique thoughts on guys you might be able to snag for cheap this year in Don´t sleep on these potential draft values...good stuff and thanks for the new names and thoughts, PFS.
  • I think you all know how much I enjoy a good offensive line ranking so take a look at what The Huddle has up so far with their oline analysis
  • FF Geek Blog is starting to churn out their power rankings, which will be updated throughout the summer. Check out their rankings for WR, RB and QB so far.
And thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the poll about the kind of info you´re looking for in the off season!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Acquiring Fantasy Ammo

I spent part of my weekend in my local Barnes & Noble perusing the various fantasy football magazines available. I got a little bit sidetracked while reading the prognosis for my Northwestern Wildcats in some of the college football mags, but I walked out of the bookstore with three fantasy football magazines (and don't worry, a book of fiction, for those concerned about a librarian who only reads fantasy football materials). While I plan on spending blog time later comparing some of the magazines, I would like to note that of the 4 fantasy magazines I now own, Adrian Peterson is on the cover of 3; and those 3 also use a bright yellowish shade in the title. Did market research show that fantasy footballers are drawn to yellow headlines or is this just a function of matching AP's Vikings jersey? More actual comparisons beyond cover preferences to come...but in the meantime, there are headlines and articles to read!

  • FFToday's Weekly Gut Check column brings us the 2008 Breakout Wide Receivers. Eschewing the standard 3rd year WR breakout theory, this article looks at the receivers that have the highest probability of achieving a 150-point fantasy season and narrows it down to a manageable list of 13 receivers.
  • For more receiver love, check out The Hazean's Monday Morning Rehab, which is entirely dedicated to WRs in the news. Note The Hazean's new site - very fancy.
  • The Bruno Boys are updating their site with team-by-team fantasy forecasts, which includes a 2007 recap, a 2008 crystal ball and rookies to watch. Good stuff - check out the Colts for an example, but there are many, many more.
  • Call me a homer but I've gotta share the Cutler love in Sporting News' Cutler has regained his fastball - and control of his life.
  • Read up on which of your favorite fantasy RBs might be looking at the increasingly popular committee approach in FF Toolbox's Running Back by Committee (RBBC) update.
  • Questioning whether or not you should go RB-RB in rounds 1 and 2 in this year's fantasy draft? You're not alone - read the FF Geek Blog's The RB-RB approach, dissected for more.
  • But draft strategy advice doesn't stop there...try Sports Grumblings' The Best Damn Drafting Method (BDDM). It looks at the theory behind both VBD (value based drafting) and AVT (average draft theory) and creates the BDDM's relative positional values for non-IDP and IDP leagues. Enjoy!
  • And oh yeah, a little respect for my fellow Northwestern alum, Noah Herron, and his quick bedpost thinking...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Assessment of expert projections

If my post a few weeks ago about assessing how fantasy experts' preseason rankings panned out by the end of the season left you wanting more, well then look no further than RotoSource's 2007 Fantasy Football Player Projection Competition. They looked it things a little bit differently, hence why they have different results than I did - the primary difference being that they looked at actual projections rather than rankings. I like that idea, I think it's great and has a ton of merit since as they state "rankings and cheat sheets are difficult to evaluate" - however, with rankings and cheat sheets used so often (and I'd argue, projections are used less often than rankings by your average fantasy footballer), I wish there was an easier way to assess rankings.

I wish I could see a little bit more detail on how exactly they did the scoring, but here's a link to their scoring system explanation. Enjoy!

Gift giving a la fantasy football sites

When I got married a few years ago, the weeks leading up to the wedding were laden with gift giving. I would come home from work, walk up our front porch and BAM, four boxes emblazoned with the Crate & Barrel logo were waiting for me. Sidebar that has nothing to do with football: let's not talk about how much less expensive and eco-friendly the world would be if stores just sent wedding presents in bulk rather than individual packages; personally, I'm on the animal giving train these days, I mean who doesn't want a flock of ducks in their name? Trio of rabbits instead? Wow, look at what living in Boulder has done to me...

Anyway, come home the next day and BAM, two more boxes. You never knew when there would be a little wedding treat waiting for you and I feel as though I'm reliving that era via fantasy football right now. You see, I've got some good stuff coming to you, my football friends. At the request of two of my devoted readers, I've been on the search for two more unusual fantasy items, which has led to a broadening of my fantasy football horizon. Seriously, who knew there were SO many fantasy football sites out there? I thought I'd seen a lot of them but I had no clue about the breadth and depth of this situation. And finding some hidden gems in all of these fantasy football sites out there has been like coming home at the end of the day to find a stack of wedding presents - you never know what treat might be inside. So read on for some of the good stuff that I found at both my normal sites and the new sites...

  • Matthew Berry's 2008 Guys I Love/Guys I Hate - I really enjoy reading Berry, I'll be honest. Beyond his intro statement of "I hate Adrian Peterson" (love the antagonistic stuff), I think my favorite part about this article is how lengthy the lists are. This is well worth the read.
  • Fantasy Football Trader has 2008 Best Values & Busts up, which is just a teaser for their more involved list included in their Draft Kit this July. Some of these are more obvious picks than others, but it's interesting to see why they like Ben Watson right after reading why Berry doesn't.
  • KFFL's Cheat Sheet Calculator - this page has a lot going on - customizable cheat sheets, cheat sheets based on pre-configured scoring systems, and player projections.
  • I hadn't visited Fantasy Football Calculator in quite some time, so I reacquainted myself with the site and found I was spending quite awhile staring at their Average Draft Position (ADP) data drawn from 578 drafts from last week. Mock Draft Central also has this same ADP info up on their site from 118 drafts run in the past couple of days.
  • This news on Ahmad Bradshaw's incarceration falls under the um, what? category.
  • And Matt Forte's stock is creeping back up again with the news that the Bears aren't interested in adding another RB to their roster.
I still have a lot more content to bring your way from my new adventures into the fantasy landscape, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Draft Mags, Javon Walker in Vegas, and Comeback Kids

I got my Beckett/Rotoworld 2008 Football Draft Guide last night and truly had to place it across the room so that I would stop insatiably reading it; let the draft magazine goodness last, I say. I thought about bringing it on the bus to work this morning but was worried I might muck it up somehow; seriously everything in my bag ends up dogeared, torn or coffee-stained given enough time.

Now how is it that my library conference in Vegas 10 days ago didn't coincide with Javon Walker's recent spraying of champagne at a hotel across the street from where I was staying? It is unfortunate though that the night did not end well for Walker and I do hope he has a speedy recovery. Read on for other fantasy football items:

  • I was reading some commentary on NFL.com about Philip Rivers and his recovery from ACL surgery when I realized I hadn't read Fabiano's article, Draft preview: Passing schedule breakdowns, which notes that Rivers has the hardest schedule in the league. I'm not a huge Rivers fan to start with and this certainly doesn't make him any more appealing...but Drew Brees with the 4th easiest schedule, now that makes me salivate a bit.
  • Speaking of things I really like, the Bruno Boys have a piece up on the Denver Broncos from a fantasy standpoint. Good stuff as always. And perhaps now it's time for full disclosure on the Bruno Boys - I like them so much that I'll be doing a weekly guest column with them this season. There's nothing up yet, but it will be called A Librarian's Touch under Weekly Insights on their main page. I can promise that I'll be linking to it from here as well.
  • FFGoat has Five Picks for the Comeback Kid Award of the 2008 Fantasy Season, which includes one of the more discussion-worthy players this year, Jake Delhomme.
  • FFToday is continuously updated their rankings and cheat sheets, but I thought I'd link to their cheat sheets in particular since I enjoy the tiers so much: QB & RB (I'm intrigued at seeing Matt Hasselbeck as a Tier 3 QB...), WR & TE, K & DEF (lots of Tier 1 Defenses this year) and DL, LB & DB.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Some IDP love and other rankings

Greetings fantasy football fans. I'm about to jump into an afternoon of non-stop meetings so I thought I'd get some football links up before the day gets away from me...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Man-on-man coverage and football links

So last night I babysat for 5-month-old twins; it's possible they had made a deal with the devil. As soon as one baby stopped crying, the other would start up and so forth for most of the night. As a currently childless person who has babysat only for single babies, I certainly developed a whole new respect for parents with twins, triplets or beyond. And of course for single parents. I mean honestly, last night my husband was with me so we at least had man-on-man coverage of the twins. So any non-man-on-man situation really has my admiration. Man-on-man you say? That leads nicely (eh, okay maybe not nicely, but I am still recovering from a night of twinness) to football talk...

  • FF Geek Blog eschews the popular pick of AP at #2 in Why Joseph Addai, not Adrian Peterson, should be #2 on your cheat sheet.
  • And for more Vikings talk for my midwestern friends, check out Sports Data Hub's article Player to Watch - Tarvaris Jackson. I have to admit, I have a small fantasy crush on Tarvaris; it's possible that I could be found drafting him as my backup in way too many leagues this year.
  • FFXtreme summed up my thoughts on the Lynch situation nicely: "How does hitting a woman and driving off not fall under the NFL's Player Conduct Code? Also, how does it not require jail time?"
  • Read up on FFToolbox's 2008 Comeback Players for thoughts on whether or not you really want to get your hands on Bulger, Delhomme, Caddy and others.
  • The ever popular third year WR is discussed and analyzed on Sports Grumblings - Fantasy Forecast: Third Year Receivers.
  • Fantasy Football Whiz has some thoughts on why you might not want to even consider Joe Flacco with a flyer pick for a few more years in Out On a Limb - QB Joe Flacco.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dose of Fantasy Talk

I'm glad to see some feedback on my recent 2007 projections analysis post - keep it coming! In the meantime, there's plenty of news today on the football front including Cedric Benson's likely departure from the Bears and retirement announcements from Michael Strahan and Marcus Robinson.

For much more on fantasy football, read on:

  • See why Fabiano won't be taking Brady with a first pick in fantasy drafts this year.
  • Clearly you all are very interested in rankings, so check out Footballguys.com's very customizable overall rankings - this link goes to the redraft overall rankings but you can create whatever rankings you're interested in, really (like this one for redraft RB rankings).
  • Feeling like a bit of a risk taker perhaps? Read up on FFToolbox's Fantasy Gambles, a list that will be updated throughout the pre-season.
  • FFToday has some sleepers from this year's 2008 rookie class in their first Gut Check column of the season. I highly recommend the Gut Check column in general, so keep an eye on it as the season starts to ramp up.
  • Ever wondered when you should be drafting your kicker or your team defense? I know, I know, you're too focused on when to take that RB2 vs WR1 but you've gotta have a kicker and D, so take a look at KFFL's When to draft a place kicker or defensive team in fantasy football leagues. And the KFFL fun doesn't stop there - I've been getting the hard sell from a few of you on trying an auction style league this season and if others of you are interested in learning what that might take, KFFL has the details for you in The basics of running a fantasy football auction league.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Accuracy analysis of 2007 fantasy football experts

Back in February, I posted an article to the NY Times pro football blog, The Fifth Down, about the accuracy of fantasy football experts when it comes to preseason overall rankings. Since then, I have tweaked my methodology for looking at the expert rankings and added a site (Rotoworld) to the analysis. And it's a good thing I added Rotoworld, too, since they led the way on almost every angle of this analysis. But before I get too deep into the results, I just want to put a big warning that these results have flaws; it is impossible (as far as I can tell!) to do a perfect analysis of this sort of thing since every site has a different methodology and likely different scoring systems that they're working off of. And perhaps more importantly, this is merely one year of analysis that I'm looking at; anyone who works with stats can tell you that one year of results doesn't hold very much weight...which is why I plan on continuing this (and hopefully adjusting my ranking process until I'm more comfortable with it) for years to come. Additionally, please keep in mind that I assume you have a brain, that you aren't going to just look at this list and never ever look at SI again; that would be ill-informed of you. This is just meant to be a supplementary tool as you start looking at various experts out there.

Also, there are some sites (like fantasyguru.com) that I only had positional rankings for, not overall top 100 rankings. This makes a difference only because I am attempting to compare apples to apples as much as possible. Perhaps this coming year I'll switch my analysis around by looking at these positional rankings the sites churn out rather than the overall Top 100 types of rankings (and pulling out the positional piece from the overall). See below for more on the positional issues that I've tried to address.

So I welcome your comments and if anyone has a better way of looking at this (keeping in mind my limitations of using just Excel and of course having a full-time job), by all means, please let me know.

So without further ado, here are the results:
1. Expert rankings from an overall perspective (see this article for an explanation on how I did these calculations):
1. Rotoworld (6005)
2.
Ask The Commish (6,031)
3.
FootballGuys.com (6,142)
4.
FF Cheatsheets (6,157)
5.
NFL.com (6,167)
6.
FFToolbox (6,211)
7.
CBS Sports (6,221)
8.
Yahoo! Sports (6,253)
9.
Fantasy Football Xtreme (6,301)
10.
Fox Sports (6,345)
11.
Pigskin Addiction (6,370)
12.
SI (6,419)
13.
ESPN (6,447)
14.
ProFantasySports (6,557)

A few months ago many of you felt that looking at sites from an overall ranking and not a positional ranking was flawed (see the comments section of that article linked above for details). And I agree that positional analysis needs to be taken into account, but I am also very interested in how well a site can predict overall rankings as well. That still has value to me and in my book, it adds to what makes an expert an expert. But as requested, I took a stab at looking at the rankings within positions from the info in Top 100 rankings, so that I wasn't just looking at these from an overall rankings perspective. So this next list is an attempt to address some of the issues related to how overall rankings are created and taking positions into account a little more - but again, it's likely these results are flawed to some extent since I think that's a really tall order. But hey, read on anyway...

2. Expert rankings from a positional perspective (the number in parentheses is the total number of spots off a site's preseason ranking was from the final season outcome):
QB rankings
1. FootballGuys (192)
2. FFToolbox (196) and NFL.com (196)
4. Ask The Commish (197)
5. Rotoworld (200)
6. FF Cheatsheets (203)
7. Pigskin Addiction (211)
8. CBS Sportsline (213)
9. FoxSports/Rotter (215)
10. Yahoo! (221)
11. SI (225)
12. ESPN (229)
13. ProFantasySports (246)
14. FFXtreme (261)

RB rankings
1. Rotoworld (984)
2. FoxSports/Rotter (1000)
3. FF Cheatsheets (1007)
4. FFToolbox (1010)
5. Yahoo! (1013)
6. Pigskin Addiction (1020)
7. Football Guys (1021)
8. ESPN (1023) and NFL.com (1023)
10. ProFantasySports (1032)
11. SI (1037)
12 Ask The Commish (1039)
13. FFXtreme (1045)
14. CBS Sportsline (1060)

WR rankings
1. Rotoworld (1075)
2. FFXtreme (1078)
3. FF Cheatsheets (1082)
4. CBS Sportsline (1122)
5. Football Guys (1124)
6. FFToolbox (1127)
7. Pigskin Addiction (1150)
8. ESPN (1160) and Yahoo! (1160)
10. FoxSports/Rotter (1170)
11. ProFantasySports (1182)
12. Ask the Commish (1201)
13. SI (1237)
14. NFL.com (1245)

TE rankings
1. Football Guys (94)
2. NFL.com (95)
3. Rotoworld (96) and Yahoo! (96)
5. Ask the Commish (98)
6. FFXtreme (99) and FoxSports/Rotter (99)
8. Pigskin Addiction (100)
9. CBS Sportsline (104) and FF Cheatsheets (104) and FFToolbox (104)
12. ProFantasySports (105)
13. ESPN (107) and SI (107)

Now if you take those numbers and just do a quick averaging of the positional rankings (so for Football Guys, I'd average together their rankings of and 1 (QB), 7 (RB), 5 (WR), and 1 (TE) for a positional average of 3.5), you get the following:
1. Rotoworld (avg 2.5)
2. Football Guys (avg 3.5)
3. FF Cheatsheets (avg 5.25) tied with FF Toolbox (avg 5.25)
5. NFL.com (avg 6.5) tied with Yahoo! (avg 6.5)
7. FoxSports/Rotter (avg 6.75)
8. Pigskin Addiction (avg 7)
9. Ask the Commish (avg 8.25)
10. CBS Sportsline (avg 8.75) tied with FFXtreme (avg 8.75)
12. ESPN (avg 10.25)
13. ProFantasySports (avg 11.5)
14. SI (avg 12)

One final note, after a lot of reflection I did not include fan favorite Football Outsiders in this analysis since they have such a unique way of looking at rankings (which I love, by the way) - additionally, their rankings can be adjusted based on the scoring system you use, which is awesome, but it therefore means they don't really have one overall top 100 ranking; they have many, many overall rankings you can choose from. So it's unclear how they did in comparison; I can certainly pull out some of the players that FO did a good or bad job predicting though, so if that's of interest, let me know.

If you want all the gory details, see this Google spreadsheet. If you have trouble with that spreadsheet though and just want me to e-mail you the excel version, I can do that, too. Just contact me.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 06, 2008

FF Vegas Style

I've been in Vegas for the past few days for a library conference but was lucky enough to step outside of the conference confines to celebrate my birthday on The Strip last night. Oh Vegas. So very different from Boulder, Colorado. I must say, I can totally get down with a world where free drinks are somewhat the norm, but there are other less desirable aspects of Vegas for sure - I probably won't be celebrating birthdays in Vegas from here on out, but I guess you never know. Enough on Vegas, let's talk fantasy football:

  • The Bruno Boys are up and better than ever; check out their new site - you won't regret it.
  • The season has truly begun; draft kits are sprouting up all over the place and I shall endeavor to find the free ones for you. If you know of any, let me know! In the meantime, if you want a great draft kit in exchange for cold, hard cash, try Rotoworld's Fantasy Football Draft Guide. And if you need reasons to check it out, read this - you might see a familiar name. And on that note, for those who are looking for some follow-up on my analysis of the most accurate fantasy sites from 2007, hang tight. I'll be getting that spreadsheet up by the end of the weekend.
  • The Pro Football Reference Blog has an interesting look back at QBs from last season in their 2007 QB Numbers: Adjusted for Strength of Schedule.
  • For the latest on Marshawn Lynch, read the FF Geek Blog's article Update: Witnesses say Marshawn Lynch was driving.
  • Looking for some new fantasy football sites, perhaps blog style? The FF Goat has listed a few sites that you might not have checked out quite yet in his Fantasy Football Bloggers Blitz #10.

More this weekend when I'm back home and not enjoying the chaos of Vegas and, oh right, that library conference.

Monday, June 02, 2008

June is here; fantasy football one month closer

On Wednesday I will be flying to Las Vegas to present on fantasy football in libraries at a library conference at UNLV. I did this in early May, too, and soon my fantasy football in libraries presentation circuit will come to an end...but if I am kind of quiet on the blog later this week, don't be surprised. So let's see what's new in the football world. It is June and that means it's time to get serious about fantasy football.

  • First, the Broncos have released RB Travis Henry - that's big news in my book so read up on the latest. Selvin Young is now the starter with Michael Pittman and rookie Ryan Torain backing him up.
  • Looking for some sleepers for 2008, eh? Check out Fantasy Sharks's Fantasy Gold: Lost, Forgotten, and Undiscovered Treasures? for some thoughts on potential sleepers or forgotten players that might make a splash in 2008.
  • If that did not fulfill your desire for sleeper info, try Fabiano's Draft Preview: Gonzalez, Olsen headline fantasy sleepers on NFL.com.
  • And speaking of NFL.com, they have their 2008 Draft Kit up (with a rather familiar tag line of "everything you need to know to dominate your fantasy football league" - check out the FFLibrarian blog's tag line above - sound familiar? Thought so...). But the Draft Kit is full of gems like the sleepers article mentioned above, 10 breakout candidates for 2008, and my personal favorite - Offensive line breakdowns of all 32 teams.
  • Later this week I will be turning 29 (and yes, celebrating by presenting at the aforementioned conference), so I am of course drawn to the idea of FFToolbox looking at RBs who will be 29+ come opening day. Frankly, I can't believe that LT, Brian Westbrook, the Edge and I are roughly the same age. They are, um, far more accomplished that I am at this point in my life. I think there are plenty of guys on this list though that have a lot more gas in the tank regardless of their now "old" status (by RB standards only of course...). For more age-related analysis of RBs, check out Age could affect value of James, Taylor from NFL.com.
More later this week!