Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NFL playoff rankings and cheat sheets

Happy New Year's Eve! I hope you all have some fun plans for tonight whether fun be hanging out with family and friends at home or out and about. I'm not usually big on going on out for a crazy NYE (it's safe to say my mom probably parties harder than I do most years) but tonight I think I'm going dancing. I love to dance, everyone in my family loves to dance, as evidenced by our dance floor activity at my sister's recent wedding...but my husband, not so much. Fortunately where there's dancing, there's beer so I think that should keep us both happy.

  • Rankings for the playoffs are everywhere! FFXtreme has ranked all the key players for this year's playoffs by position in Fantasy Football Playoff Rankings.
  • I love the game previews that AccuScore provides and this week is no exception. Take a look at their thoughts for each matchup:
  • Wondering about the team it would've taken to be the most awesome team in fantasy football this year? Scope out the Fantasy Football Champs' 2008 All-Fantasy Team. If anyone had this exact team, I would love to hear about it.
  • No-Offseason.com has your Top Fantasy Options for NFL Playoffs - as noted here, I am loving Dallas Clark as a playoffs TE; great matchup against a Chargers D that's weak on TEs this weekend in particular.
  • I'm intrigued by the new 2010 plan for the Pro Bowl to be played in Miami the week before the Super Bowl. I have a feeling that a lot of people will be unexcited about this change of timing and venue, but it may make the Pro Bowl easier for many to attend...but the timing, it just seems odd.
  • For those of you planning ahead for the 2009 season, FFManiaxs has a quick list of defensive ends for 2009 divided into 9 tiers - they'll be adding linebackers and defensive backs this weekend - January 2009 IDPs Rankings: Defensive Ends.
  • Hatty Waiver Wire Guru offers up some keeper league thoughts for 2009 in his new video Off Season 1 - I think Hatty will be updating his keeper thoughts throughout the offseason. Good news for everyone.
All for now - I'll be back tomorrow with more links. And remember to sign up for the FFLibrarian's Challenge via NFL.com's postseason fantasy games. The winner will receive a $25 gift card courtesy of the Bruno Boys and the top 3 finishers will wind up with some FFLibrarian gear.

$25 could be yours just for playing fantasy football...

Check this out - the Bruno Boys have offered up a $25 gift card to the store of your choice for the winner of my FFLibrarian's Challenge. How great is that?! Thank you, Bruno Boys, you guys rock. I was already thinking of creating either a FFLibrarian t-shirt or mug for the top 3 winners (I've got the text planned out, just need to stir up some deep-seated creative juices to make some images/jpegs/whatever - can you tell I never do this? - and I apologize in advance if the design is of crappy quality), so look at all the awesome items you could accumulate as top dog of the FFLibrarian's Challenge!

That's it, I have nothing else to add in this post since it's already remarkable that I've squeezed out three posts in one non-regular season day. Oh yeah. Back tomorrow with more links with playoffs advice!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shanahan Gets the Boot

Wow. I simply cannot believe what just happened - Mike Shanahan was just fired as the Broncos head coach and director of football operations. I've been sitting here for about 30 minutes now trying to wrap my mind around this craziness. I am not a fan of this decision at all but now may the speculations begin...

Advice for the NFL playoffs

I was almost swept off the sidewalk this morning. No joke. It's a rather windy day here in Boulder- wind gusts of up to 80 mph have already been clocked this morning and I swear I was almost knocked down on my daily jaunt to the bus. But I have arrived at a freakishly quiet library (oh except for the incredible whistle in our fifth floor tower-like office) and am gearing up for one of those work days where you only kind of half-work since no one else is really here. That might mean good things for all of you who are into playing some fantasy playoffs since a post chock full of links is on the agenda for today.

If you missed my post yesterday, I have a FFLibrarian's Challenge group going for the playoffs - click here to join the group or e-mail me and I can send an invitation directly your way. There are already 25+ of us and I'm excited to see how many of you are interested in keeping the FF season rolling into the playoffs!

Without further ado, today's links...

  • Looking for some strategy for the playoffs challenge? Look no further than the Fantasy Sharks' Complete Fantasy Playoffs Analysis. Get a solid dose of strategy as well as teams to avoid and positional breakdowns. Helpful stuff here.
  • Gregg Rosenthal (on his Rotoworld Pancake Blocks blog) has a sneak peek into his playoffs rankings, but note that he's promising more to come today with possible ranking changes.
  • Bruno Boys have a QB ranking up for the Wild Card Round - and I'm thinking there are many more Bruno Boys rankings to come this week...
  • Lester's Legends also has some NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Rankings - it almost feels like summer with all these rankings and I for one love it.
  • Be bold are the words of wisdom from ESPN's column of FF playoff advice written by Tristan H. Cockcroft whose name seems so much more formal than my own. It might be too late but perhaps I need to start adding in a middle initial to my name or change it to something a little less banal than Sara. Though thanks to my husband for such a fun last name for this time of year - despite how sick he may be of the holiday/Holladay jokes, I still dig 'em.
  • But back to football. For some retrospective thoughts on the 2008 season, scope out SportingNews.com's Recapturing the Season
  • Or look ahead to the 2009 season with FFToolbox's Looking forward to 2009 or Fanball's Breakouts by Division for thoughts on players like Brent Celek and Andre Caldwell whom you'll want on your team for the 2009 season.
  • And for those who want nothing to do with fantasy, here's a little something from Fantasy Outsiders for general football fans: Do Older Quarterbacks Wilt in December and January? I find the idea of determining what age is deemed "old" for a QB pretty entertaining, especially as I face a 2009 that will bring me my 30th birthday. Glad to know I'd still be considered young and spry if I was an NFL QB...
Finally, my poor Northwestern Wildcats lost last night in OT to Missouri. Turns out that I'm a really sore loser but I just don't think NU deserved to lose that game. It was really their game and I was bummed to see them fall apart a bit in the fourth quarter. And also bummed to have been stuck with an unbelievable number of shots of Chase Daniel's family in the stands. I'm confident that NU's star RB Tyrell Sutton, DE Corey Wootton or QB CJ Bacher had family at the game - why not spread the love? Or even show another Missouri player's family - seriously, anything other than the massive amount of air time on the Daniel family; it was egregious. But like I said, I'm a bit of a sore loser. Great season, Wildcats. Here's to an even better 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

FFLibrarian's 2009 Playoff Challenge!

It has been a long day - we traveled back from Tennessee to Colorado just in time to make it home for the Alamo Bowl where my Northwestern Wildcats are currently beating the Missouri Tigers...but that lead is in peril. I'm crossing my fingers that they can keep it up - so Go Cats!

But in the meantime, I've pulled together another FFLibrarian's Playoff Challenge group through NFL.com's free postseason game. Last year more than 90 of you joined me, so join in on the fun again! All of the rules and details can be found on NFL.com but basically you have 300 "points" to snag your 8 players for the NFL playoffs, but can change out a small number of players each week. Very fun and a great way to keep the fantasy fun rolling for another month.

Use this link to join the FFLibrarian's Challenge and if you have any trouble with it at all, let me know and I can e-mail you back with an invitation to join.

Since I just rolled back into town this evening, I'll likely get my first post up with playoff cheatsheets and such tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Final Consensus Start/Sit Links

Greetings and welcome to the final consensus start/sit advice for the 2008 season. Sorry it's coming so late in the day - I somehow slept until almost noon today (seriously, what kind of awesome sleep-filled life am I living right now?!) and then the afternoon was filled by visits with extended family. So I'm just now getting to the consensus start/sit list.

As always this info is based on the players with the most start or sit "votes" from the start/sit links I provided yesterday. The names are listed in no particular order and of course depend on your other roster options...

QB
Start: Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan
Sit: Brett Favre, David Garrard, Peyton Manning

RB
Start: Kevin Smith, Matt Forte, Cedric Benson
Sit: Marshawn Lynch, Jamal Lewis, MJD

WR
Start: Vincent Jackson, Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson
Sit: Bernard Berrian, Lance Moore, Antonio Bryant, Lee Evans

TE
Start: Owen Daniels, John Carlson, Tony Scheffler, Anthony Fasano
Sit: Dustin Keller, Vernon Davis, Visanthe Shiancoe

Kicker
Start: David Akers, Mason Crosby, Nate Kaeding, Jason Elam
Sit: Adam Vinatieri, Josh Brown, Rian Lindell, Josh Scobee

D/ST
Start: Bucs, Packers, Falcons
Sit: Bills, Jets, Chargers, Panthers

Good luck tomorrow!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Start/Sit Links for Week 17

A belated Merry Christmas to everyone - I've found it really hard to carve out time for a blog update while visiting with family so my apologies for going off the radar for a few days! I've now transitioned from visiting with my family in Virginia down to my husband's family in Tennessee. One of the best parts about being in Tennessee is my unbelievable ability to sleep late here - at least 10 AM every morning. It's glorious. But now we're off to visit grandmothers and such, so I'm hoping to get a quick start/sit list up that I'll try to add to (though a lot of sites have shut down for the season) and do a consensus start/sit for by tomorrow.

Also, I am doing another FFLibrarian's Challenge with NFL.com's Playoff Challenge for the postseason. Stay tuned on that front if you're interested - I should have a group set up by the end of this weekend.

NFL.com's Start 'em Sit 'em
Bruno Boys' Start em & Sit em - Week 17
The Talented Mr. Roto: Love/Hate for Week 17
The Hazean's Start & Sit
CBS Sportsline's Week 17 Start 'em and Sit 'em
ProFantasySports.com's Week 17 Start 'em/Bench 'em Report
Fighting Chance Fantasy's Who to Start, Who to Sit - Week 17
SportingNews.com's The Decider: Week 17 starts and sits

Finally, these aren't start/sit links but here's my weekly column with the Bruno Boys, Week 17 Sneaky Fantasy Options and my wrap-up article where I look at some of my favorite fantasy football resources of the 2008 season for the NY Times' Fifth Down should be up this weekend.

Hope you all are enjoying a great holiday season and best of luck to those who are still battling for the championship!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Taking the sting out of losing

There's something kind of nice about being surrounded by my family during the last week of fantasy football. Sure, I probably didn't pay very good attention to the MNF game last night thanks to the fact that my family would rather talk about such varied topics as tax returns, musicals and running - but being with the fam takes the sting away from losing in the semifinals this week.

This has not been my finest fantasy season.

I take pleasure in being the top scorer in multiple leagues but having a championship under my belt this year certainly would have been nice. I think this is a sign that I need to drop a league or two next year - 7 was just too many. I admit that there were times I forgot to make a lineup change or two because I just blanked on the existence of a team. No more of that next year. But what I will continue to do next year is confer with my favorite fantasy expert sites. Thank you, experts, for a great season of advice. Sometime in January I think I'll throw up a poll to see which of the expert sites you guys like the best - I'd love to know your favorites so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I know some of you are still alive and kicking for a Week 17 Championship, like my buddy Chris who has played this whole season as my FFLibrarian representative in a league led by Latin Fantasy Football. Chris, best of luck for a big win! Here are some links to help you out:

  • Week 17 is a whole different fantasy monster - take a look at some of these waiver wire links to figure out who exactly you might need to grab as a plug-in for a regular starter: FFToolbox's Week 17: Pickups of the Week, NFL.com's Waiver wire video and KFFL's Waiver Wire.
  • One of the many reasons I love KFFL's content is because they churn it out with such regularity. Despite being a holiday and only semi-fantasy football kind of week these guys have their Week 17 Sleepers and Busts up right on time.
  • Gregg Rosenthal also has some Week 17 wisdom in his Pancake Blocks post To play or not to play.
  • If you're done with fantasy football, scope out some thoughts on playoffs bubble teams in Fantasy Sharks' On the Rise, On the Fall.
  • Hatty Waiver Wire Guru's new waiver video has a little something for both Week 17 FFers and those with dynasty leagues.
  • And more for those who are no longer playing FF this season - see The Hazean's By the numbers: Nine sleepers for dynasty league consideration. Everyone loves a sleeper so take a peek why don't you? That first QB name on his list might just surprise you...
  • CBS Sportsline did a review of some of the best waiver wire grabs this season in Waiver Wire: The best pickups of '08.
  • Finally, a few of you have asked about 2009 mock drafts - seriously, you guys are way ahead of the curve. And I love it. Take a look at The Huddle's John Tuvey's blog that discusses an industry experts 2009 mock that took place last week.

Back tomorrow with more!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Flying east, consuming hummus and fantasy football links

I think every single holiday season I vow to live closer to the rest of my family so that I don't have to put up with the hassle of flying back home. This year was no different. Granted this year I did actually make it home on the correct day as opposed to the big Denver snow of 2006, which kept us in Colorado for an extra three days. But still - when we boarded a plane for Houston (not even our final destination of D.C.) and the pilot came on to tell us that there may be a 5-hour wait during which he'd prefer that we stay in our seats, it didn't really sit well with me (ha! little bit of a pun intended there). We finally made it to Houston (only a 2-hour wait) to find our next leg of the trip delayed as well for missing pilots and inoperable bathrooms. But hey, we're back in good ol' Arlington, Virginia, and even caught the last few minutes of overtime between the Panthers and Giants last night. What a game - wish I had seen more!

Though I must admit that I am glad that I was stuck on a plane and unable to pour over my lame fantasy stats - I need Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby to put up about 60 points tonight to keep me alive. Not gonna happen, right? I hope the rest of you have had a lot more success and are getting ready to celebrate championships!

Anyway, posts for the rest of the week might be a little light - I'll still try to get one up every day but it might be a little bit harder with plans to see family and friends while back home. And of course to consume as much hummus from the Lebanese Taverna as possible (DCers, do yourselves a favor and get yourself to the Lebanese Taverna for the best hummus that exists - you won't regret it).

Moving on to football posts - keep in mind that most of these will be geared towards those of us whose leagues go through Week 17:

  • Many of you have asked about gametime weather and the FootballDocs have put together a handy list of all the teams and their Weather Channel forecasts - definitely a handy spot to check before getting your lineup finalized.
  • I didn't see the Broncos game but kept checking my iPhone for the latest news as we sat stuck in our seats on plane #2 - but it looks like P.J. Pope might have injured his hammy? Not sure it's serious at all but are you kidding me? Another Broncos RB to get injured? Ridiculous. For all the latest injury news, scope out KFFL's Post-game injury report Week 16. And yes, I'm incredibly nervous for the San Diego vs Broncos game on Sunday night...
  • For some waiver wire advice, check out the Bruno Boys FF Waiver Wire or Lester's Legends' Get 'em or Don't Sweat 'em Week 16.
  • FFXtreme's Week 16 On the Rise & On the Decline has a new feature for the end of the season - the dynasty corner. So if you've already wrapped up your 2008 season, scope out this section at the bottom of the page.
  • Lions fans it looks like you're going to be making history next weekend - 0-17 at Green Bay since 1992? Not good, not good at all.

Best of luck to everyone tonight - if you end up with a big W this week, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Championship Week Consensus Start/Sit

Hmm, well better late than never with this consensus start/sit list - packing for my travels east and playing Santa have gotten in the way a bit today. But I made it just in time to be helpful (I hope!) before tonight's game between the Cowboys and the Ravens. Below you have the players who received the most start or sit votes across the 15+ start/sit links that I provided this week. Players are listed in no particular order.

QB
Start: Matt Schaub, Shaun Hill, Matt Cassel, Chad Pennington
Sit: Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Tarvaris Jackson

RB
Start: Steve Slaton, Pierre Thomas, Cedric Benson, Ronnie Brown
Sit: Marion Barber, LenDale White (lots of sit votes for Chris Johnson, too, but not as many as the rest of these guys), Clinton Portis, LeRon McClain

WR
Start: Antonio Bryant, Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson
Sit: Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes, Justin Gage

TE
Start: John Carlson, Jeremy Shockey, Dustin Keller
Sit: Tony Scheffler, Todd Heap, Jason Witten

Kicker
Start: Garrett Hartley, Jay Feely, Matt Prater
Sit: Shaun Suisham, John Kasay, Neil Rackers, Jeff Reed

D/ST
Start: Cowboys, Eagles, Texans
Sit: Redskins, Cardinals, Dolphins

Good luck with your matchups this weekend - don't forget the Cowboys and Ravens face off tonight!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Week 16 Championship Start/Sit Advice

Hi fantasy footballers - hopefully many of you are gearing up for a championship fantasy battle as well as holiday time with family and friends. Check out the list below for your weekly dose of start or sit links:

I've got a few more links - my weekly column with the NY Times' Fifth Down, Fantasy Football: Championship Week - and then a whole bunch of IDP links:
I'll be back later today or tomorrow with the weekly consensus from all those start/sit lists. Don't forget - there's a game on Saturday night!! Get your lineups set for the constant football!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to Win? Follow Through!

As loyal readers might know, I am in a bowling league - more by default than anything - and apparently my competitive streak really digs bowling, too. I was doing pretty well for awhile and then hit my mid-season slump or something. But last night I bowled again for the first time in a few weeks and if I may say so, I rocked. Still some up and down moments on the ol' lane but I think maybe I just stopped thinking so hard about it and remembered how to have fun with bowling.

At the end of the night one of my favorite characters in our league told me that I need to bowl with more confidence - he thinks that if I can finish with a strong follow through and raise my hand way up to the ceiling after releasing, that I'll bowl like a rockstar every week. Since I have NO idea what I'm doing and my form is likely dreadful, I'll take any advice I can get - but of course as with everything in my life, I can't help but relate this to fantasy playoffs. So let me bust out some motivational playoffs words here...my friends, it is time that you stop thinking so hard about your lineups and just follow through on what you started. You're in the championship game for a reason so end the season with great confidence, a strong follow through and maybe even a hand up to the ceiling (though I imagine that will just be a fist pump of extreme happiness as you clinch your league title).

If you need a little confidence booster, there are of course many awesome resources out there. Let's check out today's links:

  • AccuScore's NFL Forecasted Player Rankings uses their rad simulator to rank and project which guys will be on top this coming week.
  • RotoExperts' Start and Sit: Week 16 - much like the RotoExperts, yesterday I noted what a great start Cassel was but in the comments section of the blog, Lester's Legends noted that we need to keep an eye on the weather in NE. Good call, Lester. Also, my insider info for Denver says that it is going to be really freaking cold here on Sunday (uh, high of 5 last time I checked) so you might want to think about that cold rocket of a football that could be flying in Denver on Sunday - can your receivers handle it? Of course if any team is used to the cold, Buffalo is, but just something to keep in mind for the Buffalo vs Denver game.
  • Ultimate FF Strategy has their Week 16 Start or Sit, which is in the form of projected fantasy points arranged by team and position.
  • You all are prolific with your start/sit questions and I slowly slogging my way through my e-mail. So have patience but if you're desperate for advice, check out Rotoworld's Live NFL Chat today at 1:00 EST.
  • Hatty Waiver Wire Guru has yet another video for you Hatty fans out there - or those who just want some advice for this playoffs game - Playoff Run Week 16.
  • I'm keeping the IDP (individual defensive player) love coming - I know even the smallest edge is welcome this week so for those in IDP links, definitely keep your eyes open for IDP links this week. Your first IDP link comes courtesy of the FFManiaxs' Week 16 IDPs Start/Sit.
  • ProFootballWeekly's Week 16 Matchups to Exploit or Avoid is well worth the read - while i agree that Favre could put up some yardage on Seattle, I do think Favre's likelihood of coughing up an INT or two (or three) is high. Seattle makes for a decent D/ST start this week, though of course that always depends on your other options.
  • NFL.com's start/sit of the week - RB Thomas a solid fantasy option; RB Barber a risk in Week 16 - seriously get Pierre Thomas in your lineup this week. He's on fire, Reggie Bush is on IR and Thomas gets to face the Lions. What could be better?
So my one and only league left in the playoffs is in my Blogger league where I took the FFNerd's advice almost every week. The wisdom of the crowd theory has taken me to the playoffs so I certainly can't help but recommend that you check out the Nerd's aggregated start/sit rankings if you're looking for some extra help.

Enjoy the game tonight!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another batch of fantasy playoffs advice

In just a few days we head east for the holidays, and I've gotta admit that my mind isn't really focused on fantasy football as much as it should be - rather thinking ahead to seeing family and friends back home. But then again, I was definitely checking into my flight schedule on Sunday to see how long of a layover we had in the Houston airport for watching football...

So let's talk links. There are some sites that are starting to shut down for the season , but don't worry, I think there are still plenty of sites that will keep churning out content for quite some time and I will do my best to track them all down.

  • There's still more quality waiver wire advice out there - my faves today are:
  • The Fantasy Sharks have their start/bench list up in plenty of time before the Colts vs Jags game tomorrow night - now that's a game I'm looking forward to since the Jags turned it back on a bit last week.
  • FFToobox has a Week 16: Sleepers of the Week post up - these are probably guys that already reside on a roster somewhere and now is the time to get them playing! Matt Cassel and I have rarely been on the same page this season to be honest but I really do think his matchup with the Cardinals this week is a hot one. If there's any time to trust that Cassel will put up big numbers, this is it.
  • That said, NFL.com's Michael Fabiano reminds us at the very end of his mailbag this week that you always start your studs in the playoffs so don't go sitting Brees for Cassel or anything crazy like that.
  • For those that are out of the playoffs but can't stay away, check out the Pro Bowl results - AFC roster and NFC roster. I'm sure there's at least one name in there that will please you and one that will surprise you...
Later today my weekly column for the Bruno Boys should be up so check it out for advice on some D/STs to start in Week 16. I'll be checking e-mail and responding as quickly as possible to start/sit questions so feel free to keep 'em coming. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Losing to my husband in the semifinals is unfortunate

Well I made it to the playoffs in five leagues but am now only moving forward in one of those leagues, The Hazean's Blogger league, which doesn't even end until Week 17. So here's hoping I make it into at least one championship game this year. Meanwhile, my husband beat me in two leagues with a solid McNabb performance and is going to the championship game in all three leagues he plays in - while I find that a bit irritating and would rather that I be the one in 3 championship games, I do take some pride in this since he's been the recipient of a LOT of my fantasy football advice...probably more than one individual should ever receive.

There are a lot of you out there that deserve a hearty pat on the back for making it to the championship game, including but not limited to some loyal readers and friends like Ryan, Matt, Chris, JP and Maureen. Well done!

As the fantasy season ends for many of us I wanted to remind you all that I really don't stop blogging as the season ends - I'm a year-round blogger, baby! So here's a quick list of the things that I will be blogging about well into 2009 in case you needed a reason to keep checking the blog:

  • fantasy playoffs advice through Week 17
  • NFL playoffs fantasy challenges - great way to wean yourself off of FF
  • 2008 season reviews
  • thoughts for 2009 and advice for keeper leagues
  • college bowl game talk- which rookie will be the next big thing?
  • NFL playoffs and Super Bowl info
  • And of course my analysis of FF experts' rankings, which should be available some time in late January/early February
Now enough chit chat - onto today's links!
  • KFFL has Sleepers and Busts up for Week 16 - though I must say I hope they're very, very wrong about Aaron Rodgers' chances against the Bears on a cold, windy night in Chicago.
  • The Hazean's Buy or sell: Nine former "who?!" players poised for fantasy greatness. Not sure I'm buying into the greatness of Cedric Benson, but I love the John Carlson call - he'll be a hot pickup in leagues next year for sure.
  • For waiver wire advice for this final week of many playoffs, I have a few options options (with more to come later in the week, I'm sure):
  • FFManiaxs have their Week 16 start/sit list up already - scope it out for advice on your championship starters!
  • Finally, for those who have been reading along with me all season, you might be well aware that I love o-line advice. My favorite o-line expert is John Tuvey from The Huddle but since his awesome content is often behind a bit of a pay wall, here's another o-line option that should satisfy you o-line lovers a bit - NFL.com's Falcons o-line will be tested vs. Vikings' high-powered defense.
  • If you need some rankings or projections for this coming week, I advise turning towards AccuScore's NFL Forecasted Player Rankings - make sure you select Week 16 to get the results from the simulator for this weekend's games. Also, for those who play other fantasy sports, AccuScore is a great site to turn to for advice in other sporting realms.
All for now - back tomorrow with more!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Freezing my giblets off and fantasy links

Good morning from a very cold Colorado. I've always been of the mindset that cold is cold and there really isn't a big difference between 5 degrees and 25 degrees. I still maintain that mindset but am now going to suggest that perhaps -2 (what the thermometer read this morning as I was making breakfast) is a whole different bag. I've been at work for quite some time now and still can't really feel all of my toes. Perhaps that says more about my footwear than anything but I think my cheeks are still thawing out, too.

Anyway, like many of you I'm anxiously awaiting tonight's impact on my fantasy status. I'm playing my husband in the playoff semifinals in two different leagues and am very worried about my impending loss to him in both leagues...I think it's a foregone conclusion that I've lost to him in one league but I'm still holding on and pulling for big things from Westbrook in the other league. However, in different league entirely I'm currently ahead by about 50 points and my opponent still has Westbrook to go. I don't think Westy can accumulate 50 points (though you never know!) but I hate being in the position of pulling both for and against one player. Hopefully you all are already enjoying big wins knowing that you're headed to the fantasy championship games - and perhaps are in a far warmer climate than I'm in!

  • If you missed any of the games yesterday (tis the season for holiday parties...) then I highly recommend reading Football Outsider's Audibles at the Line: Week 15.
  • Or scope out Rotoworld's Sunday Schooled: Crunch time which lists the top 5 fantasy players at each position. Um, the list of QBs is a total surprise - if I'd told you in Week 5 even that Cassel, Jackson, Garrard and Fitzpatrick would be in the top 5 during the fantasy playoffs, no one would have believed me at all. Oh how I love this stuff.
  • FFXtreme has a list of the Week 16 On the Rise & On the Decline players - yesterday Antonio Bryant proved me wrong. I thought his numbers might suffer with Griese behind the helm but apparently not. Bryant seems unstoppable right now and gets the good fortune of facing a pretty weak San Diego pass defense in Week 16. Solid.
  • Lester's Legends has a Get 'em or don't sweat 'em for those of you who are still going to be in the playoffs mix next week.
  • And more waiver wire advice from the Bruno Boys' FF Waiver Wire article. They rightly point out that DeShaun Foster could capitalize on a matchup with the lowly Rams run defense next week if Frank Gore remains sidelined by his ankle injury.
  • The waiver wire suggestions keep coming with FootballDocs' Week 16 Pick-up/Drop Advice and NFL.com's RBs Benson, Morris will be hot names on fantasy waiver wire.
  • Since it's the holiday gift-giving season, perhaps you all could find a recipient for some of the fantasy football clothing that RotoNation links to from Art of the Fan. I also just made a purchase from Cafe Press, which has quite an assortment of fantasy football t-shirts, hats, bags, greeting cards (yes, seriously) and magnets. Who knew?
A final note - yesterday while watching the early games at the Lazy Dog, our local Boulder sports bar, a friend of mine commented on how off my consensus picks were. I wanted to clarify that these aren't really my personal picks (though some weeks they're so dead-on that I wish they were!) - I'm just aggregating a list of the most frequent starts or sits from the start/sit links I provide. I'm posting the results, however they pan out, even if I disagree with the advice since I think you all would rather have an aggregate (much like the FFNerd) than just my opinions. Some weeks the consensus is very accurate, others not so much. Hmm, much like the rest of fantasy football...

Good luck tonight!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Consensus starts and sits for Week 15

Hello playoff-ers. Here's your Week 15 consensus, culled together from the various start or sit links that I posted throughout the week. Players below are listed in no particular order - and remember to always take the rest of your roster into account when making lineup decisions!

QB

Start: Tyler Thigpen, Philip Rivers, Donovan McNabb, Aaron Rodgers
Sit: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Joe Flacco

RB
Start: Dominic Rhodes, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams, Sammy Morris, LenDale White
Sit: Marshawn Lynch, Tim Hightower, Willie Parker

WR
Start: Santana Moss, Deion Branch, Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, Torry Holt, Davone Bess, Marvin Harrison
Sit: Laveranues Coles, Kevin Walter, Hines Ward, Calvin Johnson

TE
Start: John Carlson, Chris Cooley, Donald Lee
Sit: Dustin Keller, Todd Heap, Anthony Fasano, Heath Miller

Kicker
Start: Dan Carpenter, Nate Kaeding
Sit: Nick Folk, Kris Brown, Rian Lindell

D/ST
Start: Colts, Eagles, Jets
Sit: Vikings, Cowboys

Good luck this week!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Start, sit, IDP advice and more!

Last night I left my house with about 4 minutes left in the New Orleans vs Chicago Thursday Night game to meet up with some friends for a quick drink - when I got there one of them said, "wow you must really like us to come out when there's a game on!" and yes, indeed, I do have my priorities straight: friends before football. Usually.

But since I left before the end of the game, I missed the OT situation that occurred and Marques Colston's second touchdown of the season. Second touchdown?! A mere two TDs is not what I was anticipating on draft day...

Anyway, here's your Friday start/sit listing for Week 15 - I should be back with a consensus by tomorrow so stay tuned!

I've got a handful of non-start or sit links for you today, too:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A bounty of start and sit links

Earlier this year we ponied up for the NFL Network assuming that paying a little extra a month on our cable bill might equal out the cost of dinner and drinks every Thursday night as the Thursday Night Football games got rolling. I imagine many of you might not have gone this route so I'd be interested in knowing how many of you will be going out to a bar or restaurant to track your fantasy stats live now that the playoffs are here - or will you be way more laid-back than I am and just check in on your stats on Friday morning? Or something in between?

We've got lots of start & sit advice out and available - note that some of the links are specific to tonight's game between Chicago and New Orleans while others are applicable to the whole slate of games this weekend:

There are lots of other quality links with helpful hints for the week ahead though...
  • The FF Maniaxs have some Week 15 Dark Horses, though I'm not sure that Deion Branch can really considered a dark horse after his "hey, remember me?" 2 TD week against the Patriots.
  • Hatty Waiver Wire Guru's Playoff Run Week 15 - good stuff from Hatty again with a slightly different set-up than he's been working lately with more of a focus on sleepers.
  • NFL.com's IDP Focus: Jets' Harris finally healthy and again an IDP stud - IDPers, I've been slacking on getting articles and links up for you. I swear every week I vow to do a better job, but seriously, I'll try and close out the season with IDP love during the playoffs.
  • Along that same vein, some sleeper picks from The Hazean's Sleeper watch, which has been rather accurate with sleeper calls so far this season.
  • Finally, it has been awhile since I've talked about the awesomeness of FFToday's Gut Check but this week's article is particularly appealing to me for a few reasons: 1. Writer Matt Waldman basically does his own accuracy analysis of FFToday's preseason rankings and you've gotta love a site that analyzes and grades itself and 2. I learned here that Waldman's clearly intelligent brother went to the University of Colorado, where I'm a librarian, so Go Buffs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keanu is 44 and fantasy advice

Greetings football fans. I'm hanging out at home this morning since I'm working nights this week to do some usability testing on our new library website with students (any CU students out there, we're giving free pizza for your thoughts) - and I just saw a fawning interview with Keanu Reeves on the Today Show. Um, Keanu is kind of old. No, 44 is not actually that old but I guess I haven't really seen him in a long time (since the first Matrix in 1999 perhaps) but it was a little surprising to see that the guy I remember from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Point Break is in fact no longer young at all and has a patchy beard. I realize this is hardly a revelation but it was a bit of a gut-punching, "hey, I am getting old, too!" feeling.

Anyway, that has absolutely no connection to fantasy football (I wonder if Keanu plays fantasy sports?) but felt necessary to note. Is this what happens when you don't go to work and sit around watching the Today Show -you just come up with crappy commentary on movie stars? So let's move on to football links. I'm already receiving some start and sit questions from you all, so I know the playoffs prep is in full effect.

  • FFToday's Through the Wire - if you haven't noticed this before, in addition to the great advice Antonio provides in this column, he also welcomes you to e-mail him with questions to help prioritize your waiver options.
  • Fantasy Sharks' Start/Bench List 2008 Week 15 - the Sharks note Eddie Royal as a start for the week against the Panthers and I agree but I'd put Brandon Stokley on that list as well. And Brandon Marshall goes unsaid - all Broncos receivers should have a solid game this week as the Broncos once again have to rely heavily on the passing game. A couple of other start/sit articles so far: FootballDocs' Start Sit and Pigskin Addiction Start/Bench Week 15.
  • RotoExperts' Waiver Wire Tips: The Pickup Artist shows a little love for Seneca Wallace who is likely extremely available in your league. So if you're hurting at QB, grab Wallace who has a nice little matchup against the Rams this week.
  • Talented Mr. Roto: Just saying has the typical Berry humor in some scattered but valuable fantasy thoughts. Take a look for even more reasons to snag Wallace and guys like Deion Branch, Devin Hester and Pierre Thomas. Everywhere I look this week I'm seeing Thomas' name urged since he's owned in so few leagues relative to his recent success.
  • ProFootballWeekly's Week 15 matchups to exploit or avoid looks at some players you might want to concentrate on this week. I knew the Packers' run defense was weak but I'm not sure I realized that at this point they're giving up 141.8 rushing yards per game. Ouch.
  • Looking for some sleepers? Take a look at what FFToolbox's Week 15: Sleepers of the Week has to say - they list some guys that you might have already picked up but are on the fence about actually starting. So read on for reasons to get them off your bench.
  • Every week one of my favorite two or three waiver wire article reads is inevitably AccuScore's NFL Waiver Wire Wonders - I once again recommend that you read it, digest the great work they've done and then get yourself to the waiver wire before some punk in your league beats you to Pierre Thomas.
On a final note, I'd like to make sure my displeasure at Iowa getting a better bowl game (Outback) than my Northwestern Wildcats (Alamo) is heard. We solidly beat Iowa AND we have a better overall record than they do. Don't get me wrong, I'm still psyched we're going to the Alamo Bowl and wish I could be there...but it just doesn't sit well with me. No respect, I tell ya, no respect.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Waiver thoughts and looking ahead to 2009

Well DeAngelo Williams' incredible performance last night had me seriously concerned about my playoffs status in one of my leagues, but I ended up pulling it out by a mere two point victory. May you all have been on the winning side of matchups last night as well. And if so, I've got you covered with lots of waiver wire advice and start/sit links this week. But if you didn't make the playoffs and your 2008 season has come to and end, don't worry, I've got lots of links coming over the next few weeks for you, too...

  • FFXtreme has already taken a stab at a 2009 mock draft - you gotta love the early mock.
  • Hatty Waiver Wire Guru's Week 15 video - includes pickups, spot starters and other thoughts for Week 15.
  • FFGeekBlog's The Wire: Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 15, 2008 - the inclusion of waiver wire kickers and defenses is really clutch here. Those are positions that can just be overlooked way too often, but make a huge difference in the playoffs.
  • With so many important injuries this past weekend for fantasy footballers, I highly recommend keeping an eye on Stephania Bell's injury blog for ESPN as the week goes on.
  • And while we're talking injuries, get the fantasy scoop on injuries in Rotoworld's Football Daily Dose. I must admit I'm nervous for my Broncos without Hillis in the game, particularly up against the Panthers this weekend. Could be ugly. Without a reliable back I imagine Cutler will be airing it out quite a bit, which could lead to lots of yards...but also lots of potential for interceptions. I'll be keeping my Cutler fingers crossed.
  • NFL.com's Waiver Wire video advises grabbing QBs like Shaun Hill (solid matchup against the Dolphins coming up in Week 15) and Matt Schaub, though that could be easier said than done in some leagues.
  • FFManiaxs is already revved up and going with their start/sit article for the week - read on for reasons to get MJD in your lineup.
  • The Hazean's By the Numbers: 10 things to do after fantasy football ends - I think I might have a little more love than The Hazean for a fantasy NFL playoffs league. I did a FFLibrarian's Challenge for the January playoffs last year and will be doing it again this year - kind of a nice way to phase yourself out of fantasy football; last year over 90 of you joined in on the fun. I mean going cold turkey can be tough, why not play with the FFLibrarian for a little longer? So stay tuned on that front...
I'll be back tomorrow with more links!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Correcting for Injuries for Week 15

What a weekend. With Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Hillis and many others all sustaining injuries yesterday, I am sure many fantasy football seasons have been affected (or are about to be affected...) and perhaps some of you are now sweating bullets over lineup gaps. To get the latest on injury news, here are a few sites to get you up to speed:

But all the injuries of course mean there are lots of waiver wire articles to scope out as well:
  • FootballDocs' Pick-up/Drop Advice - I enjoy the "vs the Rams" defense suggestion here. Yes indeed, it looks like any team playing the Rams might just be a decent defense to snag. I put the Cardinals in my lineup in place of the Eagles D/ST at the last minute and was rewarded with 25 points. Nice, real nice.
  • Bruno Boys' Waiver Wire points out how well Kevin Walter has done, and I think he has extra value with Schaub behind the helm; could be a nice snag for the rest of the playoffs.
  • Lester's Legends' Get 'em or Don't Sweat 'em - has some additional playoff bonus suggestions beyond the regular rulings on waiver wire guys.
And if you're still wondering what the heck happened in all the games this weekend, here are some helpful recaps or fantasy overviews, my favorite probably being the Football Outsiders' Audibles at the Line. But also check out:
Three of my seven leagues started playoffs this week and here's my outcome in those three leagues:
  1. In the Bruno Boys' experts league I failed to make the playoffs - bad, ugly season for me.
  2. I made the playoffs in CBS Sportsline's IDP experts league but unless my defender Jon Beason can put up 25+ points tonight, I'll lose to Scott Engel from RotoExperts in the first round.
  3. In a league with guys from Sports Data Hub it looks like I've made it through the first round of playoffs despite completely forgetting that I had Marion Barber in that league and didn't remember to try and replace him until 2 minutes after the Dallas game had started. This is what happens when you're in seven leagues; thankfully I think I'll make it through unscathed this week.
I'll keep you posted on how many other playoffs I make it to in my remaining four leagues. If everything goes well tonight, looks like I'll be in the playoffs in three of those four leagues for a total record of five playoffs in seven leagues. Not bad but who wouldn't want to be in all seven playoffs, right?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Last Minute Lineup - Week 14

A few links for those of you who are looking for last minute advice for your lineup. Please be sure to scope out the news coming in - my favorites are Rotoworld and KFFL. You'll learn valuable things there like, oh say, bench Marion Barber since he didn't even make the trip to Pittsburgh.

Other good last minute tips come from the following articles:

Good luck, everyone - I want to hear about some playoffs wins!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Week 14 Consensus

Here's your consensus start/sit list - I've pulled together this list of players that got the most start and sit votes from the many start/sit links that I provided this week. Take a look but remember to always keep the rest of your roster in mind!

QB
Start: Matt Cassel, Matt Ryan, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers
Sit: Jason Campbell, Donovan McNabb, Jake Delhomme

RB
Start: Larry Johnson, Peyton Hillis, Steve Slaton, Tim Hightower
Sit: Marion Barber, Clinton Portis, Jonathan Stewart, Willie Parker

WR
Start: Randy Moss, Bernard Berrian, Jerricho Cotchery
Sit: Braylon Edwards, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Santana Moss, Roy Williams

TE
Start: Kevin Boss, Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels
Sit: Dustin Keller, Greg Olsen, Anthony Fasano, Heath Miller

Kicker
Start: Neil Rackers, Ryan Longwell, Jay Feely, Matt Prater
Sit: Nick Folk, Phil Dawson

D/ST
Start: Colts, Cardinals
Sit: Eagles - only team with a consensus

Start/Sit Link Suggestions for Week 14

Good morning from cold and snowy Boulder - thanks to the Colorado sunshine, soon this half foot of snow will be long gone. And I'm sure Oakland is hoping their game last night will soon be a distant memory. Man, that was an ugly game. I was playing against Darren McFadden in one of my leagues and one of my individual defenders, Eric Weddle, outscored McFadden. Good for me, sad for Oakland.

But moving on - with the playoffs coming up I know a lot of you have start/sit questions. Take a look at the list of start/sit links below and keep in mind that I'll be posting my consensus start/sits later this afternoon.

Finally, a few additional links for you:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

2008 Running Back Accuracy Analysis Coming Soon!

As many of you know, in the past I've run some "How Accurate Were They?" tests on fantasy football experts and their preseason rankings to see which of the many sites out there has the most accurate recommendations. This year I've joined up with the FSTA (Fantasy Sports Trade Association) to look into this question and even provide the winning site with a solid FSTA award this winter. I've been blabbing for some time now about how I would run some mid-season report cards to assess how sites were doing...well, as you regular readers know, I was a traveling machine this fall. That doesn't leave a ton of time for rankings analysis.

But now, thanks to a little extra time and my great husband who put his dissertation defense work on hold to help me run the data through Stata, I am churning out some results. Right now I am only looking at running back rankings and am comparing the rankings to fantasy production as of Week 13. I'll spell out some of the steps in my column on the Fifth Down tomorrow and will be back here tomorrow to post a copy of my spreadsheet that has all of the results and details.

So stay tuned, come back tomorrow for both an analysis of running back rankings and the normal start/sit links.

Winter Fantasy Wonderland

It's a beautiful winter wonderland in Boulder; a couple of inches of snow and it's still coming down with some gusto. Growing up in Northern Virginia where the slightest bit of snow freaks out the entire area and schools are closed, traffic comes to a standstill, and everyone runs to the grocery store to get the last gallon of milk, I'm just trained to get my hopes up that snow = no school/work. Not so much here in Boulder. Granted everyone here is a transplant from somewhere else (I only know 2 Boulder natives), but when it snows here, people really just put their boots on and get where they're going. Or go skiing.

And while I certainly wouldn't mind being on the slopes right now, for the sake of fantasy footballers who need information, I am here in front of a computer. Oh and that whole "I have a job that expects me to be here" thing. Before I get to the links, if you have e-mailed me for advice on who to start, don't worry, you will hear back from me today! Now, let's get to the links...

  • FFXtreme's Running Back Strength of Schedule Weeks 14-16 might be of great interest to many of you - it takes a look at the run defenses that top RBs will face over the next few weeks and ranks them by their upcoming schedules. This is an awesome tool, but please keep in mind that this is generally not a time to let your studs ride the pine. I love my new awesome Broncos RB, Peyton Hillis, but just because he's ranked above guys like Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams does not mean you need to start him ahead those guys. I know most of you know this already, but just a friendly little reminder.
  • Hatty Waiver Wire Guru has a Week 14 playoffs video where he makes recommendations about players that he likes and most importantly, who he would bench to play some of his favorites.
  • For more playoffs help, scope out The Hazean's Sleeper Watch: Playoff help is here for reasons to get Jamaal Charles and Donnie Avery in your lineups over the next few weeks. I'm not sure I buy into the Charles love here - sure, Denver's defense is weak but if you've been paying attention lately (and trust me, I have), we've not only shown some recent success in stopping the run but we're getting some key players back on defense soon. I'd probably show a bit of caution before getting overly excited about Charles this week.
  • Additional thoughts on sleepers comes from FFManiaxs' Week 14 Dark Horses - I particularly like the Cardinals D/ST start here. Generally speaking, kickers and D/STs are positions that I'm comfortable with making significant changes with during the playoffs - see what gem might be on your waiver wire!
  • RotoExperts have two quality articles up - the Waiver Wire Tips: The Pickup Artist if you're still in need of waiver advice and Start and Sit: Week 14. I'm starting Zach Miller in the FFLibrarian's Challenge in the NBC Sports $100K Challenge and am hoping for big numbers from him against a San Diego defense that is weak on TEs.
  • If you're looking for rankings and projections from one of the most successful projectors out there on the fantasy scene, take a look at AccuScore's NFL Forecasted Player Rankings. That link will take you to the QB rankings for Week 14 but you can easily manipulate the rankings to display whatever position and week you're interested in reviewing. For more projections and rankings, try the Fantasy Football Views blog - note that both of these ranking sites have Aaron Rodgers slotted as the top QB of the week.
  • If you're in the market for some advice via chat, check out Rotoworld's Live NFL Chat this afternoon at 3:00 eastern.
  • Finally, a couple of start/sit links - more to come tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Get your fantasy playoffs on

I love December. It's just a great month for all of these wonderful reasons:
1. Winter still seems a bit novel and I actually enjoy waking up to see snow on the ground.
2. It's socially acceptable to play Christmas music.
3. We're in a bit of a holiday sandwich, with Thanksgiving behind us but Christmas and Hanukkah still to come, which means most people are only half-working and there's a more festive spirit at work.
4. I know I'll be seeing family and friends when we head back home in a few weeks.
5. And perhaps most of all, football (just kidding, Mom, seeing you is the best! Actually, Mom, I think you read this blog only once in a blue moon and then inevitably proceed to call me up and tell me you can't believe your own daughter knows so much about football and you have no clue what language I'm speaking...but you're still better than football, don't worry..!) The fantasy playoffs are here, baby, and the real football playoffs aren't far behind.

So what's not to love about this time of year? Injured players that you were relying upon for the playoffs, perhaps? Well don't worry, there are options out there. Read on for some great advice from the experts:

  • FFGeekBlog's Desperation is a Stinky Cologne: Deep Sleepers for Week 14 - the Geeks list a handful of guys like Joe Flacco and Deion Branch that are still available in over 50% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
  • More playoffs advice coming at you from Rotoworld - their Priming the Playoffs video brings you Gregg and Tiffany's suggestions for Week 14 and waiver wire pickups.
  • FFToolbox has some Sleepers for Week 14, most of whom I imagine are already on someone's roster, but if you're the lucky owner, consider playing one of these guys this week. I'm plugging Hightower into my flex spot this week with high expectations - don't let me down, Timmy, you're facing the Rams!
  • If you need waiver advice or just want to read a solid fantasy football article, take a look at FFToday's Through the Wire. As always, a big thanks to Antonio for including IDPs in this waiver wire article and if anyone out there is thinking about starting up a fantasy football website, can I suggest an IDP site? There is a need there, my football friends.
  • The Talented Mr. Roto: Are you an Oscar or a Grammy gives some playoffs advice with a focus on teams that have strong playoffs schedules and waiver wire grabs that might be worth your time. I like the Toomer and Hixon calls in particular - kudos if you grabbed either one last week as the Plax news was just unraveling.
  • We've got some start/sit advice being churned out already -
  • Finally, not relevant to the fantasy world really but of interest nonetheless, Donovan McNabb's wife had twins this week - congrats, McNabbs!