Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest post: RBs and a Fantasy Points Against Score

Welcome to the 4th and final guest post from Cris at Fantasyomatic.com. He's been taking a look at the 2010 schedule and developing a Fantasy Points Against score for each NFL team by position. I've posted his review of QBs, WRs and TEs, so now it's time for RBs. If you've been following along in this series you know that I post the top 3 teams here and you can find the rest on Fantasyomatic.com when it gets posted on Friday. So without further ado, enjoy this last article from Fantasyomatic.com.

Fantasyomatic Fantasy Points Against
Welcome to part four, the final installment in a series of draft prep articles leading up to training camp. This week the focus is on fantasy RBs with information on lots of running backs in the league, their offensive lines, their strength of schedules and where they stand in the depth charts. We ranked all 32 teams based on several factors called 'FPA Score'. We will break down each team and profile each RB candidate. You will also find helpful information on 2009 Yards Per Carry, 2009 Touches, 2009 Red Zone usage, 2010 Strength of Schedule, and 2010 Fantasy Playoff schedules. Don't worry about the Fantasy Points Against data just being grabbed from 2009; the engine used here has been hard at work cranking out "defensive ranking against fantasy position" projections all spring. The "FPA" values you see include 2010 adjustments for draft and free agency additions, coaching changes in the offseason, defensive scheme updates, daily fantasy news updates, and up to the day depth charts. In addition, the FPA values are also weighted against their strength of opponents in 2009 and then again against their strength of opponents in 2010.

What to look for: Players with high yards per pass attempt (YPA) and trends of low FPA ranks against especially during weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense = value. Also watch for mentions of a high red zone score percentage (RZS%), which denotes a TE that's involved in a lot of red zone scoring.

1. San Diego Chargers (FPA: 101.2)
































Key Players: 
Ryan Mathews (r) ADP: 17 - 50% of 63
Darren Sproles (YPC 3.6)Â ADP: 98 - 50% of 63 - 91 Touches

Outlook: 
Rookie RB Ryan Mathews will be a popular sleeper in fantasy football this season, and while it's not good fantasy form to grab a rookie RB too high and expect big things from him, there are some pretty interesting factors that make Mathews look like he may be a solid top end RB2. First, he has a very impressive #1 overall SOS ranking in our proprietary database for all RBs. Chargers coach Norv Turner estimates that Ryan Mathews will have 290 carries and 40 catches this season. Based on that 290-touch prediction, Mathews will top 1,300 all-purpose yards if he averages a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry and 7.5 yards per catch. As a team, San Diego scored 17 rushing TDs in 2009 and averaged 3.4 ypc, so even a slight increase can make him gold. The reception total has been overly optimistic all along with Darren Sproles locked into third downs and Mathews catching only 19 passes the past two years at Fresno State. Mathews will have a tough hill to climb unless the Chargers' offensive line improves upon a 3.4 ypc average (worst in the NFL last season). Pro Bowl guard Kris Dielman and center Nick Hardwick are excellent, but as the contract dispute between left tackle Marcus McNeil and the front office rages on, a holdout appears likely. This is certainly something that could take some air out of this balloon. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune confirms that McNeill is next in line for a contract extension with Antonio Gates' out of the way. However as poor as L.T was last season, SD still credited 50% of their Red Zone TDs to their RBs in 63 appearances. If this play calling continues and the offensive line improves just a little bit, then you can expect good things from Mathews. Mathews has been rising rapidly in ADP ranks, starting at around 40 and now appearing as high as 17 overall in some expert drafts.

The reason we have SD ranked #1 is because they have only one matchup against the toughest 5 defenses against RBs, and although that comes in a critical week 15 game, their killer top 5 weakest matchups in weeks 14 and 16 make up for it. You can also expect an excellent start for the rookie (as long as he gets to camp on time) since 5 out of the first 8 weeks are matchups against the easiest 10 defenses against fantasy RBs! Then, after their bye week (and a nice late Week 10 bye to help counter the "rookie wall"), they revisit 4 of the weakest 10 teams again to finish the season. It really doesn't get better than this if you value RBs and SOS.

2. San Francisco 49ers (FPA score: 104.0)






























Key Players:
Frank Gore (YPC 4.9)Â ADP: 5 -Â 30% of 50 - 206 Touches
Glenn Coffee / Anthony Dixon (r) ADP: 152 -30% of 50

Outlook:
The 49ers' offensive line is the headline story of their offseason after adding line coach Mike Solari and two solid first-round picks (Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati). While Davis is more of a project slotted to start at right tackle, Iupati has All-Pro potential as an interior lineman. The rookies figure to be part of the 49ers' battles for starting spots in training camp at right tackle and left guard, respectively. This depth is still huge for Frank Gore. Gore runs well in a zone scheme that Solari will bring to SF, yet he is also a huge impact receiver with over 400 yds and 3 TDs through the air in 2009. Gore has never played a full 16 game season, but if he does he is elite. For example, in 2009 Frank Gore averaged more fantasy points per game than MJD. Keep in mind that he has never missed more than 2 games in a season, so it is not an extreme concern, just expect that you will not have him for possibly 3 games (including the bye) and if you can live with that, he is a great value.

The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows does not believe rookie Anthony Dixon will unseat Glen Coffee for the primary backup job this summer. "At least not at the start of the season," said Barrows. Coffee is already adept at blitz pickup, so he'll have a sizable advantage on the No. 2 job in training camp, making Coffee a better use of a late-round fantasy pick than Dixon. Gore will jump out to a great start with all three of his first games against bottom 10 defenses against fantasy RBs. If you look closer, you will see that he actually faces the projected worst and 2nd worst teams against RBs in those first three weeks. Then, after a couple tough matchups, things settle down and eventually ease into an amazing weeks 14 and 16.

3. Denver Broncos (FPA score: 113.9)






























Key Players:
Knowshon Moreno (YPC 3.8)Â ADP: 28 - 76% of 52 - 233 Touches
Correll Buckhalter (YPC 5.5)Â ADP: 144 - 76% of 52 - 114 Touches

Outlook:
Knowshon Moreno totalled 1160 total yards with 9 TDs in 2009, but he had a chance to do a lot more. He only averaged 3.8 ypc and also lost 4 fumbles. Keep in mind he missed training camp due to his hold out and suffered an MCL injury in the preseason. He also wore down quite a bit to 2.7 ypc over the last 4 games. Overall he had less than 250 carries as a rookie, but had 33 broken tackles and was active in the passing game. NFL Network's Michael Lombardi believes Knowshon Moreno could "set the league on fire this season" as long as he stays healthy. Lombardi is tight with Josh McDaniels, so he could be getting his optimistic outlook straight from the head coach. Much will depend on Demaryius Thomas emerging as a legit downfield threat to open up running lanes for Moreno. Beat writer Mike Klis has already issued a "fantasy alert" on Moreno, and McDaniels has predicted an "impact" role in the passing game. However, McDaniels likes using RBBCs so Correll Buckhalter will still see action, just not enough to carry him on your roster. Buckhalter actually made more with his opportunities last year with his 5.5 ypc. Despite this, he got only 3 goal line attempts while Moreno had 14. Keep in mind that Denver gave 76% of its Red Zone TDs to RBs in 2009 so if that continues, Moreno could benefit big time. In the past, Denver could plug anyone in at running back, or along the offensive line, and still have success because of the zone-blocking scheme. However, during the offseason Denver moved toward a man blocking "power" scheme which should be better for Moreno. Moreno will have a shot to get his legs under him with three top 10 matchups against soft defenses in the first 4 games. There is a wicked stretch of 3 out of 4 very bad matchups before Denver's week 9 bye. But if you are savvy, let Moreno owners in your league struggle through some poor performances weeks 5-8, then when they are looking for a RB2 replacement for Moreno during their Week 9 bye, offer them a trade for Moreno and enjoy an incredible bounce back late season schedule where his value may hit a season high going into the playoffs.

A little summer vacation time

Tomorrow morning I hop on the train and head down to my hometown just outside of DC for a long weekend with the family. It should be full of festivities - a friend from high school is getting married and a baby shower is being thrown for me. Good times and likely the last time I'll travel for awhile. So good thing I'm doing it right by bringing a UHaul full of baby stuff back up next week. And by "doing it right" I'm hopefully implying a great deal of sarcasm since a UHaul is hardly a fun way to travel when unknocked up, much less 7 weeks away from giving birth to a tiny person. But hey, that truck will be full of generous gifts and family hand-me-downs so honestly, no complaints. Should be an entertaining experience. But it also means I'll probably be a bit quiet for the next several days while I'm on the road...so enjoy today's links!

  • Some player news to update you on - Jonathan Stewart is placed on the active PUP list.
  • The Fifth Down is really cranking out fantasy football advice now and there are a couple of articles to draw your attention to this week:
    • First up, definitely take a look at their WR rankings for the 2010 season replete with helpful playoffs schedule guide (though I was a bit thrown by the fact that red shading = good and blue shading = caution since I'm so used to the traffic light style usage of red equaling cause for concern/stop).
    • Or see what Cecil Lammey from the FootballGuys has to say in their Second-Year Running Backs: Who Could Be a Surprise? I absolutely LOVE seeing Tyrell Sutton, my fellow Northwestern alum, listed among several other new and not-so-new names.
  • I found myself intrigued with Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy's ADP Analysis article. Very interesting stuff that builds on value based drafting a bit - definitely good food for thought. 
  • As I mentioned earlier this week, lots of love for TE Zach Miller out there and The Hazean definitely agrees. See why Miller, Scheffler (can't believe you're not a Bronco...) and Keller make the list in Three Late-Round Tight Ends Worth a Look.
  • In the market for a dynasty mock draft to get a sense of where guys are going? Well look no further than Rotoworld's one-man startup mock for a dynasty league. Sure, it's just one man but I'd wager that Evan Silva knows way more than your average FFer. 
  • Finally, Fantasy Phenoms has been pulling together a series on questions heading into training camp - almost all the division summaries are up now, so check them out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gearing up for rankings season

My dad has gone completely bananas and has dedicated an extensive amount of time and energy over the past several day to researching our various family lineages online. I've got all sorts of fascinating characters in my family history - politicians, vaudeville actors, Amish, town founders, poets - and I didn't anticipate finding any of it as interesting as I do. But perhaps I should have been more prepared for that since as all fantasy football buffs know, a look back in time can really be quite informative. Today we've got a growing number of rankings being published and even more are en route with August just around the corner. Several of you have asked if I'll be pulling together another average rankings position spreadsheet as I did in past years, and yes, I will be! I'll be posting the first set of average rankings around August 10-15th or so and will update it at the end of the month. I know many of you found it to be a useful tool for draft day so here's hoping it will help again for the 2010 season.

Let's get to today's links:

  • Like I said, we've got a handful of rankings out there my friends...
    • The Fifth Down's Sablich brothers are back at it for the season - scope out their QB thoughts in Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks.
    • Fighting Chance Fantasy has an extensive treatise chock full of RB rankings. Seriously, this article is lengthy so settle into your seat before you click. 
    • ProFootballWeekly.com's positional rankings are up, including all offensive skill positions, plus a team defense rankings, and a top 100 overall ranking.
    • Not really a ranking but almost better really since it's an Aggregate ADP list. Love it, Razzball, thank you. Note that Razzball's analysis of the varying ADPs from 3 top sites is still to come, but this is a deep list (189 players) of current average draft positions. 
  • Speaking of ADP analysis, if you're an IDP guy or gal, then you might find it helpful to check out IDP Guru's IDP ADP Analysis: Defensive Linemen, which compares publicized ADPs for DLs to the IDP Guru's own rankings...and then a look at those players where the Guru and ADP differ significantly.
  • In case you could have possibly missed the big news today, Terrell Owens is a Bengal and Pancake Blocks has us covered with what this might mean from a fantasy perspective.
  • I'm digging Roto Arcade's Spin Doctors series and this look at Bears WRs Devin Aromashodu vs Johnny Knox plays up the likely fantasy Martz magic in Chicago this season.
  • Sports Buff is nearly halfway through their team-by-team breakdowns and conveniently enough look at the Bears today to see which players you should focus on come draft day. Happy Bears-ing with these last two links!
  • In case it isn't obvious with the way I gush over his material, I am a huge Matt Waldman fan and have been following his Weekly Gut Check column for years. So of course I was pleased to see his post on The Fifth Down (the more places to find Waldman = better) that pokes and prods a bit at the Stud RB Drafting Strategy in Running Back Turnover and How It Affects Your Fantasy Draft.
  • Finally, an article on RotoTimes.com, FF Roundtable: Undervalued Tight Ends, queried a bunch of Fanball staff FF smarties to find out which TEs are undervalued going into the 2010 season. Read on to find out why there's a lot of Zach Miller love from the Fanball experts.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer camp fun begins

Training camp! The time has finally come! I know I've linked to this list of training camp dates before but it seems more relevant now that the end of July is here. So check out FFToolbox's list to know when each team gets the training camp ball rolling - that is, if they haven't already.

  • On the training camp note, Rotoworld has a nice Training camp preview: Position Battles article. Reasons to like it? They note which battles are worth caring about it and which aren't - plus the section on battles they've already analyzed frequently includes links to Rotoworld's relevant posts/articles from earlier in the offseason.
  • Or scope out the Fifth Down's Five Big Questions Heading Into Training Camp, which has a quick look at several key concerns in NFL land. 
  • Last week I tried to make it to the Sirius XM's celebrity fantasy draft here in Times Square but sadly couldn't quite make it to a middle-of-the-work-day draft. But I was intrigued since some dudes I know like Scott Engel from Rotoexperts.com were participating, along with oh Maurice Jones-Drew. Nice. For the results of the draft, check out this link from Sirius.
  • Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy takes inspiration from the well-known Crank Scores (consistency rank) from one of my favorite sites, FFToday.com, and delves a bit deeper into the question of whether one should focus on drafting "better" players versus consistent players.
  • Right now the only free component of FFXtreme's 2010 Draft Kit are the player projections, which can be found here. But the good news is that I have two draft kits to give away for free - I love it when I can do this! So the first two people to e-mail me with the answer to the following trivia question will be put in touch with my buddy Smitty at FFXtreme to set up access to a free draft kit for the season. Question: Based on ESPN standard scoring, who were the top 5 fantasy tight ends for the 2009 season? It's an interesting mix of dudes if I do say so... Update: after overwhelming interest (my inbox is going nuts!), I have my two winners and will be contacting them soon. Stay tuned for more contests in the future!
  • Finally, on another 2009 stats note, FantasyPros911 charts the Top 100 Targeted WRs for Fantasy Football from last season based on a targets per game average. Just a stats refresher, particularly for those of you in PPR leagues.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

FInding the unexpected bonus

So one of the perks to our new apartment is the stunning view out the window - we look west from Brooklyn towards the Statue of Liberty and can see some pretty glorious sunsets. As we were unpacking our remaining moving boxes earlier tonight (only 4 more to go!), I just felt incredibly lucky to have found a place with such a stellar view, since it really wasn't something on our must-haves list when apartment searching. Just a bonus. Kind of like when you draft a running back who is a surprisingly adept receiver or a QB whose rushing TDs lead you to a win week in and week out. And really, that's at least one reason why we're all here, right? To see if we can get the edge on finding players with a sweet, unexpected bonus. On that note, let's get to tonight's links:

  • Ask the Commish, who has done quite well over the past few years with fantasy rankings (see the series on my rankings accuracy analysis), has updated their rankings in time for the start of training camp. With such a successful past with rankings, I highly recommend scoping out what they have pulled together for 2010.
  • Here's another set of RB rankings you might want to scope out - Rotoprofessor's Top 40 Running Backs for 2010: Take Two. Or how about Mac Bros' top 75 running back rankings (other positions can be linked to from the navigation links at the top of the page).
  • Yahoo's Roto Arcade dukes out the benefits of Michael Crabtree vs Mike Sims-Walker in Spin Doctors. I'm siding with MSW here, thanks in large part to my love for Gore but also my uncertainty about Alex Smith. Perhaps I should have more doubt in Garrard though really...how about you all?
  • Earlier this week the IDP Guru posted his IDP sleepers for 2010 - you'll likely find some new names as well as some guys who have been around for awhile now; nice mix. 
  • KFFL has a thorough running back handcuff chart that should get your mind thinking about some deep players that should be on your radar. It's really quite interesting to compare teams like the Cowboys or the Falcons with three names that every fantasy player knows, versus teams like the Vikings and the Titans that are stacked with not only their top RB but 4 other backs at this time.
  • The Hazean brings us a list of backup RBs that you'll want to be aware of on draft day - Beware These 11 Touchdown Vultures.
  • The FFManiaxs offer up both 2010 breakouts and 2010 busts. I'll be honest, I don't agree with some of these but I always think it pays to read why others are high/low on players.
  • Finally, a little something fun and not really about football at all - Razzball recently conducted a Draught Beer Draft and while I'm sad I wasn't called upon to participate, it does remind me of all the delicious beer awaiting me post-pregnancy. I'm really more of an amber/red beer fan, which I know isn't quite as revered in beer circles as hoppier beers, but there are definitely some brews on this list I wouldn't mind trying - really there's something for everyone in this draught draft.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Feeling particularly lucky

Happy birthday to the best guy I've ever met: my awesome husband. Without getting all sappy on you guys (it's really sad but those iPhone 4 commercials are making me tear up these days; blame it on the pregnancy thing!), it's truly an honor being married to such a great dude and every day I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have found this guy. And of course since he's the one that introduced me to this crazy world of fantasy football, let's all raise a glass to the birthday dude!

Now moving on from the husband lovefest to the ff linkfest...

  • If you're in the mood for a handful of sleepers, try 72 of them. Yeah that's right, 72, all with a bit of a write-up from the guys at DynastyLeagueFootball.com. And there are some nice, super deep ones here that should satisfy those of you in the deepest of dynasty leagues in particular.
  • I must say I look forward to Matthew Berry/The Talented Mr. Roto's Love/Hate column every summer. He does of course carry on this list with a weekly assessment of players he, well, loves and hates that week - but this one always seems to signal the close proximity of the season to me. Plus he's a Frank Gore fan this year and I love me some Gore.
  • I hear from a lot of you who seem to appreciate playing around with players stats, including historical stats, so I wanted to make sure you all know that Football Outsiders is offering up a free spreadsheet with standard stats from 2007-2009 for all skill players. So have it, concoct some crazy notions or pull together some interesting patterns over the past 3 seasons. 
  • If you're curious about the value of some players stuck in RBBC situations, ProFootballWeekly.com takes a look at some Fantasy position battles: RBs to gauge which player might have the fantasy upper hand.
  • Meanwhile, NFL Soup has their top 40 running back rankings available - now I've definitely seen other sites/rankings suggest MJD should go earlier than 3rd overall, but I do enjoy the Soup's insistence that Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson are really your only options with the first 2 picks. 
  • Finally, my guest posts here from Fantasyomatic.com have looked a lot at strength of schedule issues for 2010. I appreciate all of the tweaking that Fantasyomatic.com has done to adjust the 2009 defensive rankings though also appreciate Razzball's point in Strength of Rush Defense, 2010 Schedule that there's really no way of knowing what 2010 will bring defensively. I fall somewhere in the middle I think and so I like offering up both the modified SOS thoughts from Fantasyomatic, as well as the straight 2009 defense numbers converted to the 2010 schedule as Razzball has done.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guest post: TEs and Fantasy Points Against

Good evening, fantasy football fans. Tonight we have the third installment in a series of guest posts from Cris at Fantasyomatic.com. To catch up on what he's doing here with the series, scope out the first paragraph - otherwise, skip to the meat of the guest post to find out which team TEs are ranked in the top 3 Fantasy Points Against Strength.


Fantasyomatic Fantasy Points Against

Welcome to part three in a series of draft prep articles leading up to training camp (read part one - WR  here and part two - QB here). This week the focus is on fantasy TEs. We ranked all 32 teams based on their Fantasy Points Against Strength with a breakdown on each team and profile of each TE candidate. You will also find helpful information on 2009 Yards Per Attempt, 2010 Strength of Schedule and 2010 Fantasy Playoff schedules. Don't worry about Fantasy Points Against (FPA) data here being grabbed just from 2009; the algorithm used here at Fantasyomatic.com has been hard at work cranking out "defensive ranking against fantasy position" projections all spring. The FPA values you see here include 2010 adjustments for the draft additions, free agency additions, coaching changes in the offseason, defensive scheme updates, daily fantasy news updates and up to the day depth charts. In addition, the FPA values are also weighted against their strength of opponents in 2009 and then again against their strength of opponents in 2010.

What to look for: Players with high yards per pass attempt (YPA) and trends of low FPA ranks against especially during weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense = value. Also watch for mentions of a high red zone score percentage (RZS%), which denotes a TE that's involved in a lot of red zone scoring.

For rankings beyond 1-3, see the full article here on Fantasyomatic.com.

1. Washington Redskins (FPA score: 81.9)






























Key Players:
Chris Cooley (YPA 8.3) ADP: 113 - 42% of 46
Fred Davis (YPA 7.4) ADP: 215 - 42% of 46

Outlook: 
The Redskins threw the 13th most yards to TEs in 2009, but now Mike and Kyle Shanahan are in town and they brought in a QB in Donovan McNabb who has made his living throwing to TEs. Last year McNabb threw 969 passing yards and 8 TDs to TEs, and WAS threw 850 yards and 11 TDs. Washington had the league's second highest TE RZS% (46% of all their Red Zone TDs went to TEs). Kyle Shanahan drew up enough plays to TEs in Houston last season to total 912 yds and 6 TDs. Mike Shanahan's last two Denver teams posted 38 passes: 24 runs and then 32 passes: 26 runs per game, which is a higher pass to rush ratio then most people may think. These certainly appear to be good indicators for McNabb and his pass catchers. Chris Cooley "may see an expanded role in the offense" according to the Washington Post. Cooley presents some risk, but Washington may have to rely heavily on him due to their thin WR situation. There is danger of a timeshare here since Fred Davis really took advantage of his opportunities when Cooley was out last year. Davis comes with a much cheaper 17th round price tag while Cooley is a 9th rounder. Cooley is much cheaper than your Clark (4th), Witten (5th), and Gates (4th) types so if you miss on one of those, feel good about taking Cooley as a low risk/high reward option. He has a stretch of 5 out of 6 games against bottom-end teams leading into your fantasy playoffs.

2. Minnesota Vikings (FPA score: 81.9)






























Key Players:
Visanthe Shiancoe (YPA 7.4) ADP: 120 - 30% of 69

Outlook: 
Visanthe Shiancoe was one of the NFL's leading red zone target TEs in 2009 while Minnesota tied for 1st in the NFL in TE TDs (13), of which Shiancoe had 11. He also scored 7 of those TDs inside the 10 yard line. Minnesota had the 6th highest TE RZS% (30% of all Red Zone TDs went to TEs). No reason to think that will change with Brett Favre coming back for another year, however, if Favre somehow decides not to come back, remember that Shiancoe scored the third most TDs of all TEs in 2008 (7 TDs) even without Favre. He has slightly less value in a PPR league as he was only 12th in TE targets in 2009 but TD leagues value him even higher. The biggest value for Shiancoe in 2010 is his stellar fantasy playoff matchups. MIN has the #1 fantasy schedule of all TEs in the NFL. They play the Giants, Bears and Eagles and those three franchises have been some of the consistently worst defenses against opposing TEs for the past two years. Shiancoe can be had in the 10th round so it's safe to say you could get a potential top-10 TE well after you already locked down your starters in all other positions. That's a great value for a red zone beast like Shiancoe.

3. Houston Texans (FPA score: 84.3)






























Key Players:
Owen Daniels (YPA 10.0) ADP: 87 - 12% of 63

Outlook: 
If Owen Daniels had been able to finish the 2009 season, he was on pace for a career-best 89 catches for 1,136 yards and 11 TDs. That would have been good enough to outscore Dallas Clark. Instead, a week 8 ACL injury sent him to the sidelines. Fantasyomatic.com had a chance to speak with Owen Daniels this offseason and he said everything went "very smoothly" with his surgery. Houston grabbed another TE from Wisconsin, Garrett Graham, in the NFL draft as a little insurance in case Daniels cannot come back fully from his torn ACL. If he does, he will be in a rare group of players who were able to overcome such an injury. Plus, Daniels' fantasy success has a lot to do with his ability to get downfield so he will need strong wheels to be the O.D. of old. Daniels had a YPA of 10.0 in 2009 and a 13.0 Yards Per Catch and had the third highest Yards After the Catch of all TEs last year. The old O.D. is worth being excited about. You've gotta love a red zone TE, and although HOU threw to the TE in only 12% of their 63 Red Zone possessions, Daniels saw more red zone targets in 2009 than in his entire 16 game 2008 season. If he can come back healthy, he has a great season to look forward to in 2010, plus Houston has the 3rd easiest schedule for TEs in 2010. He has a late-season run with 7 out of 8 games against bottom-half defenses against TEs. Thanks to his ACL issues, he's going in the early 7th round of summer drafts, and if you can get him there, you should have strong TE1 value if Daniels stays healthy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend catch up

Ahh, there's absolutely nothing like having a big move behind you. Of course the 20 or so boxes in our new living room might indicate there's still plenty of work to do, not to mention the slow transition going on for our freaked out cats, but I feel a great deal of relief to have the bulk of this move completed. Perhaps the most awesome part about th move? The realization that we now have both the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network (go Wildcats!). Fantastic. All of Brooklyn is invited to watch games at our place this fall with a brand new infant. Hot times, right?

So now that I can catch my breath a bit (ha, actually not so much what with the growing belly making it harder to breathe...but you know what I mean), I'm catching up on some of the latest FF links out there and have some good stuff for you:

  • The freebies on Footballguys.com are coming to an end soon (I think July 15 might have been the cutoff for most content) so I highly recommend you read up on whatever free material they offer since this is FBG we're talking about. Take a look at The Ten Players to Build Around in 2010, where Dodds includes a player's value point, ADP, and where he hopes to draft the player along with the writeup. Good read.
  • While I'm on FBG I'll just quickly note that their Rate My Team function is up and running. I know a lot of you really enjoyed this product last year and found it interesting at the very least, so I recommend scoping out the 2010 version once you've got your crew together. 
  • I love approaching drafts with a good set of tiers compiled - it seems like a more balanced approach to drafting than straight rankings. See what Razzball has pulled together (with their usual dose of a chuckle or two) in their 2010 Fantasy Football PPR Tiers.
  • Yahoo's RotoArcade carries on with their Juggernaut Index - today's team is my favorite: the  Broncos. I know some of you might be sick of Broncos linkage but hey, so just skip this one if you must, and go straight to Yahoo's updated Top 100 rankings instead (or you can link to their rankings by position in addition).
  • See why LestersLegends.com has Sidney Rice taking a step back in 2010 in Was 2009 a Fluke for Sidney Rice?
  • For more thoughts on wide receivers, FFToday has an obligatory (but still helpful) look at Third-Year Wide Receivers Ready to Bust Out.
  • Finally, EPSN's What's YACo got to do with it? will be a nice read for those of you with a stats bent. It's not quite as stats-y as Football Outsiders per se, but looks at YACo (yards after contact) and 9 other perhaps less-discussed stats that you might want to be aware of heading into the 2010 season.
I'll be back later tonight with that TE analysis from Fantasyomatic.com but until then, enjoy your Sundays!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A focus on undervalued/overvalued fantasy players

Welcome to Friday afternoon. What's better than knowing that the start of the weekend is just a few hours away? How about knowing that we're now just a smidgen closer to training camp kickoff? July is absolutely flying by so let's get right to today's fantasy football links:

  • First up let's get to some rankings (just updated earlier this week) from FantasyPros911 - they've got you covered with both standard rankings and PPR rankings
  • I'm drawn to basically any article related to the Broncos, so of course I was particularly interested in reading NFL.com's RB Moreno has a ton of breakout potential. A quick read with plenty of reasons (such as a breezy RB schedule) for even non-Bronco fans to be psyched about Moreno.
  • If you're in the market for a draft kit, take a look at Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy's draft kit (home of the awesome offensive line rankings). I haven't had a chance to scope it out yet but one thing I really like is the ability to see the 2009 draft kit so that you know exactly what you're buying. Nice touch.
  • FFToolbox has two solid articles from this past week that you might want to check out:
  • So undervalued and overvalued players must be the topic of the week or something. Lots of options along those lines:
Later this weekend I'll be posting Fantasyomatic.com's look at tight ends based on a well-tweaked strength of schedule for the 2010 season. Until then, enjoy your weekends!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Scratching the surface

Wow, the summer is absolutely flying by and somehow I've found myself immersed in things like day care center tours, consults with pediatricians, and debates on just how uncomfortable it will be to drive a UHaul of baby-related furniture from DC to NYC when 8 months pregnant. If you haven't been reading along during the offseason or haven't caught on yet, we're expecting a baby in two months and I feel like I'm barely scratching the surface of how my life is about to change. I'm hoping to keep things fairly steady and business-as-usual here on the blog, but between our upcoming move this weekend and all other baby matters going on right now, I might not be on my normal posting schedule. But I'll do my best! So before I bore you all with musings on the safety or lack thereof of using my dad's old bassinet that has been chillin' in the family attic for 31 years since I outgrew it, or what waiting 40 minutes to merely meet the man who might be our pediatrician might mean about his future timeliness...let's get me out of baby mode and right into fantasy football linkage:

  • I'll be honest here, I just spent way, way too long on Razzball's Fantasy Football Team Name Generator. I was captivated by the long list of possible items that include ground meat. Confused? Then go scope it out and see how you can create a team name like Apoplectic Raviolis or Dueling Beef Patties. Or for something along the more seriously lines (though really why?), see which "shallow grave sleepers" they recommend in Running Backs to Target.
  • Continuing the theme, how about some other potential sleeper RBs from The Hazean? 4 names to consider in Sleeper Watch: Four Under-the-Radar Running Backs. Not sure I'd call these guys sleepers but perhaps they'll offer more value at their draft position than others.
  • Few teams get football fans riled up like the Cowboys. So see what RapidDraft's Matt Schauf thinks about their fantasy prospects this year in the Cowboys Team Breakdown.
  • FantasyFanPlay.com has taken a look at some ADP (average draft position) results from Fantasy Football Calculator's site and has analyzed a few of the more interesting mock draft results in ADP Analysis.
  • I love mock draft results - have you noticed yet? I'm probably a good chunk of the traffic encouraging mock draft result analysis but gotta say it's money to know why Evan Silva took who he took in his latest mock
  • Those who are diehard Football Outsiders fans might be particularly interested in their Oddities of 2009 article, which looks at why 2009 was such a tough year as far as projections go .

Needless to say probably but with all I've had going on lately I am horribly behind on responding to e-mails, so if you've sent me a note, or even commented on the site lately and I haven't responded...well, I'll get to it eventually, hopefully in the next week or two. Bug me with a few more e-mails if it's urgent and I'll get the message.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guest post: A look at Fantasy Points Against for QBs

Happy World Cup Day! To cap off a day full of soccer fun, let's get to this week's guest post from Cris at fantasyomatic.com - this time he looks at fantasy points against/strength of schedule for quarterbacks. Once again I'll post players/teams 1-3 and you can read the rest on fantasyomatic.com.

Fantasyomatic Fantasy Points Against

Welcome to part two in a series of draft prep articles leading up to training camp. This week the focus is on fantasy QBs. We ranked all 32 teams based on their Fantasy Points Against Strength. In this article, we will break down each team and profile every QB candidate. You will also find helpful information on 2009 Yards Per Attempt, 2010 Strength of Schedule and 2010 Fantasy Playoff schedules. Don't worry about Fantasy Points Against data here being grabbed just from 2009. The algorithm used at fantasyomatic.com has been hard at work cranking out "defensive ranking against fantasy position" projections all spring. The "FPA" values you see here include 2010 adjustments for the draft additions, free agency additions, coaching changes in the offseason, defensive scheme updates, daily fantasy news updates and up-to-the-day depth charts. In addition, the FPA values are also weighted against their strength of opponents in 2009 and then again against their strength of opponents in 2010.

What to Look for: Players with high YPA and trends of low FPA ranks against especially during weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense = value. Also watch for mentions of a high red zone score percentage (RZS%), which denotes a QB that's involved in a lot of red zone scoring.

For the rest of the rankings, take a look at the full article here on fantasyomatic.com.

1. Green Bay Packers (FPA score: 85.3)































Key Players:
Aaron Rodgers (YPA 8.2) ADP: 16 - 27% of 62

Outlook:
In 2010, Aaron Rodgers faces 8 of the top 10 ranked teams that are ranked for giving up the most fantasy points to QBs (adjusted for 2010). He also finished as the #1 fantasy scorer in the league in 2009 (#2 in 2008). What have you got to be afraid of? Astute NFL watchers will be concerned about the amount of times he was sacked in 2009, thus not allowing him to get down field. But look at this stat: Rodgers was sacked a league-leading 50 times in 2009, but 25 of those sacks came in the first 6 games. Then the team "called him out" for holding onto the the ball for too long and he corrected. Finishing with just 8 sacks in the last 6 games.

So why is Rodgers the #1 overall QB in 2010? He had 5 TDs (1st)  and 304 yards rushing in 2009 (2nd of all NFL QBs). That's 270 yards and 3 TDs more than Brees. GB was 5th in red zone scoring in 2009 with a strong 56% RZS%. 5 of those red zone TDs were Rodgers' rushing TDs and 8 of them were TE TDs. Rodgers has the 4th easiest QB SOS (strength of schedule) season and 3rd easiest QB schedule in weeks 14-16. There is a strong case to make for taking him in the top 10 of your fantasy draft if your league awards 6 points per passing TD. Coach Mike McCarthy praised Aaron Rodgers for his "commitment to the offseason program" and says the Packers will "challenge (Rodgers) with more things at the line" this season. Our position is that Rodgers is a clear cut #1 QB above Brees and Manning, due to Rodgers' great schedule and his fantasy playoff matchups.


2. Dallas Cowboys (FPA score: 86.7)






























Key Players:
Tony Romo (YPA 8.1) ADP: 37 - 30% of 50

Outlook:
Jerry Jones wants a Super Bowl at home and he just might get it. Collectively Dallas has the one of the easiest schedules in the league and at nearly every skill position. Tony Romo passed for a career best 4,483 yards in 2009 while everyone undervalued him because of the Terrell Owens departure. However, he developed a rapport with Miles Austin and has even more depth this year with the addition of Dez Bryant. He also had a career low in interceptions in 2009. If you choose to pass on the big three QBs in round one or even top of round two, then Romo is your guy. He affords you the opportunity to grab a top-notch RB and WR in the first two rounds and get Romo in the 3rd. And you still won't be too far behind the top QBs. DAL also ranked in the top 10 for QB RZS% with 62% and Romo even had 1 rushing TD in the red zone himself. He will assuredly give you 2nd round value and could possibly be the top QB in fantasy during the playoffs. Look twice at this chart as his worst rank against is 24 with a #1 rated SOS for QBs and a top 10 fantasy playoff rank. Grab Miles Austin, Jason Witten or any of the WRs. Each has their own value at different points.The passing game might start slow, but will dominate in the late season.

3. Tennessee Titans (FPA score: 93.2)






























Key Players:
Vince Young (YPA 7.2) ADP: 149 - 28% of 32

Outlook:
Can Vince Young learn to throw the ball for more than 180 yards/game? Or will you be praying for 45 yard runs to even out your fantasy week? He has his flaws, such as his 58.4% completion rate and only exceeding 17 completions twice in his 10 starts. We are talking a QB2 at best and he could end up being a really cheap 12th rounder with spot-start potential. You can't argue about his price so the risk is very minimal. Keep in mind that in 2009 he finished the season with these totals for fantasy points: 15, 21, 20, 15, 27 and 7. During his 10 starts in 2009, he averaged over 16 fantasy points/game and ranked among the top 10 QBs during that span. Even though VY didn't play an entire season, Tennessee enjoyed a 4th overall QB RZS% (63%) for all teams with over 20 red zone scores.

Friday, July 09, 2010

FF advice: rankings, draft strategy, and more!

A week from tomorrow is the big move in my household...though "big" is all relative seeing as our new place is merely half a mile away; not quite the Boulder to NYC move we made last summer. But one of the best parts about this move is that we're switching around our cable tv a bit and will soon have access to the NFL Network. Many of you can understand how happy this makes me (sad but true...) - perhaps all of the packing and moving is worth it if only even for the football upgrade!

I've been a little quiet this week with kind of a lot going on here but I know we're getting to the heart of fantasy football prep season so don't worry, I've got you covered with some high quality links for your Friday afternoon entertainment.

  • More and more sites are cranking out their rankings (or just updating what they've already published) and another set of rankings you might want to scope out is from The Sports Outlaw - take a look here for their standard rankings or here for PPR rankings.
  • SI's Jay Clemons always packs his Fantasy Clicks articles chock full of awesome material. This week's The Search for Tomorrow's Sidney Rice is another great read with a smorgasbord ranging from rankings to schedule analysis to cold weather game thoughts.
  • A little focus on wide receivers now...
  • Or shift your thoughts to QBs with Fox Sports's QB draft strategy: Spend an early pick from Roger Rotter.
  • Those who have read this blog for awhile know that I love what the Football Outsiders do, so I highly recommend scoping out their annual FO Almanac. So much incredible stuff in there and it's available via PDF now (the print copy will be available in about 2 more weeks).
  • Clearly from all of the historical accuracy analysis I do here on FFLibrarian, I'm a fan of looking back a bit to previous seasons to try and inform our thoughts about the future. FFToday's Second-Half Awakenings looks back at 5 players who emerged with surprisingly solid performances at the end of the 2009 season, and examines their potential for 2010.
  • Many of you have asked for recommendations on where to play fantasy football this year and while I promised some thoughts on that front awhile back (I'm so full of promises), I'm having a hard time really believing that my individual experiences with sites are enough to persuade anyone. But I will say that when I play in fairly basic/standard (and free!) leagues, I'm quite pleased with what both CBSSports.com and Yahoo have offered in that realm. Meanwhile for the more complicated leagues, MyFantasyLeague.com offers so many options it's unreal. I polled you, my fine readers, to see which sites you found to be the tops and am going to leave the results of that poll up on the right side here for another week or two to let you know what sites your FF cohorts might like the best. That said, The Hazean has pulled together a nice Where to Play Fantasy Football in 2010 article also has some good suggestions. 
  • Finally, it wouldn't be the brink of fantasy football season without Matthew Berry's Draft Day Manifesto - as usual, an entertaining and thought-provoking read.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Short work week linkfest

I have no clue how the long weekend passed by so quickly but somehow it's Tuesday and all of my best intentions for posting over the weekend disappeared in a puff of post-fireworks smoke. On July 4th we caught some of the NYC fireworks that were visible from the Brooklyn Heights promenade (had to peek between buildings and such) and spent the rest of the weekend packing for our impending move, and staying cool with these crazy temps. The good news here is that I have a ton of links for you today:

Friday, July 02, 2010

Guest post: WRs with a stellar SOS

Greetings, FFers and welcome to the start of a long weekend. To celebrate I have two posts for you today. Later in the day I'll have some links to get you through the weekend but first up, I thought I'd post a little something new to FFLibrarian.

This summer I'll be rolling out a series of articles from Cris who has his own site that I've linked to several times since last fall - it's definitely a bit of a departure from my usual linking here on FFLibrarian so I'd love your feedback. Feel free to leave comments for either Cris or me in the comments section or via e-mail. Below you'll see an excerpt from his recommendations for wide receivers that you might want to consider based on a strength of schedule (SOS) that is his combination of fantasy points against, average draft position, and yards per attempt. Note the special emphasis here on the fantasy playoffs, Weeks 14-16. If you'd like to read the rest of Cris' rankings for team wide receivers, see his full article here.

For the next few Fridays I'll be posting Cris' analysis for teams 1-3 for the rest of the offensive positions so check back later this month for more! Without further ado...

Fantasy Points Against

Each chart is an exclusive look at the Fantasy Points Against (FPA) ranking for each opponent for each week, given a 16 week season. The number reflects the rank of the opposing team factoring in the fantasy points given up to WRs. This is NOT based on 2009, this is fresh 2010 rankings provided by my engine and can only be found here on FFLibrarian and on my site. Every other site or magazine you see is using straight 2009 totals, not the 2010 adjustments. It reflects over 100 hours of adjustments for scheme changes, coaching changes, injury returns, immediate impact rookies and is weighted by the performance of the team over the last 5 weeks of the 2009 season only. The lower the number, the better the start. #1 is the best matchup that week in the NFL, #32 is the toughest. Bye weeks are represented as gaps in the chart.

What to Look For: Players with high YPA (yards per attempt) and trends of low FPA ranks especially during Weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP (average draft position) and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense = value.

1. Dallas Cowboys






























Key Players:
Miles Austin (YPA 11.2)
Dez Bryant
Roy Williams (YPA 6.9)
Patrick Crayton (YPA 9.5)

SOS Outlook:
The Dallas passing game will be a gold rush for fantasy drafts this summer. Grab Romo, Witten or any of the WRs listed here. Each has their own value at different points. The passing game might start slow, but will dominate in the late season. This can help you out because your strategy might involve NOT drafting Miles Austin (ADP 23) since he will cost you a 2nd round pick, but try instead to possibly trade for him after Weeks 3-5 with an owner who may be unhappy with three weeks of poor performances and is in need of a WR during the Dallas bye week in Week 4. If you can pull off the trade for a WR with a fast start like Brandon Marshall then this is a steal waiting to happen.

Or you can wait patiently for the Roy Williams/Dez Bryant saga to work itself out. You can grab Bryant in a later round and stash him as a flex until after their bye week when that #2 spot will explode due to opposing teams correcting against Austin. This might be one of the best values in the draft. All Dallas pass catchers will enjoy the league's best fantasy playoff schedules with the exception of Week 16 vs Arizona. A lot can change, but with an average FPA of 7, you can count on this being a soft road to a championship regardless of how things shake out.

2. Buffalo Bills 






























Key Players:
Lee Evans (YPA 7.4)
James Hardy
Parrish/Easley

SOS Outlook:
The biggest issue here in Buffalo is the question of who will be throwing the ball. Brohm appears to have an early lead and this could only make things worse come Week 1. But if the passing game can click, you could enjoy a great early season run with Lee Evans until Week 4. Evans is a 9th-round grab this summer and he can give you WR2 value for the price of a flex WR. Watch out for the running game kicking in late in the season during fantasy playoffs. This decent schedule does also only include one Revis game in Week 4 with the other coming after most fantasy playoffs end in Week 17. Most of these key players are being drafted as 9th-round picks where some teams are grabbing early DSTs and TEs. Great value for a potential mid-season boomer.


3. Tennessee Titans






























Key Players:   
Nate Washington (YPA 6.5)
Kenny Britt (YPA 10.7)
Lavelle Hawkins
Justin Gage (YPA 6.0) / Damian Williams

SOS Outlook:
First, this is Chris Johnson's team. He will get 80% of the carries and the lion's share of passing looks on 3rd down. The other factor is the development of Vince Young's passing game; he did a great job of passing rather than running in 2009 so you can expect Fischer to develop this further. CJ will need some balance to continue to attack, which means someone must catch passes. Young TE Jared Cook showed up heavy to OTAs

Britt is still behind Lavelle Hawkins on the depth chart, earning his way back into coach Jeff Fisher's good graces. ESPN's Paul Kuharsky believes it will be a "huge disappointment" if Britt isn't the Titans' top receiver by the end of preseason action meaning he's got a lot of ground to make up by August. Keep Hawkins in mind as a really deep sleeper if Britt continues to fall off. Don't worry about the three early season weeks against Oakland, Denver and Dallas, let this develop and maybe invest in a 9th-round pick for Britt, and he can be a stash for a potential mid- to late-season run.

You may find yourself contemplating Washington as a midseason waiver wire pick up since Tennessee enjoys a great Week 6-9 stretch going into their bye. If you have Britt you will love him as a value flex WR with WR2 potential in the fantasy playoffs, and you would pay the same price for him as other WRs like Eddie Royal or Santonio Holmes.