Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Get prepped for your draft

Whoa. August, you rocked me. We had a lot going on in our world: the start of Kindergarten, travel, hand/foot/mouth disease combined with a stomach bug (don't get me started on that one...), potty training, and the loss of my 97-year-old grandma who was a strong and lovely woman. It has been a full month with some trying times, but also some really amazing moments together. Either way, I'm ready for things to calm down a bit...but it's football season, no time for calm! My 5-year-old son is freaking out about the start of football time in Tennessee (1 day!) and we're in negotiations for creating an entire meal for him that's orange in honor of the UT Vols. And I'm freaking out - Trevor Siemian is starting for the Broncos (my alma mater and favorite pro team mishmashing together)! Even if it doesn't last for long (see Rotoworld's line of thinking on the Broncos QB situation here), I'll take it.

I'm drafting tonight in my FFLibrarian Monster League and am feeling woefully unprepared. Here's hoping you all have been more on the ball than I have this preseason, but perhaps what we all need are a ton of links to get the fantasy brain rolling. Or FantasyPros' Draft Wizard, which I will employ tonight, no doubt.

  • Auction leaguers, take a look at what FFToday pulled together in recapping their expert auction draft - The Art of the Auction.
  • DavidGonos.com suggests Top 39 free fantasy football draft tools you must use in 2016 - some really good stuff here, and a lot of tools remain useful during the season, too: strength of schedule, FantasyRundown's links, podcasts, trade raters, FootballGuys.com's daily e-mail, etc. Let's add FFLibrarian and make it an even 40.

Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 PPR average rankings spreadsheet

Yo. It's average rankings spreadsheet time, friends. I'm throwing this up here with very little extras and flashiness to the spreadsheet (and admittedly, I already found a few spots that need to be fixed) - hope to tweak it as the weekend goes on. I started with PPR this year (1 point) since the poll on my site gave the slightest of edges to PPR over standard. I'll try to get to standard scoring rankings in the next few days, too. But for now, feast your eyes on the average rankings spreadsheet for 2016.

Sites included this year are: CBS (Dave and Jamey), ESPN, Fantasy Pros, Scout Fantasy, numberFire, The Fake Football, The Fifth Down, and Yahoo. I gathered the overall rankings from these sites, which varied from 175ish to 300ish players. As usual, I've included the standard deviation so that you can get a sense of agreement on each player.

If you need this sent as an e-mail instead, let me know and I'll do my best to get it out to you within a day or so.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

FFLibrarian Monster League

It's that time of year - the FFLibrarian Monster League is open for business. I've shrunk the league down to 60 teams (instead of 72) this year to make things more manageable (that seems to be a theme for me...), but we still have a handful of open spots. For those who need the lowdown: there are 5 conferences, each with its own draft; you primarily compete within that conference for the season, but in the final weeks, the winners of each conference are pitted against each other for the grand Monster League Winner. The winner is crowned with glory and a prize from me: access to your FF resource of choice (FantasyPros, FootballGuys, etc) for the following season. On that note, congrats to PT Bruisers, the 2015 league champ.

You want in don't you? Then send me an e-mail - please please check the website and see if I've closed this offer up before sending me an e-mail. I'll update when I've filled all the spots. UPDATE: SPOTS FILLED. For the first time in years and years, I think I might actually participate in the league, too, which I'm looking forward to a great deal. So thanks for your interest and hope to have you in the league!

Monday, August 08, 2016

New rules for drafting your kicker

I'm flying solo with my youngest son right now while my husband and oldest kiddo are at a conference-beach trip together. Nerdy academics stuff for my husband, beach camp and hot tubs for my son. I wandered my son's empty bedroom last night, rearranging the bonus stuffed animals/toys on his bed, and feeling a pit in my stomach. I mean, he is living the good life at the beach but I miss him immensely. Turns out these little people have really burrowed their way into my life and I'm getting a sense of what it's going to be like one day when my kids go off to overnight camp, college (uh move away?!) and it's going to ugly on my end. 

Anyway, in their absence, my youngest and I have been bonding over potty training (ha! if you've had kids, you know this is such a fun, fun phase) and I've been watching a healthy dose of the Olympics. Meanwhile my mastermind buddy Bob has been whipping up more excellence for the 2016 season. You'll remember Bob's amazing team defense articles last season and he'll be back with more of that goodness this year. First up though, his look at kickers and his new rules on how to draft 'em this year.

Hey out there Fantasy Football fans, it’s another glorious season with trends, trades, twists, technology, and tirades. That’s a lot T’s to be sure, but Sara and I are out to guide you through some of the turmoil, conflicting data, and advice overload.

I like to concentrate on the often overlooked positions of Fantasy Football, and that’s the Placekickers and Defenses. Rookie owners are more likely to violate some of the normal strategies revolving around these positions for a couple of reasons. First, Rookies don’t see the value of Ks and Defs because you don’t usually get mind-popping points from them. Second, there is a perception that there is little difference between the 1st best player and the 12th, and there’s some advice out there that supports that position. But it’s no mistake that Intermediate and Advanced owners spend a lot of research on these two positions, when owners are so well matched that 1 or 2 points can make the difference in an important matchup. And that’s why I will give you my 2 cents on these positions.

For my inaugural article of the new football year, I would like to cover the Placekicker position first. Many have started drafting already, so I thought I would get this one out sooner the better.

Let’s go over some of the ‘prevailing wisdom’ regarding Placekickers.
1.    “Thou shalt not draft a placekicker until the last pick.” This is a common one, and points to the average points difference between the 1st and 12th best placekickers as proof positive. And there is some wisdom to this. Let’s use a common scoring scheme for arguments sake, of 3 pts for field goal make up to 39 yards, 4 pts for a field goal 40 – 49 yds, 5 pts for fg 50+yds, and 1 pt per extra point. Last year, Gostkowski averaged 10.6 pts/game, and the 12th highest, Cairo Santos averaged 8.6 pts/game. That’s only 2 points per game. How many games did you lose by 2 points or less? I’ll bet most of you had that occur at least once.
2.    “Draft kickers that play on a home field indoors.” Others have researched this and I’ve read many of the articles and they conflict between big advantage to no advantage at all. Conclusion: yes there is a slight edge for playing on a weather-friendly field more often, but the slight edge is easily overcome by other factors.
3.    “Draft kickers that have a better success percentage for long field goals.” Here’s where I get on my soapbox about the skill level of kickers. I personally believe that there is a smaller difference between kickers’ skill lever than there is with the average points per game of kickers 1 -12. Yes, they may kick the long ball, but kicking is not just on the kicker. There’s the line, the hiker, and the holder that play into the success of the long ball. One tip here to gauge the quality of the supporting cast is to look at how many extra points were missed. Missed extra points are more a function of the supporting cast than the kicker. Plus, you need the opportunity to try them in the first place. Teams that are attempting long field goals are usually those desperate for points, because they can’t get it in the end zone, therefore there will be less opportunities for a kicker on a team with an offense that can’t move the ball. There are just too many other factors that may cancel out any long ball skill advantage.
4.    “Draft a kicker on a team with a poor offense.” This one assumes that because they can’t get the ball in the endzone, then the kicker will have more opportunities. However, the data doesn’t bear it out. The top 12 kickers last year were on good to great offenses. It turns out that kickers on good teams get more opportunities because the offense can move the ball into field goal territory more often.

So what are the best factors in choosing a PK and when should I draft them? From the above discussion let’s set some ‘new rules’.

1.    Look for kickers on good offensive teams. This will get your kicker the higher amount of looks at a field goal per game. If the choice is close for what is available, then you can use the indoor kicking advantage, or the ‘long ball’ stat to break the tie.
2.    Look for consistent track records of kickers. In other words, how many times has this kicker placed in the top twelve over the last 4 or 5 years. Here’s a great article from FFToday that addresses this factor. Using the data provided from FFToday, you would be wise to target Stephen Gostkowski, Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey, and Steve Hauschka, with a nod to Mason Crosby as well. Notice, all four teams are known good offenses.
3.    Dare to draft a kicker before the last round, but don’t be too daring. In a 15 player roster with 9 starters, I want 4RBS, 4WR, 2QBs, and 2 TEs before contemplating drafting a kicker. So that makes round 13 the earliest I would draft a kicker. In bigger rosters, you can adjust a little later, but not earlier.
4.    Stephen Gostkowski is the Gronk of kicking. He has been the highest points kicker for 4 years in a row. Much of his success is due to playing for a great team. But he is also very good on a very good team. Gostkowski would be the only kicker I would draft in round 13.
5.    And here’s a new one, pick a kicker that is on a team with a late bye date. This assumes that you will not be picking a backup kicker, and you really shouldn’t, unless you are in a very deep league. You will have to waiver in a kicker for the bye week and if you swap out your present kicker for the waiver, you may lose your top choice to and opponent that wins him in the following week’s waivers. Drafting the kicker with a late bye date minimizes the loss of points between your top choice and your replacement. Alternatively, you could swap out your worst or never used bench player for the bye week kicker instead of your stud kicker. Tough to do in shallow leagues, easier in deep leagues. I would not waiver away the top 4 kickers listed above, but would have no problem with the rest.

So with that here’s my list of kickers I’m targeting and in what round:
Round 13: Stephen Gostkowski

Round 14: Justin Tucker, Steve Hauschka, Dan Bailey

Last round: Mason Crosby, Graham Gano, Chandler Cantanzaro, Robbie Gould, Josh Brown, Chris Boswell, Matt Bryant, and Mike Nugent

Honorable mention: Brandon McManus, Cairo Santos (for those of you that have someone in your league that picks a backup kicker…)

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

August means mock season

Happy August and happy training camp, fantasy footballers. Time to get things going for the season. In our house, things are definitely trending toward the fall/football season: we have season ticket to University of Tennessee games for the first time; our oldest starts Kindergarten in about a week and is begging us to sign him up for flag football this fall; and I'm getting the FFLibrarian Monster League lined up again. (Side note: if you've played in the Monster League before, check your email and get yourself signed up again for 2016 by the end of this week!)

It's also time for the mock drafts and cheat sheets and other FF goodness to begin, so let's see what the fantasy universe is thinking right now: