Category Archives: FANTASY HAVEN



Good golly, is it week 2 already?!  Please slow down a tad NFL season…Ok maybe I’m being a tad dramatic but still that went fast.  There were plenty of surprises in week 1 as we expected but many of the stars shined as well. Hopefully you all had a good fantasy week to open the season, but if not then just bounce back this week. Again, some of the boom guys are obvious so I try to throw in a sleeper. Also, every bust guy isn’t necessarily going to be terrible but more so not great.  Either way week 2 here we come…..


  • First of all I hate Thursday night games (for fantasy purpsoes).  These guys are usually about 65% recovered from the previous games which makes for lackluster performances on Thursday nights. However, my BOOM player for this game is Antonio Brown. Brown is emerging into the elite category for fantasy receivers with his massive versatility and route running. The Ravens aren’t as talented in the secondary as years past. 
  • My BUST player for this week is (any Ravens running back). The running game might be in disarray for a while until someone seperates themselves from the pack. However, the Steelers did let a rookie rush for a 100yds last week but the Browns O-Line is also better.


  • I’m not thrilled about any one particular player in this game because both defenses are playing well, plus it is a divisional game.  I’d have to go with Mike Wallace. Mike’s high volume usage is intriguing going up against a Buffalo secondary that got chewed up through the air last Sunday. If the Dolphins O-Line can hold up against the Bills vicious pass rush then Mike Wallace could do some damage. 
  • My BUST player for this game is EJ Manuel. The Dolphins made life miserable for Tom Brady last weekend and even though Manuel will be at home i still think he struggles.


  • This game should be interesting with a top tier offense up against a top tier defense. My BOOM player for this game (aside frm Megatron) is Kelvin Benjamin. I think Cam will be able to find Kelvin Benjamin a few times for big plays downfield against a secondary that will likey feature two rookies (which will ensure a few breakdowns). 
  • My BUST player for this game is Reggie Bush. The Lions will find it difficult to move the ball on the ground against the Panthers front 7 (especially in the Panthers home opener). 


  • This game will be a huge measuring stick to see just how great Matt Ryan and his potent attack is and can be (especially away from home where he tends to struggle at times). The Bengals are a top 5 defensive unit that features Leon Hall who is one of the elite corners we have in the NFL today. My BOOM player for this game is Gio Bernard.  The Bengals O-Line is well equipped to push around the Falcons O-Line much like the Saints did in week 1. Bernard is a large cog in the Bengals offense which uses him in the run+pass game. I see a nice day for him on the horizon. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Steven Jackson. The Bengals are stingy against th run and the Falcons backfield looks like it is turning into a rbbc platoon. No Thanks.


  • Speaking of “tests” the Saints aren’t offense isn’t as prolific on the road either especially when it is outdoors so Drew Brees and company will have their hands full. My BOOM player for this game is Jimmy Graham. I chose him for no other reason than the fact that he was extremely quiet last week to my surpsise (and many fantasy owners).  He will bounce back in a big way. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Brian Hoyer. Hoyer will likely be without Jordan Cameron which means he will be counting on tiny 5’7 Andrew Hawkins much of the game…Goodlluck with that.


  • I’m not sure what to expect from the Patriots in this game but I know the Vikings will be juiced (No HGH) for the home opener.  My BOOM player this game features Adrian Peterson. He was quiet last week which usually means a bounce back game is coming for superstar players like him.  Plus the Patriots just gave up a million rushing yards to the Dolphins….the DOLPHINS…welp now they get they awesome task of stopping AP…in HIS house. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Stevan Ridley. I think the Patriots will try to take advantage of the Vikings suspect secondary which means there will be plenty of Vereen action.


  • It is hard to tell if the Giants are this terrible or working through the kinks but either way it is not looking good.  My BOOM player for this game is Michael Floyd.  I know he isn’t Megatron but he surely make look like it against this secondary that had no answer for the 6’5 wideout.  Floyd is 6’3 with outstanding athleticism and catch radius. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Victor Cruz.  Cruz had an awful Monday night game (partly due to Eli and his O-Line) but now he gets the pleasure of seeing Patrick Peterson and that crew. This is a bad mix for Cruz.


  • Well we all know the Cowboys stink on defense so my BOOM player for this week is ANY TITANS STARTER YOU NEED. Seriously you could hit big with anyof the Titans skill position players because chances are they could score for you. However, a couple names just to throw out there Kendall Wright, Jake Locker, and Justin Hunter. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Jason Witten. His speed and athleticism are slowly fading so I don’t expect big things from him considering Cole Beasley is emerging in the slot.


  • This game could be full of fantasy cash money, but my BOOM player for this game is DeSean Jackson. I know the Redskins passing game looks horrid but i believe DeSean sneaks behind the defense for a couple of big bombs to send a jolt through fantasy owners lineups.  Reports are that RG3 and the Skins have been working on the “homerun ball” this week. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Cecil Shorts. I think he will have a chunk of yards but he won’t get into the endzone.


  • The Seahawks will be well rested and ready to roll, while the Chargers are coming off a tough Monday night game.  My BOOM player for this game is Percy Harvin. The variety of way in which the Hawks use Percy makes him such a dangerous weapon. It will be hard to target him specifically with a certain defender every play because he plays all over the offensive formation.
  • My BUST player for this game is Phillip Rivers. Simply put nobody has a good day passing the ball against possibly the best secondary of all time.


  • The Rams are quickly becoming one of the worse teams in the NFL.  My BOOM player for this game is Vincent Jackson. He was fairly quiet against Carolina but the Rams not exactly Carolina. Plus Chris Long will be missing so that helps a tad bit too.  Look for him to get downfield a few times. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Zac Stacy. He is almost in a full bloom timeshare and he will see eight in the box with the lack of quality qb play.


  • This is a terrible week for the Chiefs to redeem themselves considering the opponent. My BOOM player for this game is Julius Thomas. I think he keeps it rolling against the Chiefs who will be missing a few key players on defense. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Dwayne Bowe. He has looked good in the preseson but I have to see it in live regular season action to be a believer in him.


  • The Packers are surely ready to rid themselves of the pounding they took against Seattle, so the Jets might be in trouble.  My BOOM player for this game is Aaron Rodgers. This secondary is many moons away from being the Seattle Seahawks so he should be able to feast regularly. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Geno Smith. He will make a few plays but I think he struggles a bit at Lambeau Field against a defense that was just humiliated last week.


  • This game will be a snoozer but somebody has to win right?!  My BOOM player for this game is Arian Foster. The Raiders just allowed the jets to run wild this week and now they get a dose of Arian.  He is a more talented running back than anyone the Jets have at this time. 
  • My BUST player for this game is Andre Johnson. Ryan Fitzpatrick will struggle playing in the “Black Hole” which will have a direct affect on Andre. He may have a decent yard total but held without a touchdown.


  • This will be a great opportunity for Jay Cutler to redeem himself from the sketchy play down the stretch in the game against Buffalo.  My BOOM player for this game is Vernon Davis.  Vernon is far superior to the suspect linebacker crew of the Bears and should have a few big opportunities much like the Dallas game.
  • My BUST player for this game is Frank Gore.  It looks like the 49ers are trying to give Frank more rest by bringing in Carlos Hyde so he doesn’t see the same diet of carries he is accustomed to getting.  I think he is effective but not a huge day.


  • This should be an exciting game for both teams to showcase what they are made of on the big stage.  My BOOM player for this game is Andrew Luck.  Mainly because he has to be for the Colts to have a chance, but also because the Eagles secondary stinks (see rookie Allen Hurns). 
  • My BUST player in this game is Trent Richardson.  Yes this is totally obvious but that doesn’t make it less true.





 Well…well….well IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON, which means it is also Fantasy football time.  We all want to know who to play and who to sit based on the matchups.  Fantasy Football is a weekly game and sometimes that can be forgotten.  There will never be a time to sit your studs, but the borderline starter type guys will need assistance to have great games.  Everyone is always looking for an edge against their opponent so digging into matchups is a necessary evil.  These views on who will boom or bust doesn’t signify who will play well and who will not, but more so just a way to gauge what your player is gettin’ into that day.


My BOOM player for this game is Russell Wilson.  Russ has been on fire during the pre-season and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue in week 1 at Century Link Field.  He always plays fantastic at home and the Packers defense isn’t feared by anyone so start Russ if you own him. 

My BUST player is Randall Cobb.  Cobb will be facing the toughest secondary in the NFL and he is already the 2nd option in the passing game on his own team.  Many might say “why not Jordy?” I think the Packers will use Jordy all over the formations which will give him ample opportunity to produce, although it won’t be a huge day for either Cobb nor Jordy.  However, unless you have 3 #1 type wrs then you are starting these guys.


My BOOM player for this game is Jimmy Graham.  The Falcons linebacker core is less than underwhelming and unfortunately they will have the assignment of trying to stop him.  Also, it won’t work putting a cornerback on him because they are all 5’10 and below (Jimmy is 6’6)….Goodluck Falcons.

 My BUST player for this game is Steven Jackson.  S-Jax hasn’t had any preseason work and he is coming off a hamstring injury which is always tricky.  The Saints are well above average against the run and combine that with the fact that Steven won’t have a full workload coming off his injury and first action.


My BOOM player for this game is Mohammed Sanu.  The Ravens will pay so much attention to AJ Green that Sanu will get single coverage and have ample opportunity to produce.  AJ Green will get his but Sanu could have a big week. 

My BUST player for this game is Giovanni Bernard.  He won’t play awful but don’t expect big things from him going up against the Ravens stut front.  Jeremy Hill may end up doing some of the heavy lifting as it will be a physical game.


My BOOM player for this game is Brandon Marshall.  It has been reported that Trestman has been looking for more waysto get Brandon open thru advantageous matchups.  This is only trouble for the Bills who already have no answer for B-Marsh. 

My BUST player for this game is Sammy Watkins.  Sammy is battling a rib injury, but also he will have to see Tim Jennings and Peanut Tilman all game.  As a rookie this will be tough sledding even for the immensely talented Watkins.


This will be a very interesting game to gauge where Arian Foster is with his health and no real action all preseason.  This is why I have Arian Foster is my BOOM player for this matchup.  I don’t have any facts to backup this feeling, but I know the Redskins aren’t the most formidable defensive line a team will see.  Arian will be a focal point of this offense and he seems to be ready to prove all his doubters wrong.  He is a highly competitive player. 

My BUST player for this game is Robert Griffin III.  RG3 has looked awful this preseason adjusting to his new system with Jay Gruden.  However it is just the preseason but trying to be a pocket passer is clearly not a strength for him.  That won’t bode well for him going against a ferocious pass rush led by JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.  RG3 won’t be completely bad but I believe this will be a tough game for him in Houston.


My BOOM player for this game will be Travis Kelce.  This kid is on the verge of being special due to his elite athleticism (tested better measurables than Gronk).  The Titans have solid linebackers but Andy Reid is a genius at finding ways to make talented players produce.  The Chiefs won’t have mnay options in the passing game this wek especially with D.Bowe suspended so lookfor Kelce to get ample opportunity. 

My BUST player for this game is Bishop Sankey.  The highly touted has struggled during training camp and preseason, which resulted in being #2 on the depth chart. He won’t get the chance to shine sitting behind Shonn Greene on the depth chart at the moment.


My BOOM player for this week is Shane Vereen.  Vereen is clearly the best running back for the Patriots and his skill set makes him extremely valuable.  The Patriots are a top 5 rushing team, but also one of the better teams at featuring running backs in the passing game which is where Shane thrives. 

My BUST player for this game is Lamer Miller.  Lamar is reportedly losing ground on his starting position and may be in for a 50% split which greatly diminishes his opportunities.  He will also be facing a New England front 7 that might be a bit underrated.


My BOOM player for this game is Geno Smith/Eric Decker.  I believe these two will have a great connection in this game against an average defense.  Plus this is a home game for Geno where i think he will be very comfortable going into his 2nd year. 

My BUST player for this game will be Maurice Jones-Drew.  MJD won’t have a terrible game but he will find it tough to find cracks in the Jets D-Line to run.  MJD having a rookie QB under center almost assures that there will be 8 or 9 man fronts.


My BOOM player for this game is Nick Foles.  Foles will have a cushy matchup going against a young secondary in Jacksonville.  He has a lot of weapons to use and the Jaguars have a difficult time defending all of them. 

My BUST player for this game will be Cecil Shorts.  The opportunities to make plays will be limited for Cecil Shorts being that Chad Henne is the starting qb.  They need to free Blake Bortles.


My BOOM player for this game will be Markus Wheaton.  The Steelers #2 receiver will be away from Joe Haden and up against a rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert or an average cornerback in Buster Skrine.  Wheaton has the talent to take full advantage of this matchup while Antonio Brown is being occupied by Joe Haden. 

My BUST player will be Jordan Cameron.  The Steelers will load up to stop the main target in the Browns passing game.  Cameron is a good athlete but not an elite tight end that can dominate any matchup especially being the only legit threat.


My BOOM player for this game will be Cordarrelle Patterson.  He will test the Rams suspect secondary often in this game as the primary focus will be on AP.  He is working under Norv Turner who has allways been able to get the most out of highly athletic wideouts (See Josh Gordon). 

My BUST player for this game will be Tavon Austin.  As the 3rd wideout on a team that is already going to struggle with the passing game, I don’t see him breaking out in this week.  He will have some plays called for him but i think his day will be relatively quiet.


My BOOM player for this game will be Frank Gore.  The Dallas run defense is bottom of the league and cant stop anyone plain and simple. 

My BUST player for this week will be Jason Witten.  I believe Witten will be a quiet guy on Sunday regardless if it is against a depleted linebacker core for the Niners.  They normally do a good job defending tight ends and Jason Witten looks a step slower.  He might even be 3rd in the passing pecking order at this point.


My BOOM player for this game will be Vincent Jackson.  The weakness on the Panthers defense is the secondary, so if the offensive line can give McCown just a little time V-Jax will feast on this crew all afternoon. 

My BUST player for this game is Cam Newton.  The Bucs front seven is no joke and Cam is not even 100% right now.  The offense looks out of sync as a unit and Cam hasn’t had much action to help it.  This will be a long afternoon for him.


My BOOM player for this game is Emmanuel Sanders.  Sanders speed and versatility will make him a nightmare for an underwhelming Colts defense.  Now that Welker is out this will just give him an increased amount of targets from anywhere he lines up. 

My BUST player for this game is Trent Richardson.  He obviously hasn’t looked good at all this preseason and the Colts O-Line does him no favors.  He will once again be disappointing.


My BOOM player for this game is Golden Tate.  We all know Megatron will get his but that is also where all the attention will be.  Tate will be very productive against the Giants suspect secondary.  Factor in he will see the #2/3 corners most of the game and know that Golden will make some big plays. 

My BUST player for this game is Eli Mannig.  He has looked progressively worst this preseason and now he gets the Lions defensive front.  Stay away fromEli.


My BOOM player for this game is Michael Floyd.  He has looked even more explosive coming into this season although his connection with Carson has been slightly off when he routinely beats corners deep.  They will find ways to connect Monday night as many defenses #1 priority is stopping Fitzgerald. 

My BUST player for this game is Ladarius Green.  He simply doesn’t seem to get enough opportunity to feel comfortable playing him at the moment.  He is also rather low on the receiving list of weapons they have at Rivers’ disposal so this might not be a good night for Ladarius.




Well my friends here we go venturing into a new season of fantasy football.  However, before we get started, let me say this…. Fantasy sports games in general are always using formulas and laws of averages to determine how to construct a team which is fine.  If you want to win big then you have to take a few risks and swing for the fences.  That doesn’t mean take this approach with your entire draft, but there should be some calculated risks by the mid-rounds.  There are many fundamnetal players and conservative types that love to take the “safe” consistent guy that stays reasonably durable (how fun is that), but the thrill comes from getting a red-hot guy who dominates the season ala Josh Gordon.  So let me be the one of many to say “Welcome to the 2014 season of Fantasy Football” …. Now let’s get this thing started with Power Rankings of the Top 10 players I have for each position. 

Sidenote…. Due to the abundance of information floating around everywhere these days there is no such thing as a “sleeper” so I refer to guys you should target a little early as a “reach.”  I will name 2 or 3 guys you should reach for a little early in your drafts to ensure he lands on your team.  These “reach” players will be calculated based on a 12 team standard scoring league.


1) Peyton Manning – It is far fetched to believe he will duplicate the numbers from last year but throwing for 5k and 40tds is certainly within his reach.

2) Drew Brees – He has thrown for 5k the last 3 years so why stop now?  An argument can be made that his offense has even more explosion this year than last with the addition of Brandin Cooks.  Kenny Stills will be expected to take step forward in his 2nd year to go along with a healthy Marques Colston. (We already know about Jimmy)

3) Aaron Rodgers – The emergence of Eddie Lacy will make A-Rod even more lethal because now he has a respectable rushing attack.  As an elite passer with wheels he should have a huge bounce back season.

4) Andrew Luck – Hopefully Luck’s offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton opens up the passing game because that offense is ready to flourish with all the weapons at Luck’s disposal.  They tend to struggle running the ball which means more Andrew is needed.  Which is a good thing when you have someone as gifted as he can be. Wayne+TY+Nicks+D.Allen+Fleener = THROW

5) Nick Foles – Having the #1 rushing game in football certainly makes the passing game so much easier.  Nick’s intereptions will go up but so will his touchdowns with another year in Chip Kelly’s system under his belt.  This guy seems to be undervalued which might be a good thing for people looking to draft him.

6) Matt Stafford – Stafford has throw more passes than any quarterback the last 3 years (yes that includes Drew Brees) and the majority of them go to Megatron.  Now that the offensive coordinator they acquired falls off the Saints passing tree i don’t see him slowing down much in that aspect.  Also, a few new weapons in Golden Tate and Eric Ebron surely helps.

7) Matt Ryan – This guy threw 26 td’s without Julio and a banged up Roddy.  He also had over 4500 yards passing.  Now he has both guys back fully healthy so you do the math.

8) Robert Griffith – RG3 is fuly healthy and has Jay Gruden as his offensive coordinator this season.  For those who don’t know this is the man responsible for Andy Dalton finishing as a top 5 fantasy quarterback last season.  RG3 is the more talented of the 2 plus he got a new toy in speed demon DeSean Jackson this offseason….Uh Oh

9) Cam Newton – Cam has been a top 5 fantasy qb every year he has been in the NFL and it could happen again this season.  However he has a whole new receiving core which relies on a rookie as the #1 target.  I think he stays in the top 10 but he will need to have patience with this group.

10) Tom Brady – Brady had a down year last season but I believe his receiving core will take a big step forward based on there previous experiences and Gronk being back in the fold.  Brady had a receiver get tackled at the 1 yard line 8 times last year and they lead the league in drops.  I highly doubt that repeats itself.

(Reach players)

  • Jay Cutler – He has been sharp all preseason and looks prime for breakout.

(Bargain barrel)

  • Colin Kaepernick – Im sure this preseason has plummeted his draft stock which means he will be a nice value guy on draft day.


1) LeSean McCoy – Shady plays in the most effective run game orchestrated by Chip Kelly and lead the league in rushing last season.  This trend will continue as he is also highly involved in the passing game.

2) Jamaal Charles – It is amazing to see how effective Charles is on a weekly basis with such a limited supporting cast.  Andy Reid has always knew how to get running backs going and Jamaal Charles is as elite as anyone.  He lead the league in touchdowns with 19 and lead his own team in receiving.  He will get the ball early and often.

3) Adrian Peterson – Norv Turner will see to it that AP has one of his best years yet.  He will be involved in the passing game which will alleviate some of the pounding he takes weekly.  The 2 seasons AP caught over 40 balls he played all 16 games which is a huge plus.

4) Matt Forte – Forte is the centerpiece to maybe the most prolific offense in football not named “Broncos.”  He had around 2,000 yards of total offense and comes back another year integrated into Trestman’s system.  His offensive line should be getting more deserved credit as well which helps Forte’s case even more.

5) Eddie Lacy – Lacy was a monster last season essentially without Aaron Rodgers, and being sidelined 2 games with a concussion.  His upside is tremendous as he scored 11 td’s last year but comes back to an offense that won’t allow him to see 8-man fronts (because of that Rodgers fella).  At 230lbs Lacy is a feared runner who finishes on contact.  He is also used at a high rate near the goalline, and they want to get him going in the passing game as well.  Big year for this guy.

6) Marshawn Lynch – The Seahawks run the ball almost 60% of the times and “BeastMode” is the beneficiary of that philosophy.  Even though I believe tehy will open up the passing game a tad for Russ Wilson, there is still room for one more elite season from Marshawn.

7) Montee Ball – Every running back Peyton Manning plays with has a great season (Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Knowshon Moreno) and Montee Ball will  fall in line as well.  He has the appendectomy but he is on schedule to be back.  Great opportunity this season for double digit td’s and over 1100yds.

8) DeMarco Murray – Murray has his best season (and healthiest) last year while compiling over 1100yds+  10tds. The offensive line could very well be top 5 and his ypc are over 5.0 which means he can get yards quickly.  The Cowboys know they need a big year from DeMarco and he knows it too.

9) Alfred Morris – The entire offense suffered last season because of RG3′s health and Alfred still gained almost 1300yds.  The weapons around Alfred combined with the resurgence of RG3 is pretty scary.  Very good running back to draft.

10) Arian Foster – Yes he is coming off of back surgery and yes they have a lackluster stable of quarterbacks but that doesn’t mean Arian Foster can’t play anymore.  He has been an elite running back before and i belive he is highly motivated to get back there.  He will be a workhorse in a offense that needs his services, and even by sheer volume i believe he has a bounce back year.

(Reach Players)

  • Giovanni Bernard – Hue Jackson knows how to kickstart a running game.
  • Andre Ellington – Bruce Arians wants him to be the Cardinals version of Jamaal Charles. Very explosive player who had some great flashes last season but we shall see.


1) Calvin Johnson - MEGATRON….Yea what else needs to be said?

2) Demaryius Thomas – DT is Peyton’s favorite target, and when you are Peyton’s favorite target you play fantastic.  He has over 1400yds and 14td’s last season.  Expect the same this year.

3) AJ Green – He is uber talanted and pretty much the alpha dog in this Bengals offense.  Nobody has found a way to contain AJ (outside of Andy Dalton but thats a whole other story) and I expect him to keep the train rolling this year.

4) Dez Bryant – We all know how immensely talented Dez is but it seems he still has’t reached his full potential.  Maybe this is the season with Scott Linehan calling the plays.  This is the same guy who is responsible for Calvin Johnosn’s numbers.  Dez will be moved around on offense this year which makes it even tougher for opponents.

5) Julio Jones – Julio was leading the league in recieving before he went down with a foot injury last season.  He could very well reclaim that spot if he can stay on the field for 16 games.

6) Brandon Marshall – Brandon is always upwards of 100 catches and is Jay Cutler’s go-to guy in an offense that puts up points in bunches.  His consistency is outstanding.

7) Jordy Nelson – Jordy Nelson just seems to know how to get open no matter who is playing quarterback.  He had over 1300yds without Aaron Rodgers much of last season but now has him fully healthy.  Jordy himself has been slightly banged up but he will be spectacular with a full year of health (and Rodgers) health uder his belt.  Aaron’s main target and highly used in the redzone.

8) Alshon Jeffery – Alsho had over 1400yds as the #2 receiver on his team…..Whoa

9) Vincent Jackson – V-Jax has been a highly productive receiver with his size and downfield speed.  Josh McCown knows how to get the ball to big receivers as he played with Chicago last season.  Jackson will be no different.

10) Antonio Brown – 110 receptions and 1500yds for Big Ben’s favorite target.  Not sure he duplicates that but his tagets won’t fall off much.  It would be great to see him more involved in the redzone but either way Antonio Brown is the epitome of “dynamic.”

(Reach Players)

  • Keenan Allen – Could sneak into 100 catch territory as River’s main guy.

(Bargain barrel)

  • Roddy White – Could be back to a borderline WR1 type player with his health now intact.  A forgotten man in most drafts.

Another Season in the Books: 2014 Fantasy Football in Review



Whether your fantasy football season ended with much crowing to the chagrin of your friends, or soul crushing gnashing of teeth, much to the gleeful laughter of your friends, it has ended all the same, and for most of us, so too has four months of infernal and nebulous decision making on minutiae so detailed and nuanced that many a romance and many a marriage have shipwrecked on a late Tuesday night over a waiver wire request for Tennessee’s #2 WR, Nate Washington. Your marriage/relationship thanks you for the next seven months of fantasy hibernation. Now just what did you learn and what can you take away from this latest season?



A personal Fantasy Autopsy:


After cutting down on fantasy teams the previous two seasons, I joined 11 leagues in 2013, 1 auction league, 8 returning keeper teams, and 2 redraft leagues. The Final Tally:


Championship Titles – 3

Runner Up Finishes – 1

Semi-Finalist Finishes – 1

Wild Card Round Losers – 2

7th Place – 1

9th place – 1

12th place – 2



What I got right:


@ Quarterback:


I hit on 5 of the top 10 finishers as did the consensus, I also hit on 3 of the 11th-20th finishers, as did the consensus (a nice reminder that guiding picks based on the consenus is a losers game, both ADP and I missed on 12 of the top 20 finishing fantasy quarterbacks).



*What were the big hits?


I beat ADP big time on my ratings of Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, and Phillip Rivers. In each of these cases I applied one of my traditional standards for rating QB’s: Talent and Opportunity, or, reactiveness. In making my rankings I tend to use a 3 year trend to base any judgment, not a one year trend, which is why I didn’t overreact to Stafford’s off season in 2012, I did the same with Phillip Rivers, buying the idea that the addition of Keenan Allen would help and that Rivers career, trumped his downward trend from ’11-’12. Right again. In the case of Romo and Luck, I bet on talent and opportunity over reactiveness, and youth concerns. Owners simply hate Romo because of his rightly earned rep as a choker, while Luck simply didn’t have the flash of a RG3 or Wilson, but did have the talent. In both cases I was right, Romo ranked #3 in ppg before he injured his back in week 16, while Luck ranked exactly where I slotted him before he wrapped up the season in some impact-less games.


Outside of the top 10 I also had a few other hits including rightfully plunging Tom Brady down my rankings (you simply can’t produce elite fantasy #’s if you lose your #1, #2, and #3 weapons for the season as Brady did with Hernandez, Gronk and Welker), and pushing up Carson Palmer, and Joe Flacco a touch higher than ADP suggested. Big misses for me included overrating RG3, Eli and Matt Schaub. In the case of RG3, I considered him a value pick with a 4-5 round discount, but he didn’t pay off by any stretch, I followed Eli’s tradition of following bad seasons with quality seasons, by celebrating my downgrade in ’12, and parading my misinformed higher ranking in ’13 whoops. Schaub killied me in back to back seasons in 2012 and 2013 with me chasing dreams of a 2009-2010 repeat, when those prayers were clearly the illusory pinings of a Schaub fan who was never paid back for his faith in the one time Falcon draftee.




@ Running Back


At RB, both ADP and I tied with 5 of the top 10 RB’s making our top 10 rankings (yet another reminder that the consensus is always unreliable), with me trumping ADP with LeSean McCoy (ranked 4th), Marshawn Lynch (ranked 8th) and Matt Forte (ranked 9th), and ADP trumping me with Jamal Charles (I had him 6th, ADP had him 5th), and they’re lower ranking of the hugely disappointing Richardson (ranked 3rd by me, 7th by ADP). Other hits included a lowering of Alfred Morris, and Frank Gore below ADP, ditto ranking Ryan Mathews, Gio Bernard, Reggie Bush, Lev Bell ahead of ADP.


What lessons might be learned amongst this mess? The Lessons I always preach: namely, obsessing on going RB/RB in rounds 1 and 2, or RB always in round 1 is a coin toss on the odds for your fantasy season. Year after year the consensus first round unfolds, and the consensus top 10 at RB unfolds, only to be proven 41-50% wrong. If you bet on the wrong RB your chances of sabotaging your season with the wrong pick are nearly 50% season to season. This year failed bets included Doug Martin (injury), Arian Foster (injury), CJ Spiller (injury and game planning), Richardson (young bust) and Ray Rice (350+ Touch Fatigue and general team decline). Fantasy owners tabbing these players sabotaged their seasons, and it’s no coincidence that among the 5 teams of mine that missed the playoffs, 4 included Richardson, and 1 included Martin, a case in which I violated my own principles, letting ADP trump my preferred ranking of Martin (the fact that the Bucs stunk, were headed nowhere, and had questions at QB, had lead to my dropping Martin out of the top 5 entirely before I let ADP, and 1 season of stats to base a ’13 projection upon-before this decision Martin would have been out of my top 5 rankings, and my selection would have come down to a coin flip between the equally erroneous Richardson, or the gold mine that was LeSean McCoy (owned on 3 of my 4 title game squads, Charles was owned on the fourth).


What does this reality teach you? Simply this: If you’d chosen anyone of the top 8 ranked non-rb’s save for Aaron Rodgers (Injury), you would have landed a top 30 asset  for the season and still been a contender. I don’t know about you, but getting an 87% chance of a hit on my first/2nd rounder by avoiding rb with one of my selections (or both), sounds like great odds to me. At the end of the day, this dictum, combined with the movement of the game to a more passing focused offensive approach has upped the value of quarterbacks (8/10 top points producers were quarterbacks this season-only Charles (3rd overall) and McCoy (my sleeper steal this summer-10th) made the top 10 overall at seasons end), and wide receivers substantially, and made pass catching running backs of veritable gold mine of value, as such running backs are far less likely to disappoint season to season based upon their ability to produce even if they don’t get enough totes (see players like Reggie Bush, and Andre Ellington, who produced excellent numbers despite not receiving enough touches, and injury).




@ Wide Reciver


At Wide Receiver in 2013 I hit on nine of my top 10 WR’s, only missing on Victor Cruz, whose season was torpedoed by the general malaise of the entire New York offense. Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffrey were new entrants in the top 10, and both were consistent targets of mine on draft day (I landed Jeffrey on half of my teams, and Gordon on 2 of them). Wide Receiver year in and year out is also a great position to target on draft day early because of the paucity of injuries that derail seasons at the position.


Think of your top 10 Quarterbacks, injury ruined the seasons of those who drafted Aaron Rodgers, RG3 (slow recovery, no TC/preseason reps), Matt Ryan and Colin Kaepernick (all his weapons were injured). 4 of your top 10 QB’s produced subpar seasons largely due to seasons. At running back, injuries ruined or hampered the seasons of Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, and CJ Spiller, nearly half of the top 10 running backs. How many Wide Receivers disappointed in the top 10 due to injury? Only 1 of my top 10 wide receivers had such a negative impact (Julio Jones), now I’ll grant that Roddy White also went down for long stretches, but he was already ranked outside my top 10 due to injury issues in the offseason and declining production. At the end of the day, 8 of the top 10 wide receivers delivered on expectations, 16 of my top 20, 80%. Compared with running backs, wide receivers simply have a much, much better chance of delivering for your team, its been emphatically proved season after season, but the sheer necessity of landing 3 running backs on your team that you can rely upon scares off many owners. What would I suggest to address this issue? Speculate.


This season I offered plenty of targets worth speculating on, and while my history is much better at speculating in wide receivers than backs (this year I nailed Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffrey, and Keenan Allen, three of the most valuable WR finds outside of the top 9 rounds), and I correctly warned owners away from targeting Danny Amendola (constant injury history), and Dwayne Bowe (noodle armed dump off specialist Alex Smith was always going to be unlikely to properly utilize such a fantastic deep game weapon)), I still am a big believer in using only 1 of your early round picks on a tail back because the failure frequency of top 10 rb’s is so high, and the success rate of QB’s and WR’s and TE’s with similar evaluations is so much higher. It is difficult to land legit running backs, but just take a look at the legit weapons you could have landed this year at RB, if you’d merely focused on QB, WR, and/or TE early:




4th rounder:


Eddie Lacy



5th Rounder:


Ryan Mathews



6th Rounder:


Gio Bernard

Lev Bell



7th Rounder:


Ben Green Ellis

Rashard Mendenhall



8th Rounder:


DeAngelo Williams



9th Rounder:


Ben Tate:



10th Rounder:


Joique Bell



11th Rounder:


Danny Woodhead



13th Rounder:


Knowshon Moreno

Fred Jackson

Bilal Powell



14th Rounder:

Pierre Thomas





Zac Stacy-19th

Rashad Jennings-23rd

Andre Ellington-25th

Donald Brown-31st

Mike Tolbert-39th

Chris Ogbonnaya-40th



Take a look at that list: 6 of the top 40 running backs weren’t even, on average, drafted, based on ADP across all platforms, 8 of the top 20 running backs were drafted in the 5th round or later, and fully half of the top 40 running backs were drafted in the 5th round or later (well technically 19 out of 40 , + 4th rounder Eddie Lacy).


So for your first lesson for 2014, consider, half of the 2013 top 40 running backs could be had outside of the top 48-50 picks, and when you consider that, acknowledge to yourself that utilizing three or four of your top four drafts picks on pass catchers (WR/TE), and a stud QB makes far more sense than loading up on starting running backs. At the end of the day if you’re just as likely to land a legit starting running back in the fifth round or later, as you are in the first four rounds, and you are, then eschewing running backs to build a team loaded at quarterback, and wide receiver, or quarterback, wide receiver, and TE, with complementary quality starters at RB is an excellent way to lock up a playoff appearance and a shot at a title.



Other Insights:


*Draft your franchise QB. Don’t listen to fantasy experts and mediots who tell you to wait on quarterback because there’s plenty of depth at the position. Sure there’s plenty of depth, but much of that depth will have a down season (RG3, Eli Manning), become a total bust (top 15 ranked Josh Freeman and Matt Schaub), or have a season derailed by injury to himself or to key teammates (Rodgers, Ryan, Brady, Kaepernick, and RG3). Investing in a tried and true quarterback with an excellent track record of success and health makes sense, especially if there are no questions with regard to his teammates. Manning and Brees blew up in 2013 after slightly down performances related to injuries and coaching, Newton and Stafford turned in their second elite season in three years, Andrew Luck who backed up his top 10 season in 2012 with a top 7 season in 2013 despite major injuries and losses, and much hated Tony Romo who produced a top 3-12 finish for the sixth time in six years in which he was largely healthy. So fantasy owners, before speculating on third and fourth tier QB’s while loading up on running backs, consider locking up a traditional elite franchise QB you can count on, a Drew Brees, a Peyton Manning, a Matthew Stafford, a Tony Romo (I know, gag), and Aaron Rodgers who may have hurt you when he missed a third of the fantasy season this year, but gave owners top 2 fantasy performances at QB in five consecutive seasons from 2008-2012 despite losing Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and Randall Cobb, and starting 4 different running backs during the same time period.


*With the new season in the books, take a look at the top finishers this year, and scout out values for next year. What players could come at a great discount in 2014 because of injury or consensus stupidity (like the Kaepernick sucks Meme that spread around the country in October and November when mediots and fantasy players ignored how the loss of his best three pass catchers to injury might have caused his problems: no Crabtree, no Vernon Davis (missed half of his starts early on), no Manningham)? This year in my keeper leagues I repeatedly set aside draft picks in the speculative rounds typically used on defenses and backup quarterbacks to speculate on 5th running backs, and injured players I would get a discount on in the 2014 draft. My priority targets included Percy Harvin (landed typically in the 8th-10th round, could be kept as a 6th-8th rounder in ’14, and if healthy, a likely consensus 3rd-4th round pick for ’14), Michael Crabtree (landed typically in the 11th-13th round, and likely to be drafted in the 5th-6th round in ’14), Jeremy Maclin, a consensus top 80 player I typically landed in the 13th-15th round, and would be expected to be drafted in the 6th-8th round in ’14, and lastly Jonathan Stewart, who I typically drafted and stashed as a 16th-18th rounder who could be kept in the 14th-16th rounds in ’14 despite being a consensus 7th-9th rounder. Now depending on league design, this strategy may or may not work for you, if it does, apply it, you can always use a roster spot to sit a talented player to boost your keeper team in the long run, getting a Harvin or Crabtree 4-7 rounds earlier than usual gives you tremendous flexibility on draft day and is something any owner should be looking to do.


*Additionally owners would be wise to target specific players who could be tremendously undervalued based upon situations, and/or lack of information on the part of players. In 2013 I had two different fantasy football players I knew a great deal more about than seemingly any owner or fantasy writer around, and properly valued them as a result in leagues where they were typically massively undervalued, these players were Alshon Jeffrey and Keenan Allen. Being a long time Redskins fan, I’ve spent many a fall in recent decades scouting college players that might be acquired by my team.  When your favorite team sucks as badly as mine has for decades the draft is often one of the few means by which any hope is likely to reside, and as a result of this scouting I was particularly familiar with several wide receivers who’ve been recently drafted (the redskins have been weak at the WR position for years, and haven’t drafted and developed a franchise caliber WR since HOF Art Monk 33 years ago). I had my eyes on several prospects in recent years, and some of my favorites for value included Alshon Jeffrey (a top 5 overall prospect for the ’12 draft before he fatted up and disappointed in his final year at South Carolina), Keenan Allen (a 5 star, elite WR recruit who vanished into the abyss that was Jeff Tedford’s final seasons at Cal, then was injured in November, destroying his ability to show well at the combine/workout day, which resulted in the Charger plummeting from a top 12 overall ranking heading into the fall of ’12, to a mid-3rd round draftee status last spring), and Robert Woods (a top of the line chain moving pass catcher with deceptive speed who was a flat out stud playing beside Marquise Lee and with Matt Barkley at USC, but was drafted into the fantasy wasteland that is Buffalo). Lastly there was Cordarelle Patterson. Unlike Many owners, I recognized that Christian Ponder was a bust in waiting when he was a multi-round overdraft alongside waiver wire scrub Blaine Gabbert back in 2011, and as such, Patterson’s value was likely to be negligible in ’13 (I deliberately avoided all Vikings pass-catchers this summer due to the QB issue). However, I kept my eye on Patterson as a waiver wire target because I figured Ponder’s time in Minnesota was numbered and a switch at the QB position was distinctly possible and might elevate Patterson’s value. Other targets included Vincent Brown (a hyped and disappointing supposed #1 in San Diego for ’13, it can’t all go right), and Ryan Broyles (former top prospect who blew out his knee late in the ’11 season and struck me as a great value target playing in the pass happy Detroit offense, unfortunately Broyles never fully came back from that injury), and Michael Floyd, the Notre Dame sleeper WR that struck me as excellent value coming as he did with a new pass oriented scheme in Arizona, and playing alongside his best QB, and WR partnership ever (now that came through with flying colors as Floyd came on strong in the second half of the season, passing the 1,000 yard mark while falling just shy of the 70 receptions milestone).


Now we all know that my strategy of picking single defenses and keepers and loading up on speculative WR’s and RB’s late can truly pay off, and in 2013, I hit on Jeffrey (top 10, ADP of 12th round), Allen (top 13, undrafted free agent), and Woods (top 45 WR, undrafted free agent ADP). I picked up Cordarelle Patterson once Ponder went down in week 3, and while I had to wait six weeks for Patterson to finally get starting snaps, and quality quarterbacking, Patterson delivered in the final third of the season top 10 WR points per game, well worth the waiver wire ammo. At running back speculating could pay off as I showed, but I would be lying if I told you that I nailed the strategy in 2013. I managed to corner the market in Rams running backs who didn’t pay off acquiring Isaiah Pead, and Daryl Richardson on numerous teams and Zac Stacy on only one, I also missed out on Danny Woodhead’s extraordinary season, investing instead in Ryan Mathews, but I did manage to collect a few of the undrafted and late drafted running backs of value namely Donald Brown (a favorite of mine ever since the Colts used a first rounder on him several years ago), Pierre Thomas, my favorite undrafted pick up because of my lack of belief in Mark Ingram, and Andre Ellington (I was hot on the trail of the #2 running back in Arizona because of my lack of belief in the slug footed Mendenhall). All of these pick ups were key assets to teams that lost a starter, or drafted a bust, and I could also mention my acquisitions of Bilal Powell (I love to speculate on former high draft picks that are still on a roster after a few years and have no serious challengers to playing time), and Moreno, but in both cases those were largely luck, Powell was housed on many of my teams in ’12, but not in ’13, while Moreno was a waiver wire stash pick up made with a hefty supply of waiver bucks.



*Who are the best value targets for 2014? In terms of rookies, your best targets would be:


I’m not a huge fan of the rookies in ’14, only Marquise Lee strikes me as both a value, and a threat to produce huge #’s next fall, every other potential target strikes me as overvalued for now. Stay Tuned.


As for best veteran value targets for 2014 includes a few potential guys worth taking a look at:




Jake Locker: A former top baseball and football high school prospect, has an approach similar to Cam Newton, physical, great arm, great runner, like Newton he struggles with accuracy and lacks weapons.





Latavius Murray: Word is, he’s the only RB the Raiders will keep for ’14.


Knile Davis: Charles has gotten nicked and injured plenty over the years and Davis looked good in small samples.


Lamar Miller: The Dolphins moronically refused to utilize Miller with consistency throughout the season going to slug on wheels Daniel Thomas instead. The line is terrible, but he has talent.


Bernard Pierce: Rice fell apart, proving the 350+ touch overuse rule remains valid and Pierce didn’t deliver either. As such, like Miller he’ll be available on the cheap in 2014 and will be worth giving a long look with a later round pick.


Denard Robinson: The Jags finally started using him late, but Robinson wasn’t able to produce without fumbling. Jones-Drew will be leaving and there’s nothing else with difference making ability on the roster, consider Robinson if he gets touches in the preseason.


Andre Ellington: Arians refused to turn the running game over to Ellington despite his vastly superior numbers to Mendenhall, in ’14 he may finally make the change (keep an eye on Stepfan too).


Marcus Lattimore: The Niners have drafted and stashed Lattimore, a former top 3-5 overall pick candidate before back to back knee injuries derailed his college career. No rehab issues thus far, and he and Hunter look like worthwhile bets to replace Gore by ’15.





Tavon Austin – Top 60-75 pick in ’13, he’ll drop for the ’14 pick, with Bradford back and a year under his belt, Austin’s a good bet to deliver on ’13 expectations with reduced draft pick cost in ’14.


Brian Quick: Former top 40 overall pick, has never been able to land the starting gig in St. Louis, a late round flyer if he’s seeing a lot of snaps, he has more talent than any other Rams WR not named Austin.


Kenny Stills: Showed a great many flashes as a rookie with an intriguing 32-641-5 line, the problem is, are we looking at Robert Meachem 2.0, or a legit weapon? There’s no way of knowing and with the saints, he’ll be nothing more than a 5th option until changes are made at RB, and WR. Worth keeping an eye on.


Mike Williams: great possession WR with 950-8 line possibilities, after a season lost to injury, he could be had at a mild discount in ’14.


Cordarelle Patterson: Once elevated to a starters role he produced top 15 WR numbers. There’s no chance he goes that high in ’14, and as such he could be a value, especially if the Vikes give up on Ponder as their starter (as they should). Represents tremendous value in the 6th round or later, and may produce third round caliber #’s.


Leonard Hankerson: Three years down the line and he still hasn’t left his imprint on the game. He has size and some speed and a lock on the #2 WR position if the new coaching staff likes him. In a new system he could be a Mike Williams clone. Will cost very little on draft day (if anything).


Terrence Williams: showed a great many flashes playing for Miles Austin, and is well worth targeting on draft day if Austin leaves.


Justin Hunter: Caught 4 TD’s despite rarely seeing snaps as a rookie. Locker will be back in ’14, and the Titans have no WR’s worth a damn. Could be a real value pick late.


Da’Rick Rogers and Lavon Brazil: Heyward-Bey’s brief flirtation with a starting WR job disappeared in late September and with good reason. Rogers and Brazil played like dynamite in limited appearances in December. Will be fighting for the #3 and #4 jobs in ’14, but represent huge potential.


DeAndre Hopkins: showed explosiveness and tremendous potential early on before dunderheaded play, and overall inconsistency issues got him sent to the bench. 


Markus Wheaton: Deeply impressed Steelers brass in mini and training camp, got dinged up early in the season, and never got a chance to give Emmanuel Sanders a run for his money as the #2. Expect Wheaton to break out within the next two seasons. If Sanders heads out in free agency, the job will likely be turned over to Wheaton.


Marvin Jones: A 50-700-10 line is incredibly impressive and it seems clear that the former Cal standout WR has taken over the #2 job in Cincy, a job that was deeply productive early on in Marvin Lewis’ regime and could be again. Jones should be available on a discount, and could produce #’s analogous to a healthy Mike Williams with a 2-4 round discounted cost.


Robert Woods: Had a decent rookie year that might have been even better if not for injury and disciplinary issues. Was a stud at USC and a legit red zone threat, if EJ Manuel can develop into something better than the Ponder dopplegangor he was at FSU (both QB’s didn’t have anywhere near the #’s to justify their draft day slotting selections), Woods could prove to be another Stevie Johnson.


Aaron Dobson: Took a great deal of time to learn the offense and overtake undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, but when he did, he produced legit #2 WR numbers with Brady, posting a 18-287-3 line in four fully healthy starts in midseason. That projects to 72-1148-12 in a full season. Keep an eye on his health and status in the offseason.


Stephen Hill: A lost season after a semi-bright start for the former top draft pick. Word is he’s a knucklehead with issues. He’s also a burner with great size. He’s the only weapon in New York at WR capable of producing elite numbers with Geno Smith. He may never develop into that weapon, but he’s worth keeping an eye on.





Rob Housler: A lot of hype for Housler before the season, but very little production. Housler is a genuine talent that could break out given a great offseason. Keep an eye on him and consider invested your 2nd TE position in him late in the draft.


Tyler Eifert: Only Jermaine Gresham prevented Eifert from posting a 70-750-5 line. Once Gresham’s gone Eifert is a lock to be a top 10 TE with top 5 potential.


Dwayne Allen: Allen’s stock should be quietly up in the minds of savvy fantasy players. Coby Fleener had the entire season to himself running in the same offense he ran in Stanford but posted only 5 quality performances in 16 starts. He may grow from this experience, or perhaps Allen becomes a go to weapon after a largely superior rookie campaign. Keep appraised of his performance during the offseason, and notch him down as a sleeper worth considering.


Ladarius Green: An athletic freak and seemingly heir to the throne of Gates, Green is a huge talent who simply needs Gates to move on to turn into a potential top 5 TE threat. Don’t sleep on Green.


Jordan Reed: Posted top 3 TE numbers when healthy, then lost the second half of the season to concussion issues. Injuries and a concussion limited him to only 6 complete games. However in those 6 starts he posted a 39-430-3 line, in a full season that could project to 104-1136-8, granted that’s a best case scenario, but the talk that Jordan Reed is a Hernandez clone in terms of potential on the football field seems valid. If he can avoid following down the path of Jahvid Best before him (Reed has suffered 3 concussions in the last 4 years), he will be a top 5 TE in the decade to come.


[image via]

A Fantasy Football Autopsy: Weeks 1-6 Explained

A Fantasy Football Autopsy: Weeks 1-6 Explained

A Fantasy Football Autopsy: Weeks 1-6 Explained


With five weeks come and gone, and a sixth nearly in the bag, everyone should have a fairly reasonable idea of where there team stacks up in reference to the rest of the league. Where did you may the right call? Where did you blow it? Today I’ll take a look at quarterbacks:




Back in august I published my top 10, my boom candidates and my bust candidates as well as some dark horse candidates, and I even managed to make a colossal omission that I thankfully corrected on twitter, leaving Peyton Manning entirely out of my rankings. Where are the quarterbacks now and where did I have them?



1. Peyton. Manning:


Consensus ADP: 3rd

Where I had him: 5th



2. Drew Brees:


Consensus ADP: 2nd

Where I had him: 1st





3. Aaron Rodgers:


Consensus ADP: 1st

Where I had Him: 2nd



4. Phillip Rivers:


Consensus ADP: 22nd

Where I had him: 13th



5. Tony Romo:


Consensus ADP: 12th

Where I had him: 5th



6. Matt Ryan:


Consensus ADP: 6th

Where I had him: 8th



7. MIchael Vick:


Consensus ADP: 14th

Where I had him: 9th (However I removed him from my draft board due to injury risk)


Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions


8. Matthew Stafford:


Consensus ADP: 8th

Where I had him: 4th



9. Jay Cutler:


Consensus ADP: 17th

Where I had him: 23rd



10. Andrew Luck:


Consensus ADP: 9th

Where I had him: 6th




The Middle Tier:



11. RG3


Consensus ADP: 10th

Where I had him: 3rd



12. Sam Bradford


Consensus ADP: 22nd

Where I had him: 20th



13. Alex Smith


Consensus ADP: 24th

Where I had him: 24th





14th. Russell Wilson


Consensus ADP: 11th

Where I had him: 17th



15. Geno Smith


Consensus ADP: 31st

Where I had him: Not on my board (I only rank through 27)



16. Eli Manning:


Consensus ADP: 13th

Where I had him: 10th



17. Ryan Tannehill


Consensus ADP: 26th

Where I had him: 26th



18. Matt Schaub


Consensus ADP: 20th

Where I had him: 12th




19. Tom Brady


Consensus ADP: 4th

Where I had him: 11th



20. Colin Kaepernick


Consensus ADP: 7th

Where I had him: 7th



Final Analysis:


Consensus ADP was more slightly more accurate with its rankings than mine, getting closer to the overall performance in 9 of 15 cases in which a clear difference could be measured. My biggest overall misses would be RG3, Colin Kaepernick, and Jay Cutler, 2 overrates, and one underrate. Probably my biggest hits so far have been in correctly projecting Tony Romo, who was severely underrated due to his hideous mistake rate, correctly ranking Rivers as a far more worthwhile investment than most fantasy players and fantasy writers argued, and in correctly downgrading Tom Brady who was removed from my draft board during the summer and not added to a single of my 13 teams, and has thus performed even worse than my final projected ranking 11th (19th through last weeks games). Brady was ranked 4th overall by ADP, while I ranked him 11th.


I can take solace in the knowledge that RG3 should continue to improve as he gets rid of his rust, but Kaepernicks consistency issues will remain due to the paucity of weapons at his disposal (despite his 7th overall ranking on my board, I did not draft him on a single team due to the niners lack of playmakers to assist him). Going forward it will be interesting to see just how accurate my projections were once the season has concluded.



With regards to my Boom/Bust candidates and my dark horse value picks, here were my suggestions from two+ months ago:

NFL: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

Boom: Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford


While Stafford has delivered for the most part on my expectations until Calvin Johnson went down with an injury last week, Kaepernick has struggled during half of his starts this season. He’ll need a healthy Vernon Davis, and a revitalized Jonathan Baldwin (former top draft pick of the chiefs who the Chiefs foolishly traded to the Niners for ultra-bust A.J. Jenkins), as Crabtree is out until at least the winter holiday season, and Boldin is a limited chain moving receiver at this point.



Bust: Tom Brady and Cam Newton


I’ve managed to nail both of my “Bust” candidates for 2013, as Brady ranked 11th on my board and is currently 19th (with an ADP of 4th), while Newton was ranked 9th on my board and is currently 22nd (with an ADP of 5th). Both are having career worst seasons in 2013, and if you’d followed ADP, you would have wasted a 4th round pick on players I ranked as 7th/8th round targets at best (and Brady was completely off my board due to the exodus of three of his top 4 pass catchers and the loss of a fourth to a long term injury).




Sleeper Values:


My sleeper value list has been a whose who of steals in 2013.



1. Tony Romo:


Rated 5th by me, 11th by ADP, and currently 4th in points for a QB.



 2. Jay Cutler:


I argued he was going 3/4 rounds later than he should have gone during August drafts and his current production rates him as a 6th/7th round draft pick, while the consensus ranking at the time was slotting him in as a 12th/13th rounder. Even better value than I thought.




3. Ryan Tannehill:


Back in August I argued that while I rated him 26th overall, I felt he had the best chance of vaulting as much as 10 slots from his perceived value, suggesting he could easily be a top 15-20 QB if his playmakers could stay healthy. Currently Tannehill sits at 16th overall, one slot away from my projected ceiling for the former A&M stud QB/WR.



4. Michael Vick


Like Brady, Vick was essentially off my board due to the injury risk, and in Vick’s case, age and team turnover at coaching issues. However, I did tell readers that Vick was an ideal fit for Kelly’s system and if healthy could produce a 10 round bump in value like Tannehill, going 11th-13th round, but having the potential to produce top 4-5 overall QB numbers with Chip Kelly. Until he went down in week 5 Vick was doing just that, producing top 4 overall QB numbers for the Eagles.



What to expect during the rest of this season?


I’d suggest that the Manning train will continue unabated throughout the rest of the season if he can stay healthy. The Broncos have a cornucopia of options for the elder Manning, and while he could hit the wall soon, it won’t be in 2013 (probably the playoffs as that is his traditional kryptonite). Brees and Romo should also continue to reward owners with tremendous productivity week in and week out. Potential fallers could include Matt Ryan whose lost his best weapon and has chronically injured Roddy White unlikely to play healthy going forward, Sam Bradford who lacks the weapons to sustain his productivity, and Alex Smith whose dink and dunk approach has destroyed Dwayne Bowe’s value.


Fast risers to buy low on right now would include RG3, the healthier he gets, the better he’ll be, and with the schedule getting tougher, he’ll need to throw more, Cutler should be able to get more consistency from Marshall and Jeffrey, and Forte, Luck will take advantage of TY Hilton and Coby Fleeners development, as well as Richardson, and Kaepernick and Newton should also improve going forward (though I wouldn’t touch Newton due to the lack of weapons in the passing game).



Destiny and Debacle: Fantasy Wide Receivers (Week 1)

Destiny and Debacle: Fantasy Wide Receivers (Week 1)

Destiny and Debacle: Fantasy Wide Receivers (Week 1)


With only a few hours left before Sunday kickoff, what better time could it be than to review the best options in your fantasy draft? Did you play it right? Play it wrong? Here’s my perspective going into Sunday mornings opener:


Top 10 Wide Receivers:


Tier 1:


1.Calvin Johnson

2. D. Bryant 300

3. AJ Green


No surprise here with Johnson leading the charge, and a fast rising Dez Bryant ready to explode into the games 2nd best receiver in 2013. Green is a truly special talent whose only issue is his quarterback, a solid-above average talent to be sure, but it’s difficult to imagine Dalton turning into an elite QB and with that liability, Green’s production will always have a lower ceiling than that of Johnson and Bryant.




Tier 2:


4. B. Marshall

5. J. Jones

6. Dem. Thomas

7. L. Fitzgerald


Tier 2 offers quite a few talents that are worthy of WR1 status and could be legit winners at the position week to week. No owner should draft a team without landing a receiver from tier 1 or tier 2, unfortunately with only 7 to choose from, it’s inevitable that some owners will face that fate. In a league in which passing is far more dominant today than the past, getting your piece of the passing extravaganza is essential. It’s not a coincidence that I landed a member of one of these two tiers in virtually every draft I participated in. I tend to target the younger options with legit weapons on offense, or the undervalued, as a result I passed on Johnson and Bryant, both selling at an exceptionally high cost, and targeted Thomas, and Jones, younger weapons that were more likely to deliver higher than expected results and at lesser cost than most of the tier 1 and tier 2 options.



Tier 3:


8. A. Johnson 256

9. J. Nelson 249

10. V. Cruz 245


While there are other members of tier three, only three could make my top ten. Andre Johnson makes it based on his immense production when healthy, and being the only legit passing option on his team. Jordy Nelson makes it based on a hunch that a return to health and the absence of any other elite WR with Jennings gone should provide him with more than enough looks to return to his ’11 season highs and an uptick in receptions. Cruz is undervalued this year, as he was last year, and comes at a nice discount. With Nicks dinged, and not impressing anyone in Giants camp, Cruz could pay an even stronger dividend to investors.




Destiny Picks:


Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas:


Thomas was drafted to replace Brandon Marshall, and add an element of speed to the game Marshall brought to Denver several years ago, it took him two years to find the explosive, difference making game Denver was so impressed by several years ago, but at this stage, Thomas technically could be as productive as Calvin Johnson this year. This is precisely why I drafted him on multiple teams. Julio Jones is simply a freak, an athletic freak of the same sort as Dez Bryant and Randy Moss. Strong, fast, and super talented, with White aging, it could be Jones’ time to burst on the scene as a top 3 WR.




Danny Amendola and Dwayne  Bowe:


Amendola has been injured the vast bulk of his entire career. I have a difficult time understanding what possible reason New England had for jettisoning a perfectly suited weapon like Wes Welker for their offense, for a repeatedly injured and extremely limited weapon that is at best, unproven for their offense in Amendola. It’s not so much that I don’t think he’s very talented, its that he has limitations that Welker does not have, and he lacks Welker’s strengths. Yes he’s younger, but he’s also consistently injured so that’s a wash. So why again did they pick a fight with him? Amendola should be more productive in New England than St. Louis, but I’m hard pressed to imagine there’s anyway possible that he warrants an ADP of early 4th round/13th WR off the board.

New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles



Dwayne Bowe’s issues are simpler. First he’s terribly, wildly inconsistent, as in TD #’s that can fluctuate 300% year to year. Even worse, though, is that management in Kansas City apparently fails to realize that in Alex Smith, they landed a QB with neither superior arm talent, nor superior quarterbacking talent in general to Matt Cassel. Indeed, Alex Smith’s an inferior deep passer to the humble Cassel and as such is unlikely to produce the #’s he would be capable of with a better option behind center. He may need to find a new team to truly live up to his potential. For now, he genuinely appears to be no better than one of the worst tier 3 options at WR.



Dark Horse Options:



Michael Floyd:


Former top draft pick of the cardinals appears set for a breakout. For the time being, playing opposite Fitzgerald with a fading but still borderline competent Palmer should provide Floyd with plenty of opportunities to produce #’s commensurate with a sixth or seventh round draftee rather than a 10th rounder.



Vincent Brown:


One of my favorite draft and stash picks from a year ago (in a keeper league), Brown presents the only weapon for Phillip Rivers capable of producing quality #’s at WR.


Colts Bears Football


Alshon Jeffery:


Former top 5 ranked prospect in the summer of ’11, Jeffery’s stock took a massive hit following a disappointing final season at South Carolina where he fatted up and lost the explosive dominating form that had brought him such esteem following the ’10 season. He is coming off an outstanding camp and has Bears brass imagining their best pairing at WR in decades.



Markus Wheaton:


Put simply, the Steelers have two question marks starting at WR. In Antonio Brown they have a prototype possible 2nd banana, in Emmanuel Sanders they have the WR all the brass expected to pair with Wallace back in ’11 for a breakout (instead it was Brown that broke out), and in Wheaton they likely have a prospect better than either of them.



Kenbrell Thompkins:


Aaron Dobson is the perceived blue chipper in town, Josh Boyce the perceived 3rd banana, Amendola the free agent, and Thompkins the undrafted free agent brought in for numbers. Unfortunately for Dobson owners, it’s been Thompkins that has blown away the Patriots brass throughout training camp and the preseason. I’m in wait and see mode on Thompkins, and feel the draft day cost (in savvy leagues, about a 7th rounder) is simply too much considering the track record. Dobson has been consistently selected in the 11th-14th round, and is the better investment in my view, but Thompkins is probably the least known and highest upside WR out of the ’13 class, for now.