10 Thoughts I Have While I Pray to Jeebus for Training Camps to Start
If Jeebus were a real deity and not the invention of the Simpsons, Tebow would probably have Jeebus in his T-Mobile Friends and Family Plan.
10 thoughts… and go:
- This is the most important thought I have, so I’m putting it right up front. RotoViz content is geared towards the idea that in fantasy football you have limited resources. It becomes important then to spend those resources wisely. That’s why we spend so much time saying things like “Don’t draft this guy, take this guy who is cheaper.” If you can replace a player’s production with a lower cost player, then you should do it. You can then use the top of the draft to take players whose production you cannot replace. Do I actually think that Cecil Shorts is going to out-produce Randall Cobb this year? I think there’s some chance, but I don’t think the odds are really great that Shorts will out-produce Cobb. But that’s not really the value decision. The value decision is as follows: Will Cecil Shorts and a non-Cobb 3rd round pick out-produce Randall Cobb and a non-Shorts 7th round pick?
- I’m withholding judgment on almost all of the muddy backfield situations until I get a sense as to what coaching staffs want to do. I may have my own opinion as to what teams should do, but fantasy football is about scoring points based on what teams actually do. There are a bunch of RB situations in the NFL that will be more clear in a month. Until then I don’t have a lot of intelligent things to say. By way of illustration, I might think that Montee Ball looks like Mark Ingram 2.0. But I would draft Mark Ingram if I thought he was going to get starter touches (and assuming the price was right). If Ball is going to start for the Broncos, and his ADP offers at least some value, I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
- Everyone agrees this year that RB/RB is the way to go at the start of the draft. That makes the strategy problematic in my mind because it’s like when everyone sees the open lane on the freeway and tries to get into that lane all at once. RB/RB was able to remain successful, even with the introduction of committee backfields and the increases in passing, because some drafters went QB/WR and left enough meat on the bone for the guys that still wanted to go RB/RB. That’s not the case this year and I’m worried. I don’t know that I have a really solid solution as to avoiding that issue right now other than that I think going WR/RB for the first 5 or 6 rounds of a draft is a viable strategy. Another potential strategy is to just go RB/RB/RB at the start. While that might seem like it’s not really deviating from RB/RB, at least you’re not also going to find a WR at the exact same time as everyone else. I’m hoping that I’ll figure this out before I start drafting re-draft teams in earnest.
- I don’t agree with the growing sentiment that taking Jimmy Graham in the 2nd round is a way to lock in some really safe fantasy points. I just don’t think he’ll make anyone regret passing on him because he’s not on Gronk’s level. Remember that Antonio Gates used to regularly put up seasons that were easily the best for TE and yet he never required anything more than a 3rd or 4th round pick. Also, nobody ever regretted not taking him there. Whether I’m going WR or RB in round 2, I’ll be taking positions that require a lot of starting spots on my team so that I can withstand injuries and bye weeks and make it to the playoffs.
- I’m a little worried about rolling with Sam Bradford in a QBBC. I still think that he’s going to be the cheapest member of his passing game to acquire (on a relative basis) so there’s some argument that if all of the other guys (Austin, Givens, Cook) live up to their ADP, then Bradford will have to surpass his own ADP. However, some of my Bradford optimism is that they’re getting rid of the “lots of targets, not a lot of yards” Danny Amendola. But what if they just replace that passing with throws to Tavon Austin and then Austin provides the output that players like Amendola and Percy Harvin have in the past – lots of targets required to post not a lot of yards. That’s a way to rack up fantasy points (PPR anyway) for an individual receiver, but it’s not a way for a passing game to put a lot of points on the board. That would be problematic for Bradford I think. Ideally the Rams need to get the ball downfield and then rely on their two tight ends in the red zone. I don’t know if that will happen and that’s why I’m worried for Bradford. Also, I’m not saying they can’t use Austin at all, I’m only saying that if their offense turns into just throwing screens to Tavon Austin, it won’t be good for Sam Bradford. It also won’t be good for their offense as the goal of football teams is to score touchdowns and getting the receiver the ball behind the line of scrimmage is pretty much just like running the football. Pass to get ahead, run to keep a lead.
- I agree with Shawn Siegele that Andy Dalton is the best mix of low draft cost and 2013 upside. He’s there for me when I want to take him in almost every single draft (mock or real) that I do.
- There are a bunch of RBs going in the RB13-RB27 range that in previous years would have required much higher picks, but are now discounted because fantasy drafters have hit a point of capitulation. But also in that range you have younger runners that are also expected to start for their teams. The first group is made up of the Darren McFaddens of the world, while the second group is made up of the Lamar Millers of the world. Here’s a team I threw together using the Snake Draft app that focuses on taking this mix of young/overlooked running backs: Calvin Johnson, Lamar Miller, Le’Veon Bell, Ryan Mathews, Shane Vereen, Danario Alexander, Steve Johnson, Lance Moore, Greg Olsen, Chris Givens, Josh Freeman. So that’s a WR/RB/RB/RB/RB/WR draft.
- Somewhat related to the above point, I wouldn’t probably take Calvin Johnson in most drafts if Trent Richardson is healthy and still on the board when I’m drafting. But if TRich isn’t healthy, then I would probably be more inclined to look at that draft strategy.
- I think the Titans have the potential to be the team that we’ve all forgotten about that could bring a ton of fantasy relevance this year. I’ll be paying attention during the pre-season to see what their usage mix is like and whether or not they figure out a way to address Jake Locker’s issues with accuracy. I look at the situation this way: the Titans could try to run a traditional offense in which case Locker probably doesn’t have the requisite accuracy to consistently move the chains. That will probably result in them moving on from Locker in a year or two. Or, they could introduce a read option scheme and take advantage of Locker’s mobility. Locker is more accurate than Tebow and we’ve seen Tebow have at least some success running the read option. This might increase Locker’s odds of getting hurt, but guess what – it doesn’t matter. If you were going to have to move on from him in a pro-style offense, it costs you nothing to throw him out there and let him run around. This is the oft-overlooked advantage of offenses with QB designed runs. They actually increase the total pool of available QBs, so the injuries, that they may or may not cause, aren’t a big deal. More QBs can start in the NFL if teams will commit to QB designed runs. I think it would be difficult to prove, but my theory is that QB designed runs actually open up the pass and run games. If you look at the success of running QBs in the passing game, I think it’s difficult to think that a bunch of really great passing rookies came along at the same time. The common thread among the recent rookie success at QB has been that they’ll all take off and run to pick up a first down if needed. That makes it difficult for the defense to cover the entire field and it also keeps the offense on the field longer (than we’ve seen rookie run offenses on the field in the past).
- Despite RotoViz’s growing reputation as a mad house for fantasy football writers, I can assure you that I’m among the most conservative drafters that you’ll meet. Let me illustrate this by proving to you how nit-ish I can be. Vincent Brown is being drafted some 20 WR spots ahead of Brandon LaFell. In that choice I would always choose LaFell because he’s cheaper and his recent production is greater than Brown. Brown may or may not be the superior receiver, we really have no idea. Some people make the point that you need to take high upside guys in order to win at fantasy football. I disagree with that for a few reasons. First, most of the high upside guys end up being drafted at pretty hefty premiums to their prior production. So even if they increase their production people that drafted them just got what they paid for. Second, that “high upside” view requires that you have made a correct judgment about the relative upside of guys deemed boring, or “we know who they are” guys. Michael Crabtree was one of those guys last year. Roddy White was also a guy who broke out at an older age. If you plow through the similarity score apps you’ll get as close to an accurate view of the range of potential outcomes as is probably possible. One thing you’ll figure out from doing that is that the really wide breakouts, where players go from little production to a lot, are really rare. They’re rare enough that I don’t spend a lot of time betting on them. I’m more willing to do it at running back because usage makes that a binary position (the player is either producing or not producing usually). But at WR I’ll just keep plugging away with the guys that have already produced the amount that you’re hoping your breakout guy will produce.