Ask the Experts
Posted Dec. 29 at 07:30 AM
ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them:
What was the biggest fantasy story of the 2011 season?
I think Cam Newton's unprecedented emergence as an elite fantasy option as a rookie quarterback has to be the top story, simply because no one saw it coming. Nine months ago the argument was whether he can be a viable passer at the pro level, and he clearly established himself as one of the premier up-and-comers at his position. The numbers speak for themselves: 60.0 percent, 3,893 passing yards, 20 aerial TDs, 674 rushing yards and an NFL-record 14 scores on the ground.
Since 1996, KFFL.com has been combining its award-winning news service with fantasy analysis. KFFL.com offers services including daily news, draft guides and in-season advice. Now 100 percent free, KFFL.com is your destination for fantasy baseball, football and NASCAR cheat sheets, tips, sleepers and much more. KFFL.com has won more than a dozen expert championships and was listed as "One of the 10 essential sports-related online destinations for fans, athletes and fantasy owners" by Time.com. KFFL.com has provided content to USA Today, Yahoo! Sports, and FOXSports.com among many other organizations.
I think the story of the year is that the elite fantasy quarterbacks need to be drafted higher next year, at least four (Rodgers, Brees, Brady and Newton) should go in the first 15 picks of any draft. You could have walked into Week 16 grabbed Kahlil Bell or Evan Royster and got more fantasy points than Michael Turner, Steven Jackson, Shonn Greene and Peyton Hillis. The same can't be said for the quarterback spot.
RotoWire.com is a fantasy sports news site that focuses on MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, auto racing (mostly NASCAR), golf, college football, college basketball and soccer. The web site features player news, draft kits, mock-draft software, in-season tools, feature stories and statistical data to help fantasy players in each sport. RotoWire hosts a three-hour daily radio show on Sirius-XM, XM 147, Sirius 211 11 AM - 2PM ET, has partnerships with Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, NFL.com and FoxSports, among others. To sign-up for a free-trial to RotoWire.com, go to RotoWire.com/trial..
There are always some great and very specific stories at the end of 2011- Fred Jackson, Matt Forte, Tim Tebow and the up and comers in AJ Green, Julio Jones, Roy Helu amongst others- but 2011 i will always remember as the year that fantasy football changed forever as the quarterback position became the priority in fantasy offense. At the beginning of the year the popular thinking is usually grab a running back early and take a Romo, Vick, or Rivers later. But every league i know of has either Rodgers or Brees in the finals, if not both. Do you think people with the number one pick this year liked the AP and Romo combo, or Rivers and CJ beter than Brees and, say, Reggie Bush, Frank Gore or Marshawn Lynch paired with Rodgers, Brees, or Brady? I will alwas remember 2011 for it being the year to remind me if i have a top 3 pick, it's one of those three guys.
Adams is the publisher of www.fantasyinsights.com. Adams appears on NBC in Los Angeles on The Challenge with Fred Roggin following NFL Sunday Night Football in America, with extended web commentary on NBCLA’s website. On Bloomberg Sports ”4th & Fantasy” Dish became the “man who beat the machine,” outpicking Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Decision Maker data tool for the 2010 season. Dish also hosts Fantasy Insights, a podcast on Voiceamericasports.com weekly on Thursdays from 5:00-6:00 PM EST.
Really the story would be, if you owned Aaron Rodgers you probably made your fantasy playoffs, but he likely killed you in Week 15 with a mediocre (for him at least) performance against Kansas City. Whilst you were out of your fantasy playoffs in week 16, you saw him post 5 TDs when it didn't matter. A very un-Merry Xmas.
Kamys is president of Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports. His company, via the web, offers player news, injury reports, cheat sheets, projections, weekly matchups, statistics, and a customized team tracker. Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports also e-mails preseason newsletters and reports throughout the season. For more info visit www.docstats.com or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This would be a 7-part story... #1) Rookie QB Cam Newton's breakout; #2) RB Arian Foster - What hamstring injury?; #3) The puzzling mystery of RB Chris Johnson's troubles; #4) The return to fantasy STUD status of WR Wes Welker; #5) Megatron's surge to the top; #6) The breakout seasons of WR Rob Gronkowski and TE Jimmy Graham; and #7) PK David Akers laughing at the Eagles after kicking a record 42 FGs in 2011.
Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc. His company offers an online rookie draft kit, preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, fantasy drafting programs including auction values, weekly in-season fantasy newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is a four-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League, a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a former columnist for SI.com. For more info go to www.ffmastermind.com. Nazarek can be reached at email@example.com.
The 2011 fantasy football season will forever be known as the “Year of the Injury”. The absence of off-season training activities (OTAs) and abbreviated preseason training camps resulted in more injuries this season. Good owners were forced to suffer through numerous hamstring injuries and the dubious returns of some of the top players. The waiver wire and injury reports dominated FF performance rather than the start/sit decisions of otherwise sane individuals. This rant comes not from a down on their luck owner who lost one too many bids for a playoff spot, but instead is from an owner who won much more this season than any other. Playoffs in 64% of my leagues (I play with some of the best in Expert leagues and the FFPC and NFFC). Of those playoff teams, I won the championship in 57% of them. Return on investment 260%. But there was too much luck! I hate luck. I hate good luck and bad luck. Luck in any form. Luck is a cruel mistress. 2011 will be remembered for the fickle hand of fate and how she toyed with fantasy footballers through Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Darren McFadden, Matt Forte, Jahvid Best, Peyton Hillis, Ahmad Bradshaw, Frank Gore, Felix Jones, Steve Johnson, Ryan Mathews, Greg Jennings, Miles Austin, LeGarrette Blount and DeSean Jackson. And that was just the first two rounds of most drafts. I defy any FF owners to find a starting roster untouched by the mayhem that fate (the lock out) wrecked upon us all. I can only hope 2012 brings some sanity. And less luck… unless it is the rookie QB kind...maybe in Indianapolis?
Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at his website, www.ffguidebook.com, at all major bookstores, and at www.amazon.com. He is a 20-year fantasy football veteran who regularly participates in the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF), National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall (out of 228 competitors) in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC).
The big fantasy story of the year would no doubt be the year of epic QB play. Cam Newton has set the NFL record for passing yardage for a rookie and rushing TDs by a QB. Drew Brees has set the NFL passing yardage record. Tom Brady will be the third QB in NFL history to join the 5K club. Aaron Rodgers has turned in an amazing 45-6 TD to INT ratio and if he played a full week in Week 17 would likely have the best fantasy season by a QB in history in all scoring formats. Mathew Stafford has already thrown the ball over 600 times. Along the way, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Tom Brady will all have 400+ fantasy point seasons (and Matthew Stafford isn’t that far behind). Last year we had zero 400+-point players (Arian Foster was #1 with 390) and we had none the year prior as well (Chris Johnson was #1 in 2009 with 393). We haven’t seen a 400-point fantasy player since 2007 when Tom Brady threw 50 TDs. It will no doubt completely alter 2012 fantasy drafts, and rightfully so. The “wait-on-a-qb” strategy will still make sense (after the big guns are gone), but blindly passing on these QBs in the first round simply as a drafting rule will be thrown out the window by nearly all next year. This year, on average, skill position players like Andre Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall and Roddy White all went before Drew Brees. It was a big mistake. That said, even Adrian Peterson (the 1.01 selection on average) over Drew Brees was a huge mistake, not to mention Chris Johnson of course. Next year, Calvin Johnson, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice will all be early selections, but expect each of the big five QBs to press into the first round of fantasy drafts off these epic seasons. Sure, some were burned on Michael Vick (we saw that one coming to be honest), and Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford were had on the cheap, as was Eli Manning and Matt Ryan to a lesser level, but expect to come strong next year to get one of these elite QBs and they will completely shake up the normal / average fantasy drafts in 2012.
Dynasty Rogues is the fantasy football information site run by fantasy football enthusiasts for fantasy football enthusiasts. The site includes a year-round approach to analyzing football information for those in dynasty and redraft leagues. Dynasty Rogues were the 2008 Champion of the Fantasy Index Experts' Competition.
It's hard to overlook the value of the elite quarterbacks this season. If you drafted Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers early, or Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton late, those guys covered up for a lot of other mistakes. Difference-makers at running back and wide receiver were less common; a lot of serviceable guys became available on the waiver wire week after week. Half of my teams played in championship games, and all of them had capable runners and receivers -- but elite passers. It will be interesting to see how many quarterbacks go in the first round next year. If you don't grab one of the top ones, you're starting a lot of weekly matchups at a clear deficit.
Richardson has been a columnist and contributor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and web site for the past ten years. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.
New this season! We'll post the weekly question on Facebook, and the best reader answer will get included in the column. Here is this week's reader winner:
The fall of winning with the running game and the rise of winning with the passing game. Fantasy is now being won with quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends while a shrinking amount of running backs can be considered elite. The number of elite QBs is going up. Third receivers on teams are now considered fantasy starters. Tight ends are now second in both the NFC and AFC in receptions. You no longer need a great running back to win. It's true in the NFL. No stars in the back field for GB, NE or NO.
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