Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Jul. 24 at 07:16 AM
Publisher Ian Allan fields your questions on strategy, how to run your league, player ratings -- and whatever else you think of. Updated every Friday during the season; Tuesdays and Fridays during the last two months of the preseason. You must be registered and signed-in to submit a mailbag question. After you sign in at the top of the page, the link to submit a mailbag question will become visible.
I want to use your customizable stats for auctions, but I'm not sure how to decide how many players I should have as $1 players at each position. Can you give me an idea where I would set the $1 players for each position?
TOM [TAMPA, FL]
Let’s try this:
Assume every team will pay more than minimum for one quarterback. Assume that 20 percent of teams will pay more than min for two quarterbacks.
Assume every team will pay more than minimum for two running backs. Assume that half of the teams will also pay more than minimum for a backup running back.
Assume that every team will pay more than minimum for two wide receivers. Assume that a third of the teams will also pay more than the min for a backup receiver.
Assume that two thirds of the teams will pay more than minimum for a tight end.
Assume that about three kickers will go for more than minimum.
Assume that two thirds of the teams will pay more than min for a defense.
Try those as first draft figures. See what you think. If, looking at the results, a position appears to be overvalued or undervalued, you can then go back in and adjust the numbers for that position.
I'm in a 12-team league that starts 2 QBs and awards 6 points for passing TDs (-4 for INTs; the other scoring modifiers are close to standard, with receptions being 0.3 instead of 1). I wanted to get your thoughts on how that should change my keeper strategy. We can keep up to 3 players, all of whom would replace our first picks of our draft. Calvin Johnson is a no-brainer, and Kurt Warner, given the format, seems to be a lock. Under consideration as the last keeper are Matt Cassel, Marion Barber and Terrell Owens. (We start 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR flex on offense.) I'm leaning on taking Cassel, even though I agree with the magazine’s assessment that he won't be above average, because I think I can find quality 2nd- and 3rd-tier RBs and WRs, whereas I worry about a run on QB2s will leave me with someone inferior to Cassel.
Rick Seto [Weymouth, MA]
Sometimes I wonder if there are guys out there who are just messing with me. Double quarterbacks? 6 points for TDs? Minus-4 for interceptions? And 3 tenths of a point for receptions? These feels like something out of a math book. I did run the numbers. The rough draft is heavily skewed in favor of quarterbacks (11 of the first 12 players are quarterbacks). But I am not a Cassel guy. He’s just my No. 23 quarterback in this scoring system – just a mediocre No. 2 in this format. Barber and Owens, on the other hand, each come in at No. 15 at their position. Overall, it works out to Barber coming in at 45th and Owens and Cassel finishing around 60th. Barber.
Ian, in case you don't know it yet, there is also an error on page 191 in the QB total yards per start section. The 07 totals are the same as the 08 totals. Was it an excel mishap?
JOSH OBUSEK [PITTSBURGH, PA]
OK, you got me. That’s a mistake. Not sure how it happened. As a peace offering, I offer the totaled numbers from both 2007 and 2008 combined (a bonus, which is not in the magazine). Shown are all quarterbacks who’ve started over half of the time in the last two years. First number is the total yards per start in both years. Second number is his 2008 total yards per game. Third number is total yards per start for 2007. Again, apologies.
Tot ’08 ’07
298 317 280 Drew Brees
293 76 307 Tom Brady
275 286 259 Kurt Warner
270 268 271 Tony Romo
263 295 231 Jay Cutler
254 254 254 Donovan McNabb
252 251 252 Peyton Manning
246 198 258 Jon Kitna
246 283 208 Matt Schaub
246 192 259 Carson Palmer
240 220 260 Brett Favre
237 246 225 David Garrard
232 184 253 Matt Hasselbeck
227 256 199 Philip Rivers
222 232 201 Chad Pennington
222 251 197 Jeff Garcia
221 180 245 Derek Anderson
220 219 222 Jason Campbell
218 213 224 Ben Roethlisberger
208 207 217 Jake Delhomme
208 203 213 Eli Manning
194 201 159 Kyle Orton
191 217 181 Tarvaris Jackson
191 184 200 Marc Bulger
191 201 176 Trent Edwards
Some suggestions. I was impressed that you answered a question about who you recommend among your peer fantasy experts a couple weeks ago. What really sets FFI apart, however, isn't winning -- it's math. Many publications have two thirds of the players set to have career years. When you add a TD to one player you take it away from someone else. Do you know of any other publications that "do the math" on their projections? Anyways, my suggestion is that you play your mathematical approach up a little more in your publication and Web site. You probably don't want to put down your competition, but you do have an uncommon approach that should be highlighted. Suggestion 2: I really wish you'd put some arrows on the big movers when you start running your redrafter sheets. I just don't have time to pull out old ones for a side-by-side comparison so see who you've significantly changed in the rankings. That's all for now. Keep up the good work.
Andrew Taylor [GROSSE POINTE PARK, MI]
I appreciate the comments. We do make an effort to put together a mathematically sound draft board. As far as the process that others use, you’d have to check with them. I actually spend very little time looking at the fantasy opinions of others; I prefer to concentrate on my own work. When I was asked about other effective fantasy analysts in a previous mailbag, my answer wasn’t based on studying their material or websites. I was going off strictly how they’ve performed against other analysts in our Experts Poll. In regards to tagging big movers on the Cheat Sheet, I know that there’s a group of people who would like to see this, but I’m not sure how I would implement. What is a “big mover”? If a guy goes up from 16th to 10th, that would make him a big mover, right? What if a player moves from 67th to 61st? I’m not sure how to do it, and it’s more problematic that you might realize. You’re looking at it from the perspective of one reader and one draft board. But on my end, after I finish my calculations, I have to then manage and transfer those rankings into six different pdf files, three different word files, six different Excel files and a main feeder that flows into our custom-rankings deal. The system has gotten cumbersome enough now with all of the various special needs that once I am entirely finished with the writing, ranking and analysis, it takes about 2-3 hours to massage it into shape before it can be delivered to you. Now, we’re looking at potentially adding another stage where every player who moved a certain amount on any of those lists has to be tagged with a marker that compares him to where he was at the previous week? I tend to think that our product already overly bulky, with far more numbers than any typical reader would ever want. The main Excel file I work with is currently 67 columns wide by 557 rows deep. So while I’d like to accommodate you (and the others who want this feature), the best I can offer is that the significant movers will all be mentioned in the text of the team writeups. We might write, for example, that “With Chad Ochocinco traded, Chris Henry has a chance to maybe be a top-20 receiver”, but we will not also tag Henry with a little green arrow.
My four keepers are A.Peterson (4th round), G Jennings (9th), Ronnie Brown (last) and Devin Hester (last). I have the 8th pick in the draft. The best available players are: MJD, Forte, Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, LT, SJax. I don't believe any of those 6 will make it to 8th. I expect 1 of Steve Smith, Frank Gore or Peyton Manning to be there at 8. In our league you can (but don't have to) start 2 QBs. After Manning the only available QBs are Cutler, McNabb, Big Ben, Garrard then the scrap heap. Its 1 pt for 25 passing yards, 4 pts for a TD pass, no PPR. Given the core of players that I already have, the good RBs and WRs that would be around in the 2nd and 3rd round, and the lack of good QBs, is it really that crazy to consider Peyton at this spot? I'm fairly sure I'd take SSmith here given the chance, but Gore vs. Manning is killing me. I've been mulling this over for more than a week now and could really use some insight.
nathan ouellette [SOMERSET, MA]
I think it’s an easy decision. Manning. With the double quarterback option, it greatly enhances the value of that position. I’m not going to take the 15 minutes to run the exact numbers, because I don’t have to – I’ve done it many times in the past. In that kind of system, I’m guessing that Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady will all grade out as being worthy of top-5 picks overall. And that’s not after the keepers are taken out, I’m talking all players being available – Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Maurice Jones-Drew et cetera. That’s just what the supply and demand dictates. I would want Manning badly enough that I would even consider trading up to get him.
Long time buyer of the Index. Your advice last year was spot on. I finished in the money in all three of my leagues. Thanks again. I am sure this year will be no different. Who would you suggest I keep this year Brees, MJD or Forte? I can keep two out of three and the scoring is the same as your yardage cheat sheet in the mag.
MARCUS COLE [MAPLE GROVE, MN]
I don’t have any special words of wisdom for you. Those three guys all have pretty similar value. If you could trade one for an extra seventh-round pick, that would be simplify your decision (if your league allows that kind of move).
Will there be an updated version of the Schedultron that will include Scoring, Rushing and Passing that you have had in years past?
MARCUS COLE [MAPLE GROVE, MN]
I’ve run these numbers a few times in the past two months. I had the rushing and passing figures in the last edition of the Mailbag. (I also keep pointing out that my studies indicate that strength of schedule based on scoring, passing and rushing aren’t really very valuable.) I will concede, however, that plenty of folks want them. I’ll toss them up on the website next week.
Hey I just bought the magazine off the newsstand. I have every one since you first started in the ’80s. Can you recommend any total points leagues that are available for online league play ? I'm tired of having the most points every year and losing in the playoffs.
JOHN MARINO [BINGHAMTON, NY]
Hey, it’s better than just losing outright. I think most of the websites that run leagues online probably have settings where you can opt to play by total points. The trick is putting together a group that wants to play that way.
Question 3: Ian, in case you don't...
Posted by Jason Obusek | Jul. 24 at 02:39 PM
Ian, please ignore my brother for being yet ANOTHER reader who cannot resist shoving a magazine error in your face. If your actually reading the statistical breakdown of fantasy points per start for QB's then you spend too much time on the crapper. And I know I spelled "your" wrong, deal with it people!
Question 3: Ian, in case you don't...
Posted by JOSH OBUSEK | Jul. 26 at 02:09 AM
Ian, I am sorry that my brother's negativity has polluted your site. He's too dimwitted to realize that I just wanted you guys to know about the error. And to you, my brother, I will crush you once again this year! Thanks for MJD!
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