Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Aug. 14 at 03:20 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 was wondering what a short list of individual KR/PR would be for this year. No other points awarded but TDs.
John Stout [USA]
Over the last 10 years, there have been 149 touchdowns scored on punt returns and 144 scored on kickoffs. So we’re not talking about a lot of scores. Probably 15 punt returns (for the entire league) and maybe 12-13 KO – they’ve got that new rule limiting wedges, so I’m knocking down the kickoff average for 1-2 TDs. I’ll go with Darren Sproles as my top guy; he’ll return both kickoffs and punts, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t return at least one for a score at some point. Clifton Smith is a similar type of guy; scored on both a kickoff and punt last year. Johnnie Lee Higgins returned 3 punts for touchdowns last year; with him emerging at wide receiver, I’m not certain he’ll be a double-duty guy again. Devin Hester, Roscoe Parrish and Jacoby Jones have to figure in there; they are all elite punt returners, but none adds that extra dimension of also returning kickoffs. Chris Carr of Baltimore will return both kickoffs and punts; I’ll stick him on the list. DeSean Jackson is good on punt returns, but he won’t return kickoffs and I’m worried they may pull him off punts at some point – they also have Jeremy Maclin. Reggie Bush looked very good while returning 3 punts for TDs last year, and he’s supposedly going to return them again; I’m nervous about him, however, with him coming off the knee surgery. And Minnesota rookie Percy Harvin is a wild-card possibility – definitely has game-changing speed.
I'm in a 10-team league with basic scoring. All TDs are 6 points. start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, D, K. Most publications rank the top RBs far ahead of the top QBs. Where do you rank Brees, Brady, Manning in this scoring system?
TERRY MEEHAN [JAMISON, PA]
They should be the top 3 picks in the draft, in my opinion. As for why show many fantasy writers lock in on the idea that you have to take a running back in the first round, I have no idea. Certainly, they don’t have any numbers to back up such a claim. With Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, you’re talking about three quarterbacks that each as a very good chance to finish with more than 30 touchdowns. If you select one of those guys, you’re going to finish about 10 TDs ahead of the guys in your league who opt to wait until the seventh or eighth round to address that position. You simply don’t get the same kind of pop from a running back.
I want to believe in Frank Gore, since I'll be picking late in the first round this year. I read that the 49ers want to run the ball more. That's fine in theory, but in practice, every time Gore runs into a 10-man front on 1st and 10, all of a sudden it's 2nd-and-long -- a passing situation. Does San Francisco, with their suspect offensive line, really have the personnel to control games on the ground? In Denver, I'm wondering which back could emerge in passing situations. Orton threw a ton of passes to Forte in Chicago, and Denver has LaMont Jordan who's historically been an effective receiver -- and Peyton Hillis also can catch the ball. Then there's the Moreno kid. Does any Denver back have a shot at catching 40 balls, and is there any early word on whom might get the call on passing downs? Lastly, Kevin Smith looked like he might catch 50 balls in Detroit last season until Culpepper took over at QB, then his involvement in the passing game dipped until Dan Orlovsky came back and saved the day (Ahem.) What will a new offensive coordinator mean for Smith's usage in the receiving game? As always, great publication. 4 titles in 5 years, thanks to you fine gentlemen.
Jacob Wilson [Crandall, TX]
Gore was a dynamite running back in San Francisco until Mike Martz came along. Martz doesn’t call enough running plays. It’s as simple as that. With Martz gone, the 49ers can get back to feeding Gore the ball and trying to beat up people on the ground. He ran for 1,695 yards in 2006 – I’ll take him on my team. As for Denver, I think they’re looking for Moreno to be close to a full-time player sooner rather than later. I hear he’s going to start their first preseason game. He was a terrific pass catcher at Georgia, averaging 13 yards per catch. That’s a big number. Of the 27 running backs who caught at least 30 passes last year, for example, only five averaged more than 9 yards per reception (Steven Jackson, at 9.5, was No. 1). In Detroit, look for Smith’s involvement in the passing game to decrease. He’s not going to play as much – he was essentially an every-down back for most of last year – and I could see him on the sidelines on a lot of passing downs. They signed Maurice Morris in the offseason, and Morris appears to be a better pass catcher.
Our league uses 3WR, 2RB, 1QB, 1K,and 3 defensive players (10 teams). When I read the draft strategy that is recommended by the Index, I understand that it is recommended to pick up non-RBs early in the draft My league traditionally drafts mostly RBs in the first round. Historically, Probably 8 or 9 of 10 players picked in first round are RB. I'm worried that if I were to use your rankings I'd be stuck without a decent RB since the demand for RBs would drain most of the good supply away. Is this a legitimate concern or do you think I should just bank on picking up 2nd- and 3rd-tier running backs in rounds 4-5? I'm worried even the 2nd tier guys might be gone by that time!
Jay Tennant [CHICAGO, IL]
I’ve participated in a couple of drafts hosted by Fanex. This league is as crazy as any in regards to trying to grab running backs. Typically, you see 0, 1 or 2 players from other positions selected in the first round (and these are 12-team leagues). In the Fanex FAD my six running backs are Reggie Bush (3.11), LenDale White (5.11), Cedric Benson (6.02), Ray Rice (8.02), Leon Washington (9.11) and Ahmad Bradshaw (12.10). In the Fanex Head-to-Head league my four running backs (so far) are Ray Rice (4.11), Cedric Benson (5.02), LenDale White (6.03) and Leon Washington (9.02). That’s the type of group of running backs you could be putting together. Not sure if you’re comfortable with that or not. I am.
My keeper league scores passing, running and throwing TDs all equal, making QBs extremely valuable. I have been offered the rights to Philip Rivers, which would cost me a 6th rounder, and he gets my 4th round pick. I have three 4th-round picks this year (and no third rounder) due to past trades. Also picking 10th, so I will miss out on the big three QBs. Too much to give?
Steve Tortora [WALLINGFORD, CT]
I would make that deal. In that scoring format, Rivers is the No. 4 player on the overall board. At 10 points per touchdown (there’s no points for yards, right?) he adds a projected 87 points of value to your franchise. That is, he should be 8-9 TDs better than the quarterbacks you can get cheap in your draft (I figure in an auction, you might be able to get Matt Hasselbeck or Trent Edwards for the $1 minimum bid – those guys are down around 15th and 16th at quarterback). So 87 points of value. What kind of added value can you get from fourth and sixth round picks? If they were to wind up being the No. 20 and No. 40 players on my board (suppose some value guys fell, that would be 34 and 18 points in added value). 87 points is a lot more than 52 points, so I’d do the deal.
I know I mentioned him before, but Dallas Clark suffered yet another concussion (mild) in training camp, has missed 4 practices in a row, will miss the preseason opener, and might not even be ready to practice on Monday ... aren't you now just the slightest bit worried about Clark, given his track record with injuries and concussions?
Rob Dammers [Morris Plains , NJ]
I'm definitely worried about Dallas Clark. I have been all along. If you look at the projections for the tight ends, he's one of the few elite tight ends that I haven't projected to start 16 games. I've got him projected to start 15 games (which decreases his value by about 6 percent). If you were to guarantee me that Clark would play all 16 games, then I would definitely want him over Gates, Gonzalez, Witten, and all the other tight ends. With the uncertainty over his durability, I've still got Clark as being better than those guys, but not by as much. This latest injury, though, doesn't have a big impact on my thinking. He's a risk, but not much more of a risk than he was back in July or June or May.
I need to do a customized scoring profile for three leagues but I do not want to have to keep changing data for each. Is this possible?
Robert Driscoll [DREXEL HILL, PA]
It’s not possible today. But it will be possible very soon – maybe by the time you get your revised rankings on Monday morning. The programmers are working on it.
Based on one of your mailbag responses back in July, our PPR (WR/TE only) league tweaked our rules to allow a tight end to be used in the 3rd WR spot in addition to the tight end spot. We also employ a wild-card spot that can be used for any position (most teams used QBs). What impact do you think this will have on our 12-team drauction (8 round auction/7 round draft)? Tight ends were typically an afterthought, with 6-8 being selected for only 2-3 percent of the auction dollars.
Ed Weiss [PARSIPPANY, NJ]
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a “Drauction” is a combination of a draft and an auction. In this case, each team is given a payroll to bid on eight players, and then it turns into a straight draft. In my opinion, the driving rule here isn’t the tight end twist, which increases their value only slightly (now, after an owner buys Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates, he still has the flexibility to perhaps buy another tight end). Instead, it’s the clause allowing teams to use two quarterbacks. If you look at the expected production of lesser quarterbacks like Kerry Collins, Marc Bulger, Brady Quinn and whatnot, you’ll see they compare very favorably with the running backs and wide receivers you might consider for that flex spot. I can some brief numbers on this league, and my opinion is that 15 of the 31 highest-paid players at your auction should be quarterbacks. According to my math, only eight tight ends should be among the 96 players purchased in your auction, and none of those guys are in my top 44.
In a league that rewards QBs 6 points for TDs and 1 point for each 20 yards, RBs & WRs 6 points for TDs and 1 point for each 10 yards what type of draft strategy would you recommend? We have 17-man rosters and start 2 QBs, 3 WRs, 2 RBs, one WR or RB, 1 TE, 1 DEF, and 1 PK. I have always gone for balance in the past and have been successful but this year there doesn’t seem to be as dominant a RB run early as there has been in past years. Oh forgot one thing there are -2 for INT thrown and -2 for fumble lost as well. What are your thoughts and thanks for your awesome work. (P.S. I did go to the custom cheat sheet but that doesn’t list a top 35 like your regular sheet.
Mike Peterson [ORANGEVALE, CA]
Without looking at the exact numbers, I’m sure that the computer will recommend that it will be quarterbacks with the top 3 overall choices. Maybe No. 4 and 5 as well. With the double-quarterback rule, you’re increasing demand for that position. To get our overall board, go to the Custom Cheat Sheet area. Click on the tab AUCTION PROFILE. There’s a dozen a so questions you’ll need to answer. Assuming it’s a 12-team league, there will be 204 players selected. I would guess the breakdowns would go something along the lines of 33 quarterbacks being selected, with 23 of those being worth more than $1.00 minimum. 55 running backs (37 worth more than the $1.00 minimum). 68 wide receivers (40 worth more than the minimum). 18 tight ends (8 worth more than the minimum). 15 kickers (1 worth more than the minimum). 15 defenses (4 worth more than the minimum). Plug in those numbers and you’ll get an overall top 50. You’ll also get an exact dollar value for each player, essentially giving you an overall top 150 before you get into all of the remaining players being worth $1.00).
I am in a dynasty league. I have the opportunity to trade the No. 1 pick in our rookie draft this year for Greg Jennings. Right now, I would take Knowshon Moreno with that pick. My question: Would it be better to have Moreno or Jennings on my team over the next five years?
Tim Kennedy [United States]
I’d take Moreno. I think he’ll be a very good pass-catching back, racking up 40-50 receptions every year. Couple that with 1,000-1,200 rushing yards and you could have one of the truly elite and coveted players for a chunk of years.
I asked this yesterday about the custom cheat sheet. I entered in my leagues scoring system. Pretty basic. and then answered the auction questions and used the default settings from your link. The list generated with an overall top 50. Is it possible that Philip Rivers is a top 10 overall pick and Kurt Warner in the top 20?
Bill Petilli [MOUNT VERNON, NY]
If your league awards as many points for TD passes as other touchdowns, that increases their value. The other way to raise or lower their value on the overall board is by changing the numbers you plug into the AUCTION PROFILE (even if you’re doing a straight draft rather than an auction, this is a tool everyone should be using). In particular, there’s a question in there that reads, “How many quarterbacks do you feel will go for more than $1.00 minimum bid?” If you answer ‘15’, then the overall value for Drew Brees is determined by subtracting from his value the expected production of quarterback 16 (the best guy you can get for the minimum). If, looking at the overall board, you feel that quarterbacks are over-represented, then change that quarterback answer in the AUCTION PROFILE. If you roll it down to 9 (from 15), then it will reduce the value of those top quarterbacks. At 9, you’re basically saying that you don’t think Matt Ryan will be a priority for the people in your league – that you could get him for $1 in an auction, or with a later-round pick in a draft.
I have the 2nd pick in a PPR 10-team League. We start 3 RB and 3 WR with a RB/WR Flex Position, thus, the potential to start 4 WRs. Am I completely nuts to consider a Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson with the #2 pick? My thought is to go WRs with my first 2 or 3 picks and then transition to best available from there.
Matt Brown [LINCOLN, NE]
Sounds good to me. I was in a similar situation in the ongoing Fanex draft. I had the No. 2 choice overall and was prepared to select Larry Fitzgerald. Instead, I traded away that choice for picks 1.10 and 4.02. If I hadn’t made the deal, I would have picked Fitzgerald.
Thanks for all your hard work throughout the years. I have the first overall pick in a 10-team keeper league (standard yardage based scoring system). I am keeping Calvin Johnson and DeSean Jackson. Basically my first pick comes down to LaDainian Tomlinson or Andre Johnson. Does it make more sense to stack my wideouts or should I grab L.T.?
Phillip Urban [Buffalo, NY]
I’d go with Johnson. Better player, and a lot younger. You potentially could keep Johnson next year. No way would you want to make one of your protected players a 31-year-old running back.
As you are much better evaluating numbers than I, here's the question. I'm in a 12 team league drafting 10th in a serpentine draft and I have a draft trade offer. I give up the 15th, 39th, and 63rd pick in exchange for the 24th, 25th, and 72nd pick. Do the numbers indicate thumbs up or down on this deal?
JOHN RUPPE [FORT MYERS, FL]
If everyone picks the guy I think they should, then you’d be better off choosing 24th, 25th and 72nd. When I run the numbers, that trio of picks comes in 10 percent ahead of the others (when comparing not overall numbers, but bang-for-you buck numbers).
I'm in a 12-player PPR (1/2 pt per rec) keeper league picking 7th in the first round and would like your opinion of my proposed strategy. I am keeping Fitzgerald and will sacrifice my 3rd round pick. I'm thinking of foregoing the traditional RB in the first 2 rounds and emphasizing WRs by taking Calvin Johnson with my first pick and Reggie Wayne or Greg Jennings or best available WR in the 2nd round, thereby potentially giving me 3 top 10 WRs in the first 3 rounds. My plan is to then select (hopefully) a top-5 passing QB (Rivers, Rodgers) in round 4 and perhaps a top 5 TE (if available) like Gates or Olsen. From looking at dozens of mock drafts my thinking is I still might be able to grab Jonathan Stewart or Derrick Ward or maybe lesser starters like Jamal Lewis, Cedric Benson and Julius Jones, and fill-in with rookies like Shonn Greene or Knowshon Moreno (if very lucky) and still be competitive. I'm kind of excited about having 3 top WRs, but can't help but wonder if I'm nuts for waiting this long to begin selecting RBs.
HUGH HIGGINS [LYONS, IL]
The overall strategy looks OK. But you’re nuts if you think Knowshon Moreno is going to be around in the late rounds. He’ll be a top-20 running back in every draft. And I think Cedric Benson will outperform Stewart, Ward, Lewis and Jones – he’s better than those guys.
If I have the No. 2 overall pick in a 12-team standard league draft. I have someone that has the 8th pick and wants to trade. To switch in that round what should I ask for in return?
Bill Petilli [MOUNT VERNON, NY]
If you can trade your last pick and pick 1.02 for choices 1.08 and 3.08, that would be very nice. If the deal is for 1.08 and 4.05, I would definitely still be interested. Ultimately, I would also be willing to move it for choices 1.08 and 5.08.
Question 2: I'm in a 10-team league...
Posted by Roy Antley | Aug. 14 at 08:42 AM
Not really disagreeing with Ian here, but you have to keep in mind that most guys who wait to draft QBs in the middle rounds pick 2 or 3 of them and play the matchups. It's usually not that tough to get a reliable 240+ yds and 2 TDs each week from a group of mid-tier QBs. More difficult, IMO, to find a steady 80 yds and a TD from a group of time-share or lesser starting RBs.
Question 2: I'm in a 10-team league...
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Aug. 15 at 04:37 AM
In regards to mix-and-match quarterbacks, suppose you had drafted Eli Manning, David Garrard, Jake Delhomme and Jason Campbell last year. Go through the schedule from last year, guess which guy you would have started, and see how many weeks you would have gotten 240-plus yards and 2 TDs.
Question 2: I'm in a 10-team league...
Posted by David Althouse | Aug. 17 at 03:48 PM
I agree with Ian here. I guess what wasn't stressed in his answer was that this is only the case for a 6-pt passing TD league(the one you described). My league only awards 4-pts for a passing TD which inflates the value of RBs over QBs. In any case if your pick isnt 1-3 then go RB in RD1 based on your scoring system.
Question 12: I have the 2nd pick...
Posted by Tod Denison | Aug. 15 at 04:13 AM
I'm confused about this answer as well, Ian says he traded down, but would have selected Fitzgerald if he picked 2nd. In the updates, Moss is #1 receiver......(huh?)
Question 12: I have the 2nd pick...
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Aug. 15 at 04:35 AM
Scoring system. I've got Moss higher than Fitzgerald in Yards+TD, but Fitzgerald is higher in a PPR format.
Question 13: Thanks for all your hard...
Posted by Jeff Schwarze | Aug. 14 at 07:25 AM
I always make sure to grab a copy of your Scheduletron before I go into my drafts. One thing I think you should modify is your respect to strength of schedule report (with respect to W-L records). Don't use last year's W-L record to determine who's got easy/hard schedules. Teams at the extremes (ie., 1-15) tend to skew the results. A better measure would be to use the Las Vegas Projected Win totals (i.e., the over/under) instead. Thanks
Question 15: I'm in a 12-player PPR...
Posted by Jered Ottenwess | Aug. 14 at 05:17 AM
Quote from Ian: "And I think Cedric Benson will outperform Stewart, Ward, Lewis and Jones – he’s better than those guys." You have D. Ward as #12 RB in the mag versus #18 for Benson, and your projections from my last download have him getting 18 more receptions, 30 more rush yards, equal TD's compared to Benson. Am I missing something? Do you think Ward's value has decreased because of Coach Morris' comments about a RBBC approach? In PPR it would seem Ward is better because as you note, TB has thrown a lot of balls to the backs in recent years.
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