Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Aug. 25 at 07:40 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 cannot recall your stance on the QB/WR combo from the same team. Example for me would be Manning/Wayne.
JOHN THOMAS [SEVEN HILLS, OH]
As the years roll by, I have the feeling that the bar has been raised – that it tends to be harder to win. I suppose this is only true in some league. And it’s just a hunch. But it seems like there are more knowledgeable owners out there. More owners have more experience, and there’s easier access to information. With that in mind, I tend to think it makes more sense to put more eggs in one basic. If you’re in a 12-team league, it’s maybe not enough to simply be one of the guys who drafts a good team – hope that things fall your way. You have to take a few chances and hope you can catch lightning in a bottle. Anybody who drafted Tom Brady and Randy Moss two years ago, for example, ran away with their league. So maybe that’s a viable way to go. Be sure, however, to check those playoff weeks to see if your one-two punch will be enough to get you over the top in crunch time. With Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, it looks fine. In weeks 14-16, the Colts play Denver, Jacksonville and the Jets (with only the Jaguars game on the road). With New England, it could be more problematic. It plays Carolina, Buffalo and Jacksonville in those weeks – the matchups are fine, but the weather could be trouble for some of those games. New Orleans has a decent closing schedule (again, weeks 14-16): at Atlanta, then Dallas and Tampa Bay at home.
I've seen a lot of analysis on this site for strength of schedule, and I found the "Early Strength of Schedule" chart very helpful. Have you done an analysis of the Strength of Schedule for the traditional fantasy playoff weeks (Weeks 14-16)?
Richard Cooper [VILLANOVA, PA]
The easiest (by far) belongs to the Cardinals. They’ll play San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis, who went a combined 9-39 last season). Other easy ones: Kansas City (15-32-1), Houston (17-31), San Francisco (18-29-1), Cleveland (19-29). Hardest schedules: Jets (32-16), Jaguars (31-17), Rams (30-18), Giants (29-18-1), Saints (29-19) and Panthers (29-19).
I was looking at schedules and I saw that the Patriots play in the Northeast in weeks 15 and 16, which are my playoff weeks. Usually the weather is real bad and passing is tough in these conditions. Because of this, would you take Andre Johnson ahead of Randy Moss based on their schedules? Also Brees ahead of Brady? what are your thoughts on this strategy?
Ian Nelson [BOCA RATON, FL]
I have been impressed by Miami’s defense in the preseason. Their new cornerbacks look impressive. So I would not select Andre Johnson under the assumption that he’ll do better at Miami than Randy Moss will at home against the Jaguars in week 16. In a lot of scoring formats, however, I think the scheduling would be enough to put Brees ahead of Brady.
What happened to the "Strength of Schedule" section of the book this year? I liked this additional analysis and found it to be quite important when deciding between 2 "comparable" players.
JORGE GONZALEZ [MIAMI, FL]
We’ve got strength of schedule information posted on the website. Go to the main page and click on the Scheduletron link. As for the magazine, we did the lengthy feature story in 2008, but I actually considered following that up with an additional two-page spread. It appears that Strength of Schedule will play a much stronger role than usual this season, hurting players from the NFC South and AFC East, while helping teams from the two North divisions. I also like San Diego, being placed in a division with three teams with problems.
What do you make of McClain's 4th and 1 conversion in the first half with the first unit against the Jets on Monday night? There was no FB with him in the backfield. Based on everything I'd seen previously I was slicing up the Baltimore running production two-ways, should we now make some accommodation for McClain?
ANTHONY TANGORRA [CHICAGO, IL]
I’m all for giving McClain a slice of the pie, but it’s not going to be nearly as large as Rice’s or McGahee’s. That fourth-and-one conversion was out of a three-receiver set that create a pass-run uncertainty for the defense. It was not the jumbo set they will use at the goal line. When the Ravens get the ball on the 1-yard line against Kansas City on opening day, I do not see him going out there with three wides and McClain as the lone back. The jumbo set, I think, will have McClain as the blocking fullback, with McGahee behind him. If this team scores 18 rushing TDs, maybe 3-4 for McClain. About 7 for Rice. About 8 for McGahee.
Our QBs get .25 pts per completions. How does that effect where they rank on the overall board?
brian poisson [LIVONIA, MI]
In the NFL, the average completion goes for a little more than 11 yards. Most teams and quarterbacks finish pretty close to that mark – close enough for what we’re doing. So I suggest you just roll that completion bonus in with the yardages. If you give 1 point for every 20 passing yards, that’s the same as giving .55 points for every 11 passing yards. Add the .25 completion bonus and you’re giving .80 points for every 11 passing yards (or 1.45 points for every 20 passing yards). Go to our website. Plug in those figures in your SCORING PROFILE, and your CUSTOM CHEAT SHEET will be good to go.
Ian, I've noticed that when a team spends money/draft picks on their o-line, that running back tends to have a breakout season (see the Jets last season and the Browns the season before). Can you rank the o-lines please?
David Rohlicek [LA GRANGE, IL]
The list would be pretty similar to what ran on the feature starting on page 110 in the magazine. The Giants and Panthers appear to be the best. The Jets, Patriots, Titans and Eagles are near the top. The worst offensive lines appear to belong to the Bengals, Bills and Lions. Biggest mover down: Seattle, which could be without left tackle Walter Jones and center Chris Spencer for the first month of the season. Without those guys, the Seahawks have a bottom-5 line.
In your last update, you touched on the Saints RBs a bit but I was wondering if you knew why they started Mike Bell ahead of Pierre Thomas in the last game? At first, I thought they were sitting Thomas, but then he came trotting out on the field later. Obviously, Payton wanted to evaluate Bell with the first-string offense, but why not do that after your starter has worked up a lather and put on his baseball cap? That's what every other team does. I wasn't as concerned as I was confused.
L DALE GANDER [SUN PRAIRIE, WI]
I’m not sure, but I think Bell has pretty much nailed down the No. 3 job there. He looks better than he has in the past – a little faster. I think Bell will get a few touches there. And once Thomas or Reggie Bush gets hurt – and there’s no chance both of those guys will last 16 games – Bell should play a significant role.
Every year I seem to find your man crush on a wide receiver. This year it looks to be Anthony Gonzalez. Can you explain why you think he is ranked in the top 12? I'm surprised to see players like Colston, Houshmandzadeh, T.O., Bryant, Bowe all behind Gonzalez when he might be the 3rd option at Indy and all of those receivers are the clear No. 1.
Robert Sjoberg [SEATTLE, WA]
I believe Indianapolis will rank in the top 5 in passing (both yards and TDs), and it’s basically a three-man operation there – Wayne, Clark and Gonzalez. Those guys will be good. That trumps, in my opinion, those other guys. Owens: older guy who might not be able to stay healthy. Bryant: injured and stuck on a lousy team. Bowe: stuck on a lousy team and feuding with his coach. Colston: lots of other receivers there, and Colston’s coming off a knee surgery. Houshmandzadeh: lesser passing attack and there are plenty of other guys.
This will be our third year using the auction format. We typically spend big money on the top-tier RBs. Last year, the No. 6 RB went for $60; No. 7 went for $53. Significantly more than the auction tool says we should spend. RBBC and the low hit rate of top RBs will probably continue to drive down our spend this year, but it makes for a potentially tough situation. If we continue to spend at that level, how many top guys do you let go? Last thing I want is a very value-laden but mediocre roster. Thoughts?
Tom Duggan [CALIFON, NJ]
I don’t overpay for guys. If all 10 of the top running backs fetch prices that are higher than what I think they’re worth, then none of those guys will be on my team. This is no different than somebody writing in to complain that everybody else in their league will draft running backs with both of their first two draft picks, so doesn’t it make sense to draft a running back in the first round to make sure I don’t get left out at that position?
Drafted today for my PPR league, and I thought I'd share with you my "Fantasy Index-inspired-line-up." I was drafting 10th in a 10 team league ... 1. Larry Fitzgerald 2. Andre Johnson 3. Wes Welker 4. Reggie Bush 5. Ray Rice 6. Greg Olsen 7. Cedric Benson 8. Matt Ryan 9. Derrick Mason 10. Jay Cutler 11. Leon Washington 12. Minnesota D 13. Willis McGahee 14. Darren Sproles 15. Davone Bess 16. Ryan Longwell I feel pretty good about.
L.B. Graham [WILDWOOD, MO]
Looks good to me. Your team is an example of why it is not necessary to go into a draft operating under the assumption that you must draft a running back or two in the first three rounds. You will crush everyone at wide receiver (I assume you’re starting three). With Ryan and Cutler, quarterbacking is probably average. Same for tight end. And at running back, I think you’ll be fine with Bush, Rice, Benson and Washington – plus you’ve got Rice handcuffed and added Sproles as a high-upside roll-of-the-dice guy. Nice depth. You’ll do well with that team.
Long-time subscriber ... tough one here, I'd love to hear what you think. Two-player keeper league, I've got A. Peterson and have been offered Peyton. Scoring system: Standard, but 6 point QB TDs and bonuses for both QB and RB of an additional 3 points for 10-39 yard TDs, another 3 points for over 40 yard TDs. This really weighs heavy toward QBs obviously. I currently have A. Rodgers and Romo ... whatcha think? Thanks bro, keep on coming correct!
Jeff Carter [FRANKLIN, TN]
I would select Peyton Manning before Adrian Peterson in that format. Aaron Rodgers, however, looks very good – maybe just as good as Manning. So unless you have another trade up your sleeve, my leaning would be to keep Peterson and pair him with Rodgers.
A question regarding custom rankings. If I click on the points listed for a specific player how do I interpret those calculations. For example: MJD - Am I right in reading that you are projecting 1065 yds rushing for him and 9 TDs? Also only 421 yds receiving? I think I also see he is projected to score 1.7 receiving touchdowns. Is this right? These numbers seem too low. Also, how do I use the custom rankings to determine which player to take a head of another if its not in the same position. For example ... what rankings can I use to determine if I should draft Antonio Gates over a receiver such as Houshmandzadeh?
Bret Priaulx [Milwaukee, WI]
The stats you’re seeing for Maurice Jones-Drew are correct. We’ve got him scoring about 11 TDs and totaling around 1,500 yards. All of our projections include the probability of injury, so most running backs are projected to play about 14 games. That might be why they seem low to you. If you would prefer to just assume that Jones-Drew is going to play all 16 games, then you can increase those numbers by about 15 percent. For Jones-Drew, our 16-game forecast is 1,712 total yards and 12.5 TDs. As for calculating an overall board, go to the CUSTOM CHEAT SHEET area of the website, then click on AUCTION PROFILE (even though you’re not using an auction format). Answer those dozen questions. Then go back to the products section and click on the link for auction values customized for your league. That will give you separation for the top 150 or so players. We will soon add a new feature to the website. It will be basically the same questions you see in the Auction Profile, but will be re-worded for those in a straight-draft league. Basically, on those auction questions, which may seem confusing to you, we’re looking to see how many players of each position – QB, RB, WR, etc. – do you want to have in your overall top 80-100 players? After you give the computer that information, it will spit out the overall list.
I got first pick in a draft. I am tempted to trade it to the guy in third since he really wants to take Peterson and I would rather take Jones-Drew anyways (half a point per reception league). How do I determine what additional pick in another round would equal the value of him moving up to my first pick? He offered his first and second round for my first and third round. I have never traded drafted positions before, so I'm not quite sure what to do. Thoughts?
Dan Bridy [UPPER DARBY, PA]
Your job is to get as much as you can. Ideally, you trade away that first pick and get something like a fourth- or fifth-round pick in return. But that might not be possible. You might not have a willing trading partner. This guy isn’t offering you a significant trade. It’s more of a courtesy deal. You move back from 1.01 to 1.03, but you get to move up only three spots from pick 3.01 into the end of the second round. Big deal. You’ll probably end up taking the same player you would have selected at choice 3.01 anyway.
I have my keeper league's supplemental auction this weekend. 12 teams, 14 players, PPR league. However, we have an added wrinkle: punt return yardage for players. Who are RBs or WRs (first or second on the depth chart) who will be returning punts often if not all the time for their teams?
IAN MORRIS [SANTA ROSA, CA]
I’ll put Devin Hester, Reggie Bush and DeSean Jackson in the "probably category." They may be relieved of some of those duties to save them some wear and tear. Darren Sproles would be the biggest mover on your board; he’s definitely the punt guy in San Diego. You didn't mention kickoff returns, so I'm not including Leon Washington.
My league has 10 teams with 20 players each, and we're doing an auction for the first 5 players ($100 salary cap), then going to a draft for the remaining 15. I plugged in all the values into my custom scoring profile and guesstimates as to how many of each position would be bought vs. left over for draft. Looking at the outcome, I see that Tom Brady rates $73 whereas Brees' value is at $51. When I review their projections, they look roughly the same - certainly not a 41% difference. What explains that disparity, and do you think it's a good idea to spend 73% of your entire budget on one player?
DARREL OWEN [SACRAMENTO, CA]
I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend $73 on Brady or $51 on Brees. Those aren’t suggested bid prices. Those are suggested VALUES. That’s what Brady is worth. If you were to buy Brady for $73, you’d be on your way to compiling a collection of five guys that are worth about $100. What you want to do is put together five that are worth at least $150. As for why Brady would be worth $22 more than Brees, my guess is that it’s a TD-only format. Brees should finish with more yards. In a TD-only format, I see Brady as having a good chance to throw maybe 3 more TDs than Brees. In an auction with a very limited number of players being purchased, that type of difference would result in Brady being worth a chunk more.
I have the 9th pick in a 10-team league. We score 6 pts for a QB passing TD, and for yardage and receptions. Do you have specific advice on a 9th-draft position? As I see it, the premium RBs should be gone. I should draft a premium QB and WR over RBs (albeit if Brees, Brady, and Manning are gone, a premium RB should be still available). What do you think?
PATRICK KEHOE [STRASBURG, VA]
When I hear PPR, I start getting very interested in pass catchers. With choices 1.09 and 2.02, I’d be looking at selecting at least one wide receiver. Maybe two. That second wide receiver would have to be weighed against the upside of selecting one of the elite quarterbacks.
Is 4th overall too high for a receiver? I traded down from No. 1 to No. 4 overall because I'm not in love with Peterson. M. Turner and S. Jackson will be left on the board at 4, but I'm considering taking Fitzgerald or Moss because I know that there will be nothing left at receiver by the time my next pick comes around. No. 7-10 is where I think most players are thinking stud WR. Is No. 4 too early to go WR?
Craig Scott [Regina, SK]
A receiver could make sense there. Moss or Fitzgerald. DeAngelo Williams also is in the mix. Answer would depend on league rules. A trade down could be a wise move, if you could pick up some extra value.
I am in a league, for the first time, with the following settings: Players: 2 QB, 2RB, 2 WR, 1 RB/WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 Def, 7 bench players. It's 6 points for all touchdowns, standard yardage points and PPR of .5 points for receivers only and we have 10 people playing. My question is, With 2 quarterbacks instead of 1, how much does this change the value of quarterbacks ? I have the 2nd pick, and am thinking of using it on a quarterback. Would that be wise? In the custom scoring valuations that Fantasy Football Index has, it doesn't include one with 2 quarterbacks for each team.
GEOFF GREGGS [NORTH BEND, WA]
With the double quarterback rule, probably the first five draft picks should all be quarterbacks. And this can be accounted for in the custom rankings. Click on CUSTOM CHEAT SHEET. Then go to AUCTION PROFILE. Normally, with a 10-team league, you might say that you expected ~22-25 quarterbacks to be selected, and maybe 11 of those to go for more than the league minimum ($1 salary). In your league, I would guess that about 33 quarterbacks would be selected, and about 20 of them would be worth than the $1 minimum. Punch in those answers. Then go to the VIEW PRODUCTS section, and click on the link allowing you to see “Custom Auction Values”. You’ll see a top 50 there, and probably the first five guys will all be quarterbacks.
I am in a PPR 8-man league and I have the 4th pick. Pretty sure its going to go AP, Fitz, and MJD the first 3 picks. I read what you said about Forte so it has made me think he is not the obvious choice with the 4th pick. Would it be smart to go after like a Moss here or stick with a RB and go Steven Jackson or someone else?
Ian Nelson [BOCA RATON, FL]
Randy Moss would be the highest guy on my board, followed by DeAngelo Williams.
I am in a 10-team league with a snake draft. All TDs are 6 pts and we get 1 pt for every 15 yds rushing/receiving and 1 pt for 20 yds passing. We draft 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR and a TE. I have always drafted 2 RBs with my first 2 picks and have had great success with drafting a QB in the 7th to 10th round. I have the 5th pick and am leaning toward taking Brees with my pick and then getting a RB with pick 2. Am I crazy for doing this? I know I will shock everyone in the room if I go that direction but I think Brees will give me a great head start in winning the league AGAIN!
TROY MARSHALL [HIAWATHA, IA]
In your league, you’ve increased the value of quarterbacks by making TD passes worth 6 points. You’ve also decreased running backs and wide receivers by moving yardage at that position down to 1 point for every 15 yards. Without running the exact numbers, I’m confident that the first three picks of the draft should be Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers probably should be in the top 5 as well. You definitely should look to address the quarterback position in the first two rounds. They only way I would even consider not going quarterback in the first round would be if I were confident I could get one of those five in the second round.
Entering a very informal league full of fantasy rookies. How early is too early to take one of the Big 3 at QB in the draft? It's a standard yardage league (but 5 for Pass TD and 6 for Rush/Rec) and I'm confident a lot of players like Ray Rice will be available later than in more competitive leagues. I'm thinking of grabbing Brady or Brees with a Top-5 pick since the top QBs are probably the one position where the top prospects won't drop too far. Crazy?
Jason Lent [HONOLULU, HI]
No. That might be a good idea. With not much of a difference between the value of a TD pass and other TDs, those quarterbacks should be valuable players.
I have the option to keep DeAngelo Williams or Brian Westbrook in a 10 team PPR League. Williams has a tough schedule and only had one good season while Westbrook has injury and age issues. I usually stay away from high-risk players, but I feel like it would be a crime to release both players. Who should I keep?
Andrew Billings [MERIDEN, CT]
I’d keep Williams and drop Westbrook. Williams put up 20 TDs and over 1,600 yards last year, so I don’t think we need to worry about him being unproven or a one-year wonder.
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