Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Sep. 08 at 03:22 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 know you have reasons for putting guys where you put them, but here is my question/logic. Steven Jackson and Frank Gore, both injury issues and bad teams vs. Slaton and LT, where you know what you are getting with LT and possible upside on Slaton. And why does Barber rank so low? Jones was there last year until he got hurt and Barber was actually better then after he got hurt and got run into the ground
JOE SERVI [MONTEREY, CA]
Slaton should lose a lot of goal-line touches; for me, that’s a concern. And Houston – Slaton in particular – also didn’t run the ball very well in the exhibitions, which is worrying. As for Tomlinson, I may be in the minority on this, but I fear that he’s done. He’s a 30-year-old back running on bald tires. Anyone who caught holding the bag on Shaun Alexander a few years back won’t draft Tomlinson, I can tell you that. As for Barber, he’s share time with Felix Jones (who might be a better runner). I’d rather hook up the wagon behind Jackson or Gore, who play for lesser teams but are full-time guys.
Can you shed some light on Sammy Morris? I put a lot of stock in your rankings of TD league and drafted him as a 4th back and a major sleeper who I was going to use. I am a little worried about BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Can you see who is the goal-line back?
DARYL DORSEY [AMARILLO, TX]
I think Morris will get the bulk of those carries. I think he’ll be their guy when the team gets the ball inside the 3-yard line. I expect New England to score something like 17 rushing touchdowns this year, so I could see Morris punching in about 10 TDs. There is, of course, some uncertainty and risk involved. If you want to back up that Morris investment, you may want to stash away Green-Ellis on the end of your bench. If they don’t use Morris as their goal-line guy (or if he gets hurt), then I believe they’ll plug Green-Ellis into that role.
Does Forte have a true handcuff now? I would take Wolfe over Peterson (the other one), but I'm guessing they'll sign someone soon, or especially if Forte went down. My sense is, if that happened, this becomes a "by committee" situation. Is Wolfe hanging on to, or are you better off just using that roster spot on someone else?
L DALE GANDER [SUN PRAIRIE, WI]
I see an article in the Chicago Tribune that suggests Garrett Wolfe is the guy. He’s awfully small, though, so he and Peterson probably would share time. And the Bears no doubt are looking around, considering adding another running back.
Keeping 8. Patriots QB, Turner, Tomlinson, Ronnie Brown, Andre Johnson, and Wayne, are in. Other teams seem to be keeping more receivers, since we started giving WR 1/2 PPR and TE 1 PPR. Last 2 spots come down to Mendenhall, Sproles, Roy Williams, and Antonio Bryant, maybe even LJ. I might be able to trade Roy or Antonio for a late pick. Which 2 would you keep? I know you're busy, but things seem to have changed since you put out the keeper cheat sheet. You had Bryant at #17 and Williams at #26. The backs at 32, 33, 34 (talk about a tough choice). What do you think today? PS: When watching a Saints home game, does the Superdome announcer sound like Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau to you?
JOHN MACHO [NEW MARKET, MN]
Definitely Sproles. You’ve got Tomlinson, so Sproles is mandatory. I’m not high on any of the other guys, so I would happily trade any of them for late picks and then protect who’s ever left over. As for the Saints’ PA guy, I haven’t heard him but will listen for him in the background the next time I’m watching one of their games. I see on the team’s website that his name is Jerry Romig, and that he’s been with the team since 1969. That’s before the move to the Superdome. And Romig was the stadium announcer when Tom Dempsey hit his legendary 63-yard field goal in 1970.
With all the recent change to the Patriots defense, would you still rank them ahead of the Miami defense (defense only, not special teams)? Also, out of those two and Seattle, which defense do you project to score the most points in week 1 (again, no special teams points)?
Chris Thompson [Los Angeles, CA]
Miami’s defense caught my eye in the preseason. That rookie corner, Sean Smith, looks like he’s going to help them. Pass rush looks good. So I’ll give them a slight edge over the Patriots. But I expect Seattle to outproduce both of those units this week. Every time I saw the Rams’ first-team offense in the preseason, it couldn’t protect the quarterback, so I’ll bet that the Seahawks generate plenty of quarterback pressure in that game, and that tends to result in sacks, fumbles and interceptions.
I am in a yardage+TD league with normal scoring except 6 points for TD passes (rather than 4). I had the second pick, and despite knowing Brady was the correct pick, selected DeAngelo Williams thinking Rodgers or Rivers would lap. I was wrong. My team is very solid except for QB. My QBs are Roethlisberger and Flacco. Should I offer a trade of Williams and Roethlisberger for Sproles and Peyton Manning? This is the only team with a top QB weak enough at RB to consider a deal, I think. Not sure if I'd really rather have Manning and Rice/Moreno or Williams/Roethlisberger.
john stolzmann [long beach, CA]
If it makes you feel better, I bought Roethlisberger and Flacco to be my two quarterbacks at an auction last week. I think you’ll be fine with those guys. According to my numbers, Manning will be worth 60 more points than Roethlisberger over the season, but Williams projects to be 90 better than Sproles. I think you sit tight.
Magazine is terrific as usual. How much would you upgrade running backs in general with .25 points going for every rushing attempt (PPR as well)? We start 1 QB, 2 RB and 3 WR so I was going to target the top wide receivers since it's a 12-team league and point per reception format. However, franchise backs like Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson score a ton of points in this quarter-of-a-point per carry format, even though their receiving numbers aren't great. Even a guy like Jamal Lewis, who is painfully ineffective, has strong value because he typically receives a lot of carries.
Don Goss [USA]
We have the CUSTOM CHEAT SHEET feature at the website, which allows you to customize our rankings for your scoring system. You just need to click on the “SCORING PROFILE” link and punch in your requirement. Rushing attempts aren’t part of that right now (I believe they’ll be added next year), but there is a work-around that is close enough for government work. Just assume that each running back will average 4 yards per carry and convert those attempts to yards. So right now, if you’re giving 1 point for every 10 rushing yards, change that to 1.626 points for every 10 rushing yards (1 point for the 10 yards, and .625 for the two and half rushing attempts).
Can I rely on your September 7 customized cheat sheet auction values? It appears to me that you've bumped up the production of the quarterbacks from the July 24 Internet Extra to September 7. For example, at July 24 Peyton Manning was valued at 78% of Tom Brady's value, and he was 13th OVERALL, and today he is valued at 84% of Brady, and number 5 OVERALL (behind Brady, Brees, Rivers, and Rodgers.) I won't bore you with the details of our scoring system, but it's the same with the July numbers as the September numbers. We're 16 teams, all TDs are 3 points and get bumped up a point every 3 yards for rushing and every 15 yards for passing/receiving.
LOUIS KOUTSKY [S PASADENA, CA]
I’m constantly tinkering around with the projections for all of the teams and players, so plenty of shifting and settling occurs between late July and early September. As for those two particularly players, they haven’t moved around a lot. If I were to pick through all of the different rankings over the last six weeks, I would think that Brady has been within a touchdown pass of 32.5 TD passes all along. And I believe Manning has been within a TD pass of 31 TD passes all along. A key difference between those players, which is not reflected in the overall numbers, is the closing schedule. In weeks 14-16, which are key in a lot of fantasy formats, Manning has a far more favorable schedule. In those weeks, he’s at home against the Broncos and Jets and on the road at Jacksonville. Brady in those weeks might have to deal with adverse weather – at Buffalo and home games against Jacksonville and Carolina.
In my 3rd and final draft this year I picked 9th out of 14 in a standard scoring (except 6 pts also for TD passes) league, and I decided to test the new philosophy of waiting out on RBs, but I think I took it too far. Just want to see what you think. We start 1Q 2R 2W 1T 1K 1D and have any 6 bench players. Non-keeper league. At 1.09 I almost went for Brees (Brady was gone), but decided to go for two stud WRs, so I went with Randy Moss, then in the 2nd I snagged Andre Johnson. Sweet. I ended up waiting until the 6th round to take my first RB, and my RBs are ugly. I have Cedric Benson, Jamal Lewis (might be cut now), Chester Taylor, Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney. Yikes. But the rest of my starting lineup is excellent -- Warner, Moss, Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, Kaeding and the Vikings. I also have Derrick Mason and Donnie Avery as backup WRs and Pennington for hopefully just the one Arizona bye-week. Based on my crappy RBs, do you think I took the "wait on RBs" approach a little too far?
SCOTT BRADY [COLLEGEVILLE, PA]
In a 14-team league, the talent gets spread thin, so every team will have a hole or two. Your team appears to have just the one hole for now, where you’re thin at that second running back spot. But I’m sure you’ll be able to patch it along the way. Maybe Adrian Peterson gets hurt, and you’re able to stick Taylor into that spot. Or maybe Lewis, Buckhalter or Maroney exceeds expectations. Mason is probably the best No. 3 receiver in that league; you might be able to trade him. Or you might be able to work out a trade with one of the teams holding Peterson or Moreno. Is James Davis available? He might be a good guy to add.
OK my 10 team 0.5 PPR draft is over. With 6 pts per TD pass, the top QBs were the highest ranked on my sheets, but I went with Forte at with the #4 pick, thinking I could get one of the big 4 in round 2. Well low and behold I land Brady at #17! I then take Wayne in the 3rd and this brings me to my question. In round 4, Rodgers was still there and I took him to prevent someone in my league from getting that bargain. Have you ever employed this strategy this early in a draft? I will say that I landed Ochocinco, A. Gonzalez, Rice, Benson, Mason and Hester right after that. About the only thing in hindsight that cost me was perhaps a chance to pick D. Clark. I ended up with Shiancoe in the 14th round. Did I blow the draft by doing this? What you do to leverage Rodgers?
Troy Frerichs [NORMAL, IL]
In an auction last year, I got stuck with Drew Brees when I was trying to drive up the price. I already had Tom Brady. That worked out just fine – I wouldn’t have won that league without that mistake. Looking at your team, I see the same sort of situation. Your team is good enough to win with Rodgers as a backup. You don’t have to trade him. So if nobody wants to make a fair offer – a top-30 overall player – then I think you just hang onto him. Rodgers is a heck of a player. You may start him ahead of Brady some weeks. And maybe Brady, not Rodgers, is the guy you move.
I'm sorry, but are the cheat sheet rankings based upon the player's projected performance for the entire season or are they ranked by their projected performance in the very next game?
Mike Beaver [LAKELAND, FL]
The Cheat Sheet is based on overall value – how we’d draft them if we were selecting a franchise for the entire season. We have another product coming out on Wednesday called the Fantasy Index Weekly. In that one, we rank the players just for that week’s games. We usually have a couple of guys who get a hold of those Week 1 predictions and accidentally use them as a selection list at their draft.
This is the 2nd year I have used your cheat sheets and I love them. Here is my team and I wanted to know what you think. It's an 8-man PPR league with 6 pts for passing TDs. I went with Moss, Brady, Boldin, Witten, Anthony Gonzalez, Benson, Jacobs, Bush, Driver, Olsen, McNabb, Hightower, Minnesota defense, Leon Washington, Chicago defense, Jason Elam. What do you think? I probably took Benson a little high because I know he is low other lists so I could of gotten like a Pierre Thomas and got Benson in the next round but I picked up Bush so that should be OK. Also, when I took Olsen, Kurt Warner was available for my 2nd QB and I know his playoff schedule is super easy so I should of taken him and Hightower in the next round but overall I think I did OK. What do you think?
Ian Nelson [BOCA RATON, FL]
I think you’ll do very well with that group. That’s an example of why there’s no need to panic in the early rounds at running back. You could have forced a running back choice in the fourth round. Instead you went with Jason Witten, who might be the No. 1 player at the tight end position.
We've got a strange format. We draft 4 QB, 6 RB, 6 WR. There's no add/drop during the season, and we don’t pick starters. Simply, we get points for our top 2 QB, 3 RB, and 3 WR each week. In my opinion this diminishes the value of taking WRs with early picks, and the goal with late round WR picks is to find guys who are capable of putting up four or five big weeks, as opposed to players who are consistent. Would you agree that this diminishes the value of WR? And do you have any late-round WRs I should be targeting?
John Delfin [Mississauga, ON]
I have participated in many “best ball” leagues over the years. That’s how we run the Mock Draft and Mock Auction in the magazine, and I’ve also down the Fanex Analysis Draft that’s hosted by the guys at Fanex Football. In those leagues, I see a lot of guys treating those final half dozen picks as almost throwaway guys. They’ll take a flyer on a guy like Michael Vick or Plaxico Burress, hoping he’ll develop into something. Or they’ll take a speedy receiver like Joey Galloway, figuring if he hauls in an 80-yard touchdown, he’ll be a contributor that week. I’m more interested in making sure that every pick counts. I try to select guys who are definitely going to start, stay healthy and contribute for 16 games – guys who are going to give you another paddle in the water. Those leagues tend to become a battle of attrition. When you look at the rosters in the middle of November, only a handful of teams still have a functional roster because of all the injuries. So I would advise to you to tend to stick with good, healthy, entrenched starters on the better offenses around the league. Wide receivers are less likely to get hurt or displaced than running backs, and that helps them. If you look at the Mock Auction on page 68 of the magazine, for example, you’ll see that I spent $32 on Jonathan Stewart and Derrick Ward. We haven’t even started, and that money appears to be largely wasted. Had I instead invested that money in wide receivers, there’s a much higher probability they would have retained their value.
OK I need an opinion. I have my two protects picked, wondered if you would agree without me telling who they are. I am in an eight team league, two man protect. TDs are 6 points for throws, runs and catches with distance bonuses. Double points are awarded for an unconventional TD. We start two QBs each week, any combo of five RBs and WRs as long as you start one. My group of protects to choose from are Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, L.T., Matt Forte, DeAngelo Williams, and Maurice Jones-Drew.
JOHN STOUT [CLARKSBURG, WV]
I’d go with Rodgers as one keeper. Very little difference for that No. 2 spot. Tomlinson is the only one I definitely wouldn’t keep. I’d probably give Jones-Drew a slight edge, but I’m not sure why. He's slightly more likely to catch touchdowns than the other two (though Forte is close). Williams should collect more long touchdown bonus points.
Question 1: I know you have reasons...
Posted by JEFF FOSTER | Sep. 09 at 04:44 PM
JOHN---keep shiancoe--he scored 7(?) td last yr with a crappy qb, now he has favre who notoriusly throws to his te..so 7 tds is probably the basement for shiancoe...carlson is on a running team now, plus has three good wr to vulture tds from him, shianco only has one.
Question 1: I know you have reasons...
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Sep. 10 at 05:46 AM
In your Thursday sept 10 update ranking,You have rb Lynch ranked 29th,He wont play so should i put jackson at the same 29th ranking? Thanks
Question 1: I know you have reasons...
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 10 at 06:08 AM
BEN - As Ian explains in the answer to question 11 above, the weekly UPDATES are the player's values for the entire SEASON -- not week 1. The Weekly (which came out yesterday) has rankings for the upcoming week, the update has rankings for if you were walking into a fantasy draft that day. So Lynch's ranking in that update is for the entire 2009 season, NOT for week 1.
Question 2: Can you shed some light...
Posted by John Cope | Sep. 09 at 01:43 AM
Need help with my TE. I drafted Visanthe Shianco but noticed John Carlson is still available. He is rated much higher than Shianco on everything I have reviewed. I also have Donnie Avery as my 5th WR. Should I drop Shianco and add Carlson? or should I drop Avery add Carlson and carry 2 TE's on my roster?
Question 7: Magazine is terrific as usual....
Posted by Zach Echols | Sep. 10 at 06:33 PM
Hey Ian - Live in Renton and really wished I could have went to the Fantasy Football Camp. Maybe next year. Love the custom cheat sheet option this year. We started our league in 1994 and kept it real simple since we did it all by hand. Bonus pts for 100 yards Rushing/Receiving; 300 passing. But mostly TD. With the points being bumped up for every 10 yards in length. So a 50+ yard TD is worth 20 pts (10 for QB's); 1 to 9 yard 6 pts (3 for QB). We all still love it and just kept it that way, but it takes a lot of work to rework rankings. Not this year! Thanks. Great job - have used your magazine for at least a decade now. Still think you guys charge too much each week. I like you guys much more than the huddle and draftsharks, but I can't see paying more than $25 a year; and like that other services have a one time flat fee for the year. Just my 2 cents, but I think you'd get more revenue by having a flat, reasonably comparable price with the other guys. I'd rather stay local. Either way, great work again.
Question 14: OK I need an opinion....
Posted by joseph dolle | Sep. 09 at 03:38 AM
Need help at which RB and TE to start in a PPR league. Finley or Heath Miller and RB between Leon Washington and Mike Bell. I'm assuming that P. Thomas will sit and I'm leaning that way for Bell. I also have a hunch that Finley is going to be good this year. What's your thoughts?
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