Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Dec. 31 at 04:08 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.
Hey Ian. I met you at your Fantasy Football Camp in Seattle and then used your cheat sheets. Thanks to you, I just won my league championship! But now it's time to try to repeat. Would you give us your very early top ten RBs list for 2010? Also, what are your thoughts on Jamaal Charles as we look ahead to next season? Again, thanks for helping me hoist the trophy!
Richard Carvajal [Monroe, WA]
Glad to hear you had a successful season. That was a fun night. It was good to get out and meet some real-life people (as opposed to just firing e-mails around). For 2010, I would guess that Jamaal Charles would be part of a one-two punch in Kansas City. He’s a good back; he can catch the ball and he’s fast. But he’s a small guy – they’ve got him listed at 199 pounds – so he’s not much of a banger between the tackles or at the goal line, and you worry about him wearing down. My guess is that Kansas City will obtain another, bigger back, to spell Charles more heavily. For next season, running backs who come to mind as possibly being worthy of a top-10 choice (in leagues going 6 points for touchdowns and 1 point for every 10 yards) include: Ray Rice, Cedric Benson, Rashard Mendenhall, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, Knowshon Moreno, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Ryan Grant, Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, Steven Jackson, Beanie Wells and Frank Gore. And if we’re putting rookies in there, I suppose we should stick C.J. Spiller and Toby Gerhart in there as well. I haven’t thought about this at all prior to right now. Without looking at things too closely, if I were sitting down for a draft right now, my top 10 running backs (in order) would be: Jones-Drew, Rice, Peterson, Johnson, Jackson, Turner, Mendenhall, Benson, Moreno and Forte.
How about some predictions for week 17 based on playoff situations and who might or might not play as result of team perspective? For example, we know some of the Colts will play no more than one half. What might the Patriots do for example? I'm not sure of all the home field possibilities of those locked in.
ROBERT DAVIS [SHALIMAR, FL]
On the NFC side, the six playoff teams are known. The Saints, Vikings, Eagles and Cowboys all will play their first-string offenses. (New Orleans has the No. 1 seed, but after losing two straight, they need to get things back on track.) The Packers will be in exhibition mode; I’ll be surprised if you see any of their key guys after halftime – if at all. The Cardinals, I think, also will look to rest players; if the Vikings win their game (which I think is a safe assumption), than Arizona will take the field knowing that it will host a playoff game in week 18 – meaning they’d take the foot off the gas. On the AFC side, the Colts and Chargers will mail it in – you can’t use their guys in a fantasy league. I think Cincinnati will also wind up in that boat, putting out their backups against the Jets for at least the second half. The Patriots, however, approach things differently. Bill Belichick is more of a believer in playing guys, keeping the team sharp and building momentum, rather than trying to protect players from injuries. Numerous times in the decade, the Patriots have been in position to rest players and have chosen not to do so. In 2006, for example, New England entered week 17 in the identical position it’s in right now – knowing it would play a first-round playoff game. And it was on the road against an 8-7 Tennessee team. Belichick went ahead and played his regular guys, and the Patriots smoked the Titans 40-23. So I say you go ahead and use your Patriots this week as if it’s a regular game.
I’m in a keeper league where we can keep 4 players each year. Can you rank the top 5-6 following RBs based on which have the best chance to be starters on opening day next year? RBs that do not start are not worth keeping in this format. They are: Willis McGahee, LenDale White, Willie Parker, Julius Jones, Louis Rankin, Shonn Greene, Leon Washington, Arian Foster, Ryan Moats, Jerome Harrison, James Davis, Chris Jennings, Bernard Scott, Jerious Norwood, Jason Snelling. Also, would it be worth picking up either Early Doucet or Jerheme Urban over any of those RB in case Boldin and Breaston are gone next year?
Chris Thompson [Los Angeles, CA]
I think Shonn Greene is your best bet. He’s a tough, power runner, and he’ll fit into New York’s running game next year. I imagine they’ll use a mix (like they did this year), and he’ll be part of them. Thomas Jones will be 32 on opening day and Leon Washington is coming off a broken leg, so I think Greene is as likely as any running back to lead that team in rushing yards and touchdowns next year (and the Jets should rank in the top 5-10 in both). I don’t think any of those other backs have much value. Jerome Harrison and Arian Foster, I suppose, would be next in line. They’ll get plenty of work this weekend, trying to show that they’re worthy of being starters next year. But I don’t think either will. Of the wide receivers you mention, I think it’s possible that Early Doucet will become a starter at some point; he could be their No. 3 guy next year. But I don’t think Jerheme Urban has any fantasy value – he wouldn’t be among my top 120 wide receivers in any scoring format.
I won my PPR league this year, in large measure thanks to FFI. Getting Ray Rice in the 5th round and Cedric Benson in the 8th was an insurmountable obstacle for the rest of the league. My RBs were as good as everyone else’s, or better, and I had three top WRs taken in the first three rounds as well. That was a pretty good recipe for success. Looking forward to 2010 magazine and another successful campaign.
L.B. Graham [WILDWOOD, MO]
Glad to hear you had a successful season. I don’t yet have a feel for how our followers did in 2009 – I haven’t heard from enough of them. I think many of them will have selected Rice and Benson, which will help. But I was also was very high on Anthony Gonzalez, so all of our guys will have also wasted a pick on him. I still think that Gonzalez, had he stayed healthy, would have gone for 1,000-plus yards and 8-10 TDs, but he injured his knee before halftime of the first game.
Who do you think will go to the Super Bowl this year?
Bill Petilli [MOUNT VERNON, NY]
It’s really a wide-open year. The top seeds in the NFC look like they’ve peaked already. And I don’t think the Colts or Chargers are invincible either. Both are in the bottom 5 in rushing. The Colts have had to come from behind in so many games. The Texans, Patriots, Ravens and Dolphins really had them beat. I think New England looks like a good possibility to sneak in there. On the NFC side, Philadelphia has been playing well, but I believe the Cowboys will beat them on Sunday. Put me down, therefore for the Patriots playing against the Saints, who will somehow get everyone back on the same page.
Quinton Ganther scores a late TD Monday night to give me just the edge I need to barely squeak out a victory!!! I'm on to my next playoff game and start talking smack to my opponent. Wait a minute! Hold the presses! Kurt Warner's TD pass to Boldin is a lateral?!? Three days after the end of the game some saber-metrics nerd pulls out his protractor and says the pass was behind Warner?!? I've never heard of a stat correction so late after the games have ended. Like they say in poker, that's a bad beat.
Cody Hager [ALOHA, OR]
That was odd. The kind of pass is thrown all the time, but almost never do you see the league go back and reclassify them. They tend to just give the benefit of the doubt to the quarterback – if it looks like a throw, they tend to just call it a throw. I don’t know why this one changed. Maybe somebody in a public relations office somewhere would win their fantasy league if it got changed to a run – his opponent had Warner. If you watch the replay, though, it’s definitely a run by the technical rules. The ball leaves Warner’s hand on the 7-yard line, and Boldin catches it closer to the 8. Now that this precedent has been set, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for these in the future; I’ll bet we can find some other plays that are technically runs that are simply left as passes.
Question 4: I won my PPR league...
Posted by Jay Tennant | Dec. 31 at 07:15 AM
Back to back championships for me. Thanks again to all of you at the Index. Rivers, Rice, Charles, Moss, Welker, and Celek/Daniels. I was reviewing my draft today and your stat projections held up fairly well for the season. I really didn't have a bust until my the 7th round choice - Willie Parker. I was a little weak at 2nd RB for most of the season, but once I made it into the playoffs, I had the right mix of guys/luck. I have a feeling that most of your other subscribers did well too.
Question 4: I won my PPR league...
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Dec. 31 at 02:47 PM
NOT SO FAST Some of us had bad luck! I finished 10th in a 12 team leauge. Its easy to to churp when you lucked out,I drafted cutler, Ronnie Brown,Bowe, Slaton,Owens,and the chicigo running back For*%#^* See my point!
Question 4: I won my PPR league...
Posted by David Zendano | Jan. 01 at 10:35 PM
Well I won 3 of 6 leagues. Rice or Benson or both in every leaue didnt hurt one bit and waiting to draft Big Ben as my starter worked out great as well. Can't forget Celek either. Top WR's in early rounds was the formula again this year. The leagues where I selected Gonzales were the ones I did not win. Luck has to factor in, and that was just bad luck. Overall the good outweighed the bad and as a FFI subscriber for over 15 years, I have no complaints. Thanks again!
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