Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Jun. 18 at 02:14 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.
How do you really feel about Miles Austin? I’ve read everything from one-year wonder to No. 1 receiver stud. From what I saw last year, this guy is the best WR to play in Dallas since Michael Irvin (well T.O. anyway). This guy looks awesome to me, but I keep reading "buyer beware" stuff in different publications.
Eugene Hitt [GARRISON, NY]
Austin has talent. He averaged 103 yards per game as a starter last year, with 10 TDs in those 12 games. In a typical fantasy format, those with the 4th-best receiving numbers (per-game, anyway) of the last decade, trailing only three seasons by Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. But I expect that things will be harder now that he’s not going to sneak up on anybody. Defenses should do a better job against him, and the Cowboys have plenty of other capable receiving targets. If everybody’s firing on all cylinders, they’ll have Jason Witten, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant and Patrick Crayton all factoring in. Even last year, Austin didn’t have nearly as much success after his fast start. In the first half of last season, he averaged 22.7 yards per catch. In the final 10 games (including the playoffs), he was down at 12.7 yards per catch, with only 5 TDs in those games. He caught 6 TDs in his first four games. So there’s definitely going to be a decline, but I’ve got him as a top-4 receiver on my board.
Is it possible to project the number of Sacks, Ints, and Fumbles per game for each defense based on schedule? What I would like to do is take the Passing and Rushing analysis from last week’s post and add this to it.
Jason Guzik [HILTON, NY]
Are you sure this is the road you want to go down? Is this going to help your fantasy team? Or is it time to check you in to SOSA (Strength-of-Schedulers Anonymous)? We’re your friends, and we care about you. Nevertheless, I’ve got hungry mouths to feed (and this is the slow time of the year), so I did compile some of your numbers. According to how offenses played last year, the following defenses play the easiest schedules in terms of sacks: Chicago (38.0), Detroit (37.2), Arizona (36.6), Minnesota (36.4), San Francisco (36.1) and the Giants (35.6). I’m not saying Chicago will finish with 38 sacks. That’s simply how many sacks, on average, were allowed by the 16 teams they’ll play (at least, how those offenses played last year). Fewest sacks: Jacksonville (30.4), Pittsburgh (30.9), Cincinnati (32.0), Houston (32.1), Baltimore (32.4), Indianapolis (32.4). So what big-picture conclusion can we take from those numbers? Well, Minnesota and San Francisco are two of the top defense candidates, and they’re high on that list; Pittsburgh and Baltimore, meanwhile, are low. So that supports the notion that the Vikings and 49ers will finish with more sacks than the Steelers and Ravens. We’re higher than everybody else on Minnesota and San Francisco, so I like this.
On to interceptions. On paper, Minnesota has the easiest schedule – 18.0 interceptions. That’s interesting, considering that’s strangely been an Achilles heel of this defense (just 12 and 11 interceptions the last two years, shockingly low considering the team has a great pass rush). Four other teams project to finish with at least 17.7 interceptions based on SOS – Packers, Panthers, Rams, Seahawks. The hardest schedule (just for interceptions) easily belongs to Indianapolis, way down at 13.8. That’s well below the Texans (14.5) and Titans (14.7), who are then well below the Eagles (15.3) and Raiders (15.4). The bottom 3 three teams, note are all in the AFC South. That division didn’t throw many interceptions last year, and it matches up against the NFC East, which also did a good job of avoiding picks last year.
You also asked about fumbles. I’m not going to do fumbles. That’s just ridiculous. There’s just way too much chance involved. The sack/interception info itself is of very little value (maybe no value). To even start to compile fumble information is something that’s just so wild and silly that I don’t want my name associated with it. Consider it to be part of your therapy.
Marques Colston’s stats don’t seem too impressive to me, but if I recall there were several games where he dropped passes, fumbled, or had his feet called out of bound in the end zone, thus robbing him of several scoring opportunities. Have you had a chance to look at this? And do you feel he is a good keeper candidate (10 plus TDs) in a TD-only format?
JODY SMITH [LEAGUE CITY, TX]
They’re not using him as extensively as they have in the past, particularly near the goal line. Back in 2007, Colston was the busiest receiver in the league inside the 5. They threw the ball his way 12 times in that part of the field, resulting in 7 receptions and 6 TDs – that represented over half of his 11 touchdowns. But look at the last two years. Just 7 attempts in those two seasons combined, resulting in only 2 receptions. A huge decline. They’ve got plenty of other weapons, so I don’t envision them going back to Colston filling a huge role. Nevertheless, that is a high-octane offense, and he seems to be their top receiver. That should translate into him catching 8-9 TDs. Factoring in that he’s a tweener-type receiver physically (he’s big but doesn’t have great quickness, almost making him like a small tight end), I don’t expect him to have a long career. I doubt he’ll be a starting receiver when he’s 34 years old. In a TD-only format, I figure that equates to him coming in after about 10 or 14 receivers in a keeper-type format.
Question 2: Is it possible to project...
Posted by Jason Guzik | Jun. 19 at 03:47 PM
Therefore, based on Strength of Schedule, the defense you want to draft this year is San Diego. They play only 3 elite offenses all year! In there first 6 games, they play 4 easy teams plus Jacksonville and Arizona @ home.(Lost Boldin and Leinart is the QB!) San Fran is looking pretty good.(7 easy games)Thank you for your analysis. I think I am finally cured. However.....What...defense by commit...Stop! I'm done!
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