Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Jul. 30 at 04:50 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.
In our league, we start 2 running backs and 3 wide receivers. But the problem is, our entire rosters are limited to 4 RBs and 5 WRs. There's little room on the bench to stash a promising player who might not contribute until November or December. Should I just accept the fact that the No. 4 RB and the No. 5 WR will change from week to week and be filled with the waiver wire wonder du jour? Considering the roster constraints in our league, how would you look to fill these last RB and WR slots in the draft?
Paul Owers [RIVIERA BEACH, FL]
I agree with you. When planning for your draft or auction, I think you should assume that you’ll make a lot of waiver moves, and that the last running back or wide receiver could change every week or two until you find somebody you like. In the vast majority of fantasy leagues, I think, Miles Austin and Jamaal Charles were grabbed off the waiver wire last year. That’s why, in an auction, you want to be sure to have some $1 players at the tail end of your roster. Accept the reality that you will be wrong on some guys. You don’t want a roster where everybody carries a salary of $8 or more. It’s just not realistic. Same thing in a draft. A 14th-round draft choice has only limited value. It makes a lot of sense to trade away that choice if you want to move up a half a round in the 7th to select a player you really like.
Can you provide some detail on how your software calculates auction values? Obviously it all starts with coming up with statistical estimates of production. But how do you determine the incremental auction value for incremental statistical production. Do you compare to an average starter in your league or an average player at the position (say 15th best QB, 30th best RB, etc?)
David Hanley [WEST HARTFORD, CT]
As mentioned in the previous letter, there’s a point in the draft where you’re just fishing. Bernard Scott of the Bengals, for example, is a promising backup. If Cedric Benson misses any games, Scott will be a good fill in. I would like to have Scott on my team. But I wouldn’t, in an auction, pay more than $1 for him. That’s because there are a bunch of other similar players, and I’m confident that some of them will go for only $1 (or not be selected at all). Javon Ringer, Toby Gerhart, Larry Johnson, Correll Buckhalter. So let’s do that at each position. Let’s identify the worst player at each position that you think is worth paying more than the $1 minimum. In a typical 12-team league, we’re talking about maybe the 15th quarterback, the 30th running back, the 25th-35th wide receiver (depending on whether you’re starting two or three), the 10th tight end, the 3rd kicker and the 4th defense. Now we can calculate auction values (and also a decent overall list for those not in a salary cap league). The stat forecast for the best $1 player at each position becomes the baseline. At quarterback, for example, maybe that Donovan McNabb. Maybe he projects to produce 266 fantasy points in your league. But because that’s a crowded position, you just can’t see paying more than $1 for him. His value, though, helps determine the actual value of the players above him. If you’ve got Tom Brady at 320 points, his new value becomes 54 (320 minus 266). We do this at each position and with every player. Rashard Mendenhall comes in ahead of Brady not because he’s going to produce more overall points. Mendenhall is at only 202 fantasy points. But the baseline at running back is 130 points. So Mendenhall’s 72 “bang” number beats Brady’s 54. After we’ve done this for every player (among those worth more than minimum), we can figure his down-to-the-penny value. Suppose we’re in a 10-team league, with each team spending $100 on 20 players. So a total of $1,000 will be spent, and $800 of that is actually in play (since every player must receive a $1 minimum bid). Of your 200 players, maybe 140 will go for more than $1 minimum. Add up the “bang” numbers for each of those guys. Maybe you get a number like 3,423 total fantasy points. Then divide $800 by 3,423 and you get about 23 cents per fantasy point. So a guy like Mendenhall, with a bang number of 72, would be worth $17.56 (that’s .23 times 72, plus the $1 to get the ball rolling). Brady would be worth $13.42 (.23 times 54, plus $1). That’s how we generate our overall list. On our standard cheat sheets, where many readers aren’t in salary cap leagues, we strip away the dollar figures to make it more user-friendly.
I'm sure you have gotten a million e-mails about this, but I just wanted to see what you think. T.O. is a Bengal. What does that do to his value, Ochocinco's value, Carson Palmer's value, Antonio Bryant's value, Cedric Benson's value. Hell, even the Bengals defense value? It seems to me it's going to cause problems because there are just too many ornery guys to throw the ball to. And once again, thanks for another stellar issue of the Index.
Joey Winn [VIRGINIA BEACH, VA]
I think it’s a below-average fit for Owens. If you drafted him a month ago, figuring he’d latch on somewhere, I think you were hoping for something better. (With the ideal situation involving the Chargers bringing him in to replace Vincent Jackson.) I don’t see Owens putting up difference-maker stats. I think it hurts Ochocinco, Cedric Benson and Jermaine Gresham, and I think it makes Bryant undraftable. In my eyes, it helps Carson Palmer. He’s not up there with Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, but I’d be comfortable riding with him as my starting quarterback in a fantasy league. I don’t see Owens affecting the performance of the Cincinnati defense. This issue is explored in more depth in the update that will be sent out on Monday morning.
I'm in a 12-team, 5-player keeper league that starts 2 QBs (PPR as well). I plan on keeping Aaron Rodgers (3rd round), Jamaal Charles (7th), Robert Meachem (8th), Chris Johnson (9th) and Matt Leinart (17th). I pick 12th and 13th and barring any major surprises, I am going to take at least one WR (probably Calvin Johnson) since I only have Meachem. My question is – would you pass over someone like Roddy White or Brandon Marshall and take Tony Romo, even though I am already keeping 2 QBs? I like the idea of having two stud QBs (in a 2-QB league). Then again, it's a PPR and grabbing Calvin Johnson and White/Marshall with my first two picks is appealing. I am torn.
Don Goss [Wakefield, MA]
In a PPR format, I love selecting wide receivers who are slam dunks to catch 85-plus passes and 8-plus touchdowns. It’s great to build around on those guys. But that’s trumped in this league by the double-quarterback rule. That makes the franchise quarterback solid gold real estate. According to my rough estimations, 12 of the first 19 picks overall should be quarterbacks. Only then do you start getting into the great receivers like Calvin Johnson and Roddy White. Romo would be the No. 3 overall player on my board. If he’s available, he would definitely be the player I would select with the 12th pick of the draft.
I am in a keeper league and have the following players: QBs Rivers, McNabb. RBs Wells, Forsett, Harrison, Davis (Clev), and Tomlinson. WR/TEs Aromashodu, Meachem, Celek, Finley, Clark, Daniels. We can play any combination of WRs/TEs and start 3. I have the 2nd and 6th overall picks (because of a trade made). All rookies are available plus Kolb, Henne, and Bush. Based on my current roster, what position(s) would you take and how would you rank the top 6 based on the makeup of my team.
DENNIS RUEBEL [GREEN BAY, WI]
For the first pick, I’d select one of the rookie runners. Spiller, Mathews or Best. Not a lot of difference between those three. As I outlined in the magazine, Best actually did a better job of breaking long runs in college than Spiller. Dez Bryant likely would be No. 4. The final two spots, I think, will fluctuate based on how things develop in camp. Can Ben Tate or Montario Hardesty show us anything in the preseason games? (Hardesty fits well into your roster). Is Arian Foster of Houston available? He might be in the mix. Kevin Kolb looks solid, so he has value with the 6th pick, but you already have Rivers at quarterback. You tossed out “Bush” as a possibility, but I wasn’t sure if you meant Reggie or Michael. If it’s a PPR format, Bush would make a lot of sense.
Question 1: In our league, we start...
Posted by Eugene Hitt | Jul. 30 at 01:51 PM
Footnote: my point that I bypassed early on is the Cedric the entertainer seems to have a similar skill set and running style to the old Rudi Johnson.
Question 3: I'm sure you have gotten...
Posted by Eugene Hitt | Jul. 30 at 01:50 PM
I am a steeler fan, but Palmer seems like he has a legitimate shot at throwing for 4000 and close to or over 30 TD's. I remeber when Rudi Johnson was considered the "safest 1st rounder" in a draft and Palmer was a stud. If this guys arm is close to 100%, he seems like the QB with the highest upside after the top QB's ( Brees, A.Rog, Peyton,Romo, Brady, Schaub, and Rivers. Furthermore, he has a stronger body of work with all of the experts "sleepers" like Flacco, Eli and Kolb, FURTHERMORE, he gets the Browns and SD in week 15 and 16 who can and will be thrown on. Where's the love for CP?
Question 3: I'm sure you have gotten...
Posted by Matthew Kenerly | Jul. 31 at 12:30 AM
I liked Palmer a lot a few years ago, but he hasn't been the same since the knee injury. Personally, I'd like to see him throw for 4000 yards again before I trust him with the starting quarterback job on my team. Regarding Owens, though, let's not forget that T.J. Houshmanzadeh was secretly ornery (and has been outed as such in Seattle), and what's not to say T.O. can't step in to fill that possession role?
Question 4: I'm in a 12-team, 5-player...
Posted by Matt Tinker | Aug. 01 at 11:10 PM
I think the more important question here is, why, in a 5-player keeper league, are Johnson and Romo even available in the draft???
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