Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Aug. 14 at 03:30 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 come, TE Gates is 29th overall and has eight WR ahead of him; but in the ranking of WR / TE, he has (17) seventeen WR's ahead of him?
ray phillips [cornelius, NC]
The two rankings you cite are based on different leagues. The overall ranking assumes tight ends would be their own position, while when you see Gates listed amongst the wide receivers, that’s a league using the generic “receiver” designation. In both cases, it’s a matter of looking at Gates’ production and weighing it relative to other players at his position.
In the combined ranking (where Gates is treated as essentially a wide receiver) things are based simply on overall production. We believe that Deion Branch and Andre Johnson will produce better overall numbers than Gates, so we’ve got them ranked ahead of him.
In leagues separating tight ends, however, Gates leapfrogs those guys (even though his overall production isn’t as good). In our opinion, if you wait until the late rounds, you’ll probably wind up with a tight end like Benjamin Watson or Heath Miller. We’ve set the “baseline” for the tight end position at 88 points in a TD-yardage league, which is 49 points below Gates. So Gates is worth 49 fantasy points – “bang for your buck” points – on the overall section of our draft board.
At wide receiver, that baseline figure is higher. We figure there will still be receivers that produce something like 114 points at that area of the draft. Branch and Andre Johnson come in only about 35 points ahead of that baseline figure. So even those they project to outproduce Gates, they’re overall value isn’t as high – at least in league threating tight end as a separate position.
My 10 team league is using a drauction format. We have $100 to buy our first 4 players, and will use a snake draft for the rest. Our league starts 2 QB, 3 RB, 4 WR/TE, 1 K, and 1 DEF per week. I think our format adds value to the bottom third of the top 30 RB's, so only a handfull of QB's and maybe the top 10 WR should be purchased in the auction part.
Ian, could you just give me a list of how the dollars should break down for the top 40 spots ? I can rank the players, but would like to know how much the top picks are worth, and how many $1 players are in the top 40.
DIMITRIOS ECONOMUS [COLUMBUS, OH]
There has to be a healthy supply of $1 and $2 players – about 25 percent, I reckon. You have to account for the fact that everybody’s draft boards are different. I, for example, have Tony Romo, Jamal Lewis and T.J. Houshmandzadeh at about No. 30 overall. How many of the other nine guys in this league have those guys in their top 40? So it certainly seems to make sense to slot those guys at $1 or $2. And once you do that, the other prices fall into place (the players below those guys have to be $1 players, and you can base the value of the higher-ranked players by how much production they give you relative to those players.
The problem with drauctions is that once you get to this point, there is usually a player or two whose value exceeds the entire salary cap. In this case, according to my numbers, LaDainian Tomlinson is worth $137 and Steven Jackson is worth $94. So one viable strategy is to simply buy Tomlinson for whatever it takes (perhaps $97), then fill out the roster with three minimum-salary players. That will give you a roster worth about $140. Or if you can get Jackson for about $80, you’d be able to finish with him, maybe one guy at about $18 and two minimum-salary players. That team could be worth about $130 at the end of the drauction phase. Those who try to go with the balanced approach – buying four players at about $25 each – probably will be left holding money at the end. According to my numbers, there are only 16 players who are worth more than $24. So if you try the spread-it-around system, you’ll probably end up spending only about $80 of your dollars and finishing with four guys like Willis McGahee and Cedric Benson.
First, thanks for the great work that you do. You guys are by far the best out there. I have played for 5 championships in an eleven year period, winning two of them! I am in a keeper league that keeps 12 players out of 18 every year. We use a basic yardage + TD scoring system similar to your cheatsheets. I have been offered Reggie Wayne and Travis Henry for Larry Johnson. I am considering this offer, but I am wondering if you think that Henry is the future of Denvers running game for years to come? I'd hate to pull the trigger and be without a true starter next year, but this would give me some depth at WR. My other running backs are Tatum Bell and Edgerrin James nobody you sound excited about!! Would you make this trade?
DAMON DUHON [BATON ROUGE, LA]
Henry sure looked terrific in Denver's preseason opener last night, didn't he? I think he's going to have a big, big year, and as an added bonus, the guy is willing to throw in a true difference-maker receiver. You never like to get rid of a franchise player like Larry Johnson, but I'd be sorely tempted to accept that offer.
FFI is a must purchase before every season. Hands down better than any other FF publication. One of my leagues is finally moving to an auction draft, at long last. I'm sure you've published plenty on auctions -- do you have any references to some auction strategies or tips I need to keep in mind for my first auction?
Christopher Hartman [Chicago]
Basically, I think you need to set values for the players. Decide what you feel each guy is worth. And those should be fair prices, so that if all the players were purchased at those prices, all of the teams would be very similar (identical, if you've done your job perfectly). Once you've done that, your job is to go into the draft and collect whatever bargains you can -- buy players at below those levels. If you do that, then at the end of your auction, you should assembly (at a cost of $100) a team that is "worth" something like $130-$140. Keep in mind that a lot of players are going to go for the $1 minimum -- kickers, defenses and a lot of backups. With that in mind, it pays to go after those guys early, since it's basically first-come, first-serve on those guys. If you follow that basic approach, I think your auction will go well.
With Mike Alstott out for the year now, do you see Cadillac Williams' value improving to any significant degree?
CHRIS BIELIK [BEACON FALLS, CT]
Definitely. When Alstott was on the roster, it was a certainty that he was going to score all of the team's 1- and 2-yard touchdown runs -- maybe 5 TDs overall. Now Williams is the clear frontrunner to get those touchdowns. It might help him become a top-20 running back.
I'm in a keeper league in which we can keep 2 players. I currently have Steven Jackson and Joseph Addai as my two keepers. I draft 5th in a 10 team league. I was offered Peyton Manning(keeper) for Joseph Addai. I know Addai is up there in the rankings, but he is an unproven RB, compared to Manning who is elite/proven. DO I make this trade, and start off the draft having Steven Jackson and Peyton Manning, knowing both players are #1 at their position?
Sean McKee [Leesport, PA]
I would rather have Addai than Manning. Running back is the harder-to-fill position. It's fairly close, though. As for Jackson being the No. 1 running back, I'll bet there's a guy in your league with Tomlinson who would beg to differ.
I need a fill-in at TE and W/T- do I get Pollard(TE) to get both done, or do I go after Furrey(WR) or Welker(WR) for one week help and take a zero at TE the other week?
Shaun Hawkins [ALBANY, GA]
Rather than focusing on that one week, I would suggest you select a wide receiver who might develop into something for you -- somebody who might become better than one of your starters. If either Roy Williams or Calvin Johnson gets hurt, Mike Furrey should be very good. And I think Wes Welker is going to catch a lot of balls for the Patriots; he might lead that team in receptions. I'm not kidding.
I'm in a TD scoring keeper league (Auction) with the most money. Can you help me with the RB pecking order for this format? Peterson and Lynch are the obvious choices, but Barber and Norwood were unprotected and may have long term benefit. Given that Peterson and Lynch (both unproven) will fetch more money, I am entertaining the idea of getting those other guys cheaper.
Stephen Viau [Ottawa]
Peterson is the top guy in my opinion. I think he could be special. His numbers weren't anything special in his preseason debut (about 3 yards per carry), but he should some speed into the hole. I'm confident he's going to break loose for some long touchdowns. The other guy I find myself drawn to his Jerious Norwood. He might be fastest running back in the league. You may recall that speed from the two long-range touchdowns he scored last year. And in watching the Jets-Falcons game last week, it looks like he's bulked up a little. His thighs look thicker. From last year, I remembered him being a thin guy with a college-type build. He looks like an NFL tailback now -- maybe 10 pounds heavier -- and I think he could be pretty good.
On page 58 of the football magazine, I'm wondering what Greg Alan
was doing voting himself as the 19th-best WR in the NFL. He really thinks that he's better than Santana Moss (whom he ranked 20th)?
Adam Holtz [Rochester, Minn.]
That typo was ours, rather than Greg’s. I checked the original master file. Joey Galloway is his No. 19 wide receiver. Sorry for the error.
My league has 10 players and we have allways used this format to draft. ( 1-20,2-19 etc. ).We redraw position every odd round.I want to change to a non redraw system of ( 1-20-21-40 etc )Which system would you consider more fair?
JIM MEEHAN [BETHEL PARK, PA]
If you want fair, you have to go with an auction. It gives everyone an equal shot at every player. If you're not ready to jump whole-hog into an auction, there's also the "drauction" format. In that one, you use an auction to distribute the first 4 or 5 or 6 players on each team, then use a draft from that point on.
12 team league, 1 qb, 2 rb, 2 wr, 1 te, 1 flex that has to be rb wr or te, k, d. These guys are RB crazy taking 21 of top 24 picks last year. I have the 3 pick. Scared of LJ and there won't be much left at 22 for me. Should I trade down if I can or just take LJ and hope he doesn't get hurt coming off 400+ carries and suffer from 8 in the box with Croyle and bad o-line?
Mark Stoecker [ARLINGTON, TX]
Larry Johnson probably will be your pick there. There's been some progress in contract talks. He'll probably sign an extension before your draft. If you want to go the safer route, there's Frank Gore. And the trade down -- if you can find a partner -- might work nicely. Some of those running backs who'll be selected a few picks later -- like Henry and Addai -- look very promising, and then you'd be in a better position to grab a second running back in round 2.
I have the #3 pick in a PPR league that gives 1.25 points for receptions, .25 points for carries and 6 points for any TD scored (passing, running, receiving). The league also gives points for RBs over 100 yards rushing, WRs with over 100 yards receiving and QBs with over 300 yards passing. We start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 RB/WR flex, 1 TE and 1 D. LT and SJ are going 1 and 2 and I am stuck at #3. I know that your PPR cheatsheet says to take Bush, but I am not sure if I can pull the trigger on him (and I am an SC alum) with the overall #3 when he is not even the full time back on his team. I am looking to you for your expert guidance...as I have for many years. With a 7 week old son keeping me very busy, I need your help more than ever. Do I take the tried and true LJ, go with Bush or go completely in a different direction with a player like Manning?
Andrew Vaughan [IRVINE, CA]
Bush. Brian Westbrook. Frank Gore. Larry Johnson. Joseph Addai. Those are the five guys I'd be keeping a close eye on in the next few weeks. All of those guys will catch plenty of passes, which is important in your league. And each should score double-digit touchdowns as well.
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