Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Jan. 14 at 01:58 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 will the labor unrest affect your rankings for next season? Assuming a deal isn't reached until late summer (since most deals aren't reached until the last minute), teams and players will have no contact the majority of the offseason. With no minicamps and a possible shortened training camp, this eliminates the opportunity to track offseason progress. So many of your player projections in the magazine are based off if a player is having a good offseason, if they look a step slow, or if they seem like they are recovering slowly from injury. This will make it harder to predict sleepers. So do you think you will kind of "stick with the chalk" when it comes to rankings? Also, would this make most rookies almost undraftable (except in keeper formats) due to the lack of time to learn playbooks, blocking schemes, and to get into game shape?
Mike Faxel [TINLEY PARK, IL]
You raise excellent points. Assuming there is some kind of work stoppage, that would have a sizable impact on how the 2011 season plays out. As you mention, it would set back the progress of rookies. If their first contact with their new teams doesn’t come until August, I don’t think it would be realistic to expect them to play big roles. Had there been a lockout last year, for example, would we have seen the great rookie years out of Sam Bradford, Mike Williams and Rob Gronkowski? Would Jordan Shipley have beaten out Andre Caldwell for the slot-receiver job in Cincinnati? I don’t think so. Running backs typically aren’t as affected by holdouts, but with the ability to perform adequately in pass protection becoming more important in recent years, I think they would be affected as well. This isn’t a deal breaker; Dez Bryant didn’t sign until late July last year, and the previous year Michael Crabtree managed some decent production after holding out until October. But I think there could an impact there. I also would expect that some second-year players would be affected. Guys who could really benefit from spending an offseason around the team – studying films and working out – could be left to fend for themselves. So players like C.J. Spiller, Jahvid Best, Ryan Mathews, Demaryius Thomas, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Dez Bryant, Arrelious Benn, Golden Tate, Jermaine Gresham, Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez and others could be adversely affected. The advantage would tilt to veterans who are ready to step in and adjust to a system. If somebody is drafting in July, they’ll have to be prepared to potentially draft a couple of free agents who aren’t even on teams (Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and others), figuring that they’ll sign contracts and possibly become top-20 players at their position.
I know the regular season just closed, and a lot can happen between now and next July when your mag comes out. But, can you give me a top 10 QB-RB-WR list?
I took a quick look at it. Plenty of things will change between now and opening day, of course. But in general terms, I will go with the following (6 points for TDs, 1 for every 10 run/rec yards, 1 for every 20 passing yards):
QUARTERBACKS (in order)
Brees, P.Manning, Rodgers, Brady, Rivers, Vick, Ryan Roethlisberger, E.Manning, Flacco.
Foster, Johnson, Peterson, Charles, Turner, Mendenhall, Forte, Blount, McCoy, Jackson.
White, C.Johnson, A.Johnson, Nicks, Jennings, Fitzgerald, Wallace, Wayne, M.Williams (T.B.), Jackson.
Thanks for the great product. I always find a nugget or two that other owners miss. My question is this. Our league is going to a one-keeper system for the first time next year. We can keep one player for up to 2 more years in the round he was drafted. Eight-team PPR league. Who would you keep as of now? Nicks round 8, Spiller round 9, Mike Williams (TB) round 10? Or Tebow round 16? I'm leaning away from Tebow because I think I can probably get him in round 10 or later anyway if I really want him. Spiller didn't do much but I still have a feeling about him if he could get a chance. What do you think?
stephen hicks [MOORPARK, CA]
I would be looking at Nicks and Williams. Maybe Spiller can get his career going, but who knows when that might happen or to what degree? In the PPR format, you always want to collect “go-to” wide receivers, and here you’ve got a pair of them who were taken in favorable rounds. Going into a draft in 2011, you would love to spend an 8th-round pick on Nicks or a 10th-round choice on Williams. Protecting either one of those guys definitely adds value to your team. Williams turned in a remarkable rookie season, catching 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 TDs. Now that he (and Josh Freeman) have a little more experience, he may be even better next year. I’m expecting Williams will catch more passes next year. I think he could move up to 80 receptions, and he might have another double-digit touchdown season in him. To me, Nicks looks like he probably will be a top-5 receiver over the five years. He caught 79 passes and 11 TDs last year, and he did that in 13 games. With Eli Manning, the Giants are set at quarterback, and Steve Smith is a question mark coming off knee surgery, so they may need to go to Nicks even more next season. We’ll see what these teams do in the offseason (in terms of adding other pass catchers and whatnot), but I’m thinking Nicks is your guy. Williams comes with the added value of picking up 16 spots of mid-round draft value in each of the next two years, but I believe Nicks will be higher on my board. I wouldn’t get too cute trying to capture that higher mid-round draft position; for this important player position, I would just go for the guy I liked more – Nicks.
I just got into a new 10-team PPR keeper league. I just traded for Jimmy Graham and Jermaine Gresham. I would like your insight moving forward on these two players. I think they both have a huge upside. Your thoughts?
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
It looks like you’re set at tight end. If you were starting your league from scratch, maybe both of those guys would be among the first 10 tight ends selected. Gresham had a solid rookie season, catching 52 passes for 471 yards and 4 TDs. Considering how great he was at Oklahoma, that was maybe a little disappointing. He didn’t catch quite as many balls as I thought he might, and he averaged only 9.1 yards per catch. But I think he’ll get a lot better. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco probably both will be gone and Gresham will have had a year to better adjust to the pro game, so I expect he’ll play a bigger role. And I’m not concerned at all about his ability to get downfield. He’s got the size and athleticism – he averaged 14.4 yards per catch and scored 14 TDs in his big season at Oklahoma. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t, at a minimum, put up 60 catches and 6 TDs next year. As for Graham, his true breakout may be another year down the road. He played only one year of college football (he was primarily a basketball player at the U), so he’s awfully raw. Hard to see him playing full-time or being heavily utilized, particularly considering how much the Saints like to shuffle around their personnel. Sean Payton is a fan of rotating three tailbacks, and he’s used four wide receivers for most of the past two years. It’s the same at tight end, where he’s used both Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas for most of the past two years. With Graham still being a work in progress, I envision him being a part-time guy. I would rank him higher in a non-PPR format. But he’s definitely got the height and pass-catching ability to be a red zone threat, and it looks like they want to utilize him in that role. He caught 4 TDs in his final three games, and I thought his touchdown catch at Baltimore was the most impressive reception by a tight end all year. He’s got a great quarterback to work with there and Shockey (getting older and being overpriced) could be shoved out the door, so I definitely like Graham’s future and upside. Note that many of the great tight ends in the league are already north of 30 – Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez. But do I see Jimmy Graham catching 70 passes in 2011? I do not.
Question 2: I know the regular season...
Posted by Joe Savitsky | Jan. 14 at 12:27 PM
Presumably, it was an oversight that Maurice Jones-Drew is not among your top RBs?
Question 2: I know the regular season...
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jan. 14 at 08:17 PM
MJD might have been an oversight, or maybe he's worried about it being more of a tandem with Jennings next year. Or MJD's knee surgery. I am wondering if "Jackson" as the 10th WR was DeSean or Vincent.
Question 2: I know the regular season...
Posted by jd fitz | Mar. 03 at 05:23 PM
tony romo not in top10 qbs? i'm surprised considering you're usually quite high on him
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