Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Aug. 30 at 01:21 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.
I think you've addressed, before, how you arrive at a team's projected stats and then derive individual projected stats from there. But it all starts with how good or bad you think a team will fare overall. It's a fluid situation subject to changes brought on by injuries, additions, or teams simply being better or worse than anyone thought. With that in mind, I'm starting to think the Denver Broncos are going to be pretty good. The schedule looks good and I think that they can fix some of the problems from last year pretty quickly. They lost time of possession, on average, of close to 4 minutes per game. The defense was putrid but the pass rush will be better this year and that covers up a lot of problems. However, if I'm right, then where are the useable players? I'm definitely moving Kyle Orton back inside the top 15 of QBs but it's difficult to see where the rest of the stats go. A little help? Or am I just seeing things?
Brian Grzybowski [San Francisco, CA]
Knowshon Moreno looks a lot better – a lot more explosive. He’ll break more long runs. But he’ll be sharing time with Willis McGahee, and I think McGahee will boggart the goal-line TDs. I thought Orton was just so-so in the Seattle game; not nearly as good as his stat line (16 of 23, 236 yards, 1 TD, 1 int) suggest. No way would I ever put him among the top 15 quarterbacks. With John Fox being more of a conservative coach, I see them building around the run, with Orton far more likely to finish outside the top 20. He isn’t a runner. I expect that team will be middle of the pack at best in passing production – maybe 220 yards per game and about 21 TDs. Brandon Lloyd is the clear go-to receiver. It looks like Eddie Royal will start over Eric Decker, but they’ll both play. The basketball rookie tight end, Julius Thomas, was a lot better than I expected against the Seahawks. He had catches of 20 and 21 yards in the first half. He looks like an NFL tight end. (So if you figure that Thomas might get up to something like 350-400 yards, that will work against the receiving production of the wide receivers). You are correct on the pass rush. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil gives them a nice one-two punch, and neither of those guys played for them last year.
Ray Rice? Do you expect his touchdowns to increase this year? I created a customized cheat sheet based on scoring only and Rice was ranked 21. This seems very low. With the departure of McGahee and the addition of a Pro Bowl blocking fullback I am expecting a big increase in TDs.
LORIN RAFFERTY [BUCKLEY, WA]
I expect he’ll score a lot more touchdowns this year. He’s my No. 6 running back right now. When I wrote the Baltimore story for the e-magazine, I expected the Ravens would use Ricky Williams in goal-line situations. But now it’s looking like Rice will get those touches. He says he’s getting all of those reps in practice, and the running backs coach says Rice will be the goal-line back.
I have been a subscriber and admirer of your publications for years, including your weekly updates. But, you've totally left me hanging with your inexplicable "roller coastering" of Felix Jones, who went in successive weeks in your weekly updates from #20 RB to #6, and then back to #13. My draft occured when you had him at #6 and so I got boned, relying on your recommendation.
STEVEN RUBEN [SIMI VALLEY, CA]
I am sorry if you feel like you’re being jerked around on Felix Jones. Let me explain for a moment what I’m doing on my end. I’m looking at all the players and all the teams every week – and why guys can move up and down a half dozen spots with seemingly very little happening. I am not doing down the list saying, “Felix Jones is at #20; I am going to move him up to #10.” Instead, I am constantly adjusting the numbers, and that causes guys to move up and down in all of the various scoring systems. I have a monster database, with all the significant players accounted for. For each team, I forecast five statistics – interceptions, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Each individual player is tied to a team. For the Vikings, for example, I’ve got them projected to score about 14 rushing touchdowns. That breaks down as follows: Adrian Peterson (75 percent), Toby Gerhart (13 percent), Donovan McNabb (8 percent), Percy Harvin (2 percent) and Lorenzo Booker (2 percent). (Actually, I’m giving you the simplified version – there are also projected games for each guy, with forecasts for how he’ll do when a reserve and in whatever number of games I feel he’ll start, but I’m just giving you a sense of what’s going on.) In the case of the Cowboys, they have a complex offense. It’s a team that could finish anywhere from 1st to 3rd in the NFC East; it ranked about last in rushing in the first half of last year, but close to the best in rushing in the second half of last season. And plenty of backs are involved. Felix Jones is the starter, but there’s also Tashard Choice, Lonyae Miller, DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner. Anytime I increase the projection of a player, I have to remove percentage points from one of the others (or increase the overall team production to keep him constant). My memory is a little foggy, but in general terms, I started this off as a committee situation. Then Choice and Murray got hurt and were missing a bunch of camp and Jones looked really good and explosive, and he worked his way up. I read something about him being more focused and ready to star now that Barber is gone. I was impressed by his speed/burst in the Chargers game. Miller was a big surprise early in camp, so he started moving up, but he was a total dud in the first two exhibitions, so I pretty much removed him from consideration. Tanner looked damn good in the second half of the San Diego game, so I elevated him into the No. 2 spot. Then, in the Vikings game, Choice and Murray returned to action. Murray is a little bigger than I realized; he’s got big-play potential. I re-worked to move more of the production to him. So all of these guys have been flying around, moving up and down. This may be frustrating to the reader (and I understand that). But on the plus side, at least you know that I am watching every game and tracking every development. That’s better, I think, then just deciding that a guy is the No. 14 running back in June and then having him gently sway from 13th to 15th throughout the summer.
I have the 1st pick in my 10 team dynasty league, ppr for WR and TE only. Should I take Ingram RB, or go WR Jones, Green, or Antonio Brown... or go crazy and pick Cam Newton? We keep our starting roster, and I have QB Bradford, RB Hightower and Bradshaw, WR V. Jackson and M. Williams, TE Finley. I am leaning towards RB, but the PPR makes WR pretty valuable.
David Jung [SAN FRANCISCO, CA]
Can you trade down? I would like to be in that No. 3 spot. I think both of the top-10 receivers look really good, and I'm guessing one of them will be there at No. 3. Ingram looks very good as well. If you are going to make me stay at No. 1, then I will select A.J. Green. I think he's got a lot of 80-catch seasons in him. He plays on a lesser team than Julio Jones, but I think he'll have a lot more passes sent his way.
Next year (2012) will be the 25th anniversary of our league. I am planning ahead and putting together a slide show. I am trying to find out when your magazine was first published, and who was on the cover (was it Curt Warner?) P.S. – we are having our special draft in Vegas next year. Any chance you want to pop in?
Stephen Viau [Ottawa, ON]
If you go to our Facebook site (fantasyindex.com), you can see images of all of the past covers. The first year was 1987, and Dan Marino was on the cover. He threw 44 touchdowns the previous season. If I happen to be in Vegas during your draft, I’d be happy to swing by and say hi (I haven’t, however, been in that city in over 10 years).
What do you think are the odds that Leshoure (Achilles tendon) or Ryan Williams (Patella tendon) will ever be viable fantasy players in the future? Of the two which has the most serious injury and would you draft one late in a dynasty league for the future?
DENNIS RUEBEL [GREEN BAY, WI]
They’re both serious injuries. I don’t know much about Achilles injuries; they’re not as common as knees. I wouldn’t be eager to store either guy for the entire season because roster spots have value. In general terms, I’d be more excited about using that spot on a variety of players throughout the season, then hope that either Leshoure or Williams is available to pick up off waivers just before the end of the season.
I see in your rankings that you've downgraded the Indy receivers because of the uncertainty with P.Manning. Joseph Adai is still ranked fairly high. I was wondering why he wasn't downgraded, too??
Dave (MOJO) Smith [WALLS, MS]
I think Addai looks pretty good – relative to what I thought he would be, anyway. Donald Brown doesn’t seem to have it. Delone Carter has some potential as a goal-line back, but he’s been playing with the deep reserves. I think Addai is the clear starter there. Right now, I’m thinking he’ll account for a bigger portion of the rushing production than what I was expecting 3, 6, 9 weeks ago.
Thanks for answering my previous question. I was offered a trade and wanted to know what you tought. Im in a 10 team, 6pts for all tds league and have the 3rd pick in a snake draft. Ive been offered a trade my 3,63,79 pics for 12,32,49. what do you think?
jim gilhausen [sandpoint, ID]
If I were picking all the players for all of the teams, the second package would could out ahead. According to my projections those three guys would produce about 101 “bang for your buck” fantasy points, compared to 93 for what you’re holding now. But that doesn’t account for what players might fall to 49 or 79 or whatever. There’s not a big difference between the two packages. If there’s a guy that at No. 3 that you really have your heart set on, you may want to just stay put.
In my league we award 1 point per reception and 1 point per carry as well as 1 point for every 10 yards rushing or receiving. We also get a point for every 40 return yards. Given all that, where do you see guys like Devin Hester and Dexter McCluster shaking out in the WR rankings? I am particularly interested in McCluster, since Yahoo still classifies him as a WR even though it sounds like he will mostly be playing as a tailback.
Dave Jost [EUGENE, OR]
If you’re giving points for return yardage, I would focus more on kickoff returns than punts. I am aware there will be far more touchbacks. After looking into it, I believe there will be about one more touchback per team per game. (That’s what you get when the number of touchbacks slightly more than doubles). So in rough terms, there still will be close to three times as many yards on kickoff returns rather than punt returns. So when you’re looking at Chicago receivers, I think you’ll be better with Johnny Knox rather than Hester. Hester returns punts. Knox will handle kickoffs for them. I’m not certain that McCluster will be the kickoff guy in KC; he’s returned one in the preseason.
In a 12 team league with standard scoring and 6 pts for TD pass. For the first time in 23 years I have the first pick (ick). The customized cheat sheet shows Tom Brady at No. 1, but I am really having a tough time pulling the trigger on a QB that early. I could have A. Foster/M. Ryan or probably a Brady/Gore or Brady/Felix combo. What do you think?
Craig Gray [BEMIDJI, MN]
If you want to take on the gamble of Foster’s hamstring, that’s one route. He’s a great player. But consider the scoring system; 6 points for TD passes. If you use the custom scoring, you’ll see total points for each guy. That’s not what they scored last year; that’s what they’ll score this year (if my projections are accurate). If you combine the total of Brady or Rodgers with whatever running back you think you’d get at 2.12, I believe it will be better than the combination of Foster and the quarterback you would select at 2.12. This isn’t a personal preference; I’m just going off the numbers. (And it’s more complicated than looking at just the first two rounds; this is a complex equation involving dozens of players at all the positions and extending down to maybe the first 90 picks – or however low you’ve set the baseline standards).
Fantasy Index doesn't have a lot of injury info, so what site/source do you recommend?
MICHAEL KOVACEV [LYNNFIELD, MA]
I think the individual newspapers in each city are probably the best source. If you want info on the Seahawks injuries, you check in with the Seattle Times. And it’s the same for all the teams. For the big injuries – like Peyton Manning – you’re more likely to hear the news first from one of the information insider guys – Jay Glazer, Adam Schefter, John Clayton or Chris Mortensen.
Once again your magazine is great. here's my dilemma. im in a 10 team keeper league, 6 pts all tds and ppr for rbs only. no negative points(ints, fumbles,etc). you keep up to 2 players and lose whatever round u selected them in last season or if u kept them last season we have a formula to determine what you lose this season . im keeping Chris Johnson(2nd round pick) and Miles Austin(8th). Rodgers, Brees, Vick, Brady, Ben, and Rivers are gone. This basically leaves Romo(i dont trust manning). I am picking 6th and am guaranteed that romo will be there b/c of who is picking in front of me. Do I pull the trigger on him, since i know that by the time my pick comes in the 3rd romo, manning, schaub, and ryan will be probably be gone so ill be choosing out of eli, flacco, freeman...all of which i would never pick that early. Or do I let him go and try to grab a mike wallace, nicks, or gore. I'm leaning towards going after the best wr and then grabbing 2 qbs later and playing matchups throughout the year.
Troy Smith [Hammond, LA]
Scarcity says wide receiver. Twice as many of them are starters each week, so they’re harder to find. In a 10-team league, I wouldn’t worry too much about finding adequate quarterbacking.
I'm in a 12 Team TD-only draft and I've got the 4th pick. I've considered taking a top-end receiver (most likely Calvin Johnson) and then worrying about goal line backs(Tolbert, Jacobs, McGahee) later. Is this an inventive strategy or just stupid? My reasoning was that Calvin had more touchdowns than Charles, Ray Rice, almost as many as Mendenhall. Those are the guys I can get with the 4th pick.
Eric Stroker [Chesterfield, MI]
Sounds like a plan. On my end, I project numbers. I don’t project individual numbers; I project team numbers. Once I have that team numbers, then it’s allocated amongst the players via percentages. I believe, for example, that New England will score about 19-20 rushing touchdowns. BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be their goal-line guy, so I’ve got him accounting for close to 55 percent of those touchdowns. That makes him about a 10-11 touchdown guy on my board. When I follow this process for every player on every team, I see some strange names showing up near the top of my list for running backs. Green-Ellis looks like a top-5 overall player. Tolbert’s up there. But I doubt you’ll see either of those guys selected in the first two rounds of a TD-only draft. So I think you’ll be fine focusing on other players, then circling back to the running backs in the later rounds.
Long time subscriber and much success in 2 leagues with your help. In an auction league, I assign a certain percentage of the total money in the pool to each position. My question is if there are multiple keepers at a position that competitors will hold below the market value, should I keep that percentage the same for that position and "overspend" for the available guys, or redistribute to other spots. I'm just looking at guys like Foster, Mendenhall, Shady McCoy, Ray Rice, and Forte all kept for a bargain, and having to spend way too much on the few remaining backs.
Glen Mills, PA
BRIAN BOUCHER [GLEN MILLS, PA]
I suggest you generate your auction prices as if nobody will be protected. Then remove the keeper players and see what the total dollars spent looks like. If it’s too high or two low, then you go back to the initial set up and change the dollars for each team. If, for example, after taking out the 15 keepers, the total dollars spent comes up $240 dollars short, then go back to the setup and change it to read that you have each of the 12 teams spending $20 extra – you’ve got $120 per team instead of $100. (For my first try, I’d actually try $25 or $30 extra per team, because some of those dollars will also be allocated to those keeper players).
I'm in a 12 team basic TD only keeper league. There is no limit on the number of players you can keep, so our draft is mainly rookies and some possible 2nd year players that weren't picked up. Do you have a ranking of rookies only?
GENE MCNABB [STURGIS, SD]
Sorry, we don’t have them separated out that way. All of the rookies and 2nd-year players who are in our top 100 running backs or top 120 wide receivers, however, are listed.
Question 1: I think you've addressed, before,...
Posted by Kevin Witt | Sep. 01 at 02:00 AM
Why don't some of you actually use your own brain at these drafts? Whining to Ian for conflicting rankings is kind of pathetic. What fun is playing fantasy if all you are doing is blindly following someone's else's rankings anyway?
Question 2: Ray Rice? Do you expect...
Posted by Coleman Brown | Aug. 30 at 01:56 AM
Ian, #6 running back!?!?! Then why is he #2 on your cheat sheet? I really depend on your expertise, and would love to know the other 5 running backs you have higher. I took Ray Rice #2 last night....!
Question 2: Ray Rice? Do you expect...
Posted by Andrew Taylor | Aug. 30 at 02:23 AM
Ian was referring to Rice's #6 ranking in TD-only leagues.
Question 10: In a 12 team league...
Posted by Scott Trautsch | Aug. 30 at 05:32 AM
I've been in a similar system since '87 and here's how I've had success: Take the rankings and separate them in to tiers. Start with QBs and draw a line after the last guy you think is absolutely top-tier for this season. Then draw a line after the last guy you'd be willing to go with as your every week starter this season. Then pick out guys you think will be rotationally good. Then do the same for RBs, WRs and TEs (generally only two tiers for TEs for me). Then compare your lists. If possible, you of course want two of your top-tier guys but that's not realistic at all with the #1 pick and rarely if you draft before #8 or #9. Count the number of QBs you would be willing to roll with as your starter. If that number is say 13 (if you think Schaub, Flacco and Freeman will put up 26+ TDs, for example) and you have 5 top RBs and 5 top receivers (a rather generous list IMO) then regardless of anyone or everyone else picking a QB you feel you'll still have a good one later then grab that top RB or receiver first. If you feel there's only 8 QBS on that list then grab the QB unless you feel there's a rotational combo you can get by with if you gamble.
Question 12: Once again your magazine is...
Posted by Troy Smith | Aug. 31 at 06:54 AM
thanks ian. my draft was monday. i was leaning towards wallace until christmas came early. calvin johnson somehow slipped to me. then i waited til the 5th and romo was still there. romo chris johnson, best, calvin, austin, harvin, vernon davis sounds like a nice starter kit
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