Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Aug. 24 at 06:27 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.
It seems like everyone is under valuing Reggie Bush. You have him higher than any other expert that I've seen, but even #8 seems too low to me. His stats over his last 10 games last year (including playoffs), if projected over the entire season, would have tied him with Willie Parker as the #5 fantasy back in 2006. Bush had a better success rate at the goal line than Deuce last year (4tds in 8 carries vs 7 in 27), and got more of those looks as the year went on. It is also the case that historically NFL players make their biggest jump from season one to season two. Then to top it all off, if you look at RBs who had similar talent levels to him (Smith, Payton, Thomas, Sanders, Dickerson, etc.), every one of them was a top 5 fantasy back by their second year. Why isn't Bush ranked as a top 5 back this year?
David Grace [Tarzana, CA]
If we're all agreeing to the premise that Bush is a talent on par with the likes of Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson, then I we'll all have ranked him too low. By that standard, we should be debating whether it's Bush or Tomlinson that should be selected No. 1 overall. But most people, I would think, aren't as certain as you are that Bush is going to be a Hall of Fame player.
In addition, don't be too quick to assume that a good rookie year is a guarantee that a guy will kick butt in his second year. I've been in this business for over 20 years, and trust me: I've made that mistake before. Let me throw a couple of numbers by you (which don't include last year's rookie crop). Since the NFL went to a 16-game season in 1978, 41 running backs went for over 1,000 rushing yards in their rookie season; only 19 of those backs came back and went over 1,000 again in Year 2. And 31 rookie running backs have scored 10-plus TDs; only 15 of those guys came back and scored 10-plus TDs the next year. Collectively, those running backs I just mentioned averaged 4.3 yards per carry as rookies; they averaged 4.1 yards per attempt in Year 2. Take it from the guy who put Rashaan Salaam on the cover of his magazine in 1996 (and was high on Anthony Thomas, Fred Taylor and Cadillac Williams after their rookie seasons): I like Bush as a fantasy prospect, but it's awfully risky putting him ahead of a proven commodity like Steven Jackson or Larry Johnson.
I've got the 4th pick in a 12 team ppr league. What is your rationale for keeping LJohnson at #3 in light of all KC's issues (qb, o-line, etc). I take it by your rankings you'd hands down take LJ over Gore and the rest of the guys you've got ranked below him, even in a ppr league?
Brian Fulton [NASHVILLE, TN]
It’s easy to quip that Kansas City’s offensive line is a mess. It’s lost Willie Roaf and Will Shields in the last two offseasons. But is this offensive line actually significantly worse than the group that Larry Johnson worked behind last year (when he produced 2,199 total yards and 19 TDs)? Roaf retired over a year ago; he didn’t play last year. Brian Waters and Casey Wiegmann are still on that line; their roles don’t change. It’s a downgrade moving from Shields to John Welbourn at guard, but Welbourn definitely can play. And Kansas City should be better at both tackle positions. Kyle Turley and Jordan Black were disasters last year. Turley isn’t big enough, and Black was so underwhelming that the team let him sign with the Texans. Now Kansas City will go with Chris Terry at right tackle; he’s had lots of off-field problems, but he’s a solid, functional right tackle. And Damion McIntosh – while nothing special – will be an improvement for the team at left tackle. So Larry Johnson, I think, is the guy you take at No. 3 in a draft.
How do you view the prospects for Anthony Gonzales in a keeper league and 1 pt per reception. With Manning being his qb and Harrison turning 35 soon I think Gonzales will be a very productive wr in the Colt offense. Gonzales doesn't have blazing speed but he is I think the quickest wr in this years draft. Long term, what are his prospects?
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
Location, location, location. I don't know that Gonzalez is a particularly special player, but he's landed in an ideal situation. Peyton Manning is going to be there for years, and with Marvin Harrison nearing the end of the road, Gonzalez should pile up plenty of yards, catches and touchdowns. My current top-10 rookie receivers in a keeper former: 1 Calvin Johnson, 2 Anthony Gonzalez, 3 Dwayne Bowe, 4 Craig Davis, 5 James Jones, 6 Robert Meachem, 7 Ted Ginn (and his family), 8 Steve Smith (NYG), 9 Sidney Rice, 10 Mike Walker, 11 (ours goes to 11) Laurent Robinson.
I play in a keeper league where each team protects three players. Am I crazy to think that I should definitely accept any deal of a draft pick in any round for a player I was planning to cut anyway? Or is there some wisdom in forcing another team to protect a lesser player, leaving the player I was planning to cut in the pool of draftable players?
Geoff Maleman [LOS ANGELES]
You should tend to make the trades, in my opinion. If you decline to make the trade, you force one team to select a lesser player in round 3. That benefits everyone in the league in round 4, when each draft spot projects to be slightly more valuable. But it doesn't necessarily help you any more than all the other owners in the league. If you instead trade a player, all of those teams instead are slightly weakened, and you're the only one that benefits, picking up an extra draft pick. The trading partner also gets a stronger keeper, but that is offset by losing a draft pick.
I am in a TD only league and have Steven Jackson. I have been offered Travis Henry and Steve Smith for him. Should I pull the trigger ?
DEAN WALDBAUM [FINLEYVILLE, PA]
Definitely. Henry might outscore Jackson by himself, and Smith is the top wide receiver on the board. In my opinion, all three of those players should be selected in the top 9 overall in that format.
I'm in a 14 team keeper league where we freeze 5 guys. RB's only get rushing yards and TD's. My dilemma is which RB to freeze...Clinton Portis or DeAngelo Williams. I took D.Williams last year with my #1 pick.
Steve Sexmith [APPLETON, WI]
Put me down for a Portis vote. Williams hasn't even won the starting job in Carolina yet. I think he will (beat out DeShaun Foster), but I don't think he's going to be anything special. He's a smaller guy, so I don't know that they'll ever feature him in goal-line situations. Portis.
Keeper league (2 guys) and TD only. QB/RB/RB/RB/WR/TE, so obviously a big RB league. I get #1 pick this year. Leaning towards Adrian Peterson...but can maybe get Travis Henry, Brian Westbrook or Brandon Jacobs instead (possible all three unprotected). Want to win this year, but don't want to pass on a franchise guy in a keeper league either! Keeping Maroney/McGahee currently, and I wonder if Peterson could be better than BOTH those guys next year? What would you do? Thank you.
Gregory Wells [SHORELINE, WA]
I think that Henry will outproduce Peterson this year. I'm confident, in fact, that he will. But in a keeper league, you can't pass on a potentially special player. You have to take Peterson with that No. 1 choice.
We get to franchise 2 players at the cost of the draft pick they were selected in:
I have Addai 4th rd as a no-brainer.
Right now, I'm thinking Kevin Curtis (10 rd).
Other possibilities: Leon Washington or Jason Campbell (both 18 rd). What do you think?
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY [FAIRFAX, VA]
I like Kevin Curtis. He's fast, and he looks comfortable in that offense. No way he'd be there in round 10 if you don't protect him.
My league rewards one point per passing completion. Which quarterbacks do you think will be most valuable in my league?
John Evans [BRADENTON, FL]
Last year, there were five teams that completed 350-plus passes -- Lions, Saints, Rams, Colts and Packers. I imagine they'll all be in the top 10 again this year. Other teams with the best chance of finishing the top 5 in completions would be the Eagles and Bengals. At the other end of the spectrum, the bottom half dozen last year included the Falcons, Titans, Broncos, 49ers, Raiders and Jaguars. Of that six, I think the Titans (definitely) and Jaguars have the best chance to repeat. I see two other teams that I consider to be shoo-ins to finish in the bottom 5 in pass completions: the Super Bowl III teams: Minnesota and Kansas City. The Browns and Dolphins could finish low as well.
Great mag again and love the revamped website. One question: Why doesn't the Custom Rankings generator create an overall top 50 for my league's scoring system? As it stands now, I have to (1) take the excel redrafter sheet and create a modified projected fantasy points for the year for each player (based on the point system in my league), and then (2) plug those totals into the auction values listed on the website. Couldn't the Custom Rankings save this go-around and generate a top 50 for me? Not a huge deal, but wanted your thoughts.
Joseph Smith [SEBASTOPOL, CA]
We're working on a interactive device that will generate customized auction values. That will solve your problem. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be a summer of 2008 product.
You answered a question for me about the TD only league that rewards 12 points for plays over 50 yards and if Chicago defense was a viable 5-6 round pick. Thank you. In that same format, are there any viable return men that would be wise to carry (and start) along with the same defense that that man plays for? ie: 12 points for defense return and 12 points for player return for (1) single punt/TD return. With Chicago, Hetser is billed as a WR this year, but I can't see playing him on a weekly basis. If he doesn't return a TD, he might very well be a goose egg each week I was to start him as a WR. Is Steve Smith returning kicks? I could see playing the WR/defense stratagy in that case.
David Allen [LINCOLN, NE]
I covered individual kick returners in the last edition of the mailbag. You can access it through the archives. Steve Smith won't return kicks. As for the double-dip strategy of starting both the Chicago defense and Devin Hester, potentially giving you a 24-point play, I advise against it. If you use Chicago's defense, you'll get 12 points every time Hester returns a kick for a touchdown. With that 12-point edge, you'll win the vast majority of those games anyway, so I'd rather see you start a different receiver of similar quality. It would be nice, however, to cause ripples of discussion in your league by scoring a few 24-point touchdowns.
Over the years, one the main goals of our league has been to try to equalize the positions. We think it's stupid for running backs to be so dominant in fantasy football. To that end, our current system is to start 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 4 WRs, and 2 TEs. We don't use kickers or defenses at all. Furthermore, scoring is as follows: 10 Rec Yds = 1 pt, 15 Rush Yds = 1 pt, 30 Pass Yds = 1 pt, Rec TDs = 7 pts, Rush TDs = 6 pts, Pass TDs = 5 pts. How does that system change your draft board?
Kyle Gerkin [GLENDALE, AZ]
In a 10-team league with those rules, my top 40 would look something like this ...
1 RB Tomlinson, 2 WR S.Smith, 3 QB P.Manning, 4 WR Holt, 5 WR Owens, 6 RB S.Jackson, 7 WR Harrison, 8 WR C.Johnson, 9 RB L.Johnson, 10 QB Brady, 11 WR Houshmandzadeh, 12 WR Wayne, 13 WR Evans, 14 QB Brees, 15 RB Henry, 16 WR Colston, 17 WR Fitzgerald, 18 TE Gates, 19 WR J.Walker, 20 RB Westbrook, 21 RB Gore, 22 QB Palmer, 23 RB Bush, 24 WR Driver, 25 QB Romo, 26 RB Addai , 27 RB Alexander, 28 WR Branch, 29 WR Burress, 30 WR R.Williams, 31 WR Boldin, 32 WR A.Johnson, 33 QB Bulger, 34 TE Cooley, 35 QB McNabb, 36 TE Gonzalez, 37 TE Heap, 38 TE Shockey, 39 WR Galloway, 40 WR R.Moss.
Check you Trivia ... Quincy Carter was a 2nd round pick not a 1st.
MIKE & TOBY NAPPI [WESTBROOK, ME]
Correct. Apologies. My bad. That's embarrassing. Carter was the Cowboy's first selection in 2001 but he wasn't a first-round pick. And I knew that. I was skimming through the NFL Record & Fact book, tabulating which offenses had the fewest first-round picks. In that book, if a team trades away its first-round pick, they list the second-rounder (and put a "2" after the name). I missed it, and shouldn't have. The Cowboys didn't have a first-rounder that year because they traded it as part of a deal to get Joey Galloway. That 2001 pick (No. 7 overall), then got traded by Seattle to San Francisco, which selected DE Andre Carter.
PPR Madness - Our league in its 11th yr. gives 6 pts per TD Pass & extra pts for longer TD's (helping the QB the most) We cringe at the newer PPR formats and wonder why they further devalue the QB by not giving him PPC (Pts per completion) as he had to deliver the pass the RB/WR just got points for.
Mike Koop [Amelia, OH]
Good point. I think the rule is intended to help receivers gain ground on running backs. I don't like that it essentially gives running backs double credit for their receiving production. In leagues giving 1 point per 10 yards, for example, a running back who runs 19 times for 100 yards is worth 10 points. A fullback who finishes with 3 carries for 10 yards and 5 catches for 40 yards is also worth 10 points. I don't see equal value there.
Question 1: It seems like everyone is...
Posted by CHARLES KILLIAN | Aug. 24 at 07:15 AM
The magazine constantly updates the cheat sheets from the time it went to press -- what about the O-Line rankings? Is there anywhere that these are updated on the web ?
Question 3: How do you view the...
Posted by Mike McGraw | Aug. 24 at 06:50 AM
I can't believe my eyes. Where's Jacoby Jones?
Question 3: How do you view the...
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Aug. 24 at 07:46 AM
Great point. Jacoby Jones looked very good in both of the first two exhibitions. Honestly, I overlooked him. Saw the "Houston Texans" next to his name and just kept going, I guess. But he should arguably be No. 6. If he were a first-round pick, nobody in America would suggest that he should be ranked lower than Robert Meachem or Ted Ginn.
Question 3: How do you view the...
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Aug. 27 at 10:31 AM
I'm not sure what to make of the Holt situation. As you may recall, we moved him down a half-dozen spots back in early August, when the knee first surfaced as an issue. But he's been playing the exhibitions and has looked fine, so he's worked his way back up. Now he sits out the third exhibition and there's more talk about the knee being gimpy. Will it be a big deal? I'm not sure. The Rams like using him in the red zone; I know that. If he stays reasonably healthy, he'll be very good. With the added uncertainty, I dropped him behind some receivers who project to be pretty close to him anyways. Time will tell.
Question 9: My league rewards one point...
Posted by DAVID GARRICK | Aug. 24 at 08:18 AM
Hey Ian, Super Bowl III was the Jets and Colts. Super Bowl IV was the Vikings and Chiefs. Why get cute with a reference like that without checking your facts?
Question 14: PPR Madness - Our league...
Posted by ALAN BLAUCH | Aug. 25 at 07:18 AM
has just moved to this system after years of a basic yardage format: We have 12 teams, start 1 QB, 2 RB's 3 WR/TE's, a K and team D i have the 11th pick...in general what should i expect in trying to see how the draft plays out? any suggestions for stategy? thanks guys Alan cleveland, OH
Question 14: PPR Madness - Our league...
Posted by Art Bennett | Aug. 27 at 06:11 AM
I am in a league that gives RB's 1/2 point per reception, while everyone else receives 1 PPR. How does this affect your PPR Rankings for the top 25?
Add a Comment
Already a registered user? Please sign in to add comments.
To add comments, you must become a registered user of our site. To register, please click here.