Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Jul. 24 at 11:24 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.
My question centers around the Green Bay RBs James Starks and Alex Green. I have watched video of Green and I feel he is the better option of the two RBs. He has the entire package in my opinion, size, speed, and he catches the ball very well. Your thoughts.
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
It’s possible, I suppose. The Packers selected Green with the last pick of the third round a year ago, so they’re hoping he’ll develop into a starter-type back eventually. They haven’t shown any interest in re-signing Ryan Grant, so I guess they feel Green will be ready to be their No. 2 back on opening day. It will be either him or Brandon Saine or one of their two rookies (unless they bring in another back via trade or free agency). Green missed the second half of his rookie season after a knee injury. In their first seven games, he carried 3 times for 11 yards. He wasn’t particularly impressive in the preseason, averaging under 2 yards per attempt in all three of his appearances. In terms of size, speed and elusiveness, he passes the eyeball test. He has good hands. It’s way too early, in my opinion, to suggest he’ll be passing Starks. I see Green as a last-round type flyer choice. Maybe he puts it all together and begins the season as the change-of-pace guy behind Starks. At that point, he can start working and performing his way towards moving to the top of the depth chart. As of right now, however, I think there’s a legit chance (30 percent?) that Saine will be higher on the depth chart in September.
In our league the WR and TE positions are treated the same. I created a custom ranking for touchdowns only and Jimmy Graham was ranked 13th. Seems low, would you rank him higher in a touchdown-only league now that Brees has signed?
LORIN RAFFERTY [BUCKLEY, WA]
I like Graham. He caught 11 touchdowns last year. He’s a big part of that offense. But I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the Saints to put up the same kind of numbers. Not with the player losses, suspensions and Sean Payton sitting at home. Drew Brees threw 46 touchdowns last year. How many do you see him finishing with? The previous three years, he was at 34, 34 and 33. It sounds weird – forecasting a great player like Brees to drop by 13 TD passes, but that’s what I expect to happen. And if it goes down that way, it makes sense for Graham to dip down to about 8 TDs. 11 of 46 TDs (last year) equals about 24 percent. 24 percent of 33 TDs (this year) equals about 8 TDs.
In my league I can start 3 running backs because there's a rb/wr flex spot so I'm thinking if I can get three solid running backs that are consistent I can win my league. After reading the magazine, listening to podcasts, and reading the posts on the web site. It seems like there are so many risky running backs this year. There's RBBC's, backs on bad teams, backs that have too much wear on their tires, injury prone backs, backs that don't catch the ball, backs that get pulled at the goal-line, and backs that have a tough schedule. Trying to sort through all this is a little maddening, so here's my question considering all these negatives which backs are going to lead me to the promise land and blow out the competition?
Jason Howes [STEWARTVILLE, MN]
There seems to be a mindset with the flex position that it’s best to have a third running back. I don’t get that. Wide receivers don’t have the same kind of issues with injuries and wearing down. Plus there are more of them. I’ve won multiple leagues by loading up on wide receivers in that kind of format. At wide receiver, it’s possible to select four guys you believe will wind up in the top 10-15 at that position. That doesn’t happen at running back. I think you’ll do better if you enter your draft with an eye on the wide receivers. Maybe you settle for only one really good running back but walk away with Victor Cruz, A.J. Green and Julio Jones (and if you start three receivers plus a flex, maybe Miles Austin as well). I think the receiver-driven roster will outperform the “wouldn’t it be great if I could find three guys like Ray Rice in the middle rounds” technic.
I purchased your magazine after seeing you on a podcast with Jeff Barton of www.scoresheet.com. Our scoring system is somewhat unique. Points are added for Yards but taken away for Pass attempts. The same applies for rushing, points are adding for rushing yard but taken away for attempts. Is there somewhere that your stat sheets indicate projected rush and pass attempts? It has the yardage, but it does not allow me to perform custom scoring without these figures.
I enjoyed doing the podcast with Jeff last week, but it’s the first one I’ve done on Skype. That made it more difficult, because you’re getting filmed as you talk. I typically like to have a variety of charts and files open on my two big computer screens, plus a variety of papers spread around. That’s why in that podcast (which is still up on their site) I was looking off the screen so much. As far as rushing attempts, we get a few requests for those per year. Maybe it’s time we simply added them in, but that Excel file is already awfully bulky as it is. For the short term, I suggest you create work-arounds (assuming you have some ability to work in Excel). Create a colum for each player labeled “YPC” – Yards per carry. For starters, go with 4.0 for each guy. Each player’s carries, then will be his rushings (which we project) divided by 4. Some of the third-down type backs or explosive guys – Darren Sproles, for example, you might want to move up to 5.0 YPC. And you can do the same thing with quarterbacks. Go with 7.0 yards per attempt as the average for most quarterbacks. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, Rivers, etc. – move those guys up to 8.0. The youngsters like Gabbert, Bradford and the like, let’s go with 6.0. Those are ballpark-type numbers, but they’ll get the job done for you.
Many thanks for guiding me to two championships since 2006. Keeper question. This year I can keep three of the following: Lynch as a 5th rounder, Brandon Marshall as a 3rd rounder, Percy Harvin as a 4th rounder, and Reggie Bush as a 12th rounder. I am leaning towards Lynch, Bush, and Marshall over Harvin because of the potential upside. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Grant Markgraf [WASHINGTON, DC]
I would keep Lynch and Bush, but I see no reason to protect Marshall or Harvin. Marshall would come at the cost of a third-round pick. I don’t think there’s any way he’ll be selected that early. And the fourth round looks too early for Harvin. If you’re required to keep one of those pass catchers, then you might want to go with Harvin. In my eyes, he’s almost as good as Marshall, and you would get him a round later.
Keeper league. Can keep 3 which are equal to 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks (must keep 1). I have Brees, Stafford, Rice, Cruz. Rice is a given. I am leaning towards Cruz and one of Brees or Stafford. I am thinking Stafford because of age. Your thoughts would be helpful.
CHRIS DORCSIS [WOODBRIDGE, VA]
I think you have it dialed in right. Rice and Cruz are definitely the first two keepers. Stafford is 9 years younger than Brees. His receivers are also younger – Megatron, Titus Young, Pettigrew. The correct play, I think, is to push the chips to middle of the table and go with Stafford rather than Brees. The only other option I can think of would involve trying to find a team wanting to trade for Brees. Maybe there’s some kind of scenario where you keep Rice, Brees and Cruz and trade Brees for a second-round pick or something?
I am in a 10-team keeper league. We keep two players and lose the round that they were picked the previous year. If they were undrafted we have a formula to determine the pick. It is 6 points for all TDs and PPR for RBs only. I have quite a dilemma. I have Eli for a 13th rounder, Sproles (13) and DeMarco Murray (11). I don’t trust Eli or Murray. I'm almost positive I'm keeping Sproles. Players likely to be available are Rodgers, Brees, McCoy, Chris Johnson, Forte, MJD, Mathews and the top 5 WRs. I'm thinking about sending out feelers to see if I can keep and trade Murray. If I can't, who would you suggest I keep? Leaning towards Eli and Sproles and losing 13 & 14 and going top RB or Calvin depending on where I pick.
Troy Smith [HAMMOND, LA]
I’ve got Sproles and Murray a lot higher on my overall board than Manning in a PPR format. I’ve got them both in my top 10 at running back. It’s awfully appealing to secure two starting running backs with your 11th- and 13th-round draft picks.
Matt Ryan @ $34 or Jamaal Charles @ $40? $325 salary cap in a keeper league. Love Ryan's upside with a full off season with White and Jones, but RBs are much rarer and great ones more valuable. Our league values long TDs and catches so Charles is golden … if healthy.
COREY and HEATHER DAHLINE [ANGWIN, CA]
I don’t have all the specifics of how things work and whatnot, but Charles is higher than Ryan on my draft board. Getting him for about 12 percent of your cap looks like a good deal. Just hope that explosiveness is still there and he could be an important building block for you.
Question 2: In our league the WR...
Posted by John Evans | Jul. 27 at 01:43 PM
I think that your projections for Graham are flawed because 2011 was the first year that Graham was apart of the offense and that is a HUGE reason why Brees put up career stats. Graham is actually that good. Scary thing is that he will likely only get better. It was only this third year of football (in his life). The suspensions were on the defensive side of the ball. The loss of Payton will hurt...but Brees was still unbelievable with Payton injured last season. Just my thoughts.
Question 3: In my league I can...
Posted by Richard Loppnow | Jul. 24 at 01:31 PM
Julio Cruz?? I thought he retired. And played baseball.
Question 3: In my league I can...
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jul. 24 at 02:25 PM
Question 3: In my league I can...
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Jul. 24 at 02:55 PM
Props to Richard. That seems to be a little hitch I have. I've done it about 4-5 times in emails. I think I've done it on the site before in a story as well. I fear that I am no longer eligible to laugh at the Bryant Gumbel "Al Gore" jokes.
Question 5: Many thanks for guiding me...
Posted by Gary Metz | Jul. 25 at 09:41 AM
Grant and Ian, keeper value is all relative to the number of other top ranked players being kept in your league. At first glance a 4th round value may seem too harsh but spend a little time analyzing specifically for your league and you may be suprised. I will take Harvin with a 4th round value and equate it to my keeper league. FFI rankings have Harvin as the 45th overall ranked player or worth a late 4th round pick for a 12 team league or mid 5th for 10 team league. However there are 15 guys other guys being kept in my league ranked higher than Harvin making him the 30th ranked draft eligible player (worth a mid 3rd round pick for 12 team or late 3rd round pick for 10 team league). Being my league allows two keepers per team and yours allows 3, I would venture his draft value might be even higher in yours. Gary
Question 5: Many thanks for guiding me...
Posted by Nathan Kline | Jul. 25 at 11:06 PM
Grant if it is a PPR league, Marshall could be very valuable. He put up 81 receptions, 1214 yards, and 6 TD's with Miami QB's last year. I think he could easily jump back up to 100 receptions and even see his TD's increase to 8. Just another point of view.
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