Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Jul. 27 at 01:28 PM
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.
Our league gives return yardage points (1 for every 25 yards). This really adds to the value of guys like Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Darren Sproles and Percy Harvin. Is there any way to verify the KR and PR roles? It's a serious advantage to know in my league.
MARK CLURE [MOUNT SHASTA, CA]
That’s what the preseason is for, right? In general, we know who those returners will be (and you’ve identified some of the keys ones), but we’ll need to let those battles play out. Some additional thoughts: Harvin and DeSean Jackson have been key return guys in recent years, and should be used some, but their teams have been moving towards using them less (out of fear of injuries). Jackson likely will handle just a few key punt returns this year; in the case of Harvin, his kickoff returns decreased from 40 to 16 last year. Also note that even with kickoffs moving from the 30 to 35 last year (increasing touchbacks) there are still a lot more yards on kickoffs. Teams averaged 1,021 yards on KO returns last year, versus only 364 on punts. In 2011, 16 players had over 800 yards on returns, and all of them returned kickoffs. Leon Washington, Brandon Tate, Brandon Banks, Darren Sproles, Josh Cribbs, Ted Ginn, Marc Mariani, Randall Cobb, Devin Hester and Stefan Logan all went over 1,100 yards, returning both kickoffs and punts. Then you’ve got Joe McKnight (kickoffs), Antonio Brown (KO/punts), Richard Goodman (kickoffs), Eric Weems (both), LaRod Stephens-Howling (kickoffs) and Clyde Gates (kickoffs). I’ll put a prettier and more extensive chart on the Facebook page.
I am sure this entry will draw the ire of reader Jacob Wilson, but I am going to ask anyway. I play in a PPR keeper league with otherwise standard scoring. I am keeping Calvin Johnson with my 1st round pick and Gronk with my 12th round pick. I can also keep one of the following (with the round it costs to keep them in parentheses): Chris Johnson (3rd), Jamaal Charles (4th), DeMarco Murray (8th), Stafford (9th), Antonio Brown (16th). I am leaning towards Stafford as Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Newton, and possibly Vick will be kept and he is a great value as a 9th round pick. However, that will leave me pretty thin at RB (which is something I am not used to in this league). Just want to see if you agree with that plan. I will try to add more value to the mailbag in my next entry by opining about some obscure reference to the time when you didn't hook me up with the girl selling trophies.
Chris Thompson [LOS ANGELES, CA]
I would keep DeMarco Murray. He’s a lot higher on my board than Stafford, and good running backs are hard to find. And when you keep Calvin Johnson, does that cost your team its first-round pick? I’m not sure about that. I think it might make more sense to protect Antonio Brown. If you don’t keep Johnson, you may be able to select him in the first round anyway. Assuming it’s a lower first-round pick and you’ll definitely lose him, the cost of foregoing Johnson is probably 20-30 points. Whatever you consider the cost of moving down to Victor Not Julio Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald or A.J. Green. By making that 20-30 point sacrifice, you pick up Brown in the late rounds. He’s a top-15 receiver on my board.
Haven't read the magazine yet. Plan to buy it soon. Do you think last year's lockout affected how ready defenses were? And that's the reason offensive numbers were so high last year?
Chris Muschon [DEWITT, MI]
I think it played a role. Defenses probably weren’t able to implement as many of their complex coverages and zone blitzes and whatnot. I just record a podcast with Mark Nulty. (It will be posted on the website and in iTunes tomorrow morning). In the podcast, if you’ll allow me to speak in the fourth person, Nulty says that Herman Edwards says he believes rookies and young players were helped by the lockout because offenses were simplier. With the lockout, they also didn’t have time to implement their more complex plays and schemes, making it easier for rookies to contribute. I think the lack of defensive preparation and chemistry was probably more significant.
It would be great to see a historical analysis of what happens when a key fantasy prospect has a lengthy holdout. Last year, we all saw what happened to Chris Johnson. This year, it could be MJD. From what I can remember, however, some guys have held out until right before the season starts and then go on to be very productive. Is there any data to suggest that holdouts damage players' productivity?
Tom Collins [EAGLEVILLE, PA]
This is a nice question. If I had a little more time, I would make this the headline question of the day. I will try to get around to doing a more thorough study next week. I think there could be some falloff. But it will take time (considerable time) to put together a deep and meaningful chart of all the various guys. Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson all come to mind as rookie running backs who didn’t sign until just before the season started. They all did some good things as rookies. Tomlinson carried a huge workload in his very first game, and Sanders almost won the rushing title. Smith was just OK as a rookie; he had a huge game late in the year. With all three guys, however, they were a lot better in their second seasons. Smith had a more telling holdout in 1993, when he sat out the first two games of the season. He came back in and ran for 1,486 yards in 14 games, with a 5.3 average, but he scored only 9 TDs. He ran for 18 and 21 TDs in the sandwich years around that season. Chris Johnson appeared to be held back by his holdout last year. Jamal Anderson held out after his Super Bowl season and then played poor in two games, averaging only 3.1 yards per attempt, and blew out his knee. But I would need to cook up a much longer list before being able to draw better conclusions.
Not sure how to respond to trivia question of the day, but total road playoff wins answer seemed wrong. I remember Eli Manning winning 5 road playoff games and he wasn't among answers.
david erickson [LOS ANGELES, CA]
I have a file with about 400 trivia questions in it. As they get used, they get moved to the bottom. Sometimes I’ll write a custom question (like today with Bryant Johnson). So each day, when I’m looking at the questions near the top of the file, it’s up to me to notice if one has become outdated. They go across my desk before being posted. That’s the theory, anyway. It seems like once every three weeks I’ll let one sneak by with an error in it. Apologies. Manning is now the lone leader. Joe Flacco would have joined him if Lee Evans had held onto that end zone pass at the end of the AFC Championship.
Great product. Can you suggest some good numbers for my auction values? 10 team PPR. 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 flex WR/RB/TE, 1 TE, def, def player, kicker. Standard yahoo formating.
MIKE RADAKER [CLEARFIELD, PA]
We have the custom rankings area at the website. That’s where you’ll want to go to create your auction prices. You have to set up the scoring system at the “scoring profile” area, and there’s an “auction profile” area where you need to spend 2-3 minutes setting the baselines at each position. In short, you have to decide at each position on the best player you think will be purchased for the $1 minimum. At quarterback, that guy will likely come about 14 quarterbacks in. Maybe Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton or Joe Flacco. At tight end, probably only about 11 will go for more than the $1 minimum. At running back, I would say about 23-24 will go for more than the $1 minimum. The value in a PPR format is at wide receiver. I believe all 10 of those flex players probably should be wide receivers, so I would think about 33 wide receivers should go for more than minium. Only about 3-4 kickers and defenses. Andy Richardson puts together projections for individual defensive players, but they’re not integrated in with the offensive rankings, so I suggest you just treat them as a separate auction (assume the 10 teams will spend a total of $40 on that position or whatever).
Back at it again. I have the 6th pick in a 12-team league with no flex and 6pts/td pass. Figuring Foster, Rodgers, McCoy and Rice will be gone. Who do I consider CJ2K, Megatron, Brees or Brady there? Also, Mathews being a stretch there, but I have to look at him. I'm not a trent richardson believer just yet and know I can get him later.
Bill Petilli [LARCHMONT, NY]
I just had the numbers in front of me for a question about 6 points for touchdown passes. Brady and Calvin Johnson would be the two guys I would be looking at. Brady would be the pick. The other numbers you were throwing around – Brees, Mathews, Chris Johnson – wouldn’t even be candidates that high.
I play in a PPR league but we also receive Points Per Completion and passing TD's are 6 points. I have pick 2 and have been eyeballing LeSean McCoy since last year. RB scoring is standard (1 point for 10 yards, TDs 6 points.) Should I grab McCoy or someone like Rodgers or Brady in this scoring format?
Nathan Kline [Topton, PA]
With the scoring system of 1 point per 20 passing yards, 1 for 10 run/rec yards, 1 for catches and 6 for all touchdowns, I’ve got Foster No. 1 and Rice No. 2. But Rice is just barely ahead of Rodgers and only 15 points ahead of Brady. I’m not sure how you’re working completions in. If you’re giving a point for every completion, that’s like switching to 2 points for every 20 passing yards (or 1 for every 10 passing yards). With that format, Rodgers and Brady would be your top 2 players overall, and Brees probably would be No. 3.
Ian, I'm torn. I have the first pick this year. My gut is telling me McCoy but everything I'm reading is telling me Foster. I know it's close, but please save me the torment of flip flopping for the next few weeks. Who would you pick? I call this the WWID (What Would Ian Do?) technique.
Mike Koffski [CHICAGO, IL]
I’ve got Foster as the No. 1 running back. Only if it’s a TD-only format would I even be considering selecting McCoy ahead of him.
After 16 years our league is switching to the auction/salary cap format for the first time (on a trial basis). Looking at your custom scoring, how do you determine how many of each position will be purchased at auction? We are a 16 roster league , that starts QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, K, D and the bench can be any position. Also, any draft day tips on how to keep it moving so the league votes to keep auction in place in the future?
ERIC FEINGOLD [GARDEN CITY, NY]
Are teams in this league allowed to carry only one backup player? Or are they carrying about eight backup players? That’s a key issue. If they’re carrying only one backup, then there’s about an extra 112 players who’ll be sitting out there. It will be possible to cobble together a decent team by playing the waiver, picking up emerging players and lesser guys with nice matchups. In a one-backup league, for example, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Matthew Stafford won’t be drafted. They’ll play some decent games. In that kind of format, I would expect your league to be selling about 20 quarterbacks, 38 running backs, 38 wide receivers and 16 each at tight end, kicker and defenses. For the first draft of your prices, I would assume 15 quarterbacks, 30 running backs, 30 wide receivers, 10 tight ends, 3 kickers and 4 defenses will be sold for more than the $1 minimum. If there are a bunch of backup players being purchased as well, then those numbers have to be expanded a bunch (by maybe a half dozen at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end). At the auction, determine a nominating order and distribute draft sheets so everyone has it. No need for a snake order. Remind people to be ready to nominate when it’s their turn. Once you get into the final third of the auction, it will be very similar to a draft, with most of the guys going for $1-2.
In years past, I have not found a way to customize a cheat sheet for a league that rewards kick and punt return yards. Now more and more leagues I'm in seem to be doing it (which I'm not a big fan of) and I was hoping in the future you would create a way to customize a cheat sheet with that kind of scoring ( 1 point per 20 yards returning). I'm thinking I'm loading up on RB and WRs who return and get lots of catches (DeSean Jackson, Sproles, Harvin). Your thoughts?
SCOTT MATTHEWS [LA MESA, CA]
If a player finishes with 1,000 yards on kick returns, that’s 50 fantasy points. A nice bonus, but not enough that you should be going after return specialists like Leon Washington, Brandon Banks and Ted Ginn. You need players who are going to be consistently involved on offense as well. There were only six players last year who had over 700 receiving yards and also played a bunch as regular offensive players. Darren Sproles, Ted Ginn, Josh Cribbs, Randall Cobb, Devin Hester and Antonio Brown. I would not consider Ginn or Cribbs to be draft prospects in your league for 2012. Hester maybe. You mention Jackson and Harvin; I don’t think those guys are going to be used as extensively as returners this year (though they’re still good players). I would have one eye on Doug Baldwin and Jacoby Ford.
Question 1: Our league gives return yardage...
Posted by David Grace | Jul. 29 at 12:31 PM
It's my understanding that the Steelers are taking Brown off of returns and replacing him with Sanders. He loses a lot of value in this scoring system.
Question 2: I am sure this entry...
Posted by Chris Thompson | Jul. 29 at 09:02 PM
Ian, where do you have Antonio Brown in a ppr league if Wallace is either traded or refuses to play, and what is your guess on the odds that Wallace doesn't play (or only plays 6 games) for the Steelers this year?
Question 4: It would be great to...
Posted by JOHN MACHO | Jul. 29 at 06:35 AM
It seems to me that holdouts get hurt more often. Some combination of lack of conditioning, selfishness, and bad karma. I'm thinking veterans, because unsigned rookies are not holdouts, they have no contract yet, and are in better shape anyway due to their youth and low mileage.
Question 4: It would be great to...
Posted by David Grace | Jul. 29 at 12:41 PM
Chris Johnson's holdout wasn't his only problem, they installed a new offense that he wasn't familiar with. What's more it appeared it took several weeks for OC Palmer to adjust his offense to what CJ did well. MJD faces the same hurdle this year. An extended holdout should be a real concern IMO.
Question 8: I play in a PPR...
Posted by Nathan Kline | Jul. 31 at 05:54 AM
Thanks. Rodgers will probably go first, so Brady sounds like a good play.
Question 10: After 16 years our league...
Posted by Moishe Steigmann | Jul. 28 at 07:40 PM
Ian -- did you really mean that you think that Matthew Stafford wouldn't be drafted in a one-backup league? Or, did you mean perhaps Sam Bradford?
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