Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Dec. 20 at 03:34 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.
I know you hate lineup questions, but this is my championship game, so here it goes. With Romo sure to be less than 100% and Carolina better against the pass than the run, do I pick up a different QB or hold my breath and dance with who I brought?
JOHN RUPPE [FORT MYERS, FL]
I'm not a believer in the Dance-With-What-Brung-Ya line of reasoning. I think you go with the guys you think give you the best chance to win, even if they're waiver-wire guys who haven't even been on your roster all year. Why would you do it any differently? But in this case, I doubt that there are any quarterbacks out there that are even close in potential to Romo. He's got a bruised thumb. Big deal. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he's been very effective and consistent this year, throwing 35 TDs and averaging 276 yards per game. Carolina has been better against the run than pass, but this is by no stretch a great defense. More than that defense, it was the wind that slowed down Matt Hasselbeck on Sunday (and he still finished with 274 yards and 1 TD). In each of the Panthers' four previous games against teams with capable passing attacks, they allowed 2-3 TD passes. Romo's the guy.
I'm in the championship game with a luxury most don't have, whether to start Brett Favre or Drew Brees. Usually it just works out, but I don't wanna screw this one up.
Jimmy Rivera [CAMDEN, NJ]
I'd go with Brees and get out of having to worry about what the weather might be like at Soldier Field. Right now, the forecast indicates it will be about 20 degrees, with 15 mph winds and a 10 percent chance of snow. The early forecast for inside the Superdome on Sunday is 70 degrees, with no wind or rain. And it's not like you're settling for some lesser quarterback like Cleo Lemon or David Carr. Brees is a heck of a player.
I am a long time Fantasy Index subscriber. I am in the top 10 after 3 weeks in a national championship. This is the final week. I am currently in 9th and each place I move up could be worth a lot. My question is around which two RBs to start in a points-per-reception format. I have Brian Westbrook who has been great all year, but I am worried about him due to Andy Reid's history of taking starters out in meaningless games. I also have Jamal Lewis and Edgerrin James who seem to have favorable matchups this week. Do I dare bench Westbrook to start Lewis and James?
Sean Salamander (Greenville Geckos) [GREENCASTLE, IN]
It's certainly an appealing option. Atlanta is much, much worse against the run than pass, so Edgerrin James should be very good. Cincinnati is also horrible against the run; Jamal Lewis ran for 216 yards against them the last time those teams met. But mostly, I'm worried about the Eagles taking the gas off with Brian Westbrook. In recent years, whenever the Eagles' games have become meaningless (either they've been eliminated or locked into a playoff game), Andy Reid has started treating them almost like exhibitions. With that in mind, there's a good chance Reid will protect his most valuable player by reducing his touches. It's an extremely risky tactic, however, particularly in a league giving points for receptions.
Looking ahead to next year, what is Deuce McAllister's situation? Does he have anything left? If he's still under contract, has New Orleans hinted at possibly trading him?
David Jung [SAN FRANCISCO, CA]
I think he still fits in the Saints' plans. Reggie Bush isn't a full-time back. He needs to be used in combination with another back. And McAllister probably will be that guy. The Saints will have to decide whether they want to bring him back -- if he's worth the risk. McAllister will be 29 next week, and he's missed most of two of the last three years with ACL injuries. A pay cut will need to be worked out. McAllister is scheduled to receive a base salary of $3.6 million next year, and no team would be interested in him at that price. Fantasy-wise, I would operate under the assumption that he's going to run for about 800 yards and 7 TDs next year. With the substantial injury risk and little upside, I think he has only nominal value in a fantasy league.
In my 14-team league, I am contemplating next season going from a 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE), 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 DEF lineup structure to 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE), 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 DEF, having an extra bench spot. People were talking about the lack of running backs this season to fill their rosters out. What's your opinion on this?
Johnny Rocket [Hartsville, TN]
That might work. In leagues with 14-plus teams, there aren't a lot of running backs to go around. So the idea of moving some of those starting running backs into a "flex" spot could make some sense. Let some teams start 1 RB and 3 WR, and others go with 2 RB and 2 WR. There might be enough talent available, at least in a 14-team league, that you could go with two flex guys in lineups (so teams could have 1-3 RB, 2-4 WR and 1-3 TE).
OK, I know "who should I start" questions are frowned upon, but this one has some serious intrigue -- Fred Taylor or LT? I can name 6 reasons to do something stupid here: injury, matchup, Monday night game, little-to-play-for, pro bowl snub, and a personal one involving Terrell Davis (the LT of yesteryear) handing me a championship loss week 16 vs. Miami many years ago (you could look it up, 2K season and less than 70 yards in my championship, but I'm not bitter....).
Pat Smith [Mitchell, SD]
Taylor has a great matchup. Oakland is horrible against the run. But he's still a guy who doesn't catch any passes or carry the ball at the goal line. He might not even be the most productive back on his own team (Maurice Jones-Drew will get 40ish percent of the carries there, and he catches passes and scores 1-yard TDs). Tomlinson is your guy. He's at home, the Chargers still need to win, and the defense he'll face (Denver) is also horribly soft against the run.
I wanted to share my unintentional recipe for disaster this season. In a 10-team keeper league (keep 5) with 15-man rosters, I kept from 2006: Bulger, Ronnie Brown, Roy Williams, Javon Walker, and Lee Evans. At the 9th draft spot, I picked Cedric Benson. I don't believe I need to say where I ended up, but please don't trouble yourself to send condolences cards and flowers. Hope you enjoyed this little anecdote.
Paul Desimone [HAYWARD, CA]
That's a tough year. On the plus side, you didn't make it to the playoffs and then lose because Brian Westbrook took a knee on the 1-yard line. That might be even a tougher way to go out. Regardless, you get to draft again in nine months.
Question 4: Looking ahead to next year,...
Posted by john brower | Dec. 21 at 06:22 AM
what is the outlook for carnell williams as a keeper for next year,thanks,jb
Question 5: In my 14-team league, I...
Posted by MARK CHRISTIE | Dec. 21 at 01:26 AM
We run a 14 team league with that lineup config you were asking about, 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 Flex, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DST. To balance things out even more, we give 1 pt per reception to the WRs and TEs, but not the RBs. Definitely levels the playing field and makes more players worthy of starting.
Question 6: OK, I know "who should...
Posted by MARK CHRISTIE | Dec. 21 at 01:30 AM
I hear ya Pat - I was a week 16 victim of the Terrell Davis vs. MIA game too (it was the 1998 season by the way). What made it worse was my SB opponent also had Miami's D. Still - you have to start Tomlinson, he's at home and the game means something to SD to try and get the #3 seed over PIT. If you recall, in 1998, Denver had homefield locked up and were playing on the road against a Miami team which had something to play for.
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