Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Sep. 04 at 05:13 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.
Hey, Ian, one theory I sometimes hear is that offenses have the advantage over the defenses early in the year. Any data to back this up? I ask because I'm thinking about rolling with some players whose matchups wouldn't seem to warrant it--like Carolina at San Diego--based on this theory that we're more likely to see some shootouts to start the season.
Craig Rinne [GAINESVILLE, FL]
I like the idea, but it doesn't seem to hold water. If you look at just points scored, you'll see that in four of the last five seasons, teams (as a whole) have averaged more points in the second half of the season.
1st-2nd half of season
(average points per NFL team)
21.3-22.1 2007 season
20.6-20.6 2006 season
20.6-20.7 2005 season
20.9-22.1 2004 season
20.7-20.8 2003 season
I flipped open my copy of the NFL Record & Fact Book. In the last 20 years, nine receivers have gone over 250 yards in a game. All but one of those games came in November or December. For 400-yard passers in the last 10 years, I'm seeing a 40-21 advantage for Nov.-Dec. versus Sept.-Oct. For 200-yard rushers in the last 10 years, there's an advantage of 30-12 for Nov.-Dec. To me, therefore, it looks like offenses actually do better in the second half of the season.
While a lot of owners like to look ahead to weeks 14-16 for easy schedules, I'd like to get off to a hot start then focus on weeks 14-16. Have you run anything on the first month of the season as far as strength of schedule goes?
BRYAN BERTSCH [MINNEAPOLIS, MN]
Looks like the Patriots, Cardinals and Seahawks. Dallas, Washington and Minnesota project to play the hardest schedules.
Strength of Schedule in weeks 1-4
W L Pct.
9 39 .188 New England
19 45 .297 Arizona
15 33 .313 Seattle
22 42 .344 San Diego
19 29 .396 NY Giants
26 38 .406 Denver
27 37 .422 Atlanta
28 36 .438 Buffalo
29 35 .453 Oakland
22 26 .458 Detroit
30 34 .469 Carolina
30 34 .469 New Orleans
31 33 .484 Kansas City
31 33 .484 Pittsburgh
31 33 .484 Tampa Bay
32 32 .500 San Francisco
33 31 .516 Philadelphia
34 30 .531 Tennessee
26 22 .542 Indianapolis
35 29 .547 Baltimore
35 29 .547 Cincinnati
35 29 .547 Cleveland
35 29 .547 St. Louis
36 28 .563 Houston
36 28 .563 NY Jets
37 27 .578 Chicago
37 27 .578 Green Bay
28 20 .583 Miami
38 26 .594 Jacksonville
38 26 .594 Washington
40 24 .625 Dallas
43 21 .672 Minnesota
Nice job with the magazine and the website. All the tools you have are really helpful. I've noticed in the last two stat projections (the ones in Excel) that Anquan Boldin's stats have gone up, shooting him up to #12 WR rankings. I thought all the evidence was that he was really unhappy with the entire organization? Thanks for your time, keep up the good work.
Kevin Torgerson [Moorhead, MN]
Boldin is unhappiness. Strap him up to the meter and he clocks somewhere between "miffed" and "disgruntled". And that's a concern. But he's a great receiver, and the Cardinals are going with Kurt Warner at quarterback. Warner throws a lot better than Matt Leinart. During the second half of last year, Warner put up better passing stats than Tom Brady. In each of his previous two season, he was over 270 passing yards. With that kind of upside, there comes a point where you can't pass up Boldin, baggage and all.
One sleeper I don't hear anyone talking about is Jabar Gaffney. I've drafted him in the last round of each my drafts and I see him with significant upside being the third receiver in the most prolific passiing offense in the league. What am I missing?
Tony Hamilton [RNCHO CORDOVA, CA]
Sounds good to me. In his last nine games last season, Gaffney caught 25 passes for 335 yards and 5 TDs. That indicates to me that he might finish the season with 700-800 yards and 8 TDs if the cards fall right. If Wes Welker or Randy Moss gets hurt -- and injuries do happen -- Gaffney could be very good.
Say, I notice in your FanEx league, you took Bryant Johnson late, though Josh Morgan was available. Recently you'd written that you didn't feel Johnson would be one of the team's top 2 receivers. Is Bryant making a comeback in the preseason?
Jacob Wilson [KAUFMAN, TX]
I drafted Johnson in the 12th round of that draft. But that was in late May.Since that time, Johnson got hurt, allowing Josh Morgan to emerge and put up big numbers in the early exhibition games. Now it looks like things have swung back Johnson's way. He returned from his hamstring injury and played in the last preseason game, catching 3 passes on the team's first four passing plays. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz and the team's GM both have indicated that they expect Johnson to begin the season as a starter ahead of Morgan.
Is it just me or does Tim Hightower look like he's a better fit for the Arizona Offense than E. James? I'm curious to know that if James wasn't there right now- where would you have Hightower ranked?
Brian Grzybowski [RICHMOND, VA]
Being based in Richmond, you may be wondering if Hightower is really as good as you think/hope he is. Speaking for the rest of the country, I can assure you he is. Faster than Edgerrin James and runs a lot meaner. I'm sure that at some point this year, Hightower will become the starter, and I'll bet that when that day comes, he'll be better than James.
You really think chris perry will do better than Deuce McAllister. The ravens def scares me?
David Andrew [BALDWIN, NY]
Definitely. Perry is definitely going to see a lot more playing time than McAllister, and he'll definitely catch a lot more passes. I wouldn't be too concerned about Baltimore's defense. It's not 2004 anymore. It's 2008. Ed Reed isn't going to play. Chris McAlister is just coming back. That's not an elite defense anymore.
In my 12-team PPR draft last week, I did the ultimate "zag" while the other 11 teams were zigging. I ended up with a dream team at WR (Moss, T.O., and Marshall), and am quite pleased with Cutler and Warner at QB. Unfortunately, I've got a patchwork quilt at RB (Forte, DeAngelo Williams, Chris Perry, Steve Slaton, Andre Hall, Ray Rice). We start 2 RB, 2 WR and a flex. Would you (i) "make do" and platoon 2 RB per week based on match-up, (ii) try to package 2 of my RBs for a RB upgrade, or (iii) trade a stud WR for a RB1?
STEVEN MATH [SAN ANTONIO, TX]
I don't think you're under any pressure to do anything. You'll win games with that group. You might have the top 3 wide receivers in the league. And I think you'll be just find with that group at running back. You'll be able to add guys as the season goes along -- either through trades or by picking up prospects on the waiver wire. In my opinion, your team is a perfect example of why you should not reach for running backs in the early rounds.
Matt Forte has been receiving a lot of hype this preseason, but I've seen some projections that makes me think the Bears' #2 RB is going to be a decent flex option in a 12-team league. What are thoughts of Kevin Jones, who has seemingly taken over that role past Adrian Peterson with a good preseason?
Rick Seto [QUINCY, MA]
I have no interest in either Kevin Jones or Adrian Peterson. Don't have them among my top 60 running backs. On the team's depth chart, Jones is the No. 4 tailback, behind Garrett Wolfe. Maybe Jones can work his way back into being a functional player -- maybe win the backup job. I don't see it.
You latest cheat sheet had David Garrard ranked highly. I like him as a real-life QB. But as a fantasy QB, however, I can't see who he is going to pass to? Where will he get his numbers?
DAVID SMITH [WALLS, MS]
I suppose he'll pass to the same guys he used last year -- Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Dennis Northcutt, Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew. The only guy they lost was Ernest Wilford, and they replaced him by signing Jerry Porter (who's just as big and a lot faster). In adjusted, per-game stats, Garrard was the No. 12 quarterback last year. He runs well. I believe he'll do just fine.
After 11 years of buying your magazines/updates and exchanging countless emails with you, I'm really counting on you this year. Three guys you are really high on are going to make or break me: Jay Cutler, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Calvin Johnson. In our PPR league (8 teams), we start 2 QB, 3 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE. My first 4 picks were Steven Jackson, Drew Brees, Jones-Drew, and Calvin Johnson.
Kelly Salisbury [CENTREVILLE, VA]
I think your team will do just fine. I think you'll be a lot happier with Brees and Calvin Johnson after the big numbers they put up on Sunday. I'm not making any promises (for this week) with Jones-Drew. I think that's a tough game for the Jaguars.
I drafted Jay Cutler as my #1 QB and Kurt Warner as my #2. I don't like changing my team immediately after the draft. That being said no one in my 8 team league took David Garrard or Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has the same week 8 bye as Cutler. Do you think I should grab one or both of these guys and drop Warner? You don't seem too sold on him and these other guys are ranked awfully high on my rankings. And just for good measure Garrard gets Cleveland at home in week 8.
JOHN RUPPE [FORT MYERS, FL]
Wow. I can't believe Garrard and Rodgers weren't selected. Great players. They'd be nice to have. I don't think I'd drop either Cutler or Warner, however. Cutler is the highest rated of that group, and Warner has more upside than any of the others. There are concerns about Warner's ability to stay healthy, but that's not a problem for you, since you're in an eight-team league and there are plenty of options available on the waiver wire.
Question 11: After 11 years of buying...
Posted by Scott Baldocchi | Sep. 07 at 02:57 PM
your magazine. I notice that almost everyone you put on the cover either gets injured or has a horrible year. 2008, Tom Brady. What now guys? I have Aaron Rogers as my back up. Do you pick up Cassel? Hasselbeck? Edwards? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh Help!!
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