Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Oct. 09 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.
Do you think the bye and coaching change will help Torry Holt?
chris wagman [lindenwold, NJ]
Definitely. Holt has been underused so far, catching only 15 passes in four games. He's on pace to finish with 60 catches, 748 yards and 4 TDs - ridiculous numbers for a player of his stature. New coach Jim Haslett says he wants to see Holt more involved, particularly early in games. The Rams have some talent -- Bulger, Jackson, and an offensive line that should be adequate. They've still got Orlando Pace, and they signed G Jacob Bell away from Tennessee in a big free agency move. If they can get the right buttons pushed, that team might move out of the bottom 10 offensively from this point going forward. Maybe Haslett can kick-start them by lighting a fire under some of their underachieving players.
In this so called "deep" year for TE's, Jason Witten is the only one worth owning, who are some guys you think can have solid numbers from here on out. Preferably TE's you can plug in every week that may be available in your league.
JOHN RUPPE [FORT MYERS, FL]
I've been using the "Flavor of the Week" approach in a couple of leagues. In the league hosted by Fanex Football I just picked up Zach Miller of the Raiders. I think he might be the solution to my problems. He'll probably lead them in receiving the rest of the way. He'll be a big part of their red zone offense. And with the coaching change there, I think the Raiders will start passing more. Check and see if Anthony Fasano of the Dolphins is available. He might be a top-5 tight end from this point going forward. Bo Scaife seems to be playing pretty consistently for the Titans. And Greg Olsen has been coming on for the Bears.
How come you still have Buffalo D ranked so high in TD only format? Isn't both their punt returner and kick-off returner out indefinitely? What am I missing?
BRYAN BERTSCH [MINNEAPOLIS, MN]
The Bills have three top-level kick returners. Terrence McGee has a knee injury; I'm not counting on him returning any kickoffs for touchdowns this year. But they still have Leodis McKelvin for kickoff returns; he returned one for a score in the preseason game against the Steelers. And Roscoe Parrish should return soon from the broken thumb that's sidelined him. I expect Parrish will miss only one or two more games, and I consider him to be the league's No. 3 punt returner right now behind Devin Hester and Reggie Bush.
Curious about your thoughts on a few of these available running backs in my league. Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood, Fred Jackson, Brandon Jackson, Darren Sproles, Ladell Betts. Do you see any as a possible "home run" (okay, maybe a broken bat single) to stash for possible end of the year heroics. Have a couple roster spots that I can stash somebody and these guys are all available.
WILL SAYRE [W SACRAMENTO, CA]
If you're looking for a guy that can step in and play today, you'll want to select Warrick Dunn. He's actually handling the ball in Tampa Bay right now almost as much as Earnest Graham -- just 3 fewer carries per game. If you're looking for that knockout prospect who'll carry your team to a championship with a five-week run of excellence, you'll want to instead grab Sproles or Betts or Fred Jackson. Each of those players is capable of delivering big, big numbers. LaDainian Tomlinson is currently battling toe issues; that speaks in Sproles' favor. Clinton Portis is getting a lot of work in D.C., so I suppose you'll probably see Betts start some games at some point. They asked a similar questions in the Ask the Experts feature that was posted on Wednesday or Thursday. In that one, I put down Betts as my favorite No. 2 back. Upon further review, however, I think Sproles would be that player.
I need some help evaluating the worth of Larry Johnson. Unfortunately I was unable to rid myself of Larry Johnson before the superb 2 yard outing that he put together last week. I've recently had an offer to move him for Willis McGahee and Vincent Jackson. That appears to be the best I can do. Do I really gain anything from this trade?
Jay Tennant [Chicago, IL]
I would do the deal. The Ravens run the ball well. You've already got McClain. So you'll always be able to at least pull something out of the backfield to use. Baltimore should be a lot more consistent and predictable (and more successful) than Kansas City. The Ravens, for example, are playing Indianapolis this week. The Colts rank last in run defense. I think you can start McGahee and McClain in that game. And as a bonus, Chris Chambers is hurt, so Vincent Jackson also has some value right now. Contrast that to Larry Johnson. When are you going to use him? Not this week. Not next week, when they're playing Tennessee. Not in week 8, when they're at the Jets. Looking at their schedule, I don't see a whole lot of favorable matchups left for him.
I am in a dynasty league and have serious trouble at qb. I have Palmer, Kitna and Frerrote, and have lost the last two weeks because of negative qb points (we subtract for interceptions and fumbles). I have been offered Favre for Sproles. Is it worth it for what may be one or two years of Favre to give up the potential of Sproles?
David Jung [SAN FRANCISCO, CA]
Yes. Because of his size (or lack of it), Sproles will never be a full-time player. Maybe at some point, he'll start 2 or 3 or 4 games for the Chargers and put up nice numbers. He's explosive and can catch passes. But if LT were to blow out his knee on Sunday, I don't think it would be long before the Chargers would slip into a committee approach, with Jacob Hester getting a quarter of the work and all the goal-line carries. I would place a higher value on having Favre at quarterback -- a guy you can plug in week after week for maybe the next 28 games.
In the preseason, you made note of the fact that Matt Gutierrez performed much better than the other Pats backup QBs. With Cassel looking overmatched, do you think they'll ever give Gutierrez a chance? Or is Belichick (or Bilicic) so eager to prove he didn't blow a 3rd round pick that he'd put O'Connell in instead?
Teddy Gaskell [Jacksonville, FL]
Cassel played better on Sunday at San Francisco, but he's still a lesser quarterback. I don't think he's ever going to be a starter in this league. I don't think any team in the offseason will pay him to come in and be their starter. He's not good enough. I'm not sure that the Patriots will bench him, but I don't think Cassel will start the remaining 12 weeks of the season. With the number of sacks he's taking, it should be just a matter of time before he gets hurt. So far, he's dropped back to pass 119 times and has been sacked 15 times. That's more than once every 8 dropbacks -- a David Carr-like number. If and when Cassel gets hurt, I believe the next quarterback there will be rookie Kevin O’Connell rather than Matt Gutierrez.
When you've got excellent to pretty-good depth throughout your team, do you try to trade some surplus for a better player, or revel in your depth? For instance, I've got Lynch, Steven Jackson, Slaton, and Earnest Graham at RB, but can only start two of them. Do you package two of these guys up and try to get an LT or Barber, or just hang onto them figuring I'll need the depth because someone's likely to get hurt?
DARREL OWEN [NORTH HIGHLANDS, CA]
I like the idea of trying to pull off a two-for-one trade. You need to make sure that you always have room to pick up free agents throughout the season. Good players are always becoming available. If you have a deep team, you don't have that luxury of plugging in lesser players with appealing matchups.
Ian, scoring question for you. Our league rules gives the Special teams 6 points for any Fake FG / Fake Punt TDs. I know the NFL considers this an offensive play, but our league views it as the S.T. are on the field and therefore they should get the points.
- the question pertains to Week 4 - Jacksonville Jaguars first TD versus Houston was listed in multiple papers as a 'fake punt'. However it is unclear if the Jag's punt team was actually on the field for the play? What does your research find concerning the play & would you consider the play a 'fake punt'?
JAMES CARVIN [MOUNT LAUREL, NJ]
I consider it to be a fake punt. The Jaguars had a fourth-and-one at the 41. They had a bunch of new players run onto the field, causing Houston to bring on its coverage team out. And the Jaguars lined up in a punt-type formation. Backup running back Montell Owens, who normally plays on special teams, took the snap and ran 41 yards for the touchdown. To me, if you allowed touchdowns on fake punts or fake field goals, you have to allow this one. One could argue, I suppose, that the Jaguars didn't actually have their punter on the field. But the massive substition was designed to fool the Texans, and it clearly worked -- they had their coverage team out there, with a return guy lined up deep. If you would like to watch the footage of this play, it's available at NFL.com.
I'm off to a monster start, 5-0, yes! I picked up L. McClain and C. Buckhalter a few weeks back. A different team has McGahee and Westbrook. He wants to trade me McGahee for Buckhalter. Would you take this?
My starting RB's are Steven Jackson and Brandon Jacobs.
RYAN OTTE [NATICK, MA]
Sure, I'll do that deal. Gives you both of the top running backs in Baltimore. The Ravens are running the ball surprisingly well -- they rank No. 4 in rushing right now, up at 154 yards per game. All but one of the 8 TDs that offense has scored have come on running plays. If either McGahee or McClain were to get hurt, the remaining back there would become a very intriguing option.
I see you've got Ryan Grant pretty low on your redrafter. What's up with the GB running game? Is it that Grant isn't performing and will be replaced by Brandon Jackson or is the O-line the problem?
DARREL OWEN [NORTH HIGHLANDS, CA]
Grant is definitely struggling. He had a 57-yard run against Minnesota and a respectable game (18 for 83) last week at home against a bad Atlanta defense, but otherwise he's averaging only 2.4 yards per carry. He's not getting the same kind of holes he was getting last year, and he also had the hamstring injury that shelved him for most of August. I imagine he'll come around some. The primary reason he appears unusually low on our draft board is his lack of production as a receiver. After five weeks, he actually has negative 4 yards receiving. Typical backs are producing 10, 15, 20 and more yards per game receiving; Grant is a non-factor as a receiver, and the Packers should continue to replace him with Brandon Jackson in obvious passing situations.
Could you compare the value of Marion Barber vs Brian Westbrook for this year and beyond in a dynasty league?
TAKI ZAMBARAS [COATESVILLE, PA]
They both have durability issues. Westbrook has never been able to stay healthy. Barber, as the most physical runner in the league, will also always have problems staying healthy -- he's a human trainwreck. Both of these players will be productive when they're on the field. My advice is to get lucky and select the one who misses the fewest games.
What is Tom Brady's future? I'm in a keeper league and can trade for him and Steve Jackson. Should I have any worries about either players?
JAMES COLE [TIMONIUM, MD]
I like them both. I imagine Brady will be one of the top 2 or 3 quarterbacks on my board next summer. Would love to have him. And Jackson is one of the handful of running backs -- he's got size, speed, and he's a great pass catcher. While Jackson isn't producing right now at the level he likely will in 2009 and 2010, he's still an asset to fantasy teams.
We had an owner quit this week and am unsure what to do with his team. I thought about (as the commish) turning his lineups myself (i don't play him in the regular season) or leaving his lineup as is for the rest of the season. Then, what should I do if he makes the playoffs? Would you skip his team and let the next team in line make the postseason?
MIKE CRAIG [OWENSVILLE, MO]
I'd got league vote on that one. First choice would be to sell the franchise to an outsider -- have him or her run the thing. I think the option of having the commish submit lineups sounds reasonable. No waiver moves. I would lean towards having the franchise eligible for the playoffs, with the prize money split amongst the other owners on the off chance that team wins it.
Baltimore's defense is #1 against the run and #1 against the pass in the NFL. However, they are only 17th in our league in terms of scoring points. We give 3 pts each for sacks, picks and fumble recoveries, 6 pts for defensive and special teams touchdowns and 10 points for a shutout but no points for yardage. Baltimore seems to stop teams with good old fashion grit but don't sack the passer or create that many turnovers, at least so far this year. Would I be out of my mind to consider dumping them for the Jets who have Cincinnati, Oakland, KC, Buffalo and St.Louis in the next 5 weeks?
Johnny Bazzano [SANTA ROSA, CA]
That's good analysis. Those are four very appealing games that the Jets have coming up, so I say go for it. The Ravens, however, also have some favorable games on the docket. After Indianapolis on Sunday, their next three will be against Miami, Oakland and Cleveland.
I have a suggestion. When someone purchases a redrafter/cheatsheet, allow them to see all the previously posted redrafters. They're out-of-date anyway. What do you think?
Richard Williams [Charlotte, NC]
Fine by me. If there's somebody who wants to see a back issue of the redrafter, they can send in an e-mail and let me know which issue they would like to see.
Hello Ian. I was hoping to get your opinion on something. I recently just lost patience and made a trade offer to a team in my league. I offered LT, Calvin Johnson, and David Garrard for Chris Johnson, Plaxico Burress, and the worst player on his bench who is Stallworth.
I just have a bad feeling about LT and Johnson and think that Chris Johnson and Burress will outproduce them for the remainder of the year. That's if LT even stays healthy, which I don't think he will. I factored in their schedules and current team's situations. Garrard was just throwing him a bone because he's in a bad QB situation and I have Brees.
Do you think I jumped ship at the right time or pushed the panick button too early.
David Zendano [N LAS VEGAS, NV]
The trade might work out for you. But I think you decided you were going to get rid of Tomlinson, you could get a lot more for him.
Ian- 16 team TD only league… just moved McNabb, D’Angelo (sell high) and Calvin Johnson (DET looks a mess) for Cutler, Addai and Randle El. My problem is I don’t want to be one of “those teams” who have the deepest roster, but finish out of the money because they consistently leave too many points on the bench. Have already had Favre’s 6 TDs and D’Angelo’s trio on the bench! I now have Favre and Cutler at QB (start 1) and LT, Forte and Addai at RB (start 2). Depth is nice, but I’m thinking I should shore up my WR crew (S.Smith, DeSean Jax, Randle El and Bryant – start 3)… My question: Which of the QBs or RBs are you least comfortable with, and would you deal any of them for a WR anything short of a Fitzgerald-type? Thanks for your input.
Matt Tinker [ORLEANS, VT]
I would be looking to deal either one of those quarterbacks -- Cutler or Favre -- for a franchise-type receiver. Somebody like Steve Smith, Fitzgerald or Marshall. To get the deal done, you might not get to pick which quarterback you keep. You might have to throw in a backup receiver. But you've got to get that idle talent off your bench and into your lineup.
Question 5: I need some help...
Posted by Justin Howe | Oct. 14 at 01:58 PM
Hey, Ian... 8-team league, I've got Westbrook, Slaton, MJD and Norwood at RB and Marshall, Andre Johnson, Colston, Bowe, and Avery at WR. would you deal Andre for Forte + Santonio Holmes?
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