Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Would an all-Alabama team win a fantasy league? Why COVID might be more of a factor this year. Identifying the best backup running backs. Best values relative to ADP. And more.

Question 1

Do you think you could win a league – or at least, be in the money – with a team consisting with at least 90 percent Alabama players?

Todd Voorhees (Chula Vista, CA)

Neat question. You would the best running backs in your league, with Derrick Henry, Najee Harris, Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs. Enough talent at that position that you wouldn’t even need to carry Kenyan Drake or Mark Ingram. Wide receivers would be above-average and maybe really good, depending on how the four selected in the first rounds of the last two drafts progress – Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy. Probably more games would be started by the veterans (definitely Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper, and maybe Julio Jones). At quarterback, you would need to bend the rules and take Jalen Hurts, who played at both Alabama and Oklahoma. You would need him to come through with top-10 numbers in a bunch of weeks, because you wouldn’t be quite good enough with a tandem of Tua and Mac Jones. You wouldn’t be good enough at tight end, with Irv Smith’s injury leaving you with only O.J. Howard. You wouldn’t have a kicker.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 2

What are your thoughts on how Covid will affect drafting depth? Everyone is drafting depth at RB and WR but in a deeper league (I'm in a 14 teamer), does it make sense to secure a solid QB2 or TE2 this season, more so than in the past? Watching guys like Tannehill test positive has me thinking it may be worthwhile to have someone ready to plug in, just in case.

Ben Blakely (Rochester, NY)

For fantasy purposes, I think COVID will be a bigger factor this year. The NFL has made it clear there will be no delaying or shuffling around of games. They’ll be played when they’re scheduled to play, with teams having to make do with whatever players they have. There definitely will be plenty of notable players who’ll miss games, particularly with players now being given more freedom to move around. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen COVID issues with Tannehill, Ryan Succop, CeeDee Lamb, Jamison Crowder and probably a few others that would have sidelined them had they occurred in the regular season. Makes sense to have good backups in place at all positions. For large leagues with large rosters, it might make sense to carry some of the more promising backups. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, for example, I think are unvaccinated, so there’s a decent chance Mitchell Trubisky and Tyler Huntley will get on the field at some point.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 3

Long, long time subscriber. Here is my annual question, In order, what would be your top 4 or 5 backup RB's that would be an injury away from being a top RB?

Randy Newland (Sunrise, FL)

Kareem Hunt would be No. 1, but with him playing a bunch anyway, I’m not including him. Tony Jones of the Saints (especially with Latavius Murray now released). Alex Collins, I think, is the backup running back for Seattle; he was better than Rashaad Penny in the preseason. Alexander Mattison. Rhamondre Stevenson. Tony Pollard. Chuba Hubbard. Darrel Williams.

8 Comments | Add Comment

Question 4

In your top 30 of each, What are your top 3 rb and top 3 wr that have the largest positive difference compared to the adp?

Peter Wohler (Minneapolis, MN)

At running back, Josh Jacobs is the top-level guy. At the bottom of the top 30, I would have Melvin Gordon and Jamaal Williams – with their experience, I think they’re about as good as the hyped rookies in those backfields. At wide receiver, I think we’d be looking at Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen, Corey Davis and Marquez Callaway.

Add Comment

Question 5

12 Team 1/2 PPR, start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, and 2 Flex RB,WR,TE's only. What has changed that has moved Mahomes and Allen into top 6 picks in Round 1 ahead of RB's which all other leagues seem to go at least the first 5 or 6 picks. Based on your custom scoring.

Mike Gibbons (Riva, MD)

The rankings I’m doing are based on a combination of player stats and what others at his position are going to do. Suppose, for example, that you look at what will be available in the eighth round. Who are the best quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers who’ll be available in the eighth round? Then go back to the first round and look at how much better the various players are then those guys who’ll be coming up in the eighth round. Answers can change if instead of the eighth round as our artificially set floor, we use the sixth round - or the 10th round. We’re weighing options. In general, my projections suggest there is some value in the quarterback position. I like Mahomes and Allen, and I like the guys in that next tier as well. I would suggest you should then blend that data with what you believe will happen in your league, given what you know about the other franchise owners in your league – figure where you can get the best quarterback value, whether it’s Mahomes or Allen early, or one of the other really good quarterbacks a little later. From the “Do as I say, not as I do” file, I got stuck with both Josh Allen and Tom Brady in our player auction a few nights ago (and nearly Patrick Mahomes as well) when I didn’t think others were bidding enough for them.

Add Comment

Question 6

Let me start by saying I’m a full package subscriber to your product for a LONG time and obviously really like it. That said, while everyone is entitled to their own opinion/analysis, your QB rankings make zero sense to me 12-36. Multiple examples. Jameis Winston is 30 but Deshaun Watson 28? Trey Lance ahead of a slew of starters? That board is a mess.

Bill Berman (Ocean City, NJ)

It depends what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a player who’ll start 17 games and give you average numbers, then you pick a guy like Derek Carr or Baker Mayfield. At some point, you need to start thinking about players with more risk but more potential to maybe crank out some top-10 games. I don’t think Watson, for example, will play this year. But if he’s in the lineup for the second half of the season, he might be a top-5 quarterback for that run. So in a typical 12-team league, with most teams carrying two quarterbacks, it makes sense to carry Watson rather than somebody like Jared Goff, Daniel Jones or Sam Darnold, even if you think those guys will finish with better overall numbers. In the leagues I’m thinking of, there are guys like that available on the waiver wire at most times. With the quarterback rankings, there’s some effort to work in that kind of thinking.

Add Comment

Question 7

In a keeper league with two IR roster spots, would it be worth it to draft Cam Akers late in the draft to save for future years? To keep a player in my league you need to give up your pick in the round he was drafted. What round is he worth taking?

Dominic Palazzolo ()

If you have two IR spots, you’ll want to use them. So would make some sense, I think, to throw late-round picks at guys like J.K. Dobbins, Travis Etienne and Akers. (Then, after the draft, you get to go to the waiver wire and claim a player who might have been the same guy you were going to pick anyway.) Akers would be behind those other guys, with an Achilles injury being more worrisome.

2 Comments | Add Comment

Question 8

I know this is somewhat late in the Drafting "season" (I have drafted two teams out of five) but I don't see anywhere posted on the cheat sheets the exact number of starters? (maybe I missed it?) Anyway, how many RB's and how many WR's are these cheat sheets based on starting? Many leagues I play in (tho not all) start 2 RB's, 2 WR's and a flex.

Jeff Zwiers (Bellingham, WA)

Rosters, starting lineups and number of teams are all variables that affect how the rankings are best calculated for your league. We’re trying to hit a general all-purpose list. To fine-tune the supply and demand dynamics for your league, use the auction values area of the website (inside the custom scoring profile). In general, our system works by defining what a baseline player is – what we call a $1.00 player. These are the guys you start picking in perhaps the last third of your draft. Once we settle on the best of these players, we calculate the best players by measuring how much better they are then the best $1.00 player at their position.

5 Comments | Add Comment

Question 9

Would you post rankings for “Team QB’s”? Seems like several teams with current QB battles and with rookies would move up the chart.

Jeff Emmett (Tacoma, WA)

For team passing production, I’ve got Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Buffalo. That’s using 4 points for TD passes and 1 for every 20 passing yards. Rankings would be different if we tried to also mixed in a composite of quarterback rushing stats (with guys like Trey Lance and Justin Fields, it’s their potential as runners that fuels their fantasy value right now).

Kansas City5,20242.3429.4
Tampa Bay4,91339.6404.1
Green Bay4,55639.3384.9
LA Chargers4,62434.2367.9
LA Rams4,79431.8366.9
Las Vegas4,38628.2332.2
New Orleans4,19927.4319.4
San Francisco4,06326.5309.2
New England3,99522.8290.9
NY Jets3,87622.6284.2
NY Giants3,85922.4282.7

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 10

When is it too early to Draft Kelce in a 12-man PPR league, that only starts two WR’s and one flex? The situation I’m trying to avoid is watching a string of 7 RB’s fly off the Board to start the draft, selecting Kelce at 1.08, watch more RB’s fly off the Board, along with Adams/Hill/Diggs, taking Hopkins at 2.05, and then having to chase RB talent that never measures up to available talent at other positions in RB Dead Zone rounds and then Lottery ticket rounds. Teams that go with a one-two RB punch of say, Gaskin and Melvin Gordon, don’t usually win championships, even when they’re loaded at QB/WR/TE. The “math” tells me to go with Kelce at 1.08, however I’m weighing that against the option of taking Ekler or J Taylor in Round One, and scrounging for a bargain at TE later. Thoughts?

Steven Math (Austin, TX)

Darren Waller could be part of the calculation. He’s almost as good as Kelce, and he could be available at 2.05. Would be reasonable for you to compare the stat total of Kelce and best running back at 2.05 against running back at 1.08 plus Waller at 2.05.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 11

I have four potential keepers for three spots (first players on the roster - not draft rounds) in a dynasty 12 team standard scoring Ppr league: (listed in my order of preference) Kelce, Metcalf, Diggs, Edwards- Helaire . Who would you keep? I’m going to see if I can package Edwards - Helaire and Diggs together for a higher ranked RB, Thanks for the work over all these years

AL HYDE (Edmonds, WA)

Sounds like a good plan. CEH would be the guy to toss if trade talks fall through.

Add Comment

Question 12

In 10 team PPR league and we are using Team QB's this year. Does this change rankings with a few teams? Won't draft a QB until late so would like to take advantage of any possible value on team QB's. Possibly SF or NO?

Troy Marshall (Hiawatha, IA)

Definitely would help both of those teams. The 49ers will make quarterback lineup changes along the way, and when Garoppolo is starting, they’ll be mixing in Lance – especially in goal-line situations. With the Saints, there’s a chance Taysom Hill will play some around the goal line, and he may get a turn as a starter at some point.

Add Comment

Question 13

Best-ball league, and I have 3 roster spots for kicker and defense (I don’t want to give up any of my position players). Is it better to go with 2 kickers or 2 defenses? And is worth picking up the Jaguar Defense for the week 1 matchup vs Houston?

Don Neve (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)

With injuries and COVID, I would carry two kickers. With a defense, you know you’re at least going to have something on the field, even if a couple of starters get hurt. I would not be thinking about Jacksonville for the two games against the Texans. Tyrod Taylor may be a modest quarterback, but he’s really careful with the ball – an Alex Smith type guy. Taylor has thrown only 12 interceptions in his last 33 starts. (Call me crazy, but I actually think Houston should be favored in that Week 1 game.)

Add Comment

Question 14

I am picking second in my 10 team standard league. It’s a 3 player keeper league. I kept Zeke swift Ridley. The first guy Is picking N Harris, a lot of rb were kept. Hopkins and Jefferson are available. Which one would you take? You can keep the guys for as long as you want. Jefferson much younger. Thoughts thanks.

Barry St Peter (Westfield, MA)

I would select the younger receiver, Jefferson, and hope he continues to build on what he started last year. Hopefully his red-zone use will increase.

Add Comment