Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Players coming off suspensions. Sneaky good defenses in the south. The best backup running backs. Pittsburgh's underrated receivers. And more.

Question 1

I see you have the switched to the larger print for the customized cheat sheets. Could you also include the original cheat sheet by position that has the projected annual point total next to each player that you all had several weeks ago? I prefer to look at the cheat sheet via position rather than a top 300 list.

Henry Brooks (Tampa, FL)

When the product first came out this year, I looked at it and saw the version with players identified by last name (with first initial) and projected points. I thought of my own league. When we get outside the top 25 at running back and wide receiver, there are definitely owners who don’t know who “J.Williams”, “R.Moore” and “D.Wilson” are. So I put in the order to remove the projected points, instead identifying players by full name. It’s a cleaner sheet. For the other version (that mixes positions into one list) we stuck with the last name and projected points. Plenty of people, however, are in the Henry Brooks camp. They like the projected points in there, and on the position-by-position version. So we have added that version for the Cheat Sheet back into the production. Now, when you click on “print Cheat Sheet” you get three different versions – one with full names, and two different options with last names & stat projection totals.

4 Comments | Add Comment

Question 2

Debating what to make of Deshaun Watson and Calvin Ridley (players returning after lengthy suspensions). My initial thought is that they are never the same. Do you have any data to back up or disprove this theory? Thinking about guys like LeVeon Bell, Josh Gordon, Donte Stallworth, Ricky Williams and Justin Blackmon.


Darren Waller was suspended for all of the 2017 season; he caught 107 passes for 1,196 yards and 9 TDs in 2020. Ricky Williams as a 32-year-old ran for 1,121 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Michael Vick was gone for almost three years before coming back and tearing up the league in the final two thirds of the 2010 season. Antonio Browns served an eight-game suspension in 2020; I don’t know if the Bucs would have won the Superb Owl that year without him. For these guys coming up this year (Watson, Ridley) I'm thinking they'll both probably outperform where they're selected.

Add Comment

Question 3

What do you think about the Saints D/ST? I have the writeup from the magazine, and I know scoring systems vary (ranked ninth in mine). But this team plays maybe three strong offenses all year (JAX, MIN, DET), and its first six foes have no strong quarterbacks. Is there some big weakness to this unit?

David Fetterman (Kirkland, WA)

Your point about scheduling is a good one. The two South divisions will play each other, so that’s a good place to be looking for a defense. With the AFC South, you’ve got C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson starting (they both threw rookie picks on their first drives of the preseason) and Tennessee’s offensive line is going to give up a lot of sacks. In the NFC South, we’ve got Ridder-Mayfield-Young starting, with Carr the veteran quarterback of the division. Saints also play the Bears, Pack and Rams, while the Falcons get the Bears, Pack and Cardinals.

Add Comment

Question 4

I'm playing in a 12-team league PPR league with 16 roster spots. With the RB restrictions and FAAB for free agency, would you target the backup behind your top RB (like Bigsby for Etienne) or do you view that as missing out on a potentially better RB?

Brian Boyd (Maple Grove, MN)

I like collecting a few of the high-upside backup running backs. Bigsby, Jaylen Warren, Zamir White, Ty Chandler, Zach Charbonnet. And if you already have the starter for that team, it makes even more sense.

Add Comment

Question 5

I’m trying to figure out what to do with George Pickens and Diontae Johnson. I’ve seen a lot of takes on Johnson being dramatically undervalued. He was a target monster last year; I think I saw if he had 6 or 8 TDs he would have put up top-10 numbers. I’ve got Pickens in both my keeper leagues for a good value and he’s looking like a high upside 3rd receiver but I’m wondering if it makes more sense to flip him for Johnson the target monster thinking those touchdowns have to show up this year?

Adam Bjork (Waunakee, WI)

Johnson was the 30th-best wide receiver last year, using PPR scoring. If we give him 36 points for 6 touchdowns, it moves him up to No. 22. If we give him another 2 TDs, it moves him up to 17th. But whatever. I expect he’ll be catching plenty of balls. The Steelers averaged 215 passing yards last year (24th), with a league-low 12 TD passes; I expect they’ll be improved in both areas. At the same time, I can’t promise Johnson will be even the best receiver on his own team. To me, George Pickens looks a lot like a young A.J. Green – a rangy playmaker. Pickens should make more big plays, and I think he’ll be used more in the red zone.

Add Comment

Question 6

Later round or cheaper auction WRs. looking for two receiver options to target late ($1-2) to fill out auction roster. Nico Collins or Addison?

Rich Micheli (Washington, DC)

I don’t know if you’ll be able to get Collins for $2. Right now, he looks like the favorite to be the most productive wide receiver for the Texans. In that range, how about Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Elijah Moore and Jameson Williams? Keep throwing darts at those kind of guys, and perhaps get one for $2.

Add Comment

Question 7

Have two for you: In your rankings what happens to Hill and Waddle if/when Tua goes down? And is taking Kelce #2 overall that far of a reach given you have him outscoring the #2 TE by 100 points? Or is Chase the better option at #2.

Tim Sonday (Middleton, WI)

Thanks, Tim. With the Dolphins, Mike White was pretty underwhelming in his preseason debut. Previously, I was thinking he might just as good as Tagovailoa, should he be elevated into the starting lineup. After that game, I’m wondering if he’ll even beat out Skylar Thompson. For now, I’m assuming there would be a downgrade. With Kelce, I think it’s easier to find a tight end than a receiver. How bad would your team be at tight end, for example, if you simply waiting until late and picked up Juwan Johnson and Jake Ferguson? So I’m not taking Kelce (who’ll be 34 in October) ahead of Jefferson, Chase or McCaffrey.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 8

I have the first pick in a 12-man PPR league. The pick is drawing a lot of attention for trades, and for now I'm thinking Jefferson is my pick since this league is WR heavy. What would you be looking for in a package? I know my league mate at #6 is very interested, and I could grab Hill or Kelce in a swap.

Garrett Seymour (New Glarus, WI)

According to my projections, when you move down from 1 to 6, you’re giving up 20-30 points (depending on who’s available at No. 6). So for me to agree to any trade, it would need to include other picks or players where I would expect to make up that difference. Swapping second-round picks (moving up from 24th to 19th) would generate about 6 points, so it’s got to be more than just trading picks in the first two rounds.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 9

In best-ball leagues, when should I draft a quarterback if i'm heavy with wide receiver and running backs when the top 10 ones are gone?

Perry Vouvounas (Cortland, OH)

I think you need a couple of good quarterbacks (and maybe three if you’re counting on somebody like Goff, Wilson, Love, Carr to be one of your two). But it’s a deep enough position that guys will fall. In the most recently completed Fanex draft, 15 quarterbacks went in the first nine rounds, with nobody selected in the 10th. In rounds 11-13, I see five more quarterbacks that I like: Richardson, Goff, Carr, Wilson, Love. In the FAD draft in early July (which is a best-ball league), 10 quarterbacks went in the first nine rounds. Then Prescott-Cousins-D.Jones in the 10th, Carr-Rodgers-Richardson-Geno in the 11th, and Wilson-Goff-Love in the 12th.

3 Comments | Add Comment

Question 10

We can keep two players – for a two-year contract and a one-year contract. Candidates are Isiah Pacheco, Dameon Pierce, Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson. Who would you advise?

Richard Oljey (Hudson, NH)

I’d be looking at Pacheco and Pierce. They’re good players. I expect both will still be starting tailbacks entering the 2024 season. Only issue would be deciding which one to assign the two-year contract (I don’t see a big difference between the two). Watson and Cousins both have some potential to finish this season as top-10 quarterbacks, but I expect both would go after the running backs in most drafts.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 11

I am trying to figure out my last player on my roster to protect. My choices are: Terry McLaurin, Drake London, Isiah Pacheco.

Douglas Thompson ()

I’m a Pacheco fan. He’ll lead Kansas City in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and that might be the highest-scoring team in the league.

Add Comment

Question 12

I noticed that McCaffrey briefly overtook Jefferson as your #1 overall in PPR formats last week. This week he’s back to #3. Is it a close call for you? I’m in a league that starts only 2 WRs (and one flex), and believe that difference, versus leagues that must start at least 3 WR, gives the nod to CMC. I feel secure knowing that WR value will be there for me at either the 2/3 turn (Waddle/Higgins) and/or the 4/5 turn (Watson, Moore, London, Kirk).

Steven Math (Austin, TX)

Sounds good to me. With those guys up in the top tier – Jefferson, Chase, McCaffrey – they look pretty similar to me. When the order changes from McCaffrey-Jefferson-Chase to Jefferson-Chase-McCaffrey, it could be caused by something as simple as me changing San Francisco’s season projection from 47.4 touchdowns to 46.9. Those are similar enough that you should be giving more weight to which guy you like more in your gut and which position you want to fill. As you point out, Jefferson and Chase get more valuable when fantasy teams are starting 4 wide receivers rather than just 2.

Add Comment

Question 13

How do you feel about Dameon Pierce this year? 12 team PPR league, 2 keepers who would you keep? Mahomes, Pierce, Adams, Garrett Wilson, Hopkins, and Mark Andrews.

Tom Clark (Suffern, NY)

Receivers are king in that kind of format, so I would go with Adams and Wilson.

Add Comment

Question 14

I’m a long-time customer and appreciate your hard work. I’m behind on my preparation this year. I'm not finding the large print one-page cheat sheet. Any help would be great!

Bryan Morris (Pine City, NY)

I recognize the name, Bryan. Thanks for sticking with us all these years. We’ve done some re-wiring on the product. The cheat sheet you’ll find on page 1 of the product has the largest font we use. I hope it’s big enough. If not, perhaps you can go to the Excel stat download file, where you could adjust the font size there.

Add Comment

Question 15

Question about customizing auction values for a league using a “Drauction”: 15 team league, each team has $100 to acquire 4 and only 4 players via auction. After 60 players selected, we revert to straight draft. When creating custom auction values do I enter the total number of players who will be selected for both the auction and draft, or only the amount of players who will be taken during the 4-round auction? For example, each of the 15 teams will select 2 QBs each in the total Drauction. Let’s assume each team will select 1 QB in the 4-round auction portion. So when creating custom auction values, would I enter it as “30 QBs to be selected, with 15 at more than $1” -or- would I enter it as “15 QBs to be selected, with all 15 at more than $1” ? Thank you in advance for your assistance

Matt Tinker (Orleans, VT)

Treat the Drauction like it's own league (ignoring the players outside the top 60). So process is to first decide on which 60 players will be purchased. Perhaps 5 tight ends, 25 wide receivers, 20 running backs and 10 quarterbacks. But whatever. Those are the numbers to plug in for "how many will be selected?". That step being completed, let's now assume that the last 15 of those 60 players will each go for $1.00 Teams, after all, with have different opinions on the top 60, and teams will be trying to save money to improve their draft position. Use that assumption to answer the "how many will go for more than the minimum" questions.

Add Comment