Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Consensus Top TEs for 2010 Fantasy Football

A solid TE is like a solid QB, you put him in your line up every week without hesitation and you forget about him. This year's TE group presents an interesting situation for you as a fantasy owner. Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates lead the way as the elite TEs. More often than not, they're going to give you WR1 type numbers. However, the TE position in general is as deep as it has been in years, with risers like Brent Celek, Jermichael Finley and some veterans out to prove they've still got it like Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez and Chris Cooley. The good news is that regardless of where you draft your TE, you're going to probably get a solid one. You just need to keep in mind that you don't have to reach for a Gates or a Clark because a Celek or a Witten might still be there in a later round, allowing you to bolster other positions.

Consensus TE Rankings:

  1. Dallas Clark, TE IND
  2. Antonio Gates, TE SD
  3. Vernon Davis, TE SF
  4. Brent Celek, TE PHI
  5. Tony Gonzalez, TE ATL
  6. Jason Witten, TE DAL
  7. Jermichael Finley, TE GB
  8. Kellen Winslow, TE TB
  9. Owen Daniels, TE HOU
  10. Chris Cooley, TE WAS
  11. Zac Miller, TE OAK
  12. Visanthe Shiancoe, TE MIN
  13. John Carlson, TE SEA
  14. Heath Miller, TE PIT
  15. Greg Olsen, TE CHI
  16. Jeremy Shockey, TE NO
  17. Dustin Keller, TE NYJ
  18. Kevin Boss, TE NYG
  19. Todd Heap, TE BAL
  20. Mercedes Lewis, TE JAC
  21. Ben Watson, TE CLE


Consensus Top WRs for 2010 Fantasy Football

Last year there was major emphasis put on landing an elite Wide Receiver. While drafting guys like Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson paid off for the most part, there were still others who did not live up to expectations like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. We also saw the emergence of a few new studs at WR in Miles Austin, Steve Smith (NYG), and Vincent Jackson. This season, there are some old faces in new places that hope to make a splash like Brandon Marshall in Miami or Anquon Boldin in Baltimore. One thing is for sure though, there is a lot of WR depth this year...not all of that is elite depth mind you, so you'll want to try and grab a top guy early, but there is plenty of talent to be had.

Consensus WRs for 20210:

  1. Andre Johnson, WR HOU
  2. Randy Moss, WR NE
  3. Reggie Wayne, WR IND
  4. Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI
  5. Calvin Johnson, WR DET
  6. Roddy White, WR ATL
  7. Miles Austin, WR DAL
  8. Brandon Marshall, WR MIA
  9. Greg Jennings, WR GB
  10. Marques Colston, WR NO
  11. Desean Jackson, WR PHI
  12. Steve Smith, WR CAR
  13. Anquon Boldin, WR BAL
  14. Steve Smith, WR NYG
  15. Chad OchoCinco, WR CIN
  16. Mike Simms Walker, WR JAC
  17. Michael Crabtree, WR SF
  18. Hines Ward, WR PIT
  19. Dwayne Bowe, WR KC
  20. Wes Welker, WR NE
  21. Donald Driver, WR GB
  22. Jeremy Maclin, WR PHI
  23. Percy Harvin, WR MIN
  24. Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
  25. Santana Moss, WR WAS
  26. Pierre Garcon, WR IND
  27. Mike Wallace, WR PIT
  28. Steve Breston, WR ARI
  29. TJ Houshmenzahdeh, WR SEA
  30.  Robert Mecham, WR NO
  31.  Malcom Floyd, WR SD
  32. Johnny Knox, WR CHI
  33. Derrick Mason, WR BAL
  34. Terrell Owens, WR CIN
  35. *Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ
  36. *Vincent Jackson, WR SD
  37. Lee Evans, WR BUF
  38. Kenny Britt, WR TEN
  39. Dez Bryant, WR DAL
  40. Devin Aromashodu, WR CHI
  41. Devin Hester, WR CHI
  42. Jericho Cotcherry, WR NYJ
  43. Braylon Edwards, WR NYJ
  44. Nate Burleson, WR DET
  45. Chris Chambers, WR KC
  46. Chaz Shillens, WR OAK
  47. Kevin Walter, WR HOU
  48. Bernard Berrian, WR MIN
  49. Early Doucet, WR ARI
  50. Austin Collie, WR IND
  51. Eddie Royal, WR DEN
  52. Jabbar Gaffney, WR DEN
  53. Mario Manningham, NYG
  54. Mohamed Massaqui, WR CLE
  55. Roy E. Williams, WR DAL
  56. Devery Henderson, WR NO
  57. Mike Williams, WR TB
  58. Golden Tate, WR SEA
  59. Jacoby Jones, WR HOU
  60. Louis Murphy, WR OAK
  61. Demarius Thomas, WR DEN
  62. Laurent Robinson, WR STL
  63. Dexter McCluster, WR KC
  64. Antonio Bryant, WR FA
  65. Davon Bess, WR MIA
  66. Josh Morgan, WR SF
  67. Anthony Gonzalez, WR IND
  68. Nate Washington, WR TEN
  69. Devin Thomas, WR WAS
  70. Legedu Naanee, WR SD
  71. Julian Edleman, WR NE
  72. Joshua Cribbs, WR CLE
  73. Mike Thomas, WR JAC
  74. James Jones, WR GB
  75. Lance Moore, WR NO
  76. Brian Hartline, WR MIA
  77. Joey Galloway, WR WAS
  78. Darius Hayward-Bay, WR OAK
  79. Jason Avant, WR PHI
  80. Michael Jenkins, WR ATL
  81. Arelious Benn, WR TB
  82. Brian Robiske, WR CLE
  83. Mike Williams, WR SEA
  84. Jordy Nelson, WR GB
  85. Deon Branch, WR SEA
  86. Earl Bennet, WR CHI
  87. Justin Gage, WR TEN

 (+)Sydney Rice, WR MIN - Injured, could miss half the season
 (+)Donnie Avery, WR STL - Injured, will miss the entire season

Monday, August 30, 2010

Consensus Top RBs for 2010 Fantasy Football

As we roll on with the consensus 2010 rankings, we'll take a look at a position that will likely make or break your fantasy season; the running backs. Last year, I picked 7th in one of my drafts and I watched as guys like Matt Forte, Steve Slaton and LaDanian Tomlinson were drafted ahead of Maurice Jones-Drew. I happily sat there at 7 and couldn't click the "DRAFT" button fast enough when it was my turn and MJD was still on the board. It wasn't that those guys were bad going into the season, it was just that MJD was more of a sure thing in my mind. As it turned out, Forte and Slaton were total busts and MJD had an excellent fantasy season.

Who will be this year's Matt Forte or Steven Slaton? Who will step up like Chris Johnson and rise up the RB rankings?

Consensus RB Rankings 2010 Fantasy Football:

1. Chris Johnson, RB TEN
2. Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAC           
4. Ray Rice, RB BAL
5. Frank Gore, RB SF
6. Michael Turner, RB ATL
7. Steven Jackson, RB STL
8. DeAngelo Williams, RB CAR
9. Cedric Benson, RB CIN
10. Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT
11. Ryan Grant, RB GB
12. Shonn Green, RB NYJ
13. Ryan Matthews, RB SD
14. Jamaal Charles, RB KC
15. Beanie Wells, RB ARI
16. Pierre Thomas, RB NO
17. Knowshown Moreno, RB DEN
18. LeSean McCoy, RB PHI
19. Joseph Addai, RB IND
20. Jonathan Stewart, RB CAR
21. Ronnie Brown, RB MIA
22. Matt Forte, RB CHI
23. Brandon Jacobs, RB NYG
24. Javid Best, RB DET
25. Felix Jones, RB DAL
26. Marion Barber, RB DAL
27. Reggie Bush, RB NO
28. CJ Spiller, RB BUF
29. Ricky Williams, RB MIA
30. Arian Foster, RB HOU
31. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB NYG
32. Jerome Harrison, RB CLE
33. Justin Foresett, RB SEA
34. Clinton Portis, RB WAS
35. Thomas Jones, RB KC
36. Michael Bush, RB OAK
37. Fred Jackson, RB BUF
38. Steve Slaton, RB HOU
39. Cadillac Williams, RB TB
40. LaDanian Tomlinson, RB NYJ
41. Donald Brown, RB IND
42. Darren McFadden, RB OAK
43. Chester Taylor, RB CHI
44. Tim Hightower, RB ARI
45. Laurence Maroney, WR NE
46. Montario Hardesty, RB CLE
47. Darren Sproles, RB SD
48. Willis McGahee, RB BAL
49. Correll Buckhalter, RB DEN
50. Julius Jones, RB SEA
51. Derrik Ward, RB TB
52. Kevin Smith, RB DET
53. Bernard Scott, RB CIN
54. Larry Johnson, RB WAS
55. Marshawn Lynch, RB BUF
56. Brian Westbrook, RB SF
57. Mike Bell, RB PHI
58. Leon Washington, RB SEA
59. Toby Geherert, RB MIN
60. Jason Snelling, RB ATL
61. Javon Ringer, RB TEN
62. Tashard Choice, RB DAL
63. Jerious Norwood, RB ATL
64. Fred Taylor, RB NE
65. Anthony Dixon, RB SF
66. Sammy Morris, RB NE
67. Rashad Jennings, RB JAC
68. Jonathan Dwyer, RB PIT
69. Joe McKnight, RB NYJ
70. Willie Parker, RB WAS
71. Mwelde Moore, RB PIT
72. Brandon Jackson, RB GB
73. Lex Hillard, RB/WR MIA
74. Kevin Faulk, RB NE
75. Payton Hillis, RB CLE

This is a pretty robust list of RBs, but it gives you an idea of who is ranked where amongst the RBs and what guys you could go after later in the draft that might get you some good value.

Consensus Top QBs for 2010 Fantasy Football

It used to be that drafting a QB in the first round was considered to be a big time fantasy blunder. But as Bob Dylan once said, the times they are a changing. Just last night I participated in a mock-draft in which 5 QBs were drafted in the first two rounds.

Below you'll find the consensus top-rated QBs in 2010 for fantasy football.

Consensus QB Rankings:

1. Drew Brees, QB NO
2. Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
3. Peyton Manning, QB IND
4. Tom Brady, QB NE
5. Matt Schaub, QB HOU
6. Tony Romo, QB DAL
7. Philip Rivers, QB SD
8. Brett Favre, QB MIN
9. Kevin Kolb, QB PHI
10. Joe Flacco, QB BAL
11. Jay Cutler, QB CHI
12. Eli Manning, QB NYG
13. Matt Ryan, QB ATL
14. Donovan McNabb, QB WAS
15. Chad Henne, QB MIA
16. Ben Roethlesburger, QB PIT (suspended 4-6 games)
17. Carson Palmer, QB CIN
18. Matt Cassel, QB KC
19. Vince Young, QB TEN
20. Matthew Stafford, QB DET
21. David Gerrard, QB JAC
22. Jason Campbell, QB OAK
23. Alex Smith, QB SF
24. Mark Sanchez, QB NYJ
25. Matt Leinart, QB AZ
26. Matt Hasslebeck, QB SEA
27. Kyle Orton, QB DEN
28. Josh Freeman, QB TB
29. Matt Moore, QB CAR
30. Sam Bradford, QB STL

Last year there were nine or ten 4,000 yard passers in the NFL, including the ageless one, Brett Favre. This year, there may even be more as teams continue to air it out. It is definitely important to grab one of these elite QBs, but if you do, understand that you run the risk of being weak at the QB position. If you wait, you have to hope that Eli Manning repeats his 4,000 season from a year ago, or that Donovan McNabb has little drop off in Washington if you wait. So, there's definitely risk both ways, but the good news is, there are a good number of talented QBs available for this year's fantasy season.

Fantasy Football Bonanza!

Many fantasy drafts have already taken place, but for those of you that are yet to draft, keep it locked here for all your fantasy rankings and information. If you are new to the site, please click on the "Fantasy Football" like on the side for all of my previous tips or rankings.

As for this week, here's how it is going to go:

Monday - QBs, RBs
Tuesday - WRs, TEs
Wednesday - Kickers, Defenses
Thursday - A review of two of my drafts from this week
Friday - A full and comprehensive top 200 Consensus rankings for 2010. These rankings have been compiled from a group of 9 different fantasy experts and took me all of last week to compile.

I hope you will find the information useful as you draft.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finding Your Targets

As your preparation continues for your draft and as the time to draft draws near, you’re going to want to really focus your efforts on formulating a draft strategy. This strategy is largely based on two things: where you pick and who you like (sometimes not in that order!).

Obviously it is going to be difficult to have every single pick planned out, but I think you’ll find that as you go round by round and map out your targets, you’ll be better prepared and ready for the unpredictable.

I have two ways that I like to target players in my fantasy drafts. First, I take my pick number and I go three spots up and three spots back, so I am essentially selecting from a pool of 7 players, some of which may or may not be there. The second method I use is to target by position. I take the same 7 spots and assign a position to them. Let’s see how it might work in either scenario.

Let’s say you pick 4th overall in your draft. Here’s who you would target in the first round (based on the consensus rankings)

1. Chris Johnson, RB TEN
2. Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAC
4. Ray Rice, RB BAL
5. Frank Gore, RB SF
6. Michael Turner, RB ATL
7. Andre Johnson, WR HOU

In the first round picking 4th, the above list is pretty nice. If you assume that the draft goes according to plan, then you’re picking from 4-7. The Rankings say to take Ray Rice, and he is probably the guy you want to target here, but let’s just say that he went 3rd…then what? You’re looking at putting Maurice Jones-Drew up against the rest of the list. Believe it or not, I have seen Andre Johnson go this high in a number of mock drafts. But the bottom line here is that, based on the list, you’re probably still targeting a RB and as such, you’re probably choosing from MJD and Frank Gore. I love MJD, and he did great things for two of my teams last year, but for this year I would take Frank Gore at #4. That’s not to say that MJD is bad, he’s not, I just like Gore a little bit better…and he falls with in your target range.

Now, let’s get a little trickier and move to the second round…

In the second round, you pick 21st, that’s a good distance away from your first pick. Based on the rankings, the following players could be available.

18. Ryan Grant, RB GB
19. Shonn Green, RB NYJ
20. Ryan Matthews, RB SD
21. Calvin Johnson, WR DET
22. Roddy White, WR ATL
23. Miles Austin, WR DAL
24. Tom Brady, QB NE

3 RBs, 3 WRS and a QB are what you have to choose from as you target your second round pick. Now, if you are an old school fantasy player, you’re looking at those three RBs and saying “stud, stud, potential stud.” A team with Frank Gore and any of those three guys has a seriously formidable backfield tandem. However, several fantasy experts have also stressed the importance of having an elite WR…and three of them are staring right at you. Then you have Tom Brady, currently ranked 4th among QBs.

The nice thing about finding your targets is that your net widens every round. Here I’m showing you seven players that could be available to you if the previous picks go according to form. We all know drafts don’t work like that, so not only do you have these guys, but you potentially have the guy ranked 15th, 13th and 17th sitting there to choose from. Given that there are only six picks separating you from your next selection, I would go ahead and grab one of your targeted elite receivers. Given that I don’t trust Calvin Johnson, I would pick White or Austin. You probably can’t go wrong with either, but Miles Austin won’t sneak up on anyone this year and should demand more coverage, especially with a rookie and an unimpressive Roy Williams on the other side. The pick then would be Roddy White.
As you go through the draft using rankings-based targeting as a component of your strategy, I think you’ll find that you’ll understand your options better than you would were you going in blind.

The other part of the strategy involves targeting a specific position. It allows you to narrow your choices based on who might be available and who you like. If you take the same 7 spots, I would look to target 3 RBs and 2 WRs every round and then add in a QB or TE (or multiple) as needed. Applied to the previous scenario, you can be more realistic about who might be there, and who you like. If we use the previous example, I’m fairly high on Ryan Grant, so if I line him up next to all the other guys available to me at 21, I might be compelled to take him despite the fact that I’ve already got one stud RB and I’m being told to take a WR early.

 The next time you pick, you’ll continue to target 3 RBs, because you always want to know who the best available players at key positions are, and then if someone falls, you can at least be educated as to who else he is up against and who you might want/need at that spot.

None of this is an exact science, but I think you’ll find that as you set out round-by-round targets, including sleepers in later rounds, you’ll be better prepared than your competition, and you’ll be able to land solid players later in the draft and keep your team deep and competitive for the upcoming season.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What The...? Part II

I was just minding my own business walking through the kitchen at work when something caught my eye. It's not every day that you see a toilet brush sitting under the vending machine. Much like my last What The...? I am left to ask myself how the heck it got there?

It's like my brother always tells me (and now I'll totally butcher the saying) you can learn a lot by just paying attention.

Candy Bar anyone?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cookie Crumbs

Life is all about fun little surprises Well, fun for me at least.

Several year's ago while I was at the University of Utah, I lived with a couple of really good guys. In fact, all of my roommates during my time in SLC were fantastic. One of my roommates was as nice as they come. He was one of those guys that you would hear described as one that you would want your daughter or sister to marry, he was that nice a guy.

One such day while we lived together, I came home for lunch and made myself a tuna sandwich. You see, during my college days I tried to make lunch as quickly as possible so as to not cut into my study (video game) time. So I made a tuna sandwich, probably had some chips and a drink and headed back to my room to, ahem, study.
My roommate came home shortly thereafter and saw my plate of crumbs sitting on the counter.
He must have figured that I'd made cookies or something, but just did not save him any. This would've been an unlikely scenario given that most of our food was community, but there's no telling what goes through someones mind who sees a plate of crumbs and decides to take action.
With nary a smell or a sniff, he scooped as many of the crumbs into his hand as he possibly could so as to get the maximum benefit of the taste. As you already know, they werent' cookie crumbs. Imagine his surprise when he got a mouthful of tuna crumbs and not cookie crumbs.

He was a pretty good sport about it. He came back to my room and confirmed with me that I had indeed not made any cookies. We had a good laugh at his miscalculation and chagrin over his attempt to nibble on the few morsels of tuna sandwich I had left on my plate unwittingly.

Like I said, life is full of fun surprises. You can never assume that those crumbs you're scooping up are cookies and not something else, but if you do...scoop at your own risk!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fantasy Football: Value Drafting

It’s very easy during the first few rounds of a draft to get lost in the flow of how others are drafting. It is in those first several rounds where the core of your team will come from and as such, some people make the mistake of following the crowd so to speak.

Anywhere from three to five years ago, the no-brainer strategy in a fantasy football draft was to go RB/RB with your first two picks. In this year’s draft the top 4 to 6 picks are likely to be RBs (though from mock drafts I’ve done that is no guarantee). Picks 7-12 in the first round will be a mix of RBs, WRs, and QBs. When looking at what your options will be, don’t automatically assume that because everyone else has taken a RB, you need to. Some people will just automatically fall into the aforementioned strategy and take a couple RBs to start things off. It’s not a terrible strategy, and this column is not to suggest that it is, but it is worth seeing who is available and more importantly, what the best value available is before you just go draft a RB to draft a RB.

Here’s a scenario. Say you pick 8th in a 12-team league. The following players have been drafted: (based on consensus rankings)

Chris Johnson, RB TEN
Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAC
Ray Rice, RB BAL
Frank Gore, RB SF
Michael Turner, RB ATL
Andre Johnson, WR HOU

This leaves you with the following legitimate options at 8: Drew Brees, QB NO; Steven Jackson, RB STL; Aaron Rodgers, QB GB; Randy Moss, WR NE; DeAngelo Williams, RB CAR; Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT. (Ranked 8-13 in the consensus rankings)

6 of the first 7 picks in this draft have been RBs. The player picking ahead of you has taken the top WR off the board. He or she will pick again at 18, where you know a RB will then be a high priority. So, you are faced with taking the number 8, 9, or 10 RB, the number 1 or 2 QB or the number 2 WR. Given that you pick again before any of the top 7, you’ve got an opportunity to add a top 3 QB/WR and then potentially still nab a top 10 RB depending on how things shake out. It is likely that all three of the RBs available will be gone though, so you have to factor that in to your selection thought process. For now, let’s count those RBs out. This leaves you with Moss, Brees, or Rodgers. Any of these three will be great start to your team. When looking at the rankings, for me, it comes down to Brees or Moss. Moss is having a great camp and is one of the least risky of the WR picks at the top of the draft with questions surrounding Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson (two more of the top 4). There is definitely a compelling argument for Moss here at 8. The question you have to ask yourself at this point is, “If I don’t take a QB here, when can I get one?”
Despite the fact that Brees is the consensus #8 player in the rankings, we’re going to shake things up here and select the #2 WR and #11 overall player in the draft, Randy Moss.

Your next selection is 17. Here, you’ll probably be tempted to take Peyton Manning after missing out on Brees and Rodgers. Based on the rankings, you’re probably looking at Shonn Green, RB NYJ, Cedric Benson, RB CIN, Ryan Grant, RB GB, Ryan Matthews, RB SD, and Jamaal Charles, RB KC. Charles is slipping a bit after having a pretty big jump in the rankings early on. Truthfully, any of these players are solid picks at 17, so I would go with a safer pick and take Ryan Grant from Green Bay.

At #32, you’re going to have a chance to bolster your backfield with another RB, or, take a top 7 QB. It’s possible that someone like Tony Romo or Matt Schuab might be there. If you want one of those guys, you’re going to have to select them with your third pick, otherwise you may miss out. Both have pretty big upside going into this season and both provide great value at this point. So take the higher ranked player.

Your next selection (and final for this scenario) is at #44. You could make life easy on yourself and take #44 Dallas Clark at pick #44. Clark is currently ranked #42 in the consensus rankings. That’s three spots ahead of Antonio Gates (45) and seven ahead of Vernon Davis (49). It is likely that all three of these TEs will be gone by the time you pick again, so if you want a top 3 tight end, you have to pick one here. At this point you still only have one RB and one WR. A top TE like Clark will give you #1 WR production for sure, but it is risky to put off taking your RB2 until the next round. I think in this scenario, you would be better off to grab RBs with your next two selections (4th and 5th round) and then grab a WR or TE with your 6th rounder. The truth is, if you pass on a TE here, you may have to wait a few rounds to get good value out of that position. The pick here: RB Arian Foster, HOU. Foster is rising fast with the recent news of Ben Tate’s injury and may even be ranked as high as a 2nd or 3rd round value. If you can get him as your RB2, it could be a steal. Other considerations include Lesean McCoy, Ronnie Brown, and Matt Forte.

Here’s what your team looks like through four rounds:

QB Tony Romo (#5 QB 31 overall)
RB Ryan Grant (#12 RB 18 overall)
RB Arian Foster (rising fast up the boards)
WR Randy Moss (#2 WR #11 overall)

All of those picks are good value for where they were drafted and give you a starting solid foundation from where you can build your team with sleepers and other high value players that may slip into the later rounds of the draft.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Consensus Top 75 (76) for 2010

A few weeks ago I posted the Top 60 for 2010 based on a set of 7 different rankings of fantasy experts. For my top 76, I've expanded that out to include 3 more rankings making for a grand total of 10 different sets of fantasy rankings that I was working with. For this set, a player had to receive 6 "votes" in order to be added to the list.

Two players ended up getting their 6th vote on the same line when I had one more slot to fill at 75, which is why it is actually 76 and not 75.

1. Chris Johnson, RB TEN

2. Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAC
4. Ray Rice, RB BAL
5. Frank Gore, RB SF
6. Michael Turner, RB ATL
7. Andre Johnson, WR HOU
8. Drew Brees, QB NO
9. Steven Jackson, RB STL
10. Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
11. Randy Moss, WR NE
12. DeAngelo Williams, RB CAR
13. Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT
14. Peyton Manning, QB IND
15. Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI
16. Shonn Green, RB NYJ
17. Cederic Benson, RB CIN
18. Ryan Grant, RB GB
19. Reggie Wayne, WR IND
20. Ryan Matthews, RB SD
21. Jamaal Charles, RB KC
22. Roddy White, WR ATL
23. Calvin Johnson, WR DET
24. Tom Brady, QB NE

There were not too many dramatic shifts in the top 24 from this group of rankings to the last. The biggest riser was Michael Turner who moved from 8th overall to 6th, which is a fairly dramatic shift when you talk in terms of drafting him or Andre Johnson or Drew Brees. The biggest faller was Steven Jackson, he went from ranked 6th last time to number 9th in these rankings.

25. Miles Austin, WR DAL
26. Brandon Marshall, WR MIA
27. Beanie Wells, RB ARI
28. Knowshown Moreno, RB DEN
29. Greg Jennings, WR GB
30. Marques Colston, WR NO
31. Tony Romo, QB DAL
32. Lesean McCoy, RB PHI
33. Pierre Thomas, RB NO
34. Desean Jackson, WR PHI
35. Matt Schuab, QB HOU
36. Philip Rivers, QB SD
37. Jonathan Stewart, RB CAR
38. Steve Smith, WR CAR
39. Steve Smith, WR NYG
40. Anquon Boldin, WR ARI
41. Joseph Addai, RB IND
42. Dallas Clark, TE IND
43. Sidney Rice, WR MIN
44. Matt Forte, RB CHI
45. Antonio Gates, TE SD
46. Ronnie Brown, RB MIA
47. Chad OchoCinco, WR CIN
48. Mike Simms-Walker, WR JAC

The next 24 (25-48) saw a few more dramatic changes. It is unclear if the rankings had accounted for Knowshown Moreno's hamstring injury (I suspect not). The risers in this group were Marques Colston (+3), LeSean McCoy (+5), Pierre Thomas (+3) and Steve Smith from the NY Giants (+6). The biggest faller of the group was by far Sidney Rice, WR from Minnesota. He ranking reflects the uncertainty of Brett Favre's return. Rice fell 11 spots from 32nd last time to 43rd this time.

The other interesting thing to note here is that certain players in every ranking system fall into a very short and specific range. For example, Marques Colston's highest ranking was 26 and his lowest was 35. Most guys not named Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson don't have that short of a range. Take Matt Forte for example, his highest ranking was 27th and lowest was 90th. That is a dramatic shift. So, one thing this ranking comparison does is it gives you a feel for where some guys are slotted by everyone across the board. By the end, you know that if you are targeting Colston or OchoCinco, you'll probably have to take them in the 3rd or 4th round. But a guy like forte might slip to the 5th or 6th round despite the fact that he's currently rated as a 4th rounder.

49. Vernon Davis, TE SF

50. Michael Crabtree, WR SF
51. Brandon Jacobs, RB NYG
52. Felix Jones, RB DAL
53. Javid Best, RB DET
54. Dwayne Bowe, WR KC
55. Hines Ward, WR PIT
56. *Vincent Jackson, WR SD
57. Justin Forsett, RB SEA
58. Marion Barber, RB DAL
59. Donald Driver, WR GB
60. Percy Harvin, WR MIN
61. Jerome Harrison, RB CLE
62. Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
63. CJ Spiller, RB BUF
64. Pierre Garcon, WR IND
65. Ricky Williams, RB MIA
66. Brent Celek, TE PHI
67. Tony Gonzalez, TE ATL
68. Jermichael Finley, TE GB
69. Cadillac Williams, RB TB
70. Mike Wallace, WR PIT
71. Jay Cutler, QB CHI
72. Clinton Portis, RB WAS
73. Jason Witten, TE DAL
74. Wes Welker, WR NE
75. Eli Manning, QB NYG
76. Santana Moss, WR WAS

*suspended first three games

The final grouping (49-76) saw some interesting shifts and changes. It is interesting to note here that of my original top 60 rankings, only two players, Ricky Williams (-12 spots) and Brent Celek (-7 spots) failed to once again crack the top 60 of this set of rankings. I will watch with great interest when I do my third set of rankings to see how far the needle moves inside the top 60. This will give you a really good idea for who to target beyond round 6. If members of your league start drafting players outside this grouping and you can land a few more top 60 players, you might be wise to do it, particuarly at the QB and TE position.

Desipite the fact that he is suspended for the first 3 games and is threatening to hold out the first 10 weeks of the season, Vincent Jackson actually moved up one spot from 57 to 56. He is the only suspended player to make the top 75 (76).

Some other interesting shifts include Vernon Davis (+5) and Felix Jones (-9). Jones is interesting because his drop moves him from a 4th round value last time (43) to now a solid 5th rounder (52).

The overall breakdown for this set of rankings is as follows:

RB 32
WR 28
QB 9
TE 7

This will probably be my last set of rankings for a few weeks. The preseason kicks off in full swing this weekend so pay attention to how players are performing and what injuries go down.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Up in the Air

As I sat in the waiting area at my gate I took a good look around to observe my surroundings. After said quick glance I logged on to Facebook from my Blackberry and wrote “All the Crazies Congregate at the Airport.” It takes all kinds to travel, that’s for sure and to state the even more obvious, everybody’s going somewhere!

Here are a few things I took note of during my travels.

One thing I noticed right off the bat is how rude people are at the airport. I don’t know if this has more to do with the fact that they hate to travel, hate crowds, hate lines, hate where they’re going, hate the fact that their vacation is over etc…

The first act of rudeness I witnessed was in the security line. The gentlemen in front of me looked like a normal dude, not too many cares in the world. He loaded his stuff on the conveyor belt and proceeded to tip toe/skip through the metal detector. Not surprisingly, it set off the alarm, so he went back. Before the machine reset, he walked through again. This process was repeated several more times before the guard finally said, “Sir, you need to be patient and not skip through the machine.” He finally got the idea and made it through, but not without throwing in a little ‘tude’. Why someone would give the person who controls whether or not you get through security some good guff is beyond me.

Several minutes later the same guy was at the ticket counter looking irritated and shaking his head at the gate agent. Again, here is a person who controls what seat you sit in on the plane. You want to be rude? Fine, enjoy sitting in between twin brothers husky and chunky.

As the people all filed in to the waiting area, I noticed a family of 5 coming in. They looked unassuming enough until I realized that one of their pieces of luggage was actually their dog. “Oh boy” I thought. Look, I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old and while I’m sure nobody wants to be on the plane with them when they are flying, I would much rather have a crying baby that at least could maybe be soothed rather than a cooped up flea bag dog. Folks, if you’re gonna fly, leave the pets at home. They’re not your children and they can manage for a week without you. You pay your neighbor kid $100 to feed and walk the dog for the week and vuala, no barking carry on.

When I boarded the plane I got stopped for security screening. That was fine, I appreciate them doing their job, though I must say when they opened my suitcase I thought “alright, go ahead, but you gotta jam everything back in there when you’re done, don’t look at me!”

Finding one’s seat is always a joy, but even better than that is watching others find theirs. I like the people who put their carry on 10 rows behind where they’re actually sitting. It gives them two opportunities to swim upstream and makes life wonderful for the rest of us. Speaking of carry ons…remember when a carry on was a backpack? Purse? Computer? Ha, not anymore! Nowadays people (including myself) cram as much stuff as they possibly can into these mini suitcases. It makes for some good pre-flight entertainment watching people struggle to put their stuff in the overhead compartment.

Once you’re in the air, the fun really begins. You don’t really realize how not spacious your seating area isn’t until somebody leans their seat back into your personal bubble. From here you could pretty comfortably give them a head massage…if you’re into that sort of thing. Also, I’m not sure what people expect when they lean their seats back…a full recline? I’m sitting there watching these two bozos in front of me push and push and push their seats back. Listen fellas, pushing harder isn’t going to make your seat go back any further, just put your head back and enjoy your neck pain like the rest of us.

By far my most favorite part of flying is the fasten seat belt sign. When that thing flies off it’s as though someone has just proclaimed “gentlemen, start your engines!” Even better is when the fasten seatbelt light goes back on there’s a mad rush to the bathroom. “We’re experiencing some turbulence, please sit down.” Apparently to the average flyer, this translates to…”last chance to pee before we potentially meet our maker if this thing goes south.” Let’s be honest here, if the plane goes down, I’m not going to be all that worried about my bladder. In a free fall or crash, the ole bladder will take care of itself.

I also like how they tell you you’re getting in ahead of schedule. Here’s a statement that truly means nothing, because once you’re on the ground, you have to taxi to your gate, then stand up with everyone, wait for swim up stream guy, deplane, and then go get your bags. I would bet that nine times out of ten, it all evens out. Save your empty promises Mr. Flight Attendant.

Once you deplane, you head to the baggage claim...which is kind of like the island of misfit toys for grown ups. Flight after flight goes in and out of the airport and even when the airport is totally empty, there are still 10-15 bags on the conveyor belt. Where are these people? Was what they packed not important enough to pick up once they got there?

I’m finding that I like flying less and less. The people, the time, the experience, not a lot of fun, but hey, at least I get a free bag of 4 small pretzels to snack on!

Friday, August 6, 2010

If I were in your shoes...

Your first few picks will go a long ways towards making or breaking your season. Sure, you need to create a detailed list of sleepers and you’ll want to constantly scour the waiver wire to see who is available during the season, but the core of your team and the basic strategy of your entire draft will rest in the first two rounds. As such, I thought I would let you know what I would do if I was in your shoes.

Most drafts year-to-year are probably randomly selected. In the leagues that I am commissioner of, we draft in order of the previous year’s finish. Regardless, it’ll be important for you to know who is available and what your strategy should be depending on where you pick and who you pick. For purposes of this post I’m going to go through each draft position in the first two rounds of a standard snake (1-12, 12-1) draft. The players selected will be based on my top 60 for 2010 (look for new rankings as soon as next week).

If I were in your shoes, I’d take…

1) Chris Johnson, RB TEN – There is some debate at the top right now, but not enough to knock Chris Johnson off the top spot, especially with the uncertainty at QB for the Vikings which impacts Adrian Peterson’s value. Next selection: 24.

2) Adrian Peterson, RB MIN – Given the current status of Favreageddon, one could argue that Peterson is a risky pick, but I believe Favre will be back and as such, Peterson is a great value at #2. He is the only other player currently listed at #1 on some draft boards. Next Selection: 23.

3) Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAC – Jones-Drew is the consensus #3 pick in every projection I have seen. He was a stud last year and with Jacksonville improving could be even better. Some people might sleep on him and take Ray Rice or Frank Gore, but assuming he is available, pick Jones-Drew here. Next selection: 22.
4) Ray Rice, RB BAL – I got Ray Rice in the 9th round last year…do you think I wish I was in a keeper league??? At #4, he’s probably a little bit safer pick than Frank Gore, but only by the slightest of margins. If any of the top 3 fall to you at 4, take them. Otherwise, Rice is a safe pick and will get a ton of touches and points per reception (PPR) opportunities. Next Selection: 21

5) Frank Gore, RB SF – There is a compelling argument to take Andre Johnson, the clear #1 WR in this spot and nobody would blame you if you did. It’s a little high for me personally to take a WR in this spot (got a little burned by taking Fitzgerald at 4 in a 10 team league last year). Many of the experts also concede that, despite the fact that there is a clear cut “top 4” that Gore could end up as the #1 fantasy RB this year when all is said and done. He has an injury history to account for, but with the best supporting cast in SF he’s had ever, he may not be asked to do as much. I like Gore here, and if you get him at 5 it is a great value. Next Selection: 20

6) Andre Johnson, WR HOU – This is where most drafts will get really interesting (assuming someone doesn’t take Andre Johnson in the top 5). There is a clear drop off from the top 5 RBs to the next tier in my opinion. I know a lot of guys are high on Steven Jackson, but I just don’t believe he is a guy I would spend a top 10 pick on. So when picking at 6 you’re looking at the aforementioned Jackson, Michael Turner, Andre Johnson, and Drew Brees. 6 is probably a hair too high for me to want to snag a QB given who else is available. Turner and Jackson could be stud RBs this year, but at 6, we’re going to make a splash and take Andre Johnson. Next selection: 19

7) Michael Turner, RB ATL – After being drafted in the top 3 of most drafts last year, Turner had a down season. He had a ton of carries the year before and he just wasn’t as productive as he had been. That said, Turner is not done and I’ve seen him drafted as high as 4 in some mock drafts. If Andre Johnson is off the board at 7, Turner is a safe pick to anchor your RB corps. Next Selection: 18

8) Drew Brees, QB NO – I think you’ll start to see the first QBs come off the board in the 6-10 range. With so many questions at RB outside the top 5, you want to arm yourself with as many top players at each position as possible. So, if you don’t have a RB or WR that just blows you away here, Brees is probably the pick. You’ll need to hit a home run on your next pick though, which should be a RB. Next Selection: 17

9) Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT – Some experts believe that Mendenhall is going to have a huge year and if you are of that mindset, he’s a great value here at 9. Others have concerns about playing the first 4-6 games without Big Ben. Remember though, fantasy football is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you take Mendenhall, you’re going to have him for 7-8 weeks with Big Ben under center AND his bye will be out of the way after week 5. Next Selection: 16

10) Aaron Rogers, QB GB – Two QBs in the top 10? It goes without saying that if any of the previous 9 is available at 10 (and subsequent picks) you have to at least stop and think about snagging one of them. Rogers could be primed for a huge year in GB. The pieces are in place for that team to make a run and Rogers could be a huge part of that if he improves on an already impressive 2009 campaign with over 4,000 yards passing and 30 TDs. Next Selection: 15

11) DeAngelo Williams, RB CAR – Williams was another guy like Turner, who came up short at times in 2009 after being projected to have a breakout year. He is part of a dynamic RB tandem in Carolina which is good from a wear and tear stand point and bad because you never know who is going to get more carries in a given game. However, Carolina has been masterful in its handling of the RB situation to date and with Williams healthy and ready to go; he could improve on what was a very productive season last year. Next Selection: 14

12) Steven Jackson, RB STL– If you are picking at 12, then this will be the first of two selections you’ll make here. You can use it to load up on two stud RBs or a WR and a RB or snag an elite QB and a RB…lots of options here. The biggest downside to picking 12 and 13 respectively is that after that, you’re not back on the clock until 36, which means a lot of guys are gone, so you need to make this one count. At this point (according to my own personal projections) Steven Jackson is still available and while I have some reservations about him 5-6, there’s no question that his value is high here. Jackson certainly has a high ceiling and will get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball in St. Louis. As the last pick of the first round, there’s enough value for you to pull the trigger. Next Selection: 13

As you make the turn to start the second round, take a look at the current landscape of your draft. Of the top 12 players selected, 9 of them were RBs, 2 QBs and 1 WR. If you’ve taken a RB, you can do some big damage to the other teams by selecting another one and getting two stud RBs (especially knowing that the QB and WR drafters should be looking at RBs in round 2). With only one WR off the board, you could also go WR and load up on a top 5 player at that position as well so there are a lot of options as we make the turn.

13) Randy Moss, WR NE – Moss had an up and down year last year but overall was very productive. With Tom Brady fully back from that knee injury and Wes Welker on a fast road to recovery, the Pats offense is starting to look formidable. Moss is a huge part of that and still has the potential for 3 TD games and a lot of catches. Adding Moss to Steven Jackson when picking at this point in the draft gives you a very solid up front. Next selection: 36

14) Ryan Grant, RB GB – Somehow Ryan Grant gets overlooked as a productive fantasy footballer. He’s a guy I spent all of last season trying to acquire for the stretch run in my league but I couldn’t get it done. Sufficed to say I’m high on him. You pair him with DeAngelo Williams and you’ve got one of the better RB duos coming out of the first two rounds. Next Selection: 35

15) Cedric Benson, RB CIN – After taking one of the top QBs in the draft at 10, you have got to turn around and land a stud RB here. There are a few options to choose from in the rankings with guys like Shonn Green, Ryan Matthews and Jamaal Charles all on the board. At 15 though, you still need to go for more of a sure bet and of the RBs available, Benson, coming of a monster year and facing no suspension in 2010 is a great value here. Next Selection: 34

16) Peyton Manning – 16 is a real interesting spot in this draft. The teams picking directly ahead of you and behind you took QBs in round one, which means you are likely going to have a shot at a top 3-5 WR or an elite QB. With Mendenhall as your first pick, you need a point producer just incase he struggles out of the gate. Every year someone will “reach” just a hair to snag Peyton Manning. This year, it might just be you. Next Selection: 33

17) Shonn Green, RB NYJ – Things are starting to get dicey as we move towards 20 players being off the board. Having drafted Brees with your first pick, you need to come back strong with a RB. Just like 15 though, question marks abound. Last season the Jets had one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL and with Thomas Jones gone and Shonn Green in as the featured back; the Jets running game should be in good shape. Green has the potential to pick up right where Jones left off. If he does, this is a great value pick at this point in the draft. Next Selection: 32

18) Reggie Wayne, WR IND – With Michael Turner as your RB1 and with premier receivers still on the board, Reggie Wayne makes for an excellent selection here. Other than Dallas Clark, he’ll get the most targets on the Colts and will still put up big numbers. A Wayne/Turner combo for your first two picks is a good foundation from which to build. Next Selection: 31

19) Jamaal Charles, RB KC – You took the top WR in the draft with your first pick, now it’s time to build a supporting cast. Charles is one of the true risers in the top two rounds of the draft. To get him at 19 and pair him with Andre Johnson is a huge value at this point. Next Selection: 30

20) Miles Austin, WR DAL – The highest rated player on the board according to the rankings I referenced earlier is Larry Fitzgerald, but with the questions the Cardinals have at QB, he’s a little bit of a gamble. Austin was a waiver wire savior for a lot of teams last year and he figures to have another solid if not spectacular year in big D. Next Selection: 29

21) Ryan Matthews, RB SD– This is the point in the round where you can reach for a guy you like, because it won’t be long before you’re picking again. With Ray Rice as your stud RB, you may want to go WR here with Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, or Calvin Johnson. Another direction you could go is to take a player with tremendous upside like San Diego RB Ryan Matthews. Matthews could potentially solidify your backfield all season long and still allow you to pick up a solid QB or WR in round 3. Next Selection: 28

22) Roddy White, WR ATL – I trust White’s QB just a little more than I do Fitzgerald’s. Either is probably a good pick here, but I’m giving White a slight edge here and making him the pick. Next Selection: 27
23) Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI – Last year, having the combo of Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald would’ve made you the front runner in your league. It may too this year if you can get good production out of Fitzgerald and his new QB. Next Selection: 26

24) Tom Brady, QB NE – The top WRs left on the board are Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. Both of those guys will go at the top of the third round if not sooner. Just as people usually reach for Peyton Manning, so too will someone for Tom Brady. Having Brady, Chris Johnson, and the top pick of the 3rd round puts you in a great spot for 3 game-changing players. Next Selection: 25

Next five drafted: WR - Calvin Johnson, WR - Brandon Marshall, RB – Beanie Wells, QB - Tony Romo, WR - Greg Jennings.

So there you have it. That’s what I would do if I were in your shoes. It’s not an exact science, but I think I’ve maximized value for most, if not all the teams. But let me know what you think. Which duo is the strongest? Weakest? Who went too high or too low?
Until next time…

Monday, August 2, 2010

Losing It 9 Week Update: Progress and Setbacks

Every weight loss challenge/effort is going to experience some progress and some setbacks. The motivation to work out and eat better has not really been a problem. Progress. The execution at times has been lacking. Setback. And some times that darned scale just doesn’t tell you what you want to hear!

Over the last two weeks since my family has been out of town, I have really kicked it into high gear (which for most in shape people is probably what they do for a cool down). I’ve found myself a walking regiment and route that seems to work for me. It gets me about 2.5 miles a day and has two separate legs of it which are up hill (one at the beginning and one at the end) which presents a nice challenge.

9 weeks into this challenge I’ve lost 9 pounds. I firmly believe that had I pushed myself more and been more dedicated to my diet and exercise routine that the number could easily be around 20, but life sometimes gets in the way and there’s nothing you can do about it but push through. Truthfully, I needed that doctor’s visit and a little nudging from a good friend in the health and wellness industry to really get my act together...but it worked, and I have.

Over the last two weeks I have made two major dietary changes. First, I’ve been eating spinach salads for lunch every day. I usually add carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, and green peppers to the mix with a healthy crouton and light ranch dressing for flavor. I’ve also added grilled chicken at times as well. The other thing I’ve done is started “snacking” on fruit leather (Archer Farms from Target). These are about 45 calories each and equal ½ of a daily fruit serving…which is more than the zero I was getting before.

So the efforts are certainly there, and I believe that if I keep doing what I’m doing, the weight should continue to drop. As it stands, 9 lbs in 9 weeks is pretty good, I mean, that’s 1 pound a week so that’s not bad. I’m sure I’ll need to increase my output in the coming weeks and look forward to the challenges that presents, but for now, I’m still hanging right in there.