Friday, September 21, 2012

NFL Fantasy Football Week 1&2 Review, Week 3 Preview

Fantasy Football Updates
Redraft and Keeper League

Redraft League - Let's start with this team.  Currently sitting at 2-0.  Off to a great start, all my studs are producing and winning me games, just like they should. 

      Huge games from Matt Ryan and good numbers from all my running backs.  I drafted the Giants rookie Running Back, David Wilson, thinking he would be the #2 RB on the team.  That has been my biggest disappointment I think.  Currently he sits as maybe #3 on the depth chart, and in this league, he has not scored any points.  I also have only dropped one player, Juston Blackmon, WR for the Jags.  Not for any other reason than I needed to grab a TE to cover me while Aaron Hernandez is out.  I was able to get Brent Celek to take his place. 

     Pretty happy with this team so far.  Being 2-0 really helps.  I have 4 really good running backs and we can start 3, that's a great position to be in, especially this early in the season.  I have started Kevin Smith in my first two games but he will ride the pine this week.  I like my wide receivers, even though my best ones are banged up right now.  I have Jeremy Maclin and Pierre Garcon out with injuries right now.  I think they will get healthy and get back to having a good season for me.  Antonio Brown and Percy Harvin will keep things rolling for me. 

     I shouldn't have to worry about the waiver wire too much at all.  I still stick by my draft strategy of only drafting one TE, K, and Defense.  That has paid off this year, allowing me to draft more Wide Receivers and Running Backs, the more of those you grab, the higher your chances of ending up with some good ones.  The only draw back to this is the injuries that pop up.  Got bit by the Hernandez injury but got that covered, so far so good.  If you are going to have to cover an injured player, I think its better to have it happen early in the season when there are more good players will on the wire and not hidden away on some other teams bench. 

     The rest of the teams in the league are doing well and by that I mean putting up good numbers.  Winning games will not come easy in any week.  I feel confident about my chances of getting into the playoffs this year and from there, its any ones guess.  I just plan to stoke this little fire I have going now and see where it leads. 

Keeper League - Ugh.....  0-2.  Where should I start with this crew?

     I wasn't 100% happy with my team after the draft but I felt I had plenty of potential to wins some games.  My 0-2 start, I feel, has more to do with tough games at the start of the season for most of my guys.  Aaron Rodgers played against the 49ers, Bears and the Seahawks this Monday Night.  All tough defenses and while I think the Packers can win against the Hawks, I don't expect better than average stats from this game.   I will have a lot riding on it though.  I will start Rodgers and Nelson from the Pack and Lynch and the Hawks Defense.  While I will be rooting for both teams to have a good game, I always want the Pack to win.  Going to be tough for both teams and hopefully a great game to watch.

     My running backs have been OK.  Lynch put up some great numbers last week against the Cowboys and Kevin Smith had a great first week and just an OK week 2 - but just about anyone have who played the 49ers.  I'm keeping an eye on the Lions backfield.  Hoping Smith can hang on to his starting spot for at least a while longer.  The 3 rookies I drafted haven't done much of anything yet.  I drafted Turbin, mostly as a handcuff for Lynch who, at the time, had a possible league suspension hanging over his head.  I might hang on to him just for insurance for Lynch.  If Lynch does not start I feel Turbin can step in and get close to what Lynch would get. 

     The other 2 guys, not so much.  I drafted Pead from the Rams thinking, like almost everyone else, that he would end up as the #2 behind Jackson.  That hasn't happened.  So far he has only got a hand full of carries and works mainly on special teams.  If this changes soon I might hang on to him, but if he can't get to the #2 spot, he will get dropped.  Same issue with Hillman from Denver.  Drafted him thinking #2 RB on a great running team.  Nope!  Here he sits as #3.  Same thing with Pead, if he doesn't move up the roster soon, I'll have to look elsewhere.  I did make a move this week.  I dropped Javon Ringer and picked up Martellus Bennett - TE for the Giants.  I saw how many passes were being thrown his way and in a PPR format, that can be a great thing.  I started him this week and he played Thursday Night and already grabbed a few passes and a TD to get me off to a good start. 

     My receivers have been just OK.  I'm perplexed by what is happening with Welker in New England.  I have to keep starting him and hope things turn around.  Maclin is hurt, he's great when he plays so I'm hoping he won't loose much more time.  Jennings is hurt, this one doesn't hurt as much since I have been starting Nelson anyways.  I drafted Kenny Britt, even with his bad knees and suspension.  Now that he's back on the field and cleared for full playing time, I'm hoping he can produce some good stats and make up for possibly losing Kevin Smith in the near future.  I'm starting Michael Bush this week with Forte being out.  Not sure how much time Forte will miss, but any time he's out, Bush will be a must start for my team.  That's why I drafted him so I better use him. 

     I'm really happy with the way the Seahawks Defense has been playing.  They manhandled the Cowboys last week.  Not sure what to expect Monday Night with the Packers.  I'm hoping for good stats for everyone, both of these teams are too good for any huge blow out to happen.  I'm playing against the league champ this week and to have everything come down to Monday Night, I might not have much hair left on my head after this one. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fantasy Football Keeper League Draft

Fantasy Football Keeper League Draft

     This league can be pretty hardcore.  We use a Points Per Reception scoring system so it changes a lot of the rankings for almost every position.  Defencive scoring is based on points and yards given up, you can end up with a negative score if you start a team that has a bad game.  The Keeper part of this league is very interesting.  You can keep 8 players.  Most often, if you have a star player, you hang on to him for dear life!  These types of players will usually stay with one team once they deem themselves worthy.  Only being moved if a huge trade happens or a catastrophic injury.  Some owners have a death grip on the positions that are the hardest to fill, like running backs.  But, what I love about this league, the PPR scoring gives value to more players, making everything more exciting. 

     Like I said, if you end up with a highly valued player on your team, you can keep him.  This season I kept 6.  My last season went well.  I made the playoffs for the first time in this league, that was a big step forward.  While often flying by the seat of my pants and getting lots of luck, I was hoping to improve on my baby steps from last season.  In this draft there were a lot of rookies with potential.  My strategy was to grab a few of them and hope at least one would pan out.  But everyone knows that so many rookies go fast.  This is where a good draft can make or break your season. 

     I'll do a quick run down of my keepers so we both know what I had to work with for this draft.  My draft position was 6th (based on last seasons record) and keeping 6 players would make my first pick in round 7. 

#1 - QB Arron Rodgers.  Not much to say here.  He has been a top QB in the NFL since being named the Packers starter.  Also NFL MVP last season.  He should stay that way for many more years.

#2 - RB Marshawn Lynch.  Things are starting to turn around for the Seahawks.  Lynch really turned it on last year, having a career season.  Very consistent.  I am slightly worried about a suspension that might be looming and his reported case of back spasms (kept him from one game last year and a few preseason games).  The Hawks don't have a home run hitter at QB or WR so they will run early and often.  If Lynch can stay on the field he will produce. 

#3 - WR Greg Jennings.  He is a top target in the high powered Packer offence.  He stays relatively healthy and has league MVP Rodgers looking for him.  Very consistent player.

#4 - WR Jordy Nelson.  Not sure where or when I landed Nelson last season, but wow what a surprise.  15 TDs.  I'm sure he won't have that many this season but he's young, fast and like Jennings, has Rodgers looking for him down the field.  Nelson turned many short passed into huge gains last season.  Sure, I might not start both Green Bay receivers each week, but last season it paid off more often than not.  In a PPR league like this one, Nelson is a keeper.

#5 - WR Wes Welker.  Welker is a PPR beast and he had a career year last season.  I don't think he will match his production from last season but he has the potential to and that's all I need.

#6 - WR Jeremy Maclin.  Had a slow start last year due to a preseason illness and battled a leg injury late in the year.  But even that was enough to overtake the #1 WR spot on the Eagles.  I'm hoping he can stay healthy and put up a career year for me. 

     So that brings me to round 7 in the draft.  We get a draft board a week before the draft and from there you plan.  You can see what the other owners are doing at that point.  Every year there has been at least one owner that goes "all in", meaning he does not keep any players so he can start drafting in the early rounds.  This can pay off big time if you are trying to grab rookies and if other owners are trying to keep their rosters intact.  This year, one owner went all in and had the first 5 rounds all to himself and the second pick in the 6th round.  Good for him, bad if you came to the draft looking to pick up some younger players to hang on to. 

     The top 3 RBs I had on my list for draft day were gone and I kind of thought I might only get one of them, but they all went fast.  I had to switch to plan B and C before I had my first pick.  Not a time to panic.  So I had to reach a little and take what I could.  I took a couple of rookie RBs with my first 2 picks.  The RB position is my weakness.  I know it and the other owners know it.  I had many trade offers for RBs heading into the draft.  Nothing to exciting and I turned them all down.  Knowing that I was "loaded" at the WR spot I was able to focus on RB for most of my early picks.  I'm hoping this pays off once the season starts.  Come to think of it, I only drafted 1 WR this time. 

     Last season I had a few RBs that ended up in starting positions because of injuries to starting RBs.  Seems like I'll follow that path at least a little this year as well, it paid off for me last year.  Injuries happen.  If you can grab a #2 RB on a good team and wait it out, it can work.  What do you do when that guy never gets his chance?  You curse the starter, of course.  Of the 6 RBs that I drafted, 1 is a starter, and 3 are rookies.  The rookies have a ton up upside.  If one or more of them pay off, I'll be looking pretty dang good.  Of course, if not, I'll be ready to throw in the towel about the mid way point in the season.  Let's hope not. 

     Here is a quick run down of the players that I drafted.  I did not keep as good of records for this league as trades happen often and draft picks get swapped around a lot.  I'll just make the list and give a short reason why. 

RB Isaiah Pead.  He was my first pick.  The Rams have just about used Steven Jackson up.  Jackson is only 29 but he has more miles on his legs then most RBs over 30.  I'm hoping Pead will get a few chances to start and eventually work his way to a full time starter.  Might not happen this season but if he shows promise and if anything happens to Jackson, I might have struck gold here.

RB Kevin Smith.  The Lions need someone in the back field and when Smith is healthy he can put up big numbers.  He does come with injury risk but I'm taking a chance on him.  He's a starter on a very good offence. 

RB Robert Turbin.  Not knowing 100% what will happen with Lynch (possible suspension) I grabbed this rookie.  I watched him in preseason games and he run hard and pushed the pile.  If Lynch misses any time at all for any reason I feel Turbin can step in and get about the same production.  If the Seahawks turn this into a Running Back By Committee, both of these guys might get a start, I'm crazy like that.

RB Ronnie Hillman.  With the Broncos signing Manning that will take a lot of pressure off the O-line right away.  McGahee is getting older and I believe Hillman will get some good work in this season.  Again, I'm hoping I've landed a rookie that will eventually become the #1.  The Broncos run the ball a lot.  Even with Manning at QB, they might even get a little better at it.

RB Javon Ringer.  I picked up Ringer very late in the draft.  Mainly for depth and if anything happens to Chris Johnson he might be worth a few starts.  Or trade bait.  We'll see.

RB Michael Bush.  I had Bush last year and he paid off big time when McFadden went down.  Bush is again behind a #1 RB in Forte but I think Bush still has value.  I was able to get him in the later rounds of this draft.  He is a strong RB and can produce on 3rd and 4th downs as well as goal line carries.  He might be worth a few starts even at a #2 spot, but again, if anything happens to the starter (and Forte had a big knee injury last year), I could have struck gold again.  Bush should be a starter for any team.

WR Kenny Britt.  The only WR I drafted this year.  Got him late in the draft.  I think many owners were scared off by his off season troubles and knee injuries.  We just learned he will only get a 1 game suspension and that will give his legs more time to heal before starting.  When he does start he can be a great WR and should be a #1 target for the Titans.  Just realized I drafted 4 Titan players.........

K Rob Bironas.  A kicker is a kicker.  But this guy has been really good.  The Titan offence is looking better than the last few seasons and he should get more FGs.  We get points based on how far FGs are.  He should be a good weekly producer.

Seahawk Defence.  I like how they look this year.  They were flying to the ball on every play.  They should be able to hold more teams in check this year while also getting more turn overs and the occasional score. 

QB Jake Locker.  The Titans named Locker their starter so he will get his chance early to show what he can do.  He is in his second year but only played in a few games last year.  He looks good.  He can run and throw.  I (hopefully) will only need him for a bye week.  But I'm also not 100% sold on him.  I've been watching another QB that I might pick up and drop Locker for.  We will see how this pans out. 

     I feel good about how this draft went.  You just never know how things will fall into place once the season starts.  I feel like I am ready to take the next step with this league.  I'm just hoping that step will be forward.  If even just one of my "struck gold" type guys pan out I should do good. 

     With this league, the action never stops, even after the NFL season has ended.  Trades can happen at any time and they happen often.  You have to be smart about it.  The other owners in the league know what they are doing and any miss step can be bad.  Drop the wrong guy at the wrong time and he gets snatched up in a hurry.  One strategy can be to offer draft picks for next season for a player now.  This happens a lot too.  A few owners had a full team several rounds before the end of the draft. 

     With these owners being as good as they are, it feels good to have had a winning team and break into the playoffs last year.  So, here is to having an OK draft, a good up coming season and being the underdog!

Fantasy Football Redraft League

Fantasy Football Redraft League Summery

     The Redraft League is always exciting.  You can start fresh every year.  The moment you get the draft order you spend the rest of the time preparing for your perfect picks.  You get everything lined up, your research on each player you want, injury and hold out reports, stat projections and opinions from fantasy footballers from around the country.  Then the draft starts and you throw all that hard work out the window....  Oh yeah, and 5 minutes before the first pick we decided to add a flex position for the first time ever.

     My name got pulled out of the hat for the 8th overall pick.  We do a snake draft, so my first 2 picks would be the 8th and 13th overall.  Important because between my next pick, there would be more than a dozen players drafted.  Our league is pretty basic as far as scoring.  You have to decide what position you want to load up on.  If you try to spread the picks around you can end up one good player and a bunch of duds around each position.  Not every star player will put up home run numbers every week.  I try to draft players that will be consistent and get me points every week and give me a chance to win games.  Which positions are thin or have the steepest drop off?  All this comes into play once the draft starts and owners start making their picks.  You can never predict what will happen in our league.  In most leagues, running backs will come off the board before other positions.  Out of our first 5 picks, 3 of them were quarter backs.  By the time my first pick came around, the second highest rated running back was still available.  Totally catching me off guard and throwing my draft strategy in the toilet...again.  So, of course, when my second pick came around, another high ranked running back was still available. 

     Knowing that there are a lot of really good quarterbacks right now, I could wait and pick up a really good one and not have to spent a first or second round pick on one.  I took a QB with my 3rd pick.  Didn't get the top guy on my list, but I'm happy with what I got.  I took a rookie running back with my next pick.  Rookies don't usually play a big role in our league, but this guy already won the starting role on his team and starting running backs can be great when they get most of the work load. 

     Out of the first 4 picks I got 3 starting running backs and a top rated QB.  Time to grab some pass catchers.  This means wide receivers and tight ends.  I try to target guys on pass heavy teams and guys that get thrown to a ton.  Guys listed as a #1 or #2 on a team are at a premium.  My next 4 picks were all pass catchers.  3 #1 wide receivers and a #2 tight end.  Not too shabby. 

     After having the basic building blocks for my team I wanted to load up on players that will have potential for the coming year.  I decided to grab, what I figured, was the best available at the wide receiver and running back positions for the next few picks.  That paid off with a few more rookies and #1 wide receivers.  I'm not one to draft many back up positions for my team.  I think a back up QB is the only one I target.  Anything else I will pick up scraps off the waiver wire if I need to.  I picked up a back up QB who just won the starting gig on his team.  He can pass and run, but I will only use him for a bye week. 

     During the late rounds of any draft, you get to a point when you have your starters and just want to take a few chances.  Here you can also take players you don't want or need, but you know other teams need them.  Sure, you might have 5 wide receivers already.  But you look at the draft board and see the guys drafting around you still need them.  I am not above snaking a good position player and sitting him on my bench.  This league, you can trade, but I cannot remember if there has ever been a trade.  If my starters can score a bunch of points for me and I leave a bunch of points on the bench, that's less points for my opponents to have.  There are only so many yards and touch downs and if I can keep a few away from other teams every week, I sure as heck will!

     I'll do a quick run down of my team for this league, I will list them in the order drafted and provide a short reason for the pick.  Let me know what you think.  Any mistakes?  Keep in mind, the first 3 players off the board were the top 3 quarter backs.  Our starting line ups need to have 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE 1 FLEX, 1 K and 1 DEF.  Don't mind my spelling of first names.

#1 - RB Ray Rice.  I was very surprised to have him at this pick.  The Ravens do pass but not a ton and Rice does catch a bunch of those passes.  He will get a lot of yards and TDs.  He is a star player and not only a #1 RB but probably the best offensive player on his team.

#2 - RB Demarco Murray.  Again, having the chance to grab another top RB, this was a no brainer for me.  Murray might have a slight injury risk but I think the positives will out weigh the negatives with this pick.  He will run to a bunch of yards and TDs.  The Cowboys will score a bunch and Murray will be a big part of that.

#3 - QB Matt Ryan.  I think the Falcons are going to be a really good team this year.  Their receivers getting better and better, Ryan will be throwing passes all day long.  It won't matter to me who catches them.  Ryan will be a top rates QB this year. 

#4 - RB Doug Martin.  This rookie has already won the starting role for the Bucks.  They do have a good QB, but I believe they will be a run first team.  Martin can run and catch.  He will most likely be used at least 50/50, if not more.  Ton of upside with this pick.  Might have another Ray Rice here. 

#5 - WR Percy Harvin.  The Vikings will be a little better than they were last year, but not much.  Harvin has potential to be the #1 player on this team.  He will catch a lot of passes and he plays a big role in the running game.  With Peterson recovering from a major injury, I believe they will lean on Harvin early and often. 

#6 - TE Aaron Hernandez.  He might be the #2 tight end on his team but that is more than enough for a #1 on any other team.  He will play a big role and get his catches.  We have to start a tight end and I hate having one that only catches 1 or 2 passes a week.  Good pick here.

#7 - WR Antonio Brown.  The Steelers can and will throw the ball, especially with their #1 RB on the shelf for atleast the first half of the season.  Mike Wallace is a drama queen.  Brown will catch a lot of passes in this offence.  Even if he stays as the #2 on this team, he will get a lot of chances to score.  Good upside.

#8 - WR Jeremy Maclin.  He had a bad illness to start last season and battled a leg injury late in the year.  Even with that, he had better stats then (another drama queen) Jackson.  He should be the #1 receiver on the Eagles this year.  Vick should be throwing more to try and stay healthy (HA) and that will help Maclin's upside a ton.

#9 - RB Kevin Smith.  Someone has to start a RB for the Lions and Smith will be that guy, at least for a while.  The lions are turning into a pass first team, but they also run the ball a lot.  Smith has potential if he can stay healthy.  I really only picked him up because he will be a starter on a good team.  With my other top picks, I might not start him.  But you never know.  My first big upside and big injury risk pick.  A starting running back on my bench is one less I'll have to worry about other owners starting.

#10 - WR Pierre Garcon.  I took a chance here.  Garcon should be the go to WR for the Redskins.  I repeat, for the Redskins.  Not known as a top offence.  BUT, with their new rookie QB that will take a lot of heat from defences, that could open up the field for the wide outs.  His upside will depend totally on what Griffin can bring to the table.  Griffin can throw and when he does, hopefully Garcon will be the guy.

#11 - RB David Wilson.  Took a rookie RB here.  He will be the Giants #2, but if history has taught us anything is that the Giants use 2 running backs to great effect.  He has huge potential here.  By a show of hands, who here thinks Bradshaw will stay healthy and start every game this year?  Didn't think so.  Not if, but when Bradshaw misses time, Wilson will step up and be the #1.  Big upside. 

#12 - WR Justin Blackmon.  I took another WR on a team that typically does not have a very good offence.  But this rookie has plenty of upside.  Jags second year QB should improve a lot and they run the ball first.  Blackmon is a play maker that should end up as the #1 on this team.  He might not see much of the field for my team but I'm taking a chance here.  With picks in the late rounds, you are not getting too many #1's anyways.  I feel just OK about this pick. 

#13 - K Sebastian Janikowski.  I only draft 1 kicker so I try to take a good one.  The Raiders have potential but they always do almost nothing with it.  Old QB, fragile starting RB.  I see a lot of unfinished drives ending with lots of field goals.  He is accurate and can kick far.  It adds up for me.  Other owners started grabbing kickers at this point.  I didn't want to end up with a guy that only gets PATs. 

#14 - DEF Green Bay.  Everyone knows that the Packers offence is the star of the show and the defence was bad last year.  But in this league we don't get a penalty for giving up points or yards.  The Packers get lots of take aways and should be a lot better at getting sacks this year.  With Cobb returning kicks they have a lot of potential for scoring.  With the average DEF scoring around 5 or 6 points a week, I like the upside here.

#15 - WR Randall Cobb.  I know that the Packers are a pass first team, but the main reason I took Cobb here was for his special teams upside that will also count towards the DEF scoring.  He won't get a huge amount of passes thrown his way so he might not see much of the field for my team.  But who knows?  The potential is there.  He will be a bench warmer for now. 

#16 - QB Jake Locker.  The QB position is usually the only one I will draft a back up for.  The Titans named Locker their starter already.  He can run and throw so he can rack up points for fantasy teams.  He won't come close to Matt Ryan type scoring, but I don't need him to.  He will average a few points less every week, but for a bye week fill in, what more can you ask for?  I don't see Ryan getting hurt but if he does, I feel I have a very nice back up plan.