I’m being told that some readers are seeing my season rankings instead of my weekly rankings. (You will know if you see Aaron Rodgers as the #1 ranked QB instead of Michael Vick. I have Vick ranked #1 in Week 1.) I have informed FantasyPros (which powers these rankings) about the problem but they are unable to duplicate it. Hit refresh a few times and/or try a different browser. Sorry for the inconvenience…but hey, at least my rankings are free!
I was invited to join a league formed by Yahoo’s Andy Behrens made up of fantasy football writers who have performed well in FantasyPros individual or overall rankings accuracy studies. The draft order went like this:
1. David Dodds – FootballGuys
2. Andy Behrens – Yahoo
3. Brandon Funston – Yahoo
4. Josh Moore – 4for4
5. John Paulsen – Fantasy Shrink / 4for4
6. Jamey Eisenberg – CBS Sports
7. Pat Fitzmaurice – Pro Football Weekly
8. Scott Pianowski – Yahoo
9. R.J. White – Fantasy Football Cafe
10. Chet Gresham – Razzball (who was out of the country on a mission involving national security, so Eric Yeomans drafted for him)
11. Jeff Pasquino – FootballGuys
12. Bob Henry – FootballGuys
I thought they should have gone in order of the 2010 accuracy standings, but…whatever.
This is a 12-team league that starts 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 R/W/T flex, 1 W/T flex, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 DT. It’s a 0.5 PPR league that awards 6 points for all TDs.
Round 1: LeSean McCoy, RB
This draft was conducted Wednesday night on the heels of Arian Foster‘s “MRIgate” and before the end of Chris Johnson‘s holdout, so I was not particularly happy about drawing the #5 pick and was prepared to pass on Foster for Andre Johnson if the top 4 RBs flew off the board as expected. Luckily, Funston stepped up and took Foster, so I thanked my lucky stars as I nabbed McCoy. His value is a bit diminished in a half-PPR league, but he’s still a very safe pick in the first round.
Round 2: Mike Wallace, WR
I wanted to grab a WR here and then look for Antonio Gates or a RB in the third round. I think there’s a drop-off after Vincent Jackson and Wallace, and I’m a bit higher on Mikey. Entering his third year, I think he’s in for a big 2011.
Round 3: LeGarrette Blount, RB
Reggie Wayne, Jahvid Best and Blount made it to me, and I like the way Blount is playing (specifically the way he is catching the ball) in the preseason. I have Best in several leagues, so wanted to switch things up and take Blount.
Round 4: DeSean Jackson, WR
My decision was between D-Jax and Stevie Johnson here, and again, since I have Stevie in about three dozen leagues this year, I zagged and took D-Jax, who should have a fine season. I really wasn’t expecting him to make to 4.08 anyway.
Round 5: Jason Witten, TE
This was a tough pick. I was hoping Mario Manningham would fall to me, but he went 4.10 to Funston. Santonio Holmes went on the turn, so at 5.05 I was mainly looking at Witten and Peyton Manning. I love Witten, but I regret this pick because of how far a couple of other TEs fell later in the draft. Had I known that was going to happen, I would have taken Percy Harvin or Tim Hightower here and used a middle round pick on a TE.
Round 6: Joseph Addai, RB
I really wanted to grab a third WR here, but the RBs were thinning out quickly. Hightower, Beanie Wells, Reggie Bush, Fred Jackson, Cedric Benson, Marshawn Lynch and Mike Tolbert all went between 5.06 and 6.07, so while I wanted to grab Santana Moss or Mike Thomas, I felt compelled to take Addai as my RB3.
Round 7: Matthew Stafford, QB
A bit flustered after Moss, Thomas and Julio Jones all went on the turn, I decided to bypass my WR3 and take a QB that I haven’t really been targeting this summer. I figured I would need some bold moves to win an experts league and if Stafford can stay healthy, I think he’ll produce Top 5 numbers. Also, I have the other QBs that were on the board (namely Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman) in multiple leagues, so I again wanted to switch things up. (Note: Jimmy Graham and Owen Daniels were still on the board at this point, so if I had a do over, I would have taken Harvin or Hightower at 5.05 and taken Graham or Daniels here.)
Round 8: Pierre Garcon, WR
I’m not a big Garcon fan this year, but if Austin Collie or Reggie Wayne miss anytime, he’ll be WR2-caliber. As it stands, he’s a marginal WR3. I thought about Mike Sims-Walker, Danny Amendola or Davone Bess here, but I figured one would make it back in the 9th.
Round 9: Josh Freeman, QB
No such luck. Once again, I was foiled by the WR run at the turn, so with Freeman as the best value on the board, I took him to give me some insurance if Stafford can’t stay healthy. Freeman hasn’t had a great preseason, but the kid is a gamer and I think he’ll produce when the games start to count.
Round 10: Rob Gronkowski, TE
The WRs available were pretty dreadful from a value standpoint, and I think Gronk is capable of not only backing up Witten, but starting regularly in my WR/TE flex. I am higher than most on Gronkowski.
My picks for the remainder of the draft: Ronnie Brown (handcuff for McCoy), LaDainian Tomlinson (unexciting yet decent flex play), Jets DT, Arrelious Benn, Terrell Owens (yes, I know he’s still injured) and Jerome Simpson. I’ll have to drop someone for a kicker, but wanted to give myself an extra couple of days to consider my options.
Here are the complete draft results, and here is my full roster:
QB: Stafford, Freeman
RB: McCoy, Blount, Addai, LT2, R. Brown
WR: Wallace, D-Jax, Garcon, Benn, T.O., Simpson
TE: Witten, Gronkowski
Given the competition, I’m happy with my team. Most of the players I was targeting were going a round or two earlier, so it was tough at times to decide quickly about who to take. Most weeks I’ll be starting Stafford, McCoy, Blount, Addai, Wallace, D-Jax, Garcon, Witten and Gronkowski, and I don’t think anyone is going to want to play that team, at least not on paper. Wait, fantasy football is on paper! Sort of…
To read about my first auction, click here. If you’re wondering about my auction strategy, start there.
Here are the details: 12-team slow auction PPR w/$400 cap; 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 flex, TE, K & DT
My second auction started two weeks ago and is just about complete. Using our revamped auction prices over at 4for4.com, I was confident that I was heading into my draft with a good idea of what each player was worth. We used 4for4′s Value Based Rankings to calculate dollar amounts per player, based on a customized percentage of total payroll (suggested: 90%) that will be used on the starting lineup. These prices were invaluable in helping me identify value as it emerged.
I began by going big on two studs — Adrian Peterson ($95) and Chris Johnson ($85). I was fairly optimistic about CJ2K when I bid on him, but now I’m regretting it a little. I thought the Titans’ position (that they would make Johnson the highest paid RB in the league) was enough, but I didn’t realize that he was looking for money beyond his position. While I do think something will get done before the season, I was concerned enough to nab Javon Ringer ($12) and Jamie Harper ($3) late in the draft. Gotta protect that investment.
I normally don’t bid too much on defenses or kickers, but I dropped $5 on the Packers DT early in the auction. Some of the elite defenses went for $6+ in my other auction, so I figured it was worth it so that I wouldn’t have to play Defensive Team By Waiver Wire in every league.
The next auction I won was Mario Manningham for $36, which was up from the $31 I spent on him in the first auction. In other words, his stock is rising. (In two recent expert drafts, he went in the 5th round, which means you can probably get him in the 6th in your friends and family league.) I was prepared to spend $40+ because I view him as a very solid WR2 in both standard and PPR formats.
Rob Gronkowski was nominated and I once again won him for $9. I simply think he’s undervalued and would be happy with him as my TE1. As it turns out, he’ll be my backup, but more on that later.
Santana Moss ($29) should make a fine WR3, though I am a bit concerned about John Beck at QB. Moss and Rex Grossman showed a nice rapport late last season and now he has to adjust to a new QB. At WR1, I went after Mike Williams, Stevie Johnson and Santonio Holmes, but they all went for $50+, which was more than I had budgeted. I settled for Austin Collie at $37. He’s risky, but when he’s playing, he’s WR1-caliber in PPR formats. To shore up the WR position, I won Mike Sims-Walker ($9), Terrell Owens ($1) and Steve Smith 2.0 ($1). I think MSW could have a nice year with Sam Bradford throwing to him in Josh McDaniels’ offense. I have no idea why Owens only went for $1 — he’s going to land somewhere and get WR1/WR2 targets and is still a top 20 WR talent-wise. I guess we’ll see.
By not extending myself at WR1, I was able to afford Dallas Clark for a discounted price of $28. His value at 4for4 was $42, so I felt I was better served putting my dollars towards an elite TE instead of overpaying for a low-end WR1. I could potentially start Gronkowski at the flex or possibly trade one of my TEs for help at another position if need be.
At RB, I got on the Tim Hightower train for $15 before he really cemented the RB1 job in Washington. I really like him as a RB3 in the 7th round of standard drafts. The only way I see him losing the job is if his fumbling problems resurface. I also nabbed Jonathan Stewart for $16. He’s a tough guy to value because he’s clearly a backup right now, but if DeAngelo Williams gets injured again, Stewart will have top 10 value.
At QB, I did what I normally do — look for value. And I found it in Matt Ryan, whom I locked up for $13 just before reports of Falcons’ desire to air it out hit the internet. People paying attention to the franchise this offseason could predict this shift in ideology, especially after the thrashing the team took at the hands of the Packers in the playoffs and their subsequent moves on draft night to acquire Julio Jones. I am high on the entire Atlanta offense this year, including WR3 Harry Douglas, who is drawing rave reviews at camp.
From there, I targeted Peterson’s backup, Toby Gerhart ($1), and the up-and-coming Colt McCoy ($2), whose schedule meshes nicely with Ryan’s. I also nominated Stephen Gostkowski and won him for $1 while the rest of the league was focused on other positions.
Here is my complete roster:
QB: Ryan, McCoy
RB: Peterson, CJ2K, Hightower, Stewart, Ringer, Harper, Gerhart
WR: Manningham, Collie, S. Moss, MSW, T.O., Smith 2.0
TE: Clark, Gronkowski
It is not without some trepidation and remorse that I’m adopting a new Q&A policy for the remainder of the 2011 fantasy football season. As my workload is ramping up, I can only answer so many questions in any given week and I’m going to give first priority to those readers who have used my referral links to subscribe at 4for4.com.
When I was writing for The Scores Report, one of my most popular posts was the weekly Q&A where I would take the time to read and answer just about every question that my readers had. The process ate up a lot of time, and now that I’m working for 4for4 on an hourly basis, I just can’t devote that much time to Q&A.
However, I will try to answer questions from those 4for4 subscribers that were referred there by me, because I do get a percentage of each of those subscriptions. I can’t guarantee that I will get to every question every week, but whatever free time I do have will be spent on subscribers, not on random questions from random people. It is my way of saying thank you to those readers who are willing to support my work.
At this point, I am planning to keep FantasyShrink relatively ad-free and there is quite a bit of free content (including my rankings) that will continue to be hosted here. I hope that is enough for those of you who are not willing to subscribe.
If you’ve already used my referral links to subscribe at 4for4, please shoot me an email (by hitting the mail button on the right sidebar) and give me your name and location so I can check my subscriber list. If you plan to ask questions on Twitter, please include your handle so that I can recognize you. Like I said, I may not get to every question every week, but I will give subscribers first priority.
For those readers who haven’t yet subscribed at 4for4.com, please consider doing so. It’s only
$29.95 $22.95 for the season and there are a lot of great things going on over there. In the past few weeks, Josh Moore (who finished #4 in the FantasyPros accuracy challenge) and I have revamped the customized Top 200 value rankings and auction cheatsheets, built the ADP Draft Planner, and I have written several articles including QBBC, DTBC, value RBs, value WRs, sleeper WRs and more. During the season, I’ll be publishing my waiver picks, Defensive Team By Waiver Wire (DTBWW), injury recaps and a RBBC Report on a weekly basis. If you’d like to join, use any of the links in this post or hit the 4for4 ad on the right sidebar.
If you’re a relative newbie and not familiar with my work, be sure to check out the Member Reviews tab on my profile at FantasyPros.
Again, I’d rather not have to adopt this policy, but it’s a simple matter of weekly bandwidth, and there just isn’t enough time to field all the questions that come my way.
As always, thanks for your support. It is appreciated.