Archive for July 2011

Step by step through a fantasy football auction

For the last two seasons, I’ve played in a PPR auction league ($400 cap, 2 RB, 3 WR, flex) and as much as I enjoy drafting, auctions are so much more fun. In snake drafts, you are at the mercy of what the guys ahead of you do, and you know that if you have the #11 pick, you aren’t even going to sniff any of the top 6 RBs this year. In an auction, if you want a particular player, you can have him — provided you are willing to pay the price.

My auction league is so much fun that I joined another that is run by the same commissioner. Our slow auction has already started, so I’m planning to update this post throughout the process. As some background, I finished third in my league in 2009 (after finishing as the #1 seed heading into the playoffs) and won the league last year even though I lost Tony Romo midseason. (Thank you, Josh Freeman…thank you.)

Each owner can nominate one player every 24 hours and that player is up for auction for 24 hours. If there is a new high bid on that player, the clock on his auction is reset. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to react.

My strategy early in drafts is typically to try to acquire two studs using a max budget of 50% of the cap. I normally go after one RB and one WR, but this year, with so much depth at WR and not as much at RB (at least right now), I was hoping to grab a top 6 RB — Foster, AP, CJ2K, Charles, Rice or McCoy — and get one of the guys from the second tier — DMC, Gore, Forte, Mendenhall, MJD, S-Jax or Hillis. (Bradshaw could join that group if he re-ups with the Giants.)

When I nominate, I look for big-name players whom I believe are overrated. I do this to coax the money out of the other owners and give myself a better shot at the guys I do like. To start this year’s auction, I went with Greg Jennings (whom I like, but not as a 2nd round value). He went for $67, which was predictably more than what I was willing to spend. After locking up a couple of studs, I nominated Roddy White, knowing I had no chance of winning him with the remainder of my budget.

Arian Foster was the first player nominated and I immediately put a big bid in. I project his value in the $135-$145 range, and I ended up getting him for $98, which is a screaming deal. One by one, the other top 6 RBs were nominated and their prices climbed into the $80-$95 range. Jamaal Charles was sitting at $82, so I decided to see if I could get him for $100 and ended up landing him for $95. I had my two studs at a total price of $193. To put this in perspective, in 2009 I nabbed Adrian Peterson ($111) and Larry Fitzgerald ($84) for $195 total. In 2010, I bought Chris Johnson ($120) and Miles Austin ($77) for $197.

Needless to say, I’m feeling very good about my start.

It’s now time to sit back and let value emerge. I have a certain budget set for each of my other starting slots (QB, WR1, WR2, WR3, flex, TE) and have a list of guys that I think I have a shot at at each position. My goal is to get a player at each spot at a price that is no more than 80%-90% of my calculated value.

I won’t be spending much on a QB1 — I spent $14 on Romo in 2009 and got him for $39 last year, and regretted it. Not just because he got injured, but because of the other almost-as-good players who went later, for less. Just like I’m targeting Big Ben, Eli, Freeman, Ryan, etc. in drafts in the middle rounds, I’ll likely be going after the same guys in this auction.

That’s it for now. I’ll update this post after I win a couple of more auctions.

Update (8/3)

I haven’t forgotten this post! It just took a while for my roster to develop after grabbing my two studs. The third player I targeted was Cedric Benson (pre-contract w/Bengals). He went for $24 and I pegged his value at almost twice that. I think with Bruce Gradkowski at QB, Cincy will feature Benson early and often, and he should make a great flex/RB3. One downside is that everyone in the league knew that I wasn’t all that interested in RBs in the short term, but that’s a small price to pay.

I’m not sure why, but when I saw Stephen Gostkowski sitting at $1, I decided to throw $2 down and ended up winning him at that price. Normally, I wouldn’t spend more than $1 on a kicker, but he kicks for what will probably be the most prolific offense in the league, so what the hell?

It was time to get down to business and fill out the rest of my starting roster. I needed a QB, three WRs and a TE. (DT could wait since I normally play Defensive Team By Waiver Wire throughout the season.) Rob Gronkowski was nominated and after missing out on Zach Miller ($16, pre-SEA), I jumped all over Gronk. He was a stud down the stretch last season and even with the addition of Chad Ochocinco, I think he’ll be the team’s main red zone receiving threat. I locked him up for $9.

At WR, I tried unsuccessfully to get Hakeem Nicks ($76), Dez Bryant ($40), Vincent Jackson ($54) and Mike Thomas, who went for a bit more ($30) than I was prepared to pay. I ended up targeting Santonio Holmes, Mike Williams (TB) and Stevie Johnson, and got outbid a few times on each. It became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to afford all three, so I focused on Holmes ($41) and Johnson ($45). Williams went for $48.

The reason I eventually gave up on Williams is because there was a certain player that I was targeting as my WR3 — Mario Manningham. With Steve Smith sidelined, Manningham has a great opportunity to have a top 20 year at a 6th/7th round price. I ended up landing him for $31 (after raising my bid a couple of times to fend off other owners) and I’m pleased with that price. To put it in perspective, Anquan Boldin ($37), Chad Ochocinco ($30) Austin Collie ($33) and Mike Thomas ($30) went in the same range. I do think Collie is a nice deal at $33, but otherwise, I am quite pleased with my receiving corps.

On to QB…I had budgeted $15 for my QB1, but was willing to throw caution to the wind and play QBBC if need be. I was on Matt Ryan for a long time and even extended my high bid to $16, but once I was bumped off of him, I moved on to Josh Freeman. I like Ryan a bit more than Freeman, but not much, and I ended up landing the up-and-coming Buccaneer for $14. With Williams, Winslow and a healthy Arrelious Benn to throw to, I think he’ll have a top 10 year.

So my core roster is set: Freeman, Foster, Charles, Benson (flex), Holmes, S. Johnson, Manningham and Gronkowski. Now it’s time to find a backup at each position along with a few cheap upside guys. I don’t worry too much about the bottom of my roster because I’m pretty active on the waiver wire. Last season, I dropped my entire free agency budget ($100 bidding bucks) on Austin Collie. That worked, for a while at least.

I’ll update this post one more time with my final roster. Thanks for reading.

Update (8/12)

Final Roster:

QB: Freeman ($14), Flacco ($7), Fitzpatrick ($2)
RB: Foster ($98), Charles ($95), Benson ($24), B. Scott ($7), B. Jackson ($1), McClain ($1)
WR: S. Johnson ($45), Holmes ($41), Manningham ($31), Ford ($5), Benn ($1)
TE: Gronkowski ($9), Hernandez ($6), Celek ($7)
K: Gostkowski ($2)
DT: Chargers ($2), Lions ($2)

I was happy to land Jacoby Ford for $5. I did go after Ben Tate and Derrick Ward to backup Foster, but missed out on both. I like Fitzpatrick as a third QB at $2 and feel good about my TE situation with both Gronkowski and Hernandez, plus I think Celek could have a bounce back year.

My main goal in the first few weeks is to secure some more quality depth at RB, which means I may big bid on a waiver wire RB who emerges in the first week or two. I plucked Peyton Hillis off the waiver wire in one league last year, but I doubt I’ll be able to repeat that success.

On the whole, I am very happy with this team. My main roster will be Freeman, Foster, Charles, Benson (flex), Johnson, Holmes, Manningham and Gronkowski, with Ford as my first and best reserve.

Pros vs. Joes Draft Recap

The lockout is over! Be sure to check out my Free Agency Primer over at 4for4.com.

I was invited by the nice folks over at Fantasy Mojo to participate in the Pros vs. Joes Draft Challenge. The format is simple, six Pros (in this case, Joe Dyken of Fantasy Football Nerd, Chet Gresham of Razzball, Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus, Roy Daniel of RotoExperts and Gary Davenport of FF Oasis and myself) squared off against six Joes in a 26-round, best ball draft. Time is tight during the season, so I prefer these draft-and-forget leagues when given the choice.

Under this best ball format, each team’s top QB, two RBs, two WRs, one TE, two flex, one kicker and one DT are tallied each week. There are five leagues in total and Joes have won the last two seasons. It’s time for the Pros to take the trophy back!

It’s a PPR league and the only catch is that TEs get 1.5 points per reception, so they went earlier than usual. From a value standpoint, it didn’t change the value of TEs all that much (in my opinion) because it’s still relatively unlikely that a backup TE is going to be ‘starting’ in the flex positions against comparable WRs and RBs.

Anyway, here’s how the draft went. (Click on the grid to see a more readable version.)

As you can see, I was given the #10 spot (grrr!), which makes things a little tough on draft day. After the top 6 RBs (Foster, AP, CJ2K, McCoy, Charles and Ric) are gone, things get dicey. Since I like the WRs available in the 3/4/5 rounds better than the RBs available there, I decided to start the draft going RB/RB if possible.

Darren McFadden is a bit risky given his injury history, but he was the #2 RB last year in terms of points per game production. I was really hoping Matt Forte would slip to me at 2.03, but he went one pick ahead of me, so I had to decide between Steven Jackson, Peyton Hillis, Hakeem Nicks and Calvin Johnson. In my heart of hearts, I like Nicks the most, but my aforementioned disgust with the RBs available in the 3/4/5 area prompted me to grab Jackson, who is basically a toss-up for me when compared to Hillis.

At 3.10, my decision was between V-Jax, Mike Williams (TB) and Ahmad Bradshaw. I nearly took Bradshaw, but the uncertainty of his contract situation scared me off a bit. I decided to go with Jackson since it looks like he’ll be a Charger this year (and in a contract year). At 4.03, there were a number of good WRs still available (D-Jax, Maclin, Holmes, Colston, Collie and Stevie Johnson), so I went with Jahvid Best (over Felix Jones) thinking that one of those WRs (or Felix) would slip to me at 5.10.

Low and behold, Stevie fell to me in the 5th! I was thrilled to get him that late as my WR2 and felt like that I had two top 15 guys anchoring that position. I started to think TE in this round, but Vernon Davis went early on. On the way back, I decided to grab Zach Miller to give myself a solid starter at the position. At 1.5 PPR, he should have a field day. (I did consider going with Big Ben here and targeting Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the 7/8 turn, but I wasn’t sure that they would make it. It would have worked.)

It was time to start thinking QB in the 7th, but both guys drafting behind me already had a QB, so I let Josh Freeman and Eli Manning go figuring one would be there on the way back. I was hoping Lynch would fall to me at 7.10, but he went one pick ahead of me. I was unimpressed by the options here, but I went with Torain, who should remain the starter in Washington assuming he can stay healthy. (The plan was to grab Helu later.) Freeman was there at 8.03, which I think is a very solid value that late. I give him the slight nod over Eli.

You’ll see that I abandoned Helu for Leshoure in the 9th. I could have picked Helu in the 10th, but couldn’t pass up Julio Jones that late as my WR3. (I thought about Jordy Nelson here but felt better about ATL’s second receiving option versus GB’s third. At best.) I ended up taking three rookie WRs (counting A.J. Green in the 12th and Greg Little in the 13th). It’s risky, but one or more should pan out in a best ball format. I nabbed Fitzpatrick as my backup QB in the 11th — love that pick.

The TEs were flying off the board and I was left with Heath Miller in the 14th. In retrospect, I probably should have shored up the position with an earlier pick, but H. Miller isn’t a bad backup.

I was targeting the Eagles (who have a very favorable schedule when combined with the Cardinals), but they went earlier in the 15th. New England and Dallas make for a nice DTBC this season.

To round out my roster I took Jason Hill (a sleeper as Jacksonville’s WR2), Jason Campbell (played well late last season), Le’Ron McClain (could go elsewhere and thrive, or take over goal line duties in Baltimore), Tony Scheffler (did I mention TEs were going fast?), Terrell Owens (for a half season in the 22nd, I’ll bite), Devery Henderson (always good for a few big games), Steve Slaton (trade bait for the Texans?) and Rex Grossman (who played well in three starts late last season).

Here’s a look at my complete roster:

QB: Freeman, Fitzpatrick, Campbell, Grossman
RB: DMC, S-Jax, Best, Torain, Leshoure, McClain, Slaton
WR: V-Jax, S. Johnson, Ju. Jones, A.J. Green, Little, Hill, TO, Henderson
TE: Z. Miller, H. Miller, Scheffler
K: Brown, Tynes
DT: NE, DAL

Drafting from the #10 spot, I am very happy with this lineup. Freeman and Fitzy will both have some big games, and my RBs should be a strength all season. My WRs are young, but they also have a lot of upside and I’m banking on three or four ‘starters’ at RB every week anyway. I was happy to get Miller in the 6th at TE, but am weak at that position as a whole.

Interview with Kellogg’s Komments on BlogTalkRadio

Want to listen to me yammer on for 45 minutes about a wide range of (fantasy football) topics? Click here to listen to my interview with Greg Kellogg of Kellogg’s Komments. My segment starts at the 45-minute mark. Greg and Gary Davenport talk IDP for the first 45 minutes.

Owners give up fight for ‘right of first refusal’

As the lockout nears its end, one of the sticking points is how free agency is going to work this summer. The owners wanted to be able to designate three free agents whose contracts they could match, but have since given up on that request. As the agreement tentatively stands, teams will have 72 hours to sign their own players and then…well…all hell breaks loose. Most players will find it in their best interests to test the free agency market, so this year’s free agency period promises to be fast and furious.

How does this affect fantasy owners? A great example is DeAngelo Williams — for a time it looked like the 2011 season may be played under 2010 rules, and he’d have to wait another year for unrestricted free agency (UFA). But it appears that he’s headed for free agency this summer, which means it’s likely that he’ll land elsewhere in 2011, assuming the Panthers aren’t willing to pay him. Carolina could re-sign Williams, but it seems more likely that they’ll move forward with Jonathan Stewart as their feature back. This means that instead of a two-headed RBBC monster in Carolina, we may have two more bona fide bell cow backs to draft in the first three or four rounds.

Below is a list of the top free agents at each position. I’m mainly going to list players who are likely to have a fantasy impact if they land with new teams. An asterisk indicates that the player has been slapped with a franchise tag, and it appears the new CBA will honor those tags. That means the player will be under control of their current team for at least one more season.

QB: Peyton Manning*, Michael Vick*, Matt Hasselbeck, Alex Smith, Marc Bulger and Rex Grossman

Manning and Vick will almost certainly re-sign, but Hasselbeck is likely to be on the move. The 49ers look like they’re planning to hold onto Smith, while the Redskins may re-sign Grossman.

RB: Arian Foster, DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, Cedric Benson, Joseph Addai, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mike Tolbert, Michael Bush, Darren Sproles, Jason Snelling, Ricky Williams, Brandon Jackson, Tim Hightower, Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams, Le’Ron McClain and Leon Washington

The Texans will likely lock up Foster before the 72-hour period is up, but Williams, Bradshaw, Benson and Addai could be on the move. Of those four, Williams seems most likely to change teams.

WR: Vincent Jackson*, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice, Santana Moss, Braylon Edwards, Steve Smith (NYG), Malcom Floyd, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, James Jones, Steve Breaston, Mike Sims-Walker, Lance Moore, Ben Obomanu, Danny Amendola

Plan on V-Jax sticking with the Chargers for one more year, which makes him an interesting pick in the third round. If rumors of the Redskins’ interest are true, Holmes could be a hot commodity, though the Jets will have a chance to lock him up early in FA. Keep an eye on Steve Smith 2.0 — if he leaves New York, Mario Manningham will be in for a big year.

TE: Zach Miller, Marcedes Lewis*, Kevin Boss

Lewis was slapped with a franchise tag, so he’ll be in Jacksonville next season. That makes Miller the one and only impact TE available in FA, so the Raiders would be wise to lock him up early. He’s a sleeper again this season, especially with the way Jason Campbell came on late in 2010.

Once the CBA is finalized, I’ll be writing a comprehensive FA preview for 4for4.com.

Fantasy Football Chain Reaction #21 – Joseph Addai to Colts

Wondering what this series is all about? Click here.

Before we get to Joseph Addai, here’s a look at the first 20 links in the Chain Reaction chain:

1   – DeAngelo Williams to Broncos – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
2   – Kevin Kolb to Seahawks – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
3   – Matt Hasselbeck to Titans – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
4   – Donovan McNabb to Vikings – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
5   – Kyle Orton to Cardinals – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
6   – Darren Sproles to Dolphins – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
7   – Braylon Edwards to Bears – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
8   – Sidney Rice to Redskins – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
9   – Plaxico Burress to Jets – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
10 – Santonio Holmes to Jets – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
11 – Ronnie Brown to Rams – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball.com
12 – Steve Slaton to Eagles – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
13 – Ahmad Bradshaw to Giants – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
14 – Santana Moss to Vikings – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
15 – Cedric Benson to Cincinnati – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
16 – James Jones to Tennessee – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball.com
17 – Chad Ochocinco to Patriots – Rob Warner,  FFSpin.com
18 – Jason Snelling to Bucs – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
19 – Marc Bulger to Miami – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball
20 – Vince Young to Raiders – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com

*Rick’s posts can be found in the same thread as Jim’s

While most of my colleagues have been writing about players changing teams, my last three writeups have predicted that players will stay put. BO-RING. Oh well. Looking at the teams in question — the Jets, Bengals and Colts — I don’t think any of them are prepared for life after Holmes, Benson or Addai, respectively.

The Colts know best what Addai is capable of, and he’s worth more to Indy than to any other team, so I suspect he’ll re-up for a short deal. The market isn’t big for injury-prone, 28-year-old running backs, and the Colts are Addai’s best bet for both money and playing time. He knows the system, which gives him about three legs up on rookie Delone Carter, who seems to be slated to become Addai’s replacement. I just don’t see the Colts going with Donald Brown and a rookie heading into 2011.

Fantasy Spin: If Addai returns to Indy, I like him as a RB3 or even as a RB2 on a team that is stacked at WR and TE (and is looking to draft a RB3 relatively soon). From a points per game standpoint, he’s produces in the RB15-RB20 range (in PPR leagues), but fantasy owners have to be prepared for him to miss some time as the season wears on. After missing just one game in his first two seasons, he missed four games in 2008 and eight games in 2010. The nice thing is that Carter should be available late in drafts, so he’s a cheap handcuff with upside.

To see the entire FF Chain Reaction series, click here.

Fantasy Football Chain Reaction #15: Cedric Benson re-signs with Bengals

Wondering what this series is all about? Click here.

Before we discuss Cedric Benson, here’s a look at the first 14 links in the Chain Reaction chain:

1   – DeAngelo Williams to Broncos – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
2   – Kevin Kolb to Seahawks - Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
3   – Matt Hasselbeck to Titans – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
4   – Donovan McNabb to Vikings – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
5   – Kyle Orton to Cardinals – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
6   – Darren Sproles to Dolphins – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
7   – Braylon Edwards to Bears – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
8   – Sidney Rice to Redskins – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com*
9   – Plaxico Burress to Jets – Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader.com*
10 – Santonio Holmes to Jets – John Paulsen, FantasyShrink.com
11 – Ronnie Brown to Rams – Lou Tranquilli, BFDFantasyFootball.com
12 – Steve Slaton to Eagles – Mike Clay, ProFootballFocus.com
13 – Ahmad Bradshaw to Giants – Scott Pashley, FFSpin.com
14 – Santana Moss to Vikings – Jim Day, GoAheadScore.com

*Rick’s posts can be found in the same thread as Jim’s

Cedric Benson says he wants a big payday, but there isn’t a huge market for 28-year-old running backs with back-to-back 300+ carry seasons and a 3.7 career yard-per-carry average. He needs the Bengals, and the Bengals need him. Sort of like Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. Wait, the opposite of that.

I digress. Benson isn’t going to finish in the top 10, but he’s a workhorse and he’s going to have a chance to catch more passes this season if he can prove to his new OC that he has the hands. If Andy Dalton is under center, the Bengals are going to struggle to score, so Benson may even regress from the 7.0 TDs he has averaged the last two seasons. Still, 300+ carry RBs aren’t easy to find in the NFL, so despite Cincy’s scoring struggles, Benson is still a valuable fantasy RB.

Fantasy Spin: Benson was RB17 last year in PPR formats, and is currently the 25th RB off the board in fantasy drafts. If he re-signs with Cincy, expect his ADP to rise from 6.02 into the 4th or 5th round. He’d make a rock-solid, low-upside RB2 for owners who decided to snag a pair of WRs or a QB/TE in the first four rounds.

To see the entire FF Chain Reaction series, click here.

Fantasy Football Chain Reaction #10: Holmes re-ups with the Jets

Wondering what this series is all about? Click here.

With no idea why it has taken this long for his phone to ring, an unshaven and generally disheveled Santonio Holmes is startled out of a mid-afternoon nap when he hears his phone’s ringtone for Rex Ryan: “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins. Ryan sounds apologetic, “Santonio, just wanted to let you know that we signed Plaxico Burress…and, um…well, we realized that we hadn’t yet re-signed you. Do you want to re-up?” Despite the downgrade from Braylon Edwards to Burress at WR2, Holmes agrees and becomes a sneaky-great pick in the 5th round of your fantasy draft.

In the nine games from W8 (after he eased himself into the Jets’ offense) to W16 (he didn’t play much in W17), Holmes averaged 4.9 receptions for 71 yards and .56 TDs. That equates to 15.3 fantasy points per game in PPR formats, or WR9 numbers. Yeah, the Jets should re-sign him.

Fantasy Spin: And fantasy owners should draft him. At his current ADP (5.06, WR22), he’s a veritable steal. Maybe he has more off-the-field risk than other WRs, and maybe there’s a (small) chance he doesn’t re-sign with the Jets, but the guy is simply better than many of the WRs currently going ahead of him in fantasy drafts. With Edwards likely out the door, I just don’t see the Jets letting both starting WRs walk. A move like that would make Mark Sanchez’s pretty little head explode. Nope, not happening. Holmes is a borderline WR1 at a borderline WR2 price. Snatch him up in the late-4th/early-5th and laugh all the way to the playoffs.

Next up is Lou Tranquilli, who predicts that a certain Miami RB will be on the move.

To see the entire FF Chain Reaction series, click here.

John Paulsen to join 4for4.com as Contributing Editor

In news that will surely rock the fantasy football world (or more likely cause a small, almost unnoticeable tremor), I’ll be joining 4for4.com Fantasy Football in a part-time capacity for the 2011 season.

I met the site’s Executive Editor, Josh Moore, through Twitter as a result of FantasyPros’ expert accuracy contest. We both finished in the top 5 and started chatting as the season wound down. I could tell he was a good guy, and as the spring and summer wore on, we discussed the possibility that I would do some writing for 4for4, which is a well-designed, subscription-based fantasy football site with a focus on projections, custom scoring tools and other valuable goodies.

At some point in mid-June, Josh and I came to an agreement for the 2011 season, and even started working together on a project of which I’m particularly proud.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the ADP Draft Planner.

This was an idea that has brewing in the back of my mind for a couple of years now. When planning for a fantasy draft, I thought it would be extremely helpful for owners to know the odds that a particular player (or a group of players) would be available at a certain draft spot. While the idea came easily, actually developing such a tool is not in my wheelhouse. This is where Josh’s excellent programming skills came into play. Within a week, we had a working prototype that pulled in actual draft data from MyFantasyLeague and at that point I knew I was making a good decision in joining the 4for4 team.

Want to know the chances of Stevie Johnson or Jeremy Maclin being there at 4.12? The ADP Draft Planner can tell you.

Wondering if a top 4 TE will slip to 5.10? The ADP Draft Planner can tell you.

Thinking about waiting until 8.08 to draft your QB, and wondering if Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford or Eli Manning will be available? The ADP Draft Planner can tell you.

Right now, the planner is using mostly PPR draft data, but as the draft season really gets going over at MFL, the planner’s scope will expand exponentially. I like that it uses actual availability since there is so much interdependence in player availability. (In other words, if Finley and Clark are taken in the 5th round, it will probably increase the chances that Witten slips to the end of the round since only so many fantasy owners are targeting a TE in that round.)

For an overview of what a subscription to 4for4 gets you, click here. Feel free to poke around — the site is free through July 15.

They are offering a “lockout special” rate of $27.95 for the entire 2011 season. When the lockout ends, the special ends. In the unlikely event that there is no 2011 season, the site promises to rollover dues to 2012.

During the preseason, I will be writing various strategy/player posts for 4for4 while updating the site’s IDP rankings and managing its news desk. As the season gets rolling, I’ll be writing weekly features like Waiver Wire Watch, Defensive Team By Waiver Wire (DTBWW) and RBBC Report. My official rankings will continue to be hosted here on FantasyShrink.com, but I will act as consultant on 4for4’s rankings as well.

Part of my deal with the site is that I get a portion of referral subscriptions, so if you do decide to join, be sure to use this link (or click the 4for4 ad to the right) to get to the site’s subscription page. By doing so, you’ll help to ensure that I can keep writing about fantasy football for a living. The plan is to eventually join the site in a full-time capacity, but for that to happen the subscriber base has to grow enough to support another full-time writer. I’ve decided to go this route to avoid the headache of trying to build a profitable site based solely on ad revenue.

As always, I appreciate your support.

Fantasy Football Chain Reaction #5 — Kyle Orton to Arizona

A few independent fantasy football writers have banded together to write the Fantasy Football Chain Reaction Series. Wondering what the hell I’m talking about? For a full explanation, read Scott Pashley’s intro below.

What do you do when free agency and NFL player movement is in a forced state of suspended animation?  You prognosticate (a fancy word for making things up and guessing the future).

When the dreaded NFL lockout is finally lifted, there will be a frenzy of free agent signings and player trades that will reshape the fantasy football landscape.  In anticipation of the craziness that will ensue when the NFL operations open, several of the best independent fantasy sports writers on the web have decided to make a series of player movement predictions. The process starts with Mike Clay of ProFootballFocus.com and the most logical first domino to fall: DeAngelo Williams.

Joining Mike Clay will be Scott Pashley of FFSpin.com, Jim Day of GoAheadScore.com, Rick Perkins of FantasyFootballTrader.com (FFT is being redesigned and will relaunch soon), and John Paulsen of FantasyShrink.com.  This will be the first in a series of projects completed by the group called the ‘Independent Fantasy Sports Writers Roundtable’.  Fantasy writers/addicts who would like to participate in future projects are welcome to email Scott at Scottp@spinballinc.com.  Check out each of these writers on Twitter and at their websites to follow the rapidly moving series as they post three to four player movements a day.”

So far, Clay has covered the Broncos’ acquisition of DeAngelo Williams, Pashley has discussed the Seahawks’ trade for Kevin Kolb, Day discussed the Titans’ Matt Hasselbeck signing and Perkins summarized the Vikings’ move for Donovan McNabb.

So who’s the next chip to fall?

Arizona Cardinals trade for Kyle Orton

After striking out on Kevin Kolb (and possibly Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb as well), the Cardinals need to make a bold move to trade for a capable quarterback so as not to repeat the Derek Anderson/John Skelton/Max Hall debacle of 2010. They acquire Orton for a 2nd round pick, and once he arrives in Phoenix, Larry Fitzgerald meets him at baggage claim and gives him a long man hug. Too long, really. But Fitzy doesn’t care.

Orton isn’t going to set the world on fire, but if the Cardinals can protect him in the pocket, he should produce. The Cards allowed the 2nd-most sacks in 2010, but were 6th-best in that category in Kurt Warner’s final year, so having QB stability should really help the Arizona O-line in pass protection.

Fantasy Spin: Orton’s arrival isn’t going to turn the Cardinals into an offensive juggernaut, but he will put up good numbers, especially when Arizona inevitably falls behind on the scoreboard. In other words, Orton will be the Ryan Fitzpatrick of the NFC. In Arizona, he’ll be a high end QB2 and a guy to target in the middle rounds when fantasy owners are building their QBBC. His arrival will likely push Fitzgerald back into the upper echelon of WRs and will give a boost to Steve Breaston (if he returns), along with sleepers like Andre Roberts, Early Doucet and Stephen Williams. Whoever the starting RB is will have a puncher’s chance to put up some numbers since opposing defenses will have to respect Orton’s arm. An Orton trade would be a big win for the entire Arizona offense.

Next up is Mike Clay with Part 6: Darren Sproles to Miami.



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