Archive for the ‘Draft prep’ Category

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In auction drafts, you can snag any player, and you’re not at the mercy of a draft position. But it’ll cost you.

Do you want to play checkers … or chess?– ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry

Berry uses the perfect analogy to describe the perfect way to play fantasy football – at least, for those looking for a more immersive experience. While the serpentine draft is still the choice for the majority of fantasy players, auction drafts are growing in popularity — and with good reason. Between managing a budget, studying player values and deciding which players you absolutely have to have — and then engaging in a spirited bidding war — the fantasy football auction is a much more layered approach to the pastime.

For the uninitiated, an auction draft sees each team manage a pre-determined “budget” with which to fill a roster. In most cases, budgets are set at $100, $150 or $200. Players are nominated for auction individually, with the highest bidder awarded the player. This continues until every team’s roster is full. If you wind up with money left over, then congratulations! You gain nothing, except for some deserved chirping from league mates who were probably skilled enough to avoid a similar fate.

So now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s get to the strategy, beginning with a simple question.

Q: How does a fantasy fanatic excel in an auction setting?

A: Patience, patience, patience.

One more time, altogether.

Patience.

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In a world that’s not crumbling, Philip Rivers actually would have been a fine late-round pick, and a decent target for the daring individuals who seek to avoid the early payment for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees et al at the quarterback position. He wouldn’t have been a good pick, per se, and especially not a very enjoyable one. But for a late-round quarterback draft strategy, he would have provided good value.

Consider briefly a world in which Rivers has a healthy complement of wide receivers, in addition to the support of a reinforced backfield with Danny Woodhead providing another target, and hopefully, new head coach Mike McCoy busy righting his wayward direction. After the spiral of the last two years, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago (2010) Rivers posted fine fantasy numbers while passing for 4,710 yards at a pace of 8.7 per attempt, which at the time was the third straight season that number eclipsed 8.0. Most importantly, he had a +17 TD:INT ratio, which has fallen to only +7, and then +11 over the past two years.

No one with a shred of sanity is saying that McCoy alone is the difference and he can find a pulse somewhere in Rivers, especially with the continued wonkiness of the Chargers’ offensive line. But at a cellar dwelling ADP of 157.1 (meaning he’s often not drafted at all in many leagues), Rivers provided great value and a history of production as a lottery ticket for the savvy owner who waited on a more promising late-round QB target like Tony Romo or Jay Cutler, and then needed some added insurance. That’s not asking much.

Now, Rivers isn’t even touchable in that capacity.

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I just finished writing about why obscure, little-known tight ends could matter far more than we’re all comfortable with this year. David Ausberry forever.

The case for tight end streaming — or at the very least, not holding so firmly and stubbornly to what you think you know about most tight ends — is a strong one that I’ve emphasized repeatedly, and I’ll continue to do so as a constant reminder that there’s no time warp machine for Antonio Gates. If you miss out on the top five tight ends, you’re wise to wait, and then wait some more.

But here’s a perplexing little scenario to kill time with on a Friday afternoon instead of playing minesweeper, or whatever the kids do these days (Pacman? Donkey Kong? Pogs?): what if you’re targeting one of those top five names as a mid-round pick, and two of them are available? Stopping, dropping, and rolling is not a solution.

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Decisions are hard. Choosing which pants to wear in the morning is difficult enough, but clicking the right name once the cold sweats kick in and you’re stuck between two similar players at the same position is undoubtedly the hardest decision of your life. We’re here to help, or maybe make this worse and more confusing.

I like writing these posts, and here’s to hoping you kinda like reading them too, because I’ll maybe/probably be rolling them out more often as our pre-August journey into the great unknown continues. If don’t like them, shhhhhh.

In these hazy days of mid July when wearing any clothes at all feels like the toughest task of your day (solution: become a blogger), this feels like the ideal way to explore both player valuations, and by extension the often difficult decisions they present. So far we’ve looked at a wide receiver quandary involving two targets whose skillsets are nearly identical, and two running backs who are equal parts injured and disappointing.

Now maybe the most mirror image yet: Robert Griffin III vs. Colin Kaepernick.

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harvin-vikes2

Decisions are hard. Choosing which pants to wear in the morning is difficult enough, but clicking the right name once the cold sweats kick in and you’re stuck between two similar players at the same position is undoubtedly the hardest decision of your life. We’re here to help, or maybe make this worse and more confusing.

To some, the subjects in our weekly celebration of arguing in which we dive deep into the nerve center of fantasy sports (comparing two players of similar value) and I debate something with no one but myself as the opposition (a daily occurrence) represent the most vexing question in this NFL offseason. To others, the answer is easy, and from my observation through conversations on the Twitters and elsewhere, there’s likely a 50/50 split between those two warring camps.

Randall Cobb and Percy Harvin are in many ways the same player. They may even be the same person, though we’ll have to run tests because that defies all space and time laws.

They’re both highly versatile, and can be lined up and used from multiple areas around the formation, though they excel from the slot. They’re both capable options out of the backfield, and combined they were given 32 carries in 2012 (22 for Harvin, and 10 for Cobb). They’re both highly dangerous in space, and especially after the catch, with each finishing among the top 15 in YAC. Remarkably, Harvin had 509 yards after the catch last year despite a severely shortened season due to an ankle injury (he appeared in only nine games), and Cobb wasn’t far behind with 479. And since they’re both all of those things, they’re also the sort of receivers who will get targeted in glorious abundance. Harvin was on pace for 110 targets before his injury, and Cobb finished with 104.

Predictably then, they’ve both received similar valuations from the fantasy community at large throughout early-ish drafts, and on the common interweb avenues to used measure such things, there’s very little separation in their ADPs. At Fantasy Football Calculator, Cobb leads at 30.5 while Harvin is at 31.8, at ESPN it’s Harvin leading at 29.5 and Cobb at 36.5, and FantasyPros has Cobb at 31st and Harvin valued at 33rd.

Grab your compass and telescope, let’s go exploring.

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CJ-hair-again2

Decisions are hard. Choosing which pants to wear in the morning is difficult enough, but clicking the right name once the cold sweats kick in and you’re stuck between two similar players at the same position is undoubtedly the hardest decision of your life. We’re here to help, or maybe make this worse and more confusing.

Yes, welcome one and all to our weekly debate session. Please, take your seat, and I promise this debate class will be much better than chess club, or at the very least on par with everybody gets a trophy day. That was my favorite day of pre-school.

Each week (or maybe even twice weekly…no one ever said anything about planning stuff around here), we’ll select two players at a position who are currently carrying a similar fantasy price tag, and being drafted at around the same sacred territory in the everyman’s draft. This means you could very well be faced with a decision that leaves you reaching for bottles which were previously locked away and presumed empty. The fantasy life is a hard life.

First up, we’ll go with Chris Johnson vs. Maurice Jones-Drew, a death duel that has many parallels. Currently, the two running backs are late second rounders or early third rounders in 10-team leagues, and they’re being separated by three slots in ESPN drafts, three at Fantasy Football Calculator, and just one over at FantasyPros.

So let’s go exploring, and then attempt to arrive at some sort of conclusion.

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Damn you and your irresistible smile, Aaron Rodgers.

With all due apologies to Santa and the residents on the Island of Misfit toys, right now it is in many ways the most wonderful time of the year. The sun is getting sunnier, which means beaches get beachier, and patio lanterns are more than just the hook for a bad song. And the sooner we can get summer over with and dispense with the brews and holiday time and such, we can return to football, and drafting fake teams.

Oh, it’s coming after one more stretch of darkness. With minicamps running this week for most teams and therefore ending this week, the NFL will soon begin its six weeks of darkness prior to training camp. And when that darkness descends, fantasy drafting season begins.

So welcome one and all to a post (likely a weekly post, or maybe twice weekly…who said anything about planning around here?) in which we’ll look back on the trends and tendencies of last year and see if we can learn something together in hindsight. To start, let’s emphasis the importance of a simple approach, and one that had become common until the explosion of passing numbers in recent years.

Draft a running back early, and then draft another running back early.

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