Archive for the ‘Questions and answers’ Category

You’ve consumed dozens of TV dinners while going through multiple tins of discount coffee (President’s Choice the best). Rest your weary head, because the Robert Griffin III watch is slowly, maybe, mercifully coming to a conclusion.

Griffin practiced today as expected, and shortly Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan will step behind a press conference podium and tell us exactly what his level of participation was. But if you’re prone to rapid, unhealthy breathing that’s prompted by excitment, don’t read the very positive reports from the portion of today’s practice that was open to the media. Rich Campbell of the Washington Times observed Griffin “moving fine” and planting his right leg, while also rolling out and completing a variety of passes.

So for the final edition of Five Questions for the 2012 fantasy season I checked in with Jene Bramel again. Bramel, a pediatrician with emergency department, urgent care and primary care experience, provides excellent injury analysis for the Football Guys, and he thinks there’s a better than 50-50 chance that we’ll get a Griffin sighting on Sunday.

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Don't draft this man. Wait...what?

A confession: I’m often overcome with the urge to draft a quarterback far too early, even though I’m well aware of the consequences. To err, it’s still human.

But as I wistfully recall a time in August when fantasy futures seemed so bright and hopeful, I also remember that I’m not alone. There’s a support group for early-round QB drafters, and we meet on Tuesdays. Punch and pie.

This is a subject we’ve discussed previously while looking back at the average draft positions from this past summer, and if they’ve translated into good value. And when we did that, we recalled that while Arian Foster was most commonly the first overall pick this year, Aaron Rodgers came off the board first in far too many leagues. That happened in two of my three leagues, and ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry not only advocated for taking Rodgers first overall, but he also said that Tom Brady should come off the board right behind him.

You’ll look at the current overall point standings, and see no problem with taking one of the top arms early. As we sit here a day prior to the start of Week 15, nine of the top ten fantasy scorers are quarterbacks in leagues that use standard scoring, with Adrian Peterson the only exception. So whatever, right?

No. Look at where some of those quarterbacks were drafted. Robert Griffin III was a mid-round pick, and he’s fantasy football’s leading scorer. Andrew Luck is 10th and he went much later (often around the ninth round), but more importantly, the gap in points between, say, Andy Dalton (213) and Aaron Rodgers (245) over 13 games isn’t nearly enough to justify Rodgers’ lofty first-round status, while Dalton was often still available 11 rounds later.

That’s why you need to shake your early-round quarterback addiction next year. To help in that effort, I brought JJ Zachariason aboard for this week’s Five Questions. He’s sort of fantasy’s Zen master of late-round quarterbacking since he, you know, wrote a book on the strategy, and has a blog called The Late Round Quarterback. Yeah, he seems like the man to speak with on these matters.

Before talking quarterbacks, though, we dealt with a few pressing and immediate matters as semi-final week nears.

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Concussions. They’re still unpredictable, and they still linger. Right now the foggy head we’re focused on rests on the shoulders of LeSean McCoy, the Eagles running back who’s still experiencing concussion symptoms, and therefore he most likely won’t play this week. With the motivation to rush him back non-existent in Philadelphia due to the Eagles’ repeated imitation of flushed fecal matter, every day that McCoy still has symptoms and still isn’t practicing fuels the likelihood that his season could be over.

Fantasy football managers are generally kind, simple folk. We enjoy a good micro-brewed beverage, and a finely-grilled bratwurst. And we never wish any harm or an ill fate on our fellow man, but this is one situation in which many of us would be fine with McCoy sitting out. It’ll be good for you, LeSean.

With the fantasy playoffs beginning either this week or next week depending on your league settings, a complicated workload for one of your top running backs is the stuff that nervous vomiting is made of, as it could lead to financial loss. So right now despite the reports of McCoy’s lack of progress, you’re understandably still worried that his backup Bryce Brown — you know, the Bryce Brown who’s logged 372 yards from scrimmage over just two starts, and he’s averaging eight yards per carry — could receive a significantly lesser workload during your fantasy championship week if McCoy returns. Or worse, you own both Brown and McCoy, and you have no idea what the hell you’re going to do if both are healthy.

That’s a question I’ll surely explore repeatedly over the next few weeks if McCoy’s health improves. For now, the pondering begins with the first query in this week’s Five Questions, this time featuring Shane Hallam, a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, and a fantasy analyst for Draftcountdown.com.

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We always seem to come back to this problem of trust, and this week it’s both young, emerging players and dusty veterans alike forcing us to return to the question of conservative vs. aggressive. Thanks for that, Knowshon Moreno and Ryan Broyles.

Earlier this week I wrote at length about Moreno following his return from the vast, crowded wasteland of failed running backs. You were warned to look beyond the likely shattering disappointment that’s forthcoming this week when he attempts to run against the Buccaneers and their top-ranked run defense, and begin salivating over the Broncos’ soft schedule that begins in Week 14.

So that’s an easy solution, right? Sure. But what of Broyles? Moreno’s been mostly inadequate throughout his career, but at least we can faintly remember a time when he did something that resembled production, and a brief time when he was a fantasy option. Broyles is a rookie wide receiver who saw his first significant playing time in Week 12. He has speed, he runs great routes, and he received consistent looks on Thanksgiving Day, finishing with 12 targets.

But how much should we expect from Broyles going forward? There it is again. Trust.

I talked to Rotoworld‘s Patrick Daugherty for this week’s Five Questions. We navigated your trust issues, in addition to discussing the declines of Brandon Lloyd and Antonio Gates, and attempting to gauge the fantasy production of Colin Kaepernick for the remainder of the season, assuming he’s named the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

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Quarterbacks, they’re still pretty important. They’re often the difference between fake football glory, and being greeted with a wide jerk smile from that co-worker who still calls his team “#winning” because he’s the coolest. Right now as the fantasy playoffs loom, it’s a position with great uncertainty due to both injuries and under performing.

The latter applies to Eli Manning, the Giants quarterback who’s thrown far more passes to the other team lately than he has to receivers who are standing in the end zone. While that’s hurtful, there’s a more pressing question on the minds, hearts, and souls of those who not only consider winning fun, but also enjoy common sense in their football roster decisions.

I’ll scream it, because everyone else is: WILL COLIN KAEPERNICK START?

Men everywhere have asked this question more this week than queries regarding the state and contents of their dinner plate, a true first for mankind. Right now, the answer is still maybe, probably, hopefully. After he dominated the Bears Monday while needing only the first eight minutes of the game to register 114 passing yards and leading the longest scoring drive against the Chicago defense this year (96 yards), 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh left the door ajar when asked about his quarterback situation, and the possibility that Kaepernick will continue to start regardless of Alex Smith’s health. After the game Harbaugh spoke of staying with the hot hand, and now three days later we still don’t have a definitive answer. Today we received only Harbaugh-speak, as he said that discussion of Smith vs. Kaepernick is the “opposite of a controversy,” and that Smith is expected to be cleared for contact soon.

But let’s play make believe, and for fantasy purposes assume that Kaepernick not only starts this weekend against the Saints, but after doing that he also finishes the season under center for the Niners. Will he be our savior, and even more savior-y than that Tebow kid?

That was my first question to C.D. Carter in this week’s Five Questions. Carter is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association, and a writer for The Fake Football and NFL Jerks, and we also talked about Manning and Chad Henne before taking a look ahead to next August, and who will be the first overall pick in 2013.

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Maybe we should just eliminate quarterback as a position in fantasy football for one week. We’d all be far more mentally stable, and we wouldn’t be forced to do things like trot out a rookie quarterback during his first start.

Just invite the hurt in, and let it seep deep into your soul. Many will have little choice but to embrace a middle-tier quarterback this week due to the all-consuming dark perfect QB storm that’s about to descend. Firstly, by now you’re well aware of the fantastic four of quarterbacks who went down with injuries over the weekend and Monday night between Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, and Michael Vick. The scrambling has already begun for Roethlisberger owners as what was widely expected has been confirmed — or at least it has according to The Glazer — and we’ll get another Byron Leftwich sighting Sunday night.

Cutler is doubtful, and as much as the Internet quite rightfully enjoys hating him, he’s retained fantasy value due to his sporadic outbursts with the help of Brandon Marshall’s wingspan this year. He’s had three games with over 20 fantasy points, which is solid single-week production for a quarterback who was selected far later in drafts, and beyond the 10th round. If you’re in a position where you were starting Cutler, you’re likely not in a playoff position. But he’s one of the best fantasy backups.

And that’s the problem. The dent in the Week 11 QB depth chart starts with the aforementioned injuries — and of those four, only Smith seems to have a chance to play  — and it extends into the four QBs sitting out during the final week of byes. The latter group is led by Eli Manning, and it includes Christian Ponder, Russell Wilson, and Jake Locker.

Wilson, Locker, and Ponder would have been fine depth options for the Vick or Roethlisberger owner, just like Cutler. So what’s next in a week with such severe depletion at the position, and up to eight regular starters unavailable? One of the emergency, reaching options is Nick Foles, the Eagles backup who will replace Vick and make his first career regular-season start. For this week’s Five Questions I talked to Mike Clay, the managing editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy, and a contributor at Rotoworld and philadelphiaeagles.com, and I started by asking him about Foles’ outlook this week, and his fantasy value for Vick, Roethlisberger, or Manning owners during these trying times.

We also discussed the impact of Foles’ presence on the Eagles’ other primary offensive contributors before moving on to some Carson Palmer/Josh Freeman debate, an assessment of Danario Alexander, and a look at the decline of Vernon Davis.

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You’re a crazy adventurist. You enjoy sky diving, rock climbing, and drafting Ryan Mathews. So cray.

You embrace risk, and give it a smothering bear hug. Risk is your friend, because in your mind along with others who invite risk into their lives, those who abide by the status quo are just a bunch of miserable, filthy conformists. And fair enough, because despite his repeated injuries — including most recently a broken collarbone in the preseason that led to two missed games this year — Mathews still has tremendous upside, and since his stock took a hit due to said injury, he was available at the bargain value of a late third-round pick in many drafts.

Production hasn’t been Mathews’ problem, and surprisingly, neither has health. No, trust has been the issue at least partly, with two fumbles beginning the erosion of Norv Turner’s trust in him earlier this year, and giving Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle more opportunities. Mathews owners are now left with an early-round investment in a player who’s still capable of producing early-round numbers, but his opportunities in scoring situations have decreased, and therefore so has his fantasy value.

For this week’s Five Questions I talked to Rotoworld‘s Adam Levitan, and starting with Mathews I asked him to assess several backfield issues around the league, looking at the fantasy impact and suggested direction. We also touched on Robert Griffin III and his recent step back in production, and the trade value of the Bears defense.

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