Monday, August 25, 2008

Guys I Won't Draft

Well the fantasy football draft season is finally upon us and I'm psyched by the prospect of another fine season. I'm sure many of you are scrambling to find your free fantasy football cheat sheets, mock drafts, and sleepers as you prepare to wage war on your fellow fantasy football managers for the 2008 season. There have been lots of interesting developments in the National Football League this season, and I've been on top of all of them to give you a little insight on how the real world of NFL football should affect you fantasy draft. When I'm drafting a fantasy football sqad, I have one rule; that is simply to take a solid player with every selection, every round. Sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised how many people are willing to take flyers on guys in running back by committee situations, players starting the season on injured reserve, and suspended players that are serving out sentences from the previous season. I steer clear of all those situations. To win in fantasy football, you need a roster full of talent at every position that you can count on every week. Drafting guys who are injured or suspended can hurt you team for the first couple weeks. When they return, they're usually rusty and it takes a week or two before they hit full stride, unless they reinjure themselves after coming back too quickly. As a fantasy owner, you're much better off drafting guys who are completely healthy and ready to contribute at a high level right from the start. Lose the first few games, and you will find that catching the other owners is more difficult than you envisioned. So here are my thoughts on some of players in fantasy football that I refuse to draft this year.

Matt Leinart / Kurt Warner - Explosive offense, most definitely. As a backup quarterback, I would certainly consider it, but the issue with drafting these guys is that you won't always know who will be the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback each week. This means that you're going to be required to at least eat up three roster spots at the QB position on you fantasy team and you might find yourself without a starter if, for some reason, Ken Wisenhunt unexpectedly pulls the guy you started before kickoff. Do yourself a favor and draft a solid guy in their place.

Troy Smith/Kyle Boeller & kyle Orton/Rex Grossman - On draft day, I'm not chancing either of these QB pairs. Maybe during the season one emerges that's worthy of a roster spot, but at this point leave these guys alone. There will be several other solid options that you can use to fill your QB slot.

Willis McGahee - Someone will invariably grab Willis McGahee early in the draft - let 'em. Willis is not 100% and he's facing some stiff competition from rookie Ray Rice. The Baltimore Ravens staff really likes Rice and he's sure to get some looks this year as they evaluate the running back position in Baltimore. McGahee may have a good year, but the threat of Ray Rice stealing carries is enough for me to steer clear.

Reggie Bush / Deuce McAllister - Reggie is not an every down back. Deuce is coming off of consecutive knee surgeries. These guys are primed for fantasy mediocrity. Together they will form a formidable duo for New Orleans, but as individual fantasy running backs, they'll weigh down your squad like a lead anchor. Just look at their stats from last year ... les than impressive.

Joey Galloway - We were hearing hamstring earlier in the training camp and now its a slight groin injury. When a speedster like Tampa Bay Buccaneer Joey Galloway has any type of slight hamstring or groin issue in the preseason, let someone else make the mistake.

Brandon Marshall and Steve Smith -Both guys have been suspended multiple games and will not start the season with their respective teams. I don't like having holes on my roster for extended weeks at a time. Both will be solid producers as the season progresses, but they're not worth racking up the loses and you await their return.

Javon Walker - Walker has lost it. After a couple knee injuries he is unable to get separation and the pressure of being the number one guy seems to be getting to him. JaMarcus Russell has a great arm, but Walker doesn't appear capable of allowing him to exploit NFL defenses with it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2008 Running Back By Committee Conundrum

At this point in the season, the jury is still kinda out on the RBBC debate. I use the running back by committee designation on my cheatsheets as a last resort if I really can't identify a clear cut starter, but the problem these days is that so many NFL teams have favored the running back by committee approach, that the cheasheets become littered with RBBC backs. This makes the single set back designation worth it's weigh in gold, if you can grab one. Inevitably you will eventually have to navigate the RBBC seas, so you'll want to make sure you either grab both backs or at least the primary back receiveing the lion's share of touches. As the preseason winds down, keep a close eye on the running back by committee situations across the league. In the meantime, here's my take on the running back position in all notable RBBC quandaries.

Willis McGahee and Ray Rice - I think you're gonna find Ray Rice to be very valuable this year. Baltimore likes him and Willis does not impress the Ravens coaching staff as hard working, blue collar back, he's very much a prima donna. That's why he didn't last in Buffalo.

Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor - Freddie wil steal some carries and goal line touches from Maurice Jones-Drew. I don't like this situation at all as both will continue to share the workload in Jacksonville. It's tough to predict what will happen this year, but I believe the bulk of the carries with go to Jones-Drew as the torch is passed this year. Jone-Drew's emergence as a top-flight fantasy back will continue to be tempered by the presence of Fred Taylor in Jacksonville.

Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall - Fast Willie Parker was a horrible fantasy football option last year. Although he did post over 1300 yards, he only scored two touchdowns the entire season. I look for Rashard Mendenhall to snag carries and take over at the goal line, much like Jerome Bettis did during Parker's rookie season. I'm staying away.

Deangelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart - D.Will has been a bit of a disappointment and the presence of Johnathan Stewart only hurts his value.

Chris Johnson and LenDale White - I like Chris Johnson's speed. He will definitely be a breakaway threat to take it to the house every Sunday. Who knows where LenDale White will be. If he can put down the donuts long enough shed his dough-boy appearance, he could be a solid option at running back in Tennessee. In the end I think Chris Johnson takes over ... the question is when?

Reggie Bush & Duce MacCallister - Conventional wisdom says to be cautious of Duce coming off of another knee injury. You ususally have to wait a full season to allow for a full recovery and Reggie Bush is not an every down back. He's a nitch player on an explosive offense. My adviceis to let someone else take a gamble on these guys. Why waste two slots on a running back position for the same team.
Julius Jones and Maurice Morris - This on is anyone's guess.

Kvein Smith and Tatum Bell - Kevin Smith gets the nod, but how much production can you expect from a 2008 3rd round draft pick?

Selvin Young and Andre Hall - I hate Mike Shanahan.

Ahman Green, Chris Brown, etc - Who knows which guys rises to the top of the pecking order in Houston.

Matt Forte, Kevin Jones, Adrian Peterson - Chicago is really in rough shape.