Posted on: September 8, 2009 1:48 pm

Fantasy Drafting 101

have too many fantasy football teams to count. Between NFL, CBS, FOX and ESPN, I hope I don't forget to visit and update rosters somewhere during the season. I've been doing this for many years now and I still really enjoy it. But every year I am just amazed at how so many people draft their players for Fantasy Football. I'm not talking about keeper leagues or some of the other leagues with many diff. varieties of rules, I mean your average; run of the mill, fantasy football league. Usually I just sit quietly and let them make mistake after mistake while I (and a few others that seem to get it) take advantage of them. Finally I thought I'd spell it out somewhere.

So here it goes;

Never ever draft a QB in round 1 PERIOD. Sure Drew Brees is an awesome QB who will give you an average of 30 PPG. BUT (that’s a really big B U T), I still can get a QB in round 4 that averages 28PPG. Last year and the year before, everyone was taking Brady and Payton Manning in round 1 while I was getting Philip Rivers and Drew Brees in rounds 4 through 6. Then when the trades happen, a guy wants to know why I don't think Tom Brady is worth Adrian Peterson.

It's about averages people. Don't compare Drew Brees' PPG average to Ladainian Tomlinson's, compare Drew Brees to Philip Rivers (whom I just got in round 4 of my latest draft). Two points is all you gained, by taking Brees in round 1. "Yeah, but that's two points more for me." I'll hear. Well, not so quick. Because while you were drafting Brees in Round 1 I was getting a premier RB who may not have the points per game average of Tom Brady or Drew Brees, but compared to the RB available to you in round four (where I get the Philip Rivers, or last year I got Drew Brees) you get a RB worth about 9 to 13 points per game fewer.

If I could do a graph here, It would show the PPG on one side and the players rankings down the bottom. For QBs the drop off is slight as there are good quality QBs available well into every draft. This would hold true for WRs too. Sure Larry Fitzgerald is an awesome WR, but he only gives you an average of 17 points per game (in a standard league). The difference between him and some WR I can get much later in the draft is (just like QBs) not very significant. Why worry about taking Fitz in round 1 or 2 when I can still get Greg Jennings (15 PPG) a few rounds later?

WRs are more important though as you need to carry more starters in CBS. and a few others. Some places you can choose to have 3 WRs start, or 3 RBs start as on slot is an option RB/WR. So you do need to get quality WRs, but you do not need to panic and think that if you don't get a Larry Fitzgerald or a Randy Moss, you'll not be able to compete. You will do much better with a roster of Greg Jennings and Vincent Jackson and your stud RBs while the guy that did panic and take the Drew Brees and Larry Fitz has to start with LenDale White and Fred Taylor.

Now lets cover DST and Kickers. WHY oh why would anyone take a kicker until the very end of the draft? OK maybe if you have a guy you really like, you might get him a round or maybe even reach two rounds before the end, but I see guys taking Kickers before they have a back-up QB? Yeah, it's usually the same guy that took a QB or a WR in round 1. The same goes for a D/ST. Why is everyone so anxious to grab the Steelers so freaking early? In one draft I had they went in round 2 and in round 3 in another league. There is no good way to put it except to say that that is plain STUPID. Yes, I know how good the Steelers D/ST is (or was), but the difference between them and teams that often go in the last few rounds, or may even slip into the FA pool is only a few points per game. I've won many leagues by just picking up a D/ST that had an easy Offense to match up against that week. So instead of trying to draft the best D/ST early to make sure I had a good one, I just waited and took whom ever was left and each week I would take the D/ST that was playing a team with no real impressive Offence. For example. Your Steelers D/ST is playing the Saints or Chargers or Cardinals (all able to put up points in a hurry), while I pick up whomever happens to be available and is playing the Lions, Bears or Raiders. An Average D/ST will look good against those teams (last year anyways). Yet people panic and take a solid D/ST early to go with their awesome QB and WR.

TE's are a bit more tricky. There are usually about 4 or 5 that just stand apart from the rest. You will need to act fairly early to get one of them (say rounds 4 - 5), but if the top 4 or 5 TE's are gone, then just pick up whom ever with your late round picks. In other words, if you haven't been able to snag a Witten, Gonzo or Gates caliber TE, then your draft should end like this DST, K, TE or any combo of those three. I can get very good quality TEs from FA. No, not that can compete with the Gates' 10 PPG, but lots of 5 to 7 PPG type TEs will be available all year long in the FA pool.

to summarize;

The difference between the best QB and other solid QBs available in rounds 4-7 is only slight. Don't waste the early pick.

The difference between the best WR and a WR available much later is again only slight as there are lots and lots of good WRs out there.

There are a small handful of real contributors, if you miss one of them, then don't bother. If you can grab Witten in round 4 or 5, great!, but if you miss him and the few others, then grab a Brent Celek from FA and he will probably give you an average of 4 or 5 points like most other TEs.

D/ST is really about match-ups and you can do fine with a FA pick-up from week to week just looking at the match-ups. no need to panic and draft the Steelers in rounds 2-5 just to make sure you have a good D/ST. Even they will have bad weeks where you will wish you had used a team that was on the FA list.

COM’ on! Do I even have to say it? The difference between the best Kicker and just some also-ran, is maybe 2 points per game average. Take a kicker in the last round of the draft or close to it.

This is your bread and butter. You have to take RBs early and often. Even if you get an Adrian Peterson or M. Turner, you need solid depth for by weeks and injury insurance. RBs value drop FAST. A RB you pass on in rounds 1 and/or 2 can not be replaced by a RB you'll find in rounds 3 or 4.

If you do take a WR in round 1, then remember this simple strategy;

"You should have 2 RBs before you have 2 WRs." and "You should have 3 RBs before you have 3 WRs.,". So if you took Fitz in round 1, you take a RB in round 2 and another in round 3 and you are still OK. At the end of the year, if you don't believe me, check out the "Draft recaps" and see if this formula fit those that are moving on and those that have no chance. There are exceptions to every rule, but if you draft like this, you will win a lot more often. OF course you still have to draft good RBs and such - lol. In my current draft, round 7 a guy just draft Shaun Alexander. Well drafting an old bench warming RB who might not even be playing this year doesn't count for drafting a RB *shrug*

Posted on: August 6, 2009 12:16 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2009 5:45 am

Big contracts equal TV blackouts

Recently I was listening to NFL Network on my satellite radio and I heard about Eli Manning's new contract of 90 something million. With his remaining salary, that puts him over 100 million. Fans were arguing if Eli was worth this much. The NYG fans are arguing that he has a SB ring (what would they be saying if any one of a number of Patriots DBs had held on to several of this 100 million dollar man's passes and he lost the big game?). Last I looked, football was a team sport. I watched that SB and the Giants won with a below average QB who was a constantly trying harder to throw INTs then completions. Does anyone remember Eli rolling out to his left and passing to Plaxico Burruss who was wide open, would have made the catch and probably run a long way (if not all the way)? It was as if he failed to loose the game and won because of the better efforts of his team-mates, yet who gets the SBMVP?

But I regress, My point isn't that history is filled with SB teams with below average QBs and teams lacking in other areas and unable to reach the big show, but the QB was amazing. Johnny Unitas never won a SB, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, and so on. Are we to believe that the Brad Johnson's, Trent Dilfer's, Chris Chandler's and; yes, Eli Manning's (belongs with this list IMHO) are superior to the Dan Marino's Johnny Unitas's and Dan Fout's of the league? No, my point is ticket prices. If NYG Fans want Eli (and slightly better then average QB) to make 100 Million dollars and jack up the price of home games even more, good, let them foot the bill. Unfortunately it isn't that easy. QB's with better stats (Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, etc.) are going to want their piece of the pie. Teams are going to have to pay it. In this economy fans can hardly afford tickets now. While we all face lay-offs, pay raise freezes, unemployment, hiring freezes, etc. The spoiled brat's are going to ask so much that they will kill our ability to attend games. IF we can't afford to attend games, then the games will stop being sold out and means TV "black outs" which means we can't even watch these pre-Madonna’s.

And another thing. If you play football, and you put on pads, you are a "back (Running, back, Half-back, full-back, defensive-back or QUARTER-BACK) then you should be able to get hit as hard, as often, and in the same manners as any other BACK on the field. If I'm playing DE and I get a chance to hit a 100 million dollar man, I'm going to get my money's worth.

Quarterbacks are nice and we need them, but $100,000,000.00?!?!? Arguably, the most important job in the USA is President of America. Like him or not, he has THE most important job. Do you know what his salary is? $400,000.00/yr so if he is elected again, the most he can make is 3,200,000.00 or if he was able to be president for 10 years, that would be 4,000,000.00 or the US President is worth about 45 of what an average QB in the NFL is worth?!?!?!

Bottom line: If you like to see home games, we need prices of tickets REDUCED. If you want home games to be sold out so you can watch on TV, we need ticket priced REDUCED. They can't reduce ticket prices if the average at best players make ridiculous money. Heck, not even if the superstars (not just because you have the same name as another superstar) make ridiculous money, it will equal the death of the game. Demand more for our money and pay less or soon they won't have to worry about strikes, they'll have to worry about boycotts.

Just my $.02 (and I'm lucky to get even that much)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or