Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forecast Review

Before the season, I picked several teams to go do better or worse than their over/under. I'll go through those first, than get to the ones I agreed with Vegas on.

Pats. Over 11.5
Got this wrong, a win this week would put them at 11. Being wrong is rarely such delight.

Bills. Under 7.5
Got it, Bills are at 5, they're not very good.

Ravens. Under 8.5
Depends on this week. I need the Raiders to come through. Right on the Ravens falling either way.

Bengals. Over 7. Lock.
Nailed it. Bengals were my sleeper this year and they did more than enough to back it up.

Titans. Over 9.
Woops, Titans will end up at 8. For future reference, I should not bet on the Titans or Pats. In all fairness, they've been a 9 win team since they got their act together.

Colts. Over 10.

Texans. Over 8.5.
They will get win 9 this week. Should have had 11.

Raiders. Over 5.5.
Need the Raiders to win this week again.

Chargers. Over 10. Lock.
Yeah, me and everyone else.

Broncos. Under 6.5. Lock.
Missed this one. They have 8.

Chiefs. Under 6. Lock City.
Much closer to my prediction of 2 than 6.

Eagles. Over 9.5. Lock City.
Already at 11, thank you.

Redskins. Under 8.
4, nice job by me.

Bears. Over 9.
Couldn't have been more wrong.

Packers. Over 9.
Have 10 going into 17.

Panthers. Under 8.5.
Will get 8 at best.

Falcons. Under 9.
Could get to 9 this week.

Bucs. Under 6.5. Lock.
This was obvious.

Saints. Over 8.5. Lock City.
I think they came through.

Rams. Under 5.5.
Only 1 as of now.

Cardinals. Over 8.5.
They've got 10.

Seahawks. Under 8. Lock.
Sitting at 5.

49ers. Over 7.
Need to win this week.

To sum up.

I was wrong on 6 picks.

4 Ended up around the spot. 3 of them could hit this weekend, but either way it wasn't a great bet.

I was right on 15 picks. Not bad and not to impressive for Vegas to miss so obviously, so often.

I misses one of my locks and hit 6 of them. In retrospect, I should have made a little trip and put some money on this. My Superbowl pick, Colts vs Saints has lost a little luster in the past few weeks, but it still has just as much chance as any matchup.

For the other games, where I agreed with the lines and were thus non-picks, 4 of them were off, while three were basically on the number.

Tight End Review

This will be quick and dirty, as tight ends are less important than the other three positions, but more important than defense and kickers. It's boring because I tended to agree with conventions. Also, I usually just take Gates every year. We go together like lamb and tuna fish.

Jason Witten
Conventional Ranking: First tight end off the board, picking up TOs catches. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Didn't show up often on the scoreboard, staying in to block more often than before. Future Prospects: Risky, worth a flier, but that is it.

Antonio Gates
Conventional Ranking: Clear cut number 2, a 5th rounder. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Just that. Future Prospects: As always, Gates should be one of the first TEs off the board.

Tony Gonzalez
Conventional Ranking: Number 3, right after the other 2. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: A little off the pace, but owners weren't too disappointed. Future Prospects: Should be right there again. At least one more year.

Dallas Clark
Conventional Ranking:
A round after the other 3. What I Said: Agreed, the fourth of the big 4. What Happened: Exceeded expectations. The number 1 guy. Future Prospects: First off the board next year. And for a few more after that.

Owen Daniels
Conventional Ranking: Second tier. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Exceeded expectations for the first half, than went on IR. Future Prospects: High, top tier next year alongside Gates, Davis and Clark.

Greg Olsen
Conventional Ranking: 2nd tier, would match well with Cutler. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Huge disappointment. Future Prospects: Barely draftable next year.

Chris Cooley
Conventional Ranking: 2nd tier. What I Said: Big mistake. Stay away. What Happened: Nailed my major deviation. Cooley was worthless this year. Future Prospects: Not really worth taking next year.

Kellen Winslow
Conventional Ranking: 8th. What I Said: Didn't want him. What Happened: I was wrong, he finished top 8. Future Prospects: Looks like he's found his potential as the top target in Tampa. Should maintain his position.

Zach Miller
Conventional Ranking: 9th. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Fell off the map. Future Prospects: Won't be picked next year.

John Carlson
Conventional Ranking: 10th. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Finished around there, though he really had limited value in all but two weeks. Future Prospects: I would shy away next year.

Jeremy Shockey
Conventional Ranking: 11th. What I Said: Too many targets in NOLA to pick this guy. What Happened: Another one for me, he did nothing. Future Prospects: Washed up.

Visanthe Shiancoe
Conventional Ranking: 16th. What I Said: 7th best TE, one of the steals of the draft. What Happened: Bingo, Shiancoe finished 5th. I don't know why people thought he would do so much worse than 2008. Future Prospects: Second tier guy, should be top 10 again.

Heath Miller
Conventional Ranking: Inexplicably, 19th, undrafted. What I Said: 10th, a potential starter. What Happened: 8th, another obvious one somehow missed. Future Prospects: No reason he doesn't repeat his success.

Vernon Davis
Conventional Ranking: Undrafted. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Best TE by far over the second half. Future Prospects: Top tier guy next year

Brent Celek
Conventional Ranking: Undrafted. What I Said: Agreed. What Happened: Came up big, a top guy. Future Prospects: Good situation, should be a second tier pick.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kicker Review


Just a little Christmas season joke. You can't predict kicker performance. Guys regularly jump from the top 5 in fg percentage to the bottom 5 in a year. Sure, you can take a guy that kicks in a dome or in Denver, but last year Prater was a brick-fest. Folk, who is losing his job, was money last year. Seriously, just wait to the last round, use a little discretion about team opportunity and stadium quality or next year, you will be the innocente.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

QB Review

I'm going to do this a bit differently, everyone had the same top 3. Brees was the universal number one and he has played like it. Brady and Manning were usually 2-3 but Brady often went much higher(right behind Brees on occasion) while Manning often slipped to to the late second round. I identified this as a mistake. It turned out to be correct as Manning is easily 2nd while Brady is 7th. He was just too much of a risk, although the chance that he turned out to be number one still justifies taking him 3rd.

After that there were four guys that were going in all different orders. Warner, Rodgers, Rivers and Romo were all taken in the 4th round typically. I thought Romo should go 4th but I targeted taking Rodgers, saying that he and Rivers were 5 a and 5b and the best value. In the end, Rodgers was a standout 3rd and the other two were solid top 8 guys. I disagreed with Warner's ranking, thinking him too big of a risk. I turned out to be right about that, as Warner is 10th, certainly not worth drafting where you would have had to.

Those six guys (Brees, Manning, Rodgers, Romo, Rivers, Brady) are the top six picks again next year. Warner gets riskier and riskier as he gets older.

My number seven was Cutler. That was where I went against the grain for quarterbacks and I was very wrong. My worst pick of the year. His was typically ranked from 10th to 13th. I targeted him as a steal. Luckily noone is reading this and taking advice so I was the only one who was killed by this call. He finished 14th.

The next three were universally McNabb, Ryan and Schaub. I agreed, but thought that Palmer and Roethlisburger were just as good picks. All of them had some question marks and it would be best to grab two of those five if you didn't get a top guy. The three had vastly divergent paths. McNabb finished right where he was picked. Ryan was injured and Schaub blew up. I think they all end up ranked where they were this year. Schaub was good but he hasn't established the consistency of the top 7. Ryan will be back.

I was right about Plamer and Roethlisburger. They finished with McNabb, exactly where you'd expect from a 5th or 6th rounder. The two frequently dropped as low as the 9th round.

My only other picks were Garrard as reliable backup in the 13th and a warning against taking Cassel. Right about Cassel who was useless and wrong about Garrard, who was also useless. The biggest surprise was the mammoth totals of Brett Favre, who I neglected to mention, making my rankings before he came out of retirement. For 2010, I do not like Farve who will be overdrafted and I do like Alex Smith, who will finish around 8-14.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Receiver Review

Well, judging from the running back review, my teams and my teams historically, I'm a bit of a running back specialist. We might be reaching new levels of specialization when someone focuses on analyzing running backs for fantasy football. I'm going to review the other positions but my opinions didn't venture as much from the mainstream they did for ballcarriers. There were pretty much nine guys that everyone agreed were at the top and I was in step with that, though there were a few I was less confident in and a few guys I targeted further down but I'll get that in time.

Andre Johnson
Conventional Ranking: 2nd-3rd. After unanimous top pick Larry Fitzgerald. What I said: I listed him first. I thought the top few were all close but the Texans offense would have a big year. What Happened: The Texans passing offense at least has been great and he was indeed first after last week. Future Prospects: Receivers are usually more consistent than rbs, AJ will be ranked just as high next year.

Calvin Johnson
Conventional Ranking: Top 5 guy, usually 4th or 5th off the board. What I said: He had produced last year with little help, he would do it again. 2nd choice. What Happened: He didn't produce. He got no help from his qb but we knew that going in. We were wrong, but I was the most wrong for thinking he was safe. Future Prospects: Calvin bounces back. The unsurety that 09 introduced will move him to the back of the first tier but that's as low as I'll go.

Larry Fitzgerald
Conventional Ranking: Far and away the number one pick, often picked as high as 5 or 6. What I said: That the difference between Fitzgerald and Johnson wasn't nearly worth picking him in the first round. He was being overrated based on an outstanding playoffs. He would likely finish 4th or 5th. What Happened: Currently 4th among receivers. Future Prospects: High, like Andre Johnson, he produces every year. They are probably the top 2 (again) next year.

Reggie Wayne
Conventional Ranking: 5th-6th. What I said: The lowest floor out there. He was being underdrafted and I thought it was likely he finished on top. What Happened: In a year in which receivers didn't come up huge and none of the top guys hit their ceiling, Wayne came through and he is currently on top of the points list. Future Prospects: Not as young as the other top guys, Wayne will still be top 5.

Roddy White
Conventional Ranking: 8th to 9th What I said: I said he would be the biggest riser as the Falcon running game slid. Ranked him 5th. What Happened:Well, the running game did slide but the injury to Matt Ryan prevented him from having the season he could have. Still finished 8th. Not bad for catching passes from CHris Redman. Future Prospects: Nothing points to a change, maybe a slight uptick.

Randy Moss
Conventional Ranking: 2nd-3rd What I said: 6th. He had a little uncertainty because of Brady's return from serious injury and the rejection of assumptions that the 07 Pats were back. What Happened: The Pats were not exactly the 07 variety. Moss had a good year, is currently 6th. Future Prospects: Age and a recent lack of effort point to a slow down in numbers next year.

Steve Smith

Conventional Ranking: 4th to 6th What I said: 7th, lacking the upside of the guys above him but likely to repeat his 08 success. What Happened: He couldn't find the endzone early and his qb situation deteriorated. Ended up toward the end of the top 25. After all the fuss after Delhommes's playoff disaster, we were all ready to look past it. Whoops. Future Prospects: In doubt, he isn't getting younger and his qb isn't getting better.

Greg Jennings
Conventional Ranking: 6th to 7th down from 2nd a year ago. What I said: He still deserved a top 9 spot, but he wasn't a great value. Rodgers would spread it out and I though Driver might actually be a better player. What Happened: Hit this one, Jennings was 24th, after Rodgers spread out the touchdowns and Driver ended up a bargain. Future Prospects: No reason to think he doesn't overtake Driver next year, and grab a few more tds.

Anquan Boldin
Conventional Ranking: 9th to 10th. What I said: In step with the mainstream, ranking him 9th. What Happened: Battled injuries all year, putting up some good games but often disappearing while nicked up. Future Prospects: Second year in a row he suffers the injury bug. He is definitely a risk now, but maybe someone you can get in a lower round and reap the benefits of a healthy year.

Marques Colston
Conventional Ranking: 9th to 11th. What I said: I agreed about this one too. Brees would spread the ball, but I had such high projections for the Saints that there would be a lot of points to go around. Colston was the only Saint I had faith in. A lock to finish somewhere between 7 and 12. What Happened: Like I said, the Saints were great and Colston finished 8th. Future Prospects: Probably downgrading him, as the offense won't be this good, Meachem is becoming a bigger part and they will continue to spread the ball.

Vincent Jackson

Conventional Ranking: 16th to 19th What I said: My main target and the guy outside the top tier to put up top 10 numbers. Would finish "at least 12th." What Happened: He is currently 10th. One of my best calls of the year and I was well rewarded where I grabbed him. Future Prospects: Top tier guy next year, right player in the right situation.

Dwayne Bowe
Conventional Ranking: 10th to 12th What I said: Agreed. Although I didn't think Cassel was an improvement, He seemed like a superior player. What Happened: Bowe wasn't putting up great numbers even before he was suspended. We were very wrong. Future Prospects: Dropping, though how he does the last few games will have a large impact.

Desean Jackson
Conventional Ranking: Mid 20s What I said: My other target, he was being underdrafted. The second year receiver would make the leap as the top target of a good offense. What Happened: He blew up and finished in the top 5. Future Prospects: Like Jennnings this year, he won't repeat his finish but he should stay in the top 10.

Chad Ococinco
Conventional Ranking: 18-20 What I said: Agreed with the ranking, he was a high risk/reward pick. What Happened: Currently 13, he was worth the risk as a late number 2. Future Prospects: Another year or two as a number 2 fantasy receiver, than a few more years as a spot starter.

Brandon Marshall
Conventional Ranking: Wide range, as his conditions changed several times in August. Typically 12-20. What I said: Ranked him 18, not knowing whether or not he would play. What Happened: Got better and better as the season went on. Future Prospects: Should be a top pick next year, as the off field questions have faded.

Quickly, some rankings to lead into 2010. I'll use this as a point of reference to monitor situations and make more accurate rankings as we move into the offseason. Just the first tier for now.

1. Andre Johnson
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Reggie Wayne
4. Brandon Marshall
5. Roddy White
6. Vincent Jackson
7. Calvin Johnson
8. Miles Austin
9. DeSean Jackson
10. Randy Moss
11. Marques Colston
12. Anquan Boldin

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 rankings, etc

First, I'm going to recap my fantasy season quickly. In a way, I feel like I should establish some sort of credentials, and I could be making this up, but I posted most of these teams before the season. Feel free to scroll down to the rankings.

I drafted 3 teams, and auctioned 3 teams. I'm leading in total points in 3 leagues, 2nd in 2 and 4th in 1. Not bad, but if you read my running back review, it makes sense. I picked them well this year.
Running backs were the strength of pretty much all my teams.

I had a few teams, with Chris Johnson and MJD, one with Benson, Addai and Mendenhall on the bench.

In a 14 team draft, I had three top 12 backs. Peterson, Mendenhall and Thomas/Bell.

In an auction in which I specifically tried to spend money on receivers, I still ended up with two top 11 guys. Grant and Thomas/Bell.

2010 Rankings

My first rankings are schedule neutral, which means I'm assuming an average schedule for everyone. It has to be this way because, we don't know what the schedules will be yet. Obviously, much could change between now and September, but I might as well start now, as some facts are crystallizing.

Tier 1

1. Chris Johnson
I feel like next year is his peak. Yes, he is dominating this year, but his touchdown totals are actually low for his yards and next year he won't be hurt by a 5-game stretch of the team being awful. A better team season likely means a few less yards, a few more tds and even more fantasy points.

2. Stephen Jackson
I'm averaging the possibility of his being with a better team in to make this projection. I've said before , if he is on a good team he is number 2. Even on the Rams, I think he has a better season next year. He won't go half the year without a touchdown. The Rams couldn't have a worse qb situation than this year, it almost has to come up. If the situation is exactly the same, I might go as low as 4 in August.

3. Frank Gore
As shown last night, Gore is a beast when healthy. The 49ers will be a good team next year. With an improved passing game, Gore will be in a much better situation. If Gore misses a few games, his numbers will end up pretty good. You just need a backup that isn't his backup that can fill in a few games. Moreover, eventually he plays a 16 game season right? I say it is 2010.

4. Ray Rice
He's already in the top 5, his situation isn't going to change, and Oher should be even better next year.

5. Adrian Peterson
This was Peterson's ideal situation year and he is third. Favre will regress next year, the offense and team will regress. Their schedule has to be tougher. People might say "what's wrong with AD?" The answer will be, "nothing that wasn't wrong in 09 and covered by his ideal situation." He could bounceback into 07 form himself and save the team. But right now, he's behind those four.

6. Maurice Jones-Drew
As much of a MJD fan as I am, I think next year is a letdown fantasy wise. I'm starting to worry about how much work they are giving him. I though this would be his career year. This was the easist schedule the Jags will ever get, he won't get as many red zone chances next year. He still has the goal line nose so he doesn't drop all that far, but warning signs have begun to flash.

Tier 2

DeAngelo Williams
Michael Turner
Cedric Benson
Ryan Grant(if he retains his spot)
Rashard Mendenhall
Brandon Jacobs(rebound year)
Joseph Addai(Colts starter should never be lower than this while Peyton is there)

Favorite midround pick

Knowshon Moreno

There are also a few situations that could create a tier 2 back if the right guy lands there.


If Jonathan Dwyer gets drafted by the Texans or Chargers, he is a tier 2 guy. For the Pats and Saints, you are looking for a sign they will commit to a guy. Ideally, it is Pierre Thomas for the Saints.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Running Back Review Part 2

Ryan Grant
Conventional Ranking
: 4th to 5th round, after a disappointing 08. To be fair, some had him going in the third. What I said:He was a steal if you got him in the early 4th. I ranked him 13th among rbs, and thought he was worth a look in the late second. He was the only back on a good team. What happened: Currently 15th among backs, Grant was worth that third rounder. Even without a lot of tds, Grant has stacked up yards while the Pack milked leads. Future prospects: If the situation stays the same, very good. I don't think he is actually that good, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Packers acquire a back. If they don't Grant is a second rounder again.

Pierre Thomas
Conventional Ranking: 4th to 5th round. Matthew Berry ranked him 18th overall. What I said: My opinion was similar to Berry's. I had the Saints as the best team, and the lead back for the Saints was obviously high. What happened: A whole lot. Thomas was injured before the season started. Mike Bell stepped in and showed how valuable that starting spot was to fantasy owners. Thomas came back Bell stepped out and Thomas lit it up. Then Bell came back and Payton inexplicably played both. Even with all that, PT is the 16th ranked back. Those, who drafted him and Bell, and played Bell the first two weeks and Thomas every week after that essentially got the 10th best back. Not bad for a third round pick. Future prospects: High, the Frenchman is a punishing back and he has to be the Saints long term answer at running back. He should continue to divert a portion of his carries to Bush, but will likely be out of the picture. Edit: This week's game shows that Payton is going to split carries no matter what. He obviously didn't think much of Hamilton before this week but he is getting Bell's carries. I'ts pretty clear that if I were the Saints third string running back, Payton would give me a third of the carries. This worries me.

Joseph Addai
Conventional Ranking: A 6th rounder. He was injured in 08 and everyone had fantasies of Donald Brown. What I said: To quote myself, "ridiculously underdrafted." Addai was still the starting back for the most consistent offense of the decade. He would see more red zone opportunities than anyone. I ranked him 15th among backs. Even if he missed a few games he would end with a high total. What happened: Addai did indeed see more red zone shots than anyone else, and his touch down totals and fantasy points reflect that. In addition, he wasn't injured and Donald Brown was. The result is a current 4th place standing. Future prospects: Good for a few more years. Even if Brown plays a bigger part next year, which I suspect will happen, there are enough points in that Colts offense to go around. The only problem is, he won't be a bargain next year.

Ray Rice
Conventional Ranking: Late 20s- low 30s among backs. The highest of the Raven 3. What I said: Essentially the mainstream, I had him 27th. He was a risk, with potential for high numbers, but scary because we didn't know how it would play out among the 2 rbs. I did say that I would rather wait and take a risky guy like him than some of the low risk third round options. What happened: He obviously came in at the high end of the risk spectrum. Established himself as a top 5 option while garnering the majority of Raven carries. Noone really predicted it, but I think everyone knew there was a chance this happened, and that his chances were better than McGahee and McClain. Future prospects: Love him. The talent, the situation, its all there. Who wouldn't want to run behind Mike Oher the next 4 years? Though the Raven defense is decline, Rice is a definite top 10 pick next year.

Marion Barber
Conventional Ranking: Second or third rounder, 12th to 16th among backs. What I said: In agreement with the majority. I ranked him 16th. Scared of Felix Jones and Choice, but thinking it might work out as well as the same situation did for Jacobs the year before. What happened: Disappointed us all, he is 29th right now. due more to the Cowboys woes than serious production from Felix Jones. Future prospects: Seems like the Cowboys think Jones is the long term guy. While Barber shouldn't be drafted high. He is a another potential bargain.

Cedric Benson
Conventional Ranking: 9th to 10th round. What I said: I've been riding the Benson bandwagon since February. I identified him as the biggest bargain in the draft, ranking him 19th among backs and making him a big target. An AFC West schedule and improving defense and oline would lead the way to big numbers for Benson. What happened: Surpassed even my expectations. 11th in points even after a late season injury, Benson has taken advantage of the AFC west and more, running hard against every opponent before the injury. The defense improved the oline improved and Benson himself has had the most remarkable transformation. Future prospects: Sky high. No reason to think the Bengals fortunes won't continue amidst a division that is otherwise in decline. Brief stints from backups will do everything to keep Benson's job.

Darren McFadden
Conventional Ranking: 23-25th among backs. What I said: He was more of a risk, and worth taking ahead of players like Kevin Smith, in that he could be huge, and was picked late enough that you are not looking for surefire mediocrities. I ranked him 18th. What happened: He was ineffective, he missed time and he shared carries. He didn't fulfill any expectations. Future prospects:Unclear, the waters are murky.

Ronnie Brown
Conventional Ranking: Around 16th. a 4th to 5th rounders.
What I said: I was pessimistic about Brown(22), factoring in his time split and his high propensity to become injured. What happened:Well, it depends on how you think about it. On the one hand, even with his injury time, Brown is 16th, so the mainstream opinion was right on. On the other, he is unavailable for fantasy playoffs, so he was in effect worthless to fantasy owners. Future prospects: It depends on what happens. If they enter the season as a duo again, I'l be skittish of Brown. As a solo act, I'd be psyched about Brown putting up a few huge games and watching that waiver wire for a replacement when he goes down.

Thomas Jones
Conventional Ranking: 4th to 7th round, 18-20 among backs. Some had him much higher I believe. What I said:A top 5 guy from a year ago should be picked higher than that. However he would clearly drop from the top 5 and I didn't want him. What happened: He is somehow 5th in points with 1,000 yards. I'm actually stumped on this because every time I saw him he looked like crap and had 2 yards/carry. Jets didn't have a good passing attack either. Maybe they knew when I was watching and turned it on when I wasn't looking. Future prospects:I'm calling it. Shonn Green takes over at some point next year.

Kevin Smith
Conventional Ranking: 16th to 18th, 4th to 6th round What I said:A fairly safe pick to finish 15 to 20, useful as a second rb in deep leagues, not helpful in shallow leageues. What happened: Finished a fairly safe 18th, pretty consistent in mediocrity all season. Future prospects: About the same next year until the team improves. Not a Stephen Jackson type that will produce on his own, he would put up solid numbers on a good offense.

Ricky Williams
Conventional Ranking: Late round flier. What I said: Didn't address him, not my type of late rounder.What happened: He blew up, put up numbers even before Brown went down. Finished in the top 7. Future prospects: Not as high as this year would indicate. He is old and I believe could be on another team next year. Probably gets drafted too high.

Rashard Mendenhall

Conventional Ranking: Late round flier What I said: My type of late round pick. Backup to a guy I had no confidence in, I thought he would be starting by the end of the season, and it was a matter of how late you could pick him up. .What happened: Was starting and excelling by he end of the year, working his way into the top 15 after sitting the first few games. Future prospects: I like him, but not as much as I's like to, given that I've championed him for two years. The Steelers may be on the way down, and Mendenhall isn't so good that he would be great on a bad team.

Quick(er) hits

Willis McGahee, Jonathon Stewart and Knowshon Moreno
Conventional Ranking: midrounds What I said:Agreed. What happened: Ended up where we all thought, in the twenties among rbs. Future prospects: Low for Stew and McGahee, who are now clearly behind a young, talented back on the depth chart. Moreno is establishing himself as the main guy on a Denver team that could be improving. He has a chance to make a leap next year.

Reggie Bush, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Lendale White
Conventional Ranking: Midrounds, around Addai and Thomas Jones. What I said: Are you nuts? LJ is washed up, Bush and White are backups, SWP won't last.What happened: I hit all these on the mark. Future prospects: None.

Marshawn Lynch and Derrick Ward
Conventional Ranking: Midrounds What I said: Agreed. Safe starters on bad teams are useful second rbs in deep leagues. What happened:We were wrong, Ward was never the starter, despit his big contract and Lynch returned to a timesplit. Future prospects: Lynch is on the way out, Ward would be tough to draft next year.

Justin Forsett, Jaamal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Lawrence Maroney
Conventional Ranking: late rounds-undrafted What I said: Agreed. What happened:For one reason or another, they took over the starting job. Future prospects: Not high on Forsett and Charles, on their respective teams, the feature back wouldn't be in the top 20. I like McCoy a lot, I think he is a major player in 2010. Fred Jackson is a gamble, and I don't love his situation, but I think he might have the talent. It's tough to make a preiction about a Patriot rb in advance, but I'll keep an eye on it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Running Back Review

This feature will in essence, wrap up the year. I'll discus what the mainstream projection for each player, my projection, what actually happened, and the future prospects are. Technically the season isn't over, but most fantasy regular seasons are, and the means we are past the point where players were useful to all their owners. LDT inflated his totals last year with games in week 16-17, which was the opposite of helpful to his owners who by that point were eliminated or had a found a replacement and let Tomlinson stack up those garbage points on their bench.
We are all about accountability here at the mines. I'm not going to wax poetic about my correct predictions(though I have done that) without telling you where I was wrong and why. Let the results be the judge.

Note: this is by no means any form of ranking for 2010. I wouldn't dream of doing that without a schedule analysis. (and with the CBA we may not know the schedule for a while) This is more like notes for when all the facts are in.

First Tier

Adrian Peterson
Conventional Ranking: 1 almost unanimously
What I said: He is the number one pick, though not by as much as most think. What happened: Currently third, his owners have few complaints. It seems Favre had a neutral impact on his points, leading the offense into the red zone more often, but also hogging all of the short range opportunities. The decline from first to third looks like a reflection of AD's decline in skill. He doesn't look like 08 Peterson. He doesn't totally screw up, but he doesn't make anything happen. We were basically all right, except those who touted AD as the next Jim Brown
Future prospects: He has at least one more year of elite production. His situation is still great, and odds are Peterson gets a few more of the goal line carries next time. He looks like a bottom of the top 5 guy, but I have a little more caution about him than I did this year. Put it this way, if i have the 4th pick next year and he is available, I take him, but I probably groan.

Matt Forte
Conventional Ranking: 3rd or 4th, consistently behind only Turner, following on his 2nd finish in 08 What I said: 2nd, though that is more of a dismissal of Turner. Figuring that he was 2nd last year, and would be the beneficiary of an improved passing game, and on paper an improved line, with an easier schedule. What happened: Essentially none of that. The supposedly improved line disintegrated, becoming one of the worst in the league. The defense destructed, beginning with injuries and getting worse from there. Forte himself was completely ineffectual. We were all wrong, but me most of all. Future prospects: Pretty much nil. If he is still the starter, he could be a sleeper, but I doubt the Bears enter 2010 with Forte as a feature guy.

Maurice Jones-Drew
Conventional Ranking: 2rd-4th What I said:I had him 3rd, he is a touchdown machine and was coming up to a weak schedule. He was due to gain a bigger role in the offense as well. What happened: We were all right. The line was better. The team used the easy schedule to build more second half leads. MJD is second in points with the most touchdowns. He had huge weeks and few letdown weeks, becoming a true feature back. Gotten it done even when the rest of his team disappointed. Future prospects: Looks great for another 2 years at least. I'd say he is a top 3 pick, but he does tend to benefit from a tough schedule because he treasures the goal line carry. A tough schedule would be a bigger setback for him than it would for SJAX or Chris Johnson.

Chris Johnson
Conventional Ranking:11-13th, though some people had him as high as 7th.
What I said:4th, but very close to the top. Johnson would work off a solid schedule and an increased role in the offense(and greater share of touchdowns). What happened: Everything I said he would do and more. The teams poor performance early in the year meant his increased share of the red zone load was meaningless, the team wasn't getting there. But his increased overall load established him as the best back in the lead and he has a commanding lead in points.
Future prospects: He put up more touchdowns after Young came in and the team was better overall. That should be the baseline going forward. Definite top 2 pick next year and probably top 5 for the next few.

Michael Turner
Conventional Ranking: 2nd, loving his last year totals and ignoring how he chalked up points against cupcakes. What I said: Not as good as advertised. He would play well, but score fewer points due to schedule and declining team fortunes. He should be drafted towards the end of the first round. What happened: I was right on the money. He is currently 8th, his touchdown totals are the source of his decline. Future prospects: He is a good player. He will likely take up next year right where he left off. Given the current level of team success, he is a late first rounder, but an improved team or easy schedule will put him back near the top.

DeAngelo Williams
Conventional Ranking: 5th, a step down from a first in 08. What I said: Too many things going against him to repeat on top. His td totals from 08 were fluky and he was in a timeshare on a team facing a tough schedule and a rapid decline. He would end up 8-12th. What happened: Stewart's injury prevented a time share, and Williams's skills improved, but the team's decline was rapid. The lessening of the flukes and lack of red zone shots hurt his td and he ended up right where I said. 9th. Future prospects: Bright. As long as JStew is around, he won't be quite top notch and the Panthers would need to turn it around to put him on top again, be appears very safe.

Brandon Jacobs
Conventional Ranking: Around 10th. What I said: I had him a little higher, a notch above Turner and Williams. I thought he had the potential to scored a lot of tds and no reason that he wouldn't do just as well as 08. What happened: Disappeared from the fantasy landscape. I guess I was a bit wronger, but noone saw this coming. Jacobs just couldn't find the endzone. Even when the Giants were winning, Jacobs wasn't getting it done. Future prospects: Jacobs may be slowing, but I see a bounceback year, at least in terms of touchdown if not of ability. Could end being an Addai09 style bargain. Because he is a gamble now.

Brian Westbrook
Conventional Ranking: A pretty wide range, from 6th to 15th. The player with most range of opinions. What I said: I was near the top, ranking him 9th with the expectation we would get what he has always given us. Not much chance of top guy, but a great chance of finishing in the low end of the top 10. What happened: Something else. He couldn't stay healthy and suffered injury after injury. The annual safe pick was a disaster. Future prospects: Poor. He may not even play again. If he does it be as a compliment to McCoy.

Clinton Portis
Conventional Ranking: A second rounder, around 12-15th, behind the first group of receivers and qbs. What I said:That he was only 27, had always been durable and produced. A safe pick, ahead of top wrs. What happened: He picked up a nick early on and didn't look like himself from week 2 on. Eventually had more serious injuries. Finished in fantasy irrelevance. We were wrong to consider him safe. Future prospects: If Portis is at the stage where he can't stay healthy and is below par when he is, it's a shame because, as i said, he is 27. He could be another Addai-style bargain. To clarify, I mean a guy that has produced before but did not perform the year before the draft. People become nervous and he slips. In the 4th or 5th round, they become worth a risk. If you take other positions in round 2 and 3 it might be better to take a chance on someone you know rather than someone who has never shown anything.

Steven Jackson
Conventional Ranking:5th-8th. What I said: 11th. SJax was getting overdrafted, based on his talent and ignoring his team situation. He would put up a ton of yards but suffer a lack of tds, due to a dearth or red zone appearances. What happened: Exactly what I said. Jackson is 10th with just 4 tds and the second must rushing yards. Future prospects: I think I will flip positions with the mainstream opinion next year. The team will have to improve from this point, and he will pick up a few more tds. If he does end up on a new team, He jumps up to top three status.

Frank Gore
Conventional Ranking: late first round, before the big name receivers What I said: 12th, after first tier receivers. Gore's risk of injury and lack of a strong team offense should keep him out of the first round What happened: Pretty much what I said. Gore looked great early on, but eventually injury caught up to him. He is currently 11th, even after missing a few games. Future prospects:It depends, Gore will always be less value in deep leagues, because you can't get good backups. The bright side of a guy like Gore is that he produces or sits out. He won't screw you like a Forte type. If you have a good team you can get big numbers than sit him. Unfortunately his numbers stem from talent and not situation so handcuffing him is pretty worthless.

Ladainian Tomlinson
Conventional Ranking: Somewhat of a wide range, some were down on him, some had him as high as 1st. Most people had him around 5-7th. What I said: That he wasn't worth a 4th rounder. He was clearly washed up last season. What happened: He was clearly washed up at the beginning of the season. Turner's efforts to get him in the endzone were destructive and embarrassing. No later than week 3 was it possible to have any confidence in him. Future prospects: None. The Charger rb situation is strangely bad for a good team. Recently Jacob Hester has looked miles better than Sproles or LDT. They probably need to acquire someone in the offseason.

Steve Slaton
Conventional Ranking: Range from the late first to mid second round What I said: That Slaton couldn't carry the load for a full season, but that his situation and schedule were so good, he would put up numbers. What happened: Surprisingly, the Texans didn't add a quality back. As I though Slaton faltered. And the Texans suffered greatly for not having another back.Chris Brown cost at least two games singlehandedly. Future prospects: I'm repeating myself, but I think Slaton would be great in a combo with a bigger back. Not a primo fantasy back but a good number 2, especially in PPR leagues.

More backs still to come

Mondays Minings

There really isn't too much to say about the upcoming weeks. Playoff spots are assured, the trade deadlines have passed and everyone's team is pretty much what it will be. One note, in lieu of a full Minings.

2010 Diamonds in the rough
Kenny Britt-I liked Britt at the beginning of the season(more than Washington) and used him as a bye week starter in a deep league. I like him a lot more than Nate Washington or Justin Gage in Tennessee next year.
Brian Hartline-Hartline came through for me this week. They don't have a real go to guy. The trend here is young receivers who will be entering the second year of a pairing with a young qb. They should be available pretty cheap/late, but are potentially(and in my opinion the likely) number one next year.
Devin Thomas-Again, its not that I'm sure he will be the guy in washington next year. But he is more likely than anyone else.
Lewis The Machine Murphy-Its a bit heavy on guys who have only done something recently. But these are the connections that seem to be developing. I could be wrong, but I think guys who showed off earlier and tailed off like MSW will have more name recognition and get drafted much higher. (in fairness, I would draft MSW higher myself. As for Murphy, he is the best of the bunch talentwise, and the worst off situation-wise.
Bo Scaife-A popular sleeper pick from last year, he disappeared when Collins took over the offense. Vince Young comes back and Scaife is back in the game plan. Potential value again in 2010.

Running back review will be coming out this week.