Monthly Archives: April 2015

Would You Rather? April 30

Would you rather is a weekly Fantasy Football article that will run up until Week 1 of the 2015 NFL Regular Season where we look at Pro’s and Con’s involved with Draft Day decisions.

The scenario is as follows. You play in a standard ESPN league, and Rodgers, Luck, and Wilson (all 300 point QBs) are gone. You don’t trust the old guys in Manning, Brees, or Brady, so you patiently wait and stock up on skill position players. The time comes for you to decided and you’re faced with a decision… who would  you rather?

Player A statline from 2014: 4964 Yards / 28 TD / 66% Comp / 266 Total Fantasy Points

Player B statline from 2014: 4045 Yards / 27 TD / 66% Comp / 262 Total Fantasy Points

Player A is a 29 year old vet whose ADP last year was 63, B is a 26 year old up and comer who was drafted 173. It’s reasonable to expect these players to be drafted this year very close to each other but who do you grab. We can infer from the numbers that player B runs the ball more than Player A as is evidenced by a less productive game through the air but similar total points. Player B is near the top of the league in yards but not quite “Elite” in a scoring sense. Who do you bet on keeping up appearances in 2015?

The Big Reveal

Player A is none other than Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan. His elite stable of WR’s were far from healthy last year but he still managed a top 10 QB finish.

Player B is Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill who’s passing numbers don’t jump off he page but his 311 rushing yards were good for 5th among QB’s and 61st in the league overall.

Now, you may be wondering if you can rely on a QB’s running numbers to elevate his overall fantasy game. I say, in the case of a Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick, you’re hoping the weeks they scamper for 150 and 2 TD’s come at the right time. For a player like Tannehill, his ability to grab 20 – 30 yards here and there give him the ability to make a decent week a little better.

I think a more relevant way to look at both players is their consistency. Both players finished well above average in terms of Fantasy Points per week. Among starters who played in half of their teams games, the average points per week come in at 14.5. Matt Ryan had 9 total weeks above 14, Tannehill had 7. The flip side is that Ryan had two weeks of 10 points or less, and in a 13 game regular season that could be the difference in making the playoffs or watching from the outside in. Tannehill had zero, less than Fantasy point leader Andrew Luck!

Does any of this sway one to draft the largely unproven Ryan Tannehill over Matt Ryan? For me, the question remains what weapons does Miami have? A lot of young, big risk big reward type skill players. Atlanta has two studs who if healthy form one of the most potent duo’s in the league. If (and it’s a big if) both players go in the same round, I’d take Matt Ryan for his consistency over Tannehill and his percieved upside.

What do you think?

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Is Todd Gurley worth the hype?

gurlpeteWhen I started doing research for this piece, I was positive I knew how to data would look once compiled but the lines blurred once I saw it on paper. How can we truly evaluate a player who dominated college players as they transition to the NFL? How can we possibly rank or predict how they will perform compared to the current fantasy landscape? The simple answer: we can’t.

Not entirely.

Todd Gurley is being compared to Adrian Peterson, another 3 down work horse who is expected to put on a pro jersey and jam the ball down the throats of terrified defenders. Melvin Gordon, the consensus number two is obviously a step behind in terms of NFL readiness but is still seeing a lot of hype as we approach the NFL draft. But we’ve seen this before. Adrian Peterson came into the league in 2007, so my quest started there as I looked at the recent fantasy impact (or lack of) provided by first round RB selections. (2013 and 2014 didn’t feature a 1st round back, so we used the first back selected in the 2nd round for comarison purposes)

Only 3 backs were taken with a top 10 pick since Peterson was selected 7th Overall in 2007. They are Darren McFadden in 2008 (4th Overall), CJ Spiller in 2010 (9th Overall) and Trent Richardson in 2012 (3rd Overall). Believe it or not the only player to outperform their ADP was Richardson (+14*), and partly because McFadden (-74*) and Spiller (-154*) were such fantasy disappointments. Since then, Richardson has been a mega bust and Spiller and McFadden have teased but never approached the fantasy dominance we all expected.

Beyond those picks, there was a lot of flux, the largest return on investment was Chris Johnson who’s ADP of 101 was woefully under predected in 2008.

Here are your first round Draft Day winners:

  • 2007: Adrian Peterson (+36)
  • 2007: Marshawn Lynch (+10)
  • 2008: Jonathan Stewart (+7)
  • 2008: Chris Johnson (+77)
  • 2009: Knowshon Moreno (+16)
  • 2012: Trent Richardson (+14)
  • 2012: Doug Martin (+44)
  • 2013: Giovani Bernard** (+31)

Big Losers as follows:

  • 2008: Darren McFadden (-74)
  • 2008: Felix Jones (-111)
  • 2008: Rashard Mendenhall (-286)
  • 2009: Donald Brown (-154)
  • 2009: Beanie Wells (-2)
  • 2010: Ryan Mathews (-69)
  • 2010: Javhid Best (-19)
  • 2010: CJ Spiller (-154)
  • 2011: Mark Ingram (-11)
  • 2012: David Wilson (-71)
  • 2014: Bishop Sankey** (-88)

What can we gather from these numbers? It’s nearly a 50 / 50 coin flip on wether top RB talent pans out in year one, and for the players that finished above their ADP several of them regressed in year two (Martin, Moreno, Richardson, and Bernard). By contast, plus players generally finished just above their ADP with the exception of the flier picks like Johnson, while the minus players likely crippled fantasy owners due to how drastically they underperformed the value we heaped on them.

My advise is to temper your expectations in year one, Peterson is most likely more of an exception than the rule. Gurley will make a fine NFL back, and has the potential to be a huge win on draft day, but the potential is also there with his injury history to hamstring your fantasy team if he doesn’t work out. If you can get Gurley at or beyond wherever he’s projected come draft day, go for it, but I’d have a solid back up plan in case.

*+ or – numbers calculated by comparing avg ADP for said player with their final Fantasy impact. Standard rules for scoring. 

** No RB selected in the first round; player used was first RB selected for that draft year.

Would you Rather? April 23

Would you rather is a weekly Fantasy Football article that will run up until Week 1 of the 2015 NFL Regular Season where we look at Pro’s and Con’s involved with Draft Day decisions.

The ghost of DeMarco Murray looms large as the Dallas Cowboys prepare for life without him. Not only was Murray’s impact out of the backfield, his ability to catch passes made him an elite offensive weapon, and the 57 catches on 64 targets will have to be filtered elsewhere. Therein lies the problem: Who after Dez Bryant should I target in drafts?

There’s two obvious choices: WR’s Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. There’s obvious differences between the two players as well; Williams is a much larger target and has more endzone punch due to his size. His *140 fantasy points ranks XX but he seemed to fade a bit down the stretch as the Cowboys relied mostly upon Dez Bryant and Jason Witten outside the numbers.

Beasley is a diminutive WR, more in the Wes Welker slot receiver mold. Rarely used in the first half of the season (below average fantasy impact between week 2 and 12 according to Rotoworld statistics) he came on strong as the season finished putting up 58 of his 86 points* from week 12-16.

As always, understanding your league format will be tantamount to a solid draft. If you’re drafting in a PPR league Beasley becomes a much more attractive player at his current ADP, if not (and you believe that Williams can provide the same scoring punch as last year) then Williams would be your guy.

I owned Williams in leagues last year and can say his lack of consistency was frustrating. His upside has to be tempered with the fact that he does not have breakway speed and he’s often times the third or fourth redzone target after Bryant, Witten, and whoever laces up in the backfield.

Beasley is intriguing at his current ADP and especially in PPR leagues. With as high powered and offense as Dallas has, and with as often as Romo will throw it, my guess is a lot of those short passes to Murray will go Beasley’s way in the slot. With the success that teams like Pittsburgh, New England and Denver have had with diminuitive slot guys, it’s a safe bet that Beasley will outperform his ADP (assuming he’s healthy). I have serious doubts that Williams will.

Tell us what you think in the comments below to provide your own feedback on the matter.

*fantasy points calculated for PPR league 1pt/rec

Adrian Peterson Reinstated

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has confirmed that Adrian Peterson will be reinstated by the league and will be allowed to resume all football duties. We’re not here to debate whether what Peterson was accused of was heinous or not, and it certainly was, but the implications of his reinstatement could be felt in several areas of the Fantasy world.

The first big question is where will Peterson play?  He’s been vocal about his desires to play football somewhere other than Minnesotta, but the Vikings organization have said they have no plans to trade the star running back. What does all of this mean?

First, and the worst case scenario is that Peterson holds out to force Minnesotta’s hand. Is he willing to be docked another years worth of salary to prove his point? We’ve already established that Peterson is probably not the brightest bulb. Enter trade scenarios and landing spots.

Dallas Cowboys: What a boon this would be for the Cowboys and for fantasy owners as the elite offensive line that produced the leading fantasy RB in DeMarco Murray would elevate Peterson to 1 or 2 on my rankings. An offense that isn’t afraid to use the RB is a place that Peterson is desperate to play, and is the front runner to land Peterson if the Vikings comply with his request.

Minnesotta Vikings: Peterson could opt to play out the year if the Vikings are serious about retaining him. If this were the case, he’d have little competition for a bulk of the touches as the team lacked overall consistence from the RB position last year. A plus side is Peterson would be asked to shoulder the burden, so a 300-350 touch season would be expected.

Indianapolis Colts: From a football perspective, this makes a ton of sense, but the Colts will be a throw first team and this could impact Peterson from the standpoint of his overall Fantasy contributions. An elite player, he’d still be good for a top 10 finish, but the time of 2,000 yard season might be over if he’s wearing the horseshoe.

New York Jets: A team that lacks an identity on offense may be willing to over pay for a player like Adrian Peterson. This situation feels a lot like what he’s leaving behind in Minnesota so I’d imagine money would likely be a factor, but a ton of touches would follow especially with a Revis led defense stiffling opposing offenses.

Obviously teams near the bottom may be able to entice Minnesota with the lure of a top 10 draft pick, but the likelyhood of an Oakland or Jacksonville mortaging their future on the 30 year old RB when they’re so far from competing makes very little sense.

Either way, the fears around previously suspended players doesn’t exist here as it’s much easier to relapse into drugs or alcohol vs the domestic issues he’d plead no contest to.  As far as fantasy backs go, if Peterson plays, he’s a consensus top 10 pick and depending on where he lands and when may occupy my top spot come rankings week.