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Lessons learned from the 2006 Fantasy Football season

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Postby Crippler » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:16 am

moochman wrote:The value of a high scoring D merits an earlier pick. But that if you don't get an elite D you might as well wait until the last rounds. As for the Kickers, just ask the guys who drafted Rackers how that worked out.


I see that you have conveniently forgotten about Baltimore last year. Easily the #1 Defense in fantasy by a mile 2 years ago. Last year? Awful. Same as Rackers this year.

Lesson: Do NOT draft kickers OR defenses anywhere but in the last 2 rounds. You can easily pick up weekly fill-ins. If you want a good example, KC against Oakland scored a LOT more points than Chicago this past week.
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Postby deluxe_247 » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:27 am

Crippler wrote:
moochman wrote:The value of a high scoring D merits an earlier pick. But that if you don't get an elite D you might as well wait until the last rounds. As for the Kickers, just ask the guys who drafted Rackers how that worked out.


I see that you have conveniently forgotten about Baltimore last year. Easily the #1 Defense in fantasy by a mile 2 years ago. Last year? Awful. Same as Rackers this year.


thats not really a fair assessment though. the ravens did suck last year, but they were heavily....and i mean heavily depleted due to injuries for a large chunk of the season.(and there was a suggs suspension in there also). the only guy that i remember not missing time last year on defense was demps...and he wasnt exactly our playmaker. the heart of the squad being rayray and reed both missed huge chunks of the season.

when considering busts, i cant really put players, or in this case DST's, that have serious injuries into that category.
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Postby Yellowbird » Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:20 am

Don't draft young running back that were in a RRBC situation in college. They have trouble carrying the full load (i.e. Ronnie Brown and Caddy)
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Postby daullaz » Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:44 am

Yellowbird wrote:Don't draft young running back that were in a RRBC situation in college. They have trouble carrying the full load (i.e. Ronnie Brown and Caddy)


Maroney had a decent rookie season, but his NCAA platoonmate, Marion Barber III, was stellar in 2006.
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Postby ateam » Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:06 pm

dgan wrote:On that same note, I learned that you can have darn near the perfect season where everything you do is right, and everything you touch turns to gold - and still be bounced out of the first round of the playoffs.

I honestly wouldn't change a thing from this year - my draft worked out about as perfect as possible, my lineup decisions were probably the best I've ever made. Just one bad week and there is nothing you can do.

So, hmph! Here's to next year! ;-D


Very true. This fantasy thing, all we can do after all the analysis, etc. is put yourself in the best position to succeed, then on flukes in a one week playoff game you can watch both Hass & SEA lay eggs at home vs. Niners and lose by 0.18 pts because Ron Mexico throws 4 TDs in Dallas! Like someone earlier said, I need better luck! :~(

On another note, the Offensive Line rankings is a great call! ;-D
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Postby 011472 » Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:54 pm

deluxe_247 wrote:
Crippler wrote:
moochman wrote:The value of a high scoring D merits an earlier pick. But that if you don't get an elite D you might as well wait until the last rounds. As for the Kickers, just ask the guys who drafted Rackers how that worked out.


I see that you have conveniently forgotten about Baltimore last year. Easily the #1 Defense in fantasy by a mile 2 years ago. Last year? Awful. Same as Rackers this year.


thats not really a fair assessment though. the ravens did suck last year, but they were heavily....and i mean heavily depleted due to injuries for a large chunk of the season.(and there was a suggs suspension in there also). the only guy that i remember not missing time last year on defense was demps...and he wasnt exactly our playmaker. the heart of the squad being rayray and reed both missed huge chunks of the season.

when considering busts, i cant really put players, or in this case DST's, that have serious injuries into that category.


In my auction league, I'd rather pay less $ for two strong defenses that I can platoon than more $ for the stud defense. Case in point, having been burned by Baltimore last year, I avoided Chicago, who sold for $12 and scored 194 points in my league. Instead I bought Miami and New England for a total of $4. I rotated them based on their matchups and they scored 183 points for me.
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Postby skibrett15 » Wed Dec 27, 2006 12:52 am

don't make such huge sweeping generalizations about fantasy football in a lessons learned thread... ooops.

Don't let the luck get to you. Make it work for you. Enjoy it when you're lucky, but don't dwell when you're unlucky. Easier said than done, but we'll figure it out sometime.

team tendencies and team quality can affect fantasy a whole lot. Tiki Barber, Cadillac, Steven Jackson. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (not in order).
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Postby The Lung » Wed Dec 27, 2006 10:27 am

From Christopher Harris of Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: http://fantasysports.yahoo.com/analysis/news?slug=ch-rotowski_122606&prov=yhoo&type=lgns&league=fantasy/nfl

But indeed, I've learned all manner of lessons from the 2006 fantasy season, and from the hubris of others. You may therefore take the following list as belonging to all us of: the poor, tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe FieldTurf. It is the Top 10 Fantasy Football Resolutions for 2007:
  • 1. Forget what you used to know about first- and second-year wideouts
    When it came to wide receivers, the chic advice two or three years ago was to look for the "third-year bump." Playing receiver in the NFL is as much about technique as it is about speed or raw athletic ability, goes the logic, so now that they're facing better cornerbacks than they've ever seen, players need two seasons to get indoctrinated into proper work habits and skills before they can really understand how to get open consistently in pro football. Michael Clayton's awesome '04 rookie campaign called this aphorism into question, and Marques Colston blasted it apart in '06. Either Hofstra has a pro-style offense and training methods hitherto unseen in the college ranks, or the NFL game's changing for wideouts. As more coverages get more and more conservative and "zone-ish," what's most important for a rookie WR is learning to find holes and then making tough catches in traffic. In retrospect, Colston had the size, hands and toughness necessary to be a fantasy stud in his very first pro game. Greg Jennings was on his way to similar production, before a bad ankle sprain ruined his year. Santonio Holmes overcame off-field problems to become the clear No. 2 option for Ben Roethlisberger. Derek Hagan showed flashes when Marty Booker was hurt. The Bucs love Maurice Stovall. And the Ravens and Broncos used Demetrius Williams and Brandon Marshall, respectively, a ton in their final few games. All of these guys can be big-time contributors in their sophomore campaigns, and it will be worth looking at the rookies in '07.
  • 2. Don't reach for your RB2
    For all the pixel dust we stir in the summer about how crucial it is to get two good running backs, 2006 was a year when passing over proven receiver studs in favor of the Reuben Droughnses and DeShaun Fosters of the world bit you in your fantasy tuchis. I'm not blaming those who took Carnell Williams early; he looked for all the world like a safe first- or second-round pick, before NFL defenses realized Tampa Bay's offensive line was comprised entirely of 78-year-old nuns. But taking Chris Brown before Andre Johnson, or taking Tatum Bell before Plaxico Burress … well, that was plain foolishness. And absolutely, yes, there were some excellent RB2 bargains to be had, even in early rounds: Reggie Bush was often a third-round pick, and that turns out to have been a swell effort indeed. But the miss rate for RB2s (Droughns, Foster, Bell, Julius Jones, Warrick Dunn, Domanick Davis) far outweighed the hits (Bush, Jamal Lewis, maybe Corey Dillon). I, myself, took a more calculated risk: Frank Gore. Did I think Gore would be Pro-Bowl-bound by December? No. But I did like him well enough to "reach" for him in the sixth round of the Friends & Family league (he was picked, on average, in the ninth round of all Yahoo! leagues), a decision which greatly abetted my team's title aspirations. While I'm busy spraining my shoulder patting myself on the back, look at the receivers who went after Foster, but before Gore: Donald Driver, Burress, Andre Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Lee Evans and Joey Galloway.
  • 3. Draft LaDainian Tomlinson
    There. Any questions?
  • 4. Stop listening to me when I tell you Tiki Barber's touchdowns will start picking up any day now
    As I've often written this season, I tend to be a fantasy wuss. I like me some stats, and I tend to believe that statistical weirdness tends to straighten itself out over the long haul. I think I need to curb that tendency in '07. Tiki will be Fox News' problem from here on out (here's guessing he has just about as many TDs as a news "personality" in '07 as he did on the football field in '06), but the lesson remains. I kept rating Steve Smith at or near the top of my receiver lists even after Jake Delhomme got hurt, which in retrospect was right up there with New Coke. I was slow to come around on Colston, and slow to jump off LaMont Jordan. Because I use quite a lot of Excel magic figuring my ranks, I sometimes don't believe what my eyes are plainly telling me. As in: "Hey, dude, Oakland's offensive line is as talented as Tara Reid and as disciplined as Gollum on a three-day crying jag."
  • 5. Wait to draft a quarterback
    This piece of received wisdom is as true as ever. Not only is it tough to predict exactly which signal-callers will top the fantasy world, but it's nearly unnecessary, except for those in leagues that start two QBs. Quarterback scarcity is rarely an issue, and quarterback performance, almost no matter the scoring system, has a low standard deviation. Sure, the Friends & Family league's scoring was QB-heavy (17 of the top 25 scorers, and 20 of the top 30 scorers, were signal-callers), but with a few exceptions (several of whom no one saw coming), it didn't really matter which QB you had. To wit:
    Pos Top 20 Pts Avg Top 20 Pts Std Dev
    QB 246.4 38.2
    RB 208.0 64.5
    WR 157.3 17.8

    Although the average of the top-20-scoring fantasy quarterbacks this year was higher in the F&F league than the scoring average of the 20 best running backs, the standard deviation among RBs was far higher. Even if you take Tomlinson out of the mix, it's still quite a bit higher. In some leagues, you might be able to make the argument that quarterbacks are a higher priority than wide receivers, but then again since scarcity at WR is almost always a bigger problem than scarcity at QB, I almost never draft that way. And all of this is to say nothing of the fact that the guys we all thought would rock the fantasy huddle, guys like Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Daunte Culpepper and Eli Manning, underwhelmed.
  • 6. Don't draft a kicker early
    I still get emails telling me I'm crazy for ignoring the greatness that is Robbie Gould. And I admit, Gould had a tremendous fantasy season. The point isn't that kickers can't pull your fantasy bacon out of the fire, it's that there are very few year-to-year inferences we can draw from kicker performances. To wit, redux:
    2004 Pts 2005 Pts 2006 Pts
    Vinatieri 155 Rackers 165 Gould 154
    Elam 144 Feely 162 Kaeding 135
    Akers 141 Graham 138 Wilkins 134
    Graham 135 Wilkins 134 Scobee 127
    Reed 133 Kasay 133 Graham 120
    Longwell 130 Tynes 133 Carney 119
    Stover 130 Vanderjagt 128 Rackers 117
    Kaeding 125 Elam 126 Stover 116
    Vanderjagt 124 Lindell 126 Hanson 115
    Janikowski 118 J. Brown 124 J. Brown 113

    Exactly one player, Shayne Graham, appears an all three lists (the 2006 numbers don't include Week 17). Which means, of course, that he'll finish 27th in kicking in 2007.
  • 7. Don't draft a defense early
    Did the folks who gambled that Chicago would repeat its stellar 2005 defensive effort hit a home run this year? Yes, indeedy. But how'd those of you who picked Carolina's defense in an early-ish round feel long around November? It's easy to forget that the Panthers were just a scintilla behind the Bears in '05, isn't it? What the heck, here's that same three-year chart for defenses (because I don't have historical data for Yahoo! leagues close at hand, I'm using my data from the League of American Recreational Gridiron Enthusiasts, or L.A.R.G.E., but rest assured that L.A.R.G.E. uses very standard defensive scoring … and again, the '06 numbers don't include Week 17):
    2004 Pts 2005 Pts 2006 Pts
    Buffalo 182 Chicago 192 Baltimore 218
    Baltimore 179 Carolina 182 Chicago 190
    New England 178 Indianapolis 173 Minnesota 150
    Pittsburgh 174 Denver 157 Miami 149
    Atlanta 157 Seattle 155 San Diego 143
    Cincinnati 152 Tampa Bay 153 New England 143
    Philadelphia 150 Pittsburgh 150 Philadelphia 137
    Indianapolis 148 NY Giants 145 Buffalo 130
    NY Jets 148 Miami 140 Pittsburgh 129
    Tampa Bay 145 Jacksonville 140 Atlanta 124

    Our only three-time customer here is the Pittsburgh defense, and who knows if that'll be the same if Bill Cowher's really retiring? Again, my point isn't that defenses don't matter; it's just damn hard to figure out who'll be good in a given year. I strongly advise against holding onto kickers or defenses in keeper leagues.
  • 8. Avoid prima-ballerina wide receivers
    Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson won you some games this year, for sure. But Owens continues to be (I'm cribbing the elegant phrase of ProFootballTalk.com, which, if you've never visited, you must do so) a complete turd, while Johnson became less and less fun to root for during 2006. T.O. was the best or second-best cumulative receiving scorer in most leagues through 16 weeks, but along the way you had to put up with alleged suicide attempts, orgies, tantrums, naps and histrionics, all of which tended to suck the life out of fantasy football. Besides which, Owens dropped what might've been a very long touchdown during many leagues' Week 16 championship game. Johnson wound up high on the overall point-scoring rank as well, but quite a bit more than half of his fantasy production came in two games: scintillating Week 10 and Week 11 efforts against the Chargers and Saints, respectively. Since those "breakout" games, Seven-Eleven hasn't caught a single touchdown. Add to the mix Randy Moss, who couldn't be bothered to try hard, Chris Chambers, who seems to have gotten more diva-like each year, and Reggie Williams, who can make a seven-yard gain on third-and-14 look like Admiral Peary reaching the North Pole.
  • 9. Don't overreact to offseason quarterback surgeries
    Culpepper wasn't ready to play, and was a dagger in the hearts of his fantasy owners. But Drew Brees's shoulder was supposedly so iffy, the Dolphins turned him away at the last minute. Carson Palmer was going to have to use a walker to step away from center. Ben Roethlisberger was motorcycle-mashed and then blew an appendix. Heck, even Chad Pennington was coming off two shoulder surgeries. Is the lesson here that you don't have to be 100 percent healthy to play quarterback in the NFL? Um, probably not. Maybe it was just a really good year for Dr. James Andrews. But I know one thing: I'm not headed into 2007 with any preconceived notions about not drafting Donovan McNabb.
  • 10. Never underestimate the ability of Brett Favre to torpedo your fantasy team
    As of Week 10, Favre was cruising. Sure, his Packers were only 4-6, but Favre himself was the seventh-highest-rated quarterback in fantasy football, and a nation of cheeseheads turned its lonely eyes to 2007. Since then, Favre has put up one good game, Week 14 against San Francisco, and five complete stink bombs. He's back to his gun-slinging ways, tossing inexcusable interceptions on goal lines, ignoring defensive backs, and generally basking in the glow of too much media love. Anyone relying on Favre to take them home to their fantasy title spent last weekend watching ice dancing on Bravo. I think I speak for the majority of fantasy players when I say: please retire, Mr. Favre. Our lives would be better without having to deal with the temptation of drafting you again in '07.
(~);}

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(~);}
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Postby SDubya » Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:29 am

Yellowbird wrote:
Be careful of good players on teams with sinking moral. Andre Johnson, Roy Williams have both faded down the stretch. I had ample opportunities to trade them both, but passed in many cases.



This is interesting. Experienced FFers: do you find this to be true in most cases?
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Postby TTTBone » Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:10 pm

2nd year RB's are almost always big risk/reward guys.
Don't put all your eggs in their basket.

My top 2 picks in one league...
#10 - Ronnie Brown
#11 - Cadillac Williams

Absolutely killed my team.
Not to say that you should stay away from 2nd year guys, but there's definately a learning curve in the NFL, and it usually takes exceptional talent to come out big that second year.
I thought these guys had it and took the risk.
Sooo, so wrong.
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