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"No Contact Means No Stopping Some Wideouts" by Mike Harmon

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"No Contact Means No Stopping Some Wideouts" by Mike Harmon

Postby kanezfan11 » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:11 am

Found this on Yahoo... talks about the players that will benefit from the no-contact rule that will be enforced this year. (I hope this wasn't posted already, if it was feel free to yell at me)

During the past three weeks of preseason contests, I've watched top-tier wide receivers running free with cornerbacks a full one to two arms' distance away as if trying not to catch a cold. Television analysts keep referring to the 5-yard contact rule as the reason, citing that the league is making this rule a point of emphasis this season in response to the manhandling of dainty wideouts in the conference championships. Penalty flags are flying fast and furious across the board in record numbers, slowing down the game and allowing less contact than Catholic school dances. What's the letter of the law?

From the NFL rule book:

"An eligible receiver is considered to be an obstructing opponent ONLY to a point five yards beyond the line of scrimmage unless the player who receives the snap clearly demonstrates no further intention to pass the ball. Within this five-yard zone, a defensive player may chuck an eligible player in front of him. A defensive player is allowed to maintain continuous and unbroken contact within the five-yard zone until a point when the receiver is even with the defender. The defensive player cannot use his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an eligible receiver in a manner that restricts movement as the play develops. Beyond this five-yard limitation, a defender may use his hands or arms ONLY to defend or protect himself against impending contact caused by a receiver. In such reaction, the defender may not contact a receiver who attempts to take a path to evade him."

What, in layman's terms, does this mean? It means that the fantasy points garnered by wide receivers will roll up like the KISS pinball machine at your local arcade. There were at least five plays in last week's Philadelphia-Pittsburgh game in which Terrell Owens was standing by himself downfield, as if surrounded by an invisible force field. Now, I know San Francisco 49ers faithful understand that T.O. was prone to dropping one or two passes every now and again. But c'mon!

If this rule is enforced, it's going to be a long, long season for defensive coordinators. Coaching staffs will need to invent a new catalog of blitzes to generate heat on the QB or the corners won't stand a chance. Michael Strahan always has been a star; now he is worth his weight in gold.

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The letter of the law says that a defender can stick a receiver at the line but has to break contact once the receiver is even with them. How many corners are strong enough to fight off Owens, Torry Holt and Chad Johnson at the line? Hines Ward will welcome the contact, but he's wired differently.

The big and/or physical receivers mentioned above stand to benefit greatly, but there are a host of others who should move up your draft board based on this interpretation. The traditional route runners and burn men have boosted values, and I'm sure you'll be surprised at one guy who I absolutely love in this spot.

Marvin Harrison is unstoppable without a rule change. He already is playing for a new deal, but now he has all the single-season records in his sights. As for his teammate Reggie Wayne, running crisp routes is his calling card. Suddenly the dropoff from last year's breakout season doesn't seem as likely. Wayne is a great value in the middle rounds of your draft.

Randy Moss vaults into the top 10 on both mine and Brandon Funston's draft board with this rule in play. He was a monster already, but now he has a No. 2 in Marcus Robinson (assuming he's healthy) and the ability to gallop downfield by his lonesome. Forget about the second tier of running backs out of the gate. Grab Moss and let him guide the way.

Lee Evans has been a popular late-round sleeper this season for his speed, but his ability to hit the spot and run precise routes is perfect for Mike Mularkey's offense. Drew Bledsoe will be quite pleased to see the speedy Evans in motion. Watch for how he's used out of the gate.

Kevin Johnson was caught in a crowded wide receiving corps in Cleveland, but he may become Kyle Boller's best friend in Baltimore. He runs solid routes and will make plays downfield. He's a great mid-round pick, entering the season as the Ravens' No. 1 option.

Leaving Jon Gruden's open attack for ball control in Dallas will be very kind to Keyshawn Johnson. He had six straight seasons of more than 70 catches before Gruden told him to grab some pine last season. Johnson plays well alongside Vinny Testaverde and arguably is one of the best possession receivers going. If they get any push out of the Eddie George and Julius Jones combination, he will get back north of eight touchdowns. Great value in the middle rounds.

I'll end this quick hit with the legend himself. Jerry Rice just keeps chugging away and raising the bar for future receivers. Watch what happens when the best route runner of all time gets to roam free in the secondary. Jerry Porter will get the attention for the home run play downfield, leaving a single confused second-tier corner to keep watch over No. 80. Forget about it. I'm looking for 70 catches, 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns for the cagey veteran. And he's a bargain in the late rounds. I've seen him go undrafted in several large leagues. Age is just a number to the venerable Mr. Rice.

There's a quick hit on this rule, its application and some likely beneficiaries of its enforcement. It's likely that it goes the way of the high strike and traveling in the NBA in a hurry, but it should be interesting out of the gate. Happy days for wide receivers all around.

Mike Harmon is a Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert. Send him a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
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Postby KolbSaves » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:18 am

My thoughts are that all wr will benefit so their relative positional value will remain constant (more or less) with or without the rule change. By value based drafting theories, there's no reason to start drafting wr any earlier than you would without the rule change.

Unless someone can prove that a certain kind of reciever especially benefits from the rule change...
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Postby noyz » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:27 am

KolbSaves wrote:My thoughts are that all wr will benefit so their relative positional value will remain constant (more or less) with or without the rule change. By value based drafting theories, there's no reason to start drafting wr any earlier than you would without the rule change.

Unless someone can prove that a certain kind of reciever especially benefits from the rule change...


I agree: the same applies when people ask: our scoring has changed.... QBs now get 6 points per TD rather than 4 should I grab a QB earlier?
P. Rivers
J. Delhome

R. Bush
E. Grahm
M. Turner
M. Forte
R. Rice
K. Jones

T. Owens
R. Wayne
S. Smith

T. Gonzalez

Def. Matchup

Kicker not signed yet...

12 team league
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Postby CC » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:28 am

He says no stopping some WRs and then proceeds to pretty much cover every type of WR there is.
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Postby kanezfan11 » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:36 am

What I don't really understand is how WRs could become more valuable than one another if the rule is enforced everywhere... I mean, how much slower can one WR be from the next, I still think their values change accordingly, they may have better stats and stuff, but everyone else will with them IMO.
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Postby eaglesrule » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:40 am

i do think that it realtively improves some of the top tier ones, because there is really no way to stop them. everyone improves, but gamplanning for the elite just did get harder.
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Postby PSU All Day » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:58 am

The question I have is if you have a flex position will it be worth starting a WR instead of a RB?

Thoughts?
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Postby eaglesrule » Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:06 pm

it would depend if it was a quality wr versus a bad/committee rb or whatever.
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Postby MadScott » Fri Sep 03, 2004 6:25 pm

Something to keep in mind as this conversation seems to keep popping up. Traditionally, the NFL officials have been much harder in regards to throwing flags in the preseason vs. the regular season when it comes to rule enforcement. My thought would be is that while they've gone crazy enforcing it so far this year, look for them to back off quite a bit in season.
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Postby 34=Sweetness » Fri Sep 03, 2004 6:30 pm

MadScott wrote:Something to keep in mind as this conversation seems to keep popping up. Traditionally, the NFL officials have been much harder in regards to throwing flags in the preseason vs. the regular season when it comes to rule enforcement. My thought would be is that while they've gone crazy enforcing it so far this year, look for them to back off quite a bit in season.
The fear has already been put into the minds of the DBs. They are laying off in fear of giving up a large penalty. This will allow route runners and speedsters to go nuts, as they won't be getting jammed anymore.
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