Posted on: September 10, 2008 11:48 pm
If Tom Brady was your first round pick, and you picked in the upper half of the draft, you may panic. I have some comforting thoughts for the rest of us.
Going into week one you probably loved your team. You had dreams of Clinton Portis/Ryan Grant going perfectly with Peyton Manning as your top three. Somehow, the fools in your league let Braylon Edwards and T.J. Housmanzedah fall your way, too. When Tony Gonzales fell into your lap, you thought it was championship time.
Week 1 came and you got thrashed by the guy starting Philip Rivers (His first pick), Michael Turner, Matt Forte, Hines Ward, Anthony Fasano, and Deverey Henderson. You know? That guy you made fun of all draft long?
Don’t scramble, selling the house to get Michael Turner or another hot starter. The first week of the NFL/Fantasy Season is just that….the first week. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. While seeing your loaded team put up the lowest score in the league to open the season, it’s easy to lose sight of this. Here are some examples of 2007 Week 1 performances that were not indicative of the rest of the season.
1. Josh Mccown. 30/40 for 313 yards. 2 TDs/2 INT’s:
While Mccown did throw 3 TD’s later in the year, he never eclipsed 200 yards and finished with 1151 yards, 10 TDs/11 INT’s
2. Jon Kitna. 27/36 for 289 yards, 3 TDs/2 INT’s:
Boy did you miss the ball on this! The Mike Martz styled Lions offense was going to give Kitna big numbers. He started the season with 8 TD’s in four games with only 4 INT’s. Of course he ended up with oodles of yards (4000+) but threw only 10 more TD’s in the next 12 games during which he tossed 16 INT’s.
1. Drew Brees. 28/41 for 192 Yards. 0 TD’s/2 INT’s:
A top four QB selection in most drafts, Brees’ Thursday night opener hurt. In fact, watching him throw 1 TD compared to 9 INT’s with a high yardage total of 260 had owners jumping ship. The patient held on as he tossed 27 TD’s to 9 INT’s and ended with over 4400 yards.
1. Travis Henry. 23/139 plus 3 catches for 44 yards.
Travis Henry owners thought they were getting a surefire 1500+ yard rusher when he started with 443 yards, another 52 yards receiving, and a TD in his first four games. 263 yards, 2 receptions, and 3 more touchdowns was all he managed the balance of the season.
2. Lamont Jordan. 15/70. 9 Catches for 89 yards. 1 TD.
LaMont Jordan was finally going to live up to the hype. His 471 total yards and 2 TD’s in three games was looking just awesome. 14 Week later he had increased his season totals by 325 Total yards and 1 TD
3. Chris Brown. 19/175
Chris Brown had the starting job for the Titans. He was going to get the ball. A lot. He was going to gobble up yardage all season. You were SET. That is, until he mustered 287 Yards (But did have five TD’s) the rest of the way.
1. Ladainian Tomlinson. 17/25 with 1 TD. 7 Catches for 51 yards. Passing TD.
Ok, so that is still a decent number of points, but watching the number one overall pick struggle to gain 1.5 yards per carry scared some. The Next two games he carried forty times for 105 yards and hauled in 7 passes for 48 yards. 2.3 YPC. What next? He cranked it up and finished with 1950 total yards, a 4.7 YPC average, and 18 TD’s.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. Combined 13 carries for 48 yards and 3 catches for 28 yards.
With another slow start this season, owners of this hard rushing duo are bumming out with their poor performance against the same team that contained them week 1 last season. They went on to average 1200 Total Yards, 5.1 YPC, and 7 TD’s.
1. Antwaan Randle El. 5 Catches for 162 Yards.
Finally! The Athletic guy’s breakout season! All that speed, all that ability, what a great sleeper to be my number one guy. Ok, he made it over 100 yards only once after this and his next best outings were 66, 60, 54, and 53 yards. Oh yeah, he scored one TD all season.
2. Ronald Curry. 10 Catches for 133 Yards and a TD.
Awesome! I got Curry on the waiver wire! I KNEW I should have drafted him. Now I can look forward to another big game (4 catches for 120 Yards) and…6 catches for 73…and…3 for 62 and a touchdown and….yup. Those were his only 50+ yard games.
1. Braylon Edwards. 3 Catches for 49 Yards.
You couldn’t believe you got roped into his hype. He’ll probably be better but no way was he going to put up something like, 80 catches for 1300 yards and score in all but 3 of the next 15 games for a total of 16 TD’s. I wonder if I can get someone to trade him to me for that Randle El guy….
2. Larry Fitzgerald. 3 Catches for 20 Yards.
Oh Yipee. My number 3 pick got me two fantasy points. Of course, after week 1 he only had one game that he had either less than 80 yards or didn’t score. He finished with 100 catches for 1409 yards and 10 TD’s.
Posted on: August 25, 2008 7:28 pm
The Internet has changed the Media as we know it tremendously. Somewhere in the late 1990's, the Internet just exploded with popularity. Households began to find computers and high speed connections affordable. The ease of finding sports box scores made Fantasy Sports more viable. In my earlier Fantasy Football days, I had "Primetime" to get a peek of how my players did, and the Monday Morning paper. Now, you can check scores, injuries, waiver wires, trade poposals, opinions...whatever you want...24/7 and usually in real time.
Fantasy Sports have prospered but what about other aspects of sports? With multimedia hitting the web, analysts blogging all day long, and the general ability to put just about anything you want on a web page, are the major sports media sites giving us the right content?
My personal feeling is that they have really bungled things. The news aspect of the web sites is a good thing. We get injury updates, player moves, and player performances. That is about where it stops.
Analysis is completely dead. It seems that every "Analysis/Opinion" article is meant to make everyone feel good about the players. "He looked terrible but he should bounce back." "He's a thug but he learned his lesson in humility and is a changed person." "Players that got into a fight have sat down over a cup of Cafe' Mocha and now are friends again." "Team that went 2-14 last season thinks they are ready to make the big step." What kind of analysis is this? I can't stand the way the major sports sites fail to analyze anything. Don't tell me that Matt Ryan is a happy man, his team mates are behind him, and he intends to continue to work hard. Tell me what he has done well at so far (Is he going downfield, is he going through his progressions, is he evasive in the pocket, is he utlizing his tight ends, is he developing a rapport with a specific wideout?) and what he needs to improve at (Does he overthrow a lot of passes? Does he miss a lot of reads? Does he understand the check down?). Tell me straight up how bad Alex Smith is that he lost his job to J.T. O'Sullivan. Don't give me a bunch of garbage about how Alex Smith is smiling and embracing his new role. Don't give me the "Well, O'Sullivan played with Mike Martz before." Don't tell me it's because he "Understands the offense." Tell me what parts of the offense he understands. What parts Alex Smith doesn't understand.
I know football is supposed to be entertaining, but I love to learn about the game. I think it's more interesting when you understand the Cover 2, the Spread Formation, The Zone blocking scheme, the difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3, what the west coast offense really is. By understanding more about the game than just the basic rules, your ability to enjoy and appreciate what goes on will increase.
I RARELY, if ever, see actual articles describing game plans or offensive/defensive packages that certain teams utilize. Video's showing me Nick Barnett's car? Sure. Descriptions of the Colts new home? Sure. Reports that Lane Kiffen is confident with his team (because coaches usually come out and talk about how bad certain players of theirs suck.)? Of course! Video's of Brett Favre running laps for messing up in practice. Oh yeah. That's a big deal.
How about actually showing us the difference between previous 49ers offensive systems and what Mike Martz is likely to implement? How about showing us how the Giants defensive schemes that took apart the Cowboys, Packers, and Patriots high powered offenses in the playoffs last year? How about actual content?
Luckily, message boards allow me to get a little more insight . When I want to get a chuckle from fluff NFL articles, I go to the professionals. When I want to get actual opinions on how a player has looked, I check out what some of the posters on this board whom I respect have to say. Maybe they aren't professionals, but they'll at least give me their real feelings on the matter instead of some uninsightful, uninspired nonsense.
Posted on: August 20, 2008 10:41 pm
I'm really wondering how much both Real Football and Fantasy Football are going to be affected by the change in the pushout rule. It makes the field just a little smaller for pass catchers and quarterbacks.
Of course, as you approach the goal line the field gets smaller and smaller. From the 50 yard line, you are dealing with 3180 square yards of field to the back of the end zone. From the 5 yard line you have only 765 square yards to deal with. Let's say that the push out rule is going to make you try to avoid the last 2 yards on the sidelines and back of the end zone. Suddenly you have 2842 Square Yards from the 50, and only 596 Square Yards to deal with on the 5 yard line. From the 50, you are only talking about a 9% change in usable field size...and the field is quite large so it isn't such a big deal. From the 5 yard line, you are talking about a 23% change in the workable size of the field. That is significant.
My biggest question was...how many passing touchdowns come within the five yard line. I took the top ten quarterbacks in passing touchdowns and checked to see how many touchdowns of five yard or less they had. It turns out that out of the 313 TD's thrown by the Top Ten Quarterbacks, 99 of them were five yards or less. This means that 31% of passing scores came in this tight area last season.
For fantasy reasons, it may be important to consider who the top "Really Red Zone" TD passers were. Here is a list of the ten QB's I looked at, the number of TD's they had inside the five, and the percentage of total TD's it was.
Tom Brady 50 Total, 16 IF, 32%
Tony Romo 36 Total, 8IF, 22%
Ben Roethilisberger: 32 Total, 5 IF, 16%
Peyton Manning: 31 Total, 7 IF, 22%
Derek Anderson: 29 Total, 8 IF, 28%
Matt Hasselbeck: 28 Total, 5 IF, 18%
Brett Favre: 28 Total, 10 IF, 36%
Drew Brees: 28 Total, 14 IF, 50%
Kurt Warner: 27 Total, 11 IF, 41%
Carson Palmer: 26 Total, 9 IF, 35%
We have a pretty decent split here...those that make a living throwing TD's on short yardage and those that don't. Drew Brees and the Saints may need to game plan a little differently as a full half of their passing TD's came inside the five. Matt Leinart (Assuming he gets the start over Kurt Warner) and Aaron Rodgers may have difficulties putting up the types of passing numbers that the QB's they are replacing did the season before as they posted 41% and 36% of their TD's inside the five.
On the other hand, I would assume that running backs on some of these teams may see more goal line carries, increasing their value. Reggie Bush/Deuce Mccallister/Pierre Thomas on the Saints, Edgerrin James on the Cardinals, Ryan Grant on the Packers, and Rudi Johnson on the Bengals. If teams find that they are struggling because they cannot throw at the side or back of the end zone, they are going to have to replace those pass attempts with rushes.
Just something to think about.