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Fantasy Football 2008: Opening Musings

This year, a group of friends and are doing something we’ve always wanted to do: we’re starting a keeper league, which means that we’ll get to keep 3 of our 2007 players for next season. Keeper leagues are supposed to add a brand-new level of fun to fantasy football (or baseball), and I can’t wait to get started. Technically, I’ve already started; I’ve bought the Football Prospectus book and the ESPN fantasy rag, and I’ve been studying hard. I’ve even set up my own spreadsheet in Numbers, with rankings from several different sources averaging out into a master list.

Yes, I’m a nerd. But the thing is this: I’m in this league with people that I know, as in people that I know in “real life”. This is not an ESPN public league, where I make trades with a bunch of faceless strangers. The dudes I’m going to be whipping this year are all friends, and there’s a big trophy that we’ll award to the winner each year. It’s going to be a cool trophy, and the winner will keep the trophy until next season, so there’s definitely some bragging rights involved.

So here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about pertaining to fantasy football.

— I’m trying a new draft strategy this year, and in all my mock drafts I’ve done on ESPN, this strategy has given me a serious roster of players. For example, take this draft I did two nights ago. I had the #5 pick.

QB — Phillip Rivers
RB — Frank Gore
RB — Ladell Betts
RB/WR — Donte Stallworth
WR — Chad Johnson
WR — Donald Driver
TE — Chris Cooley
D — Steelers
K — Stephen Gostowski

BENCH

WR — Muhsin Muhammad
WR — D.J. Hackett
QB — Tarvaris Jackson
D — Panthers
QB — Rex Grossman
RB — DeDe Dorsey
TE — Marcedes Lewis

That’s a pretty good draft. I know Ladell Betts is a backup, but with Clinton Portis and his history of getting injured ahead of him, there’s a great chance Betts will get a lot of carries this year. The two wide recievers I got are incredible (Driver and Ocho Cinco), and I got Philip Rivers in the 6th round, which I think is a pretty good steal.

— If I end up with the #1 pick, I probably won’t be taking Ladanian Tomlinson. I know this goes against conventional wisdom, but I don’t think he’s going to be the top fantasy running back this year. I’m not going to give away who I would draft, but I really don’t think it’ll be LT. It’s hard to pass on him and I’ll probably get laughed at, but the name of the game is performance THIS year, not 2006, and I don’t think LT is going to repeat as rushing champ this year.

I’ll probably write another post after our draft party on September 4th.

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8 thoughts on “Fantasy Football 2008: Opening Musings

  1. Man I swear I’m saying this with a smile on my face and mean it in humor…Looking at that, I wish I was playing against you. especially the Tomlinson comment.

    Betts is a great player to take a risk on, but not at your #2 back. More like a #4. I have never even seen DeDe Dorsey on a fantasy roster anything smaller than 30 players.

    Seriously man, if you want that trophy youhave a lot more studying to do. I’m not saying that to be an ass, just realistically.

  2. Ever heard of value-based drafting (VBD for short?) Pioneered by the guys from Football Outsiders, refined in the Football Prospectus books? It’s what I’m using, or at least used in the mock draft I listed above. I used rankings from the Football Prospectus book, and those guys are scary accurate, at least over the past two years. It’s basically drafting guys based on how much more they are projected to do than a completely average player. According to those rankings, here is my mock draft team (starters) with their positional ranking:

    QB: Philip Rivers (5)
    RB: Frank Gore (1)
    RB: Ladell Betts (19)
    WR: Chad Johnson (3)
    WR: Donald Driver (4)
    WR/RB: Donte Stallworth (15)
    TE: Chris Cooley (4)
    DEF: Steelers (1)
    K: Stephen Gostowski (1)

    Considering where I drafted, I think I put together a good team. At least according to a VBD strategy. I didn’t even take the D or K until the last two rounds. And DeDe Dorsey is projected by a lot of people to be a sleeper this season, just like Addai last season, because Indy favors a two back system, and Dorsey is the other back and will probably get a bunch of carries because they won’t put a huge load on Addai.

    I mean, this isn’t my actual team — my real draft isn’t until September 3, but I’d be happy to put this team on the field. Part of the fun of fantasy is taking risks on guys who others overlook, and I strongly believe that Gore is going to be the top fantasy producer this year. If I’m wrong, then I took a risk, but I wasn’t going to get LT that late in the round anyway.

  3. BizarroWorld says:

    When can we expect for you to tell us which players to target next year? I want to make sure I avoid them in my draft. Keep up the awful work!

  4. Keep em’ coming, everyone. But you might want to read the post in full before making comments, because you’ll notice that this was a MOCK DRAFT. In my real keeper league, I ended up with Joseph Addai in the first round and made the playoffs, where I lost in the first round.

  5. Always good to read about soccer and football.

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive, is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

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