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Immaculate selection: 2007’s perfect draft

Posted by zewkey on August 29, 2007

10:03 PM CDT on Monday, August 27, 2007

Perfection is a relative term. And believe me, I’m not referring to my relatives. Especially my in-laws.

As much as you and I would love to field a fantasy team piloted by Peyton Manning, anchored by LaDainian Tomlinson and Steven Jackson in the backfield, with Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison and Antonio Gates catching passes, that’s about as likely as George Clooney having trouble finding a date on Saturday night.

Exclusive Expert Analysis at Yahoo! Fantasy Football

Unless you’re playing in a league of monkeys throwing darts at a draft board, you simply must accept that many of the players you covet most will be stolen by your competitors. That’s why they are no longer your friends.

Our challenge, therefore, is to secure the best value with every pick, methodically assembling a team that will dominate from Week 1, withstand an injury to one or two key players, and peak during the fantasy playoffs.

With that lofty goal in mind, I’ve once again done the research for you – analyzing the average draft position of each player from several mock draft sites to determine the best pick in each round – resulting in the 2007 Perfect Draft.

As always, we start with a few key assumptions. First, we’re in a 10-team league using a standard scoring system that starts 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 Def. Second, we are drafting from the middle (fifth) position in a zig-zag format, meaning LT is long gone by the time we pick. Third, because all drafts play out differently, we’ll need a little luck along the way. And finally, our goal is nothing short of total domination and the abject humiliation of our opponents.

Now, with the fifth pick of the 2007 Fantasy Draft, we select …

Round 1 – Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis: We’re in great shape with the Colts workhorse in our backfield. He can’t help but rack up yardage and scores in that offense, and there’s no one threatening to share carries. If he’s gone, Fast Willie Parker is the pick.

Round 2 – Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati: If Travis Henry falls to us here, we raise our fists and declare victory. Otherwise, we take the top fantasy receiver in the land, and pray that our competitors allow at least one top RB to fall to us in the next round.

Round 3 – Cedric Benson, RB, Chicago: As tempting as it may be to load up at WR with Reggie Wayne, we must secure our RB2 with Chicago’s workhorse. Edgerrin James is arguably a better option but is probably gone.

Round 4 – Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans: Pass on Peyton Manning three rounds earlier and get the next best thing. We’ll love his creampuff schedule during the fantasy playoffs. If Brees is gone, Marc Bulger will be just fine.

Round 5 – Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota: Let’s grab the 2007 Rookie of the Year while we can and shore up our backfield at the same time. We may keep him on the bench for a couple of weeks, but it won’t be long before Peterson gives us fits when making our start/sit decisions.

Round 6 – Reggie Brown, WR, Philadelphia: DeAngelo Williams, my leading candidate for Breakout Player of the Year, may prove to be a better pick. But we’ll take Donovan McNabb’s go-to receiver here instead. We’re stacked at RB.

Round 7 – Tony Romo, QB, Dallas: He may have slipped to us in the next round, but let’s not risk losing one of the steals of the draft. We now have two of the top six QBs in Fantasyland.

Round 8 – Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay: Tatum Bell may fall in our lap here, especially if our competitors are leery of his shin injury. If not, Jackson has the inside track on the Packers’ starting job, with Vernand Morency still nursing a strained knee.

Round 9 – Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego: A potent end zone target, Jackson will be a prime beneficiary of Philip Rivers’ continued development. If he’s gone, we take Bernard Berrian, Chicago’s home-run threat.

Round 10 – Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh: Let’s scoop up another sleeper to round out our receiving corps. Let someone else spend big on Hines Ward. We’ll take the more explosive receiver who will out-produce the veteran in his third year.

Round 11 – Jason Witten, TE, Dallas: We gambled a bit waiting on our tight end, but Witten is severely undervalued this year. He’s poised for a sensational season running deeper routes for his dynamic quarterback and good friend Romo.

Round 12 – Drew Bennett, WR, St. Louis: There are several intriguing options here, including, possibly, Warrick Dunn. Bennett offers terrific upside in the Rams’ passing game, particularly given the worries over Torry Holt’s slow recovery from off-season knee surgery.

Round 13 – Jaguars defense, Jacksonville: Waiting on our defense allowed us to stock up at the other positions. Meanwhile, the Jaguars give us a formidable unit at a great price.

Round 14 – Brandon Marshall, WR, Denver: A steal this late, Marshall should develop a solid bond with fellow second-year player Jay Cutler.

Round 15 – Owen Daniels, TE, Houston: We need a backup to Witten, and Daniels offers significant upside after a surprising rookie campaign.

Round 16 – Adrian Peterson, RB, Chicago: This is the time to backup our top RB, but there’s no clear handcuff to Addai. The “other AP” has looked good when given the opportunity, and could fill in admirably if Benson is injured or wears down. A flier like Packers WR James Jones is another decent pick here.

Round 17 – Nate Kaeding, K, San Diego: I don’t always insist on waiting for the last round to take a kicker; but when a sure thing like Kaeding is going to be there, it only makes sense.

There you have it. Great players at every position, no major bye problems, and, best of all, no Raiders, Browns, Bills, Titans, Chiefs, Dolphins or Bucs.

Here’s hoping your draft is perfect, too.



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10 Tips for Fantasy Auctions

Posted by zewkey on August 19, 2007

10 Tips for Fantasy Auctions
David Dorey
August 16, 2007Auctions are the most fun way to have a local draft because it involves everyone in the room on every player. They create the most fair leagues in that way – any team owner can own any player, he just has to want him a little more than anyone else. They also bring an entirely new level of entertainment to the room when people get into heated bidding wars or someone lands a player far too cheaply and everyone looks at each other “why did we let that happen?”.

Yahoo! Fantasy Football – Leader in Fantasy Sports

But those of you new to auctions sometimes find it more daunting since it is more involved than merely reading the next name on a cheatsheet. Some act like they are going into a store in a foreign country with no idea of the value of the currency they are spending while others act like sailors on home leave for the first time in six months when LaDainian Tomlinson comes up for bid. Some previous articles at The Huddle which can help:

The Three Styles of Bidding

How to Budget for an Auction

Following on the lead of those, here are the top ten things to remember when you go to your fantasy auction.

1. Bid on every player if only initially when you know he will go for more money. This helps to cloak who you really are pursuing. If you only bid on “your guys” then it becomes pretty evident that you can be pushed to spend more money.

2. Budget your positions and realize that an auction is about creating an optimal team within the constraints of limited dollars. Re-evaluate your budget each time you acquire a player, but have a strong sense of what you are willing to play overall for positions and then how much for players within those positions.

3. Never get locked onto one player. Unless you are so dead certain that this one individual is going to be a huge difference maker for your team, go for the best values on players. If you acquire players that are priced at or below their true value, it is like having more money to spend than others who overpay.

4. If possible, try to save enough money so that your final picks can go for more than the bid minimum (typically $1). Sometimes there is an amazing difference in the quality of players you can get for $2 over just $1. Once you reach the point where you can only pay minimum amounts, you have lost all control of who will be coming to your roster. This often comes more into play the larger the league because the higher valued top tier players are and many teams will blow their wad on a few players and hope to backfill with minimum cost players.

5. Never, ever finish with money left over. Spend your entire salary cap. That seems obvious but in many auctions, those reticent to spend end up with money left over that could have been used to create a better roster. Budget and spend. Budget and spend.

6. In the initial rounds of a smaller league (ten teams or less), it is usually a good idea to always throw out players that you do not want in the attempt to let people burn up their cash on someone you would have never wanted. Do it early for more desirable players and you can set yourself up to spend less when your favorites come around. Conversely, the larger the league (anything over 12 teams), throw out the players that you do want because there will be a lot of cash sitting around on those other teams and you are likely not going to get any bargains. Throw out the players you want and chase them as far as your budget allows. If nothing else, do this so that you can know you will not get player “X” and can make other arrangements for the position.

7. The first player in his position always seems to go for a lot of money and that often ends up to actually be a bargain. The first player up for bid in a position sometimes will not go for quite as much because other team owners are waiting to see what sort of price the position is bringing.

8. Auctions are about supply and demand. The best values are usually when you are bidding on a player from a position that some already have filled and many others have not. In a twelve team league that starts two running backs, the league will need 24 starters and each team owner will be willing to spend money in order to get two decent starters. So after 6 players or so are out, often values happen because while half the league still needs a starter, there are still plenty to chose from and many are waiting on “their guy”. By the same token, the 11th running back coming up for bid may go for much more than they should because you have two teams desperate for their first starting tailback and they get into a war. This usually happens the most noticeably when the final two or three teams are hunting for their second starting tailback after 20 or so running backs are taken. They get desperate and end up driving the cost of the 21st best back up to the same level of the 10th best back. Happens all the time. Pay attention to your league – it is supply and demand.

9. If you have a big desire for some certain player, the earlier you bring him out for bid, the better off you will be. The worst thing you can do is to fixate on a player and allow great values to pass by only to discover that one or two other team owners were doing the same and suddenly you do not have your player, have missed great values and are looking at far less attractive options for the position. If you gotta have one guy, playing waiting games can burn you.

10. Avoid handcuff players. Like running backs where you would really want their back-ups. That sets you up to need two players to make the set and controlling what you pay for just one of them is hard enough. Best bet is to go after players that do not have an injury history or that are in an unsettled situation because the “other guy” can get stolen from you. Each year there are typically about four to six NFL teams with unsettled backfields which mandate you get both players to be safe. If you can avoid them, you remain in better control of your team and salary cap. You can play the gamble that you have the right one of the two (or three sometimes), but never pay much for that headache.

Auctions are a blast to participate in and they are quite different than drafts in many ways. The end result is no different – full rosters for all teams in the league. But getting there is all the fun.


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Fantasy Football Draft Tips

Posted by zewkey on August 13, 2007

Yahoo! Fantasy Football – Leader in Fantasy Sports

1. Prepare ahead of time
* Get a copy of the rules, which should include the drafting method, scoring system, and prize disbursement for the league.  Auction Drafting
* If you’re a first timer, learn all the terminology with our FF Dictionary
* Make a cheat sheet / projection sheet (or use ours)
* Read up on who other people think are sleepers (check out our Sleepers Page)

2. Bring your drafting equipment
* Money, for entry fees (if any)
* Cheat Sheet (no sense in working on it if you’re going to forget it)
* Old FF Magazine (to loan to the guy who wants info from you)
* Several Pens/ Pencils
* Highlighters (1 color for your picks, another for other’s picks)
* Clip Board (do you want to write on your knee for 2 hours?)
* Folder to keep things private (see #6)
* Paper (to jot down trade ideas & notes to yourself)
* Blank Draft Roster Grid — Print out ours

3. Encourage the commissioner to be innovative
* Check out the commish tips page
* Suggest a fantasy football draft kit like UltimateDraft

4. Keep your eyes peeled (and your mouth shut)
* Pay attention to others picks, if everyone else already has 4 running backs and you only have 2, you’re in trouble.
* Try not to say too much, you don’t want to get a bad label
* Just by watching the other drafters you can get a good idea of what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.

5. Be careful about bye weeks
Never draft a backup QB that has the same bye week as your starter, it defeats the purpose of drafting him. Here’s our list for this season.

Exclusive Expert Analysis at Yahoo! Fantasy Football

6. Draft the best player available (don’t fill your roster in order)
Some people (not knowing any better) will draft QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, K, D, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, K. But it’s much more important to get your third RB before a kicker. In it’s simplest form, the value of a player is determined not by the number of points he scores, but by how much he outscores his peers at his particular position. Your league’s particular scoring system is very important in making these kind of decisions.

7. Keep your cheat sheet to yourself
It doesn’t do you a lot of good to “share” your cheat sheet with the owner next to you. Years ago I made this mistake and then he ended up with a better record than I did.

8. Bring the beer (if you’re over 21), but don’t drink
* I’m sure you know, but just in case, the human brain does not function at 100% when it’s under the influence.
* You will be seen as a great guy, but you’re really just helping yourself because your opponents won’t be at full speed.

9. Consider trading
In between picks is a good time to think about trades. Maybe you’re sure your big sleeper is going to be picked before your next turn, so try trading your next 2 picks for a higher pick. Or maybe you realized you made a mistake like #4, trade that player now and you can still come out ahead by getting 2 lower draft picks. Check out the draft pick calculator on our tools page.

10. Finishing up
Your last few draft picks should be on some long shots. Don’t waste these picks on older veteran players that have consistently scored a couple points a game. Take a chance on that rookie quarterback or a backup running back with a big upside.

11. Double check everything
Before leaving the draft, make sure you:
* Pay all your fees
* Agree with the commissioner on your roster
* Check each other’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses
* Know what time transactions and lineups are due.

12. Have fun
Too often we over-analyze our hobby and drain the fun out of it. Remember that the whole reason we play fantasy football is for fun. Good luck!



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