Friday, August 21, 2015

2015-2016 Fantasy Football Love/Hate

I know it's been a while. You may not even remember me anymore. My name is Gabe Schmittlein. I'm back. Matthew Berry just came out with his Fantasy Football Love/Hate article for the upcoming season and I was inspired to give all the dedicated readers of the NFL Report my own view on the landscape of fantasy football. So -- Matthew Berry, my muse -- this one's for you.


Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers and Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts --
Rodgers and Luck can be looped in together because they are far-and-away the top two fantasy options at quarterback this year. Brady is suspended/not-suspended/who-the-hell-knows, Peyton Manning's arm strength is right down there with the Mark Sanchez's of the world (that's not good), and Drew Brees has a receiving core made up of guys who are not Jimmy Graham. Mid-level options behind Rodgers and Luck are there, but even guys like Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford represent steep drop-offs in value from Rodgers and Luck and don't represent extraordinarily higher values than their late draft quarterback counterparts like Ryan Tannehill or Sam Bradford. The first few rounds of fantasy football drafts are all about maximizing value in positions where value can be most effectively maximized (if ya see what I mean)... For example, running backs are often drafted so high because there tends to be a sharp drop-off in fantasy quality, while receivers are drafted lower because the difference between the 1st and 20th best receiver is marginal when compared to the difference between the 1st and 20th best running backs. So take Rodgers and Luck. Or Don't. But don't be a sucker and take Peyton Manning in the second round.

Wide Receivers in the Second/Third Round --
Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, A.J. Green. Alshon Jefferey. T.Y. Hilton. With the usual high splurge on running backs, those are all the wide receivers that could be available in rounds two and three. Picking up most of those guys in the second round would represent a good value and getting any of them in the third round would be incredible. Be aware that there is a decently sharp drop-off after these wideouts, so you don't want to be the one guy in your league to go quarterback in the second round (don't. pick. manning.) and have to draft after all of these guys are gone.

Jeremy Maclin --
He's going way way way too low right now. Maclin thrived last season with Mark Sanchez at the helm, and I don't see Alex Smith being a huge downgrade from him. Sure, Chip Kelly's scheme played a part, but Maclin was great under Andy Reid when he was in Philly too. Matthew Berry said that Maclin was going in the eighth round in most ESPN leagues, down with Mike Wallace, Jarvis Landry, and Allen Robinson. Ridiculous is what that is. Hey, if you can get Maclin in the eighth round, that represents awesome value, but I'd even be happy if you took him as early as the fifth or sixth round. Pro-tip - if you're playing with a bunch of guys on auto draft, he'll likely fall right into your hands in the eighth round, so at least there's some good news with him being ranked as low as he is.


Tight Ends Not Name Gronkowski or Graham --
Ugh. See Rodgers and Luck paragraph above. Or I'll just type it out in a slightly different way down here... Gronkowski and Graham represent a massive value gap between them and the rest of their position, so I'm fine with either of them in the first couple rounds. However, guys like Travis Kelce, Greg Olson, and Julius Thomas that are being drafted around the fifth round don't seem to be providing a maximized value over a tight end that you could be drafting in the tenth round (Zach Ertz is totally gonna get it going this year!!). On the other hand, the difference between a wide receiver/running back in the fifth round and the tenth round is going to be huge.

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions --
The Abdullah hype train has been very real the past couple weeks, but I struggle to see where his value is going to come. He's not going to get many touchdowns, as Joique Bell is one of the more accomplished goal line backs in the league, and he's not going to get as many touches as you'd hope, once again because of the aforementioned Joique Bell. I guess he provides some value as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, but it isn't enough to warrant the sixth round (about) draft slot that he's been getting in most leagues. I do like Abdullah in the long term, but it's going to take time for him to win carries away from Bell, who I actually think is being drafted too low right now.

Defenses and Kickers --
Matthew Berry said this in his Love/Hate article, but I believe I said it in my Love/Hate article prior to last season, so if anything he's copying me. Please please please don't draft a defense or a kicker before the last couple rounds. Berry listed a whole catalog of people who he hates more than those who draft defenses and kickers in the first ten rounds, and it was all very cute. I'll say this, though, (and I mean it for real) I hate those sort of people more than I hate cleaning off the inside of peanut butter containers so they can go in the recycling. Sorry to one-up you Berry, but I hope you understand that I don't mean any harm because we're fighting on the same side. The opportunity for maximizing value in positions where value can most effectively be maximized is almost negligible when talking about defenses and kickers. In terms of defenses, it makes much more sense statistically to just pick up a defense that has an easy matchup every week, while for kickers, our ability to predict their year-to-year success is really really poor so you're better off (once again) keeping your eye on the waiver wire.


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  2. Me, I dearly love DFS. I got into it way back, when DraftKings was normal. Right now I usually go with, since they have a way better business model.