Q & A Day

Things are still incredibly quiet on the NFL news front, which is good for me because I’m trying to get as much work done as I can before I head off for my vacation on Saturday. I will be back from vacation before the first training camp opens, but the days I have left of not being overwhelmed by incoming information are dwindling.

As of today, the level of news out there is still light unless you think Brian Urlacher sending abusive text messages is a story. I thought today would be a good day to pull in some reader questions we’ve received and offer up a little Q & A.

In case you were wondering, we have never advertised personal advice simply because we can never handle the volume. I always say if our service included answering reader e-mail, there probably wouldn’t be a service, since we (more specifically I) would be too busy replying. We certainly do our best to get to them, but answering these types of questions is generally low on the priority list. The goal with the site is to deal with any possible questions readers may have. Ultimately, I place a higher priority on helping all readers, as opposed to one e-mailer.

But again, I do what I can, and here are some answers to some recent questions.

Q: Got a keeper question that is killing me.  Starting format is QB, 2 RB, 2 WR 1 flex (WR or RB).  We can keep three guys.  I am trying to decide who to keep out of Marvin Harrison, Roy Williams, TJ Hous, Shaun Alexander, Deuce, T. Jones, Cedric Benson.  While I am definitely keeping Shaun and Marvin, I am stuck on the third choice.  I am leaning towards Roy Williams, because I think he is a true stud, and the addition of Calvin Johnson, only helps him. Cedric Benson and Jones are also tempting.  Cedric if he stays healthy has the potential to be a top ten fantasy RB by the end of the year.  By the way this is a PPR league, and TDs are worth 6 points with bonuses for plays 40 yards or more.  I am leaning towards Shaun, Marvin and Williams.  I pick at number 6, so I think Benson may still fall to me.  What do you think?

A: Well, if Benson will be there, won’t Williams too at #6? Benson is going before Williams in every PPR draft we’ve been in so far. I’d have to keep the back. Benson may not be a given, but his potential to carry you is too great.  

Q: I have been reading several articles, not only from FantasyGuru, about values, ADP, and analysis of fantasy draft results so far. I have been taking note of course, about the required roster composition and points makeup for each situation. However I am becoming increasingly concerned about the upcoming draft in one of my leagues which is a 20 team league. Our starting roster is as follows: 2 QBs, 2 WRs, 2 RBs, TE, K, DT, and 2 flex positions; one being WR/TE and the other WR/RB. That’s eleven starters and then FOUR bench positions. As you can see with the two flex positions you can have a handful of possibilities for starters. This is a Yahoo! league and the scoring system seems to be pretty standard (4pt/Ptd, 6pt/other tds, 1pt/25 Pyrds, 1pt/10 Ru/Rc yrds, etc.) to the Yahoo! standard scoring. However, with the complexities of 17 roster positions, the possibility of 20 teams, and the two flex positions, I am wondering how the best strategy for drafting would pan out. Which positions to draft/target first? With possibly 20 picks per round who should i be jumping on and how does that affect a players value? With the draft going so deep, could there be an upside to drafting two TEs?!?! I have heard that the talent at RB goes deeper this year, but in this league WRs may have to be drafted deeper than usual, so who could possibly be a #4? Any advice for this situation will, of course, be greatly appreciated.

A: Wow, that’s a pretty brutal league setup. Considering there are many, many young QBs starting this year, I would place a high emphasis on that position. Ideally, I would get 1 stud QB and RB if possible then hope for 1 very good WR. I would then look long and hard at another QB and/or any other very good RB or WR possibly still on the board. There is good depth at WR, so I would be happy with one very good one, and another good one, then taking some flyers on some potential guys. I wouldn’t invest too high a pick on a TE because there are a lot of values and low-end guys who could pan out (Heath Miller, Scheffler, even Ben Troupe).

Q: I need some desperate help.  I am a devoted fan of your website.   I am in an 8-team protectible league; I need to protect three of the following players: LT, Carson Palmer, Tory Holt, Frank Gore, Willie Parker or Roy Williams.  I am leaning towards LT, Holt and Gore.  I have the second and fifth pick in the first round (through trades).   I am l likely going to lose Palmer to the team picking ahead of me with the first pick.  Am I better off protecting Gore and taking a chance that Palmer falls to me with the second pick?  Or am I better protecting Palmer and letting Gore go.  I might get Gore back with the second pick, but I know one of the other owners will likely trade up to get Gore ahead of me.  IF I lose Gore, I was going to target Laurence Maroney. I am leaning towards protecting Gore and hoping I get Palmer back.  With my second pick in the first round, am I better off taking Gates and having a slightly worse second wide receiver like a Donald Driver or Javon Walker, or am I better taking Reggie Wayne and ending up with a TE like Kellen Winslow.  I think Kellen will be the second best TE this year behind Gates.

A: In only an 8-team league, I think there’s more value than usual in having the best QB, and Palmer could easily be the best. I think you should keep him, especially given that Holt has had some knee problems and is getting a little older. Palmer’s going to be a franchise player for you for 4-5 years at least for sure. And of course LT and Gore.

Q: As we move closer to the season, I would greatly appreciate hearing John’s thoughts on the QB position this year in leagues that score 6pts for QB TDs. I’m in a long running ten team league.  We have a unique line-up structure that starts 2 QBS, 3 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 Team DEF each week.  With 6pt QB TDs and starting two, in certain fantasy years it has been more important to have the stud QB than the stud RB. I have the choice in our re-draft this year of drafting anywhere 4th through 10th.  While a believer in Gore at 4, I am leaning towards dropping to 6 or 7th and starting my team with Manning or Palmer.

A: First off, when you’re in a league that is somewhat unique, it’s up to the owner to understand the nuances of the league and the group, assuming the league’s been around for a little while. Do the stud QBs go in the 1st round, or do they slip to the 2nd or 3rd? Have previous winners done well with stud QBs and lesser RBs or have the winners usually had great backs? Generally speaking, in a 2 QB league, I would place QBs on even ground with the RBs, but keep in mind it can be easier to get a value at QB than a stud-like RB. I’m on record saying it’s important to get one of my “Spectacular Seven” at the position this year (Manning, Palmer, Brees, Brady, McNabb, Bulger, and Kitna), and I have said there is unusual depth at RB this year, so I cannot argue with moving down toward the end of Round One. I would then get that stud QB and then get a quality back, so you’re at least in decent shape at RB. Then, depending on how early the QBs go off the board, I would be smart with my QB and make sure I got a good one without paying too much. The young guys I would target are Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, and Matt Leinart. If need be, go down to the lower tier and get a promising youngster like JP Losman and Matt Schaub. 

Q: What do you think of this trade?  In a 5 man keeper league, I have Larry Johnson and Frank Gore.  We start 2 RB’s. Would you trade Gore for Brian Westbrook? I like Gore, and he was very good to me last year.  Norv Turner knows how to produce stud RB’s.  Unfortunately, Norv is gone.  He’s not as proven a commodity as Westbrook. People always talk about Westbrook’s injuries, but I think he’s an absolute stud from watching him in the playoffs. He usually only misses a couple games each year. Westbrook is older, but he has several more good years left in him and he’s proven. For a Cowboys fan, to trade for an Eagle means he must be good.  

A: I certainly agree on Westbrook being a stud, I have been extremely high on him for many years. But I’ve also loved Gore from Day One in the NFL, and he’s certainly proved a lot. Westbrook is still an injury risk, though, and at this point I think I would view him as a larger one than Gore. Gore is also much younger. The 49ers did lose Turner, but this is a pretty nice team. I am “rolling with Nolan” and saying that I’d rather have the younger Gore on what is shaping up to be a very solid (and young) 49er team. The Eagles will probably use Westbrook more judiciously now that they have Tony Hunt, who is a quality back.

Q: When setting my weekly line-up I employ the players on my squad that I believe will score the most points for me. I try to factor weather, injuries, match-ups, etc. Pretty basic so far. But what about using part of your active roster to counter your fantasy opponent? This is something I have not actively pursued, but what are your thoughts? Ex. You have TO, Houshman and Evans as WRs, but you can only play two. TO is pretty much a given. So it comes down to Houshman or Evans. What if your opponent is starting Palmer @ QB? What if your opponent is starting Losman @ QB? Does it make sense to play a solid WR to counter your fantasy opponent’s QB even if you feel strongly that your other option @ WR has potential for greater scoring? Thanks, I’ll be looking for your response.

A: I will not discount the strategy of canceling out another player, but before I consider that, I will start the best player, period. I will then start the player with the better matchup, especially if there’s an obvious advantage for one player’s matchup. I will also consider my expectations, like which player is safer or offers more upside? I need the upside, I will go with that player, for example. I look at the other team’s roster when coming up with my expectations. If the team I’m facing is loaded, then I will have to shoot for more upside potential with my starting lineup. But generally speaking, I try to get the most points possible, so it doesn’t matter much to me who I’m playing against. 

Q: I can save Frank Gore in the seventh round and Laurence Maroney in the eighth round. My question is would you draft a running back in the first round. I have the sixth pick and we only have eight teams in our league. Normal scoring system. 

A: Hard to say w/o knowing who would be there, but that’s a viable move for sure if you can start 3 RBs and a clear stud is still on the board. I suspect that most everyone will be keeping the stud RBs, though, so I would be careful not to take a back just because he’s a back. A stud is a stud, so I would look at a QB or WR there too. Keep in mind you might want to use that 1st pick on a player who would be a great keeper next year, in case Maroney doesn’t pan out, and a shaky RB might not be the ticket there. 

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