More on mis-priced players

Not sure if you checked it out, but there’s a really good new article posted on the site this week by a subscriber named Jeff Brazil. Jeff’s a professional writer who’s actually won a Pulitzer Prize, but he’s also a fantasy nut. I get contacted all the time from readers interested in writing for the site, but my standards are pretty high, so we rarely use outside people. Most people simply can’t write well enough, and that’s a problem. I don’t expect Hemingway, and I don’t consider myself a great writer for the record, but unless you’re doing something highly specialized or unique, you’ve gotta have some writing talent. The other issue is people simply don’t have anything insightful to say. I usually tell people interested in writing to come back to me with something unique, and they never do.

Jeff, however, did, and his writing is superior, so he’s on board. I’ve got him working now on a similar article about drafting in IDP leagues.

But back to the mis-pricing article. There’s not much in it that we haven’t covered for years and that I haven’t been preaching, but the presentation is a big different, so I think it’s a valuable article. In short, what he’s saying is that people are generally conditioned to draft players at certain times, which is something to take advantage of. I’ve been saying this for years, especially starting in QB Carson Palmer’s breakout 2005 season. I loved him that year, and so did just about everyone else. It was crystal clear he was going to bust out, yet people were conditioned to draft him around the 6th or 7th round. On the other hand, this year, people are conditioned to take Clinton Portis around 15th overall. That may not be a bad pick, but might those who pull the trigger on CP that early regret it? You’re damn right they may, since he’s taken a beating the last seven years and may break down even more in 2009.

I do think this argument works better when looking for players to target as values, however. Like last year, no matter how great Eddie Royal looked in the preseason, most people weren’t even going to consider him until they were about 100 picks in. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule and Royal did go a little higher than I expected in my Rotobowl draft (to a subscriber, of course), but generally speaking, if you wanted Royal, you knew he’d be there for the taking late. Two even better examples were Matt Forte and Chris Johnson. We were very high on them, but even if we somehow managed to get our message to 100% of the fantasy players out there, they still would have likely been 5th or 6th round picks, at best. People get conditioned to take certain players at certain times, and taking advantage of that fact is one of the biggest keys to winning in fantasy here in 2009.

So here are some quick examples of players who’ll be mis-priced in 2009. Most of these guys are covered in Jeff’s article, and of course in our Value and Sleeper article.


Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, and Philip Rivers – Based on last year’s numbers and this year’s outlook, they should be 2nd or 3rd round picks, but they’re not. That makes them desirable.

Jay Cutler – No one’s going to take him very early, so you don’t have to worry about that happening, unless someone’s got a major MC on Cutler.

Matt Schaub – Given his injury history, no one’s going to take too big of a leap of faith on Schaub, even though he has the potential to account for 30 TDs. So don’t worry, he’ll be there.

Carson Palmer – I’ve got some skepticism here, which is a departure from year’s past, when I was a major apologist. But the fact remains, no one’s going to take him too high.

David Garrard – I personally like him this year as a value, although the loss of Dennis Northcutt scares me. If you’re looking for a nice solid backup, do not fear because no one’s going to jump all over him.


Frank Gore – People are conditioned to take him outside of the 1st round, so he’s more attractive these days.

Reggie Bush – People are down on him, so he’ll fall a little.

Ryan Grant – Same thing here.

Derrick Ward – Unproven, so people are skeptical. However, “people” are wrong all the time.

Chris Wells – Still a value given his situation.

LenDale White – He was tied for 3rd in the NFL with 15 rushing TDs, yet he’s going later than a guy like Ray Rice? What the hell is wrong with this picture?

Jonathan Stewart – Despite stud talent, no one’s going to overpay for Stewart, and he could easily be mis-priced this year.

Darren Sproles, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Donald Brown – Intriguing backups who could easily have more value than the masses expect.

Le’Ron McClain, Jamaal Charles, Fred Taylor – More backups who could have significant value at some point this year, yet getting little love.

Believe it or not, there may not be a better example of a mis-priced RB right now than Michael Bush, who isnt even getting drafted in some leagues yet might wind up a top-30 RB.

Believe it or not, there may not be a better example of a mis-priced RB right now than Michael Bush, who isn't even getting drafted in some leagues yet might wind up a top-30 RB.

Michael Bush - Oh, baby. I’m getting a good feeling on this guy. McFadden’s not a feature back, and Fargas is pedestrian. Bush is a talented youngster with the size and power to carry the load, and he’s presumably healthier than ever. He could easily perform like a great flex player – and you can get him in the 14th round.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Earnest Graham, and Fred Jackson – Some more nice backups who are clearly capable given talent and situation of greatly exceeding their draft positions.

Tomorrow I’ll cover some WRs and TEs.

Category: Fantasy Football


21 Responses

  1. TDflacco says:

    It is ironic that John would misspell “Hemingway” when discussing the high standards of the site. At least “Houshmandzadeh” is always spelled right…

  2. mlobur says:

    Problem reaching the ‘t’? Short left index finger?

    “There’s no much in it that we haven’t covered for years and that I haven’t been preaching, but the presentation is a big different”

  3. John Hansen says:

    I don’t know whaaaaaaaaat you guys are talking about ’cause I don’t see those errors, not at all.

  4. Larry Buzzard says:

    Give ‘em hell, John…not easy getting back in the swing of things right out of vacation! I’d much rather be reading than wanting to write on the site anyway!

  5. austin says:


    I really like M.Bush this year as well and if DMac can’t stay healthy Bush could be a huge bargain. Everyone is saying that Mcfadden looks great in camp….In a ppr league do you see him catching 50 balls and being a nice flex option?

    Reggie Bush is another guy who seems to be falling even in ppr drafts. I think they’ve finally figured out how to use him and he was the #1 rb in ppr formats with only 10 rushes and 5 catches a game. I see him easily matching that number of touches and being huge in ppr if he stays healthy….Am I way off base here?

  6. Burton says:

    Can’t wait for your WRs and TEs!

  7. Scott says:

    I find what you guys are saying interesting, but it doesn’t help me really with where I should be taking these guys. Are you saying you should reach for high upside, but unproven players a round earlier than their ADP indicates they should go?

    Some of the teams I saw him draft in that article seemed horrible to me.

    1st Pick: Chris Johnson
    2nd Pick: Steve Smith
    3rd Pick: Pierre Thomas
    4th Pick: Anthony Gonzalez
    5th Pick: Aaron Rodgers
    6th Pick: Felix Jones
    7th Pick: Lee Evans
    8th Pick: Darren Sproles
    9th Pick: Chris Henry
    10th Pick: Ahmad Bradshaw

    Seems very pedestrian to me… I especially do not like taking a backup like Felix in the 6th or A. Gonz in the 4th (Gotten A Gonz. in the 6th and 7th in some yahoo mock drafts) but maybe my leagues aren’t as competitive as others which means I can steal players later in the draft.

  8. Wax Man says:

    This is my favorite blog so far. The data in the article makes a lot of sense and grabbing players when the cheat sheet tells us, seems to be the culture most of fantasy footballers have accepted. I am excited to test this theory this year in a few of my leagues.

  9. Simon says:

    How embarrassing to criticize John’s spelling when it turns out he is correct and you are wrong, TDflacco. I don’t know if you will win any FF championships this year, but you sure win the anal-retentive award.

    Great stuff, John. Keep up the good work.

  10. Manny says:

    I’m not in love with the guy, but Eli Manning is a great value. Toomer was old, and Burress was inconsistent. A full offseason with motivated skill players, should make Eli a better QB. The offense is putrid, but Eli managed a nice 2:1 ratio on TD/INTs. His numbers were surprising, improvement should be expected, a nice backup QB who could surprise.

  11. Baller says:

    I love the article. But please explain why Warner, Rivers and Rodgers are underpriced. I feel like they are priced exactly right. End of 4th round early 5th round. Even if these guys have great years, amazing years, I don’t think they’re worth 3rd round picks. I’m not even sure Drew Brees is worth an early 3rd round pick? Why? Because I can get Jay Cutler in the 8th round or Carson Palmer in the 9th. And these guys aren’t Drew Brees. Especially Warner. He had a big year, but he’s still a major risk in my view.

  12. John Hansen says:

    I’ll try to address some of this stuff tomorrow, but I did spell Ernest’s name wrong and did the typo (I fixed them). Even worse for me, since I’ve been to Hemingway’s house in Key West!

  13. Phil says:

    John for the record I enjoy reading what you write very much. Fantasy information aside, one of the reasons i enjoy this site is I like your writing style for whatever reason. The pieces you write that were off football, are good reads in my opinion. I particuarly liked the passage on Weezer (a favorite of mine) from last year.

  14. Erik says:

    Scott– You must be new here. John’s roster that you posted is loaded with game changers. Some may not have had a chance yet but if they do get it, look out. That team should be solid, and with a few breaks, could easily run away & hide from the rest of the pack.

  15. Spicoli says:

    I was waiting for somebody to pimp Mr. Bush a bit. If you don’t believe in McFadden, then you almost have to love Bush as a sleeper. He’s going way late and is a better back than Fargas. He’s got potential even with McFadden performing well. Could we envision a Bush/McFadden tandem in the same form as the Bush/P. Thomas tandem? Obviously, a poorer man’s version.

    And, John, content is 100 times more important that speling and gramar. Keep cranking it out!

  16. John Hansen says:

    Austin: I agree on Bush, he just has to stay healthy, which is no lock of course.

    Scott: To an extent, yes. It’s all about guys who should be going higher based on their potential and/or guys you can get significantly cheaper than their actual production will show. Look at it this way. If you drafted
    Chris Johnson last year in the 2nd round, people would have thought you were crazy. Yet, if you were in a draft in October, he’d be a top-15 pick overall most likely.

    Manny: He’s a value, but somethings a guy’s cheap for a reason. It’s a run-heavy offense with a very young receiving corp, plus we’ve come to the determination that Manning’s not really a guy who’s going to make his receivers look better than they are.

    Baller: I’m not saying they are undervalued per se, but desirable. For example, Brees averaged 24.3 PPG in a lights out season. Rodgers averaged 22.4 and Warner and Rivers 21.8 and 21.6. There’s only about a 3 pt difference, yet the 3 QBs come 2-3 rounds cheaper. That’s desirable.

    Spicoli: That’s a good comparison, and in fact Bush has more size and power than Thomas, so he could compliment McFadden even better. I’ve compared
    McFadden to Bush going back to last year. He needs to be a satellite player because he’s not a lead back. They may try him out as such but we don’t think
    he’ll excel in that role. On the upside, he did show some serious promise as a changeup and receiving option, thus the Bush comparison.

  17. Baller says:

    No question Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers are desirable. Great young QBs.

  18. John Hansen says:

    BTW, Phil. Check out this clip of my kid playing on stage with Weezer from last summer. He’s the last one on the right.

  19. al66888 says:

    This is a great article and look. It’s funny bc I contacted your site about something like this just about a week ago. I would like to take the information in the article and put it to use based on my leagues scoring and structure. I play in a rare league where you can start 1/3 or 2/2 for rb/wr so ADPs and other things are always off since we’re not a 2 rb must system. Our draft board never looks like the mocks since a rb and a wr are basically identical positions (also ppr). Is there anywhere on the site (and if not could you post) the pre season rankings from previous years (06-08)? That way, I can see how this works for my league basing it off our website’s history. If you could let me know the link or possibly post it, that would be appreciated. I looked in the archives, but didn’t see the ranking in there.

    And bc of differences in every league and scoring system….Let me just say, outside of the great insight, one of the best tools on your site is how you can program in your scoring system and get projections based on that and look at different sheets like grouping rb/wr/te. I can’t get that anywhere else

    And since it seems a weezer discussion has broken out as well, can’t wait to see them in Philly (camden) in late August.

  20. John Hansen says:

    I am there, Al. With Blink-182 no less. Unfortunately, each year’s projections are overwritten when fresh ones are posted.

  21. Strat says:

    I am curious as to why everyone is questionable with Slaton carrying the load, while it is assumed that MJD can carry the load. A website I just checked lists MJD at 5’7” and 208 lbs., while Slaton is listed at 5’9” and 215 lbs. Maybe MJD runs tougher, but size wise they seem very comparable. What are your thoughts on this?

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