Jul 22, 2009
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.
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.