Sample 2010 player preview

Granted, this is an extreme example, but here’s a benefit to not doing the print magazine this year: we no longer have space limitations. This is a hardcore example, but check out Aaron Rodgers’ massive player preview. I almost think this can be expanded, but this is nearly 1000-words, which is out of control. We’re going to have all the player previews up in early-t0-mid June. As you can see from this sample, they’re going to take a little while.

Note: This has not really been edited for grammar, spelling, etc.

Aaron Rodgers (GB, 26) – As expected, Rodgers made significant improvements in 2009 after a solid 2008, his first year the starter for Green Bay. He hit a bit of a rough patch in which his shaky OL caused him at times to lose his comfort level and mechanics, causing him to perceive pressure and break down on his own and hold on to the ball, but Rodgers worked through those issues and avoided a sophomore slump. The guy really had only 1-2 bad games all year and he proved for the second year in a row that he’s on the verge of being an elite player, although we think he’s there already. His arm strength is much better than it was coming out of college, his mobility and ability to extend plays is extremely helpful, and he’s probably the best 3rd-down QB in the NFL. He may not be a true carry-the-team QB, but he’s a very good passer who throws as good a deep ball as anyone in the league, and he has toughness to his game. His 4434 yards ranked him 4th in the league, as did his 30 TDs (4th). He threw only 7 INTs all year (11 games without a pick), and his 25.1 FPG was tops in the league in a standard scoring system. Rodgers was also the #2 QB in points per game in 2008. But it won’t be a surprise if he goes behind both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in most drafts, and in some leagues maybe even after Philip Rivers and Tom Brady. He was very good in 2008 and improved in almost every meaningful stat in 2009: completion percentage (64.7% vs. 63.6%); yards per attempt (8.2 vs. 7.5); TDs (30 vs. 28 and TD rate (5.5% vs. 5.2%); INTs (7 vs. 13) and INT rate (1.3% vs. 2.4%); and yards (4434 vs. 4038). He puts up numbers with his legs as well as his arm, leading all QBs with 5 rushing TDs and 2nd in rushing yards with 304. He’s only going into his 3rd year as a starter, so he has more room to improve than the other highly regarded QBs, and his team favors passing over running, throwing on 58% of their plays, ranking him 11th. The problem is, he got sacked 50 times – most in the league – and not only does that look bad, it can lead to injury, which makes Rodgers a riskier fantasy pick than those other QBs. But when you look at Rodgers’ splits for the first eight games vs. the last eight, his sack numbers dropped substantially, from 37 to 13, even though he threw more passes in the final eight games. When his line was healthier, his sacks dropped to a manageable number. Also, it appears the Packers were running shorter routes as the season wore on, as Rodgers YPA went down (from 8.7 to 7.8) and his completion rate went up (63.1% to 66.2%), both signs of throwing shorter passes. This did hurt his fantasy production as his yardage totals dropped by about 175 yards and his TDs by two. The team dictated that he got rid of the ball quicker, and Rodgers was able to adjust, and since then he hasn’t looked back. Not many QBs are capable of going through that and coming out better for it. If the second half of his season were extended to a whole year, he would have had 4354 passing yards and 28 TDs, still excellent totals. In that regard, there is no reason for to go lower than the 2nd QB drafted in 2010. One thing that may lower his fantasy value is a projected drop in his rushing TD total. Since 1988, QBs with five or more rushing TDs in one year averaged only 2.6 the next season. Of the 32 QB seasons in this group, only 4 times did they match or exceed 5 TDs (Daunte Culpepper and Kordell Stewart both did it twice). Ten times those QBs who had rushed for five or more TDs scored only zero or one TD the next year. However, there’s no denying the fact that Rodgers’ rushing production, even if lowered from 2009, gives him advantage over his peers for fantasy purposes. Rodgers also remained fairly healthy through most of 2009, despite taking those league-high 50 sacks. Luckily, he’ll have OTs Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher back at 100% to start the 2010 season in addition to 1st-round draft pick OT Bryan Bulaga, who is the LT of the future. His receiving corps might also be the most underrated in the league. Starting WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were both solid again in 2009, but TE Jermichael Finley broke through in a big way and enters 2010 as a legit Top-5 player at the position. In addition, guys like WRs James Jones and Jordy Nelson are able to make teams pay when there is too much focus put on the big names. Rodgers’ schedule also looks decent; it’s not incredibly easy, but it doesn’t look particularly prohibitive, either. In short, we think this guy is elite, and the Packers are a team on the rise and loaded on offense. Entering his third season as a starter, we expect Rodgers to only get better and cement his status as a top-flight fantasy QB.

Category: Fantasy Football

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17 Responses

  1. MI-5 says:

    I remember the year I drafted Steve McNair after he had something like rushing TD’s the year before and then he got none (that’s right – zero), the next year.

  2. MI-5 says:

    I remember the year I drafted Steve McNair after he had eight rushing TD’s the year before and then he got none (that’s right – zero), the next year. I went and looked it up it was the 2000 season he had none and he had 8 Rushing TD’s in 1999.

  3. Burton says:

    John, just want to plant a seed with you…
    I can’t wait for your Mr. Irrelevant article again this year, and/or the Stash and Hope article, and/or Caplan’s article for mid/late round gems(whatever that article is called). maybe a prelim article after the first two preseason game weeks and two subsequent weekly updates for the keeper-by-round folks?

  4. John Hansen says:

    Yeah, sure, shouldn’t be a problem.

  5. Burton says:

    I think you were really close (an injury away) to hitting on a number of players last year, and actually did hit on some to a degree. Bernard Scott would have been money if Benson wouldn’t have come from no where. Caplan hit on Steve Smith NYG and some others I believe. Steve Smith was a wonderful WR3 for me last year and a no brainer starter every week which is not normal, and I get to keep him two more years. Hopefully the younger talented NYG WRs don’t push him out of the #2 role?

  6. Burton says:

    And, who could forget the Sims-Walker GET THIS GUY! call you made before anyone else.

  7. Best Helmet says:

    John,

    I love reading Ron Shandler for baseball analysis. He’s to the point, and witty. I don’t have to wade through too much stuff to get the nuggets of information.

    You should learn from Shandler.

    Boasting how long your articles are doesn’t help you get new subscribers like myself. In fact, it’s a deterrent. Value your reader’s time. Make your point via insightful analysis, then move to the next player. Don’t overload the reader with run-on sentences or superfluous information.

    Take a class from a copy writer. Improve your writing skills. You’ll thank me later. And so will your subscribers.

    MJ

  8. Chris says:

    MJ, you crack me up. Not that you claim to be a great writer, but do you really need to belabor the point that much in a comment on a blog. Especially a comment about how long winded you think the author is.

  9. John Hansen says:

    Thanks Best. It’s amazing I’ve gotten this far over the last 16 years without your pearls of wisdom guiding me.

  10. stemel says:

    Keep it up John. I like the way you write. I feel like you are having a conversation with us. You provide the facts, give us your insight and ultimately we can make our own decisions. Perfect. A subscriber for 7 years.

  11. John Hansen says:

    I did mention on the top of this sample that it was not edited or proofed. And actually, I wrote about 20% of this anyway.

  12. Clark says:

    Best does have a point. John won’t win any writing awards. Who cares though, we are here to read about football, not go to English class.

  13. TitanicTitans says:

    John, dont change a thing. Not that you need my gold nuggets of wisdom :-) . Maybe his name should be Purple Helmet. Looking forward to ALL the articles as usual.

  14. Dan D says:

    Burton
    You are so right with Simms-Walker. John made me CA$$$$H. As he has most years I’ve been a member (10 plus years I think). John your not perfect but I’ll take it.

  15. Dan D says:

    Best
    I appreciate you have an opinion about Johns writing style but,what about the above article would you chage? I went back and read it again and I’m not sure what you are looking for. I don’t want to be short changed, I want to read “Guru” the way it has been written.

    Baseball guys want stuff short – cliff notes – because of so many games. I want every insite the Guru writers have.

  16. dublin says:

    He is John Hansen, not John Updike. Hansen’s writing is actually some of the best in this biz. Conversational, flows very well, interesting and informative and also entertaining. Can’t ask for more from a fantasy sports guy.

    Go back and read this article from earlier this year. This is good writing.
    http://www.fantasyguru.com/football/subscribers/articles/2-10-10lessons.php

    You think Tolstoy wrote about PPR leagues?

  17. Burton says:

    Best, there are many different people playing fantasy football that want many different types and degrees of analysis. Hansen and his site does it all. All of John’s subscribers know that the player rankings sheet has one pointed sentence on each player. You can’t get any more brief than that.

    Some of us fantasy football players actually love football too. So, some of us want to read in depth insightful analysis like this. The point is that the in depth analysis appeals to some of us, and John and his site provide many varied levels of analysis in different places to appeal to everyone.

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