Thursday, April 30, 2015

Final Mock Draft, 2015

Ok here it is the final mock. Just a note, i did not include trades--even though I think there will be at a few, including the 2nd overall pick, and also possibly the Packers 30th pick--so the picks represent the player who will be picked in that spot more so than the team.

1. Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2. Tennessee: Marcus Marriota, QB, Oregon
3. Jacksonville: Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida
4. Oakland: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
5. Washington: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
6. NY Jets: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
7. Chicago: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
8. Atlanta: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
9. NY Giants: Brandon Scherf, OT, Iowa
10. St. Louis: Davante Parker, WR, Louisville
11. Minnesota: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.
12. Cleveland: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
13. New Orleans: Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
14. Miami: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
15. San Francisco: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
16. Houston: Brashard Perriman, UCF
17. San Diego: D.J. Humprhies, OT, Florida
18. Kansas City, Cameron Erving, C, Florida St.
19. Cleveland: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
20. Philadelphia, Damarious Randall, S, Arizona St.
21. Cincinnati: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
22. Pittsburgh: Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
23. Detroit: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
24. Arizona: Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas
25. Carolina: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
26. Baltimore: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
27. Dallas: Kevin Johnson, CB, Washington
28. Denver: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
29. Indianapolis: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri 
30. Green Bay: Eric Rowe, CB, Utah
31. New Orleans: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St.
32. New England: Eddie Goldman, DT, Flordia St.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fantasy Football 2014: Running Backs

Never too early to start thinking about fantasy football football. The world cup is over, Kevin Love is unlikely to be traded for at least 20 days, and there is like 60 games left for most baseball teams. The lure of glory looms and the thirst for victory is insatiable. Well it is nearly August and plenty time enough to start joining leagues; surely you will not regret having an absurd amount of fantasy teams come November and you decide you want to have a life.

We start with running backs, who at one time ruled as kings over all other positions, dictating the fate of most  fantasy teams--especially those in flex leagues. Now the running back is on the steady decline; last year they were effectively eclipsed in importance by wide receivers. Will the running back rebound, or sink deeper into its ultimate demise, or pudder along nearly matching last year's low standard for achievement? Likely the latter, but with running backs there is always hope of true fantasy glory: Jamal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, and so and so on. There all always studs at running back, but finding one outside of the top five picks is always difficult, and moreover, picking one in the first round is no guarantee of success.

This year I think the best strategy is not necessarily to reach in rounds one and two (where there is the really only opportunity to land top end play makers at other positions), but look for rounds 3-6 to grab at least a couple, and hopefully have three solid RB's on your team. I think after my 16th rated running back (Zac Stacey) the crowd gets pretty dicey and relies heavily on optimism. I have Toby Gerhart ranked 17th, and while there is huge potential there, one cannot deny the inherent risk of putting faith in a completely unproven commodity. I think late in the draft there is plenty of potential for sleepers and I will get to that ahead.

THE STUDS (1. Adrian Peterson, 1. Jamal Charles, 1. Lesean McCoy, 4. Eddie Lacy, 5. Matt Forte, 6. Leveon Bell):
The first three need nothing said on their behalf, beside the fact that any one them would make a fine first overall pick and all must be picked in the top three overall. Eddie Lacy is pretty solid in the four spot, but I would still take Calvin Johnson over him. Matt Forte is not far behind lacy at all and I would not question anyone for taking him at number 5. Forte has been solid for years, is still young, and finally has a great offense to play in.  Look for his production to be similar to last years, but you should not expect the moon. Leveon Bell might be the biggest surprise here, but he fills all the requisites to be considered among the elite: past production, plays in potent offense, limited competition for carries, two way ability, evident talent, ascending. Pittsburgh may not have the best offense in the league, but they present a great opportunity for a young workhorse like bell, who gets plenty of points receiving the ball (and Pittsburgh has no options at WR outside of Antonio Brown). Injury is a minor, yet likely unnecessary concern.

OPPORTUNITY AND RISK: (7. Montee Ball, 11. Giovanni Bernard, 15. Andre Ellington, 17. Toby Gerhart, 20. Ben Tate, 22. Bishop Sankey)
The first two are pretty safe and also have the most upside in the group, but still they lack the experience of consistently carrying the load, so there is risk in taking them over top proven receivers, quarterbacks and Jimmy Graham. Andre Ellington elicits obvious parallels to a pair of colossal busts from last year, Lamar Miller and David Wilson. All three are small fast and showed huge potential as rookies before presuming number one duties in year two. We all know the story, Wilson was a huge bust before becoming injured after showing a glimmer of hope, while Miller muddled in mediocrity all season struggling to fend off Daniel Thomas for carries. But in fantasy one should not dwell on the past, but look to the future. That is why I Think Ellington is in line for a big season, even if he is small and grappled with seceding carries to inferior talent last season--but you should probably take him as your number two. Gerhart has the best opportunity to be the lead back of the bottom three here, but will Jacksonville's offense drag him down?

(8. Demarco Murray, 9. Arian Foster, 10. Alfred Morris, C.J. Spiller, 13. Marshawn Lynch, 14. Doug Martin 16. Zac Stacey, 19. Trent Richardson, 21. Rashad Jennings, 24. Ryan Matthews, 27. Steven Ridley)
A vast group thats name says a lot about them. Everyone on this list has been a legit reliable stud for at least a short period of time (Rashad Jennings barely), yet arguably everyone on this list has seen their best days already. Murray, Foster, Spiller, Martin, and Mathews are injury risks. Morris, Stacey and Richardson perhaps set too high of standards during standout rookie years. Ridley is an inconsistent fumbler in the midst of four-way time share with an unpredictable coach and Marshawn Lynch may have been exhausted in the last three years. Yet everyone on this list has the potential to exceed expectations and have career years (even Foster and Lynch, they are not that old). Which leads to....

(18. Chris Johnson, 26. Frank Gore, 28. Ray Rice, 29. Steven Jackson, 32. Knowshon Moreno, 36. Fred Jackson, 39. Maurice Jones Drew, 43. Deangelo Williams 45. Darren Mcfadden)
Most aren't worth mentioning. Chris Johnson still has plenty of potential and has been quietly steady the last two years, but he is not rushing for 2000 yards. Rice is an interesting one, because I think he could actually bounce back and the opportunity is still there. Frank Gore may start another season and finish it solidly, but he will not lead you to glory in the playoffs, so consider him accordingly.

(30. Carlos Hyde, 31. Bernard Pierce, 34. Terrance West, 35. Devontee Freeman, 37. Pierre Thomas, 38. Bryce Brown).
Actually there are not a lot of great sleepers. I like Hyde the best, because all that is standing between him and fantasy stud-dom is an aging declining Frank Gore. Devontee Freeman is just a really flashy player that I don't think necessarily needs a ton of touches to have a decent impact. Brown could come out pretty nice if Spiller and Jackson (both injury proned) get banged up.

(39. Jeremy Hill, 40. Nile Davis, 42. James Starks,  46. Christine Michael, 47. Joseph Randle, 48. Roy Helu, 49. Tre Mason


(23. Shane Vereen, 25. Reggie Bush, 33. Lamar Miller, 44. Darren Sproles, 50. Danny Woodhead)
Oddly enough a lot of pass catchers here. Their ranking reflects how much I like them.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mock Draft 2014

Ok so here is my annual mock. It is definitely a tough year to judge with uncertainty starting at the top pick in the draft. But alas we must try, so here it is:

1. Houston: Jadeaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
2. St. Louis: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
3. Jacksonville: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
4. Cleveland: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A & M
5. Oakland: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
6. Atlanta: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A & M
7. Tampa Bay: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
8. Minnesota**TRADES** Dallas: Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
9. Buffalo: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
10. Detroit: Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama
11. Tennessee: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
12. New York Giants: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
13. St Louis: Calvin Prior, S, Louisville
14. Chicago: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
15. Pittsburgh: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
16. Minnesota: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
17. Baltimore: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
18. NY Jets: Odell Beckham JR, WR, LSU
19. Miami: Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame
20. Arizona: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio St.
21. Green Bay: Marquise Lee, WR, USC
22. Philadelphia: Darqueze Denard, CB, Michigan St.
23. Kansas City: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
24. Cincinnati: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
25. San Diego: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
26. Cleveland: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.
27. New Orleans: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
28. Carolina: Jason Verret, CB, TCU
29. New England: Rashed Hage'man, DT, Minnesota
30. San Francisco: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU
31. Denver: Xavier Sua'filo, G, UCLA
32. Seattle: Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU

Thoughts and Observations:
I love Mike Evans. To me his is the third best player in the draft behind Clowney and Robinson. He has everything you want in a WR physically, but also has unparalleled ball skills. He certainly helped Manziels stock.
Not to bag on Sammy Watkins (who I think is a terrific WR prospect) but I prefer Marquise Lee as my number two WR. Yes he had a down year last year, and that is concerning, but when you watch him play he is just so, so smooth. He reminds me of Greg Jenning, but faster and better in the air. I can only hope the Packers can scoop him up.
I like Dee Ford A LOT. He is just a force rushing the passer, and I think he will provide an immediate impact.
Ha Ha Clinton Dix will be the top secondary player in the draft. His film is just really solid, he always looks good. I just like how he plays. Justin Gilbert should be getting more press than he does though, he is a really solid CB prospect.
Timmy Jernigan could be a steal if he falls because of a failed drug test. He is really a force inside. I like Louis Nix plenty as well.
Teddy Bridgewater is legit. All this pro day stuff is just ridiculous. Why is there so much more stake in his pro day, which is nothing like the NFL, as opposed to his two bowl games where he was remarkable. Bridgewater has all the skills and tape to back it up. Honestly his drop is disconcerting for how people scout QBs.
Maziel will be a bust. Obviously there are injury concerns, but that's not it for me. I never see him making progressions like a QB should. He has enough arm and is accurate enough, but he doesn't see things like a QB should. Most of his highlights should be considered low-lights, where he just scrambles around and chucks it up to Mike Evans. Great if he plays on Detroit, but that's not happening.
I prefer Shazier over Mosely. He plays faster, and injury is less of a concern. I can see Mosely falling pretty far.
Not a big Kelvin Benjamin fan. I liked Rashad Green MUCH more on FSU. Benjamin just out-talled a lot of short college CBs, he will not fare as well in the NFL.
Jimmie Ward should be a first round pick. He plays bigger than he is and is super impressive on tape. He can do everything you want in a safety.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Total QBR: a Totally Flawed Statistic

Advanced metrics in sports have recently become popular, especially in baseball, and to a lesser extent basketball--and this makes sense, these sports are played out over 162 games 82 games respectively, and many key statistics are based on finite percentages accumulated over many many games. That is why stats like WARP, WHIP, and PER, have been so successful, and, perhaps, the reason ESPN felt compelled to create this new absurd statistic, Total QBR.  But football is much different than these sports, there are but a mere 16 games in a season, it is played mostly outdoors and often in varying weather conditions (true baseball is played outdoors too, but in the summer when weather is not as significant a factor), and the stats accumulated in these games are much less consistent than in sports with structures in place that create consistency--such as the shot clock in basketball, and the number of outs in a game in baseball. Total QBR was invented by ESPN a couple of years as a so called 'improvement' to the somewhat archaic Quarterback Rating system that had long been in place. While I think that the initial quarterback rating has it's inherent flaws (mostly it overrates TD passes), it is a simple and somewhat effective tool for measuring passing numbers for a quarterback. Total QBR on the other hand takes the simplicity way out of the equation in an attempt to incorporate all of the factors that lead to a quarterbacks success, and essentially just goes way over the top. In attempting to include all of these statistics, Total QBR, actually accounts for far less consistency than if it were to focus on a smaller number of more important stats (like the original quarterback rating).  By trying to measure every part of the game, it really jumbles everything up.  .
So, what are some of the other reasons Total QBR is so dumb? For starters ESPN has yet to release the actual formula for total QBR, why is this? They have also altered the formula the last two seasons--implying they themselves can sense the flaws the system, but don't know quite how to fully correct them (I think they are in over their heads). By incorporating rushing statistics into to Total QBR, ESPN, unnecessarily over-complicates things; instead of being able to look at ones quarterback rating and also look at ones rushing statistics as separate entities that both lead to a quarterback's effectiveness, we must mush them together in a sort of unappealing casserole of a statistic. Furthermore there is no advanced statistic to measure one's rushing effectiveness for other postilions, so why does in only matter for quarterbacks? This is the reason that Total QBR was in love with 'quarterback' Tim Tebow, even though anyone who has seen him throw one of his horribly inaccurate passes would rightly know otherwise. One of my biggest qualms with Total QBR, is the the sort of 'clutch' elements that it way over-emphasizes. For some reason a quarterback who plays great in the first half and essentially has propelled their team to victory, is far less impressive that a quarterback that has not played well enough to put their team ahead but is able to ultimately win a close game by coming back in the fourth quarter. This is because of how the sports media has sensationalized the comeback like the the news media sensationalized serial killers and horrendous acts of violence. With Total QBR, ESPN gives the fan what they think they want, and not what actually makes sense.
I think that one of the ultimate conclusions when it comes to Total QBR is that it was invented for the ever-growing casual sports fan. With social media and twitter's increasing popularity, so too has sports grown in popularity, but not for those that check the box scores and read the long form articles, but rather the fans who need instant gratification. I think part of Total QBR's appeal is to the lazy fan, who just watches Sportscenter and does not take the time come through an array of statistics and create judgments for themselves, instead they rely on a simple statistic that may or may not include beard length among the various unknown factors in its formula. It seems like Total QBR is here to stay, and is becoming more and more commonplace among commentators and writers alike, which is a shame. I think ESPN's shadow is far to great to completely escape it. I just hope that people can learn to think twice when they look at Total QBR, and do the research themselves when a Tim Tebow scores better than an Aaron Rodgers.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Official Super Bowl Picks

Ok, Ok, here be my Superbowl picks:

Green Bay over Cincinnati

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fantasy Tips 2013

Ah yes, like opening a can of Zima on a hot day, fantasy football has instantly begun to refresh our dulled intellects. As summer carries on and sports seem to fade  into the nothingness of baseball everyday, we sometimes forget the greatness of football in the fall, and fantasy football which begins now. But hark, it is time, so alas I must reveal my sleepers, busts, players I like, dislike ect, and so on.  So here it is:

Players I like:

Jamaal Charles, RB: 1500 yards to go with 5.3 YPC last year on a recovered ACL, I think J-Mail might have his best season to date right in front of him.

C.J. Spiller, RB: Call me a YPC sucker, but I love the 6 yards a rush from Spiller last year, and he will only be more featured this year. The one legitimate concern is how bad the team is, but they were bad last year too.

Chris Johnson, RB: The fact that he actually came on pretty strong at the end of last year, coupled with the pick up of two stud guards should implicate a big time fantasy season for CJ2K.

Julio Jones, WR: I like Jones as much as any WR this side of Calvin Johnson. He should only improve from his all ready impressive second year.

Chris Ivory, RB: I think this is a very underrated running back, coming into a decent-to-good running situation, which should ultimately make Ivory a dependable number 2 back with upside. Downside of course is the Jets are so bad that Ivory inevitably struggles as well.

David Wilson, RB: Even if Andre Brown has a huge year for his ceiling (say 800 yards rushing and 10 TDs) that still leaves plenty of fantasy production to go around in this sure to be high powered offense.

Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, WRs: Cobb and Nelson are 1 and 2 in the most potent passing attack in football, that's enticing enough, throw in the fact they are both young and improving receivers with proven track records and you should have some solid fantasy studs (I prefer Cobb among the two)

Cecil Shorts, WR: This guy is the real deal, and only a third year pro. I see big time potential despite an undesirable QB situation.

Giovanni Bernard, RB: I see big potential here, with an injury or production setback for BJGE. But even without such I see Bernard getting solid flex production.

Shane Vereen, RB: Could easily outproduce Ridley, will be very involved in passing game. 

Players Who I like Way More Than Their ADP

Lamar Miller, RB: I think Miller is a solid number 2 with the upside of a number 1. He has talent and opportunity, which remind me of say a Doug Martin last year, or Jamaal Charles a few years ago. 
RG3, QB: I cannot believe how low he is being drafted on averages; it's downright nuts. I think he is the number 4 QB behind Rodgers, Brees and Newton, and ahead of Manning and Brady. He will come back just like AP last year, mark it down. Just a tip though, I would draft a backup because of possible injury.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: This guy just has potential out the wazoo. I see him as a Santana Moss/Desean Jackson type ready to hit his prime and in a good situation. Do not be hesitant to snag T.Y.

Jerimichael Finley, TE: With TE's as thin as they are, Finley has as much potential as anyone to finally capitalize on his great talent (he is still only 25)

Players I Dislike (Fantasy Wise)

Greg Jennings, WR: I cannot see a great year coming his way with ponder slinging ducks

Andrew Luck, QB: I just think he's being over drafted a bit.

Eric Decker, WR: Clearly going to concede catches to Welker; Demaryius Thomas will not.

Frank Gore, RB: A decline is seemingly inevitable.

Jason Witten/Vernon Davis, TEs: Don't overdraft these tight ends just because it is a weak position, you will only find disappointment.

Reggie Wayne, WR: Too old, just too old. Why invest in something with such little potential for upside?

Eddie Lacy, RB: Would be very surprised if he became a fantasy option this year. But future potential is there.

Deep Sleepers 

Jonathan Franklin, RB: Could be the leading back coming out of Green Bay, he has the talent.

Daryl Richardson, RB: Lost in the shuffle last year, was how good Richardson actually played, with opportunity, he could really surprise some people.

Julian Edelman, WR: Hoping to fill Welkers role in New England, or some semblance of it. Brady has to throw to somebody and he and Edelman actually have a pretty good repoir.

Chris Givens, WR: This guy is T.Y. Hilton-lite, but he still has huge upside in 2013 and the future.

Danario Alexander, WR: Flashed big play ability last year for a consistent stretch. Only concern is injury.

Rob Housler/Jordan Cameron, TEs: The two premier sleeper TE's. Both have big talent, with potential huge opportunity in their coaching changes.

Ed Dickson, TE: Now becomes sleeper with Pitta out for season.

Bernard Pierce, RB: Very good player stuck in a less than ideal situation.

Kendall Hunter, RB: Could finally take the reigns in San Fran this year.