Thursday, July 31, 2014

Better Tackling Means Fewer Fumbles?

I watched the tackling instructional video released recently by Head Coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks staff.

In general, they advocate shoulder tackling using leverage and then wrapping up--avoiding head contact as much as possible

This is patterned after rugby techniques.

I commend Coach Carroll for this approach, and have wondered for years why the NFL got away from traditional tackling.

Too often, players tuck their arms and lead with their heads. This style results in so many missed tackles due to players launching themselves like a missile and going for the big hit.

Obviously, it has also caused enormous player safety issues--long and short term.

But will this change in philosophy catch on at the professional level?

I hate the "head and missile" technique, but when that helmet does hit the football being held by a ball carrier, it will cause fumbles.

Fumbles that can be game-changers and lead to victories.

The Seahawks were a great defense in 2013, but they were only tied for 10th in fumbles recovered with 11.

Will there be fewer fumbles as safer tackling is employed league-wide?

I believe so, but a better question is: Will coaches and players sacrifice their short-term success (winning games, individual accolades, financial rewards, etc.) for the long-term benefits that shoulder tackling offers?

We shall see.

You can go to the Seattle Seahawks' site here to watch the video.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Need One New Fantasy Football Owner for League

Want to join a fantasy football league?

Try mine!

I have one opening for the upcoming season.

We have a great bunch of established owners including Chuck from Incessant Ramblings, Pat Hatt of It's Rhyme Time , and Lisa of the Mommy's Nest.

This is the league's fourth season, we play for free as in fun/bragging rights, and use

Never played before?

That is ok too--we welcome players at any experience level.

If you are interested or have questions, just send an email to or holler at me on Twitter at: slamdunktrove .

Note: More about the league: it is 10 teams, redraft, standard scoring, and standard lineups. The one exception is instead of the traditional 2 running backs and 3 receivers in the starting lineup, we use 2 running backs, 2 receivers and one flex player (who can either be another running back or receiver). 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fantasy Projections for Two Cincinnati Bengals

This week, FantasyPros carried an article by Evan Silva of Rotoworld on players to avoid early and/or all together in fantasy football 2014.

Two observations:


Silva said that QB Dalton finished 3rd in fantasy QB scoring last year. That is a mistake in that Dalton did not finish 3rd, but I was still surprised to find that Dalton finished 5th overall. A new offensive coordinator, lots of pressure to perform, and stats that seemed to be inflated at the end of the year by the atypical pass-pass-pass offense would all seem to support Silva's claim that Dalton will not be as effective in 2014.


Staying with the Bengals, Silva sees Bernard as overvalued in the second round of most drafts. He supports his arguments with Bernard's limited 14 touch average last year, and that the team drafted competition in the second round with RB Jeremy Hill. Silva sees Hill as more of a touchdown threat and Bernard not worthy of the high pick that should give you RB1 numbers.

Silva's arguments are valid, but I counter:
  • As a rookie, Bernard's coaches were trying to limit his touches per game so that he could remain healthy; they will likely be more apt to let him play this year

  • As Bernard became more comfortable with the playbook and decision-making, he became more involved in the offense--a trend supported by his second-half of the season targets per game

  • New Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson will implement a run first attack; which should translate into more carries for RBs. Also, I can't think of a roster without competition at RB. General Managers are smart enough to know that having multiple RBs that can be trusted by coaches is a necessity in today's NFL

  • Silva focuses on the 14 touch average for Bernard per game, but his average over the final 8 games was actually 16 touches and 17 targets. This allowed for more production late

  • He also speculates that RB Hill will steal goal-line touches as the heavier back. I need more evidence of this before buying it. As a rookie, Hill will have lots to learn and prove.  And if this is true, it will be something we should see from reports in training camp and in the preseason games. And just because Bernard is short (5'8'') does not necessarily mean he is a small back. At 208 lbs., Bernard is the same weight as LeSean McCoy and is 10 lbs. heavier than Jamaal Charles--two backs with similar skills sets who are not removed from the game when their team is on the goal line 

There is no debate that Giovani Bernard is a talented athlete who can produce, but I think the new run-focused offense, Bernard's experience as a second-year player, and Bernard's versatility in the run and pass game will translate into an excellent 2014 fantasy season.

Evidently, I am not alone.

Posted to Silva's home site Rotoworld, Paul Dehner, Jr. projects Bernard to have at least 230 carries and 70 catches.

The arguments in Evan Silva's article are well supported and you can read it by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Opportunities: Seahawks Offense and Darren Sproles

I listened to Sigmund Bloom and Matt Waldman's recent podcast (7/17/2014), and here are two relevant points discussed:

Seahawks O
By the numbers, the Seahawks offense in 2013 was more balanced than most want to admit. QB Russell Wilson showed maturity despite not having his full compliment of WR weapons last year. Waldman expects Wilson to improve and sees fantasy value, not only in the second-year signal caller, but in WRs Harvin and Rice as well.

The Eagles RB Darren Sproles represents an excellent value pick at his current draft position (ADP #85 at They remind us that Coach Chip Kelly aggressively pursued Sproles in the off-season, and though it seems like he faces lots of competition for touches in Philly, the veteran has always made the most of his opportunities when he has the ball. Waldman argues that Kelly certainly has a plan for Sproles, and that bargain price, Sproles should be on your fantasy radar.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On FantasyPros Draft Wizard

Note: I am in no way compensated for the opinions expressed below.

I gave FantasyPros Draft Wizard a try tonight and was impressed.

To prepare for upcoming fantasy seasons, I'll use's mock draft tool and go against human and computer opponents--changing my selection spot to develop strategies for drafting from the beginning, middle, and end.

But I wanted to see what FantasyPros offered.

The Draft Wizard's start-up menu is easy to use, and the free basic service allows the individual to set the number of teams, the lineup requirements, scoring system, and where you pick.

Since their mock drafts have you compete against automated opponents, the drafting is fast.

I completed a full 15 round and 10 team draft in less than 10 minutes--certainly an advantage as compared to waiting (and waiting and waiting...) for other humans to choose.

My favorite option though is the evaluation tool. Once finished, the program will analyze your starters, bench, and overall team and then compare your projected points versus the other computer controlled teams.

In rating my mock draft (10 teams and picking from #3), Draft Wizard loved my starters, but believed I drafted poorly in terms of my substitutes.

Evidently, the system thought I took too many flyers once my starting lineup was secured.

One person's trash, another's treasure, right?

Upgrading to the "pro feature" allows access to more analytical tools and advice, and once the draft is completed, the system will allow you to back-up at any point in the draft, change your pick, and then finished a revised draft.

Overall, I'd recommend the Draft Wizard as a complimentary tool in developing your draft strategy. The program is fast, easy to use, and helpful in identifying what works best in the different scenarios.

I don't think Draft Wizard should replace or whatever site you prefer for mock drafting with humans.

Yes, other people can be annoying, but the unpredictable nature of fantasy football makes practice drafts alongside Bubba in Atlanta, Sarah in NYC, or Robbie in some sparsely populated desert town necessary to best prepare you for the real life confusion--better known as your league's draft day.

You can try FantasyPros Draft Wizard by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chris Johnson or Bishop Sankey?

If I am looking for a RB in the fifth round of a 10 team draft (standard scoring with a flex player), should I select Chris Johnson or Bishop Sankey?

Initially with my mock draft practicing, I was going with Sankey of the Titans (#47 overall on

He was the first RB selected in this year's NFL draft; certainly a great resume and impressive skills.

With Tennessee, Sankey should be able to immediately win the starting job, and get lots of touches this year as free agent RB Dexter McCluster is more of a specialist and RB Shonn Greene is recovering from a knee injury and a less than impressive season in 2013.

But what about former Titan and now Jets starter Chris Johnson (#49 overall on

Expert Tom Kessinich was recently a guest on Sigmund Bloom's fantasy football podcast and argued Johnson over Sankey.

His reasoning was:
  • Johnson has proven that he can excel at the highest level while Sankey has not

  • Sankey had a heavy workload in his last two years of college, and that Kessinich was not that impressed with what he displayed on the field

  • Johnson produced with some terrible Titans' offenses and is very motivated to show his talents

  • Johnson's new coach is committed to the running game and their is more talent on offense in New York

In contrast to those arguments, I think it is reasonable to question Johnson as a potential declining star--those great RBs seem to fall so quickly and his last few years with the Titans certainly leave question marks.

I am not sold on Johnson yet, but Kessinich's points are valid.

I always like to watch the reports out of training camp to help me finalize my drafting decisions, and I'll keep a close eye on these two so that I can make an educated decision on which will be the better performer this year.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fantasy Outlook for C.J. Spiller

If you are looking for a great value pick in the 4th round or so (10 team draft), consider RB C.J. Spiller of the Bills. has him ranked at #39 and has him at #40--meaning that you can still select three solids before grabbing Spiller.

For those like me who drafted Spiller in the Top 10 last year only to watch him suffer through an injury plagued season, he is still the same explosive runner that he was in 2012, but with an off-season to heal his ankle.

An ESPN writer makes the valid point that Bills' RB Fred Jackson had a big workload in 2013, and the team acquired Bryce Brown as well, but I see just about every other team in the current NFL stockpiling RB options.

And Jackson got a lot of work especially in games where Spiller was injured. Spiller repeatedly would find openings, but lacked explosion and too many times would come up limping--meaning that Jackson's number was being called much more than planned.

Another reason to like Spiller?

Buffalo loves to run the ball, and he is in the final year of his contract.

The Bills finished 5th in the league last season in rushing attempts--only 13 attempts behind the second ranked team in Miami. This is quite an accomplishment considering the subpar quarterback play last season which prevented the passing game from helping them run the ball much at all.

I expect the Bills' offense to be better, they will continue to emphasize a ground attack featuring RBs, and Spiller is in a contract year. He will have extra incentive to show off his excellent speed, quickness, and remind people that he can catch the ball as well.

I believe Spiller could post big numbers again in 2014.

I recommend grabbing him in the 4th round if available.