Thursday, August 21, 2014

Keep Three Quarterbacks

I hope most teams have learned their lesson about rolling the dice and keeping only two quarterbacks on a roster.

An article by Mike Wilkening on ProFootballTalk discussed the Packers coaches struggling with that decision: keep two or three signal callers?

And they should know the seriousness of that call.

Last year, the Packers season suffered a serious blow when Aaron Rodgers was hurt and missed several games.

The backup situation was made worse in that none of the three training camp QBs were on the opening day roster.

Management was then scrambling in trying to solidify that position--and as expected, it did not turn out so well for Green Bay.

If it were me, I would find an approach to keep three QBs. Be creative and identify someone else who can do two things and strengthen the roster that way.

I think the NFL could help as well, and offer some sort of extra QB roster slot that does not count against the standard number. It could be a developmental QB or whatever, but at least it would improve the play on the field for fans--ones that will be shaking their heads if a QB goes down.

Just have three at your disposal.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Take Jimmy Graham with Your First Pick?

For the past few seasons, I have been all in on Saints TE Jimmy Graham.

He has been a touchdown machine and worthy of a high fantasy draft pick.

And he should flourish in getting off the ball better with the new stricter enforcement about defensive contact--the rule that tries to keep defensive backs from touching receivers outside of the designated zones.

But still this year, I am worried.

The going rate for him is late first round or #8 overall at

Which means by selecting Graham, I'd likely be passing up elite running backs like Ball, Foster, and Murray. And depending on the draft order, I'd also risk missing out on the top WRs and perhaps QBs as well.

It just seems like that there is a model now to neutralize him, and defensive coordinators have had all of the off-season to study it.

The Patriots put Talib on him all game and Jimmy totaled zero catches.

Graham did have a touchdown against Seattle in the regular season game last year, but he was limited to 3 catches for 40 or so yards and was not a key contributor.

The playoff game against the Seahawks featured a Seattle defense that completely prevented Graham from helping his team.

It is tough for me to block the memory of those performances.

Now, Graham should be the #1 TE considered in fantasy drafts and everyone expects him to grab balls and cross the goal line regularly, but I struggle with the price: that late first round pick.

I will be comfortable letting someone else select him at #8, and then waiting until the mid-rounds or later for a TE.

I'll have to wait and see if my concern over Graham was accurate or misguided.

Such is the life of a fantasy owner.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

When to Draft a Tight End

When should you draft a tight end in your fantasy football standard scoring league?

Lately, I have been reading and listening to lots of the experts talk draft strategy.

With TEs, everyone likes Jimmy Graham, but some favor Rob Gronkowski and expect him to regain his previous superstar form, while still other experts recommend Broncos end Julius Thomas as the one to target--that another year working with Peyton Manning, combined with his value at the overall ranking of #42 , are too appealing to pass on.

Whichever TE that you think will be best this season, one draft strategy prevails among the experts.

It is a two-pronged approach where you either:

  1. Draft Graham, Gronk, or Thomas early and be happy that the other owners in your league will be taking more risks on what is left, or

  2. Wait… then wait…. then wait some more… Finally grab a couple of the tight ends from the pile that is left like: Washington's Jordan Reed, Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings, or Chicago TE Martellus Bennett.

Though more risky, the latter option still has potential.

I loved watching Reed play last year. Good hands and gets open. The scare with him is injuries.

An argument can also be made for Rudolph's success in that the new Offensive Coordinator is Norv Turner--a coach whose style often features the TE.  Turner's work last season in Cleveland was very good for their end Jordan Cameron, and already considered a trustworthy receiver, Rudolph could be a regular target this year in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Bennett performed well last year, and the Bears offense may be one of the best in the league this season.

So, if you waited to draft a TE, no worries;  just select one like the three mentioned above, and then add depth with someone like the old reliable Heath Miller of the Steelers or popular sleeper pick Colts' Dwayne Allen.

I have been mock drafting experimenting with both parts of the approach--either prioritize a TE very early or waiting until late--and have been happy with my finished roster.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dream Another Dream

I was sad to learn that Giants' running back David Wilson is leaving his career in the NFL.

Doctors advised him to stop playing football last week after feeling discomfort in his neck.

We all want to be able to call our own shots.

Walk away from a career, a job, a competitive field, or whatever we love on our own terms.

Walk away when we are ready.

David did not get that opportunity.

He will always have to battle the "what ifs" in terms of how much success the talented former #1 draft pick would have had playing professional ball.

The "what ifs" that each of us deal with in considering roads not taken during our lives.

One consolation that may not feel like one now, but should be viewed with much more clarity as time plods along is this: David is walking away.

He got to play football at the highest level, and has his health.  He said: "...Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too."

Great attitude David, and thanks for providing a positive example of how to deal with life's obstacles.