Blogs > N-H Fantasy Sports

News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 fantasy football rankings: Wide receivers and tight ends

Sidney Rice's hip injury is a significant one for fantasy owners, since it damages the fantasy value of the indecisive one (Brett Favre), while increasing the statures of Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe. (As an aside: Was anyone else surprised ESPN didn't have a reporter speculate that Favre was wavering on his commitment to the Vikes after the Rice news broke?)

Rice said he aims to be back by midseason following surgery this week, but he also revealed the ailment could have been career-threatening.

What to do? I'd draft him as a No. 4 receiver, hope he plays by Week 9 or 10 and resembles anything close to the player who had 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

On to the final rankings of the preseason.


Rank, player, team GP-Rec-Yds-Avg-TD

1. Andre Johnson, Hou 16-101-1,569-15.5-9
2. Randy Moss, NE 16-83-1,264-15.2-13
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari 16-97-1,092-11.3-13
4. Reggie Wayne, Ind 16-100-1,264-12.6-10
5. Miles Austin, Dal 16-81-1,320-16.3-11
6. Roddy White, Atl 16-85-1,153-13.6-11
7. Brandon Marshall, Mia 15-101-1,120-11.1-10
8. DeSean Jackson, Phi 15-62-1,156-18.6-9
9. Steve Smith, Car 15-65-982-15.1-7
10. Calvin Johnson, Det 14-67-984-14.7-5
11. Steve Smith, NYG 16-107-1,220-11.4-7
12. Greg Jennings, GB 16-68-1,113-16.4-4
13. Marques Colston, NO 16-70-1,074-15.3-9
14. Anquan Boldin, Bal 15-84-1,024-12.2-4
15. Hines Ward, Pit 16-95-1,167-12.3-6
16. Chad Ochocinco, Cin 16-72-1,047-14.5-9
17. Michael Crabtree, SF 11-48-625-13.0-2
18. Mike Sims-Walker, Jac 15-63-869-13.8-7
19. Wes Welker, NE 14-123-1,348-11.0-4
20. Donald Driver, GB 16-70-1,061-15.2-6
21. Mike Wallace, Pit 16-39-756-19.4-6
22. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Sea 16-79-911-11.5-3
23. Dwayne Bowe, KC 11-47-589-12.5-4
24. Jeremy Maclin, Phi 15-56-773-13.8-4
25. Vincent Jackson, SD 15-68-1,167-17.2-9
26. Steve Breaston, Ari 15-55-712-12.9-3
27. Hakeem Nicks, NYG 14-47-790-16.8-6
28. Santana Moss, Was 16-70-902-12.9-3
29. Santonio Holmes, NYJ 16-79-1,248-15.8-5
30. Pierre Garcon, Ind 14-47-765-16.3-4
31. Percy Harvin, Min 15-60-790-13.2-6
32. Braylon Edwards, NYJ 16-45-680-15.1-4
33. Lee Evans, Buf 16-44-612-13.9-7
34. Bernard Berrian, Min 16-55-618-11.2-4
35. Robert Meachem, NO 16-45-722-16.0-9
36. Terrell Owens, Cin 16-55-829-15.1-5
37. Derrick Mason, Bal 16-73-1,028-14.1-7
38. Johnny Knox, Chi 15-45-527-11.7-5
39. Malcom Floyd, SD 16-45-776-17.2-1
40. Eddie Royal, Den 14-37-345-9.3-0
41. Mohamed Massaquoi, Cle 16-34-624-18.4-3
42. x-Anthony Gonzalez, Ind 16-57-664-11.6-4
43. Dez Bryant, Dal ROOKIE
44. Sidney Rice, Min 16-83-1,312-15.8-8
45. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ 14-57-821-14.4-3
46. Kevin Walter, Hou 14-53-611-11.5-2
47. Nate Burleson, Det 13-63-812-12.9-3
48. Austin Collie, Ind 16-60-676-11.3-7
49. Chaz Schillens, Oak 8-29-365-12.6-2
50. Josh Morgan, SF 16-52-527-10.1-3
51. Chris Chambers, KC 16-45-730-16.2-5
52. Donnie Avery, StL 16-47-589-12.5-5
53. Early Doucet, Ari 9-17-214-12.6-1
54. Devin Aromashodu, Chi 10-24-298-12.4-4
55. Kenny Britt, Ten 16-42-701-16.7-3
56. Devery Henderson, NO 16-51-804-15.8-2
57. Mario Manningham, NYG 14-57-822-14.4-5
58. Devin Hester, Chi 13-57-757-13.3-3
59. Roy Williams, Dal 15-38-596-15.7-7
60. Legedu Naanee, SD 15-24-242-10.1-2
x-2008 statistics (injured in 2009).


In the last two seasons, the Texans' Johnson has averaged 108 catches for 1,572 yards and 8.5 touchdowns. ... Fitzgerald has a sprained MCL but plans to be ready for the season opener. ... In the last three seasons, Marshall has averaged 102 receptions for 1,237 yards and 7.7 TDs. ... The Falcons' White has posted at least 83 catches for 1,153 yards or more in each of the last three seasons. ... Last year, the Panthers' Smith recorded his lowest yardage total since 2004. ... The Packers' Jennings had a combined 21 TDs in 2007 and '08, but was held to four scores last season. ... The Packers' Driver has six consecutive seasons with at least 70 receptions for 1,012 yards. ... The Chargers' Jackson will be suspended for the first three games and is in a contract dispute. He's a risky pick. ... Welker, who seems to have made a remarkable recovery from a severe knee injury, has recorded 111 receptions or more and 1,165 yards or better in each of the last three seasons. ... The Jets' Holmes will be suspended for the first four games. ... A possible sleeper: The Bears' Aromashodu, who had 22 catches for 282 yards and four TDs in the final four games last season.


Rank, player, team GP-Rec-Yds-Avg-TD
1. Dallas Clark, Ind 16-100-1,106-11.1-10
2. Antonio Gates, SD 16-79-1,157-14.6-8
3. Brent Celek, Phi 16-76-971-12.8-8
4. Vernon Davis, SF 16-78-965-12.4-13
5. Jason Witten, Dal 16-94-1,030-11.0-2
6. Tony Gonzalez, Atl 16-83-867-10.4-6
7. Jermichael Finley, GB 13-55-676-12.3-5
8. Chris Cooley, Was 7-29-332-11.4-2
9. Kellen Winslow Jr., TB 16-77-884-11.5-5
10. Visanthe Shiancoe, Min 16-56-566-10.1-11
11. Owen Daniels, Hou 8-40-519-13.0-5
12. Heath Miller, Pit 16-76-789-10.4-6
13. Zach Miller, Oak 15-66-805-12.2-3
14. John Carlson, Sea 16-51-574-11.3-7
15. Greg Olsen, Chi 16-60-612-10.2-8
16. Jeremy Shockey, NO 13-48-569-11.9-3
17. Kevin Boss, NYG 15-42-567-13.5-5
18. Dustin Keller, NYJ 16-45-522-11.6-2
19. Marcedes Lewis, Jac 15-32-518-16.2-2
20. Todd Heap, Bal 16-53-593-11.2-6
21. Ben Watson, Cle 16-29-404-13.9-5
22. Bo Scaife, Ten 14-45-440-9.8-1
23. Anthony Fasano, Mia 14-31-339-10.9-2
24. Brandon Pettigrew, Det 11-30-346-11.5-2
Note: Statistics are from the 2009 season.


Gates has scored at least eight touchdowns in six consecutive seasons and has had 71 catches or more in five of the six years. ... The 34-year-old Gonzalez had his fewest yards since 2002, but still has seven straight seasons with at least 71 catches for 867 yards. ... Witten has only 13 TDs in the last three years, but he's averaged 90 catches for 1,042 yards in that span. ... The Texans' Daniels is coming off ACL surgery, but should play in Week 1. ... Winslow has 16 TDs in 60 career games. ... Shiancoe has 18 TDs in the last two years and will be counted on heavily with Sidney Rice out. ... The Steelers' Miller could be a late-round steal after posting career highs in receptions and yards last season. ... In the last three years, Shockey has six TDs in 39 games.


-- Quarterbacks

-- Defenses and special teams

-- Kickers

-- Complete player rankings

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010 fantasy football rankings: Running backs

Before we get to the rankings for what used to be the slam-dunk, no-doubt, Gus Johnson-emphatic position for your first-round pick, here are a few more leftover numbers from the analysis we did on the increased importance of quarterbacks and receivers in point-per-reception leagues:

-- There were 15 1,000-yard rushers last season, down only one from the year before, but eight below the total for 2006. From 2000 to '09, there were, on average, 18 1,000-yard backs.

-- More importantly, there were just three backs who ran for at least 1,400 yards in 2009, compared to six in 2006, eight in 2005, six in '04 and nine in '03. Last season's total marked the second-fewest 1,400-yard rushers of the decade.

On to the rankings ...

Rank, player, team GP-Yds-TD-Rec-Yds-TD

1. Chris Johnson, Ten 16-2,006-14-50-503-2
2. Adrian Peterson, Min 16-1,383-18-43-436-0
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac 16-1,391-15-53-374-1
4. Ray Rice, Bal 16-1,339-7-78-702-1
5. Frank Gore, SF 14-1,120-10-52-406-3
6. Steven Jackson, StL 14-1,120-10-52-406-3
7. DeAngelo Williams, Car 13-1,117-7-29-252-0
8. Michael Turner, Atl 11-871-10-5-35-0
9. Rashard Mendenhall, Pit 16-1,108-7-25-261-1
10. Ryan Grant, GB 16-1,253-11-25-197-0
11. Cedric Benson, Cin 13-1,251-6-17-111-0
12. Shonn Greene, NYJ 14-540-2-0-0-0
13. Ryan Mathews, SD ROOKIE
14. Knowshon Moreno, Den 16-947-7-28-213-2
15. Beanie Wells, Ari 16-793-7-12-143-0
16. LeSean McCoy, Phi 16-637-4-40-308-0
17. Jamaal Charles, KC 15-1,120-7-40-297-1
18. Pierre Thomas, NO 14-793-6-39-302-2
19. Jonathan Stewart, Car 16-1,133-10-18-139-1
20. Joseph Addai, Ind 15-828-10-51-336-3
21. Matt Forte, Chi 16-929-4-57-471-0
22. Ronnie Brown, Mia 9-648-8-14-98-0
23. Felix Jones, Dal 14-685-3-19-119-0
24. Ricky Williams, Mia 16-1,121-11-35-264-2
25. Jerome Harrison, Cle 14-862-5-34-220-2
26. Brandon Jacobs, NYG 15-835-5-18-184-1
27. Reggie Bush, NO 14-390-5-47-335-3
28. Marion Barber, Dal 15-932-7-26-221-0
29. Clinton Portis, Was 8-494-1-9-57-1
30. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG 15-778-7-21-207-0
31. Justin Forsett, Sea 16-619-4-41-350-1
32. Fred Jackson, Buf 16-1,062-2-46-371-2
33. Darren McFadden, Oak 12-357-1-21-245-0
34. Thomas Jones, KC 16-1,402-14-10-58-0
35. Steve Slaton, Hou 11-437-3-44-417-4
36. C.J. Spiller, Buf ROOKIE
37. Jahvid Best, Det ROOKIE
38. Cadillac Williams, TB 16-823-4-28-217-3
39. Arian Foster, Hou 6-257-3-8-93-0
40. Donald Brown, Ind 11-281-3-11-169-0
41. Michael Bush, Oak 16-589-3-17-105-0
42. Laurence Maroney, NE 15-757-9-14-99-0
43. Tim Hightower, Ari 16-598-8-63-428-0
44. Chester Taylor, Chi 16-338-1-44-389-1
45. Montario Hardesty, Cle ROOKIE
46. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ 14-730-12-20-154-0
47. Kevin Smith, Det 13-747-4-41-415-1
48. Julius Jones, Sea 14-663-2-35-232-2
49. Darren Sproles, SD 16-343-3-45-497-4
50. Correll Buckhalter, Den 14-642-1-31-240-0
51. Willis McGahee, Bal 16-544-12-15-85-2
52. Derrick Ward, TB 14-409-1-20-150-2
53. Brandon Jackson, GB 12-111-2-21-187-1
54. Marshawn Lynch, Buf 13-450-2-28-179-0
55. Bernard Scott, Cin 13-321-0-5-67-0
56. Mike Bell, Phi 13-654-5-4-12-0
57. Dexter McCluster, KC ROOKIE
58. Rashad Jennings, Jac 15-202-1-16-101-0
59. Jason Snelling, Atl 14-613-4-30-259-1
60. Leon Washington, Sea 7-331-0-15-131-0
Note: Statistics are from the 2009 season.


The Titans' Johnson has a combined 26 touchdowns and 93 receptions in his first two NFL seasons. ... Peterson set career highs in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards last season. ... In the last two years, Jones-Drew has 115 catches, and he has averaged 13.5 TDs in his four-year career. ... Gore has a combined 209 catches the last four seasons. ... The Rams' Jackson isn't nearly as much of an asset in TD-heavy scoring formats. He has 18 the last three years. ... Turner isn't as much of an asset in PPR leagues. He has 22 receptions in six seasons. ... Benson has only 18 TDs in five years. ... The Broncos' Moreno has missed the preseason with a hamstring injury but hopes to be ready for Week 1. ... The Chiefs' Charles ran for 968 yards and seven TDs and caught 23 passes in his final eight games last year. His reward: Kansas City signed Thomas Jones to start. ... Addai has rushed for all of 1,372 yards the last two years. ... Forte was a bust last season after a huge rookie year (2008). ... In his two-year career, the Cowboys' Jones has averaged 6.5 yards per carry on 146 attempts. ... The Browns' Harrison ran for 561 yards and five TDs in the final three contests of 2009. ... Bush, who is entering his fifth season, has yet to hit the 2,000-yard mark for his career.


-- Quarterbacks

-- Defenses and special teams

-- Kickers

-- Complete player rankings

Coming Wednesday:
Wide receivers and tight ends

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 fantasy football rankings: Quarterbacks

Last season was the year of the quarterback, leaving many of us to question our past belief that you don't take a passer in the top half of the first round -- or in my case, never in the opening round.

As we wrote in our preview column, a record 10 quarterbacks had at least 4,000 yards passing in 2009, and 17 finished with more than 3,500 yards. A dozen QBs had at least 25 touchdown tosses, also an all-time mark, and 18 had 20 TDs or more.

From 2000 to 2008, the average was four 4,000-yard passers, nine 3,500-yard passers, six QBs with 25-plus TDs and 11.6 with 20-plus scores.

Does that mean you take Drew Brees in the overall top five? I wouldn't, but I would take him at No. 6 in leagues in which you get six points for a TD pass, and I might even select him in that spot in the formats in which TD throws are four points.

With that in mind, here are our top 24 QBs, with more numbers to follow after the rankings.

Rank, player, team GP-Yds-TD-Int-Rush yds-TD
1. Drew Brees, NO 15-4,388-34-11-33-2
2. Aaron Rodgers, GB 16-4,434-30-7-316-5
3. Peyton Manning, Ind 16-4,500-33-16-(-13)-0
4. Tom Brady, NE 16-4,398-28-13-44-1
5. Philip Rivers, SD 16-4,254-28-9-50-1
6. Matt Schaub, Hou 16-4,770-29-15-57-0
7. Tony Romo, Dal 16-4,483-26-9-105-1
8. Kevin Kolb, Phi 5-741-4-3-(-1)-1
9. Brett Favre, Min 16-4,202-33-7-7-0
10. Eli Manning, NYG 16-4,021-27-14-65-0
11. Joe Flacco, Bal 16-3,613-21-12-56-0
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Pit 15-4,328-26-12-82-2
13. Jay Cutler, Chi 16-3,666-27-26-173-1
14. Matt Ryan, Atl 14-2,916-22-14-49-1
15. Donovan McNabb, Was 14-3,553-22-10-140-2
16. Carson Palmer, Cin 16-3,094-21-13-93-3
17. Chad Henne, Mia 14-2,878-12-14-32-1
18. Matt Cassel, KC 15-2,924-16-16-189-0
19. Matthew Stafford, Det 10-2,267-13-20-108-2
20. Matt Hasselbeck, Sea 14-3,029-17-17-119-0
21. David Garrard, Jac 16-3,597-15-10-323-3
22. Vince Young, Ten 12-1,879-10-7-281-2
23. Matt Leinart, Ari 8-435-0-3-(-6)-0
24. Kyle Orton, Den 16-3,802-21-12-71-0
NOTE: Statistics are from the 2009 season.


Brees has thrown for at least 4,388 yards in each of the last four seasons, and he's averaged 30.5 TD passes in that span. ... In the last two years, Rodgers has accounted for 67 scores (58 passing and nine rushing). ... Manning has thrown for at least 3,739 yards and 26 touchdowns in each of his 12 NFL seasons. ... In Weeks 2 and 3 last season, Kolb played for an injured McNabb and threw for 718 yards and four touchdowns, and he rushed for a score. ... In 2009, Favre had a career high in TDs and recorded his lowest interception total. ... The Steelers’ Roethlisberger will be suspended for at least the first four games of the season.


-- Kicker rankings

-- Defense and special teams rankings

-- All player rankings

Later this week: We'll preview the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

2010 fantasy football rankings: Defenses and special teams

Let's get you linked in before we get to the second of our six blogs previewing the fantasy football season.

-- For the preview column on the increased importance of quarterbacks and wide receivers, along with a breakdown of the first round for PPR leagues, click here.

-- Here is our complete list of rankings for 2010.

-- Finally, our breakdown of the -- please hold your excitement -- kickers.

-- Check back early this week for analysis and rankings for the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

Rank, team Points-Yards-TD-Sacks-TO
1. Jets 14.8-252.3-4-32-31
2. Packers 18.6-284.4-4-37-40
3. Steelers 20.3-305.3-3-47-22
4. Cowboys 15.6-315.9-3-42-21
5. Eagles 21.1-321.1-6-44-38
6. Ravens 16.3-300.5-4-32-32
7. Vikings 19.5-305.5-3-48-24
8. Bengals 18.2-301.4-4-34-25
9. Saints 21.3-357.8-9-35-39
10. Giants 26.7-324.9-4-32-24
11. 49ers 17.6-326.4-4-44-33
12. Patriots 17.8-320.2-3-31-28
13. Chargers 20.0-326.9-5-35-25
14. Colts 19.2-339.2-3-34-26
15. Bears 23.4-337.8-3-35-28
16. Broncos 20.3-315.0-4-39-30
17. Texans 20.8-324.9-4-30-27
18. Cardinals 20.3-346.4-3-43-29
19. Browns 23.4-389.3-4-40-19
20. Falcons 20.3-348.9-3-28-28
21. Dolphins 24.4-349.3-4-44-21
22. Bills 20.4-340.6-2-32-33
23. Panthers 19.3-315.8-1-31-37
24. Redskins 21.0-319.7-0-40-17

NOTE: Points and yards allowed are per-game averages. TD totals are combined defensive and special-team touchdowns. TO is turnovers forced. ... Statistics are from the 2009 season. ... If you're in a league in which points are awarded for safeties, only eight of the top 24 defenses recorded one last season. The Eagles, Panthers and Texans each had two, and the Bears, Browns, Chargers, Packers and Vikings each had one.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 fantasy football rankings: Kickers

We'll begin the first of our six position breakdowns by going in reverse order of importance.

Ladies and gentlemen: The kickers. The players you wait until the final round to select -- unless you're That Guy who thinks he's being clever by picking Stephen Gostkowski in the 10th round or That Guy who drafts two kickers because you're too cheap to spend a buck on another kicker when your No. 1 has his bye week.

This weekend, we'll rank the top defenses and special teams in this space, and next week we analyze the top quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends -- aka The Ones You Care About. In Saturday's print editions and online, we'll have our complete rankings and a column about the evolution of PPR leagues and the reduced importance of running backs.

On to the kickers. Remember these guys in Round 16.

Rank, player, team FG 19-39 40-49 50+ Pts
1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE 26-31 19-20 5-8 2-3 125
2. Nate Kaeding, SD 32-35 23-23 6-8 3-4 146
3. Ryan Longwell, Min 26-28 16-17 8-9 2-2 132
4. David Akers, Phi 32-37 20-21 11-13 1-3 139
5. Mason Crosby, GB 27-36 21-23 4-7 2-6 129
6. Rob Bironas, Ten 27-32 12-14 10-12 5-6 118
7. Garrett Hartley, NO 9-11 9-10 0-0 0-1 37
8. Jeff Reed, Pit 27-31 23-24 4-5 0-2 122
9. Lawrence Tynes, NYG 27-32 21-25 5-6 1-1 126
10. Jay Feely, Ari 30-36 18-21 11-14 1-1 122
11. Matt Prater, Den 30-35 20-22 8-10 2-3 122
12. Robbie Gould, Chi 24-28 15-15 7-10 2-3 105
13. Shayne Graham, Bal 23-28 18-21 3-3 2-4 97
14. Matt Bryant, Atl 7-10 6-6 0-2 1-2 31
15. Dan Carpener, Mia 25-28 16-17 8-9 1-2 112
16. Neil Rackers, Hou 16-17 10-10 6-7 0-0 85
17. Joe Nedney, SF 17-21 11-12 4-6 2-3 84
18. Ryan Succop, KC 25-29 17-17 6-7 2-5 104
19. John Kasay, Car 22-27 16-17 5-6 1-4 97
20. Adam Vinatieri, Ind 7-9 5-6 2-2 0-1 38

NOTE: 19-39, 40-49, 50+: Kickers’ success rates in field goals from that distance.


Concern over Kaeding's postseason meltdown drops him below Gostkowski, who has scored a combined 410 points the last three seasons. ... Longwell has averaged 129.5 points the last two years. ... Akers has averaged 141.5 points in that span. ... Crosby has 397 points in his three-year career. ... Bironas has made a combined 12 field goals of 50 yards or more the last three seasons. ... In 13 games with the Saints the last two seasons, Hartley has 104 points. ... Gould had a combined 385 points from 2006-08. ... Rackers is in a training camp battle with incumbent Texans kicker Kris Brown. ... Former No. 1 fantasy kicker Vinatieri barely cracks the rankings after making only 15 field goals of 40 yards or more the last three seasons.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fantasy football: Who's the No. 2 QB?

Since we're on the topic of No. 2 debates, let's get to another that won't get much notice on draft day but is significant in its own right.

Peyton Manning as one of the top two quarterbacks in fantasy football seems as automatic as Rachel Nichols reporting from Brett Favre's property every time he steps out to cut the grass, ESPN being criticized for its handling (coddling?) of LeBron James and Jim Gray confronting everyone but the one we wished he would (see One, Chosen).

This year, however, like the possibility of Adrian Peterson slipping past the No. 2 overall pick, Manning likely will fall to No. 3 on the list of quarterbacks in many leagues.

In drafts, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers is getting selected, on average, 11th overall, with Manning going off the board two spots later.

Both are worth considering as late first-round picks in 12-team leagues, depending on the scoring system (in six-points-per-passing-TD formats, Rodgers and Manning are top-12 picks).

Deciding between the two, however, is difficult.

The 34-year-old Manning has thrown for at least 3,739 yards and 26 touchdowns in each of his 12 NFL seasons. Last season, he had 4,500 yards passing, 33 TDs and 16 interceptions (his most since 2002). He's thrown for at least 4,000 yards in four straight seasons, and he's averaged 30.5 passing TDs in that span.

Rodgers, however, has accounted for 67 total TDs the last two seasons (58 passing and nine rushing), only three fewer than Drew Brees, who is the No. 1 QB in fantasy and a top-six or top-seven overall choice in any format.

Rodgers averaged 4,236 yards passing in 2008 and '09, and last season, he had 35 total TDs (five on the ground).

His ability to rack up rushing points sets him apart from Manning, and it puts him in the conversation with Brees in leagues that award four points for a TD pass and six for all other scores (in those formats, Rodgers might have been the best player not named Chris Johnson last season).

To sum up 11 paragraphs in one sentence, I'd take Brees first at QB, followed by Rodgers, Manning and the Patriots' Tom Brady.

After that, it's a tough decision between Matt Schaub and Philip Rivers. That's a debate that's slightly less interesting than Stuart Scott vs. Chris Berman in a battle of tired nicknames and catchphrases.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fantasy football: Who's No. 2 in PPR leagues?

If you still play in a fantasy football league with standard scoring that doesn't award a point per reception, the decision is easy.

If you are a PPR fan -- my two cents: It's the much better format -- the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 is a three-player race that can't get much closer.

The Titans' Chris Johnson is the no-brainer No. 1 pick in any format. In standard leagues, the Vikings' Adrian Peterson, who scored a career-high 18 touchdowns last season and has averaged 1,495 rushing yards in his three-year career, is the clear-cut No. 2.

In our News-Herald PPR league -- which awards fractions of a point (each rushing and receiving yard is worth one-tenth of a point), deducts a point for a lost fumble and awards two bonus points for touchdowns of 40 yards or more -- here were the 2009 point totals for Peterson, the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew and the Ravens' Ray Rice: Rice 331.1, Jones-Drew 330.5, Peterson 329.5.

The difference between the No. 2 and No. 4 running backs was 1.6 points. The players are so close Peterson is going No. 4 in many leagues -- a move I couldn't make in any format.

Jones-Drew, in his first season getting more than 200 carries (good to see you come to your senses, Jack Del Rio), rushed for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. In his four-year career, he's averaged 50 receptions for 446 yards and scored a total of 54 TDs.

Rice, meanwhile, ran for 1,339 yards and seven scores, and he caught 78 passes for 702 yards and one TD. Can he possibly average 5.3 yards per carry again? Doubtful, but you have to believe he will produce more TDs than Willis McGahee this season. Last year, the latter rushed for 12 scores on only 109 carries.

The safest bet of the three is Peterson, who might even be more productive if Brett Favre doesn't come back. If Favre returns (and would ESPN have it any other way?), remember that A.P. caught a career-high 43 passes for 436 yards last year (he actually had 62 more receiving yards than Jones-Drew).

Of the three, Rice has both the most risk and (cue Jay Bilas) the most upside.

You could say I'm playing it safe by writing that I'd take Peterson No. 2, Jones-Drew No. 3 and Rice No. 4.

But would you be surprised if Peterson outscored Chris Johnson this season? Is that a scenario you can see happening with Jones-Drew or Rice?

If your answers to those questions were no and no, choose A.P.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fantasy football: The Favre Effect

While the Brett Favre circus takes on an even wilder life of its own (hint: Google "Brett Favre Deadspin"), the less-talked-about aspect isn't poor Tarvaris Jackson (Favre's backup, who may or may not be a starter in September), Brad Childress or anyone else left twisting in the diva-induced wind.

What about us -- the ones who have a fantasy football draft in the next two or three weeks and don't know if we're drafting the Sidney Rice of 2009 or the Sidney Rice who is battling a bad hip and might be playing in an offense that gets a lot more run-heavy?

Let's take a quick look at the potential impact of Favre not playing in 2010 on five key Vikings, none of whom is named Tarvaris Jackson, who is no more than a lower-level backup in a 12-team league.

-- Adrian Peterson, RB: He scored a career-high 18 touchdowns and caught a career-best 43 passes for 436 yards last season. However, the consensus 2009 No. 1 overall pick had his rushing yards drop from 1,760 in 2008 to 1,383 and he lost a career-worst five fumbles, giving him 12 in three years.

In point-per-reception leagues, Peterson could drop as low as No. 4 overall, behind Chris Johnson, Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew. I wouldn't let Peterson get past me at No. 2, with or without the indecisive one.

-- Sidney Rice, WR: He had 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight TDs last year, after totaling 46 catches and eight scores in his first two NFL seasons. Rice isn't practicing because of the hip issue, but he says he'll ready for the regular-season opener.

Combine the injury with the possibility of Favre not playing, and Rice likely drops out of the top 20 at wide receiver. If he's healthy and Favre is as effective as he was last season, Rice is an ideal No. 2 wideout in fantasy.

-- Percy Harvin, WR: He had 60 receptions and six TDs as a rookie, and he should reach 1,000 yards and eight scores in Year 2. Draft Harvin as a No. 3 receiver in 12-team leagues and hope No. 4 is the one slinging passes in September.

-- Bernard Berrian, WR: If Rice is healthy, Berrian is a low-level No. 4 receiver in fantasy. If Favre retires, he's no better than a No. 5. However, should Favre play and Rice sit at the beginning of the season, Berrian -- who had a career-high 964 yards receiving and seven TDs in 2008 -- could be a late-round bargain.

-- Visanthe Shiancoe, TE: The notable difference between the 2008 Shiancoe and the 2009 version with Favre at QB was the tight end scored 11 TDs (Add short TD catches by the tight ends to training camp indecision, running down the sideline like a little kid and Rachel Nichols reporting live from Mississippi as Favre traditions).

Shiancoe was productive in 2008 (42 receptions, 596 yards and seven TDs), but with Jackson at QB, he is an upper-level backup in 10- and 12-team leagues.

For more fantasy updates, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.

Labels: , , , , , ,