Category Archives: Fantasy Football

The WN Fantasy Football Report: Week 1 Starts and Sits

It’s here, IT’S here, IT’S HERE! When the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers kick off that pigskin at 8:30 Thursday night, millions of fantasy geeks will release an orgasmic sigh of pure ecstasy. The next 13 weeks will be spent endlessly researching the right players to bench and to get into your line-up so you can play some December Fantasy Football in weeks 14, 15 and 16. Well, folks, we’re here to help.

Each week, you will get a few Starts of the Week and Sits of the Week from the Wayniac Nation fantasy experts (if you forgotten who they are, get familiar with them here). We’re not going to waste your time like some so called experts telling you that Peyton Manning and Dez Bryant are good starts. Nor are we going to sit here and tell you to bench the likes of Adrian Peterson or Aaron Rodgers because of the defenses they are playing. Let me give you a little hint: unless they are injured or on a bye, if you invested a first, second or third round pick on a player… you start them. How simple is that?

Not everyone is a Top 35 player though, and that’s where we come in. So, take out your lineups, open up those waiver wires and get ready for:

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WEEK ONE STARTS AND SITS:

Saucy T:
Start of the Week:
C.J. Spiller– Some of the shine has come off of Spiller after last year’s injury-plagued season, but he is an elite talent going up against a weak Bears defense. This will definitely help validate those owners that took a 3rd or 4th round chance on him.
Sit of the Week:
49ers Defense – Hard to come up with a sit for week one, since you should be starting your studs even with bad matchups. The 49ers though aren’t the 49ers without NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, and Dallas has a ton of offensive weapons. Those fantasy owners that made SF the 2nd defense off the board will regret it starting in week 1.

Teddy Ballgame:
Start of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew – Tempted to start him over Rashad Jennings.
Sit of the Week: Alfred Morris – Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt? No thank you.

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Fee:
Start of the Week: Nick Foles or Jay Cutler. Both have a lot to prove and should have great Week 1 starts against mediocre defenses.
Sit of the Week: Mike Wallace. He shouldn’t be a starter on most fantasy teams in the first place, but if you drafted him as one, you probably have a crappy team anyway. Don’t make it worse by starting him against Revis Island and the revamped Patriots defense.

So, what does The Wayniac think?

Starts of the Week:

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QB:  Tom Brady. He had a rough season last year for Brady standards, But, at least for Week 1, he has a healthy Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen and Rob Gronkowski for the first time in a while. Throw in the fact that Miami has a bottom five defense and over the past three seasons, Brady has performed remarkably well in Miami (1119 yards passing, 7 touchdowns and just three interceptions) it’s a perfect set-up for a repeat 2011 Brady performance. That day, when the Pats opened the season in Miami, Brady went off for 517 yards and four touchdowns.

RB: Frank Gore. Nuts, right? But here is the way you need to look at it. The Dallas Cowboys defense will vie with the 2012 New Orleans Saints for one of the worst of all-time. Frank Gore will most likely be hurt or replaced by Carlos Hyde in a few weeks. Why not take advantage of Gore’s one big matchup and then bench him for the remainder of the year?

WR: Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles are playing the Jaguars at home. The Jaguars offense may be on the field for ten total minutes and Chip Kelly doesn’t believe in stepping on the brakes. Maclin will probably see about ten targets.

TE: Antonio Gates. That’s right. Frank Gore and Gates are both starts for me this week. Arizona’s secondary is silly good and they are going to do their best to take Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal out of this game (which in reality isn’t all that difficult, I mean when was the last time Eddie Royal had a fantasy relevant game?). Philip Rivers will have to check down to his backs and find Gates in the middle of the field. He may be old and lost a step, but he’s still good a getting open.

Defense: Basically, I will pick this team each week the same way I do my survivor pool: whoever is playing the Jaguars. Until Blake Bortles takes over, I can’t see this team hanging with any team true playoff contender. Start the Eagles all day.

Sits of the Week:

 

Courtesy of the Gatorade Superhero collection. Awesome!
Courtesy of the Gatorade Superhero collection. Awesome!

QB: Cam Newton. The Bucs may have lost Darrelle Revis Island, but they are still pretty stout. I don’t like a mobile quarterback with a shoddy rib against a Top Ten defense, especially when Tampa is at home and starting the new Lovie Smith Era.

RB: Le’Veon Bell. Cleveland was already an up and coming defense and now they have Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner (or is it Hitner?). Throw in LeGarrette Blount as one of the league’s premiere touchdown vultures, and this doesn’t look good.

WR: Kendall Wright. I think Wright has a huge season on the horizon in 2014. But it will start in Week 2 against the Cowboys. The Chiefs defense, led by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, is going to fluster Jake Locker all day and their secondary will be too much for the new look Titans. Whisenhunt will get this offense flying, but don’t expect it to start in Week 1.

TE: Martellus Bennett. The Bills secondary may be questionable but their front line is pretty stout. Bennett may have to stay in more often than usual to keep Super Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus off of Cutler, who is going to look to shred that Bills secondary going to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery all day.

Defense: The Baltimore Ravens. I’m not sure how these guys are still fantasy relevant and in the Top Ten on several charts. It has to be name recognition, I guess. The Ravens do thrive at home, but Andy Dalton has a huge chip on his shoulder as the entire world is still confused as to how this guy is making the money he gets. Ravens may win the game, but it won’t be because of their defense. A.J. Green is going to have a fun opening day.

 

 

The WN Fantasy Football Report: 5 Bold Predictions for 2014

Kickoff is so close. I have all three of my rosters drafted and ready to roll and by now, most of you should as well. We have already discussed MVPs, breakouts, busts and top rookies to keep an eye on, but what else can we look forward to in the 2014 Fantasy Football Season? Today, The Wayniac Nation Fantasy Report explores FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2014 FANTASY SEASON.

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5. The Oakland Raiders will produce FIVE fantasy relevant players in 2014.

I know what you’re saying. The Wayniac must have been out for a joyride with Le’Veon Bell. Well, I wasn’t. The Raiders have been virtually fantasy irrelevant since their 2002 Super Bowl season where the were led by former Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hen Rich Gannon. In fact, they haven’t had a winning season in the 11 years since then. This season, they have made some big changes. The Raiders have been led by these award winning quarterbacks over the last 11 years: Kerry Collins, Carson Palmer, Andrew Walter, Daunte Culpepper, JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin. Over that same amount of time Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese have the best passer rating out of that whole bunch. Derek Carr is already a huge improvement. This team got bigger and faster in the offseason. Maurice Jones-Drew is a rumbling back who loves the end zone. Now that he doesn’t need to be relied on for every play of the offense like he was on the Jaguars, he and McFadden will have lesser loads and more potent seasons than they have in a long time. Newly acquired James Jones is fast and can spread the field. Now he won’t have Aaron Rodgers chucking him the ball, but he has certainly proved an affinity for the end zone over the past few years. And you can never rule out Sebastian Janikowski. This guy can get you 15 points in a game with three 58-yard field goals. I’m not implying this is a playoff ready team or has elite week-to-week fantasy players on it, but they are vastly improved from last season. Keep them on your radar.

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4. Philip Rivers will prove to be the biggest steal of the draft.

No, that doesn’t mean he will be the 2014 Fantasy Football MVP, nor does it mean he will necessarily finish in the Top 5. Looking at the overall average of where most experts have Rivers ranked, he is about the 15th best quarterback. His average draft position is about the 99th pick. This is a steal and if you can lock him down in the eighth to tenth round, you’ve probably built an offensive power house and now have a pretty reliable guy at QB. Rivers has one season in the past five that he has thrown below 4,200 yards. His lowest touchdown total over that same time frame is 26. He has a five-year average of 4,334 yards passing and 29 touchdowns. I’ll take that all day from my ninth round pick. I think Rivers outperforms Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Tony Romo and possibly Nick Foles this season. All of those names have a reasonably higher ADP than Rivers. Yes, Whisenhunt is gone, but Frank Reich takes over as OC. He has a ton of weapons, including the speedy Keenan Allen, three good receiving threats out of the backfield in Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown, and has two monster targets in the red zone in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. Rivers is ready for another solid fantasy year.

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3. Devonta Freeman will be the top scoring rookie.

I love Mike Evans and in The WN MVP, Breakthrough, Busts and Rookies article, I picked the standout wide receiver from Texas A & M as the top rookie. The more I think about it, and the more I watch his explosiveness, the fourth rounder Devonta Freeman has a huge chance to put up big numbers. The Falcons beefed up their offensive line and Julio Jones and Roddy White are healthy. Steven Jackson is not, and most likely never will be again. Jacquizz Rodgers can not carry the load of a full time back, so that leaves Freeman as the Falcons lead back. This offense is one year removed from being an explosive dynamo. Freeman can be a pretty big cog in that offense if the Falcons return to those heights.

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2. Eddie Lacy will finish a Top Three back in fantasy.

Eddie Lacy will do so well this season that you are going to have a hard time not picking him number one overall in 2015. Last year, Aaron Rodgers played a total of nine games. Lacy, without the services of one of the elite QBs in the NFL, still had  nearly 1,200 yards on the ground as a rookie while gaining almost 300 more through the air. Rodgers return doesn’t take away from what Lacy can do, it adds to it. Rodgers has never had a premier running back to take the pressure off him and has still always produced. Lacy hasn’t had the chance to have defenses focus on much other than him in his short NFL career and he succeeded in lieu of it. Lacy is going to gain close to 2,00 total yards this season and score 12 to 15 touchdowns. He will enter elite status and, as I said, be a consideration for top overall pick next year.

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1. Matthew Stafford is the number one QB in fantasy football in 2014.

Is it crazy talk to put Stafford over Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and quite possibly the all-time greatest quarterback ever, Peyton Manning? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. Manning lost Eric Decker and now, molly-loving, concussion-prone Wes Welker is gone for at least four games pending he doesn’t go off on a Walter White binge. Knowshon Moreno is gone to Miami, leaving an unproven Montee Ball in the backfield. He has great weapons in Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas, but this is going to be way more of a control offense than last season. Matthew Stafford has all of the pieces in place. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the Milky Way. People hate to admit it, but when healthy, Reggie Bush is one of the best receiving backs the NFL has ever seen. When he isn’t healthy Joique Bell is not much of a downgrade. Eric Ebron with no NFL experience at all is already a better option at tight end than Stafford has ever had and Golden Tate is unquestionably the best wing man Megatron has ever seen. Gone also is Jim Schwartz who could have easily been the worst head coach in the NFL. Pass happy head coach Jim Caldwell and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi won’t show any hesitation in putting the Lions’ season in Stafford’s arm. This is a guy who already has a 5,000 yard season under his belt and has a guaranteed 1,500 yards passing to Megatron. The sky’s the limit for Stafford, and if you have him, you may be carrying home that trophy at season’s end.

The Wacky Week in Sports

FOOTBALL!!! It’s back, folks, as the NCAA opened its doors for the 2014 college football season. There were some exciting football games for week one, especially amongst the top two spots. Elsewhere, the NFL made some news not by who made certain teams, but more so for who didn’t. Baseball has been creeping along, but Monday is September first and that’s when the final leg of this intense playoff race really heats up. And today, my Nitro League drafts on Labor Day Weekend Sunday for the 17th year in a row. Now, that’s just wacky, my friends. So sit back and get caught up on you Wacky Week in Sports.

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Week one is usually filled with some laughers to get the good teams rolling with some decisive victories. It didn’t quite go down that way, especially for the defending champs and Ol’ Saint Nick’s Rolling Tide. Jeremy Pruitt proved to be amongst the best defensive coordinators in the business, not just for what his new Georgia Bulldogs did in the second half of their game, but for how lost the Seminole defense looked without him. The unranked Oklahoma State put a huge scare into the number one seeded Seminoles, scoring 14 points in the final quarter to make Florida State sweat it out. The final score was 37-31 as the Cowboys outplayed the champs in the second half, outscoring them by one point. The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic was almost an instant classic as unranked West Virginia hung around with Alabama for nearly the whole game, losing 33-23. TJ Yeldon made his presence felt as he went off for 126 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Down the road in Athens, the Dogs came out shaky in their first half of the Hutson Mason/ Jeremy Pruitt era in the matchup of the day that pitted number 12 Georgia versus the number 16 Clemson Tigers. After a first half that saw the Bulldog defense get run over to a score of 21-21, the Dawgs completely shutdown the Tigers in the second half, outscoring them 24-0 for a 45-21 victory. The attack was led by 2014 Heisman Trophy winner (yea, I’m penciling it in already) Todd Gurley who went off for 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also added another touchdown on a thrilling 100 yard kickoff return touchdown. Can I just take Gurley with my first pick in today’s fantasy draft? The Jerry Bowl, the other marquee matchup of the day, must have given my boy Jason Steen a heart attack. His number 13 LSU Tigers were down to the number 14 Wisconsin Badger’s 24-7. With the Badgers notorious clamp down defense and time killing rushing attack, it looked like the Tiger’s day was done. However, behind wide receiver Travin Dural’s 80-yard touchdown and 151 yard day, LSU came roaring back with 21 unanswered points for the 28-24 victory. Finally, my boys in Delaware made a bold move by opening their season against the ACC powerhouse Pittsburgh Panthers. We lost 62-0 and now my football season is over. The Florida Gators game was cancelled due to scary conditions. Aaron Hernandez escaped and was running amok in The Swamp. No official NFL suspension of Hernandez has yet to be handed down.

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Which brings us to the NFL. Iron fisted Commissioner Goodell upheld Josh Gordon‘s one year suspension for smoking marijuana. Goodell admitted this week that he blew the Ray Rice domestic violence case in which he inexplicably only suspended Rice for two games after beating his wife unconscious. The punishment has now changed to a mandatory six game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Now, while Goodell made one thing right, he blew a chance to make Gordon’s wrong a right. There is no excuse for a year suspension on any crime that doesn’t endanger someone else’s life. Think about it, a then 22-year old kid who should still be in college, was caught with marijuana. In other words, he was being a 22-year old college kid. He didn’t hurt the face of the NFL like Rice did who had feminist groups up in arms over the decision. He didn’t hurt anyone else, like Aaron Hernandez and his multiple killing sprees (who as I already said, still has no official suspension from the NFL). It didn’t effect his game in anyway as a performance enhancer (unless of course he is like Ki-Jana Carter and openly admits that he can’t play if he isn’t high, dumbass). The only people hurt by Gordon’s one year suspension are Cleveland fans and Fantasy Footballers like myself who now can’t have the second best wide receiver in football on their rosters. Thanks, Rog.

This week was also final cut week for the 53-man Opening Day rosters. There were some surprises, like The Law Firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis from the Bengals and Daniel Thomas from the Dolphins, but none rang out louder than Michael Sam from the Rams. It was a lousy fit from the get go with the Rams being so deep on the defensive line, but Sam came out and did a lot of things right that gave him a positive grade from Pro Football Focus. In the end, his two sacks (one of which leveled Johnny Football to the tune of Sam throwing that stupid Cash Money Dance right in Manziel’s face) and quarterback hurries weren’t enough to make him the 53rd player on the roster. The Rams hope to keep Sam on the practice squad, however most experts don’t feel Sam will make it through waivers and may join another team this Monday.

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You know who it must suck to be? Bryce Harper. He comes up side by side with Mike Trout as the face of the new era of the MLB. The two of them were to rewrite the beloved books of stat filled history for saber metric geeks everywhere. Since then, Harper has become an injury-prone, whiny, little, disrespectful baby, while Mike Trout has become the face of baseball. Yes, Harper’s Nationals are making quite the run at the NL pennant, but Trout’s Angels are arguably the hottest team in baseball, and a lot of that has to do with Trout. And who doesn’t love to watch Trout play? Does anyone outside of the DC area even care about Harper? I know Atlanta fans would love to see him duct taped at home plate so their pitchers could rifle endless fastballs at him. Anyone else?

Anyway, Monday is September 1st and that means two things. One, rosters expand and we get to finally see all of those heralded minor league top prospects we have been hearing about all season. Two, these playoff races are heating up for an exciting finish. The AL has a legitimate six team Wild Card race going on, while the NL is a five team race with the surprise Miami Marlins still in contention. What is even more exciting is that aside from the AL and NL East, four of the divisions are still wide open. Justin Verlander finally put in a Justin Verlander performance to even the Detroit Tigers up with the surging Kansas City Royals atop the AL Central. Now the Michael Brantley led (yea, I actually typed that) Cleveland Indians, who are in a crucial series with the Royals, are creeping back into the hunt just 3.5 games out of first. By the way, is Corey Kluber the best pitcher in the AL? Where did he come from? In the NL, as Yusmeiro Petit keeps retiring batters (46 in a row, seriously?) and Madison Bumgarner continues throwing gem after gem, the San Francisco Giants are looking a lot like those 2010 and 2012 Giants. You know, those guys that wound up putting their one-time ace Tim Lincecum in the pen and got by on lights out pitching and timely hitting? Don Mattingly and his Dodgers better look out behind them!

That’s a wrap for this week, folks, because let’s admit it, no other sports really matter right now. That’s because we are just four days away from the kickoff to the NFL season. Enjoy your last Sunday of the Wacky Week in Sports because next week we move to Monday’s to recap all of your NFL action!

The WN Fantasy Football Report: Draft Day

This past Sunday, I had my first of three drafts. This one was for the Brookhaven Fantasy Football League (The BFFL) which is run by our own fantasy expert Nomi the Greek, and has all of the members of The Thread and even my fiancé as participants, even though Sperry is on his one year sabbatical. Being that this was the first draft that contained three of our own fantasy experts that brought you MVPs, busts, breakouts and rookies to keep an eye on, I thought I would recap my draft strategy and round by round performance to help guide you for your drafts.

I had the third pick in the draft. My whole goal was to put together a team that can compete for the title by going against the traditional way of thought that you need to grab one of the Big Three running backs with the first three picks.  I think that I did that, however, as anyone who has played fantasy for a long time will tell you, what looks good on paper usually changes about 45 seconds into that first magical Sunday. But that’s why we play, right? Well, that and an excuse to sit at a bar for eight hours every Sunday shoving wings and beer down our throats.

 

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Round One: The picks were, in order: Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoyCALVIN JOHNSON, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Jimmy Graham, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones and Aaron Rodgers.

I wasn’t surprised at all by who went in Round One, however, the order in which they went was a bit surprising. I thought Brandon Marshall would go in Round One before Julio Jones coming off his injury, but you need to remember, this draft is a bunch of Atlanta Falcons fans. I’m surprised Saucy T didn’t grab Matt Ryan on the comeback!

MY PICK (THIRD): Megatron. Leading up to the draft, I was rather ho hum, I will take whichever of the Big Three running backs landed on me. I was relieved that I didn’t need to make a pick. But then the morning of the draft I asked myself: Self? Do you want the third best running back, or do you want the best wide receiver in the universe? The answer became very clear. Take a look at Megatron’s three year average: 1712 yards, 11 touchdowns and 101 receptions. Not including any bonus systems for long touchdowns or 100 yard games, in a Point Per Reception scoring league, that means Calvin Johnson has averaged 338 points per season over the last three years. That’s ridiculous. I don’t care if they added Golden Tate, I don’t care if Reggie Bush and Joique Bell are receiving threats out of the backfield, and I could care less about the prospects of Eric Ebron stealing red zone targets. It goes Jerry Rice, then Calvin Johnson, end of conversation. If Megatron comes close to his 2012 season this year, we may see a wide receiver go number one sooner than any fantasy nerd imagined.

Round Two: Arian Foster, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Jordy Nelson, DeMarco Murray, Drew Brees, Julius Thomas, Montee Ball, Antonio Brown and Gio Bernard.

I saw a few surprises in this round. I am a Texan fan through and through, but I think Foster and Andre may have gone a bit too high. I saw them more as a third or fourth round target. They are two aging, injury-riddled players. Then you throw on top of it that they are learning a new offensive system under a new quarterback and head coach, and it may take a few weeks for them to start putting up the points most are used to from them. Based on where Peyton Manning and Rodgers went, I think Drew Brees was a steal for John Smith. Has there been a more consistent QB in NFL history? There have been eight 5,000 yard passing performances in NFL history and four of them belong to Brees including the last three in a row.

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MY PICK (22nd): Montee Ball. This was my dream target and he somehow fell to me. I thought for sure Jon Blalock was going to grab him as a Denver Broncos fan, but he went with Manning’s favorite red zone target instead. Although Orange Julius may be a reach in round two, I get his thought process because he wouldn’t have been there much longer. And it gives me the running back I want. Manning does what he needs to do to get in the end zone, and if that means passing for 99 yards every drive to the one yard line and handing it off to his RB, he’ll do it. I think Ball is poised for a huge season.

Rounds three, four and five:

MY ROUND THREE PICK (27th): Matthew Stafford. I jumped maybe a round early on Stafford, but with the Big Three QBs off the board, I didn’t think he would have been around when I was up 18 picks later. And he wouldn’t have been, as Shane Goode, who grabbed Andrew Luck five picks later said he would have grabbed Stafford first. I have one of the best offensive monsters in football in Megatron and I wanted the hand that feeds him. In his three full seasons in the NFL, Stafford has never thrown for less than 4,500 yards and that is insane. Does his desire to win come into question? Maybe. Does his maturation, or lack thereof, worry some people? I could see that. But that’s for the Detroit Lions to worry about, I just need him to do what he has always done sine his days as a Georgia Bulldog and that’s sling the ball, preferably to Megatron.

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MY ROUND FOUR PICK (46th): Pierre Garcon. If you think having DeSean Jackson scares me about Garcon’s 2014 production, you’re nuts. The biggest concern with Garcon is himself. He was targeted an inconceivable 182 times last season and was only able to haul in 113 receptions and five touchdowns. But that was under the terrible Shanahan regime and an unhealthy Robert Griffin III. Garcon may not catch 113 balls again, but I can easily see a boost in his other numbers.

MY ROUND FIVE PICK (51st): Shane Vereen. Didn’t love this pick, but I wanted to lock up my second back with slim pickings left. I wanted nothing to do with Ray Rice after what he did to me last season and I felt it was too early to gamble on Bishop Sankey, who I like, but still has Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster to battle with for touches. Vereen is in a Belicheck backfield, which means you never know what can happen, but he has supreme receiving skills and has never played a full season. Maybe this is the year he puts it altogether. If not, I am in a bit of a pickle.

The Rest of the Draft:

I really liked snagging Kendall Wright in the sixth round. Sure, he is a number one receiver who only had two touchdowns, but he’s still a number one. Hopefully, this is the year Locker stays on the field and puts it together as he has looked sharp in the preseason. I did not like taking Frank Gore, but he has some value in the seventh round. The way I see it is that I get to start him week one against the Dallas Cowboys Swiss cheese defense and then he can ride the pine. At 31 and a long list of dinks and mileage, he may not make it past week two! I misplayed the tight end position. My goal was to snag Kyle Rudolph who I thought would slip to me in Round 10, but the reigning champ, The Englishman, snagged him up in round nine. Any tight end in a Norv Turner offense is a great pick. So I called an audible and gambled on Ladarius Green. He is a monster of a specimen, but does have to contend with Antonio Gates in front of him. I hope the aging TE great misses a few games or plays limited snaps to keep him fresh throughout the year. Riley Cooper was a steal in the eighth round as the Eagles offense is a nice blend of passing and rushing, and with the amount of plays they see, he is sure to be a solid bye week replacement. My wild cards are two rookie receivers with very questionable quarterback play. Mike Evans in Tampa with Josh McCown and Marqise Lee with Chad Henne in Jacksonville could be breakouts or busts. Obviously I am hoping for the breakout. Garrett Graham is a safe play at TE, and being the homer that I am, I need a Texan.

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So my opening day line-up pans out like this:

QB: Stafford
RB1: Ball
RB2: Gore
WR1: Megatron
WR2: Garcon
Flex: Vereen
TE: Green
K: Sebastian Janikowski
Def: Arizona Cardinals

Did I succeed in building a playoff contender by passing on AP and Forte? I think I did. I have a few high risk, high reward guys, but overall, I drafted a team built on consistency. Most of my starters are of the what you see is what you get variety, and I like knowing that I have a team that can put up 100 points week in and week out. But, I will let you decide. Was my strategy right or wrong? Feel free to sound off below!

Well, with The Nitro League and Old School Football League drafts just a few short days away, be on the look out for 5 Bold Predictions for the 2014 Fantasy Football Season. Until then, happy drafting!

The WN Fantasy Football Report: 5 Burning Questions for 2014

It’s that time boys and girls. Fantasy Football drafts have started across the nation. So today marks the first of Wayniac Nation’s Fantasy Football Reports. Each week, we will bring you insights, good starts, better sits and a smorgasbord of information to help you look like a fantasy football genius.

I know what you’re asking yourself. There are millions of fantasy football resources out there, why listen to The Wayniac? It’s justified. What makes me any better than any other fantasy expert? Let’s take a look at the ol’ resume and perhaps I can convince you that out of all the fantasy geeks out there, I am one of the biggest.

I am entering the 17th year in my Nitro League. That’s right, folks, 17 years with essentially the same original owners in a 10-team league. This league is so old it started back when you had to tally scores by hand. We don’t really have bad teams as it is ultra-competitive and has always been more about the trophy and bragging rights than the money. I have been to the last two back-to-back championship games and if I didn’t run into Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and the Junior Mafia, I would have two wins in a row. I have been in my other league, The Old School Football League, for 10 years. It is a 12-team league that has had essentially the same owners for the bulk of its existence as well. Over the past three seasons, no team has more regular season wins or points than my Fightin’ Blue Hose. Unfortunately, although I have finished in the money all three of those years, I have no rings to show for it as a major injury has derailed me seemingly every Week 15 in the semi-finals. It is your typical scoring league and in the history of the league only four times has a team broken the 200 point barrier. Three of those times were the Fightin’ Blue Hose. Last year I joined a third league run by Nomi the Greek and has every member of The Thread in it. The Englishman is the reigning champ in his first year ever of fantasy football.

Last year's draft board from Nomi the Greek's Brookhaven League won by The Englishman
Last year’s draft board from Nomi the Greek’s Brookhaven League won by The Englishman

Am I bragging a little bit? Sure, but I also want you to know that I do have an idea about how this fantasy thing works. I also bring you insight to how to succeed in a 10-team league as well as a deeper 12-team league. My panel of Wayniac Nation Fantasy Experts that I have put together is an All Star selection of people who I have run in fantasy circles with for nearly the last two decades.

Later this week, we will bring you insight to key players and busts to look out for, but first let me take a selfie.

Did I do this selfie thing right?
Did I do this selfie thing right?

No, seriously, folks, before we get into player breakdowns, we need to first answer THE TOP FIVE BURNING QUESTIONS COMING INTO THE 2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON.

5. When will the first non-running back come off the board?

This is an entirely new fantasy football era and the conversion from running back heavy teams to dominating through the air is complete. That being said, AP, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles will be the first four off the board (in no particular order). I personally don’t see a running back worth taking after the Big Four until the second round. Wide receivers, especially in PPR (point per reception for those not savvy) formats are way more valuable in the right system, and the way quarterbacks amass forty to fifty point Sundays makes a few first round worthy.

4. Can Peyton Manning come close to last year’s production?

Of course not. Peyton Manning set records last season and had the single greatest season for a quarterback in fantasy and NFL history. It’s a lot like watching Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. You knew no matter what, you were watching the best he had to offer and nothing would ever again match that. Now, I’m not suggesting Peyton Manning numbers are going to fall off the way Keanu Reeve’s acting abilities have (Johnny Mnemonic, anyone?), but you do have to tame your expectations. While the Broncos lost Eric Decker when he unforgivably signed his career away to the New York Haven’t Had a Legitimate QB in a Decade Jets, they brought in an even better Emmanuel Sanders so the offense won’t miss a beat. They did also bulk up their defense with big names like Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware. That means more ball control and less shootouts for Manning. While his numbers will be down to human level, he is still the best QB fantasy has to offer and may even be in consideration for the fifth overall pick. Plus, he’s already a better actor than Keanu Reeves.

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3. Who do you consider at running back once the big four are off the board? 

I have already said that after McCoy, Charles, Forte and All Day AP are gone, I really feel this is the season that running backs get put on the back burner. But if you insist on being a traditionalist (also known as The Guy Who Finishes Last) and feel you must pick an RB in the first round then there is only one choice. As much as I love Marshawn Lynch and his Beast Mode, I don’t feel he is first round worthy this year. That is based on his past. He held out a few days for a bigger contract and made it open that he considered retirement. When he wanted out of Buffalo, he played like he didn’t care, and with Seattle’s deep arsenal of RBs, we may easily see that down season from Lynch. So if you must take an RB, you go with Eddie Lacy. The guy is a total beast and will have a full season with Aaron Rodgers for the first time in his career. This is a kid with potential for a 2,000 total yard season in that offense, however, I don’t think that season is 2014.

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2. Where is the best place to look for top fantasy advice?

Wayniac Nation, of course. Seriously though, the simple answer is your notes. If you are reading this blog, you are most likely competitive enough that you are beyond the casual twenty dollar “for fun” fantasy league. If you aren’t already, you need to become your own fantasy expert. The best thing to do for starters is to grab a few friends and do some mock drafts on (I can’t believe I am saying anything positive about these shlubs) ESPN. Secondly, do some research on ADP (that’s the average draft pick of a specific player for you newbies). A lot of leagues will have a draft lottery weeks before the draft. Once you know your spot, you can begin researching what players are most commonly going in that location. You can also do your own mock drafts from that slot and practice, practice, practice until you have the team you want. Lastly, and this comes from my own old school mentality, take notes. Make a list of your Top 20 at each position and cross them off as you go. Colin Kaepernick is in everybody’s Top 5 quarterbacks, but this guy would never start on my team. So, my list is going to be very different from other “experts”. So should yours. Nothing sucks more than when you are unprepared and the guy right before you takes the player you had queued. If you are properly prepared with your own notes, you don’t need to spend your minute thirty googling “fantasy advice”!

1. Ok, so who is the first overall pick?

This is a tough question. My Hongbits team in The Nitro League has the first overall pick, so this is something I have been contemplating for some time. All of the big four (again: Charles, Forte, McCoy and AP) are complete studs, yet they all also come with injury risk. All four play for very questionable offenses. Charles’ Kansas City Chiefs are notorious for having a terrible season when following a strong one. While everyone sees Chicago as a legitimate contender this season with a high octane offense, one must remember that Jay Cutler is still at the helms. Was Chip Kelley’s offense for real or was it a flash in the pan like the Wildcat that defenses can now prepare for? And who the heck is going to be the quarterback in Minnesota, Matt Cassell?

That being said, I think there are two ways to go with this pick. If you want the home run hitter,  the guy that is capable of getting you 50 points in a game by himself, you go with Charles. He is lightening quick and is a lock for 50 receptions, but can be relied on for over 60 like last season. But if you want to play it safe, the answer is simple. No running back has been more consistent with less talent around him than All Day Adrian Peterson. His lowest touchdown total over the past five seasons is ELEVEN. Last year, despite missing two games and abysmal quarterback play, he still ran for over 1,200 yards. He is not your PPR dream back, but if Teddy Bridgewater takes over, you can be sure there will be a ton of dump offs and last year’s change of pace back, Toby Gerhart, is gone to Jacksonville.

So which direction will I go with my first round pick? I’ll let you stew over it, so be sure to check in weekly for up to date Fantasy Football advice this NFL season!