Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fantasy Drafthelp: 2010 Football Lessons

The following observations from CBS Sports Fantasy Football Columnist Dave Richard were offered on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER on January 11, our fantasy sports show-within-a-show which airs in the last half hour of the all-topics web TV show THE FDH LOUNGE (Tuesdays, 7-10 PM EST on Additionally, let us remind you, our brand new FANTASY NASCAR DRAFTOLOGY 2011 guide has just been released!

^ QB depth is growing more all the time, and thus, the more top passers are around, the less they are worth collectively. Players like Schaub, Romo, Rivers and Freeman are examples of players just below the very top level who can be had fairly cheap in 2011 relative to their production level. The difference between Vick/Rogers and Manning/Brady could be minimal and the difference between Manning/Brady and Brees/Rivers could be minimal and the difference between Brees/Rivers and Romo/Schaub could be minimal. There is great value on starting QBs in 10-12 team leagues; it’s a bit different in 14-team leagues or 2-starting-QB leagues.

^ Speaking of QBs, audibles are more prevalent in the league because of the value demonstrated by smart passers like Peyton/Brady/Brees. The league is placing great value on smart QBs – empowering guys like Sam Bradford to have a big impact in their first year. In many cases, QBs are calling audibles to exploit mismatches w/receivers & DBs, like Brady did with Gronkowski all year long. Offensively, it’s becoming a passing league, period – and that affects fantasy value all the way around the board.

^ Running back depth is very good heading into 2011 also, with potentially 15-20 decent ones available. The emergence of players such as Foster/Hillis/McFadden/Charles/Forte has solidified the position. Nevertheless, you have to be opposing a defense like Denver circa ’10 to justify starting two RB from the same team – even on a bye week.

^ Teams will run scatbacks into the ground if they become the lead guy because NFL coaches don’t place a lot of emphasis on how they will hold up late in the season. Actually, the way the Browns utilized Hillis proved that teams will even run bigger backs into the ground if they feel it is the best move in the short term – and due to questions about how much Hardesty will be moved into a combo with Hillis next year, he (shockingly to some) does not have first-round value heading into the season and may not even have second-round value). This factor may or may not be a reason that there will be a lot of buyer’s remorse next year with C. Johnson, who was excellent in 2010, but failed to separate himself from the pack like he did in ’09. Rice is a back who does get used in prudent doses by his coach, and as such his tendency to get vultured on the goal line causes some owners and fantasy sports sources to downgrade him – but it should be noted that he’ll have a much easier schedule in 2011 against the AFC South and NFC West.

^ On a fantasy “deep sleeper” note, Pat Shurmur will do an excellent job installing the West Coast Offense in Cleveland and could be similar to Mike Smith in terms of a low-profile coach succeeding early.

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