QB Rankings 2014 (PPR)

 

Quarterback Team Bye ADP
1. Peyton Manning DEN 4 1
2. Aaron Rodgers GB 6 2
3. Drew Brees NO 9 3
4. Matthew Stafford DET 9 4
5. Andrew Luck IND 10 5
6. Robert Griffin III WSH 10 7
7. Tony Romo DAL 11 11
8. Nick Foles PHI 7 6
9. Cam Newton CAR 12 10
10. Matt Ryan ATL 9 9
11. Tom Brady NE 10 8
12. Jay Cutler CHI 9 13
13. Colin Kaeparnick SF 8 12
14. Phillip Rivers SD 10 14
15. Russell Wilson SEA 4 15
16. Ben Roethlisberger PIT 12 16
17. Ryan Tannehill MIA 5 22
18. Alex Smith KC 6 23
19. Andy Dalton CIN 4 17
20. Carson Palmer ARZ 4 21
21. Johnny Manziel CLE 4 18
22. Eli Manning NYG 8 19
23. Josh McCown TB 7 20
24. Joe Flacco BAL 11 UR
25. Brian Hoyer CLE 4 UR

 Why I ranked above ADP:

Tony Romo: For some reason, like every other season, Tony Romo doesn’t get enough credit for what he provides fantasy owners. Sure, he is probably more valuable in fake football than in real life, but he is undervalued nevertheless. He is currently being drafted after the likes of Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, despite the poor seasons they both had in 2013. Romo has dark-horse candidate #1 PPR WR in Dez Bryant, a sophomore wideout who is poised to breakout this year in Terrance Williams, one of the top pass-catching TEs in Jason Witten and an RB with a good pair of hands in DeMarco Murray. Not to mention, Romo might have the best offensive line protecting him and Scott Linehan is his new offensive coordinator. Linehan helped Matthew Stafford throw for almost 5,000 yards last season. Despite having two back surgeries in the past two years, Romo has only missed one game in the past three seasons. Gamers are concerned about his health and age, but he has proven to be durable. Romo could wind up finishing the season as a top five option at the position.

Robert Griffin III: Griffin had what we call a “sophomore slump” last season after having a stellar rookie campaign. Part of that can be attributed to his rushing back from ACL reconstructive surgery too soon and clashing with his coaching staff. However, he has had a whole off-season to recover and with a new regime in place (Jay Gruden as HC and Sean McVay as OC) this year should be different. Gruden has come over from Cincinnati and fills the void at offensive coordinator He helped Andy Dalton (yes, THAT Andy Dalton) produce a top 5 QB season last year. Gruden will institute a more balanced offensive scheme, which should benefit RG3. The new game plan should help utilize RGIII’s cannon of an arm without forcing him to overuse his legs. Plus, he will have reliable receiver Pierre Garcon again (led NFL in receptions last season) and also a new deep threat DeSean Jackson who will stretch the field. Also Jordan Reed is on the mend and will be back early on after dealing with concussion issues at the end of last season. Considering the Redskins’ new coaching staff and Griffin’s health, there is a non-zero chance he finishes as one of the top four or five QB options in fantasy this season.

Why I ranked below ADP:

Tom Brady: Using standard metrics, Tom Brady finished as the 15th ranked QB in 2013. 15th! This year already, owners are drafting him to be a top 10 option, but I don’t buy it. Brady has been Mr. Reliable for a long time, but he just doesn’t put up the same gaudy numbers anymore. Many are banking on him to have a big time bounce-back season due to all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski being reportedly healthy, but one player isn’t going to completely save Brady’s fantasy value. Granted, the Patriots lost both Gronkowski and pass-catching back Shane Vereen for large chunks of the season. Brady has a shot to finish as a top 10 QB, but I’m not ready to gamble on him in drafts to find out. Brady will be 37 in just a couple of days, the New England run game will be prominent again and it is difficult to count on “Gronk” to maintain health for the long haul. My love for Brady is well documented, but for fantasy purposes he’s not who he was.

Andy Dalton: As I mentioned earlier, Dalton did have a top #5 QB year last year in fantasy. But that was with Jay Gruden manning the offensive coordination. Now with Gruden in Washington, his new OC is Hue Jackson. If you don’t know about Jackson, he loves to run the ball and rely on his running backs. Because of that, the player who is going to be affected the most by this is Andy Dalton. The Bengals gunslinger doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but was put into a nice situation when installed as the starter on a pass-first team. Regression was going to be  big story in Dalton’s 2014 anyway, but with the new scheme likely to be installed, his upside becomes severely limited. Clock control may be a theme for the Bengals this season, as their stout defense will likely keep them in most of their games. Dalton still has the tools around him (AJ Green, breakout candidate Gio Bernard) to be a serviceable fantasy option, but expecting anything more may be a mistake.

Statistical credit: Fantasyfootballcalculator.com

Doug Moore is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @DMM0822!

Late-Round Sleeper Targets: 2014 Fantasy Football (PPR)

QB:

1. Ryan Tannehill: Since being drafted 8th overall by the Dolphins back in 2012, Tannehill has produced middle-to-upper tier QB2 numbers. Last year, he was the victim of being in an offense run by Mike Sherman which didn’t help Tannehill’s development. Further, Miami failed in properly utilizing deep-threat receiver Mike Wallace. This year though, he has a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor. Lazor was the quarterback coach for the Eagles a season ago and was a big part of  the Nick Foles breakout. His offensive approach will incorporate the unique skills of the play-makers he has, which will include Mike Wallace. Along with a reliable slot receiver in Brian Hartline and a running back who can catch passes out of the backfield in Lamar Miller, I could see drafting Tannehill as a QB2 who could turn in a low-end QB1 season. Tannehill has a lot of talent and will have the chance to put it all on display this year, and with a talented core around him, he has a pretty high ceiling in his third season.

2. Josh McCown: I’ve seen McCown drafted as one of the final quarterbacks in mock drafts, but he deserves more credit than that. McCown had a terrific 2013 filling in for the injured Jay Cutler, helping Alshon Jeffery break out as well. Now he is in a new system and away from quarterback whisperer Marc Trestman, but he has shown that he has the talent to be a starter in the NFL. I believe he will hold off Mike Glennon and retain the starting job entering the season. McCown will have a talented starting WR tandem in Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans along with passing-down back Charlie Sims. He will also have the chance to work with a plethora of TE in Tim Wright, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers. When he filled in for Cutler, he produced QB1 numbers and while I don’t expect a repeat of last year, he should be one of the top QB2 options this year who. He could sneak into low-end QB1 consideration if the development of Tampa’s youngsters goes according to plan.

3. Brian Hoyer: One of the biggest pre-season camp battles early on will be whether or not Hoyer can hold off rookie Johnny Manziel for the starting gig in Cleveland. After seeing reports from their TC so far and the Browns’ firm stance on Hoyer being the favorite, I’m inclined to believe them. Up until last year, Hoyer was a career 2nd string QB. When Hoyer got an oppurtinity a season ago, he ran with it, even though the Browns had no run game and very little elsewhere outside of stud Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron. Now I know Gordon is more than likely done for the year and you can’t replace his talent, but Hoyer may still have a chance to post solid numbers if he keeps progressing as he has been and builds connections with his other wideouts. Cameron will be a reliable target and Hawkins’ arrow is shooting up after how well he has been doing so far. Plus, he could have a speedy running back in West (who I think will win the starting job) who can catch passes out of the backfield. I’m also not ruling out the Browns adding a wide receiver via trade or free agency, so that could help as well. With a great offensive line protecting him as well, he could have plenty of time to make solid throws. Target him as low end QB2 right now but as with most of the players on this list, keep an eye out for him in camp and during the pre-season. Upside remains.

RB:

1. Chris Ivory:  We all know that there is a new sheriff in town. Chris Johnson is now a Jet. However, there is another Chris in town. A man they call Ivory is being all but forgotten about in fantasy drafts. Ivory looks to be in line to out-produce his rankings. Last year, he rushed for over 800 yards and had a respectable 4.6 YPC. Johnson is coming off meniscus surgery and the Jets will most likely be incorporating a “1A-1B” running back system in the early going. If Chris Johnson is garnering RB2 consideration, Ivory deserves to be getting RB3 consideration then. If Johnson goes down with an injury or struggles, Ivory will be given more carries and with his talent, could produce RB2 stats and see 15 touches a game. He is being drafted as a RB4 or 5 right now because of his inability to catch passes, but his rushing ability should help him maintain middle-tier RB3 stats if he is given 10 or more touches a game, which looks to be the case this season.

2. James White: New England’s running game a season ago was a roller coaster ride, to say the least. Stevan Ridley struggled early on and Shane Vereen looked to be their feature back but then went down with a serious wrist injury. Ridley was then forced back into a primary role and LeGarrette Blount got more carries as the season progressed. But with Blount now a Steeler, who fills his spot? That player is James White. Already praised by the Patriots’ running back coach, he could get a fair share of carries this year as their change-of-pace back and might only be a Vereen injury or Ridley fumble away from a more prominent role in the offense. He is a talented runner and the Patriots have a pretty good offensive line. White could be a steal in the territory in which he is being selected early on in drafts. His role is up in the air, but one could argue that he has a non-zero chance of leading New England’s backfield at some point this season and has RB4 upside.

3. Robert Turbin: With Marshawn Lynch holding out, everyone is talking about young speedster Christine Michael. People are forgetting about the veteran Turbin, who could get first crack at the starting job and get more looks as camp progresses. Michael is a high upside prospect in the making, but Seattle may be hesitant to give him a lot of carries early on, opening the door for Turbin to get a crack. I remember two years ago when it was rumored that Lynch was going to be suspended, everyone was on the Turbin bandwagon. He could end up being a lot more valuable than people think and the Seahawks still still have faith in him.

WR:

1. Jarrett Boykin: When James Jones and Randall Cobb went down last season, Boykin stepped in and did a pretty good job for the Packers considering also that Aaron Rodgers also went down in Week 9 with a broken collarbone. With James Jones in Oakland Boykin is firmly entrenched at WR3 for Green Bay. Boykin has a chance to expand his role substantially in this potent offense. Green Bay is famous for utilizing 3 receiver sets and that means Boykin will see a lot of snaps and targets as defenses plan their coverage around Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Boykin is currently being selected in WR5 territory, but he could be a PPR weapon and merit flex consideration at some point this season. Draft him as a WR4 and considering the injury history of Jordy Nelson, Boykin could be much, much more.

2. Justin Hunter: I wrote in  my “Breakouts & Busts” piece that Kendall Wright could be a breakout player and I believe his teammate Justin Hunter is being overlooked as well. As a rookie catching passes from a backup quarterback Hunter had a solid first season in the league in 2013. He produced some big plays, had a 19.67 YPC and has a new coach who will focus on the passing game much more. Jake Locker is finally healthy and has a lot to prove, and although he is being painted as a bust, could prove a lot of people wrong. Locker’s wideouts will have a lot to say about whether or not this happens, however. He will be a deep threat receiver for Jake Locker while Kendall Wright serves as the medium yardage target. Hunter will have the opportunity to out-produce his current ADP and could flirt with 8 scores this season, he found pay dirt 4 times a season ago while only catching 18 passes.

3. Harry Douglas: Harry Douglas and Jarrett Boykin find themselves in similar scenarios. Douglas was a receiver stepped up last season while the Falcons dealt with injuries to both of their stud wideouts. He had a great year: 85 receptions for over 1,000 yards receiving. He had only 2 scores, but his PPR production was solid regardless. Roddy White and Julio Jones will return to their starting roles, but Atlanta will be running a lot more 3 receiver sets this year to help make up for losing Tony Gonzalez to retirement. Douglas is arguably the best #3 receiver in the league and he showed it last season. He will be on the field more this season and act as their slot receiver, which is a PPR gamer’s favorite position. It’s downright criminal where he’s being selected in early mocks, in the 60’s for wide receivers.

TE:

1. Dwayne Allen: Yes, I know Allen is coming off major hip surgery Allen was hurt in the Colts’ first game of the season and had surgery soon after. He is reportedly 100% healthy and ready to go entering camp, however. His return is huge, it adds another dimension to the Colt’s passing game. Now I know Pep Hamilton’s offense is run-heavy, but with a QB like Andrew Luck, there will be plenty of balls put in the air as well . Allen is a talented tight end who has good chemistry with Andrew Luck which will grant him the chance to expand upon his solid rookie campaign (45 catches, over 500 yds receiving and 3 scores). Now I know Coby Fleener is there, but Allen is the superior talent and the coaching staff seems to like Allen a bit more despite Hamilton and Luck’s history with Fleener at Stanford. With a full off-season to rest and heal up, Allen is sneaky tight end prospect who is being drafted as a middle-tier TE2, but could put up low-end TE1 numbers. Despite the depth at the position this season, Allen could morph into a TE1 by season’s end. Grab him as your backup but be ready to watch him put up bigger numbers.

2. Travis Kelce: Oh boy, another tight end coming off of surgery. At first glance, micro-fracture surgery is a tough and major procedure for an NFL player, but like Allen, Kelce does not have an extensive injury record. He had some personal issues in college, but those seem to be far behind him. Otherwise, he was great in college, especially during his senior year (45 catches, 722 receiving yards and 8 TD). Now in his “rookie” year, he will be the #1 TE on a team that is sorely lacking good receivers outside of Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. Kelce is a pass-catching TE who will be thrown to a lot. Right now, he’s not even being drafted in most leagues, but he could be a high end TE2 by the end of the year. Pick him up in the last few rounds and you could have a very good year at the TE position.

3. Colt Lylera: Lylera made more headlines last year for arguing over what his coach at Oregon said as well as his drug issues. He went undrafted in May but was picked up by Green Bay and couldn’t be in a better situation. I’ve talked several times about his talent and a lot of scouts have said Lylera has 1st or 2nd round talent at the position but had major off-the-field issues. The Packers have a wide open competition after they chose not to bring Finley back. They drafted Richard Rodgers but he and Brandon Bostick have failed to impress so far. Arguably, Lylera has the most talent of any of the Packer tight ends. He is in a great organization that will help keep his head on straight as well. He has a chance to grab the starting job and run with it and could be in line to be the best rookie tight end this season. Unless you have a TE3 spot or want to take a flier on him, I wouldn’t draft him just yet, but keep both eyes on Green Bay’s training camp and preseason reports for and scoop him up if he runs away with the job

Doug Moore is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @DMM0822!

Breakouts & Busts: 2014 Fantasy Football (PPR)

Potential breakout targets:

  1. Toby Gerhart (RB/JAX): Gerhart was drafted out of Stanford by the Vikings and had been relegated to back-up work behind Adrian Peterson. He signed with Jacksonville during the off-season and the media has been told on more than one occasion by the Jaguar’s coaching staff that he will be their “bell-cow” back. Looking at the Jaguars’ offense, they are going to be primarily a running team with Chad Henne as their QB and Justin Blackmon out maybe the entire season. Jacksonville has upgraded their offensive line this off-season with the signing Zane Beadles and draft of Brandon Linder. Gerhart is a hard runner who has posted a solid YPC average of 4.7. He can also catch a pass or two, Gerhart had at least 20 receptions in three of his four years in Minnesota. With the amount of touches the Jaguars seem prepared to give him and the lack of any real threat to his job he could provide nice return on investment. I could see Gerhart getting 300 carries this season and at least 30 receptions. That would put him clearly in RB2 consideration draft him with confidence.
  2. Kyle Rudolph (TE/MIN): When you take a quick glance at Kyle Rudolph (6 feet 6 inches, 260 lbs), he is a towering figure. Drafted in the 2nd round out of Notre Dame in 2011, he was one of the top TE prospects. Given his draft position, he has underperformed to date. However, this off-season, Norv Turner (yes, the Norv Turner who has made almost every TE he’s coached a fantasy stud) was brought on to coordinate the Viking offense. He oozes with receiving talent and is a big target in the red zone. Despite his riddled injury history and lack of talent at the QB position right now, he is going to be force-fed the ball this season and will be the team’s #2 target (if not the #1 target) behind Cordarrelle Patterson in the passing game. He has the talent to be great and put up big numbers this year and having a guy like Turner calling the plays, it certainly looks like we will see Rudolph on full display. Looking at Jordan Cameron’s numbers from last year, he had 110 targets and hauled in 80 of them; good for nearly 1,000 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns. Cameron too had a WR on his team who stretched the field in Josh Gordon and a bad QB situation. Rudolph is a TE1 candidate with the potential to be a top 5 option this year in PPR leagues. Draft him and reap the rewards.
  3. Kendall Wright (WR/TEN): Wright broke out last season with 94 receptions, 1,079 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. I have a strong inclination that he can put up even bigger numbers this year. Ken Whisenhunt is the new Head Coach in Tennessee and helped Phillip Rivers revitalize his career last season in San Diego. He could very well do the same for Jake Locker, who is coming off a tough foot injury and is in his “make it-or-break it” season. Locker was drafted at 8th overall in the 2011 draft for a reason, and he’ll have the chance to prove it this season being 100% or close to it coming into training camp. An upgraded offensive line, and two talented receivers in Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter should help Locker realize his potential. Wright has improved every single year statistically since being drafted and with a more talented QB in Locker leading the team, the wideout could put up even better numbers than last year. He will be Locker’s go-to-guy and could get 100 receptions this year while also improving upon on his YPC of 11.5 from a season ago. Wright should see his touchdown numbers improve from last season and that could put him firmly in the back-end WR1 conversation in PPR formats. I have a lot of faith in Whisenhunt being able to help Locker get back on track and have a good bounce-back year, especially with a better offensive line. I expect 85 to 90 catches for 1,300 yards and 7 scores.

Potential bust targets:

  1. C.J. Spiller (RB/BUF): Last season, Spiller was hampered by a nagging ankle sprain and it showed in his play. He admitted to being limited by it and was never 100% healthy. Spiller has had injury issues in the past, can we depend on him to be healthy all season? He has played in all 16 games twice in his career. With the addition of Bryce Brown, the presence of Fred Jackson, and the drafting of Sammy Watkins at #4 in the draft, things aren’t looking good for Spiller. His current ADP gives him little room for error, which is why he is my top bust entering this season. Buffalo didn’t draft Watkins for him to be a distraction in the running game, they drafted him to make big plays in the passing game. When they do run the ball, Spiller will have Jackson and Brown eating into his carries and breathing down his neck. I’m very skeptical of Spiller to produce RB1 numbers, even in a PPR league because of his health issues and talented competition. He’d be better suited as an RB2 until he can prove he can maintain health.
  2. Jordan Cameron (TE/CLE): Cameron is being selected as the #3 TE in mock drafts; too high. He lost Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski, who were all about throwing to their TE. They brought in Kyle Shanahan to run the offense and judging by the scheme he used there, the tight end wasn’t a primary target. The exception would be Jordan Reed, but that was a small sample size as Reed only played 8 games and when he was hurt, the TE position became irrelevant for them again. Shanahan will have the opportunity to work with a QB similar to RGIII in Manziel. Now, I believe Manziel will win the starting job right out the gate for Cleveland. That is bad news for Cameron because Shanahan’s offense will be based primarily on the mobile QB. Plus, Cameron had great chemistry with Brian Hoyer. Cleveland will run the ball like crazy and rely on Ben Tate, Terrence West, and Johnny Manziel. Cameron will probably the Browns’ #1 target but he will constantly be covered by the other team’s best and the Browns project as a run-first squad.
  3. Michael Crabtree (WR/SF): Crabtree shouldn’t be drafted over Keenan Allen, Pierre Garcon (PPR machine), or Victor Cruz (bounce-back stud). What is going on here? He returned in Week 13 last season and just never looked like himself. A torn Achilles tendon is a tough injury to come back from and it sometimes permanently affects a player. Crabtree is on a run-first team that has a plethora of solid wideouts and a super talented tight end in Vernon Davis who is their #1 target. Colin Kaepernick is a QB who likes to use his feet at the expense of being a pure pocket passer. The 49ers will use Gore, Hyde, and Lattimore (maybe) as much as they can in the run game along with Kaep’s rushing ability. Vernon Davis is the 1st option in the pass game and Crabtree will be pushed for snaps this season by other receivers Bruce Ellington, Stevie Johnson, and Quinton Patton. I’m skeptical Crabtree will produce WR1 numbers this year but I’d rather let someone else deal with that unknown. It may be more appropriate to look at Crabtree as a WR2. Don’t get too excited.

Doug Moore is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @DMM0822!

Like it, Love it, Gotta Have it: Fantasy Football QB Edition

Ice cream lovers and fantasy footballers unite! Last year I debuted  my “Like it, Love it, Gotta Have it” piece. I took the tag line from my favorite ice cream joint, Cold Stone Creamery and melted it (see what I did there?) together with America’s favorite imaginary pastime.

Of course we all know when ordering at Cold Stone you have three sizes to choose from: “Like it”, “Love it” or “Gotta Have It.” I will pair each size with a fantasy QB I like and one of my favorite creamy creations.

Like it (Chocolate Ice Cream, Hershey Syrup & Brownies)

Johnny Football! Okay, this has nothing to do with my man crush on Johnny Manziel. Well, maybe it does. I really like the young QB and I think he will prove a lot of people wrong when he is given the opportunity to sling the rock.

In college Manziel was quite impressive. The newest member of the Cleveland Browns threw for 7,820 yards, 63 passing scores and 22 picks. He also dazzled running the ball, scoring 30 times while racking up 2,169 yards. He single-handedly carried the Aggies in his time as the team’s leader. He completed an average of 69% of his passes, averaged 9 YPA through the air and 6 YPA on the ground. He just makes plays folks. The injury concern of course is there, I understand that, but the reward factor given his current ADP is huge! The upside is tantalizing.

There is also the playing time risk. No one yet knows how the competition between Manziel and incumbent QB Jed Hoyer will shake out. Hoyer has 5 career starts under his belt with 6 TD and 5 INT. He is also returning from the always-gruesome ACL tear, so nothing with him is a sure bet either.

The upside that Johnny brings to the table should make him worthy of a draft selection, even though his role is still up in the air. If you draft your QB late like I do, pairing Manziel with a veteran guy (say Josh McCown: see below) may not be a bad idea. If Manziel isn’t the guy in Cleveland after a couple of weeks you can just cut him and move on.

Bold prediction: Manziel will either be Michael Vick circa 2010 or the 2011 version of Tim Tebow; don’t miss the chance to cash in on a potential top 10 QB in the later rounds of the draft! (Editor’s note: Wow, that is bold)

Love it (Mint Ice Cream, Chocolate Chips & Whipped Topping)

Andrew Luck is one of the NFL’s best QBs and is entering only his 3rd season as a pro. A season ago, we saw some good and some rough games from the youngster from a fantasy perspective. Heading into 2014 I am high on Luck. If there were a season I would consider selecting a QB in the earlier rounds, this would be the year and Luck would be the guy. He sits as my #2 ranked fantasy QB and a player I would love to own.

With the off-season addition of Hakeem Nicks, Luck will have a plethora of viable targets come September. Nicks is set to join an already explosive group of weapons in Indy. The Colts already employ T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Trent Richardson (yes, Richardson is a weapon).

There are a few other factors that contribute to my love for Luck this year.

Luck has some favorable matchups this season (Jaguars twice and Texans twice, Broncos, Eagles & Redskins to name a few), so he should have ample opportunity to torch some poor defenses. Luck makes plays on his feet as well. He had 377 yards on the ground last season while finding pay dirt four times. He showed a lot more maturity from year 1 to 2 in protecting the football as he cut his interception total in half while mitigating the fumbles.

Indy’s golden boy has all the tools to finish as the #1 fantasy QB this year and I would not be surprised to see this happen. If the price is right, I love me some Luck.

Gotta Have it (Cheesecake Ice Cream, Cheesecake Pieces & Strawberries)

I know this is crazy but Luke McCown is my “Gotta Have it” of the upcoming season at the QB position. Heck, no one will ever view McCown as the flashiest QB of the bunch but he showed flashes of brilliance for Chicago last season. His success is somewhat surprising though as he appeared in only six games from 2008 to 2011.

Well, last season we saw a Luke McCown I don’t think we have ever seen before; much of which had to do with the talented players that surrounded him. tHe was throwing to Marshall, Jefferey, Forte and Bennett. The veteran gun-slinger now calls Tampa Bay home and like the Bears, they too are loaded with upside across the board. With the likes of Vincent Jackson, fresh rookie Mike Evans, Dougie Martin (yeah, I call him Dougie) and Brandon Myers, McCown could provide a lot of sneaky value this year.

In 2013, McCown threw for 1,829 yards, 13 TD and only 1 INT in 8 games. He passed for over 300 yards three times and had double-digit TD in 4 out of his 6 games. I really liked what I saw out of him; he was very consistent and very smart with the football, as is evident by the lone pick.

Heading into 2014, he is the 25th QB coming off the board, which is an absolute steal to me. I take the same approach with QBs as I do with starting pitchers in baseball: wait, wait and wait longer (unless Andrew Luck is available, of course). In doing so you could pair McCown with another lofty late-round QB and play the matchups with them in the season’s early going. With the weapons that surround him and the value that can be had, I Gotta Have McCown on my fantasy squad this season.

Make sure to chyme in with your thoughts on who you Like, Love or Gotta Have for the upcoming fantasy football season. Follow Ricky on twitter @Rickygangster!

2014 Fantasy Football QB Rankings

The NFL opener is right around the corner and drafting has begun everywhere! So today I will unleash my QB rankings for this model year, 2014. This is the chart where I have each QB ranked along with their ADP (from FantasyPros.com) in the final column. At the end I touch on a couple of players that I have ranked differently than the consensus.

2014 Fantasy Football QB Rankings (07/21/14)

Rank Player Team Bye ADP
1 Peyton Manning DEN 4 1
2 Andrew Luck IND 10 5
3 Aaron Rodgers GB 9 3
4 Drew Brees NO 6 2
5 Matthew Stafford DET 9 4
6 Cam Newton CAR 12 6
7 Colin Kaepernick SF 8 11
8 Matt Ryan ATL 9 10
9 Tom Brady NE 10 8
10 Tony Romo DAL 11 12
11 Nick Foles PHI 7 9
12 Jay Cutler CHI 9 14
13 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 12 16
14 Robert Griffin III WAS 10 7
15 Andy Dalton CIN 4 17
16 Russell Wilson SEA 4 13
17 Josh McCown TB 7 22
18 Philip Rivers SD 10 15
19 Johnny Manziel CLE 4 18
20 Carson Palmer ARI 4 24
21 Alex Smith KC 6 21
22 Joe Flacco BAL 11 23
23 Eli Manning NYG 8 19
24 Ryan Tannehill MIA 5 20
25 Jake Locker TEN 9 25
26 Sam Bradford STL 4 26
27 Teddy Bridgewater MIN 10 25
28 Geno Smith NYJ 11 27
29 E.J. Manuel BUF 9 28
30 Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU 10 30

Why I ranked this guy higher than his average ADP

Colin Kaepernick – my rank: 7th, average ADP: 11th

I have never been a big fan of Kaep but I have a real good feeling about him heading into 2014. The Niners added him another weapon in Steve Johnson, even at an older age he still can make some players and pairing him with Michael Crabtree (who when healthy makes Kaep a better QB), Boldin and Davis. I would take the over on 30 total TD in 2014 which would fit well into the top-tier of Fantasy QB.

Why I ranked this player lower than the consensus

Robert Griffin III – my rank: 14th, average ADP: 7th

I am just not sold on him being able to stay healthy one bit. He needs to make smarter plays on his feet and honestly in order for him to do so, I think his numbers are going to drop dramatically in the rushing category. He is being drafted as a #1 QB this year in Fantasy and he just isn’t that. He is far too inconsistent and more of a week to week matchup kind of starter for me.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Get at Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Top DFS Plays for 07/21/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Carlos Gomez vs. Mat Latos - hitting .400 (8/20) with a 2B, a 3B, 2 HR and 7 RBI

David Freese vs. Bud Norris - hitting .389 (7/18) with 2 2B, 2 RBI and 2 walks
Freese is hitting pretty well in the month of July, take advantage of this and get a cheaply priced 3B option today.

Paul Goldschmidt vs. Justin Verlander - no previous history
Goldy will take JV deep, book it!

Tigers RH hitters (Kinsler, Miggy, Torii, Ajax & JD) stack against Vidal Nuno
RHH against Nuno – .283 with 14 HR, 42 RBI and 18 walks

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Chris Sale vs. Kansas City Royals - Sale went 8 innings while giving up no runs and only 4 hits in his last start against Kansas City

Movie of the day: The Departed – One of/if not the greatest movie I have ever seen. I love the cast and storyline. If you have not yet seen it, you have really missed out.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Spice Up Fantasy Football: Dynasty League With IDP & Even Punters!

If you are ready for a challenge and are bored with the typical re-draft fantasy league it’s time to step up to the big boy table and start a dynasty league. A friend and I started one almost 10 years ago and I thought I would share the trials and tribulations of starting a league from scratch. A league that was nothing like anything we had done before. I am going to outline how we started and include our thought process behind some of the rules and overall structure of the league.

Why start a new league?

I have been playing fantasy football since 1985. I was in 8th grade. My dad had been in a league for a few years through a buddy of his and he decided to start a one with a few families so the dads and sons could compete against each other. Based on today’s standards it was a fairly standard league that awarded for yards and touchdowns. One year of this and we were all hooked.

Fast Forward 15 years and the league was getting somewhat stale. All the franchises became set in their ways so we basically had a draft and then nothing as the season went along. Most of the managers have been in the league from the start as we have had very little turnover. It was a comfort league and one that everyone enjoyed but it was boring. There were very little in the way of trades or smack talk and it was at this point me and a friend decided we wanted to go deep and start a dynasty league that included everything we could think of.

League name:

First things first. We needed a cool name for the league. For this we went back to our early fantasy football days. In 1988 I introduced a friend to fantasy football. We had an opening in the league and he liked football so it was a match. This was the year that Gordie Lockbaum was drafted by the Steelers. He had just come off a highly touted season of doing everything in college and finished 3rd in the Heisman race. Well, my friend (not knowing anything about fantasy football) thought he would be clever and get the guy that does it all. He drafted Gordie Lockbaum in our fantasy draft that year. Lockbaum never even played a down in the NFL. Every year whenever someone makes a boneheaded pick in that original league we always bring up the Gordie pick. So we agreed, the name for this league is the Gordie Lockbaum Football League (GLFL).

Structure of the league:

We wanted it to be a serious league that tried to mimic owning a real NFL franchise. We wanted to use individual defensive players (IDP). We wanted a salary cap. We wanted contracts. We wanted punters – yes you read that right – we wanted punters! We wanted to be able to keep a large part of our core players from year to year.

Our main goal was to create a league that made every position equal in terms of value so that you could build a team any way you liked and still be able to compete. We didn’t like that most leagues at the time (early 2000’s) were very running back dependent that every team had to draft a RB in the first round. We wanted everyone to have options. If you wanted to take a kicker in the first round you could and it wouldn’t kill you. Flexibility for roster construction was an important factor. We also wanted to incorporate IDP’s since we had hated the team defense concept of most leagues. We wanted to build our own defense.

First things first: Identify the starting lineup requirements.  We decided that more players in the starting lineup minimized the “LaDanian Tomlinson Affect” (LDA). The LDA is where one absolute monster player would win you virtually every week because he was so dominant compared to everyone else. We also wanted offense and defense to be of equal value so they had to have the same number of starters. We decided on the following:

  • Offense:  QB, RB(2), WR(2), TE, K, Flex (QB/RB/WR/TE)
  • Defense: DL (2), LB(2), DB(2), Punter, Flex (DL/LB/DB)

The next idea was to make each position as equal in value as possible. The key to this was to come up with a scoring system that leveled out the tiers across positions. Easy, right? This turned out to be a huge challenge and difficult process. The biggest obstacle was smoothing out the difference between end of year total points scored and week to week variances. For example, we are a “big play” based defensive scoring system. An IDP gets 8 points per sack and 1 point per tackle. We originally decided on this base structure because we compared defensive lineman (DL) and linebackers (LB) for total points scored for the previous few years. This allowed for what appeared to be a relatively even distribution of points across those positions. However, what it didn’t account for was the large week-to-week fluctuations. The way I have accounted for this is to mix in big play players with consistent tackle players in my roster construction.

Start the league:

We had our league name. We had the basis for the rules. We had an initial scoring/roster structure. Now we needed owners. We put out feelers and everyone seemed interested but we couldn’t get anyone to commit. After about 5 years of looking for owners to commit (and not having any luck) we finally decided to just start the league regardless of how many teams we could sign up. That was just the ticket. The first year we were able to get 8 teams signed up. Now we had to figure out the fairest way to begin a dynasty league. The answer was simple: auction and draft – the best of both worlds.

We decided that we were going to keep 15 players from year to year – basically a starting lineup. This setup leads to a natural auction start to give everyone equal chance to build their team around any player they wanted. We settled on a salary cap of $250 and decided we would follow the auction with a 25 round draft to speed up the process a bit since nobody involved had ever done an auction league prior to this experience. We set the draft order based on the team that had the most salary cap space left after acquiring their 15 auction players. This system worked out perfectly, we had the best of all drafting worlds.

The auction served two purposes. It allowed each team to acquire any player they wanted plus it set the salary for each of these players at a “market value.” The winning bid became that players salary. We then assigned a dollar value to each round of the draft so that every player had an associated salary. The salary cap is only in affect at the beginning of each new year for the purposes of keeping your 15 players. During the season there is no cap concern so it does not hinder trading (which is one of the best things about fantasy football).

Salary cap/contract length:

It was decided that we didn’t want to have unlimited keepers and that players should be entitled to more money if they performed at a high level. Basically we wanted it to be like the real world – players that performed were able to get more money if it was deemed they earned it. We capped the contract length to a maximum of 3 years to allow for escalations to salary if performance warranted an increase. However, we did not limit the number of contracts or total years you were able to award. If you wanted to award 30 contracts you just had to be aware that you would need to cut 15 of those contracts next year and take the cap hit associated with cutting all those deals.

In order to deter frivolous contract awards we also required that any cut salary would count against your cap the year you dumped the contract.  For example, what if you had Tiki Barber signed to a 3-year contract at $30 per year, and he retired from the NFL after the first year of the contract? You would decided not to freeze him since he was no longer playing football. It would cost you $60 ($30 x 2 years remaining on the contract) not to keep him. That means instead of $250 to freeze your 15 players you would only have $190. Ouch. This actually happened to one of the franchises in this league. In addition, only players acquired via draft/auction at the beginning of each year are eligible for contract awards. We require all contracts to be awarded prior to the 4th week of the NFL season.

Escalations:

Another idea that has worked out better than expected was the concept of escalating salaries for players once their contracts have expired. I had seen leagues that had just standard increases to salary – a flat $10 every year. We wanted the increase to be based on performance. We came up with an increase based on final point totals in the contract year. The escalation added either a dollar value or percentage increase based on the final ranking in points per each position. After the first few years we realized that these escalations for inexpensive players was minor so we decided to set a minimum raise for those players finishing in the top five at their position. For those players the minimum escalation was the average of the top five salaries at that position. This ended up being more in line with performance and really made franchises think prior to automatically keeping players every year with minimum escalations.

The escalation system has worked well and has kept stud players from being monopolized without paying a lot to do so.

Restricted free agents:

After the first year we all realized that we wanted to keep more than 15 players, so one of the league members came up with the idea of having restricted free agents (RFA). Everyone thought that was great idea we needed a system to allow the RFA’s to test the market. We decided prior to the rookie/free agent draft that we would have an auction where teams could bid on RFA’s if they had enough cap room after freezing their 15 players. The system we settled on allowed any team to bid on an RFA (only players on a GLFL roster the prior year were eligible for the auction – no rookies or players that never made into a roster the previous season). Another twist is that we require the bidding team to use a draft pick for every player acquired in this way. Essentially the player they win in the bid is placed in that draft slot. The eligible picks that can be used are any in the first five rounds of the draft starting with the latest pick available. For example, if  you have one pick in every round and signe two RFA’s through the auction they would count as your 5th and 4th round picks. This auction also helped keep market value on players by assigning their contract value as the winning bid.

Now to the restricted part. If you owned the “rights” to the player, you could match the winning bid and take the player away from the winning team if you had enough salary cap space and a valid draft pick. You own the rights to any player that is on your roster at the time freezes are announced (two weeks prior to the auction/draft). Typically there are anywhere between 15 and 25 players auctioned off every year. This essentially means that rounds 4 and 5 of our draft are taken up with auction players. I highly recommend trying to incorporate some sort of RFA auction if possible. It adds a depth of strategy and gives you a chance to get any player if you plan properly without relying on the draft.

Rookie/free agent draft:

Once the RFA auction is completed by everyone running out of cap space and eligible picks to use, the draft begins. The draft order is just like in the NFL – the last place team from the year before gets the first pick in each round and continues as the reverse of the standings until the champion gets the last pick (we don’t complete a playoff and play all 17 weeks with best record taking the trophy). The salary assigned to the draft is based on round.  The structure is as follows:

  • Round 1/2: $10
  • Round 3-5: $7
  • Round 6-10: $5
  • Round 11-15: $3
  • Round 16-25: $1

This structure allows for certain rounds to have a higher perceived value which helps in trade negotiations.

Since this draft is for rookies and any other player not frozen there is a nice mix of strategies which allow teams to build their roster in a variety of ways. The maximum contract length of 3 years makes investing in a questionable rookie early a gamble as it may cost you a valuable freeze spot and salary cap for a player that you may not develop in the 3 years you own him. In many other dynasty formats there is only a rookie draft so everyone usually is taking the same strategy. This allows for some diversification in team structure which is nice so everyone isn’t cookie cutter.

Other points of interest:

I mentioned that we have included punters as a starting spot. This has been an interesting addition. Their scoring is based on punts inside the 20 yard line and average punt distance for the game. There is nothing quite like needing three points to win a game on Monday night and your punter lines up for a punt at his own 40 yard line. The kick is launched and you pray that the coverage will hold the returner inside the 20 for that important four points and the win. A good punter can put 4 punts inside the 20 for a score of 16 which is equivalent to a QB throwing for 3 TD, 2 INT and 248 yards. A good punter can be a difference maker.

We do not have playoffs. The best representation of a quality team is being dominant for the whole season. Getting knocked out of a playoff game because someone gets injured early or a backup running back happens to go off for 3 TD just sucks. Playoffs in fantasy football increase the luck factor so we wanted to minimize that. To get the trophy you have to dominate for 17 weeks. One of the wrinkles we have for the schedule is to have two “position” weeks.  A position week is a one where first place plays second place, third plays fourth, etc. We space them out to weeks that have minimum byes (usually weeks 8 through 10) and then later in the season (week 15) prior to the possibility that players on playoff teams will be rested.

We have two separate ways to acquire free agents. We have the typical waiver wire system based on the inverse order of the standings.  We award players on the day before the first game of the week. You can acquire as many players as you want and we associate a real dollar cost to the transaction ($5). The second way to acquire is what we call “insta-claim.” This is done on a first-come first-serve basis between the end of the waiver award and the start of the first games on a Sunday. This allows owners to replace any surprise inactives before the games go live. The real dollar cost for this transaction is double the waiver claims ($10). As you can imagine, some teams can rack up a hefty tab by season’s end.

Final comments:

I have been participating in fantasy leagues for almost 30 years and have seen the transformation of this industry from hand calculating final results and mailing them out each Tuesday morning to live scoring on websites. Each league I have ever been in has been fun but nothing has been as challenging as this dynasty league that gets very involved. It is not for the faint of heart but I highly recommend taking the plunge if you are looking for a challenge. We have developed up the by-laws and if you are interested in getting a copy I would be happy to send them to you and answer any questions you may have about starting up a league like this. It is rewarding and extremely fun but it will take up a lot of your free time.

Shane Gallimore is a fantasy football writer for The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Gally4!

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/04

Who is excited baseball is back????? I know I am which also means that Daily Fantasy Baseball is back as well. I really enjoy DFS Baseball as it keeps you even more involved and keeps you up to date with guys you normally wouldn’t care about.

The rain really did a number on my teams from yesterday. Switching Sánchez out for Zimmerman in a few leagues and didn’t have enough time to swap in someone else. Broke even which is better than losing it all right?

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com – Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2

I am going to bring you the lineup I feel is the best for you to bring home some $$$ for the day. Early on we are fighting the guessing game but riding some of the guys hot bats to start the season.

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/04

lineup

As it sits right now, I am digging this lineup. Here are a few reasons why I selected a few guys.

Derek Jeter vs. Dustin McGowan – hitting .348 (8/23) with a 2B, 2 RBIs & 2 BBs

I am riding De Aza and Utley as they are hot to start the season.

Sanchez as in line for a gem yesterday and given an extra day off, he is my favorite pitcher for the day.

Below is a Lineup I feel you could have if you went with a cheaper starting pitcher today.

lineup2

Mike Leake is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA against the Mets in his career

Juan Uribe vs. Ryan Vogelsong – hitting .417 (5/12) with a 3B & a RBI

Stanton and Trout included in one lineup is worth it.

And if you are into just playing certain lineups (Early or late) I give you what my Late Lineup looks like today.

lineup3

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration or download the show on iTunes by clicking the link here. https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-sports-script/id850876078?mt=2

Fair Market Fantasy Divisional Round Playoffs

How about those playoff games last week? Some of the best I have seen in a long time. We are back this week and here to talk more about our sponsorship of Fair Market Fantasy. They have been keeping the Fantasy Football season alive with their Fantasy Playoff games where you can set your lineup and make some $$$. Who doesn’t like making money? Why not make some while watching the NFL playoffs this year.

Check out http://bit.ly/JWcBQJ and you can start joining games right now!

THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART! The other great thing about Fair Market Fantasy is this: You can create your own contest daily or weekly with friends or family and it’s as easy as pressing the “Create Your Own Private Contest” button on the front page of the site.

THIS WEEK ONLY!!!! Sign up for Fair Market Fantasy and make a deposit and send us an email (richardv81@yahoo.com) showing that you deposited and the Sports Script will add 5 MORE dollars to whatever you deposited. So take advantage of that sweet offer today.

We have created another Sports Script playoff contest. Come take me on if you think you have what it takes! Hit me up on twitter with your email address and I will send you the invite!

They have 4 different games to choose from.

They have the 194% – Where the Top half nearly double their money every time. This is my personal favorite where you can take on 9 other friends, family or strangers and the top half win double their money. Honestly with those odds, who wouldn’t want to play this game.

They also have the 970% – This is where the winner takes all of the money. 10 teams battle it out and only 1 winner survives. They have $1 games as well as $10 games for this one. The best of the best play this one, think you have what it takes?

They also have the H2H – Challenge anyone or accept a challenge in a Head to Head battle and hope you come out on top! Even better come take on me in this playoff challenge here:

Lastly, They have the H2H RR – Where you play 9 H2H games and compete for the best record. This one is hard but one of the funniest daily fantasy games I have ever seen.

The NFL Playoffs are only once a year so why not go over to our Friends at Fair Market Fantasy here: http://bit.ly/JWcBQJ and make some $$$ while you are at it. So head on over to the site sign up right now and get that lineup set for your chance to take home some $$ and make sure to join the Sports Script Contest as well and maybe YOU can take some of my money.

Don’t regret not having fun during this NFL Playoff season and play Fantasy Sports with our buddies at Fair Market Fantasy.

“This post has been sponsored by Fair Market Fantasy. All opinions are my own.”

2014 Ultra-Mega-Super Early Top 10 Fantasy Football Rankings

The 2013 Fantasy Football season has come and went again. Hopefully you guys ended up better than mine since I lost 3 title games by a combined margin of 8 points. But no need to live in 2013 let’s go ahead and burst onto the 2014 ridiculously early top 10 picks of the 1st round. I will be unleashing my awfully early rankings for each position as the month rolls but here is what my top 10 looks like right now.

2014 Top 10 ultra-mega-super Early Fantasy Football Rankings

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1. LeSean McCoy – This is a tie between him and Charles and don’t think you can go wrong with either guy but McCoy would be my guy right now. As it sits (before offseason moves) McCoy has 9 matchups against teams that gave up the 10th or higher most fantasy points to opposing RBs.

2. Jamaal Charles – Like I stated can’t go wrong in either the 1st or 2nd spot this year. Charles is a beast and had an unbelievable Fantasy season.

3. Matt Forte – 2013 was good to Forte with a career high in Rushing Yards, TDs, Catches, Receiving yards and finally was the go to man in the redzone. The arrow is only pointing up for him in 2014.

4. Calvin Johnson – I have never been big on drafting anything other than RBs in the top half of the 1st round but when you produce as well as MegaTron does you have to make an exception.

5. Adrian Peterson – We all knew he wouldn’t duplicate his 2012 season but even with missing a couple of games Peterson was the 5th leading rusher. With a new coaching staff and more than likely a new QB, he really could be a steal on draft day.

6. Le’Veon Bell – Bell is my favorite of any of the young running backs heading into 2014. Bell totaled 1259 yards with 8 TDs in only 13 games and that’s why he will be a top-tier pick this coming year.

7. Marshawn Lynch – I was down on him going into 2013 and was wrong. I don’t like to be wrong twice, 1200+ yards and double-digit TDs in each of his last 3 seasons. Sign me up.

8. Eddie Lacy – He and Bell are going to be a lot of fun to watch over the next few years. I like Bell more but Lacy is going to have a very god season as well.

9. Doug Martin – Coming off the injury will be very risky drafting him but another top RB that could be a steal in round 1.

10. Josh Gordon – Did you see what this guy did with the QBs he had? Not only that he finished with 147 more yards than the 2nd place and that was with missing 2 games. Unreal.

Even though the season is over I will be giving you more rankings per position over the next couple weeks as well as dissecting where Free Agents land and what the Fantasy Impact will be for those players.

Think I missed something? Tell me who you would have in the top spot heading into 2014.

Make sure to hope on over to twitter and give me a follow and maybe even debate who I have ranked where. (@rickygangster)