There was a time when any offseason football rumors sent me atwitter. But the internet, with its constant rumor, speculation, and potential, has pretty taken that away from me (I'm not saying that's a bad thing). I won't think about Brett Favre until there is a fact staring at my face. If he goes somewhere, I'll comment on it. Until then, this is all you'll hear from me about him.
(Oh, and he's the all-time interception leader, and in his last playoff game, he came up dud in the fourth quarter and then threw a clinching interception in overtime. Now that's all you'll hear from me).
Fantasy Football Projections Put Too Much Emphasis On The Previous Season Alone, Instead of Consistency Over An Extended Period of Time.
Last season Tom Brady threw 50 TDs and 4,806 yards, better than Peyton Manning's 31 TDs and 4,040 yards. But over the past six seasons Manning has averaged 32.5 TDs and 4,201, while Brady has averaged 29.8 TD passes and 3,920 yards. No, the difference isn't terribly great: 2.7 TDs and 281 yards per season. But Manning has been more consistently statistically dominant (8 of 10 seasons with 4,000+ yards, never fewer than 26 TD passes), and if I have a choice between Brady or Manning for my 2008 fantasy team, I'd rather have Manning.
Last season, I was in a 14-team league and selected Peyton Manning in the first round (my justification of that pick is here), and I finished 3rd. I would do it again: I trust Manning's consistency, and in a deep league, I didn't want my first pick to be a dud. And despite Brady's 2007 season, Peyton Manning is the only quarterback I would consider taking in the first round this season.
Nuts to First Round Running Backs!
In fantasy football, I feel running backs have too high a "bust rate." Not only is it a position extremely prone to injuries, but a lot of running backs have a great season, gain a lot of fantasy hype, then disappoint the following season. I'm tired of that noise. For me, the first and second round is a time to pick quarterbacks and wide receivers. Elite players at those positions are less injury prone, and their performances are generally more consistent from year to year. Running backs are boom and bust, quarterbacks and wide receivers are reliable. I'll take reliable with my early picks: I want elite players that are most likely to perform well. Plus, there are 32 teams in the NFL, and every one of those teams is going to start somebody at running back each week. In a fantasy football league with around 10 teams, you can find starting running backs.
Remember I don't trust any of the duplicitous confidence men in the Hazelweird League, and so you shouldn't believe everything I say about fantasy football on this blog, because I am trying to deceive those degenerates.
You know what I'm tired of?
Thinking about Tarvaris Jackson every single day of my life. Should he really be that important to me? Why do I spend so much time thinking about him? Why does my every football thought somehow devolve to "Yeah, but Tarvaris Jackson"?
A Suspension of Disbelief article: Bucky Brooks talks about how great Randy McMichael might be this season. Nope, I can't suspend my disbelief for that.
In fantasy football, there's a big gap between perception and value. Pancake Blocks comments on Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.
Pro-football-reference.com does a good job of entertaining and amusing during the offseason. Chase Stuart examines some cherry picked facts, and Doug does "a very, very simple similar-player generator."
I Dislike Your Favorite Team discusses Minnesota, Wisconsin, fair weather fandom, and the problem of attendance as a standard. I think in general Minnesota does have a mostly fair weather fanbase, but don't assume all the parts share the qualities of the whole--there are a lot of die-hards here. If anybody wants to accuse Minnesotans in general of being fair weather fans, I'd probably agree with you; if anybody accused me of being a fair weather fan, I'd say "then why did I watch every game the 2002 Vikings played? Why did I watch every game the 2006 Vikings played? Why do I still bother talking about the Timberwolves? For that matter, how do I maintain the energy to keep up a blog about the freakin' Vikings?"
Cold, Hard Football Facts discusses how era affects passing numbers, and lists the five most overrated quarterbacks. It's good stuff, and I'll just make one critical remark. What would you say about a quarterback that had four consecutive playoff games with completion percentages over 70%? What would you say about a quarterback that had five consecutive playoff games with ratings between 91.8 and 118.4? You'd think that's a pretty good playoff quarterback, right? And if that quarterback's teams gave up an average of 26 points per game in his playoff starts, you might not blame him for those playoff losses, right? I'm talking about Warren Moon. As I've said before, the numbers show that Warren Moon was very good in the playoffs, especially in his prime from '89-'93. And considering Moon didn't even get a chance to play quarterback in the NFL until he was 28 primarily due to racist assumptions, I've got a lot of respect for what Moon was able to accomplish. In a previous column, CHFF's first two arguments against Moon as a Hall of Famer focused on his team's playoff failures, and in the column on overrated quarterbacks, CHFF notes Moon's "poor playoff performances." That's far too dismissive. The arguments against Moon's accumulated regular season stats have a solid basis--the criticism of Moon's supposedly poor playoff performance ignores a lot of contrary evidence.
An interesting change at Football Outsiders: DYAR is replacing DPAR, which allows more clarity and understanding of the stats' meaning. There are also some other solid adjustments to their system, including the standards for replacement level. Specifically, Schatz writes that "Originally, we estimated replacement level by simply using a scale similar to the one our partners at Baseball Prospectus use for hitters and pitchers [...] It was time to come up with something we felt was more accurate than 'this is sort of based on what BP does.'" One of my vague, undeveloped critiques of FO was its adoption of replacement level from baseball, so I like the shift toward a more independent basis in football. I'm still not entirely sure replacement level means as much in football as it might in baseball (so much interdependence for player performance), but Football Outsiders is generally so insightful, useful, and scientific in its analysis that I won't quibble terribly much.
An interesting bit of off-season amusement at Sports Illustrated: putting together an all-star roster that must abide by a salary cap. Good, good, good. But if I'm starting a team from scratch, salary cap or no salary cap, first of all I'll take the quarterback that led teams to 10, 12, 12, 14, 12, and 13 regular season wins in the past six seasons, and whose team has finished #2, #1, #2, #2, and #3 in points scored the past five seasons.
Tony Gonzalez saved somebody's life (ESPN).
Roger Rotter ranks fantasy running backs. I will provide my running back rankings after August 3. For today I'll just say that my rankings are rather different than Rotter's rankings.
Footballguys gives a warning rookie running backs in fantasyland: "only three times in the last 10 years has the 1st RB drafted ended up as the top fantasy producer."
Roy. S. Johnson is tired of "the coverage of athletes’ misbehavior." Me too. I don't even click on the links anymore. I don't care. I watch sports for fun, and I don't want to read about every traffic violation an athlete commits.
Here's another free fantasy football site: Fantasy Football Fools.