Thursday, July 31, 2008


OK, think about it this way. Quarterback X has won MVPs, has set passing records, has won a lot of games, and is still playing at a very high level. Your favorite team is really good at every position except quarterback, perhaps dominant if they get a competent veteran quarterback. Would you want Quarterback X to join the team?

Me too.

Says Kevin Seiftert: "It is almost common knowledge that Favre wants to play for the Vikings."

I have a weird feeling this is happening. Favre is stubborn, and in this situation he does have some leverage. If he wants to force the issue to end up on the team he wants to, he just might.

My soul is twisting around, ready to snap in two.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Little Blizzard

Thomas Tapeh (Star Tribune).

Madieu Williams and Darren Sharper (Pioneer Press).

Adrian Peterson (Pioneer Press).

Tarvaris Jackson and Bernard Berrian (Viking Update).

Tarvaris Jackson's practice (Star Tribune).

Just tell me how I'm supposed to feel (Access Vikings). Addendum: yes, just tell me how to feel (ESPN).

I'm really tired of the report card format for any type of team evaluation. For one thing, it's totally played. For another, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. Summer report cards? Report cards generally come after a course is completed, to evaluate the work already completed. But for what it's worth, USA Today gives the Vikings an A.

A different view on running back overuse (Advanced NFL Stats).

Playoff success since re-alignment (Cold, Hard Football Facts).

The Hazelweird Fantasy Draft is on Sunday. Afterward I will likely share some sincere fantasy football thoughts about players I like and dislike. Afterward I will also be recovering from drinking gin (a common enough occurrence), smoking cigars (an extremely rare occurrence), and eating a whole lot of cheese (I'm mostly vegan, but make cheese exceptions for social and special occasions--I've been fantasizing about pizza for days). This year I have no plans for wearing a headband (but I might--why not?) or growing a moustache.

So what sorts of things to you do for and during a fantasy draft?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vikings in the Hall of Fame

Part Two of Football Outsiders' look at Hall of Fame respect by franchise covers the Vikings.

It's somebody else's turn to get infatuated with Troy Williamson's speed

Jason Cole at Yahoo! talks about Troy Williamson in Jacksonville.

There's also more talk about his past problems with dropped passes, with hope that it's in the past. Some other team's fans can get false hope from articles about how Williamson's dropped passes became a mental problem and he's really moved past it (though I've seen little discussed on another of Williamson's problems as a receiver: while he's fast enough to get open downfield, in his pro career he has always shown major problems adjusting to a ball in the air).

Williamson also talks about his bad relationship with Brad Childress, which is interesting.

Maybe we don't know what the Vikings are going to get in Bernard Berrian or Sidney Rice. And maybe Troy Williamson will really develop into an effective player. But I'm happier about the team's WRs this summer than I was last summer.

(so much so, Hazelweirders, that I'm thinking about using the 10th and 11th picks in Sunday's draft on Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice. But don't hold me to that).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fill your head with fantasies of Jackson to Berrian

According to the Pioneer Press, Tarvaris Jackson and Bernard Berrian have been spending a lot of time working on football together.

I'm starting to believe. There's no reason for people to have great faith that Tarvaris Jackson will star this season--but I also see no reason to have firm belief that he'll suck, either.

And as Michael Lombardi writes, "I can't think of one player who will control the won/loss record of any team in the NFL more than Tarvaris Jackson."

This is why I'm having such trouble making a prediction on the Vikings' record. If Jackson struggles, I think the Vikes will go 7-9 (whether or not he gets benched). If Jackson plays competent football, I think the Vikes could win as many as 12 games. 10-6 or even 11-5 seems like a pretty reasonable prediction, but it really depends on Jackson's ability to consistently make plays and make good decisions.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekend Blizzard

It wouldn't be a professional sports league unless a team that has clearly not been disrespected didn't claim to be disrespected. Don Banks on the New York Giants.

A Star Tribune article on Bernard Berrian.

Sid Hartman talks about QB controversies in Viking history. For some reason, it amuses me to reflect on a Fran Tarkenton-Tommy Kramer QB controversy.

Zygi Wilf is out fielding punts and stuff (Pioneer Press).

I'm juiced about Laurence Maroney as a fantasy running back (or am I?). Now the Pats also have Lamont Jordan (Yahoo!). Is Lamont Jordan worth a late fantasy pick? No.

Should you pay any attention to Strength of Schedule for fantasy football analysis? Scott Pianowski says you shouldn't. The other thing I've been mulling over: should you pay attention to a team's new offensive coordinator?

Marvin Harrison practiced (USA Today).

An amusing enough fantasy mailbag with Michael Fabiano.

Football Outsiders examines Hall of Fame love by franchise. This is just part one--part two will include the Vikings.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Viking Training Camp

The Star Tribune lists five things to watch for in Viking training camp.

In my mind, there's only one thing to watch for: Brad Childress' goatee. Why is it? How long will it exist? Will it grow fuller? Are goatees now ruined forever? Did Childress go away this offseason to a hermitage and come back a new, enlightened man? Is Childress choosing a new identity? See, I don't think I could really be an NFL reporter. I would repeatedly ask questions about the interview subject's hair and facial hair.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fantasy Vikings

At Pancake Blocks, Gregg Rosenthal makes some interesting fantasy predictions about the Minnesota Vikings.

I'm out of order, you're out of order, the whole SYSTEM is out of order!

If the Packers gave Brett Favre a cell phone, and Brett Favre then called the Vikings, then maybe Brett Favre should be punished for tampering with the Vikings! It was all a setup! A conspiracy! The next X-Files movie should check this out!

Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten

Jason Witten seems to be highly regarded among fantasy football enthusiasts for 2008. For example, Brandon Funston at Yahoo! has Jason Witten ranked 43rd overall, the top tight end on the list. He did have 96 receptions for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns last season, so he should be highly regarded.

Funston has Tony Gonzalez ranked 54th overall, the fourth tight end on the list. But last year, Gonzalez' numbers were very comparable to Witten's: 99 receptions, 1,172 yards, and five touchdowns.

It was Gonzalez's seventh season in the last eight with 900+ yards. He's consistently produced at the tight end position. Why shouldn't Gonzalez be ranked ahead of Witten?

Witten does have better team context for support: he's got a good quarterback and a high scoring offense, while Gonzalez has neither. But Gonzalez has been a great tight end for a decade, with all sorts of good, bad, and mediocre quarterbacks--I'm not sure there's significant data to suggest Gonzalez will struggle to put up numbers with a lesser QB. Witten will get more help from his teammates, but that doesn't mean his numbers will significantly outpace Gonzalez's.

Witten did have more touchdowns than Gonzalez in 2007. But in the last four seasons, Witten has 20 TDs, Gonzalez 19. That's not a significant difference to suggest Witten will score more TDs than Gonzalez in 2008. After all, in his career, Gonzalez has matched or betterd Witten's career high of seven touchdowns in a season five times (furthermore, Witten played most of 2006 with Tony Romo, and only had one touchdown).

Jason Witten has established himself as a good fantasy tight end over the past four seasons, certainly. But the current perception values Witten, while people seem to have grown bored with Gonzalez' consistently high production. That makes Gonzalez the better fantasy pick--I would rank them very close together, but Witten will likely go a round or two before Gonzalez. While somebody else is drafting Witten, you can draft a quality RB, WR, or QB, and try get somebody like Gonzalez a bit later. Witten is good, but are you that confident he'll have a better year than Gonzalez? Than Antonio Gates? Than Kellen Winslow Jr.? Than Chris Cooley? So is it really worth selecting him before any other tight ends have been picked?

I never like taking a TE early in a snake draft--it requires you to pass on a potential starter at one of the more critical positions (RB, WR, QB). And I always like drafting those players that are so consistent over a long period of time that other fantasy football drafters have started taking them for granted.

(The standard caveat applies: Hazelweirders must speculate whether I actually believe any of this).

Monday, July 21, 2008


In ESPN's Training Camp power rankings, the Vikes are 11th.

Cold, Hard Football Facts provides some fun stat stuff for 2008.

Antonio Gates or Jason Witten? Yahoo! discusses it.

According to USA Today, Adrian Peterson is the second best current running back.

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports looks at the NFC North.

In USA Today's quarterback rankings, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning tie for #1. I'm glad. A lot of people rank Brady ahead of Manning after the 2007 season, but if this poll were done last summer, Manning would come out #1. What really strikes me is what happens from #3 on. There's no debate about the top two, but starting at #3, you could shift those rankings all around.

At Football Outsiders, Mike Tanier provides personality profiles based on your fantasy football drafting style. Take note, Hazelweirders: according to Tanier, the sort of person that picks WRs with his or her first two picks is a self-righteous vegan hippie.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Viking All-Time Team has used Approximate Value "to come up with a post-merger all-franchise team for each franchise." Check out the NFC North.

I'm a bit surprised that Daunte Culpepper comes in ahead of Fran Tarkenton, and Matt Birk comes in ahead of Mick Tinglehoff.

According to this standard, the three greatest Vikings are three of the team's Hall of Famers: Alan Page, Ron Yary, and Carl Eller, who each have over 100. The other 90+ players are Cris Carter, Randall McDaniel, John Randle, and Chris Doleman.

If you really defined the Viking franchise's greatness over the years, you'd probably start at defensive line. There were the Purple People Eaters (Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Gary Larsen), and later players like Chris Doleman, Keith Millard, John Randle, Henry Thomas, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, and now Jared Allen.

The Line of Scrimmage

According to USA Today, the Vikings have the top current Defensive End. According to the same newspaper, remember, the Vikes also have the top Defensive Tackle and the top interior Offensive Lineman.

Let's give Brad Childress this credit: when he took over as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, he talked about how a good football team should be built first from the offensive and defensive lines. Going into his third year with the team, the Vikings appear to be stacked on the offensive and defensive lines. This is the sort of team he said he wanted to make the Vikings.

The 2008 Vikings should have great play at the line of scrimmage. Nobody seems terribly worried about that.

Defensively, the Vikings also have good starting linebackers and an OK secondary (don't let the cumulative numbers fool you: the Vikes ranked 16th in pass yards allowed per attempt last season. They gave up a lot of yards because they gave up so many attempts: they were average in defending those attempts).

Offensively, they have dynamic running backs in Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, and an improving group of wide receivers (high hopes for Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice).

Which brings us back to Tarvaris Jackson. It always brings us back to Tarvaris Jackson.

This would happen, wouldn't it?

In 2004, I watched a Monday Night Game between the Cowboys and the Seahawks. I thought, Wow, what if somebody ten years ago told me this would be happening. Mike Holmgren was coaching the Seahawks, Bill Parcells was coaching the Cowboys. Jerry Rice was having a great game for the Seahawks. Vinny Testaverde was the starting quarterback for the Cowboys, throwing passes to Keyshawn Johnson. Could this really be happening? How did the league come to this?

And now, tell me when exactly you would have believed that the Packers would accuse the Vikings of tampering with Brett Favre.

(more info from Kevin Seifert at Hashmarks).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Enough is Enough

The Brett Favre saga has to end. Now it leads to tampering charges against the Vikings? I didn't like the Packers to begin with, but now, now I can't even find the words to describe the rage growing inside me.

Adrian Peterson: Fantasy Running Back

At ESPN, Matthew Berry discusses fantasy players he loves and hates (based on value), beginning with why he hates Adrian Peterson (he doesn't really hate Adrian Peterson, just doesn't like his fantasy value).

This is actually the sort of fantasy football preview article I really enjoy. There are all sorts of free positional rankings out there. Berry is going a little deeper and discussing which players he values more or less than the general consensus, which is interesting and useful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Viking Defensive Line

At ESPN, Doug Kretz of Scouts, Inc. says the Vikings have the best defensive line in the league.

(Insider article, but you can read what Kretz writes about the Vikings without Insider).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blizzard: July is a Time for Lists

Cold, Hard Football Facts discusses the five most underrated quarterbacks in history.

Defensive Indifference looks at the top 20 current Minnesota Vikings.

USA Today ranks the top wide receivers of the Super Bowl era and today. I think wide receiver is still my favorite position--there are a lot of wide receivers I really enjoy watching play.

Roger Rotter ranks his fantasy quarterbacks and fantasy wide receivers. I think Ben Roesthlisberger is the most overrated fantasy quarterback of 2008. I doubt he can hit 32 touchdowns again, and he only averaged around 200 yards per game last season. I expect something like 3,500 yards and 25 touchdowns from Roethlisberger, which is the sort of fantasy production 10 quarterbacks will probably meet or top next season. Not that it matters to me: I always trade for Matt Hasselbeck sometime mid-season and ride him out as my starter.

Dr. Z looks at some historical examples of great quarterbacks finishing out their careers on different teams.

How bland is July? is taking the entire week to rank Adrian Peterson's top moments of 2007. This was the perfect time of the year for He Who We Wish Not To Speak About to start putting himself in the news again, if his goal was to dominate all football coverage. Just about every mainstream football website features Favre in the big main page photo and with the lead stories. And why not? The only other thing to do in July is make lists.

At TrueHoop, Maurice Brooks talks about Kevin Love.

MN Sports Hotdish compares Carlos Gomez to Torii Hunter's early days with the Twins.

Beyond Shinders

People collect sports cards for different reasons. I just like to get cheap, attractive cards of players I like. So I'm thrilled that Beyond Shinders, a sports card store in the Twin Cities, is bringing back the best feature of the old Shinders: the specials box. Rows and rows of star cards, most priced at 29 cents. They also have "commons" boxes, which feature a lot of star cards for 10 cents each. It's a nice feature for people who like to spend a lot of time in card stores looking, and for people who like to get cards without spending much money at all.

Brett Favre
I don't care.

Fantasy Football Fever
The Hazelweird League draft is now less than three weeks away. I chose to pick last in the first round, so I get to pick #10 and #11. I've got mad schemes for those picks. Mad schemes.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Black and Blue Division

Kevin Seifert discusses the NFC North's general run-first philosophy.

Oh, it wasn't always this way. Remember 1995, when Warren Moon, Brett Favre, Erik Kramer, and Scott Mitchell combined for 132 touchdown passes?

Big Blizzard

Brett Favre
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.

Oh, yeah...
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. 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.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Adrian Peterson

Chicago Bears' blog Blog Down is doing a nifty little concept, ranking down the top ten players that "will be the most instrumental to the Bears’ success in 2008."

At #10 is Viking running back Adrian Peterson.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fantasy Football Advice: Draft Players

At, Michael Fabiano provides some post-draft advice for fantasy football enthusiasts. I kid you not, here is the first bit of advice:

"1. Know the schedule and set a lineup each week"

"This might seem like an obvious rule, but I can't tell you the number of times I've seen owners fail to set their lineups. Whether a player is injured or on a bye week, he needs to be removed as a starter in order to have the best possible chance at a win. Even if that means you need to start San Diego's No. 2 running back or Atlanta's No. 3 wide receiver, at least there's a chance to see some points."

Let's get this straight, because I'm pretty sure Michael Fabiano just blew my mind. In order to succeed at fantasy football, I need to put players into my starting lineup. And "in order to have the best possible chance at a win," I need to put players into my lineup that will actually play.

Hold on, I need an illustration to fully comprehend this advice in all its complexity. So San Diego's #2 running back has a better chance at points than a player on bye? Atlanta's #3 WR might get me more points than a player that is out with injury?

At least Fabiano recognizes that "this might seem like an obvious rule." Basically, you have a better chance at success if you actually pay attention to football and adjust your lineups, than if you set a lineup and then forget to adjust it throughout the season. You have a better chance to get fantasy football wins if you start players that are playing, than if you start players that are not playing.

But really, if you want to succeed at football, just take this writer's advice. It's mind-blowing. He also advices fantasy football participants to "Use the waiver wire and check the transactions report" and "Make trades from depth to improve at weaker positions." Since you've never thought about that before, you ought to thank this writer, listed as the "Fantasy Editor" for the NFL's official website, for providing you these nifty little tips. That's what the official website of the NFL has to offer.

In order to help you perform better at fantasy football, I would like to provide some of my own tips. Fabiano has provided everything you need to know for "post-draft" management of your team: here is some advice for what to do during the draft.

1. Draft players for every position your league allows you to start.
If your league allows you to start two running backs, don't just select one running back. And if your league allows you to start a tight end, don't forget to draft one on draft night. Remember, a real tight end has a better probability of scoring your team points than a blank spot in your starting lineup.

2. Only draft current players.
Dan Marino is a Hall of Famer, but he is unlikely to get you any fantasy points in 2008. Believe it or not, even Brodie Croyle is likely to get more fantasy points in 2008 than players like Marino, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, or John Elway. So make sure to look at an updated list of current NFL players.

3. Draft team starters, not team backups.
In all likelihood, a team's starting quarterback will have more fantasy points than a team's backup quarterback. Backup players can emerge to become valid fantasy performers, but don't pick Jim Sorgi before Peyton Manning.

4. When it is your turn to pick, make sure to say a name.
When it is your turn to select a player, you actually have to select a player. You shouldn't just stare at the wall. Don't just grin at everybody. Don't say, "Alright, I'm set. Who picks next?" If you don't actually pick players, you won't end up with anybody on your roster.

Jared Allen and Sacks

At Advanced NFL Stats, Brian Burke looks at Jared Allen's sack rate and how sacks correlate to winning.

Kevin Williams

For the second time, USA Today has ranked a Viking as the best current player at his position, calling Kevin Williams the top defensive tackle in the game today. Alan Page is ranked as the fifth best DT of the Super Bowl era.

(just a note--I think Pat Williams is better than Kevin Williams--not as versatile, but more dominant).

PV at 10,000 Takes

At 10,000 Takes, some more thoughts on Dr. Z's prediction that the Vikes win the Super Bowl (this year!), particularly looking at his comments on Brad Childress and Tarvaris Jackson.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Vikings as a Fantasy Defense

Andy Behrens of Yahoo! discusses the dilemma of when to take a fantasy defense, focusing on the Minnesota Viking defense in particular.

I actually think the Viking Defense will be a fantasy disappointment. They will improve as a defense overall, and for fantasy purposes, they should have more sacks, fewer points allowed per game, and a solid number of turnovers. But the Vikes had a ridiculous number of defensive touchdowns last season. I don't think it likely the Vikes will have close to eight (EIGHT!) defensive touchdowns again--that's just fantastic, and requires too many breaks to happen again.

So the Vikings will likely be clumped in with a lot of good defenses in fantasy points. And that's fine--they'll be good. But somebody (especially in drafts filled with Viking fans) is going to take the Viking Defense too early, passing on position players that could help a team, and being disappointed when a handful of fantasy defenses drafted a few rounds later outperform the Vikes. I'm actually the only fantasy owner in the six-year history of the Hazelwierd League to ever have the Viking Defense on my roster. That's going to change this year.

Then again, in a Snake Draft, you can't think that way--you have to target the players you really want, and take them when you can get them. So, Viking fans, feel good if you do draft the Viking defense. You'll still get to root for the entire squad (which you would anyway), and get fantasy points out of it too.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Blizzardy Goodness

At ESPN, Kevin Seifert writes about Kenechi Udeze's cancer recovery and his marrow transplant from his brother.

To help us through Irrelevant Controversy Season, USA Today is ranking the top five players at different positions during the Super Bowl era, and today. According to USA Today, Steve Hutchinson is the best interior offensive lineman playing today.

Jared Allen will talk to NFL rookies about his alcohol abuse (Pioneer Press).

On Adrian Peterson (Viking Update). puts together regular season and postseason data to rank the all-time quarterbacks. A lot of interesting stuff, including Fran Tarkenton at #5. Throughout Chase Stuart's look at quarterbacks, he's made an important point for evaluating quarterbacks: it is important for a quarterback to be able to avoid sacks. Quarterbacks' numbers can change a good deal when you account for yards lost on sacks.

By the way, in the interest of honesty, I'm a liar: I bought a fantasy football magazine. I had my reasons.

Now I'm just sitting around looking forward to the Kevin Love experience.