Matt Ryan: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
I can safely guarantee that you will not see Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ranked next to Adrian Peterson on any published cheat sheet this fall. In fact, most every league will go several dozen turns before taking Ryan.
However, sometimes when you factor in all of your league's rules, you'll find that perception and value can change dramatically. The most typical example of that is the difference in running back and receiver values between leagues that award a point for each reception and those that do not. In leagues, that do, you'll find possession receivers far more valuable, since they're rewarded for catching passes, not just yardage and scores.
Getting back to All Day and Ryan, I've been offered Ryan for Peterson straight up. As absurd as it seems at face value, due to my league's rules, it's actually a very tantalizing trade that I'm giving serious consideration.
This is a keeper league with the following stipulations:
-- You can keep only one player
-- We start two quarterbacks
-- QBs receive six points per passing TD
Consider that there are only about 25 NFL quarterbacks who have relatively secure jobs. Of those 25, seven or eight are spoken for as keepers, and our league uses 20 QBs each week (and more than that once the bye weeks kick in). So there's already a general scarcity at the QB position.
Then factor in the quarterbacks getting a full six points per score and having only one keeper each year, and the possibility of getting a franchise quarterback like Ryan for the foreseeable future suddenly sounds pretty appetizing.
I'd have a harder time pulling the trigger on this if Peterson's expected production was more like LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk when they were at their best. But All Day doesn't catch a lot of passes, and often defers to Chester Taylor on third downs and goal-line situations. So, despite being the clear-cut No. 1 pick in most leagues, the odds of Peterson maxing out his value in '09 aren't great.
I'm going to wait to see how our draft order looks before making a move on this trade, because if I think I can get a top-10 QB with my first pick, I might just keep Peterson. Otherwise, I'm probably going to accept the offer.
The point here is to be sure to fully consider your league's scoring rules before determining the value of your players.
It must be, because last night I took part in my first fantasy hoops experts' mock draft for the '09-10 season.
Somehow I ended up with the first overall pick and took LeBron James. I'm hoping the release of the much-ballyhooed "dunk tape" won't affect his confidence so much that his recently discovered ability to hit free throws is compromised. (Seriously, what was Nike thinking? I've had bigger dunks on friends in the driveway.)
It's pretty early -- plenty of fantasy junkies haven't even busted out a mock football draft, yet -- so we were all pretty well flying by the seats of our pants. So it's safe to assume that some of the good deals and odd picks will right themselves by the time late October drafts kick into gear. Nonetheless, here are a couple of interesting picks in this 12-team, 15-round roto draft:
-- Derrick Rose, Round 3, Pick 2: That's a bit early for my tastes. I love Rose and had him in a number of leagues last year. I also expect his scoring and dimes to jump this season, but until he can boost his steals (0.8 last season) and threes (0.2), he's going to have a tough time meeting this draft spot.
-- Elton Brand, Round 3, Pick 9: Probably the biggest risk/reward player out there. A 20-10-2 just waiting to happen. But will a 30-year-old Brand make it happen after missing all but 38 games the past two seasons? I'd probably wait a little later to draft Brand, but this isn't outrageous if you believe in him.
-- Blake Griffin, Round 7, Pick 2: The top rookie off the board in the NBA draft came off our board at the start of the seventh round, which is probably about the right time. It's only July, but right now I'm a bit concerned by his shoulder injury. Of course, I'm more worried about the Clippers' curse on their No. 1 overall picks.
-- Tracy McGrady, Round 14, Pick 3: Right after Ricky Rubio and right before Ryan Gomes to give that pick some perspective. There's still no word on when he'll return from microfracture surgery but, at 30, it's now safe to assume his game will never return in full.
The Hornets are expected to trade Tyson Chandler to the Bobcats straight up for Emeka Okafor.
The Bobs are looking for defense and rebounding, while the Hornets are looking for a little more scoring punch in the paint.
Chandler's value should stay about the same. If he can manage to get and stay healthy, he'll be a monster on the boards and hopefully block a decent number of shots.
Okafor's value could get a little boost, though, as he'll be removed from the tight reins of Larry Brown in Charlotte. The Bobs scored the fewest points in the league last year, but the Hornets only averaged a bit over two more points per game, so it's hard to predict a huge breakout from Okafor in his new digs. However, I think it's possible that Okafor could average 15 points and boost his blocks up toward two per game.
Leon Washington: Icon SMI
Yesterday, SI's own Peter King wrote he was excited to see how new Jets coach Rex Ryan will use Leon Washington this season.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see Washington -- assuming he reports to camp on time, seeing that he's in a contract dispute with the team right now -- touch the ball 300 times this year. Last year, he had 76 rushes and 47 receptions, to go along with punt- and kick-return duties (77 returns total). He touched it 200 times last year, 123 from scrimmage."
King, who thinks Washington must get at least 200 touches from scrimmage, supported his case by quoting Ryan: "I hate defending against players like that," Ryan said last week."He had six touchdowns on 73 carries last year. That number has to go up -- drastically. And it will."
That's some food for thought as the season nears. But the trouble is that workhorse Thomas Jones is in front of Washington and rookie Shonn Greene could be a factor. Still, when my drafts get to the point that back-ups are coming off the board, Washington will be among my first choices.