September 02, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Taking A Break From All Your Worries
Matt Forte: AP

In deference to another fantasy blowout spectacular coming your way Thursday -- one that'll get really big promotion on -- we're going to keep Wednesday's Clicks relatively short and sweet. In other words, there's really no need to beg your college professor OUT of reading War And Peace or any James Michener novel from the 1980s as a homework assignment ... simply because our recent NFL Clicks have commandeered too much of your leisure reading time. So enjoy!

Snake This ... Draft That!

I had another "experts" draft on Tuesday, but this one felt like a home game, since it was hosted by the good people at Our emcee for the event, Jeffrey Kevin Ma, somehow attracted a large handful of fantasy shamans like Matthew Berry, Nate Ravitz (ESPN), Brandon Funston, Andy Behrens (Yahoo!), Christopher Liss (Rotowire), William Del Pilar (, John Hansen ( Radio) and Ryan Houston (Fanball), among others -- making this one of the most star-studded drafts of the season:

My Team
Round 1 -- RB Matt Forte, Bears (realistic threat for 2,000 total yards/10 TDs)
Round 2 -- WR Reggie Wayne, Colts (a vital member of the Elite Six wideouts)
Round 3 -- WR Anquan Boldin, Cards (he'll carry my team on his back 3-4 Sundays)
Round 4 -- RB Joseph Addai, Colts (just two years removed from a monster season)
Round 5 -- RB Beanie Wells, Cards (did you see last week's scoring runs?)
Round 6 -- RB Donald Brown, Colts (this clinches the Addai/Brown handcuff)
Round 7 -- WR Hines Ward, Steelers (the quintessential WR3 in deeper leagues)
Round 8 -- WR Kevin Walter, Texans
Round 9 -- TE John Carlson, Seahawks (could be the No. 5 TE by season's end)
Round 10 -- QB Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
Round 11 -- QB Eli Manning, Giants (golden rule: IF you wait on QBs ... buy in bulk!)
Round 12 -- D/ST San Diego Chargers
Round 13 -- PK Rob Bironas, Titans
Round 14 -- WR Sidney Rice, Vikings

Draft Mistakes ... I've Made A Few

In an exercise of fantasy self-actualization, here are some questionable decisions made during the draft:

**With Michael Turner and Matt Forte as the only options at No. 4 overall, I opted for the Bears back -- on the assumption I'd land Falcons QB Matt Ryan in Round 7/8 (wrong on both accounts). To clarify: Turner is clearly the No. 2 tailback (behind Adrian Peterson) in standard-scoring leagues ... I was just trying to avoid a potential Ryan/Turner handcuff for this particular league.

**For someone who's constantly preaching against the evils of "reaching" in drafts, I felt obligated to take the somewhat-early plunge for Colts rookie Donald Brown in Round 6, as a complementary (read: necessary) move for grabbing Joseph Addai two rounds earlier. Simply put, I had to bite the bullet on guaranteeing at least one major handcuff at running back.

**I passed on Atlanta QB Matt Ryan in Round 7 for no other reason than to initiate a stimulating game of "draft chicken" -- where I purposely wait one extra round on a prospect, thus testing the acumen of the other owners. And in a fitting act of You Snooze, You Lose ... Yahoo! fantasy wiz Brandon Funston selected Ryan one slot ahead of my Round 8 selection. (In the immortal words of Phil Mickelson, immediately after the 2006 U.S. Open: "Man, I am ... such an idiot!"

**As much as I like Eli Manning in the QB2 role, I should've landed 49ers rookie RB Glen Coffee -- my current fantasy man-crush -- in Round 11. Coffee (230 rushing yards) has arguably been the NFL's best tailback during the preseason and possesses amazing upside, with or without Frank Gore in the San Fran lineup.

In Case You're Wondering ...

... Here are the first four rounds of the SI/Facebook draft:

Round 1
1. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
3. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
4. RB Matt Forte, Bears (my pick)
5. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
6. RB Steve Slaton, Texans
7. RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
8. RB Steven Jackson, Rams
9. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
10. RB Frank Gore, 49ers
11. WR Randy Moss, Patriots
12. RB Chris Johnson, Titans

Round 2
13. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
14. RB Clinton Portis, Redskins
15. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
16. RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles
17. RB Brandon Jacobs, Giants
18. WR Roddy White, Falcons
19. RB Kevin Smith, Lions
20. WR Steve Smith, Panthers
21. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts (my pick)
22. RB Marion Barber, Cowboys
23. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
24. RB Pierre Thomas, Saints

Round 3
25. WR Marques Colston, Saints
26. RB Ryan Grant, Packers
27. QB Drew Brees, Saints
28. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (my pick)
29. RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
30. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
31. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
32. RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
33. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
34. WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers
35. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks
36. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns

Round 4
37. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
38. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
39. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
40. QB Peyton Manning, Colts
41. WR Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
42. RB Thomas Jones, Jets
43. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
44. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
45. RB Joseph Addai, Colts (my pick)
46. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
47. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
48. RB Ray Rice, Ravens

In Case You're Wondering, Part II

... Here's a glimpse at the tight ends selected, Rounds 1-14. You'll notice that only 14 safety blankets were chosen overall ... and only two owners actually drafted backups at the position. For everyone else (myself included), we have the luxury of knowing a potential superstar or two went undrafted (like Chase Coffman, Shawn Nelson, Brandon Pettigrew, Todd Heap, Heath Miller, Anthony Fasano, Vernon Davis, etc.) and would still be available on the waiver-wire -- should our first and only tight ends fall woefully short of expectations. BOOM!

Antonio Gates, Chargers -- Round 4, Pick 1
Jason Witten, Cowboys -- Round 4, Pick 3
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons -- Round 5, Pick 6
Dallas Clark, Colts -- Round 5, Pick 8
Chris Cooley, Redskins -- Round 6, Pick 11
Greg Olsen, Bears -- Round 7, Pick 5
Owen Daniels, Texans -- Round 7, Pick 7
Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers -- Round 8, Pick 10
John Carlson, Seahawks -- Round 9, Picks 4
Jermichael Finley, Packers -- Round 10, Pick 4
Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings -- Round 10, Pick 12
Dustin Keller, Jets -- Round 12, Pick 1
Zach Miller, Raiders -- Round 12, Pick 2
Jeremy Shockey, Saints -- Round 14, Pick 10

Tiers Of A Clown -- Running Backs

Running backs are the driving forces behind efficient, ball-controlled attacks, but they weren't all created equal. To wit, the revised RB tier system for fantasy drafts:

Tier 1 (1,400 total yards and/or 12 TDs)
Michael Turner, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Clinton Portis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marion Barber, DeAngelo Williams, Chris Johnson, Brian Westbrook (a very shaky, post-surgery pick)

Tier 2 (1,250 total yards and/or 9 TDs)
Frank Gore, Steve Slaton, Brandon Jacobs, Larry Johnson, Ronnie Brown, Marshawn Lynch, Beanie Wells, Joseph Addai, Thomas Jones, Willie Parker, Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith, Darren McFadden

Tier 3 (1,100 total yards and/or 8 TDs)
Pierre Thomas, Willis McGahee, Felix Jones, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Stewart, Cedric Benson, Leon Washington, Knowshon Moreno, Michael Bush, Derrick Ward, LenDale White, Earnest Graham, Darren Sproles, LeSean McCoy

Tier 4 (950 total yards and/or 6 TDs)
Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis, Chester Taylor, Glen Coffee, James Davis, Correll Buckhalter, Justin Fargas, Le'Ron McClain, Donald Brown, Fred Jackson, Julius Jones, Tim Hightower, Rashard Mendenhall, Edgerrin James, Laurence Maroney, Ahmad Bradshaw, Jerious Norwood

Tier 5 (800 total yards and/or 5 TDs)
Ricky Williams, Ladell Betts, Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, Shonn Greene, Ahman Green, Jamaal Charles, Tashard Choice, Dominic Rhodes, Mewelde Moore, Brian Leonard, Michael Robinson, Brandon Jackson, Rashad Jennings

Tweet Happenings

With Week 1 just eight days away, now's the perfect time to hit me up on Twitter (@SI_JayClemons) for any draft- or lineup-related questions within the fantasy realm. In fact, I see that Jeaf Smith, a precocious lad who emailed lineup queries twice a week EVERY WEEK last year, has already solicited my assistance for a standard-scoring conundrum:


Mr. Clemons,

You were a great help last year, and I need some help with this year's Fantasy team (if you have the time)! I need 2 RBs, 2 WRs and 1 Flex out of these:

RBs: DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Grant, Leon Washington, Fred Taylor
WRs: Greg Jennings, Randy Moss, Donnie Avery, Earl Bennett, Jeremy Maclin

Answer: Obviously, we'll be going with DeAngelo (vs. Philly), Grant (vs. Chicago), Jennings and Moss (vs. Buffalo) as the core starters. But the flex slot is a little tricky for Week 1, with Avery still getting up to speed after a training-camp stress fracture and Maclin needing a ton of seasoning before becoming viable in fantasyland. That boils everything down to Washington (@ Houston) or Bennett (@ Green Bay) ... for which my gut says go with L-Wash against the Texans -- even though NO ONE is expecting a 75-yard TD run out of the chute (like Adrian Peterson had on Monday). Thanks!

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

... To announce the arrival of Sports Illustrated's fantasy football spectacular, available online and at magazine racks nationwide. This 168-page tome is chock-full of rankings, columns (two from yours truly), features, draft-day advice, in-season strategies, booms, busts and an experts' mock draft, enlisting an army of SI's award-winning fantasy and NFL writers (including Peter King). Last but not least, it boasts perhaps the coolest cover of any fantasy magazine you'll ever see!

Am I overselling it a little bit? Perhaps. But the early feedback I've gotten from my fantasy brethren suggests SI's first major foray into fantasy football will be an absolute triumph -- and that it could become an all-time best seller within the genre. (UPDATE: My well-placed moles have informed me that SI's fantasy mag is indeed the top seller to date ... sweeeeeet!)

Slot Strategy -- 16-Team Superleague: #9

By the time you read today's Clicks, I'll be knee-deep in final preparations for the & Friends fantasy football draft, which comprises 16 teams but just 14 rounds.

As one might expect, it's darn-near impossible to find a 16-team LIVE mock draft on the Web ... meaning most tried-and-true strategies for 10-, 12- and even 14-team drafts may not apply to superleagues, where quarterbacks suddenly have greater value. And yet, I'll give it a go here ... as part of the wildly popular "It's All About The Slot" segment, while possessing the No. 9 overall pick (and No. 24 on the flip side):

Round 1, Pick 9: Motive -- Best overall player (tie goes to the elite wideout)
1st option: WR Andre Johhnson, Texans ... 2nd option: RB Chris Johnson, Titans

Round 2, Pick 24 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR available (don't be afraid to start WR-WR)
1st option: WR Greg Jennings, Packers ... 2nd option: RB Ryan Grant, Packers

Round 3, Pick 41 overall: Motive -- Best RB (ONLY QBs: Brees, Manning, Brady, Rodgers)
1st option: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders ... 2nd option: RB Joseph Addai, Colts

Round 4, Pick 56 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR (RB/WR balance is necessary in deeper leagues)
1st option: RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals ... 2nd option: WR Hines Ward, Steelers

Round 5, Pick 73 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB available (still too much TE depth)
1st option: RB Felix Jones, Cowboys ... 2nd option: RB Donald Brown, Colts

Round 6, Pick 88 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB/TE available
1st option: TE John Carlson, Seahawks ... 2nd option: QB Carson Palmer, Bengals

Round 7, Pick 105 overall: Motive -- Best QB/RB available (running out of solid QB1s)
1st option: QB Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks ... 2nd option: RB Fred Jackson, Bills

Round 8, Pick 120 overall: Motive -- Best QB/WR (great WR value still on the board)
1st option: WR Chris Henry, Bengals ... 2nd option: WR Earl Bennett, Bears

Round 9, Pick 137 overall: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR/QB (but keep focusing on RB/WR)
1st option: RB Glen Coffee, 49ers ... 2nd option: WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants

Round 10, Pick 152 overall: Motive -- Best QB/RB/WR available
1st option: WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants ... 2nd option: WR Nate Washington, Titans

Round 11, Pick 169: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE (too early for a kicker or D/ST)
1st option: RB Michael Bush, Raiders ... 2nd option: WR Nate Burleson, Seahawks

Round 12, Pick 184: Motive -- Best QB/TE available
1st option: QB Joe Flacco, Ravens ... 2nd option: QB Daunte Culpepper, Lions

Round 13, Pick 201: Motive -- Best D/ST or PK available
1st option: D/ST Philadelphia Eagles ... 2nd option: D/ST Buffalo Bills

Round 14, Pick 216: Motive -- Best PK available
1st option: PK Ryan Longwell, Vikings ... 2nd option: PK Robbie Gould, Bears

I Cannot Leave Without Touting ...

The sparkling edition of the 2009 Sports Illustrated/Citizen Sports Fantasy Football Game (presented by Pepsi Max). For those who haven't accessed this amazing application yet on Facebook ... what are you waiting for? And for those whose fantasy-football lives were compromised looooooooong before Brian Westbrook skipped his first preseason game, check out Jeffrey Ma's omnipresent fantasy blog on Citizen Sports.

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