However, there is one positive aspect from spreading myself too thin for September-December: I get to open today's Clicks with a listing of fantasy all-stars who -- for whatever reason -- don't belong to any of my 2010 squads:
QB: Drew Brees, Saints; Peyton Manning, Colts; Tom Brady, Patriots; Philip Rivers, Chargers; Brett Favre, Vikings
RB: Adrian Peterson, Vikings; Ray Rice, Ravens; Steven Jackson, Rams; Michael Turner, Falcons; DeAngelo Williams, Panthers; Beanie Wells, Cardinals; Ryan Mathews, Chargers
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals; Marques Colston, Saints; Steve Smith, Panthers; Hakeem Nicks, Giants; Steve Smith, Giants
TE: Antonio Gates, Chargers; Tony Gonzalez, Falcons; Chris Cooley, Redskins; Heath Miller, Steelers
K: Garrett Hartley, Saints; Lawrence Tynes, Giants; Ryan Longwell, Vikings
Quarterbacks are the make-or-break assets of fantasy football, but they're not all created equal. To wit, the QB tier system for fantasy drafts:
Tier 1 (4,350 total yards and/or 32 TDs)Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub
Tier 2 (3,800 total yards and/or 29 TDs) Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Brett Favre, Jay Cutler, Kevin Kolb
Tier 3 (3,400 total yards and/or 24 TDs) Donovan McNabb, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Chad Henne, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, Vince Young
Tier 4 (3,050 yards and/or 21 TDs) Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Jason Campbell, Matt Hasselbeck
Tier 5 (2,700 yards and 17 TDs) Matt Moore, Josh Freeman, Trent Edwards, Jake Delhomme, Derek Anderson, Sam Bradford
Tier 6 (the land of clipboard holders)Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Leinart, Dan Orlovsky, Sage Rosenfels, Michael Vick, Rex Grossman, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon, Chad Pennington, Tyler Thigpen, Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow, Charlie Whitehurst, Brodie Croyle, Bruce Gradkowski
Here are CBSSports.com's QB projections for this season -- detailing the 14 signal-callers who will rack up at least 24 touchdown passes:
Peyton Manning, Colts -- 34Drew Brees, Saints -- 33 Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- 28 Philip Rivers, Chargers -- 28 Tony Romo, Cowboys -- 28 Matt Schaub, Texans -- 27 Tom Brady, Patriots -- 27 Brett Favre, Vikings -- 27 Eli Manning, Giants -- 26 Carson Palmer, Bengals -- 26 Joe Flacco, Ravens -- 25 Jay Cutler, Bears -- 25 Matt Ryan, Falcons -- 25 Kevin Kolb, Eagles -- 24
One good turn deserves another. Here are the revised RB tiers for fantasy drafts:
Tier 1 (1,600 total yards and/or 12 TDs) Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner, Frank Gore
Tier 2 (1,400 total yards and/or 11 TDs)Cedric Benson, Rashard Mendenhall, DeAngelo Williams, Jamaal Charles, Ryan Grant, Matt Forte
Tier 3 (1,250 total yards and/or 10 TDs)Knowshon Moreno, Shonn Greene, Jonathan Stewart, Beanie Wells, Joseph Addai, Ronnie Brown, Arian Foster, Pierre Thomas, C.J. Spiller, LeSean McCoy, Ryan Mathews, Reggie Bush
Tier 4 (1,100 total yards and/or 8 TDs)Jerome Harrison, Brandon Jacobs, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ricky Williams, Clinton Portis, Cadillac Williams, Justin Forsett, Jahvid Best, Thomas Jones, Willis McGahee, Darren McFadden
Tier 5 (950 total yards and/or 5 TDs) Michael Bush, Steve Slaton, Chester Taylor, Correll Buckhalter, Donald Brown, Fred Jackson, Julius Jones, Tim Hightower, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson, Montario Hardesty, Mike Bell, Anthony Dixon, Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis
Tier 6 (800 total yards and/or 4 TDs)Willie Parker, Leon Washington, Brian Westbrook, Antonio Pittman, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, Kareem Huggins, Marshawn Lynch, James Davis, Rashad Jennings, Kevin Faulk, Jason Snelling, Ryan Moats, Brandon Jackson, Toby Gerhart, Maurice Morris, Javon Ringer, Jonathan Dwyer, Jerious Norwood, Andre Brown
I don't know how this came to fruition, but the people at AskMen.com have generously ranked yours truly as the universe's No. 8 fantasy football mind ... which is kind of like being the world's leading authority on TV's Just Shoot Me. Sure, it looks great on a Facebook or Twitter post; but in the grand scheme of things, you're still standing behind Ray Liotta in a workplace sandwich line -- just like all the other chumps.
Today's CYQ comes by special request, courtesy of John Kincade, the drive-time radio host for 680 The Fan in Atlanta and ESPN Radio (weekend mornings) and burgeoning fantasy geek. In a draft last Sunday, Kincade followed my Wait for QBs mantra to a T, stockpiling his club with quality tailbacks and receivers before landing Carson Palmer and Chad Henne in the middle rounds. Here's a week-to-week breakdown on which QB gets the starting nod -- on the off chance you also possess the Palmer/Henne tandem:
Week 1 -- Palmer (@ New England) over Henne (@ Buffalo) Week 2 -- Palmer (vs. Baltimore) over Henne (@ Minnesota) Week 3 -- Palmer (@ Carolina) over Henne (vs. N.Y. Jets) Week 4 -- Henne (vs. New England) over Palmer (@ Cleveland) -- TOSS UPWeek 5 -- Palmer (vs. Tampa Bay) over Henne (BYE) Week 6 -- Henne (@ Green Bay) over Palmer (BYE) Week 7 -- Henne (vs. Pittsburgh) over Palmer (@ Atlanta) -- TOSS UPWeek 8 -- Palmer over Henne (Miami @ Cincinnati) -- TOSS UPWeek 9 -- Palmer (vs. Pittsburgh) over Henne (@ Baltimore) Week 10 -- Henne (vs. Tennessee) over Palmer (@ Indianapolis) Week 11 -- Henne (vs. Chicago) over Palmer (vs. Buffalo) -- TOSS UPWeek 12 -- Henne (@ Oakland) over Palmer (@ N.Y. Jets) Week 13 -- Henne (vs. Cleveland) over Palmer (vs. New Orleans) Week 14 -- Palmer (@ Pittsburgh) over Henne (@ N.Y. Jets) Week 15 -- Henne (vs. Buffalo) over Palmer (vs. Cleveland) -- TOSS UPWeek 16 -- Henne (vs. Detroit) over Palmer (vs. San Diego) Week 17 -- Palmer (@ Baltimore) over Henne (@ New England) Final Tally: Henne wins, 9-8 (closest battle we've had this year)
I had a great experience on Tuesday night, partaking in a difficult 14-team draft with a group of lifelong friends from Michigan (along with a few special invitees). I label it difficult because a bunch of my Round 16 sleepers -- Rashad Jennings, Andre Brown, Anthony Dixon, Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson, Aaron Hernandez, Bucs WR Mike Williams -- were heroically swooped up from Rounds 13-15. That's a clear indication my highly competitive friends had done some serious homework prior to the draft ... aside from just reading Fantasy Clicks:
My Team(5th draft slot)Round 1 -- RB Frank Gore, 49ers (passed on MJD and Turner)Round 2 -- RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (danced a jig upon getting him at 24)Round 3 -- RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles (too much value ... had to go RB3 so early) Round 4 -- WR Anquan Boldin, Ravens Round 5 -- RB C.J. Spiller, Bills (had D-Bowe queued up, before he was snatched)Round 6 -- QB Jay Cutler, BearsRound 7 -- WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks (maybe his last year of 90-catch potential)Round 8 -- WR Sidney Rice, Vikings (happy with the stash pick, but also lost game of Cadillac Williams draft chicken -- D'oh!)Round 9 -- WR Devin Aromashodu, Bears (my precious Cutler handcuff)Round 10 -- TE Owen Daniels, Texans (too much elite-strata value to ignore)Round 11 -- WR Devin Thomas, Redskins (meet this year's Sidney Rice)Round 12 -- QB Kyle Orton, Broncos (didn't want to be stuck with Delhomme or D-Anderson) Round 13 -- PK Mason Crosby, Packers (money in the bank, unless paired with the Packers D/ST -- same bye week) Round 14 -- D/ST New England PatriotsRound 15 -- TE Fred Davis, Redskins (I prefer Davis over Chris Cooley)Round 16 -- Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (has the greatest upside of any New England back)
Here are the first three rounds of Tuesday's 14-teamer:Round 1 1. RB Chris Johnson, Titans2. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings 3. WR Andre Johnson, Texans 4. RB Ray Rice, Ravens5. RB Frank Gore, 49ers (my pick)6. WR Randy Moss, Patriots 7. RB Michael Turner, Falcons8. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers9. QB Drew Brees, Saints10. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 11. RB Steven Jackson, Rams 12. QB Peyton Manning, Colts13. RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers14. RB Cedric Benson, Bengals
Round 215. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts 16. RB Ryan Grant, Packers 17. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals 18. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers19. WR Brandon Marshall, Dolphins 20. RB Shonn Greene, Jets 21. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions 22. RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers23. WR Roddy White, Falcons24. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (my pick) 25. QB Tom Brady, Patriots 26. WR Miles Austin, Cowboys27. WR Marques Colston, Saints 28. RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Round 329. WR Greg Jennings, Packers 30. QB Matt Schaub, Texans31. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers32. RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins33. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles (my pick)34. RB Pierre Thomas, Saints 35. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles36. TE Dallas Clark, Colts37. WR Chad Ochocinco, Bengals38. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys39. WR Steve Smith, Giants40. RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers41. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers42. WR Steve Smith, Panthers
Today's Clicks marks the last of the preseason editions, which means we'll hit the ground running with Week 1 and seasonlong predictions on Wednesday. So get your rest (and drive safely) over the holiday break.
We have more SI fantasy videos to promote. For the wide receivers vignette, obviously Sidney Rice (hip surgery) is no longer a top-10 wideout; but that doesn't mean he should escape your clutches in Rounds 11, 12 or 13. I have a feeling he'll return for the Vikings' high-profile clash with the Cowboys in Week 6.
The First-Timers Club
You wouldn't believe the number of Tweets I've received from fantasy owners, begging for sage advice moments before -- or during -- their drafts, as if I had instant access to all the mitigating factors (available players, scoring rules, number of teams, etc.) before selecting a guy/girl's back-to-back snake picks for Rounds 3/4. It's frustrating, for sure; but it has given me the motivation to conceive 10 Last-Minute Rules For Drafting ... just in case you're not prepared for the experience:
1. Consider at least one tailback at every turn in standard leagues. This holds true, even if you're dead-set on grabbing a quarterback, wide receiver or tight end.
2. Consider at least one receiver at every pick in PPR leagues. Pass-catching assets make the world go 'round in PPRs. The RB rule of thumb: Focus on backs who catch 4 or more balls per game.
3. Commit to positional excellence. This isn't about the Raiders. But if you're going to invoke the popular Do The Opposite approach to drafting, shoot for a top-3 stud at either quarterback, receiver and tight end.
4. Always emphasize value when selecting in Round 1 ... or 16. This one's rather simple and foolproof, and yet, ignored by millions every August. Go figure.
5. Resist the temptation of rookie RB Ryan Mathews in Round 1. Like I've said before, show me a guy who takes Mathews before Cedric Benson, and I'll show you someone who's not ready to draft.
6. If you're going to wait until Round 7 for a quarterback, grab another in Round 9/10, too. Insurance, peace of mind, balancing out the fantasy universe ... whatever you want to call it, just do it.
7. Follow your own happiness. It's great to seek the counsel of so-called fantasy experts. But at the core of everything, only your happiness and satisfaction truly matter when it comes to your squad. If you can't enjoy the season without Drew Brees on your club, by all means, grab him.
8. Don't panic. In my long history of drafting, I have yet to see two players get taken in the same draft slot. Translation: If a draft should take any strange detours -- and this will happen -- those quirks will only lead to a greater pool of available talent in the latter rounds.
9. This is the best chance you'll have to build a championship team ... so don't screw it up!
10. Preach patience, patience, patience. Even if you make a mess of draft night (beer usually plays a role in debacles), you still have 12-13 weeks to trade your way to fantasy glory. Ain't life grand?
Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night, accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday/Monday during the NFL season.
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