Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looking Ahead 2010: Simba's Buttkicker!

This is the seventh post of a series of blogs covering each team from Brothers Keeper in detail. We will begin with the last place team and move to the top of the league standings as it stood at the end of the 2009 fantasy football season (cf. Kabuki Strikes Back; CustodianPandemonium; Favre$Footlong; Ghost; Redmans CatPunters; Yankinfowlsandfeline). Seventh up, Simba's Buttkicker! (R Johnson).

Overview of R Johnson's Brothers Keeper History
2007 Simba's Butt Kicker: 4-10-0 (9th Place) 1535.54 points; 49 transactions
2008 Simba's Buttkicker: 2-11-0 (10th Place) 1080.75 points; 40 transactions
2009 Simba's ButtKicker!: 7-6-0 (4th Place) 1455.30 points; 29 transactions

2009 End of Season Commentary
After a late morning IHOP breakfast M Peltonen and P Smith headed on over to the designated Brothers Keeper Fantasy Football BBQ Draft location where R Johnson was found. His well air conditioned office is a veritable place filled with objects of his trade and R Johnson prominently leaned back in his old chair. Always an entertaining talker he seemed to breath easy with his fantasy foes on his turf. He can take the easy pot shots and smile them off and keep on going with his stories with the occasional muttering about his back (around which he wore a brace). He's one of the elder statesmen underdignified fantasy players in Brothers Keeper. Just look at the track record: 9th Place (2007); 10th Place, a.k.a. last place (2008). He's missed the playoffs during the entire league's history. According to some reason, R Johnson hasn't yet studied for the draft but was just beginning his research away from home in a quiet office. So he's brought his laptop and is connected to the internet (contraband?). I have to hand it to a man of his age who knows how to get around the interwebs... well, Yahoo's fantasy sports stats anyhow... that's what's on the monitor. It's only 2 hours till draft time.

The chat inevitably turned to his #1 draft pick. There's a bit of talent available after the keeper declarations but he can pick any of them. Sure we talked about the teams after the keeper declaration and which ones seemed more poised. But R Johnson has the pick of the available talent. So why not confess. It's 2 hours till draft time. He's just started to study.

According to R Johnson's Yahoo Fantasy Sports profile, his current overall performance is 70%. He goes deep into the playoffs in most fantasy leagues he plays. Brothers Keeper fantasy football has been the anomaly. It's even more of an anomaly in Brothers Keeper because 8 of the 10 teams make the playoffs. He can play fantasy football, and even made sure to tell me about a 2009 fantasy football championship:
I know the other league is meaningless to you, but that was the team I had that kicked butt to all of you. Having won that league in the finals over Cleaning Lady, proved I was dominant there. So, my hope is that the team in this league will be to the standard I had in the other league.
R Johnson's hopes were 2 hours away at draft time. With M Turner RB, R White WR, and the NYG DEF already kept, R Johnson picked a legitimate top pick in D Williams RB. There was a fissure in the logic though. While D Williams was able to shine in 2008 for his fantasy owners it was in the shadow of a D Foster injury. This year J Stewart RB fantasy owners reaped the benefits of the D Williams injury. R Johnson felt it:
In reference to last year’s league, I was content with the final part of the season much more than I was at the beginning of the season with the draft. The reason being I, I did not think I did well in drafting certain players at the beginning. One for instance is DeAngelo Williams. He was a huge disappointment because of injuries toward the end of the season. He did fairly well at the beginning and toward the middle, but then diminished in his performance.
As an objective observer, starting your fantasy football draft studies 2 hours before draft time was also a contributor to the feeling of discontentment. The D Williams draft pick could have been avoided with further study. J Stewart RB was a highly touted talent and it was known as such when the Carolina Panthers drafted him in one of the best NFL Drafts for RBs in recent memory. J Stewart was drafted the same year as S Slaton, R Rice, C Johnson, R Mendenhall, T Choice, F Jones, M Forte, J Charles, K Smith, and D McFadden. J Stewart just happened to be hampered by lingering injuries his rookie year. But the time was definitely coming when he would at least share the RB carries with D Williams. He was too special to sit.

Maybe the early season malaise should be contributed to the poor talent pool of R Johnson's 2008 final roster? He did trade L Tomlinson RB to J Fullerton for M Turner RB (L Tomlinson's former backup in San Diego) in 2008 which was more beneficial to R Johnson than J Fullerton (by less than a point if one considers the final season fantasy point totals [see stats below]; I do not have records as to which week in 2008 the trade was made and the following fantasy points scored for each player after the trade). But neither player has been the first tier stud either one of them thought they were offering or getting in return. It was basically a middle of the draft value talent swap. It was not a blockbuster. Another oddity was R Johnson's choice to keep a DEF. No one had kept a DEF before in Brothers Keeper. Not sure a 12th round value for a DEF is all that great either. But it was his choice, even if unexplainable. The fruit of the draft arrived.

Trade Comparison:
L Tomlinson
2008 Total Fantasy Points: 256.30
2009 Total Fantasy Points: 168.70
Total: 425.00

M Turner
2008 Total Fantasy Points: 275.95
2009 Total Fantasy Points: 149.85
Total: 425.80

A Gates TE, M Schaub QB, and B Roethlisberger QB were also quite productive. A better talent pool than previous years netted a much more competitive team than R Johnson had historically. Still not great, but more competitive than previous years. Simba's ButtKicker! did beat Yankinfowlsandfeline to end the regular season and finalize his place in his first Brothers Keeper playoffs. However his team's lack of dominance was exhibited by two close games in the playoffs. He narrowly downed Favre$Footlong (D Kessler) 127.03 to 128.15. R Johnson then made his exit in the semifinals against Sea Buzzards (M Peltonen) losing 115.25 to 117.38.
Overall, I think I was happy in the final part of the season. Especially when I kicked Yank’s butt before the playoffs and won the first playoff game only to be eliminated in the next game by a few measly points because of Williams not playing after that injury in that game. I only had to win that one game and then I would have had to play [Yer X-MOM (P Smith)]. Instead, [Yer X-MOM] took the brass ring in the finals.
This may not have been a very good strategy for R Johnon's future. The further he went into the playoffs the worse his draft pick position would be in 2010. In three years of Brothers Keeper drafting he has had 2 number one draft picks and 1 number two draft pick. He's never had anything past the third pick in the draft. With the 2009 4th place finish he will now suffer by drafting eighth. For a person who needs all the draft help he can get this might not be a good thing. It will all depend on his draft prep. Here's what he says about that:
Till draft time this year, I’ll see you then! Meanwhile, it is now baseball season, and I look to do great like I do every year.
Simba's ButtKicker!'s 2009 Draft
Simba's Buttkicker! (R Johnson) had the 1st overall draft pick position in the 2009 draft thanks to his poor 2008 season last place finish. His 2009 draft results are thus (noting that those who were kept from his 2008 final roster:

1. (1) DeAngelo Williams RB
2. (20) Antonio Gates TE
3. (21) Michael Turner RB (Keeper)
4. (40) Roddy White WR (Keeper)
5. (41) Matt Schaub QB
6. (60) Kevin Walter WR
7. (61) Derrick Ward RB
8. (80) Darren Sproles RB
9. (81) Ben Roethlisberger QB
10. (100) Ahmad Bradshaw RB
11. (101) Jerricho Cotchery WR
12. (120) New York Giants DEF (Keeper)
13. (121) Nate Kaeding K
14. (140) John Carlson TE
15. (141) Chaz Schilens WR

Simba's ButtKicker!'s Final 2009 Roster
I have included the 2010 draft round and pick overall (overall pick is in parentheses) value of each player on Simba's ButtKicker!'s final roster followed by the name of the player, player's position, total # of fantasy starts for the season (a * indicates developmental eligibility for 2010's draft; some players were on more than one team but their total starts for all teams is listed); and total fantasy points scored by the player for the 16 fantasy week season (which is not subject to the # of starts):

1. (8) DeAngelo Williams RB; 12 fantasy starts; 191.30 fp
2. (13) Antonio Gates TE; 12 fantasy starts; 184.85 fp
2. (13) Michael Turner RB (Keeper); 9 fantasy starts; 149.85 fp
3. (28) Roddy White WR (Keeper); 12 fantasy starts; 208.85 fp
4. (33)
5. (48) Matt Schaub QB; 8 fantasy starts; 8 384.50 fp
6. (53)
7. (68)
8. (73) Darren Sproles RB; 11 fantasy starts; 199.57 fp
9. (88) Ben Roethlisberger QB; 8 fantasy starts; 350.32 fp
10. (93) Ahmad Bradshaw RB; *3 fantasy starts; 148.98 fp
11. (108)
12. (113)
13. (128)
14. (133)
15. (148) R Willaims B; 8 fantasy starts; 234.30 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) J Cribbs WR; *3 fantasy starts (1 with Redmans CatPunters + 2 with Simba's ButtKicker!); 162.05 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) Q Ganther RB; *2 fantasy starts; 52.68 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) R Meachem WR; *3 fantasy starts; 152.23 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) M Sims-Walker WR; 7 fantasy starts; 146.45 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) S Janikowski K; *1 fantasy starts; 113.00 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) Cincinnati DEF; 6 fantasy starts (1 with Redman's CatPunters + 5 with Simba's ButtKicker!; 134.00 fp (Undrafted)

Looking Ahead at 2010
In 2007 R Johnson drafted A Boldin WR in the 5th round. He was not kept and A Boldin had a tremendous 2008 scoring 207.60 fantasy points in 13 games. In 2008 R Johnson drafted R Mendenhall RB in the 10th round. He dropped Mendenhall because W Parker RB was still the starter. Mendenhall became the starter in 2010 scoring 191.12 fantasy points. If there's anything that should be a concern for R Johnson, it should be his ability to draft, keep, trade for, and scavenge free agency to find players who will be good in the future. R Johnson's 2009 final roster is better in talent than his final roster from 2008. If the trend continues he might be worth considering as a serious contender by 2011. 2010 should be a year to continue to build on his success from 2009 and avoid taking steps backwards. Going backwards in the standings is not as essential as going in reverse in the talent pool. Only A gates TE is at the end of his prime. R Johnson was willing to discuss his insights about the future:
Turner was okay and I will keep him for another season. I might also keep Sproles since Tomlinson was traded and now it looks like Sproles will be the starting running back this next season for San Diego. I haven’t decided to keep Williams yet. I have to think about it some more, because it is a toss up between Roddy White and Williams.
This is an interesting situation. If he maintains 2 RBs (M Turner and D Sproles) he will probably want to keep another position player other than RB for his last potential keeper. Evaluating any developmental eligible players will be beneficial in narrowing down who that last keeper could be. J Cribbs WR and R Meachem WR seem to be legitimate contenders as developmental eligible keepers. A Bradshaw RB doesn't seem to be a fit with D Sproles and M Turner and D Williams as viable options at RB.

R Johnson has had an affinity toward R White WR in Brothers Keeper. He's been on R Johnson's team the past two seasons. This could end with the presence of J Cribbs or R Meachem as a keeper because of the depth of talent at QB. With B Roethlisberger worth a 9th round draft pick and M Schaub worth a 5th round pick you know there's less room for R White if what R Johnson has said is true. I doubt Roethlisberger will be kept because of the exit of S Holmes WR to the NYJ and if Roethlisberger is subject to any sort of suspension (can someone say "no, this is not OK"), thus diminishing any fantasy value completely the weeks the suspension is served. Regardless, M Schaub was the more productive QB on R Johnson's team. Both are definitely steals in the rounds they could be kept in while R White WR is a legit 3d round pick, he's just not as good of a deal. Same goes with A Gates TE. He produced in 2009 at a level that was acceptable for the 2d round pick that he was but he doesn't seem to be as good a deal especially when you consider his age or the fact that he would forfeit his 1st round pick in order to keep two 2d round picks in M Turner and A Gates. There is a far chance that R Johnson might do away with Sproles and keep R White instead. That would allow him to draft a different RB, or D Sproles in the 1st round and still have M Turner, R White, M Schaub, and J Cribbs or R Meachem. That is a solid start to a fantasy future in 2010 and 2011.

My Best Guess at Simba's ButtKicker!'s 2010 Keepers
M Turner RB (Rd 2), M Schaub (Rd 5) D Sproles RB (Rd 8), and R Meachem (Rd 15). Meachem is a hometown favorite playing for the Superbowl Champion New Olreans Saints. Plus J Cribbs is on a sub-par team with older sub-par QBs as potential passers (J Delhomme and S Wallace) instead of the elite D Bress.
Brothers Keeper Third Party Consultant's Best Guess at Simba's ButtKicker!'s 2010 Keepers
"roddy white, mike turner, matt shaub, and meach as the keeper. atlanta's schedule should work out well for the falcons they had a bad yr last year. shaub was the 3rd best fantasy qb last yr and he gets owen daniels back and meach was an easy choice for a keeper he should have a good yr next yr cuz the saints are a spread team. each should be right behind colston in targets."

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