Thursday, July 28, 2011

Looking Ahead 2011: TheSloppyButts

This is the ninth post of a series of blogs covering each team from the 2010 Brothers Keeper league in detail. We began with the last place team and are moving up to the top of the league standings as it stood at the end of the 2010 fantasy football season (cf. CYBORG PIRATE NINJAS; Kabuki Strikes Back; Simba's Buttkicker!; Points ON the Bench; Rmmm's Dropping 3's; SOCIAL ISoTopes; Ghost; and  Yankinfowlsandfeline). This post will present our 2d Place Silver Medalist Trophy Winner, and 1st runner up, TheSloppyButts (M R Smith).

Overview of M R Smith's Brothers Keeper History
2007 CustodianPandemonium: 7-7-0 (8th Place) 1349.14 points; 17 transactions
2008 The Cleaning Lady: 6-7-0 (3d Place) 1288.31 points; 11 transactions
2009 CustodianPandemonium: 5-8-0 (9th Place) 1279.83 points; 14 transactions
2010 TheSloppyButts: 9-4-0 (2d Place) 1448.64 points; 13 transactions

TheSloppyButts's 2010 Keeper Declaration
Let's get one thing straight. Ninth place in 2009 didn't do TheSloppyButts justice. M R Smith had plenty of talent and it showed in 2010. His foundation was as rock solid as any other team in the league. How he nabs talent so early in their careers is beyond me. He also knows when to hang on to someone for the long haul. Just look at W Welker WR. The shifty white guy T Brady throws to is a PPR stud. M R Smith has had him since his breakout and no one else has had the chance to draft him. Now D Jackson WR and J Charles RB are in the mix too. Both are young and capable and free agent pickups who have been kept for remarkable late round draft picks. In 2009 S Smith WR (NYG) emerged as a viable WR threat with E Manning as his QB. He was someone worth taking a stab at as a keeper. The guys M R Smith let go like B Westbrook RB (unsigned for much of 2010), K Warner QB (retired), V Jackson WR (2010 holdout followed by suspension), K Smith RB (nowhere to be seen), and H Ward WR (dropped off significantly) were all correctly let go. Only J Flacco was a viable 2010 fantasy player compared on the 2009 final roster and M R Smith, despite letting him go, drafted him in the 6th Rd. Of the players kept by M R Smith, only S Smith WR (NYG) underperformed the Ideal Draft Value Chart level having only played 9 games. Paying for him with an 8th Rd draft pick was not a great loss but it was higher than the final outcome was worth.

TheSloppyButts's 2010 Draft
Following the old Keeper League Draft Order Rule TheSloppyButts (M R Smith) had the 2d overall draft pick position in the 2010 draft due to his 2009 9th place finish. His 2010 draft results are thus (noting those who were kept from his 2009 final roster with a This player is a keeper.):

2.(19)Vernon Davis (SF - TE)
3.(22)LeSean McCoy (Phi - RB)
4.(38)Ray Rice This player is a keeper. (Bal - RB)
5.(42)Anquan Boldin (Bal - WR)
6.(59)Ricky Williams (Mia - RB)
7.(62)Joe Flacco (Bal - QB)
8.(79)Willis McGahee (Bal - RB)
9.(82)Steve Smith This player is a keeper. (NYG - WR)
10.(99)Green Bay (GB - DEF)
11.(102)Sidney Rice (Min - WR)
12.(119)Alex Smith (SF - QB)
13.(122)Wes Welker This player is a keeper. (NE - WR)
14.(138)Matt Prater (Den - K)
14.(139)DeSean Jackson This player is a keeper. (Phi - WR)
15.(142)Jamaal Charles This player is a keeper. (KC - RB)

Here's TheSloppyButts's 2010 draft compared to the 2010 Brothers Keeper Fantasy Football Ideal Draft Value Chart results:

Right off the bat you should be able to see that only two players drafted by M R Smith performed higher than their Ideal Draft Value Chart position: L McCoy RB and Green Bay DEF. No one else came close. This should tell you one thing. The strength of TheSloppyButts's 2010 team was almost solely in his keepers, one of which was traded for before the draft. There was no 1st Rd pick as it was traded away for R Rice RB as analyzed on the previous post concerning Yankinfowlsandfeline. In summary it was a pretty even and fair trade by FPOB measures.

The interesting notes from the draft are this: V Davis TE wasn't a bad choice to draft as TEs were coming off the board hard and fast. A Boldin WR was on a new team learning a new role on a new offense. He wasn't going to change the game plan of the Baltimore Ravens offense in one season. Nor would he have been downright awesome with the trashcan QBs in Arizona either but he needed a year to make an inroad into the team's offense. R Williams RB bombed just like R Brown RB did in Miami's offense. Both were also old. J Flacco is a good QB who led his team to the AFC Championship again. He had a new QB coach in Jim Zorn and now that Zorn is gone we'll see if his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will take him to the next level. Maybe he'll be worth a 7th Rd pick this year. It is hard to know just yet. In 2010 he was not. W McGahee RB was the R Rice trade protection handcuff. A nice investment if R Rice were to get injured but it didn't happen. After grabbing every Ravens offense candidate but D Mason, who was old anyhow, M R Smith bombed with S Rice WR and A Smith QB. There's no telling what S Rice and B Favre would have done together if healthy again but it failed to materialize. With D Jackson, and W Welker though, the poor draft picks at WR weren't too terrible after all. He just needed adequate bye week replacements. Same goes for the RB situation. All he needed was bye week fill ins. A conservative pick in J Flacco was not a bad choice at QB either. All M R Smith needed was consistency and a guy who wouldn't shoot himself in the foot. Other than M R Smith's decision to be too Baltimore Ravens oriented, the draft, while not good, didn't hurt TheSloppyButts from going to the championship game for the first time in his4 years of Brothers Keeper play.

2010 End of Season Commentary
To be brief one would run straight to the 9-4-0 second place regular season finish. He earned a bye week the first week of the playoffs by merely outscoring SOCIAL ISoTopes by less than 3 FP on the season which changed everything. Then with a little success against a weakened Ghost in the semifinals it was a quick ticket to the big show with Yer X-MOM. Ghost didn't even have a chance as his whole team did terrible.

The championship was close but a loss. Not even an optimal lineup (subbing S Holmes for D Jackson) would have helped. Both teams weren't at the top of their games but neither team was under 100 FP either. In fact, looking back at the regular season TheSloppyButts had played Yer X-MOM twice with a 1-1 record. In week 3 TheSloppyButts won 125.29 - 120.54. In week 12 Yer X-MOM decimated TheSloppyButts 103.71 - 152.14. Regardless, TheSloppyButts still clinched a playoff spot. The Brothers Keeper Championship was the tie breaker between these two teams. Only one of the 5 losses (4 regular season losses and the championship game loss) saw TheSloppyButts score under 100 FP. He had a tough team to beat and wasn't a pushover.

So here's the 2010 Brothers Keeper 4 1st Runner Up, 2d Place Silver Medalist Trophy for M R Smith's TheSloppyButts. Hope you enjoy it!

TheSloppyButts's Final 2010 Roster
I have included the upcoming 2011 draft round and pick number (overall pick is in parentheses) of each player on TheSloppyButts's final roster followed by the name of the player, player's position, any 1st Rd Keeper Value players, total # of fantasy starts for the season (a * indicates developmental eligibility for 2011'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. (9)
2. (12) Vernon Davis TE;14 fantasy starts; 145.7 fp
3. (29) LeSean McCoy RB; 14 fantasy starts; 267.6 fp
3. (29) Ray Rice RB; 14 fantasy starts; 248.8 fp
4. (32)
5. (49) Anquan Boldin WR; 5 fantasy starts; 145.81 fp
6. (52)
7. (69) Joe Flacco QB; 10 fantasy starts; 291.28 fp
7. (69) Santonio Holmes WR; 2* fantasy starts; 124.33 fp
8. (72) Steve Smith (NYG) WR; 2* fantasy starts; 92.45 fp
9. (89)
10. (92) Green Bay DEF; 12 fantasy starts; 177 fp
11. (109) Sidney Rice WR; 1* fantasy starts; 43 fp
12. (112) Wes Welker WR; 11 fantasy starts; 172.6 fp
13. (129) Chicago DEF; 12 fantasy starts (2 with Simba's Buttkicker! 9 with Yer X-MOM and 1 with TheSloppyButts); 148 fp
13. (129) DeSean Jackson WR; 12 fantasy starts; 163.9 fp
14. (132) Jamaal Charles RB; 13 fantasy starts; 259.1 fp
15. (149) Josh Brown K; 6 fantasy starts; 131 fp (Undrafted)
15. (149) Mark Sanchez QB; 4 fantasy starts; 246.14 fp (Undrafted)

Looking Ahead at 2011
Joe Flacco got married this offseason. So did Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger, too.
"Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings
us togethew today. Mawwage, that bwessed
awwangement, that dweam within a dweam.
And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you
fowevah-- So tweasuwe youw wove, --"
 What else is there to do for a QB to do than to use this lockout wisely and make a new family unit... unless you're named Jay Cutler? Well, M R Smith is in a similar situation. Who will he wisely choose to marry with from the 2010 final roster and who will he dump Jay Cutler style? The goal is to reach the finals he so desperately wants to win. He was "all in" mode in 2010 and should be again in 2011. He made a studly trade to compliment his keepers and made the finals. Will he be able to do so again? Will he pick the wrong guys? Will a bad draft keep him down? We'll see, but looking ahead at 2011 should give one pause to consider what needs to be done on a macro level. Surely, he can trade fine if need be. But he needs to maximize his choice for keepers and do a better job drafting in 2011 to be the dominate guy people dislike playing every week.

On a smaller level, TheSloppyButts needs to figure out how many of each position will need to be kept. Right now there are 3 viable RBs and 2 studly WRs... maybe 5 WRs if you think of the performances of S Holmes, S Smith and S Rice of 2009. There are even 2 up and coming QBs in J Flacco and M Sanchez. There is no reason they should regress unless they suffer a catastrophic injury. Should he keep a combination of 2 from one position and 1 from the other position or vice versa? It is hard to say. Maybe one position shouldn't be kept at all?

Maybe which positions to fill isn't as important of a question as is the value of each keeper worthy player? This is definitely on the same macro level of consideration. If we were to look at value then the later draft value guys seem more poised to outperform their Ideal Draft Chart value in 2011 than the earlier round guys. In fact, if looked at it from this perspective, if one of those guys fails to live up to the 2011 Ideal Draft Value Chart level, then loss isn't as potentially dangerous as keeping a guy with an earlier keeper value since the more early picks will be more advantageous. It will be a question that will haunt M R Smith until the keeper declaration deadline. The strategery involved is mind maddening. Before you marry someone, you wrestle with the same issue(s) you do in keeper leagues. In reality you do not know the future performance of the individual. You can make a guesstimate but you really do not know for sure. Only God knows the future. We just pray we make the best choice along the way.

So who are the potentials? At RB M R Smith has L McCoy, R Rice, and J Charles. No surprise there. At WR (excluding the developmental eligibles), the most likely to be considered are W Welker and D Jackson. At QB J Flacco and M Sanchez. And because M R Smith is a San Francisco 49ers fan, I wouldn't put it past him to consider the up and coming Vernon Davis in the TE position either. He has been targeted by other league owners in previous years as well. M Peltonen comes to mind.

As we begin to delve into the RB considerations, I must say up front all three RBs are legitimate productive guys for their teams. They are the unquestioned starters and are being ranked as 1st round fantasy RBs (if not 2d Rd for L McCoy in some drafts). Personally, if one were inclined to keep two of the three RBs and one WR that would set up the 2011 season with 2 top RBs and 2 solid WRs... all at a good value compared to their ADP. M R Smith probably cannot go wrong with the choice before him. So I will highlight the things to be aware of when making the final selection. I in no way intend to dissuade M R Smith from making his decision to keep these three RBs... even if I say "don't do it" on R Rice. Consider it more as an entertaining comment.

If we consider the obvious talent we like to call J Charles RB as a keeper, note that while most assume he will finally be the unrivaled starter in Kansas City, Todd Haley and crew have yet to employ him as the lone ball carrier. Maybe it is from his days as an assistant under Bill Belichick in New England who never subscribed to a lone RB rule. But for whatever anti-fantasy football reason he has, even if it is just plain egotism, he has been loyal to the RBBC approach of modern NFL teams. T Jones RB might be gone but they still might pick up someone else like the Ravens' L McClain to fill the role of keeping J Charles tamed as more of a RB1.5 option rather than a straight out RB1. McClain has been wanting more carries and that wasn't his primary role in Baltimore. He was the bulldozer for R Rice and W McGahee and an occasional goal line punch. Back to J Charles, it should also be noted that Charlie Weiss will no longer be the offensive coordinator for Kansas City. He has taken on the Florida Gators. Could this also modify J Charles's  production going into 2011? They need to learn new plays and be on top of the opposing defenses fast in this shortened training camp too. So at the very least temper the expectations especially if Todd Hailey blows up and alienates his team too.

Revenge from all the the females
or Raven Hate?
It should be noted that R Rice RB had knee surgery back in March. Plus, he has been running his mouth at the Pittsburgh Steelers's H Ward for his DUI. This is a dangerous situation if you think about it. Those two teams are incredibly hostile to one another. For example, after R Mendenhall RB ran his mouth before a game via text message to a Raven player, a bounty (although denied) was placed on him and R Mendenhall ended up with a broken leg missing his rookie season. People get hurt bad when these two teams face one another. No one's ever heard of the ghost of Tommy Maddox QB since the Ravens started B Roethlisberger's career with Maddox's injury. Dare we consider how many times Todd Heap TE was hurt when these teams played? Remember B Roethlisberger's nose in the playoffs? That beak was crinkled up like a cornflake thanks to the T Suggs chop. These dudes love to hate and hurt one another and it isn't just for show. Now that R Rice is running his mouth, he'll be the next one targeted in this rivalry. Mark it dude. Stay clear away from this week 1 injury. That's right, the Ravens look to extend the Steelers losing streak to 2 games straight (Super Bowl loss after sting!). I repeat: steer clear of this injury concern. He's not worth keeping for this very reason alone. Spending a 3d Rd pick on a guy who could be done for in the 1st quarter of the 1st regular season game is a huge loss. Don't do it. Besides, the offensive line is in flux and it may not be as good as it has been in recent years because of some of the offseason moves. Considering that an offensive line is the most important aspect to a running back's success, R Rice will need to be reconsidered before determining if he should be a keeper. Also, if L McClain is no longer the FB bowling ball paving the way for R Rice it is worth thinking about too. So watch if L McClain is re-signed by the Ravens or signs elsewhere to fulfill his dreams of carrying the ball more.

The third RB under consideration is L McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles... home of the 2d coming of M Vick. Why would the Eagles want to rely upon a RB when you have a RB mentality installed into the head of the QB already? Well, for blocking of course. I'm not saying they will never use L McCoy with M Vick under center, but the NFL has become a very pass happy league too. L McCoy did a good job as the starter in 2010 and should do so in 2011. It all depends on how the defenses handle Vick. Late in the 2010 season defenses seemed to figure out how to contain the guy and made him more bark than bite. He still has a rocket of an arm and loved tossing to his down field threats in D Jackson. My guess is that Vick will elude pass rushers to make a play down field develop but will have problems if he is contained on the edges. The best case is for M R Smith to figure out if he can find the rushing and passing stats for L McCoy for when K Kolb was the QB compared to when M Vick was the QB in the 2010 season. If the comparison reveals a significant drop in the percentage of targets and carries while M Vick was the QB then maybe R Rice and J Charles will be better off considering as the keeper selection and free up a third pick for a QB or WR. Any two of these RBs will probably be fine. Picking the one with the later draft value will be safer than the one with the earlier draft value if we consider the risk factor. If there is one thing everyone should know (and the Brothers Keeper Ideal Draft Value Chart proves) earlier draft picks are more valuable.

As we turn to the WRs for consideration know that solid WRs have been on Brothers Keeper championship teams for years. In the inaugural Brothers Keeper championship J Smith's Yank had M Colston and B Edwards who averaged almost 230 FP a piece. The 2008 champion, D Kesseler's PAIN had D Bowe, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, B Marshall, and S Smith (Car). All four of them averaged over 180 FP for the season. In 2009 P Smith's Yer X-MOM had S Holmes and A Johnson who both averaged 200 FP. Rookies J Maclin and H Nicks averaged 122 FP each in their breakouts. In 2010 P Smith's repeat championship run with Yer X-MOM had D Bowe, A Johnson, M Wallace, and M Williams (TB) and those four together averaged 194 FP. In conclusion, WRs are extremely important to the success of a keeper league team's championship run. There is no telling if a team could make it without competent WRs. There are so few consistently good WRs in football. For instance in 2010 only 9 WRs scored over 11 FP per game (15 WRs who scored over 10 FP per game). That is not even enough for 2 of these consistently good WRs for each team. They are rare. The need to hang on to an elite WR is high if a team is able to do so.

So who are the WRs worth considering on TheSloppyButts final roster? The three  non-developmental eligible WRs that should be considered are A Boldin, W Welker, and D Jackson. In a vacuum, maintaining even two of these el primo WRs would set up a team for a solid 2011 fantasy season. They all can be had at a descent price and would definitely be wise decisions. Boldin might not be on some lists but if you consider that (1) he should do better the second year on his new team, (2) D Mason and T Heap may be gone (if they are not re-signed) with D Stallworth already signed by the Redskins, and (3) the further progress and development of his QB J Flacco entering his prime then you should acknowledge the potential that exists for a really great 2011 fantasy season. So not only will his QB be better, but Boldin will know the playbook more and face more targets. He is worth a look. He was studly in Arizona even along side of L Fitzgerald, E Doucet, and S Breaston. He should be very productive again. He isn't old yet and he has great hands.

W Welker has been a mainstay for M R Smith ever since he was picked up as a free agent back in the inaugural 2007 Brothers Keeper season. He was initially kept as a 15th Rd draft pick and ever since has been creeping up the value chart due to the consecutive year keeper rules. He has always been a solid PPR guy just because of the higher reception totals. He's got great chemistry with Tom Brady throwing his way and he will be 1.5 years removed from his season ending injury. In fact, he kept getting better and better last year. Plus, R Moss is out of town and will unlikely be re-signed by the Patriots. But you never know.

Finally, DeSean Jackson is supposedly going to hold out. He was great as a WR and a special teams player. Gaining FP for special team production along side his WR exploits is a real nice bonus. Let us not forget that ESPY winning punt return against the NY Giants to win in one for the greatest comebacks in NFL history (thanks to Matt Dodge's failure to punt the football out of bounds... although it was a bad snap.... and his hands were seriously cold from... standing on the sidelines). If D Jackson is going to conduct himself as a greedy non-contract honoring WR in the NFL then we ought to start investigating if Keyshawn Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss are mentoring him collectively. If so all fantasy owners everywhere should be alarmed. Otherwise he'd be a lock to consider as a keeper... if he plays... and if no other keeper spots were so valuable to waste.

Next we have the young QBs to consider. Will Mark Sanchez Make a Leap in 2011? After all, his production did drop off toward the end of the season. But he is willing to restructure his deal to sign more free agents (see my comments about S Holmes below). Plus, the Jets appear to be ready to pass more:
In a voice message sent to fans this week, Coach Rex Ryan said that he expected his team 'to let it fly a little more than we have in the past,' a signal that he expects quarterback Mark Sanchez to throw the ball more this season.Sanchez said Tuesday that he was willing to restructure his long-term contract if it would give the Jets the financial flexibility to sign more free agents.
Joe Flacco is set to continue his progress as a QB. Following the end of the Ravens playoff run, the front office let the QB coach Jim Zorn go. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is going to be more involved in the continuation of Joe Flacco's development from here on out. This is not to say Joe Flacco hasn't progressed because he has. But it has exposed Flacco to a few perspectives to learn from rather than a single one. This is at least his third QB coach change (Hue Jackson, the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders was the QB coach on the Ravens prior to Jim Zorn). He should be more well rounded in his learning. Paying attention to the new voice will be the next step. Because the Ravens sought to sign former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore (the man you always saw in the booth talking to Peyton Manning) as a consultant from his home (the NY Jets beat them to the punch) my guess is that the Ravens are beginning to let Joe Flacco call plays on his own... or at least move into that direction. This attempt to get Moore should be considered a good sign in his development as the organization trusts Flacco more and more to parse the defensive schemes and react under the center.

At TE M R Smith has the "hometown" favorite from the 49ers. Vernon Davis may benefit from the new San Francisco schemes with the new head coach. He has taken a step forward in being a vocal leader on the offensive side of the ball and has become a very dedicated player. We should only hope that with whatever QB decision made he should be a reliable go to TE.

The decision is tough but I think the late round values for J Charles RB (Rd 14) and D Jackson WR (Rd 13)or W Welker WR (Rd12) cannot be denied. The name of the game is value and all three are great late round keepers. I figure he'll keep one of those two WRs and J Charles for sure. Of the two WRs he'll most likely keep the speedy deep threat in Jackson (because of his special teams involvement, although Welker has been on special teams too, but not as lethal). Jackson is also younger than Welker and hasn't suffered an extensive injury like Welker did. To keep all three of those guys would be a great move but you have to consider he'd also be tossing R Rice and L McCoy back into the mix for the upcoming draft. If he wants one of them he will have to be more selective and take one of those two WRs and draft another one.

Then the decision comes down to R Rice and L McCoy. Both are early in their careers and very similar in terms of size and skill sets. Neither one of them are bad. Both are worth a 3d Rd pick. Your guess is as good as mine but I will lean toward R Rice simply because J Flacco isn't going to run like M Vick and therefore take away carries and rushing yardage from the RB.

If he keeps all three RBs and a developmental that too could be advantageous to him but he would lose his 2d round pick by keeping both L McCoy and R Rice (both 3d Rd values). That would also mean he needs to grab a WR late in round 1 and then won't pick again until round 4. On top of all of that he would lose incredible future value for both D Jackson and W Welker if he were to throw them away. R Rice also makes sense because if he keeps L McCoy and D Jackson he may too heavily invested in one team. If he keeps Welker instead of Jackson and L McCoy is higher on his preferred RB rankings list then maybe it'll be R Rice who isn't kept. But Welker is older than Jackson and is worth an earlier round's draft pick.

So let's move on to the developmental eligible players. Why M Sanchez QB wasn't started only 3 times instead of 4 times is beyond me. It is what it is and he was in a championship run and thus excusable.
Too bad, S Smith WR (NYG) isn't worth considering as a developmental keeper anymore. "Why?" you ask. Well, the dude hasn't recovered from microfracture surgery and is expected to make the PUP list. That doesn't mean he can't be of use the second half of the season, just ask the 2010 version of Ed Reed S, but it does mean his fantasy value plummets. he wouldn't be worth the Rd 7 draft pick premium paid to retain him. Draft him after Rd 10 and you might have a late season steal. Otherwise he'll be wasting a roster spot which is pretty rare already when you have only 15 roster spots. It doesn't free up waiver wire play to keep a man who will not be worth a spot for half of the regular season of fantasy play.

After S Smith, S Holmes WR and S Rice WR are the last two available developmental keepers. S Holmes WR performed admirably last year but may not return to the Jets for 2011 (UPDATE: Signed 5 year deal with NY Jets). It all depends in the week or two ahead. If he is going to be catching passes from M Sanchez then M R Smith will probably go with the known commodity in the fold. Otherwise, S Rice is also an unknown for which team he will play for in 2011 (latest reports say he will be a Seattle Seahawk). On top of that he has some health concerns like S Smith.

The most logical choice as a developmental pick would be S Holmes WR as a 7th rounder. Not a bad price. Maybe even a steal. But just because you have the option to use a developmental pick doesn't mean you have to. If S Holmes is not a NY Jet in 2011, I might think it would be beneficial to M R Smith to trade for someone who he could use as a developmental or use the developmental pick as a trade option for someone who may need another developmental pick because of multiple developmental eligible players on their roster. Whatever the case, sticking with S Holmes who should be healthy in 2011 should not be a huge detriment to his team if he is not a NY Jet (one suggests he should be a Baltimore Raven). In fact, keeping S Holmes as a WR2 or WR3/Flex spot would not be bad at all. This would help round out his roster as a result of the choices made with the other 3 keeper picks. If the developmental is a WR then maybe he lets another WR go hoping to draft them back onto his roster? It all depends on who those 3 keepers are. Who his developmental pick will be is a no brainer: S Holmes WR.

My Best Guess at TheSloppyButts's 2011 Keepers
"Have you the wing?"
At least two RBs will be kept. J Charles is a definite keeper. Either one of R Rice or L McCoy and either W Welker or D Jackson will be kept along with S Holmes WR as the developmental guy. This would give him two very good RBs and two very talented WRs with plenty of early picks to snag the RB/WR flex, QB, and TE. Just which of those will be in Rd 4 will be up to him to decide. So my final guess is J Charles, D Jackson, R Rice, and S Holmes as the developmental eligible keeper but I could be way off. I've seen some crazy stuff before and we will see more crazy stuff before it is all said and done. There's always some kernal of truth about a player people hang on to and thus define as the deciding factor. Whatever that will be for M R Smith will only be revealed in time. If not, at least we'll know who he declares as his keepers for 2011.

Brothers Keeper Third Party Consultant's Best Guess at TheSloppyButts's 2011 Keepers
"Okay this one didn't take me as long as I thought it would but I would keep Ray Rice who should get more TD's since McGahee is gone. So his red zone carries should increase.

"Next I would keep Jamaal Charles, this year's top fantasy back. With T Jones old and now broken look for Charles to go over 1500 yrds rushing and close to about 2100-2200 total yrds and should cash in between 12-15 TDs overall. He should be this years stud.

"Next guy I'm keeping is DeSean Jackson who should be a top 8 WR this season if he and Vick can stay healthy. That offense should be rolling this year and the defense the Eagles are putting together is going to give them plenty of chances to put up points.

"As far as developmental keepers go I would roll the dice on Santonio Holmes who the Jets say is going to be 1b to Shonn Greene this year. I don't really like the Sanchize but I like him A LOT better than T Jackson QB or Whitehurst QB. So Sidney Rice is out the picture and will rot in hell. I mean, Seattle good luck.

"Man if you choose McCoy just remember his numbers went in the crapper as soon as Mike Vick was running the show because he was literally running and stealing all McCoy's carries and red zone touches."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tracking the Flurry of NFL Activity: Schedule, News, Rumors, and Trackers

Some have put the next few weeks of NFL business into historic terms. Maybe they are right. Maybe not. The rich could get richer while the teams with poorer talent will lose again. Or maybe your team will make the leap ahead into playoff territory from mediocrity. Whatever the case the news has come and will come hard and fast all day every day for a while leading up to the start of the NFL's regular season.

Here are some helpful tools to monitor the action. First up, here's the schedule of NFL activities. Here's when teams will begin their training camps (see also this nicer looking chart by

Next, find out who is being cut. It is the bloodiest week in NFL chopping block history. Lots of paper ripped into shreds as contracts are filed under "G." Here's to hoping that the motors on the shredders survive along with your favorite team and players! So take a look at this list to see who is being cut down to size and their contracts pulverized. There is also ProFootballTalks Release tracker too.

Please check out my FF & NFL News page. I have updated it recently and I hope you will like the additional help it is now. There are two clips of news feeds from my own personal Google Reader folders and there is my very own edited that I have called The Brothers Keeper Evening Star. It updates every night at 9 pm CDT. So take a look at the articles highlighted and even look at previous editions of the paper.

Next, you need to monitor a NFL Free Agent Tracker (KFFL); see also Yahoo's, Pro Football Focus, and CBSSports. I am sure there are more so if one of these doesn't fit your preference on the visuals look for more at some of the bigger news sites like ESPN. Here's ProFootballTalk's Post-lockout acquisitions page for another succinct view.

Also, along those lines, if you want a good Rumor Mill check out the one by Pro Football Talk. Scroll to the bottom and check out the numerous pages. I also recommend ESPN's Rumor Central for Insiders. Otherwise, watch my Fantasy Football Twitter list (also in the left side bar of my blog).

If you are interested, there is also a 2011 Undrafted Free Agent Signings Tracker for all the guys who have been signed or will be in the coming days. That's right folks, people are already making deals with these guys. Here's a list ranking the Undrafted Free Agents (ESPN Insider required... sorry) for your evaluation.

If you'd rather look at all the transactions in one place take a look at's Transactions page. It is nice because you can select a single team and see everything that team has done, namely, cuts, signings, etc. in chronological order.

So good luck following along with the mayhem. I hope this points you to a few items that will help track what you might find helpful for your fantasy football preparations especially today going forward.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Looking Ahead 2011: Yankinfowlsandfeline

This is the eighth post of a series of blogs covering each team from the 2010 Brothers Keeper league in detail. We began with the last place team and are moving up to the top of the league standings as it stood at the end of the 2010 fantasy football season (cf. CYBORG PIRATE NINJAS; Kabuki Strikes Back; Simba's Buttkicker!; Points ON the Bench; Rmmm's Dropping 3's; SOCIAL ISoTopes; and Ghost). We will now cover Brothers Keeper's Third Place Bronze Medaltist Trophy Winner, and 2d runner-up, Yankinfowlsandfeline (J Smith).

On the left in front of his BBQ conspiring with D Pilcher.

Overview of J Smith's Brothers Keeper History
2007 Yank 9-5-0 (1st Place) 1723.24 points; 42 transactions
2008 YANKINHALOSKIKINCATS: 4-9-0 (9th Place) 1392.81 points; 30 transactions
2009 Yankinfowlsandfeline: 10-3-0 (5th Place) 1717.89 points; 27 transactions
2010 Yankinfowlsandfeline: 9-4-0 (3d Place; Bronze Medalist) 1478.1 points; 14 transactions

Yankinfowlsandfeline's 2010 Keeper Declaration
At the 2010 Keeper Declaration deadline J Smith kept M Jones-Drew RB (1st Rd), R Rice RB (4th Rd), A Rodgers QB (11th Rd), and J Forsett RB (15th Rd) as his developmental eligible keeper. Each one of them performed well (see R Rice's value on the upcoming Looking Ahead 2011: TheSloppyButts article). Obviously A Rodgers took his team to the Super Bowl and was a great value in fantasy too. This freed J Smith so he could concentrate on drafting WRs and TEs through the draft; an excellent advantageous position.

M Jones-Drew RB missed 2 games and would have come much closer to the 1st Rd value he was kept at. He was a regularly utilized chess piece by Yankinfowlsandfeline just as he was by the Jacksonville offense. No one would not have thought M Jones-Drew RB would not push himself hard.

Yankinfowlsandfeline's 2010 Draft
Following the old Keeper League Draft Order Rule Yankinfowlsandfeline had the 3d overall draft pick position in the 2010 draft due to his 2009 quarterfinal historic playoff collapse to M Peltonen's Sea Buzzards and subsequent 5th place game playoff win against D Pilcher's Redmans CatPunters. His 2010 draft results are thus (noting those who were kept from his 2009 final roster with a This player is a keeper.):

1.(2)Greg Jennings (GB - WR)
1.(3)Maurice Jones-Drew This player is a keeper. (Jac - RB)
2.(18)Jermichael Finley (GB - TE)
3.(23)Steve Smith (Car - WR)
4.(39)Cedric Benson (Cin - RB)
5.(43)Percy Harvin (Min - WR)
6.(58)Hakeem Nicks (NYG - WR)
7.(63)Kellen Winslow (TB - TE)
8.(78)Christopher Ivory (NO - RB)
9.(83)Jeremy Maclin (Phi - WR)
10.(98)New York (NYJ - DEF)
11.(103)Aaron Rodgers This player is a keeper. (GB - QB)
12.(118)Jabar Gaffney (Den - WR)
13.(123)Chad Henne (Mia - QB)
15.(143)Justin Forsett This player is a keeper. (Sea - RB)

Here's Yankinfowlsandfelines 2010 draft compared to the 2010 Brothers Keeper Fantasy Football Ideal Draft Value Chart results:

Before the draft but following the keeper declaration, M R Smith (TheSloppyButts) traded away his 1st Rd and 4th Rd picks to J Smith (Yankinfowlsandfeline) for R Rice RB (4th Rd) and a 14th Rd pick. So right off the bat Yankinfowlsandfeline became the de facto 1st overall pick since Kabuki Strikes Back used his first round pick to keep P Manning QB and L Tomlinson RB (both were valued as 1st Rd picks). TheSloppyButts did not keep B Westbrook RB from his 2009 roster and for good reason. He also had the 2d overall draft pick position. Therefore he had ownership of the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. Yankinfowlsandfeline wanted it more than R Rice RB and let it go. Here is what the trade looked like before the season began using the 2010 Ideal Draft Chart values:

2d overall pick: 117.19 FPOB
39th overall pick: 32.87 FPOB

38th overall pick: 34.12 FPOB
138th overall pick: -17.98 FPOB
The 38th overall pick was R Rice RB 94.92 FPOB who exceeded his draft value position by 60.8 FP.

Good bye lil' Ray!
The trade looks like this after the end of the 2010 season:

Ray Rice RB 248.8 FP (94.92 FPOB)
M Prater K 81 FP (-39 FPOB)
TOTAL: 329.8 FP (55.92 FPOB)

G Jennings WR 211.15 FP (57.27 FPOB)
C Benson RB 188 FP (34.12 FPOB)
TOTAL: 399.15 FP (91.39 FPOB)

It is a difference of 69.35 FP in favor of Yankinfowlsandfeline. If we were to look at it from a FPOB perspective, and cut M Prater out of the equation (being below replacement and therefore not count him against R C Smith), we would see that the trade favored TheSloppyButts by 3.53 FP. It was a very even trade from that perspective. It is good to see people trading in such a way that teams know the values well and execute deals that are mutually beneficial. Yankinfowlsandfeline was immediately able to draft quality depth at WR which was lacking following the keeper declaration for the price of 3.8 FP per week at RB.

By looking at the draft, we can see that G Jennings WR did not perform to the Ideal Draft Chart level (FPOB) for the second overall pick but from the drafted WRs he was the 2d highest scoring WR of the available WRs after the keeper declaration. Only D Bowe's 220.5 FP outscored G Jennings's 211.15 FP of unkept WRs. Yankinfowlsandfeline capitalized on his opportunity to have the first available pick of the free agent pool.

J Finley TE and S Smith WR (Car) were the next players drafted by J Smith. Neither one of them did as expected. Both were hampered by an injury. S Smith only missed two games but he was also hampered by a bad QB situation. J Delhomme's departure left a gaping hole for Carolina to fill at QB. As a side note, S Smith was on J Smith's final roster at the end of 2009 too.

J Smith's next 4 picks did an excellent job beginning with C Benson RB. He was on Yankinfowlsandfeline's team the previous year (drafted in the 7th Rd). In 2010 he was drafted right on schedule as a 4th Rd pick. He virtually scored the same number of FP as he did in 2009 (4.35 FP more in 2010). It is interesting that C Benson has turned out to be a dependable RB in fantasy and for the Cincinnati Bengals after a pretty rough entrance into the pros.

P Harvin and H Nicks made up for the depth at WR that S Smith was not. K Winslow added depth to the TE position which was no doubt worthwhile as J Finley was injured early on. C Ivory was drafted pretty early but had spot starts with P Thomas and R Bush injured for the Saints. C Ivory also suffered an injury and the Saints were less able to keep defenses honest with the lack of a solid running game. I wouldn't call it a huge mistake drafting either since it was the 9th Rd. This is about where you'd see normal replacement level fantasy talent get drafted.

With J Maclin WR and the NY Jets DEF J Smith's excellent drafting was complete. Only one player really varnished such an excellent draft by J Smith, namely, S Smith WR (Car). Beyond that, this draft looks to me to be the best we have reviewed thus far. There was a consistent ability to draft depth above Ideal Draft Value levels and it showed during the regular season when injuries and unforeseen drops in production also occurred.

2010 End of Season Commentary
In 2009, we saw the choke of ages. In 2010 we saw a repeat choking... much like Homer's repeated offenses toward Bart. In 2010 it wasn't to the same degree as in 2009 but not too far off either. In 2009 Yankinfowlsandfeline dominated in the fantasy points and was ousted by the number 8 seeded team, Sea Buzzards. No doubt an embarrassing loss.

In 2010 Yankinfowlsandfeline scored the second highest fantasy point total in the league but topped the regular season standings thus earning himself a #1 seed in the playoffs and a 1st round (quarterfinal) bye. Things were looking better than 2009 already. Under the new playoff format he automatically didn't have to suffer a quarterfinal embarrassment.

"No matter what comes against me,
I believe in God. I’m going to
have a positive outlook for my life!"
 During the regular season Yankinfowlsandfeline only had 4 games where he scored under 100 FP. Out of those 4 games he had a 2 - 2 win/loss record. The other 2 losses (back to back) he suffered during the regular season were against fellow playoff contenders: SOCIAL ISoTopes and Yer X-MOM. In week 5's loss to SOCIAL ISoTopes J Smith could have won by starting K Orton QB and H Nicks instead of A Rodgers QB and C Ivory RB (Flex). In Week 6 he could have started J Maclin WR for some more help too. Yer X-MOM had a ton of bench points he could have capitalized on too but without going into the details, a loss is a loss. His 4th loss of the season came 2 weeks later in week 8 to Kabuki Strikes Back. From that point on J Smith ran the table until the semifinals. In fact, his team appeared to be scoring higher totals and getting stronger. Definitely a positive feeling going into the playoffs.

When the 2010 semifinals finally arrived for Yankinfowlsandfeline, in week 15, J Smith suddenly found himself in a terrible dilemma. Both of his QBs, who had been playing at the top of their games, were down due to injury. A Rodgers and K Orton were not going to start in week 15. Late in the week he had to decide if indeed they were to start or not. Yer X-MOM saw this issue and wondered too, if he should grab T Tebow QB off the waiver wire so Yankinfowlsandfeline couldn't use K Orton's backup against him. But Yer X-MOM didn't know who to drop in time and J Smith grabbed T Tebow instead. He started T Tebow and he scored 25.32 FP. But it wasn't enough. Yer X-MOM had him. Yankinfowlsandfeline would have needed to bench M Jones-Drew and G Jennings and start P Harvin and J Maclin in order to be able to win by 3.03 FP but you just don't bench M Jones-Drew and G Jennings. They were the guys who had been stalwarts for the regular season and now is not the time to bench them. Jennings did all right without A Rodgers but subbing J Maclin for M Jones-Drew was still short by .06 FP.... yes "POINT" 06. P Harvin would have helped give him the edge. Besides, Yer X-MOM's optimal lineup still would have beaten Yankinfowlsandfeline's optimal lineup. A loss in the playoffs is still a loss, but it is just more final.

When the dust settled J Smith ousted Ghost for the Bronze Medal winning 154.98 - 141.83. No matter. It wasn't a second Brothers Keeper championship. It was a second choke. Brothers Keeper needed a two time champion and it got one. It also needed a two time choker and got that too. Two birds with one stone in 2010.

Yankinfowlsandfeline Final 2010 Roster
According to the new draft order Yankinfowlsandfeline will have the 8th draft pick position in the upcoming 2011 Brothers Keeper fantasy football draft since he failed to win in the quarterfinals against Yer X-MOM. He beat out Ghost in the 3d place game (154.98 - 141.83), had a strong regular season, and solid fantasy point total. Therefore he was the third best team according to the 3 Factor Power Rankings and thus won himself the 8th draft pick position.

I have included the upcoming 2011 draft round and pick number (overall pick is in parentheses) of each player on Yankinfowlsandfeline's final roster followed by the name of the player, player's position, any 1st Rd Keeper Value players, total # of fantasy starts for the season (a * indicates developmental eligibility for 2011'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) Maurice Jones-Drew RB (1st Rd Keeper Value); 13 fantasy starts; 218.25 fp
1. (8) Greg Jennings WR (1st Rd Keeper Value); 13 fantasy starts; 211.15 fp
2. (13)
3. (28)
4. (33) Cedric Benson RB; 10 fantasy starts; 188 fp
5. (48) Percy Harvin WR; 11 fantasy starts; 198.2 fp
6. (53) Hakeem Nicks WR; 7 fantasy starts; 198.07 fp
7. (68) Kellen Winslow TE; 10 fantasy starts; 132.5 fp
8. (73) Christopher Ivory RB; 2* fantasy starts; 99.45 fp
9. (88) Jeremy Maclin WR; 2* fantasy starts; 181.1 fp
10. (93) Aaron Rodgers QB; 12 fantasy starts; 383.48 fp
11. (108)
12. (113)
13. (128) Darren Sproles RB; 10 fantasy starts (10 with Points ON the Bench); 165.13 fp
14. (133)
15. (148) LaGarrette Blount RB; 3* fantasy starts; 136.4 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) Carolina DEF; 1* fantasy starts; 103 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) Kyle Orton QB; 1* fantasy starts; 275.88 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) Shayne Graham K; 1* fantasy starts; 74 fp (Undrafted)
15. (148) Tim Tebow QB; 1* fantasy starts; 111.86 fp (Undrafted)

Looking Ahead at 2011
Because J Smith's 2010 team was very talented it will be a complicated decision for him to decide on who to retain for 2011. A Rodgers QB (11th Rd) looks like a given and there is no reason to assume he wouldn't perform as a Super Bowl Champion would. So aside from A Rodgers at QB, who else might Yankinfowlsandfeline keep? There are 2 RBs and 3 WRs. By strictly considering fantasy points there are two that scored over 200 FP. One RB and one WR: M Jones-Drew RB (1st Rd) and G Jennings WR (1st Rd). P Harvin, H Nicks, and J Maclin all came close but did not score over 200 FP.

M Jones-Drew RB has some injury concerns to monitor (here's MJD on MJD). After all, even the Jaguars offensive cooridnator hasn't discussed holding back on M Jones-Drew. Overall, he seems like he'd be a given to be retained.Without him J Smith would need to scramble for a quality RB and would have to wait until the second round to do so if he kept G Jennings WR. If either one, or both, are worth a 2d Rd consideration then we should hope to expect J Smith to put himself in a good position for 2011 by hanging on to them. But if we've seen anything, we should know that J Smith might do a lot of different things. For instance, he is the one who traded R Rice away before the draft last year. If he keeps M Jones-Drew, he could trade him. He could keep 2 WRs and A Rodgers and trade some of them for a RB of his choosing.

If you think that part of J Smith's decision is difficult, just wait until you see his developmental eligible keepers. They, too, are numerous. Vying for one spot is vexing. C Ivory RB (Rd 9), J Maclin WR (Rd 10), L Blount RB (Rd 15), K Orton QB (Rd 15), and T Tebow QB (Rd 15) all have the potential to be some big producers. If A Rodgers is kept, he alone would be reason enough to toss aside the Denver QBs from this discussion. But if you wanted a backup QB which one would he keep? K Orton or T Tebow? Well K Orton looks to top the depth chart according to the new head coach Jon Fox. On the other hand T Tebow has a believer in John Elway (now in upper management). He could be the next M Vick without all the dog fighting or bar room shootings at birthday parties. T Tebow is a quality guy and will work hard in any organization. If he has already been made into a bobble-head you just know he's going to be great. Plus he can take a practical joke. Remember the bad haircut?

If J Smith doesn't want to dabble in the QB controversy in Denver then he will still need to decide on whether he wants to invest in a RB or a WR. There are two RBs to consider. Each will have to be monitored to see where they end up on the depth chart. In my opinion L Blount will more likely be a starter than C Ivory but both are solid candidates as the future feature candidate for their organizations. J Maclin WR is an excellent WR but defenses will adjust to his successful 2010 campaign. He will also have to deal with having a smaller share of targets with a healthy D Jackson WR, B Celek TE, and L McCoy RB. They all will depend upon M Vick's success as a QB.

My Best Guess at Yankinfowlsandfeline's 2011 Keepers
The following seems to me to be the safest choice J Smith could make but he could do other things: A Rodgers QB, M Jones-Drew RB, G Jennings WR (since the Packers should be set for the next decade), and L Blount RB as his developmental choice. But will he make the same decision?

Brothers Keeper Third Party Consultant's Best Guess at Yankinfowlsandfeline 2011 Keepers
"I would keep Aaron Rodgers, MJD, and Hakeem Nicks. I know it's crazy to not keep Jennings when you have Rodgers as your QB1 but Nicks will be entering into his 3rd year and was a beast last year! He would have easily finished the year off as top 3 fantasy WR if he wasn't hurt for 2 games. I like Jennings and he had an awesome year last year but he only became relevant once Jermichael Finley went down. Before that it was impossible to sell Jennings. Nobody wanted the guy and since Finley is coming back this year I expect Jennings to cool off some.

"Finally, as a keeper, I would roll with Tebow I look at per game avg’s for Rodgers and Tebow and Tebow crushes Rodgers. But Tebow did only play 3 games one was Houston who he torched. The other two were decent defenses. He faced Oakland his first game and did okay. And against the #1 overall defense (Chargers) he did really well with 300 total yrds and 3 TDs.

"Blount is also a great looking RB and either one looks good as a keeper but a guy like Tebow who scores through the air and on the ground is hard to give up.

"Maybe its the heat that's making me crazy but I have no idea how I came up with those guys. lol"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Looking Ahead 2011: Ghost

This is the seventh post of a series of blogs covering each team from the 2010 Brothers Keeper league in detail. We began with the last place team and are moving up to the top of the league standings as it stood at the end of the 2010 fantasy football season (cf. CYBORG PIRATE NINJAS; Kabuki Strikes Back; Simba's Buttkicker!; Points ON the Bench; Rmmm's Dropping 3's; and SOCIAL ISoTopes). So let us turn our attention now to Ghost (B Garner).

Yeah that's him in the flesh on the far right... not so ephemeral.

Overview of B Garner's Brothers Keeper History
2007 Ghost: 5-9-0 (3d Place) 1396.69 points; 12 transactions
2008 Ghost: 10-3-0 (2d Place) 1482.78 points; 9 transactions
2009 Ghost: 5-8-0 (7th Place) 1502.85 points; 8 transactions
2010 Ghost: (4th Place) 1418.61 points; 13 transactions

Ghost's 2010 Keeper Declaration
When declaration day finally arrived, Ghost kept A Peterson RB (Rd 1), Calvin Johnson WR (Rd 3), D Clark TE (Rd 5), and M Ryan QB (14) as his developmental eligible player. They all had a really good 2009 (Ghost had the second highest point total in 2009) but Ghost was hampered by the curse of the Fantasy Fairy. He made solid safe selections and 2010 was no different until D Clark TE went down with an injury. In 6 games Clark had 37 receptions for 347 yards and 3 TDs. Without the injury he would have continued to produce quality fantasy point totals especially with A Collie's WR and P Garcon's WR injuries in 2010.

The other keepers all performed pretty much where their draft value was supposed to be. Ghost did a good job keeping the right guys for the most part because he definitely dropped the right players from his 2009 final roster. Let's just say everyone else was underwhelming in 2010 from that 2009 final roster.

Ghost's 2010 Draft
Following the old Keeper League Draft Order Rule Ghost (B Garner) had the 5th overall draft pick position in the 2010 draft due to his 2009 7th Place Game win over Favre$Footlong in his second game of the consolation bracket. His 2010 draft results are thus (noting those who were kept from his 2009 final roster with a This player is a keeper.):

1.(5)Adrian Peterson This player is a keeper. (Min - RB)
2.(16)Ronnie Brown (Mia - RB)
3.(25)Calvin Johnson This player is a keeper. (Det - WR)
4.(36)C.J. Spiller (Buf - RB)
5.(45)Dallas Clark This player is a keeper. (Ind - TE)
6.(56)Donald Driver (GB - WR)
7.(65)Thomas Jones (KC - RB)
8.(76)Carson Palmer (Cin - QB)
9.(85)T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Bal - WR)
10.(96)Robert Meachem (NO - WR)
11.(105)New Orleans (NO - DEF)
12.(116)David Akers (Phi - K)
13.(125)Jeremy Shockey (NO - TE)
14.(136)Matt Ryan This player is a keeper. (Atl - QB)
15.(145)Sam Bradford (StL - QB)

Here's Ghost's 2010 draft compared to the 2010 Brothers Keeper Fantasy Football Ideal Draft Value Chart results:

While R Brown RB lent a helping hand to Yer X-MOM's 2009 championship team, he by no means did the same for Ghost who drafted him in the middle of the second round of the 2010 draft. With R Williams RB in a RBBC role in a Miami offense under lots of changes (multiple QBs played and new WRs and largely forsaking the 2009 Wildcat offense) R Brown could not have been expected to be the solid performer of years past. He and R Williams are both beyond their prime years as RBs and both happen to be looking NFL free agency in the face once the new CBA is complete. Suffice it to say that he did not help Ghost in 2010 except for week 1 when he scored just over 15 FP. He was dropped for greener pastures before week 9.

Unfortunately his next 7 draft picks also all underwhelmed big time. If 8 of your 8 picks through ten rounds of drafting (the other two being keepers) suffer colossally then you would expect your team to do so too. And that's what happened. Games were struggles to win, not dominating performances for the most part.

Ghost did seem to draft a good defense and kicker although the kicker wasn't retained for the whole season.

End of Season Commentary
Suffering from a poor draft Ghost managed to scrap his way to the top of the bottom of the heap with a 6 - 7 win/loss record. While he tied the regular season record with Kabuki Strikes Back Ghost was able to score 38.61 FP more to gobble up the 6th and final playoff seed spot but walked backwards into the playoffs. His last 3 games of the regular season were losses.

While there isn't a whole lot to say about the regular season for Ghost other than struggling to win, he did make two trades during the regular season in an attempt to better his team. I likes trades. I like to think about trades. Trades are the spice of fantasy sports life. Don't get me wrong. We all love the draft. But trade talks and executing trades can happen in a much longer time frame. It's like pizza. All the ingredients are thrown together and cooked pretty quickly like a draft. But a hint of spice in the pizza... well it is enjoyed during the entire time it is consumed.

Without the ability to trade a coach is only able to better his team through the draft and free agent pickups. They are both important. However, trading has the chance to better your team in a very exact way with potential quality that might not be available. In a sense, too, it is less risk adverse.

Trading is also not for the faint of heart. There are psychological considerations involved in trades that just aren't there when plucking guys from free agency. There is always that aspect that you need to be of service to the other teams needs in order to offer up a deal that has the potential to being acceptable. There is an art to the trade discussions too if the time is taken to write it out well. Whatever it takes to do the trade is what is needed. But you need to be willing to give in order to get what you're aiming at. And to be honest I like it when I know the deal helps the other team too. That's good to know. That concept of fairness deep within us resonates even in these fantasy transactions. It takes gravitas to do deals and some people just don't have it. You don't have to be The Donald but you do need to think about the pros and cons. The best trades are the ones when you do and don't want to do it at the very same time. You know it is fair in every way possible. It helps them and you but it is so agonizing to finalize. It is such a multifaceted endeavor.

Well I've waxed on about trading long enough without even talking about all it's components. But I will say Ghost pulled off two trades in one week to try to better his team early in the season. When teams struggle early on like Yer X-MOM or Simba's Buttkicker! did in 2010 you are going to see those teams use trading as a way to better themselves for the remainder of the season so that they aren't irrelevant when push comes to shove and the playoffs arrive. No one wants to be left in consolation wasteland. For the better teams with better win/loss records, they've seen enough games to know where their weakest positions are and they want to maneuver to remain competitive. That was Ghost. So here was the win/loss record of the 3 teams after the 4th week of the 13 week regular season.

Ghost: 3 - 1
Simba's Buttkicker!: 0 - 4
Yer X-MOM: 2 - 2

The trade between Simba's Buttkicker! and Ghost
Players Ghost traded to Simba's Buttkicker!:
T Jones RB 143.7 fp
K Walter WR 112.05 fp
D Keller TE 119.35 fp
TOTAL: 375.1 fp

Simba's Buttkicker! needed a TE and wasn't satisfied with the merry-go-round of TEs he'd select from the free agency waiver wire. R Gronkowski, H Miller, and B Celek were all scoring low enough that TE was a hole in the roster for R Johnson. D Keller had at least three monster weeks beginning week 2. He was picked up off of free agency after week 2. But with D Clark on the roster performing well Ghost was able to let him go for the right price. R Mathews RB and M Vick QB were the pieces Ghost wanted but needed to replace too. So he sent T Jones RB and K Walter WR. Looking back we wouldn't think this too fair, but at the time M Vick was a question mark from injury that Simba's Buttkicker! had picked up for free anyhow. Even then he was injured again and dropped from Ghost's roster before the end of the year and picked up by SOCIAL ISoTopes.

Players Simba's Buttkicker! traded to Ghost:
M Vick QB 366.32 fp
Dexter McCluster RB/WR 72.85 fp
R Mathews RB 133.05 fp
TOTAL: 572:22 fp

At first thought we might think that Ghost absolutely robbed Simba's Buttkicker! of talent and fantasy points for a little bowl of porridge. However, if we subtract from those two sets the players that were not on the final rosters of each team (M Vick and K Walter) Ghost made out with only 205.9 fp while Simba's Buttkicker!'s new players scored 263.05 fp on the season. Note that this does not exclude the first 4 weeks of fantasy play before the trade. This is the total amount those players scored over the 16 week fantasy season as a whole. This makes the trade a lot closer in appearance.

In the other trade that week Yer X-MOM traded D McFadden RB (242.05 fp; 8th best RB) to Ghost for M Ryan QB (316.40 fp; 8th best QB). All in all it was an exact and fair trade helping each team at a critical hole by trading away from a position from strength One team got the 8th best QB on the season and the other team got the 8th best RB on the season. A classic apples for oranges type of trade.

In the end, Ghost (6th seed) and Yer X-MOM (4th seed) made the playoffs. Simba's Buttkicker! did not. As I have indicated elsewhere Ghost made it into the playoffs by scoring more fp during the regular season than Kabuki Strikes Back despite them both having the same winning percentage.

While Ghost struggled to win in the regular season, the playoffs were no different. In the quarterfinals Ghost beat SOCIAL ISoTopes just barely. It could have gone the other way. In fact, if it had, M Peltonen would have seen his second championship game appearance in a row against Yer X-MOM. But it didn't happen. Ghost advanced to the semifinals again for a 3d time in 4 years of league play. But again, as in 2007 he lost to the eventual runner up by an embarrassing loss. This time TheSloppyButts scored 131.45 fp to Ghost's 76.79 fp. It was the end of his run in 2010.

Ghost's Final 2010 Roster
Following the new Keeper League Draft Order, Ghost, while failing to win in the semifinals, he had the same regular season winning percentage but scored more points than Kabuki Strikes Back to enter the playoffs. Despite winning 4th place, his team was weaker than Redman's CatClippers and SOCIAL ISoTopes in the 3 Factor Power Rankings. Therefore Ghost will have the 5th overall pick in the upcoming 2011 Brothers Keeper fantasy football draft.

I have included the upcoming 2011 draft round and pick number (overall pick is in parentheses) of each player on Ghost's final roster followed by the name of the player, player's position, any 1st Rd Keeper Value players, total # of fantasy starts for the season (a * indicates developmental eligibility for 2011'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. (5) Adrian Peterson RB (1st Rd Keeper Value); 14 fantasy starts; 258.85 fp
1. (5) Ryan Mathews RB (1st Rd Keeper Value); 3* fantasy starts (2 with Simba's Buttkicker! and 1 with Ghost); 133.05 fp
2. (16) Calvin Johnson WR; 14 fantasy starts; 210.2 fp
3. (25)
4. (36) C.J. Spiller RB; 3* fantasy starts; 105.78 fp
5. (45)
6. (56)
7. (65) Dexter McCluster WR/RB; 1* fantasy starts (1 with Simba's Buttkicker!); 72.85 fp
8. (76) Fred Jackson RB; 6 fantasy starts (1 with Yer X-MOM and 5 with Ghost); 172.45 fp
8. (76) Pierre Garcon WR; 11 fantasy starts (4 with Points ON the Bench and 7 with Ghost); 142.8 fp
8. (76) Carson Palmer QB; 11 fantasy starts; 295.8 fp
9. (85)
10. (96)
11. (105) New Orleans DEF; 14 fantasy starts; 131 fp
12. (116)
13. (125)
14. (136)
15. (145) Darren McFadden RB; 8 fantasy starts (1 with Yer X-MOM and 7 with Ghost); 242.05 fp (Undrafted)
15. (145) Dan Carpenter K; 8 fantasy starts; 123 fp (Undrafted)
15. (145) Josh Freeman QB; 2* fantasy starts; 313.44 fp (Undrafted)
15. (145) Jacob Tamme TE; 7 fantasy starts; 122.55 fp (Undrafted)
15. (145) Danny Woodhead WR/RB; 6 fantasy starts;141.65 fp (Undrafted)
15. (145) Sam Bradford QB; 2* fantasy starts; 233.78 fp

Looking Ahead at 2011
Ghost seems to be at an advantageous position as he has the ability to keep a top 2-3 RB and top 2-3 WR assuming he wants to win now. Otherwise he will be planning for the future by collecting really young talent and tossing aside the fantasy football industry monsters of the present time. Assuming Calvin Johnson WR and A Peterson RB are the no brainer keepers the decision then surrounds the remaining keeper and the developmental eligible player. Ghost should continue to try to win now and not dump these two fantasy studs.

So who would that last keeper be? There are three quality QBs available to Ghost. C Palmer is good. If C Ochocinco is correct about his QB, his QB will not play in Cincinnati in 2011 or he will retire. All indications are that Palmer wants to be traded. He could go to a great situation like the Arizona Cardinals or he could end up a Seahawk. We don't know yet. But once the NFL and NFLPA decide on a new CBA (soon!) we will find out what becomes of C Palmer's 2011. He would definitely be worth a keeper spot if he goes to the right team. Having a solid QB, RB, and WR to begin a draft is definitely a solid way to end up in the playoffs again and again as Ghost has done. Keeping Palmer for an 8th Rd pick is not a bad idea whatsoever once we know he will be a productive NFL player in 2011. Good thing we do not need to declare our keepers in the next few days. In the meantime Ghost will need to monitor Palmer's status and news.

If he does not want to keep a QB alongside A Peterson RB and C Johnson WR, then he will need to decide which of the remaining players to keep. There WRs like D Woodhead and P Garcon to consider along side RBs like R Mathews, F Jackson, and D McFadden. These have all been at least semi-productive when uninjured. Garcon has a great QB in P Manning tossing footballs his way. So does D Woodhead. Either one could be good to keep for a couple more years as their QBs age... hopefully in a good way. They both have the potential to be excellent keeper values and they both could be the last piece of a puzzle to send Ghost into the Championship game again.

The RBs are an interesting lot to consider. R Mathews appears to be the future in San Diego but it could be a future a couple more years away. Will he produce 1st Rd fantasy value if kept? It is possible. D McFadden RB will most likely still share the ball with M Bush RB in Oakland (see also here). He has been injured in both of his 1st two seasons as an NFL player (missed 10 games in 2 years). M Bush is also really good. Taiwan Jones was drafted in 2011 (4.3 40 time) and may take away some touches as well. If the new head coach goes with a RBBC approach like he saw in the Baltimore Ravens organization (R Rice - W McGahee and R Lewis - W McGahee) then you will definitely have the luck of the draw as to which RB will be the one running or catching it in the end zone as they both have similar skill sets. Hue Jackson was also instrumental in developing the young QB in Baltimore and looks to do a good job with the QBs in Oakland. They have the WRs and the TE to make it a pretty honest offense and they finally have the right coaches to make the team competitive. If Ghost were to keep D McFadden he would have to spend a middle round draft pick on M Bush. There is also speculation that D McFadden was a one hit wonder. The reason is because D McFadden scored almost half of his fantasy points in only 3 games while the other half came in 10 games of play. So he got lucky while M Bush didn't play and had super easy run defenses. Otherwise he was sharing the ball playing better run defenses that could contain him. There could be a more solid option to consider than D McFadden as a keeper.

F Jackson is also a good RB and has stayed the starter despite not being the big name for a few years now (bye bye W McGahee and M Lynch!). Ghost could keep him and CJ Spiller as the developmental and have the RBBC covered for Buffalo, although F Jackson was the feature back with CJ Spiller picking up very few carries. So far it hasn't been a true RBBC in Buffalo. We know the Bills will need to continue to run the ball heavily in 2011 with whoever their developing QB turns out to be. It would not be a bad idea to keep F Jackson for an 8th Rd pick. He did score 172.45 FP in 2010. Not something one would pass over lightly. It would have benefited Redmans CatClippers to retain him again for the 2010 season (a second time) but with the likes of R Wayne, T Brady and M Forte he was unable to do so.

The other two QBs are young guns, developmental eligible, and worth a 15th Rd pick. J Freeman and S Bradford are both at the beginning of seemingly illustrious careers. Who would have thought either one of them could have drudged their respective NFL franchises from the miry clay of loserville and pulled them hard enough to the surface to be playoff contenders. While neither team made the playoffs they definitely were vying for a shot up until the end of the regular season. Developing chemistry quickly with teammates has no doubt led to their success. S Bradford had a tough loss when Mark Clayton WR went down but with D Avery WR, D Amendola WR, and S Jackson RB all in the fold S Bradford didn't skip a beat once Clayton went down with his injury. The nice thing "Bradford to Clayton" had was they were both Oklahoma alums.

J Freeman also suffered from an up and coming prospect with A Benn's WR injury. Without missing a beat he turned to M Williams WR and K Winslow TE. With A Benn returning to the fold Tampa Bay they should be ready to make J Freeman look good and is thus considered a solid sleeper candidate in fantasy.

Before deciding on which developmental eligible player to keep between Bradford and Freeman, we need to consider that CJ Spiller RB is also a 4th Rd developmental eligible player. The hype machine was definitely there prior to the 2010 fantasy draft detailing how much of an impact CJ Spiller was going to make for Buffalo. However, the new coaching staff let go M Lynch RB and relied upon F Jackson RB. As a result I expect CJ Spiller to continue to backup the more experienced F Jackson in 2011. To keep CJ Spiller for a 4th Rd selection in the upcoming draft would be quite expensive with a bunch of other talent that will start on a weekly basis and kept for a better value.

When I contacted B Garner about commenting on his team he was optimistic about 2011 and rightfully so. He's reached the semifinals 3 out of 4 years. It is time for him to successfully take the next step:
As far as the future its time to put some gold on the mantel in the Haunted Mansion. I can see 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, maybe 8 Championships in the future, Yeah I skipped 1 and 2 cause the rebuilding is over, its time to start collecting. X-MOM is going down! From the words of the great Kurt Angle "It's True, Oh It's True!"
My Best Guess at Ghost's 2011 Keepers
My best guess as to who B Garner will keep off of his final roster is A Peterson RB (Rd 1), C Johnson WR (Rd2), C Palmer QB (if on a good team), and S Bradford QB (Rd 15) as the developmental keeper. If C Palmer is not on a good team by declaration time then my guess is on R Mathews RB (Rd1) as a result of that trade with R Johnson. Otherwise Ghost will gamble with D McFadden RB although F Jackson RB would be more reliable. We have to account for his confession: "Last [year] was a building year for my team. I gather[ed] a collection of young players through the draft [and by trade] as with Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson as the two book ends." This would explain young guys like S Bradford and CJ Spiller or R Mathews as hopeful works in progress to be retained. Will they or will they not help him past the semifinals is yet to be seen.

Brothers Keeper Third Party Consultant's Best Guess at Ghost's 2011 Keepers
I would keep A Peterson, Calvin Johnson, D McFadden, and Sam Bradford as a developmental player. Letting go of Tamme, Freeman, Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller and Ryan Mathews is tough to do but all your stars are under 27 and heading into the 4th yr of their careers which is usually the start of their prime. Some would rather roll with Freeman cuz of the players around him but Bradford is the future face of the NFL. Bradford is the Peyton Manning and maybe [he will] turn out to be better.

Lots of questions about D McFadden this offseason but i wouldn't worry. The guy was a beast last year when he was 100% healthy and Bush is a restricted FA which means he might walk and go to a team that will let him start. Most of the others you should try and redraft especially Mathews. But keeping him over any one of those guys would be taking a huge risk especially when your wasting 14th and 15th rd picks on D McFadden and Bradford.

Your team looks pretty solid. Maybe you can make a deal with an owner so you can double up with Calvin Johnson and since I suggested you keep Bradford I would look at drafting Laurent Robinson and Donnie Avery. One of those two should be his number one target.