“Attention Fantasy Football Shoppers…”

By Eddie Mayrose

To most Fantasy Football Owners, the key to a successful season is a stable of capable ball-carriers.  Given the amount of touches they receive, it’s a logical concept to spend early round picks on running backs.  In most Fantasy Football Drafts, they dominate the first round; often taking up the first five slots.  However, there is significant, year-to-year turnover on the list of elite backs, something owners don’t always take into account and the reason bargain hunting could lead to a championship.

Last season, many Fantasy Football Players were all smiles after landing Matt Forte and Marion Barber in the first two rounds.  That was likely the only happiness enjoyed by those owners as both of the supposed studs failed to fire.  Yet, discount rushers like Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles delivered top shelf numbers at a much lower price.

Heading into the season, there are two running backs that, because of the circumstances of their teams, are newcomers to the “Elite List”.  There are two others, in similar situations, who are not as highly regarded but could become productive members of your championship squad at a fraction of the cost.   Just remember to shoot the old Professor a thank you note as you celebrate your title. Continue reading »

Buck the Trend, Grab ‘em Early

By Eddie Mayrose

If you’re a Wagstaff follower, you’ve heard this refrain before.  “Grab the best Fantasy Receivers as early as possible.”  It’s a theory put into practice every year by the Professor as he constructs his Fantasy Football Roster; one that has annually provided a tremendous edge over Fantasy Owners locked into the standard system of front-loading running backs.  Here’s why.

It’s a widely accepted (yet flawed) idea that the elite ball carriers produce more than the best wideouts.  While I’ll agree that running backs are guaranteed significantly more touches, it doesn’t guarantee better production.  Texans’ star Andre Johnson was a Wagstaff first rounder in every draft.  Compare his 1,500 YDS and 9 TD to Stephen Jackson’s 1,300 YDS and 4 TD.  Now, it’d be crazy to pass on Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson or Maurice Jones-Drew with any of the first three picks but, after that, guys like Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss are way more likely to deliver their career averages than what’s left in the backfield.  Not to mention that running backs are infinitely more likely to get hurt.

So, take advantage of those in your Fantasy Football League that are mired in the conventional wisdom.  Stockpile two of the elite receivers before anyone realizes how that the position has thinned out and then scoop up mid-round running backs who’ll still help your team. Continue reading »

Roll the Dice and Cross Your Fingers

By Eddie Mayrose

Show of hands.  How many of you made Jason Witten the first Tight End selected in your Fantasy Football Draft last year? Now, how many picked up Vernon Davis in the last few rounds?  Those of you that answered yes to the first question likely cursed Witten and his 2 measly TD’s all season while the Davis owners were pounding their chests well into the playoffs.

The point?  When it comes to Tight Ends, nothing is guaranteed so, don’t reach for them.  When a position is as thin as this, many owners foolishly think they need to grab a guy early so as not to get stuck with a stiff.  More logical, however, is the theory that you should make your selection as late as possible since most of your league mates will also be weak in the same spot. Let someone else go after Dallas Clark in the third round.  You’ll do just fine with Zach Miller in the eighth. Continue reading »

Next Stop For Flacco In the Stars

By Eddie Mayrose

Ranking  quarterbacks for a Fantasy Football Draft isn’t exactly rocket science.   Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers are the top three, followed closely by Tom Brady and Matt Schaub.  Easy stuff, actually, and pretty much universal.  Rating the next five becomes a little dicey, however, as you’ll get very different opinions from Fantasy Football Owners as to which signal callers warrant these spots.  The vast differences of opinion create the potential for selections that will make or break a Fantasy Football Season.  For Professor Wagstaff’s money, the one man in that second five with the best chance of producing on the same level as the top tier is the Ravens’ Joe Flacco.

In 2008, Flacco, then a rookie out of Delaware, led the Ravens to the AFC Championship game; mostly by managing an offensive system that had been scaled down significantly in order to limit his mistakes.  The handcuffs came off last year and Flacco owners benefited from an increase in his production although, Baltimore’s less than stellar wideouts limited the bump in Fantasy points.

This season, however, Flacco could be directing an offensive juggernaut; something Ravens’ fans have never seen before, even during their Super Bowl season.  WR Mark Clayton, last year’s go-to guy, is now the third option after the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth while RB Ray Rice has become a first rounder in most Fantasy Football drafts due to his status as the NFL’s best receiver out of the backfield.  With the supporting cast now at Flacco’s disposal, he need only to continue the improvement he’s already shown to be that middle round pick you’ll point to when recounting how you managed to win your league in 2010. Continue reading »

Dolan Continues To Destroy Knicks’ Tradition

by Eddie Mayrose

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Remember when we thought that failing to sign LeBron James was the worst that could happen to the Knicks this summer?  Now come whispers from Madison Square Garden that owner James Dolan has taken under consideration the rehiring of Isiah Thomas, perhaps the most incompetent employee the Knicks have ever seen.  Fans can only hope the rumor is a test balloon being floated by Little Jimmy to gauge public reaction.  Prayers might be more appropriate.

Thomas’ bumbling as President and coach was epic.  So much so, that, burying the Knicks in a salary cap mess that required the sacrifice of two full seasons to undo was not even close to his greatest failure.  Nor was the trading away of  so many draft picks that the roster was barren of any players that might have James consider coming to the Big Apple.  Rather, it was his sexual harassment of team exec Anucha Brown Sanders that resulted in a settlement of $11 million and a blight on one of the league’s most storied franchises that is Isiah’s legacy.

So, if Dolan is actually mulling Thomas’ rehiring, if he continues to act like the little rich boy born on third yet thought he hit a triple, if he refuses to acknowledge that New Yorkers paying the league’s highest ticket prices deserve more than one playoff appearance per decade, why should any player, fan or league executive take him seriously? Continue reading »

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