“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 »

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 »

by Professor Wagstaff

So, here we are. Week 1 for Fantasy Football Owners and the inaugural season for the members of The McGeeHorsefeathers4 Survivor League, a pressure cooker of a Fantasy Football League made up of Nieces, Nephews, In-Laws and Uncles; all vying for the bragging rights that will turn the family Christmas party into their very own championship locker room. In a brutal format that does not allow for trades or free agent pickups, the lowest scoring team of the fourteen that make up the league will be eliminated each week until only one is left standing. Or, simply put, don’t screw up your Fantasy Football Draft because you could be one and done. Advice that the good Professor should have followed in Round 6 when I got caught watching the Miami-Florida State game. I didn’t realize I was on the clock until after the computer auto picked Cincy TE Chase Coffman. Now, Wagstaff readers know I like the Bengals’ rookie but not that much. He was in my queue for a last round pick until he became my sixth. I spent the rest of the draft one player short as I scrambled to cover the mistake. It probably won’t matter anyway because, with two girls in the league, the guys don’t have a chance. The Fantasy Gods seem to love women and these two know what they’re doing; a double whammy. So, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Beanie Wells can get something done and hope that Reggie Bush, the player Coffman should have been, doesn’t light it up in New Orleans. Good luck to all.

Fantasy Football Studs

Have to love San Diego’s Philip Rivers against any divisional foe but especially the Raiders. With Tomlinson and Gates healthy, Rivers has too many weapons for the defenseless Raiders to handle… Think Carson Palmer is anxious to get back on the field for the Bengals? He couldn’t ask for a weaker secondary to face than Denver’s. Chris Henry had a great preseason, the former Chad Johnson seems motivated and Wagstaff has to hope that Chase Coffman has a big year… Pity the poor Lions, trying to rebuild and having to face Drew Brees on opening day. Look for 300+ YDS and 3 TD from the Saints’ QB.

Fantasy Football Stars

Love the Texans’ and Saints’ DST as both will face rookie QBs. Four sacks each and a few INTs should be easy pickins’… With Terrell Owens in Buffalo, look for Dallas QB Tony Romo to rely heavily on TE Jason Witten in the season opener against a rebuilding Bucs’ squad with a lot of defensive problems…

Fantasy Football Sleepers

With a rookie QB facing a strong pass rush, the Jets’ will probably gear their passing game to a short, quick hitting style. Great news for owners of TE Dustin Keller… The Rams are undergoing a complete rebuild, especially on their D Line, which could make for a big afternoon for Seattle’s Julius Jones on Sunday… The Bills fired their O Coordinator during the preseason, cut a starting OT and will open vs. New England with three rookies on the O Line. Something tells me the Patriots D is licking its chops.

Fantasy Football Slippers

Injuries to QBs Kyle Orton and Chris Simms and the uncertain status of WR Brandon Marshall will result in a tough debut for Denver RB Knowshon Moreno, who may not even get the lion’s share of the carries… Not that Eli Manning isn’t a Wagstaff favorite, he is, but the Giants’ game plan this week will probably not be well suited for a big game from the QB… Cards’ WR Anquan Boldin has the Professor a little nervous. He’s got a bad hammy, is ticked about his contract and didn’t have a good preseason.

Fantasy Football Stiffs

You can blame Eric Mangini if you’re the owner of whoever starts at QB for the Browns this week. With Cleveland facing one of the top Defenses in the league, it was no time to let Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson twist in the wind. One of them will pay the price on Sunday… Still think that Matt Cassel’s success was a product of the talent surrounding him last year. He heads into the season with a trained knee that limits his mobility against the Baltimore Ravens; not a recipe for success… The Colts’ D will struggle this week vs. the Jags, especially with S Ed Sanders hobbled.

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