“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 »

Mike Napoli Sizzles While Fantasy Owners Get Burned

by Moonlight Graham

Think back to last year’s Fantasy Baseball Draft when you sat at the table clicking your heels, hoping for Geovany Soto to get through to the round in which you had him slotted.  Coming off a season so stellar that he garnered the Rookie of the Year award, Soto was even more enticing to Fantasy Baseball owners because his 23 HR and 86 RBI came from behind the plate; traditionally the weakest Fantasy spot.  But like many before him, (remember Rick Wilkins?), Soto failed to build on his initial success.  Instead of the 30-100 season many expected, his was an injury riddled exercise in disappointment. Continue reading »

McGee Survivor Fantasy Football League Loses Another Holmdel Franchise

After a one week reprieve, the Holmdel division of the McGee Survivor League suffered another casualty as affable,Horsefeathers4 young Edward saw his LeGarrete Blounts go down in flames. If you’re scoring at home, that’s the fourth of six from Old Mill Lane to bite the dust. Things look dicey on Long Island, this week, however, as Dr. Pete’s Samurai Shortbus must replace a number of starters on their bye week. Wagstaff rode the coattails of Thomas Jones to his best week of the season and might actually make it past the year’s halfway point. We’ll see.

Fantasy Football News and Notes

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson says his ankle is fine and he’ll start Sunday vs. Pittsburgh… LaDainian Tomlinson, plagued by injuries all year, missed time this week because of the flu… Anquan Boldin’s ankle kept him out of practice this week but he’s expected to be in Arizona’s starting lineup… Bills’ RB Marshawn Lynch, who missed the season’s first two games due to suspension, may have his first big game against Carolina, whose run defense is terrible… Colts’ WR Anthony Gonzalez, out since the opener with a knee injury, is close to returning to practice… While Greg Jennings’ hip injury kept him out of practice on Thursday, he will play on Sunday according to Packer coach Mike McCarthy… The Broncos refuse to mess with success and will continue to have Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno split carries; disappointing Fantasy owners of both players… Eagles’ WR Kevin Curtis will not play Monday vs. Washington… Jets’ WR Braylon Edwards has been bothered by a sore quad all week but is expected to play… Clinton Portis is dealing with multiple leg problems including knee, calf, ankle and plantar fascitis but will play Monday.

Fantasy Football Star

- Things line up extremely well for Laurence Maroney this week as the Patriots fly to London to face the Bucs. An injured Sammy Morris did not make the trip, leaving Maroney as the Pats’ go-to back, Tampa Bay’s run defense is one of the league’s weakest and he’s coming off a 123 yard effort last week.

Fantasy Football Stiff

- If you were waiting for Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker to return to your lineup, you won’t be happy to read this. Head Coach Mike Tomlin announced this week that Rashard Mandenhall, successful during Parker’s absence, will get the bulk of the work in the backfield.

Fantasy Football Sleeper

- Those Fantasy Football wners who drafted 49′ers WR Michael Crabtree may actually get some return on their investment this week. He’ll be used a s a slot receiver which may give him a few opportunities for yards after the catch. He’s an explosive player who should bump Josh Morgan from the starting lineup before long.

Fantasy Football Slipper

- Bad enough that the Jets have had their vaunted defense slapped around over the last few weeks but now they must continue without the services of NT Kris Jenkins, thought by many to be the unit’s best player. He’s lost for the season to a knee injury; severely jeopardizing the Jets’ ability to stop the run while sending waves of pressure at the QB.

by Professor Wagstaff

While many Fantasy Football owners focus on the running backs position as the starting point for their roster, it’s a Horsefeathers4Wagstaff tenet to, instead, stockpile Wide Receivers at the top of the Fantasy Football draft.  The idea is to take advantage of the fact that many owners severely undervalue the position and by grabbing two WR as soon as possible, you create a huge talent gap between your squad and the first of your opponents to realize that the pool just got very thin.  Now, I wouldn’t recommend that you burn one of the top five picks on a wideout but, if you do find yourself in that position, take an elite back and use the next two picks at WR.  You’ll not only end up with two elite players but you’ll likely start a position run that nets you a RB that slips through the cracks. 

Fantasy Football Rankings for Wide Receiver:

Studs

Andre Johnson is the man here, as the Texans’ superstar carried Waggy’s Holy Shirts and Pants to a semifinal appearance all by himself last season.  220 catches over the last two seasons and an emerging QB in Matt Schaub make him the top guy on our list.   He’ll grab another 100 REC this year and set a career high in TD…  Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald may be the most talented WR in the league but he’s got one drawback for Fantasy Owners that doesn’t exist for the others on this list: A star on the other side.  Fitzgerald’s career year was aided immensely by the prolonged absence of Anquan Boldin, who traditionally scores more TD.  Fitz will still be worth your first pick but his AVG and TD will likely drop…  Imagine what  Calvin Johnson could do if he wasn’t the focus of every team facing the Lions.  In a winless season, he managed 100 YDS in 11 games and scored 12 TD… With Tom Brady returning, Randy Moss should once again be the league’s best home run hitter.  Even though Mat Cassel did an incredible job guiding the Pats to the brink of the playoffs last year, he led a scaled down offense designed to limit mistakes, which hurt Moss owners.  In ’09′ however, chicks dig the long ball.

Stars

The arrivals of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner made a new man of Roddy White as he became Atlanta’s go-to receiver in their unexpected playoff season.  The only thing holding him back was a meager TD total of 7.  As Ryan improves, look for White to top the 88 REC and 1,382 YDS he delivered in ’08… Despite missing 4 games, Anquan Boldin still managed 89 REC and 11 TD.  He’s, once again, looking for a new contract and could find himself taking a back seat to Fitzgerald as the Cards’ shift the focus of their offense to the guy who’s staying.  He’s worth a 2nd or 3rd rounder, just don’t reach… With Marvin Harrison finally out of the picture, Reggie Wayne will get Peyton Manning’s undivided attention.  Considering how well he’s done while sharing it, Wayne is looking at a career year…  Steve Smith was suspended by the Panthers for the first two games of last season then made geniuses of all the Fantasy owners willing to wait for him.  He had over 1,400 YDS on 78 REC.  The only concern here is that his TD total (6) declined for the 4th straight season.

Sleepers

Michael Crabtree was such a great college receiver that Matt Millen would have drafted him were he still the man in Detroit.  As it is, Crabtree brings his incredible skills to San Fran, where he’ll probably team with Josh Morgan to form a terrific young tandem… Good news, bad news for Jericho Cotchery of the Jets. The departure of Laveraneus Coles means that he becomes the big gun but the absence of an established QB could hinder the process.  Bet on Mark Sanchez and take a flier on Cotchery as your third receiver…  Houston’s Kevin Walter is entering his contract year, (we love that), is playing with a QB on the verge of stardom and has defenses focusing on teammate Andre Johnson.  A repeat of last year’s stellar 60 REC, 900 YDS and 8 TD at the cost of a late round pick will make any Fantasy player smile.

Slippers

Has Terrell Owens finally run out of teams willing to put up with his nonsense?  Buffalo is this year’s desperate suitor, acquiring TO in the offseason.  The Bills will likely struggle in the AFC  East, he won’t like sharing the ball with Lee Evans and QB Trent Edwards is nowhere near established enough to command Owens’ respect.  Look for a Thanksgiving meltdown…  Braylon Edwards didn’t make it to the third round of most drafts last year and cost his owners dearly.  A season long case of the drops led to off season trade rumors that never became reality.  Now, he’s back in Cleveland with the same uncertain QB situation and a new coach.  Be careful.

Stiffs

At the end of most drafts, an owner looking to fill his roster inevitably sees a recognizable name and figures there’s no harm in taking the guy.  That’s how Seattle’s Nate Burleson ends up on most fantasy teams.  Don’t let it be yours… Michael Crabtree spells the end of the line for Frisco’s  Isaac Bruce who will be a third down option at best…  Chris Chambers was supposed to find the fountain of youth in San Diego last year.  Instead, he found just 33 REC and 5 TD’s.  Cross Chris off your list.

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 25 Fantasy Football Picks for WR:

  1. Andre Johnson
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. Calvin Johnson
  4. Randy Moss
  5. Roddy White
  6. Anquan Boldin
  7. Reggie Wayne
  8. Greg Jennings
  9. Steve Smith
  10. Marques Colston
  11. Roy Williams
  12. Wes Welker
  13. Dwayne Bowe
  14. Brandon Marshall
  15. Vince Jackson
  16. Braylon Edwards
  17. Michael Crabtree
  18. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  19. Antonio Bryant
  20. Santonio Holmes
  21. Jericho Cotchery
  22. Terrell Owens
  23. Laveraneus Coles
  24. Hines Ward
  25. Kevin Walter
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