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 »

McGee Survivor League Down To Final Pair

After 12 tribal councils have eliminated all but Dr. Pete and Twin Cities Jen, the inaugural season of the McGee CJSurvivor League comes to a close this weekend.  Interestingly, the matchup will pair the NFL’s two best running backs; Jen’s Adrian Peterson and Pete’s Chris Johnson.  A bitter pill for the old Professor to swallow, as his strategy to load up on receivers in the early round was summarily stuffed down his throat in Week 10 when he was, ironically, nosed out by both of the finalists on his birthday.  We’ll give a slight edge to Jen’s Team Minnesota for two reasons.  She can turn the world on with her smile and Waggie predicted that she or Colleen, our Bay Area beauty, would walk away with the prize.  That probably bodes well for Pete’s Samurai Shortbus, however, as I haven’t gotten much right in this league.  Good Luck.

Fantasy Football News and Notes

Eagles WR DeSean Jackson is very doubtful vs. Atlanta with a concussion…With RB Jamal Lewis done for the year, Jerome Harrison becomes an attractive FA pickup as he’s the Browns’ first option as a replacement.  Well, maybe notben attractive but it’s Week 13; you can’t expect much…Mark Sanchez is probable vs. the Bills on Thursday.  If that’s a concern for you, I’d expect that your team is doubtful for a playoff run… The former Chad Johnson threw some left handed compliments at the Bengals’ decision to rely on the running game in their last two wins.  He wants the Bengals to throw more.  Hey Chad, did you notice how much you threw the ball last year when you were 4-11-1?…  QB Ben Roethlisberger will lead the Steelers into battle vs. Oakland.  Hines Ward, however, is questionable with a size 12 Adidas shoe still stuck in his mouth… K Jason Elam was waived by Atlanta, who signed Matt Bryant as a replacement… RB Cedric Benson should return for the Bengals vs. Detroit; bad news for those who picked up Larry Johnson… The Giants’ DST went from a must-start to a matchup when S Kenny Phillips went down and now are a must-sit with LB Antonio Pierce sidelined… Don’t sweat if you own New Orleans RB Pierre Thomas.  Mike Bell got more carries on Monday simply because the Saints chose to run the ball in garbage time.

Fantasy Football Stars

RB Rashard Mendenhall ran for 95 YDS last week in the Steelers OT loss to the Browns; one of the toughest run defensesmarshall in the league.  Look for a significant bump to those totals vs. the pathetic Raiders in a game Pittsburgh must have… QB Carson Palmer will shut that big hole in #85′s face by taking advantage of a hapless Lions’ secondary while easing the burden on RB Cedric Benson; returning from injury… Broncos’ WR Brandon Marshall will reap the combined benefits of a ten day rest and an extremely weak defense to post huge numbers vs. Kansas City.

Fantasy Football Stiffs

QB Kurt Warner is still having trouble with his eyes as a result of a concussion.  He’s probable for Arizona vs. Minnesota warnerbut you have to wonder how effective he’ll be against a defense with 40 sacks… Owners of Ravens RB Ray Rice have been hurt all year while Baltimore turns to Willis McGahee at the goal line.  Rice has maintained value, however, by posting solid YDS; something that won’t happen this week vs. Green Bay’s tough run defense… Things don’t look bright for WR Lee Evans in tonight’s game vs. the Jets. With Terrell Owens starting to string together some solid games and Buffalo facing a formidable defense, Evans is unlikely to get a lot of touches.

Fantasy Football Sleepers

The Texans face a Jacksonville squad as desperate as they are.  The thinking here is that the Jags will throw the kitchenorton sink at WR Andre Johnson, leaving Kevin Walter to enjoy a big day… Eagles’ RB LeSean McCoy will take advantage of the Falcons fading defensive unit to the tune of 100 YDS and two TD… QB Kyle Orton will lead a rested Denver squad into Kansas City and make the game look  like a seven on seven drill.

Fantasy Football Slippers

In spite of the Saints’ scoring like a pinball machine, TE Jeremy Shockey hasn’t become part of the fun.  It’s been weeks shockeysince he had a productive game… Chiefs’ QB Matt Cassel is in for a long one vs. a Denver team that seemed to find itself on Thanksgiving vs. the Giants… Speaking of the Giants, it’s a mystery why RB Brandon Jacobs has been struggling.  Howevr, it’s your job to react to the problem; not figure it out.

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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