Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sporting News Experts Mock Draft #2: Drafting from the 10 hole

This evening, my compatriots from Sporting News' Fantasy Source held our second mock draft of the 2013 preseason.  The first was documented in the SN annual Fantasy Guide (at your neighborhood newsstand now).  This one will be written about online in the next couple of days.

I drew the 10th overall pick in the 12-man draft.  Standard scoring, 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DST starting lineup.  Here's what I did:

Pick 1.10: LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles.  Felt good about getting Shady this late.  Would have preferred CJ Spiller, who went at 1.09, but I'm OK with this.  For a fleeting moment, I thought Ray Rice might slide to me.  He went at 1.08.  FYI, A-Rod went on the next pick, the first QB selected.

Pick 2.3: Drew Brees, QB, Saints.  You know how I feel about having an elite QB at the top of my roster.  Brees is my fave.

Pick 3:10: Roddy White, WR, Falcons.  I feel good about Roddy as my WR1.  Several more dubious receiver picks left the board before him.  Not sure what to make of that.

Pick 4.3: Frank Gore, RB, 49ers.  It's hard to be competitive without a strong RB2.  Gore is a solid value here.

Pick 5.10: Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens.  He's The Man in Baltimore now. We'll see how that plays out.

Pick 6.3: Darren Sproles, RB, Saints.  The top 2 TEs were gone and I didn't like the selection at WR.  So I decided to shore up my RB corps.  Sproles obviously holds more value in PPR leagues, and it's hard to say for certain what the Saints' backfield is going to look like this season.

Pick 7.10:  Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers.  Was hoping either Witten or Gonzo would still be here; but alas, they disappeared a bit too soon.

Pick 8.3: Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys.  He still has some tread on the tires, right?  Should be a decent WR3.

Pick 9.10: Kenny Britt, WR, Titans.  What could go wrong?

Pick 10.3: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers.  A starting RB in Round 10?  I dunno.  Maybe...

Pick 11.10: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans.  Watch this rookie.  He's going to soar up draft boards over the next several weeks.

Pick 12.3: Seahawks D/ST.  Got my top-rated unit in the 12th round.  Not too shabby.  They were the 2nd DST off the board, after the Niners.

Pick 13.10: Matt Schaub, QB, Texans.  Not sure why he keeps dropping so far.  The guy throws for 4,000 yards every year...  Awesome backup QB, if you ask me.  (Did you ask me?)

Pick 14.3:  Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks.  If Beast Mode goes down, he'll get a shot.  I waited half a round too long to take Fred Jackson.

Pick 15.10: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions.  Underachieving TE makes a decent backup.

Pick 16.3: Matt Prater, K, Broncos.  When you're at the end of the line, it's usually best to snag an elite kicker in the penultimate round before the run begins.  Chances are, the "flier" you're aiming for will still be there with the last pick and you're not left combing through the K dregs.  Prater is my top pick now that New England's offense is in a shambles.

Pick 17.10: Brandon Lloyd, WR, FA.  Hard to believe this guy was the #1 fantasy WR in the land three short years ago.  Wouldn't be surprised if he lands somewhere before the season begins.  Whether that will translate to a productive starting slot is another story.  Too bad the Pats

won't give him another chance.

There you have it.  Two more mocks coming up before we play for keeps!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's good to be back, Dallas!

Nearly a decade ago, I sent an email to the sports editor of The Dallas Morning News recommending that they start covering the growing fantasy football phenomenon and offering my services as a freelance contributor.  He eventually gave me a call, said he liked the ideas I offered, asked for some sample columns...and the rest is history.

Since then, I've been blessed to win some awards and have expanded my footprint to some of the top newspapers across the nation, as well as Sporting News magazine.

Now, a couple years after budget cutbacks at the Morning News sent my column to the cutting-room floor, I'm proud to announce that I'll be returning online at this season.

It's good to be back where it all started, and in my hometown paper where I belong.

My weekly columns will begin once the NFL preseason officially kicks off.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chief Fool featured in "Fantasy Football Index"

Can you feel it?  Can you smell it?  Can you taste it?

It's almost time again...  Time to emerge from hibernation, splash water on our faces and get back down to business.  Fantasy football season is almost here!

I know this because I just received my first 2013 Draft Guide in the mail.  And it just so happens I'm in it.  I was asked to join a group of 20 fellow "experts" for the 23rd annual Fantasy Football Index Experts Poll.

The intro article entitled "Unconventional picks win it all" discussed the tendency of many experts to play it safe when it comes to ranking players.  And, true to form, most of the picks you'll find from the others read like your standard ADP list. 

Last year, Scott Sachs of Perfect Season Fantasy Football, made so many unconventional picks that he won the 2012 Experts Poll.  Makes sense.  After all, if you pick with the crowd, you finish with the crowd.

So it should come as no shock to you to read this paragraph:

Newcomer Ladd Biro is No. 2 in [this year's] outlier count.  He's the highest or lowest on 30 different players.  "If you're not going to stick your neck out, what's the point of making projections?" Biro says.  "Otherwise, you're just following the pack."  Eight experts have fewer than 10 outlier picks. 

Among my "outlier" picks: Adrian Peterson at RB4, lower than anyone else, right behind C.J. Spiller.  Colin Kaepernick at QB15.  Dez Bryant at WR1. 

If you want to see the rest, you'll have to pick up the magazine on your newsstand (available as of yesterday) or by ordering online at 

My thanks to Ian Allen for inviting me to participate this year.  Hopefully my picks -- made nearly two months ago now -- won't come back to haunt me.   (FYI, so far so good.  I boldly predicted that Aaron Hernandez would finish the season as the TE2.  I just knew he was gonna have a killer year.)