Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Starting Lineup Strength

One way to analyze each team's strengths and weaknesses is to look at the rankings of the players in each team's starting lineups. Listed here, then, I provide the rankings of each team's projected Week 1 starters. I'm using ESPN simply because it has a convenient Top 300 list with sortable positions. I'm also going with the POSITIONAL RANKINGS, not overall rankings, since I think that gives a better reflection of how each team fares at a position (it's also easier).

It should be obvious this is not a total evaluation of team strength, as it ignores depth (personally, I went weaker at #2 RB and #3 WR than I otherwise might have so that I could be strong at #3 RB and #4 WR, trying to build a team for the long haul). But it does give us some ideas of where managers might try to fortify weaknesses, and where we might stand going into the season.

It is also obvious that we who have drafted some of these players would certainly dispute the players' rankings.

I have taken the starting lineups that you have plugged into Yahoo!.

QB: #9
RB: #7, #8
WR: #4, #10, #14
TE: #11

QB: #17
RB: #14, #15
WR: #5, #7, #13
TE: #22

QB: #2
RB: #3, #5
WR: #8, #57, #63
TE: #10

QB: #7
RB: #6, #19
WR: #18, #20
TE: #3, #4

QB: #8
RB: #12, #16
WR: #6, #12, #21
TE: #12

QB: #14
RB: #11, #23
WR: #1, #11, #24
TE: #14

QB: #6
RB: #9, #10
WR: #2, #16
TE: #1, #8

QB: #1
RB: #4, #13
WR: #27, #41
TE: #2, #5

QB: #4
RB: #20, #21
WR: #3, #9, #26
TE: #6

QB: #12
RB: #1, #2
WR: #17, #19, #22
TE: #13

Roster Analysis 2

I noticed that this year (seemingly more than ever), there is a lot of discrepancy between different sources' rankings. For example, Maurice Jones-Drew is ESPN's #5 overall player, while he is Yahoo!'s #16 overall player, Darren McFadden makes a jump from #21 to #9, and Shonn Greene is Yahoo!'s #19 but isn't even in ESPN's Top 50. So for the sheer hell of it (and since I'm not blogging about real football this season), I'll post the same Roster Analysis as I did a few days ago, but with Yahoo!'s rankings rather than ESPN's.

Rashard Mendenhall (#5), Lesean McCoy (#13), Hakeem Nicks (#17), Miles Austin (#25), Mike Williams (#34), Ben Roethlisberger (#47)

Calvin Johnson (#12), Matt Forte (#23), Mike Wallace (#28), DeAngelo Williams (#35), Felix Jones (#39), Dwayne Bowe (#43)

Chris Johnson (#7), Michael Vick (#15), Maurice Jones-Drew (#16), Vincent Jackson (#26)

Ray Rice (#3), Shonn Greene (#19) LeGarrette Blount (#29), Tony Romo (#32), Mark Ingram (#41), Jermichael Finley (#48)

Darren McFadden (#9), Larry Fitzgerald (#14), Ahmad Bradshaw (#30), Dez Bryant (#42), Matt Schaub (#46), Brandon Marshall (#49)

Andre Johnson (#6), Steven Jackson (#27), DeSean Jackson (#36), Ryan Grant (#37), Peyton Manning (#40), Beanie Wells (#50)

Michael Turner (#8), Roddy White (#11), Frank Gore (#20), Philip Rivers (#21), Antonio Gates (#45),

Jamaal Charles (#4), Aaron Rodgers (#10), Drew Brees (#18), Peyton Hillis (#24)

Tom Brady (#22), Greg Jennings (#31), Reggie Wayne (#33), Jahvid Best (#44)

Adrian Peterson (#1*), Arian Foster (#1*), Brandon Lloyd (#38)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Roster Analysis

After an auction, with its flexibility of roster construction, it can be interesting to match our teams against a top-50 list and see how teams were constructed. I'll show where the players we draft show up on ESPN's Top 50, and you can see for yourself how rosters were constructed. It should be noted (obviously) these rankings do not bear correlation to the actual auction costs of players, to the values of certain positions in our league, or even to where players might have been taken in a snake draft.

Lesean McCoy (#8), Rashard Mendenhall (#12), Hakeem Nicks (#17), Miles Austin (#31), Mike Williams (#39), Jeremy Maclin (#41)

Calvin Johnson (#18), Mike Wallace (#23), Matt Forte (#27), DeAngelo Williams (#30), Dwayne Bowe (#37), Jonathan Stewart (#38), Felix Jones (#48)

Chris Johnson (#3), Maurice Jones-Drew (#5), Michael Vick (#9), Vincent Jackson (#26)

Ray Rice (#6), LeGarrette Blount (#40), Tony Romo (#42), Santonio Holmes (#49)

Darren McFadden (#21), Larry Fitzgerald (#23), Ahmad Bradshaw (#33), Dez Bryant (#34), Knowshon Moreno (#35), Matt Schaub (#47)

Andre Johnson (#9), Steven Jackson (#19), Peyton Manning (#22), DeSean Jackson (#32)

Roddy White (#10), Frank Gore (#13), Michael Turner (#15), Philip Rivers (#29), Antonio Gates (#36), Marques Colston (#43)

Jamaal Charles (#4), Aaron Rodgers (#7), Drew Brees (#16), Peyton Hillis (#25), Dallas Clark (#50)

Greg Jennings (#14), Tom Brady (#20), Reggie Wayne (#28), Jahvid Best (#44), BenJarvis Green-Ellis (#45)

Adrian Peterson (#1), Arian Foster (#2), Brandon Lloyd (#46)

Friday, August 19, 2011

In which I submit a radical alteration to draft strategy

You know what really grinds my gears? Asterisks. Asterisks imply some sort of hijinks like PEDs. If this is true, why not do what the NFL surely has already done... look the other way and let everyone juice. So, in honor of my "tainted" championship I submit a radical idea. Let's have a snake draft this year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

HW: Great Draft Moments

The Spirit of Fantasy Football has shined his face upon us for many exciting drafts. There have been a lot of memorable bidding wars (Justin v. Kiah for Terrell Owens in 2007, Nate v. me for Frank Gore in 2010), but a lot of things slightly tangential to the draft itself (why Abe called Marques Colston "Baby Colston," and why the nickname stuck, is a mystery to me).

Please, I beg you to include some of your specific memories of Hazelweird drafts past. I'm sure your memories are different than mine.

(note: I don't always remember the precise numbers, hence occasional asterisks).

"What the heck, I like him: Larry Fitzgerald"
In 2005 we had our first of three snake drafts (also '06 and '08). Larry Fitzgerald, entering his second year, was selected by Justin somewhere in the middle of the draft. And sometime late in the draft, we're talking last few rounds, Brad uttered the infamous words written above, and spent the rest of the night getting us all drinks.

It's not just that Brad tried to draft a player that was already drafted; it was that he did so with a sort of "Oh, I know this is a silly pick, but I'm going to make it out of emotion anyway, oh well" tone that made it legendary.

Nobody saw how it ended; we all hit our heads when we fell out of our chairs.
In 2008, Jerod put out an interesting bid for the Viking Defense: $15. "Thunderstruck" might be how I would describe the reaction of the table. Well, most of the table. Brad said $16. Then Jerod said $17.

Well, I might have started that differently, but different strokes and all.
In 2010, Justin already had Tony Romo on his roster for $36*, and if memory serves me, he had another QB already on his roster too. Yet when his turn to throw out another player came up, he said "Philip Rivers $49*." Everybody just sort of gave each other funny looks as we mechanically flipped our cups over. The look on Justin's face at that moment was sort of like, "Oh."

Little did I know what the future held.
In 2003, the bidding was going on for Brett Favre. I had no interest in drafting Brett Favre. In fact, I hated Brett Favre and wished nothing but ill upon him and everybody who rooted for him. Yet I thought I had a responsibility to bid Favre up, to make one of those sorry Packer fans pay as much as possible for him. But this was the one year Rob decided he shouldn't take Favre (I traded Favre to him after week 3), and as it was down to Brad and I, and I raised the bid to $29 expecting it to march on its way much, much higher, Brad flipped his cup and said "You can have him." I jumped out of my chair and cursed. I set aside my beer and began drinking gin mixed with Mountain Dew Code Red (that's how I rolled c. 2003).

Brad is involved in a lot of these.
Some of you may think that Brad passing on players and ending up with a lot of money when everybody else is busted is some new phenomenon. Well, let me tell you a little story about 2003. Near the end of the draft I had a few measly dollars left, and I was all hot and bothered to draft D'Wayne Bates, the Vikings #2 WR that I had high hopes for, playing across from Randy Moss. Brad had $47 left and only one roster spot to fill it with. I think I threw out D'Wayne Bates for a $1, grinning like the purple-blooded piss-ant I was. Brad said $2. All energetic about the Vikings, I said $3. Brad shook his head and huffed. "47 dollars!" he shouted. I was crestfallen. What's more memorable about that draft: that Brad paid $47 for D'Wayne Bates because he had too much money left at the end of the draft, or that I was crestfallen that I didn't get D'Wayne Bates?

Fine, Jerod, Fine. You'd want me to include this.
I wasn't always so great at hiding my love for the Vikings. In 2004, everybody knew all I really wanted out of the draft was Randy Moss to be on my team. Maybe that's why, in a league where the most expensive player the year before had been under $80, Abe started the bidding on Randy Moss at $100, then looked at me laughing and grinning maniacally (Abe started on the whiskey early in that year's draft, lest any of you think that is also a new development). I, my face ashen, said $101. Rob said $120. All blood out of my face, I said $121, and set a record for the most expensive player. And a few picks later, I paid $102* for Priest Holmes, and my draft was pretty much over.

HW Rule Changes Over the Years

As we enter the 10th Hazelweird season, I may do some retrospective posts to help us think about it. Today: significant rule changes over the years. Later: greatest draft moments (we relive a lot of the pre-draft party and draft party moments, and probably ought to save those for the bit more closed circle of email anyway, but I'll refresh us on some great moments during the draft).

Open Bench
Hard to believe: the first year we actually had fixed backup positions: you were required to draft a backup kicker, backup defense, etc. The second year we opened up three random bench positions, then going forward we opened the entire bench (actually at this point the entire roster is open: you don't have to draft a full starting lineup).

Fractional Scoring
A great move once we started using Yahoo for FFB (another crazy note: we didn't start that until 2007. From 2002-2006, either Justin or I got everybody's lineups through email, then MANUALLY ADDED SCORES. Ridiculous. 2007 was also the start of this blog). Now every yard is equal.

From 25 yards per point to 20 yards per point
It's still a TD heavy league, but we've created more scoring and given more credit for yardage. Fractional scoring and the 20 yards per point changes have greatly increased excitement, I think.

Three Starting WRs
A very recent move: until 2009, we started two WRs (though we evolved flexible lineups so that you could start three WRs, but it meant starting only one RB).

Preseason Free Agency: One Pick Each
We started our preseason free agency system because (a) we have closed rather than open FA system and (b) we started doing the draft very early in summer to accommodate various things. I think our new change--away from the injury picks, to everybody getting one and only one preseason FA pick--is going to be a major change. There had been other evolutions to this rule (including removing retirements, trades, and cuts from preseason FA pick eligibility).

A few other changes of note:
--We changed our auction salary cap from 265 to 275 to 300 and may (Abe! Brad!) change to 300 with $0 bids.

--AP recognition: We've been through the grisly history of this recognition before, but I do think it has value: you want to score as many points as possible in fantasy football, and this gives you recognition if you score the most. It's another fun thing to follow and chase.

Am I missing anything: are there some other significant changes we've made? Which of these changes has been the biggest?