Articles by Erik Siegrist

Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.

Training Camp Notes: Dysfunction In DC

So, I did a crazy thing. In a recently-completed Yahoo draft for a 12-team non-PPR league where I ended up with the second pick, instead of taking one of the normal top four (or top five, depending on where you slot Marshawn Lynch) running backs, I threw caution to the wind and took Dez Bryant instead.

My reasoning was as follows: in every mock draft I’ve done picking from the top of the draft and taking the expected RB, I’ve hated the WR corps I’ve ended up with. Partially that’s due to spoiling myself with WR-WR starts in later draft slots, but it’s also due to the fact that the talent pool got a lot shallower over the last week. With Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin out of the picture, elite receivers dry up really quickly, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of not getting at least one of them. More than that though, with your first round pick, floor is more important than ceiling. If you don’t get premium production from your premium picks, your season is all but done, and when I look at those top RBs I see a lot more risk than I do with Bryant. Le’Veon Bell is playing a max of 14 games and lost his starting center for a good portion of them. Adrian Peterson is an old man in running backs years being counted on to rebound from yet another season spent on the sidelines. Jamaal Charles is all but guaranteed to deal with nagging injuries, whether they cost him games or not. And Eddie Lacy… OK, Lacy seems pretty safe. But still, I felt better bucking conventional wisdom and grabbing a secure WR1 than I did drafting Lacy, so that’s what I did.

Had I stuck with Lacy, I essentially would’ve ended up with him and Alshon Jeffery instead of Dez and Melvin Gordon (Lamar Miller went one pick before I grabbed Gordon at the end of the second round). We’ll just have to wait and see exactly how dumb I was.

Anyway, on to the blog. Powered by an epic Cardinals-Raiders preseason matchup being played on the O.co Coliseum infield dirt as we speak, it’s your Sunday TCN!

Training Camp Notes: Rookie Receivers A-Go-Go!

With just one preseason game on the NFL’s slate Sunday, news was a little scarce, but the Colts-Eagles tilt did feature an interesting matchup of rookie first-round wide receivers. Both Nelson Agholor (20th overall to the Eagles) and Phillip Dorsett (29th overall to the Colts) lined up with the ones Sunday and both flashed their considerable skills. Dorsett looked as elusive as you’d expect from a kid built like a prototypical slot receiver, catching four passes for 51 yards, but he also coughed up a fumble and his fantasy prospects for 2015 are limited as he’s buried on the Indy depth chart behind T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief, not to mention Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Frank Gore. Andrew Luck could attempt 700 passes this year and there still wouldn’t be enough targets tricking down to get Dorsett on the radar in most formats.

Agholor looked even better, making a leaping catch on a terrible Mark Sanchez pass (but I repeat myself…), then leaving cornerback Greg Toler in the dust en route to a 34-yard TD scamper. The only thing he’s lacking is elite size, but otherwise Agholor’s the complete package as a receiver and he didn’t seem to leave any doubt Sunday that he’d be in the starting lineup come Week 1. He finished the day with three catches for 57 yards, and probably added a full round to his ADP with the performance.

Auction League Strategy: Gurley Men

Last night Rotowire held its Steak League auction, which is also the first big auction or draft for me this season. This is a fairly deep league: 16-team IDP with standard scoring, $200 budget, 1 QB/2 RB/3 WR starting spots (no flex) with six reserves, and it tends to be very competitive not only because of that whole bragging rights thing but because of the side bet that gives the league its name. We’re split into two divisions of eight, and after each season the divisions meet for dinner, with the losers buying steak for the winners.

Two years ago I hoisted the trophy, but in 2014 my team just failed to gel and I missed the playoffs, something I was determined not to let happen again. Rather than targeting specific players, I came into the auction with three main strategic goals:

Training Camp Notes: Cap Spaceless In Seattle

While the Seahawks have risen in recent seasons to become of the league’s powerhouses, cracks are beginning to form in the foundation of the team’s success. New contracts handed to Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner have already started to take their toll on the organization’s cap space, and starting defensive tackle Tony McDaniel was released Sunday as the ‘Hawks could no longer afford him. Was he an integral part of their defense? Not really. McDaniel managed just 83 tackles and two sacks in two seasons since coming to the northwest from Miami and will be replaced in the front seven by smaller but more disruptive DT Jordan Hill, a third round pick in 2013.

The 2011 and 2012 draft classes for the Seahawks brought in a wealth of cost-controlled talent that took them to back-to-back Super Bowls, and had them one over-thought play call away from back-to-back Super Bowl wins. But as the rookie contracts for those key performers expire, requiring the club to pony up big bucks or say goodbye to valuable players, it’s going to become harder for Seattle to maintain quality and depth across their roster and harder to keep their spot among the NFC’s elite. That’s simply the circle of life in the NFL during the salary cap era, and it’s also something that might give you pause before you pull the trigger on the Seahawks’ D/ST unit in your draft. They’ll still be good in 2015, but attrition may leave them not be quite as dominant as you need them to be given their ADP.

Notes from around the league on the first Sunday in August: