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Who's No. 6?
Now that the NFL draft is complete, it's time for fantasy football drafts to start - at least for those of us in the industry of putting together magazines and preseason rankings. I got the sixth pick in the Fantasy Sports Magazine expert draft. It wasn't a great draw.

The top five spots are pretty well set: Tomlinson, A. Peterson, Westbrook, Addai, S. Jackson. Maybe the order is somewhat different, but most leagues at this time of year probably have those five unless someone decides Tom Brady will be that much better than the rest of the QB field again.

So who do you take at No. 6? Here are the candidates:

Frank Gore (SF) RB: Had a "disappointing" year last season, but still had over 1,500 combined receiving and rushing yards. Had over 2,000 in 2006. But he seems injury prone, the SF offense needs to prove it can pass and has DeShaun Foster in the mix.

Tom Brady (NE) QB: If he throws 50 TDs again, and 14 more than the next QB, then he's probably the call here. But remember after Peyton Manning threw 49 TDs, he threw just 28 the next season. Plus it's against my religion to take a QB in the first round.

Randy Moss (NE) WR: Do you want to take a WR in the first round? I'd rather have an every-down RB here. Sure, Moss could get 15+ TDs again, but he'll need about that many to justify this spot. He may not be as motivated as last season to prove himself, and defenses may focus on him more than ever. You just don't win leagues taking WRs this high.

Marion Barber (DAL) RB: I don't like taking any RB this high who is in a time share. Felix Jones will cut into his playing time just like Julius Jones last season.

Larry Johnson (KC) RB: He's coming off a foot injury that limited him to eight games and I'm a believer that those 380+ carry seasons (he had a record 416 in 2006) trash a player's career.

Ryan Grant (GB) RB: I'm not investing a pick this high on a guy who hasn't even proven it for a full season without a prior body of work. Plus with Favre gone, defenses will focus on the running game.

Laurence Maroney (NE) RB: He's going to have a breakout season one of these days, but he was too injury prone and underused last year for this spot. Sammy Morris will be healthy to steal carries as well.

Marshawn Lynch (BUF) RB: Can Buffalo pass the ball? Is Trent Edwards really the answer? Lynch may not get much breathing room in the offense.

Clinton Portis (WAS) RB: Nice bounceback season last year, but he's an old 27 years old (1,710 career carries) and memories of Ladell Betts stealing carries in 2006 linger.

So given all my negativity, who would I take? My first advice would be to trade down. I'd rather get any of these guys six picks later. Our friends at Mock Draft Central show Brady going No. 6 in their ADP. I'd take Lynch. He seems to have the least downside since he'll get the bulk of carries and has room to improve in his second season with just an average passing game.

Luckily I didn't need to make the decision. Tom Brady went fifth in the Fantasy Sports Magazine experts draft. Joesph Addai was still on the board. It was a no-brainer pick. My guess is that those with the No. 6 spot won't have it as easy this summer.
Posted by Peter Schoenke at 4/30/2008 11:57:00 AM

Comments (7)

MLB Over/Under Showdown
I teased this in my MLB Over/Under Wins story, but I made my annual bet with Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus on these picks. He's started to write a column picking win totals for MLB teams the last few years and we've compared our stories and placed on bet on who does better.

As usual we're more alike that different, as he's on my side for 3 of my 4 bets (he likes the under at 72 on the Giants, over on the A's at 73.5 and the under of 84 on Seattle). We differ on the Cubs for a second year in a row, so we bet on them. But we wanted to add more teams to make it a best out of three.

Sheehan has the Rangers (80) and Reds (82) at very high projections (in fact he's the highest of any analyst as this great post on notes). But I wasn't as down on them as their sportsbook line (77.5 for the Reds and 75.5 for the Rangers), so Joe and I split the difference. Here's the bet:

Over Team Total Under
Sheehan Cubs 87.5 Schoenke
Sheehan Rangers 77.5 Schoenke
Sheehan Reds 79 Schoenke

Sheehan took the over on the Cubs last year based on the Cubs' PECTOA projection and won. (Although it came down to the last week and some bad fielding plays by Norris Hopper as an infielder and Ken Griffey unable to throw the ball in after an injury - not that I'm bitter or anything). The fact that PECOTA has the Cubs projected to win over 90 games has me a bit nervous, but I'm not sure the Cubs will jump to second in the NL in runs scored from eighth last year. I don't think the Rangers were as bad as they played last year (they were four games worse than their Pythagorean W-L) and their lineup should score runs. But the under seems more likely given their rebuilding phase. I love the talent on the Reds, but my taking the under is basically a bet on manager Dusty Baker. He'll figure out a way to screw it up. Sheehan put it best: "The potential is there, however, for Baker to once again ride 88-win talent to 84 wins, and be hailed a hero for it."

Other over/under bets I liked that I didn't mention in the article and Sheehan liked as well were the unders on the Astros (76) and Cardinals(76). A few days after reading my article, I should have bet more on the Giants under (72). Seeing them on Opening Day reinforced how bad their lineup will be.

So who got the best end of this bet?
Posted by Peter Schoenke at 4/1/2008 10:06:00 AM

Comments (1)