RotoWire Partners

East Coast Offense: 2007 East Coast Offense-Week 8

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

East Coast Offense

By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor


One of the things that's great about writing for Yahoo! Sports is the feedback you get. People respectfully disagree with some of your observations from time to time, and it's always interesting to hear other points of view. Take for example the following email I received on Sunday morning:

You are the worst beat reporter in this game. Where do you get your information from??? Do you just make shit up??? Do you pay any attention to details?
A drunk chimp could analyze football way better than you. Do you have any clue on how to do your job? I'm not the only football fan who thinks your incompetent. EXAMPLE...NY GIANTS.... your not even close, get some better contacts. I'm gonna e-mail your boss aswell, I don't think he knows how much you suck. UUUUUU SSSSSUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sure, this guy is retarded, and yes, he's also on steroids, but you shouldn't discount his point of view on those grounds alone. In fact, I'm going to the LA zoo Sunday morning with some beer, and hopefully, I'll be able to coax some five-star locks out of the chimpanzees. Don't laugh - Richard Dreyfuss picked a winning horse in Let It Ride (a vastly underrated movie) after it winked at him. And chimps are smarter than horses and even some humans.

Best ball league

It's easy to speculate about what players we'd rank where, but in a season like this one, where so much has changed since draft day, one of my colleagues, Scott Pianowski, figured we'd put ourselves to the test and have a midseason expert draft (for real money). Of course, none of us have time to manage another league, so we made it a "best-ball" league.

The "best-ball" draft took place on Tuesday with pretty standard rules except that we used team quarterbacks and no defenses. Also, the "best ball" aspect means that we make no moves the rest of the way, and just take the scores of our best quarterback, two running backs, three WRs and flex each week. In other words, there's no lineup setting - everyone gets their perfect lineup. But the point is, you draft - at least in the first few rounds - for this league, exactly as you'd do for a regular draft. Here were the first two rounds.

Round 1

  1. LaDainian Tomlinson
  2. Patriots QB
  3. Joseph Addai
  4. Colts QB
  5. Adrian Peterson (my pick)
  6. Randy Moss
  7. Larry Johnson
  8. Willie Parker
  9. Brian Westbrook
  10. Steven Jackson

Round 2

  1. Braylon Edwards
  2. Reggie Bush
  3. Frank Gore
  4. Willis McGahee
  5. Chad Johnson
  6. Marshawn Lynch (my pick)
  7. Plaxico Burress
  8. Edgerrin James
  9. Terrell Owens
  10. Kevin Jones

Here's a link to the entire draft in case you're curious.

One of the things that struck me is how surprising so many of the picks were. In the preseason, when most people do their drafts, there are so many magazines and web sites out there, that people tend to form a consensus about where players should generally be picked. This probably isn't a good thing since the consensus is rarely right (not only due to injuries, but just plain bad collective calls), but it's hard not to get influenced by what all the experts seem to think. (In fact, I don't like to read anyone's rankings when doing my own for that very reason), but even so, by the time you draft a few leagues, you see where people value players. In any event, Tuesday's draft had some surprises. Steven Jackson at 10, Braylon Edwards at 11. Chad Johnson still goes ahead of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but Reggie Wayne is way ahead of Marvin Harrison. Reggie Bush ahead of Frank Gore, Kevin Jones in the second round.

That's not to say that this collection of experts has it right, and you should use this as a perfect cheat sheet the rest of the way. It's more of an experiment to see what some of us really think when put to the test in a live draft.

Waiver Wire

Well, Jesse Chatman's the obvious get with Ronnie Brown done for the year. Lorenzo Booker and Patrick Cobbs could also be worth a look - once the established guy's gone, typically all bets are off. Not that the Dolphins will be running out a lot of leads in the fourth quarter anyway... Brian Griese's throwing the ball an awful lot, and the emergence of Devin Hester and Greg Olsen in addition to Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad and Desmond Clark gives him a lot of targets... Speaking of which, Olsen is justifying the hype about him in camp - he could be a top-10 tight end the rest of the way. Jay Cutler should be available in some leagues as well and should improve with experience, though losing Javon Walker doesn't help... And if anyone dropped Vince Young, go ahead and take a flier on him. He hasn't run much so far this year, but his run/pass upside is still there.

Around the League

  • Now might be your last chance to buy Laurence Maroney low. While there's no guarantee that Sammy Morris will continue to miss time, or that Maroney will stay healthy even if Morris is out of the picture, or that the Patriots won't keep passing almost every play, it's time to roll the dice. The weather will get colder qnd windier, the Patriots will inevitably be in some closer games, and they will need to run the ball at some point. When that happens, Maroney will be facing six and seven-man fronts, and New England will often have the ball in the red zone. There's no guarantee here, but if you're in fourth place, and your team needs a shot in the arm, Maroney's an upside back who might still be available at a reasonable price.
  • Joey Harrington always seems to have a starting job. First, no matter what he did, the Lions wouldn't bench him. Then, when they finally got tired of him, he signed with the Dolphins as a backup, only to emerge as the starter when Daunte Culpepper's knee doesn't hold up. After his poor play got him released, he signed with the Falcons to be Michael Vick's backup in Atlanta. Of course, Vick lost his career to dog fighting, and Harrington received yet another starting job. Then the Falcons handed the job to Byron Leftwich, but Leftwich severely sprained his ankle Sunday, and Harrington's back.
  • Believe it or not, Drew Brees has been sacked just four times in 247 attempts, That's less than Tom Brady (seven in 229). Of course, Brees' YPA is just 5.6 - which is off-the-charts bad - a full yard worse than Harrington's. Eli Manning's YPA isn't good, either, at 6.7, lower than Chad Pennington's (7.1) and Trent Green's (7.0). Jon Kitna's YPA is 7.9, but he's been sacked a league-leading 28 times and fumbled eight times (lost three).
  • Ben Roethlisberger is quietly having a great year (7.8 YPA, 13:5 TD:INT), but he's averaging only 28 pass attempts per game. As a result, Brees and even Harrington have more yardage. Looks like the new coaching regime isn't all that different from the old one.
  • Jeff Garcia's year is remarkable - 8.0 YPA, 70.4 completion percentage, zero interceptions. He's taken eight sacks and lost two fumbles, but to get that many yards per passing play while making so few negative ones is Pro Bowl worthy. Of course, it would mean more if the team threw more often (especially near the end zone), but thus far he's one the two best quarterbacks in the NFC. Tony Romo's averaged 8.3 YPA in 50 more attempts, but his nine picks, two lost fumbles and 11 sacks have to be factored in. Romo's big edge is in TDs (16 to 7).
  • Jerious Norwood averaged 6.4 yards per carry last year and is averaging 5.8 this season. Warrick Dunn has averaged 4.0 and 3.1, respectively and will turn 33 in January. The Falcons are 1-6 - to get to 8-8 and have a remote shot at the playoffs, they'd have to go 7-2 the rest of the way. (The Colts are still on their schedule, to boot). But Dunn got 13 carries on Sunday and Norwood just six. It just makes you wonder what it's going to take in Atlanta for Bobby Petrino to think: "Why don't we give Norwood 20-25 carries for a few games and see what he can do?"

Beating the Book

We got back on track last week in this forum, backing the Broncos to cover and win outright against the Steelers to put our record against the spread here at 2-5. Unfortunately, we went 5-9 overall to drop our season record to 51-44-8.

Bills +3 at Jets

The Bills have played better than the Jets so far this season, but New York is a desperate team, and this is a winnable game at home for them. Expect the Jets offense to move the ball reliably, while Buffalo struggles a bit on the road with its rookie quarterback. Back New York.

Jets 27 - 20

The full article comes out on Thursday morning.

Surviving Week 8

We have a bit of a problem here, as we took the Giants in this forum last week, but switched our pick on RotoWire to the Redskins at the last minute. (Yes, I know that was stupid, and it cost me three years of my life in terms of added stress). That means that we're able to take the Giants in our own pools and will pick them on the RotoWire. For those of you who used the Giants (and the Pats and Chargers who we took in previous weeks, our pick is the Titans).

We're going with the Giants, but we do have certain misgivings. First off, the game will be played in London, and that's going to throw off the routines of both teams. Distraction and disruption is always better for the underdog because when the teams have been in their routines, the favorite has obviously been better. Also, we don't like that the Dolphins are winless and playing on an international stage - that just adds to the desperation, and we expect they'll do whatever it takes not to embarrass themselves under the circumstances. Still, with Trent Green, Ronnie Brown and even Chris Chambers (who we're not high on) out, the Dolphins offense is incredibly thin, and their defense has been one of the worst in the league this year. We give the Giants an 80 percent chance to win this game.

If you've used the Giants, then we'd take the Titans, who with Vince Young back, and the offensive and defensive lines playing very well, should be able to handle the Raiders at home. Expect Daunte Culpepper to pitch in with a couple turnovers at least. We give the Titans a 72 percent chance to win this game.

The full article comes out on Thursday morning.

Article first appeared 10/24/07