Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Frameshmania '17 Draft Review!

Hello party people!  Thanks again for tolerating the second-ever live Frameshmania draft (the first one was just the four of us, which is why none of you outsiders remember that).  I hope everyone had a good time despite the doubled duration.  I won't beat around the bush too much, so let's get to the draft review. 

In this edition, I'll spend my time here discussing how each team fared in terms of their overall draft quality.  In the podcast, I'll talk more about how the draft went as it unfolded, and where there might have been some good or bad picks.

So, for reference, here is the draft board.

With each team's draft review, I'm going to include a fancy new graph of their draft tendencies by round.  The colors conveniently match the colors of the stickers above, so you guys should be primed to understand it.

Historically, I've been one of the running-back-heaviest teams in the early going, but the real trend is that I never pick a QB or TE early.  This year I went a little more receiver heavy, and have arguably the best group of three receivers in the league.  As a consequence, there are some fair concerns about my RB2 slot with Hyde and Montgomery, and my QB combo of Cam and Big Ben isn't as shiny as it might have been in previous years.  There's a little bit of upside in the Henrys, but all in all this seems like a team that is likely to be solid, if unspectacular.

Laurie has gone for the early QB a fair amount, and we know who that guy is -- Drew Brees.  She went to the well again this year, and he provides some stability to what could be a risky roster.  While there is a lot of upside in her third and fifth round picks, she might find that she has too many Cooks in the kitchen.  Also, a peculiar affinity for Vikings players (she drafted four of the five players who were selected from that squad) seems like an odd choice.  She is going to need breakout years from Dalvin Cook and Tyreek Hill to find her way to the top, I suspect.


Phil's calling card for years was Peyton Manning, so it doesn't surprise that he went for Rodgers early on in this one.  His distaste for the state of the running back position led him to go for the consensus #1 QB, WR, and TE instead of wading into that kiddie pool.  What that leaves him with, though, is a perilously thin running back position, with rookie Christian McCaffrey leading the group until Doug Martin's return.  His receiver group probably has the biggest upside top-to-bottom, but there is a lot of injury and quarterback concern in that group as well.  Phil will need to be active on the RB waiver wire, but the rest of the roster looks very solid.

I don't think this says anything about anything, but Jon-Michael's graph is probably the smoothest of anyone's.  He has generally not messed around with early receivers, and this year was no different, as he went RB with three of his first four picks.  There's some serious risk there with one-hit-wonder Ajayi and one-hit-from-retirement Lynch, but also some serious touchdown upside.  The receiver group is full of guys who fell due to role and quarterback concerns, but all of them are legitimate threats to be top-15 at the position by year's end.  Peterson was a bit of a reach, but Kelley may have been the biggest value of the draft if he holds onto the job and performs like he did last year.


Matt had the top pick for the fifth time in nine years, and he took his fifth different running back at that slot.  He has tended to back that up with a QB in one of the next two picks, but this year he went for skill players for a little while instead.  He provided perhaps the most surprises of the draft with the relatively early selections of Graham and Mariota and the back-to-back picks of Bilal Powell and Danny Woodhead, but there is some security in there that could make up for having guys like Fournette.  This team is a hard one to read because of that, but I have a hard time seeing it as uncompetitive, which was the case for Matt last year in his first season outside the top two picks.

The king of the early-round running back was forced to change his stripes this year thanks to some rough luck with the draft order, but to end up with two receivers who are virtual locks to be in the top 10 if healthy isn't a bad consolation.  The running backs Kyle did end up with present a lot of downside, so it could be a long season.  Kyle went for two mid-tier QBs and TEs instead of going early or late on either position, and that makes him have quite the combination of safety and upside in both spots.  He also grabbed some interesting fliers in the late rounds who could be free agent fodder in two weeks but are worth taking a look at.

Jesse tends to get his running backs early and take a break for a bit, and he went back to that strategy this season as well.  I can't say that I'm that impressed with Crowell as his RB2 in the early going, but to have Le'Veon and Zeke available in the second half is a pretty exciting prospect.  His receiver group doesn't necessarily have the transcendent guy at the top but should have a pretty high floor, and the Winston/Cousins combo at QB is intriguing if not exciting.  I'm not super confident in either Blount or Perkins, but all he really needs is for one of them to pan out and it should work out fine until Zeke returns.


Emily has been as likely as anyone to take a receiver early, and she pulled the trigger again with Julio Jones at the top.  She doesn't have what I view as a particularly high ceiling at any particular position after that, but there are a lot of guys who are unlikely to bust out entirely, and the Wilson / Carr combo at QB is basically guaranteed to produce a top 6 output on the whole.  In general I'm not a huge fan of her bench guys because in this league players like Gore and Fitzgerald just aren't, er, spicy enough, but that last round pick of Randall Cobb really got some eyebrows raised.  Could be a ridiculous steal.

The Verdict

No fancy math this time, just gut feel.  Here's how I have things as we stand now, and to be clear, this is more about upside for a great season, because in an 8 team league where most of the teams make the playoffs you can afford to shoot for the stars:

1) Phil - That Trifecta at QB/WR/TE is really exciting, just needs to avoid another RB apocalypse
2) Kyle - Not sure about the RBs, but guaranteed production at QB/WR/TE again rules the day
3) Jon-Michael - Some old guys that need to stay productive, but pretty intriguing receiver group
4) Jesse - Won't show much early necessarily, but should surge in the second half
5) Alex - Again, RB concerns with strong WR, but also serious questions at QB/TE
6) Laurie - Gotta get big years from some young guys, but has some blue bloods to pick up slack
7) Matt - Just enough upside to keep him out of the cellar
8) Emily - Where did you think I'd put you?  Not likely to finish last, just not likely to finish first.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Frameshmania '16 Draft Review!

My schedule is all over the place this week so I figured there was no time like the present to get this done.  A little bit more quick-and-dirty than in previous years, but hey, which of us is the commissioner for the Boston Red Sox front office fantasy league, hm?

Let's get going.


Taking LeVeon Bell is going to make anyone's draft go a little different than optimal, but having Latavius Murray as the fill-in ain't bad.  A lot of WR depth here, including the bizarre double-Arizona tandem, and then a bunch of fliers in the back end of the RB group.  Definitely the worst QB situation in the league, and Phil taking Brees right ahead of me was a pretty rough break for my squad as a whole.  
QB: 3
RB: 7
WR: 9
TE: 6
DEF: 6


I was thankful for her taking David Johnson at 5, but I think she did a good job filling in behind him with Hyde, Jennings, and Henry.  There's a lot of risk in the receiver group but a lot of bounceback potential in Jeffery, Hilton, and Cobb, with a solid guy in Maclin behind.  Gronk and Palmer are potential injury risks as well but should be solid while available.
QB: 7
RB: 4
WR: 7
TE: 10
DEF: 5


He and I cannibalized from each other a bit, as we each took RBs missing time (Charles, Bell) and took the other's handcuff.  The RB depth is questionable here until Charles is in full gear and/or Gordon delivers on his promise.  Really like the bench in general, in particular Torrey Smith and Martellus Bennett.  I was also very high on Brees and the Seahawks D this year so it's definitely a solid all-around roster with a few key players who I'm concerned won't live up to expectations (Anderson, Benjamin, Charles).
QB: 8
RB: 7
WR: 4
TE: 7
DEF: 10


Loooove Peterson/McCoy at RB, but behind them is a whole lot of nothing, and they're no spring chickens.  Wilson was a reach where he took him, and having Luck behind only works out if he can swing a trade to get maybe an upgrade at RB3 or WR3.  Deep if unspectacular receiver group with a nice mix of safety and upside (in particular with Lockett/Parker on the bench), and a top-flight DEF/K combo (for what that's worth).
QB: 9
RB: 7
WR: 7
TE: 8
DEF: 9


The man who always loads up at RB does it again, as he gets two of the top 5 backs and three intriguing injury-concern starters in Mathews, Foster, and Jones.  He will rely heavily on the Jordy Nelson comeback as he also took Rodgers.  Also did his patented draft-for-the-playoffs by taking both Gordon and Eifert.  Very much a swing-for-the-fences roster that I'm really intrigued by.
QB: 9
RB: 10
WR: 8
TE: 8
DEF: 7


If Romo comes back within 6 weeks and/or Dak is an average QB, this is an unbelievable receiving group.  A month ago Brown, Robinson, and Dez were at worst 3 of the top 7 receivers.  Freeman/Forte/Langford is a scary RB group, and Jesse has a bunch of platoon guys behind them that he hopes pan out.  He went Brady/Roethlisberger back-to-back and I like that play a lot, although Ben probably won't be at the peak of his powers without Bell in the lineup at the start of the season.
QB: 8
RB: 3
WR: 10
TE: 4
DEF: 8


This doesn't happen often with Matt (after all, he had never had a pick below 2), but I don't really like his team at all.  I think Miller/Stewart/Hill/Gore is fine at RB but not riddled with upside, and while Hopkins/Marshall/Allen/Moncrief is a great top 4 at receiver, it doesn't really make up for a below average roster pretty much everywhere else.  I would be much happier with this team if Bradford was still in Philly, but with a rookie QB throwing to Ertz and Matthews I'm not impressed.  Also, Jimmy Graham.  Sigh.
QB: 4
RB: 5
WR: 9
TE: 2
DEF: 7


A lot of downside to this roster with not as much upside as you'd like for that risk.  Lacy, Murray, and Thomas are all coming off disappointing years and have similarly unsettling circumstances coming into this year.  Rawls is interesting but unproven and hurt as of now.  Cam is obviously a stud and having Stafford behind is solid, and there's some interesting safety/upside stuff on the bench with Brown, Crabtree, and Blount.  Just not much to write home about.
QB: 10
RB: 4
WR: 5
TE: 7
DEF: 5

So what does this all add up to?  Well, if you weight QB/RB/WR twice and TE/DEF once and add up the scores, here are the rankings:

69 - Kyle
63 - Jon-Michael
55 - Phil
54 - Jesse
51 - Laurie
50 - Alex
50 - Emily
45 - Matt

And actually that looks pretty good to me.  Kyle's rating doesn't build in the amount of risk he's put into his roster, so that could easily crash and burn, but it's almost so much upside that it's likely to work out in some way, shape, or form.  But Jon-Michael is right there and if he can swing a trade of Luck to upgrade at another position, it's an interesting squad (don't wanna jinx it though).  

Poor Matt.  Get well soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Frameshmania '15 Draft Review!

Welcome back to the wonderful world of Frameshmania!  We have ourselves a nice long fantasy draft review, chock full of round-by-round recaps and team-by-team analysis.  I used an arbitrary 1-10 scoring system for each position and then arbitrarily scaled the value of each position, so you're going to really feel confident about the score I give each team.  In case you're wondering, I've been pretty passable at predicting how this league will pan out over the last couple years (last year's top three regular season finishers were picked 3rd, 2nd, and 7th, and 2013's were picked 3rd, 2nd, and 1st), so maybe this isn't such a useless exercise after all.

Anyway, onto the draft!

Round: 1
(1) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Le'Veon Bell RB 
(2) Hoosier Daddy - Eddie Lacy RB 
(3) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Jamaal Charles RB 
(4) Sabotage The League - C.J. Anderson RB 
(5) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Adrian Peterson RB 
(6) Frank Bored - Marshawn Lynch RB 
(7) Hometown Mamas - Antonio Brown WR 
(8) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - DeMarco Murray RB 

Round: 2
(9) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - LeSean McCoy RB 
(10) Hometown Mamas - Jeremy Hill RB 
(11) Frank Bored - Matt Forte RB 
(12) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Calvin Johnson WR 
(13) Sabotage The League - Demaryius Thomas WR 
(14) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Julio Jones WR 
(15) Hoosier Daddy - Dez Bryant WR 
(16) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Odell Beckham Jr. WR 

Matt was hemming and hawwing right up to the start of the draft, but eventually settled on Bell, citing the fact that everyone makes the playoffs, so having a player miss a guaranteed two weeks at the start of the season isn't so bad (those who wanted Bell to drop can thank Kyle for the inception of that idea).  He followed that up by taking OBJ, which is a fine pick considering that the elite receivers were flying off the board at that time (although I personally have him a little lower than some guys who have shown a larger body of work and don't have to depend on Eli Manning).  In fact, only Jon-Michael and Emily went RB/RB instead of some combination of RB and WR.  Phil provided the shocking pick of the first two rounds, taking CJ Anderson above at least two players that were definitely expected to be drafted higher.  He invoked his patented "butthead clause" in overlooking Peterson and Lynch, and didn't want to start his team off without a running back.  Time will tell if he looks smart or not, but it's the first time I feel like that policy has caused him to really shake up the draft.  I would also be remiss not to mention the incumbent/replacement combo that Emily put together of McCoy and Murray at the turn.

Round: 3
(17) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Aaron Rodgers QB 
(18) Hoosier Daddy - Andrew Luck QB 
(19) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - A.J. Green WR 
(20) Sabotage The League - Randall Cobb WR 
(21) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Alshon Jeffery WR 
(22) Frank Bored - Rob Gronkowski TE 
(23) Hometown Mamas - Alfred Morris RB 
(24) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - T.Y. Hilton WR 

Round: 4
(25) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Peyton Manning QB 
(26) Hometown Mamas - Mike Evans WR 
(27) Frank Bored - Russell Wilson QB 
(28) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Lamar Miller RB 
(29) Sabotage The League - Jonathan Stewart RB 
(30) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Mark Ingram RB 
(31) Hoosier Daddy - Carlos Hyde RB 
(32) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Brandin Cooks WR 

We had a little not-terribly-surprising run on QBs at the start of the third round, which is a fine way to go for the teams that went RB/WR in the first two.  We also saw all of the top-tier receivers disappear in this group, with Jon-Michael ending up the only player without a receiver at all from that crop, instead opting for the top QB/TE strategy. Emily might have jumped the gun slightly by taking Peyton at the top of the fourth round, but when you've got bunched up picks that is almost guaranteed to happen.  Laurie might have overdrafted Alfred Morris a little as well (considering she had another pick three picks later), but I don't think she would have ended up with a very different result in the end anyway.  Other than that, there's not much exciting here -- Phil did grab Cobb to really cement his Week 7 loss though.

Round: 5
(33) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Frank Gore RB 
(34) Hoosier Daddy - Jordan Matthews WR 
(35) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Emmanuel Sanders WR 
(36) Sabotage The League - Melvin Gordon RB 
(37) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Justin Forsett RB 
(38) Frank Bored - DeAndre Hopkins WR 
(39) Hometown Mamas - Jimmy Graham TE 
(40) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Julian Edelman WR 

Round: 6
(41) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Todd Gurley RB 
(42) Hometown Mamas - Drew Brees QB 
(43) Frank Bored - Latavius Murray RB 
(44) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Keenan Allen WR 
(45) Sabotage The League - Andre Ellington RB 
(46) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Joseph Randle RB 
(47) Hoosier Daddy - Amari Cooper WR 
(48) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Vincent Jackson WR 

This is the point in the draft where the players you're really confident in have disappeared, and where there's a little less chalk coming off the board.  Jesse messed up the plans of at least my mom and myself in taking Matthews early in the fifth, and Laurie responded by grabbing her own QB/TE combination in the former teammates Brees and Graham.  I really liked Kyle's picks in these rounds as upside plays, because there are plenty of doubts about both Forsett and Allen but both could very easily end up top-15 players at their positions.  Jon-Michael finally took his first receiver in Hopkins, and followed it up with a further solidification of his running backs with Murray.  Phil loaded up on running backs, getting some nice upside himself in Gordon and Ellington.  Matt's picks were probably the least intriguing because of the age of the players, but if Gore can have a Bradshaw-esque impact and Jameis Winston is any good, he could have some nice stability coming out of this round.

Round: 7
(49) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - T.J. Yeldon RB 
(50) Hoosier Daddy - C.J. Spiller RB 
(51) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Greg Olsen TE 
(52) Sabotage The League - Tom Brady QB 
(53) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Matt Ryan QB 
(54) Frank Bored - Andre Johnson WR 
(55) Hometown Mamas - Sammy Watkins WR 
(56) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Martellus Bennett TE 

Round: 8
(57) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Tony Romo QB 
(58) Hometown Mamas - Joique Bell RB 
(59) Frank Bored - Brandon Marshall WR 
(60) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Golden Tate WR 
(61) Sabotage The League - Travis Kelce TE 
(62) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Ben Roethlisberger QB 
(63) Hoosier Daddy - Mike Wallace WR 
(64) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Davante Adams WR 

The most obviously interesting pick in this group was Phil's selection of Tom Brady ahead of Ryan, Romo, Roethlisberger, and Newton.  I just think that he absolutely could have waited on Brady, and barring some kind of F-you season like 2007, I just don't think the upside is there.  The selections of Brady and Ryan in the 7th left me as the only team without a quarterback, but once Emily backed Peyton up with Romo, I had to pull the trigger on Roethlisberger before people started freaking out about backup quarterbacks.  We also saw three tight ends go off the board, and I think Phil did the best in terms of value, considering most experts' positive outlook on Kelce.  As a result of the QB/TE runs, we only saw three running backs go off the board here, and they have some serious injury/workload/Jaguars questions.  I think Matt got a steal in Adams, who I might have taken a round and half earlier if it wouldn't have messed up my bye weeks.  Jon-Michael filled out his receiving corps with some old guys on new teams that should be just fine if not spectacular.

Round: 9
(65) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - LeGarrette Blount RB 
(66) Hoosier Daddy - Ryan Mathews RB 
(67) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Chris Ivory RB 
(68) Sabotage The League - Cam Newton QB 
(69) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Arian Foster RB 
(70) Frank Bored - Giovani Bernard RB 
(71) Hometown Mamas - Nelson Agholor WR 
(72) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Anquan Boldin WR 

Round: 10
(73) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Rashad Jennings RB 
(74) Hometown Mamas - Isaiah Crowell RB 
(75) Frank Bored - Torrey Smith WR 
(76) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Jason Witten TE 
(77) Sabotage The League - Doug Martin RB 
(78) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - DeSean Jackson WR 
(79) Hoosier Daddy - Martavis Bryant WR 
(80) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Allen Robinson WR 

The watershed pick in these rounds is clearly Arian Foster to Kyle, who is all about preparing for the playoff run, and can immediately throw him in the IR slot and pick up some depth.  We also finally got a resolution on how far Desean Jackson would fall (34 slots by the ESPN rankings), while some buzzy young receivers also started finding homes.  There were still some lead backs available, so I liked Phil's pick of Martin at the late end of that range.  I don't know if Jesse took Mathews a little bit too early, but it definitely hurts Emily not to have that tandem in case one of them gets hurt (which is a fairly common scenario).  I think she also missed an opportunity to get a little more razzle-dazzle out of her receivers by taking Boldin over some of the more boom-or-bust guys, but who knows who pans out.  Phil also found his early-season starter in Cam, who could have easily been a team's starter had the draft (or Kelvin Benjamin) fallen differently.

Round: 11
(81) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Jarvis Landry WR 
(82) Hoosier Daddy - Jeremy Maclin WR 
(83) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Ameer Abdullah RB 
(84) Sabotage The League - Bishop Sankey RB 
(85) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Ryan Tannehill QB 
(86) Frank Bored - Seahawks D/ST D/ST 
(87) Hometown Mamas - Alfred Blue RB 
(88) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Steven Hauschka K 

Round: 12
(89) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Browns D/ST D/ST 
(90) Hometown Mamas - Teddy Bridgewater QB 
(91) Frank Bored - Tevin Coleman RB 
(92) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Julius Thomas TE 
(93) Sabotage The League - Larry Fitzgerald WR 
(94) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Charles Johnson WR 
(95) Hoosier Daddy - Jordan Cameron TE 
(96) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Shane Vereen RB 

It's Defense and Kicker Time!  Jon-Michael took the plunge with the Seahawks, and then Emily followed that up with a kicker-defense tandem pick (selecting the Browns just because they play the Jets Week 1 -- sorry Matt).  Kyle took a backup tight end and a backup QB, and Laurie took a solid early-week option in Blue and what I view as an excellent backup QB in Bridgewater.  At this point there's not much to debate because you can mostly take who you want, so that's about it.  I will say that Jesse getting Maclin in the 11th round is probably going to work out awesomely.

Round: 13
(97) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Devonta Freeman RB 
(98) Hoosier Daddy - Roddy White WR 
(99) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Texans D/ST D/ST 
(100) Sabotage The League - Rams D/ST D/ST 
(101) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Tre Mason RB 
(102) Frank Bored - Robert Griffin QB 
(103) Hometown Mamas - Eagles D/ST D/ST 
(104) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Victor Cruz WR 

Round: 14
(105) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Duke Johnson RB 
(106) Hometown Mamas - Michael Floyd WR 
(107) Frank Bored - Stephen Gostkowski K 
(108) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Sam Bradford QB 
(109) Sabotage The League - Brian Quick WR 
(110) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Justin Tucker K 
(111) Hoosier Daddy - Bills D/ST D/ST 
(112) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Jets D/ST D/ST 

For the 13th and 14th round, this section had a lot of intrigue.  I violated my usual tenets by taking both a defense and a kicker, because I was confident that I would get the players I wanted in the last two rounds.  My hopes were dashed when Kyle took Sam Bradford as his third quarterback (after which I yelled "NOOOOOOO!" for about 12 seconds).  Laurie might have been a little aggressive in taking the Eagles' D that high, but I do think they'll be better fantasy-wise than in real life because of their special teams.  It's just that Jesse getting the Bills at the end of the 14th is a better value.  Some really interesting fliers come up in these rounds as well, with Emily taking Victor Cruz and Phil going with Brian Quick (he is the #1 receiver and flashed for a couple weeks last year).  Jon-Michael is going to cry for RGIIIna one more year, it appears.

Round: 15
(113) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Adam Vinatieri K 
(114) Hoosier Daddy - Matt Prater K 
(115) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Matthew Stafford QB 
(116) Sabotage The League - Connor Barth K 
(117) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Cody Parkey K 
(118) Frank Bored - Pierre Garcon WR 
(119) Hometown Mamas - Delanie Walker TE 
(120) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Antonio Gates TE 

Round: 16
(121) I Don't Give an Andrew Luck - Eric Decker WR 
(122) Hometown Mamas - Dan Bailey K 
(123) Frank Bored - Danny Woodhead RB 
(124) DelCo's Side-Arm Stud - Dolphins D/ST D/ST 
(125) Sabotage The League - Jonas Gray RB 
(126) Salt Lake City Big Tymers - Knile Davis RB 
(127) Hoosier Daddy - Brandon LaFell WR 
(128) J - E - T - S JETS JETS JETS - Zach Ertz TE

Props to Matt for waiting until his last pick to take a tight end.  There's some serious potential value there.  We also saw some really potentially productive receivers go off the board in Garcon, Decker, and LaFell.  Emily got a nice stash in Gates, although I'm not sure if she will be able to place him in the IR slot if he's suspended.  I picked up my backup QB and handcuff RB, which is basically what I planned on doing.  I love Kyle's defense pick, because a team whose first six games are Redskins-Jaguars-Bills-Jets-Titans-Texans is a lock to be in the top 5 by the end of that stretch.

And now, for the team reviews!


I was the last team to take a quarterback, but considering I would have had Big Ben fifth among QBs I'm totally fine with that.  I balance that out with a studly trio of starting receivers and an average-at-worst tight end situation.  The running back group leaves something to be desired, but getting a handcuff to Charles and a few guys who are likely to have the lion's share of the workload should be OK to fill the second running back slot (after all, the flex will almost always be a receiver).

QB: 4
RB: 3
WR: 9
TE: 6
D/K: 8

Total: [(20*4) + (30*3) + (30*9) + (10*6) + (5*8)] / 95 = 5.68

I will say that the first thing Phil said after scanning the rosters post-draft was that he liked Emily's team.  I'm not sure how much I agree given some of the odd picks she made throughout the draft, but the final roster looks fine..  She's got some very intriguing running backs behind the horses in Murray and McCoy, but there are serious questions about how much those two will perform this year.  The receiver group is very deep and unlikely to flame out, but doesn't have the high-end studs that some other teams do.  Bennett is another one of those just-fine options at tight end that shouldn't be a problem to just slot in week-to-week, and having Gates as a fallback is intriguing.

QB: 8
RB: 8
WR: 3
TE: 5
D/K: 5

Total: [(20*8) + (30*8) + (30*3) + (10*5) + (5*5)] / 95 = 5.95

This roster is really intriguing, featuring four popular first-and-second-year sleepers in Hyde, Cooper, Matthews, and Bryant (and the latter celebrated by getting himself suspended).  The problem is that that construction brings with it a fair amount of risk, which may force him into some uncomfortable situations.  I  like Mathews as a bench option that could easily end up a viable flex play even without an injury to DeMarco, but unless that happens there is a serious lack of depth at RB.  Having Luck and therefore forgoing a backup QB should allow Jesse to work around some of those issues should they come up.

QB: 9
RB: 3
WR: 7
TE: 3
D/K: 8

Total: [(20*9) + (30*3) + (30*7) + (10*3) + (5*8)] / 95 = 5.79

Jon-Michael definitely has an older roster on average, but he is essentially reaping the benefits of other teams' fear of older players.  I think Lynch, Forte, and Marshall all represent really strong values (I am a little hesitant on Johnson), and I think Murray and Hopkins are fine if not spectacular as an infusion of youth.  I don't love a lot of the bench choices, but Coleman is a nice sleeper pick and Garcon was very undervalued.  And at the end of the day, the only starting position that is a worry at all is WR, but there's plenty of opportunity to maneuver around that.

QB: 7
RB: 8
WR: 3
TE: 9
D/K: 10

Total: [(20*7) + (30*8) + (30*3) + (10*9) + (5*10)] / 95 = 6.42

He tends to make a few picks that zig while others zag, and the selections of Calvin Johnson (above DT, Julio, and Dez), Sam Bradford (as a third quarterback), and Arian Foster (out for a bit), but I think it's going to work out great for him.  First of all, there are reports that Foster may not even miss a month, at which point that pick is a crazy value.  He's got virtually no chance of a bust at QB, and took Tate as a handcuff to Calvin (a fact that was lost on me during the draft).  I think that Forsett is a very viable third running back, but an even better fourth once Foster returns.

QB: 6
RB: 8
WR: 6
TE: 5
D/K: 6

Total: [(20*6) + (30*8) + (30*6) + (10*5) + (5*6)] / 95 = 6.53

She didn't mean to take Brees and Graham again, I swear.  Both players come off down years, but if they can deliver at close to their previous levels, this is a viable team.  She has solid depth if not peak talent at running back, while she will rely on some relatively unproven young receivers in Evans, Watkins, and Agholor.  I think she'll need those guys to blow up to really contend if Brees and Graham don't return to glory, but maybe a repeat of the Eagles' excellent special teams year could provide a boost.

QB: 7
RB: 3
WR: 5
TE: 7
D/K: 7

Total: [(20*7) + (30*3) + (30*5) + (10*7) + (5*7)] / 95 = 5.11

After all the worrying about what to do with the first pick, I'm not sure that Matt did a great job ensuring depth for the first couple weeks behind Bell.  I think he has an awesomely deep receiving corps that will likely offer him some serious trade options, and that helps the running backs merely by basically ensuring he doesn't need one at the flex.  Rodgers is going to be a stud regardless of Nelson's injury, but maybe that and taking a tight end as the last pick of the draft makes this team a little less than stellar.  Also, he picked the Jets defense.  Props.

QB: 9
RB: 3
WR: 7
TE: 3
D/K: 5

Total: [(20*9) + (30*3) + (30*7) + (10*3) + (5*5)] / 95 = 5.63

So first off, I'm not a fan of the Brady and Anderson picks.  We've been over that.  But the receivers are good (if top-heavy), the running backs are really deep (even if he could have done without Sankey and Gray), and the tight end is a possible star.  In order for this team to really contend, Cam needs to stay upright and run enough to cover the first 5 weeks, and the top two receivers need to stay healthy, which makes me nervous.  Oh, and taking a kicker that got cut probably isn't a strong strategy, but whatever.

QB: 4
RB: 7
WR: 6
TE: 6
D/K: 5

Total: [(20*4) + (30*7) + (30*6) + (10*6) + (5*5)] / 95 = 5.84

So, what do we end up with?

1) Kyle (6.53)
2) Jon-Michael (6.42)
3) Emily (5.95)
4) Phil (5.84)
5) Jesse (5.79)
6) Alex (5.68)
7) Matt (5.63)
8) Laurie (5.11)

Considering how close all of these arbitrary scores are, I'd say there's a fair amount of uncertainty to go around.  Why don't we just throw out all of these projections and just have Matt win the regular season and Laurie win the championship, hm?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

California Glove: 6 sporting events in 3 cities in 7 days

I'm going to lead off this post with the following: 
1) Full disclosure: this was my mom's idea
2) Since the readership of this blog is limited, many of you will have heard much of this already.

Deal with it.

Every year, a group of guys from work go to a different NFL city to go to a game and do some outdoors / touristy things in the surrounding area for a long weekend.  In previous years, that led them to places like Dallas, New Orleans, Chicago, and Denver.  This year, the choice was San Francisco, notable because of the weather, the quality NFL team, and the other activities that would present themselves in that area -- in particular, other sporting events.  The Bay Area sports two baseball teams, two NFL teams, and a handful of college football teams, all of whom play at around the same time in the year.  As it turned out, the weekend of September 12th featured a Giants series, a Stanford football game, and the home opener for the new 49ers stadium.  Costly, but awesome.

As it turns out, I have a friend who lives in LA who I had not seen in a while, and it seemed like a trip to California would be a good opportunity to make a pit stop a short flight away to visit her.  However, since the trip to San Fran was from Thursday to Monday, I would have to force her to take multiple days off work mid-week to roll out the red carpet for my awesomeness.  That didn't seem very nice, so I thought about what I could do to burn a couple days in the middle of the week so I could get to LA by Friday and put less strain on her schedule.

At that point, it became obvious that this was a superb opportunity to not only do some touristy things in the area, but also take a big bite out of the list of MLB stadiums I need to visit.  I had already gone to 8 (PHI, PIT, BOS, WAS, BAL, ATL, CHC, MIA), and had recently decided that I had a life goal to see all 30 teams at home (I wouldn't bother with re-visiting if they built a new stadium, unless it was super-special-awesome).  As there are a total of 4 teams in California (after the Giants) and four days between Monday and Thursday, this was a prime opportunity.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, the schedule wasn't totally kind, but I was able to find games Tuesday in Oakland, Wednesday in San Diego, and Thursday in Anaheim (as it turned out, the following Monday would have been a Dodgers game, but we live and learn).  That ended up with a total of 6 professional / big-time-collegiate games live in the span of 7 days.  In the spirit of the trip,  my parents gave me the book "I Don't Care If We Never Get Back" about two recent graduates who went to games at all 30 baseball stadiums in 30 days.  I read the first couple chapters before leaving for the trip, but I promised myself that I'd find a way to finish it before I returned, in some kind of poetic fashion.  Anyway, here is the story of my substantially-less-stressful edition of that trip concept.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Frameshmania 2014 Draft Review!

Hey, look up there!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  No, it's Josh Gordon getting high.

Too soon?

Anyway, for the nth year in a row, I have to do a review of the draft results for my family fantasy football league, Frameshmania.  This year is the first year we've had the whole cast of characters repeat, and that should give us some opportunities to forge rivalries and develop meaningful matchup statistics for me to feed you at the end of the season.  

OK, for the format: you'll see everyone's team, I'll rate each team's positions (NOT ranked, just a number to compare teams -- there could be repeats, and no one is rated below a 4 on anything).  Then I'll take an overall rank based on a composite of those ratings.

Let's go to work. (Apologies in advance for weird formatting, copying from Excel is a bummer).

QBColin Kaepernick
RBEddie Lacy
RBMontee Ball
RB/WRRoddy White
WRDemaryius Thomas
WRRandall Cobb
TERob Gronkowski
D/STBengals D/ST
KSteven Hauschka
BenchVictor Cruz
BenchRobert Griffin III
BenchTrent Richardson
BenchLamar Miller
BenchFred Jackson
BenchCarlos Hyde
BenchJordan Reed
Those who were in the room at the time know that all I could say after about the 8th round was “I hate my team”.  I took Kaep and RGIII in the middle rounds when guys like Brady and Wilson fell until much later, I don’t have any good players behind Lacy and Ball, and even my stud-receiver collection doesn’t stand up that well against other groups when you really look at it.  The team relies on a lot of guys who have injury or consistency concerns, and that just doesn’t inspire much confidence.

QB Matt Ryan
RB Zac Stacy
RB Giovani Bernard
RB/WR C.J. Spiller
WR Calvin Johnson
WR Pierre Garcon
TE Jimmy Graham
D/ST 49ers D/ST
K Mason Crosby
Bench Percy Harvin
Bench Shane Vereen
Bench Marques Colston
Bench Pierre Thomas
Bench Danny Woodhead
Bench Riley Cooper
Bench LeGarrette Blount
QB 3
RB 5
WR 9
TE 10
With the 7th pick, as most of the league zigged with RBs, Laurie was forced to zag with Megatron and Graham as her top picks, which obviously loaded up those positions, but her need to fill up on running backs caused her to wait a little too long at QB.  She ended up as one of only two teams with a single quarterback, and Matt Ryan just doesn’t have the stability or upside to be left on an island like that in an 8-team league.  She has some depth at RB, but I don’t feel confident enough in the Stacy/Bernard/Spiller trio to rank the group highly.

QB Peyton Manning
RB Matt Forte
RB Andre Ellington
RB/WR Rashad Jennings
WR Andre Johnson
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
TE Julius Thomas
D/ST Broncos D/ST
K Adam Vinatieri
Bench T.Y. Hilton
Bench Eric Decker
Bench Knowshon Moreno
Bench Cecil Shorts
Bench Devonta Freeman
Bench Justin Hunter
Bench Jay Cutler
QB 9
RB 7
WR 6
TE 9
Phil noted during the draft that his mostly-nonexistent plan was uprooted when Peyton fell to him in the middle of the second round, and his slight reach for Julius Thomas soon after prevented him from having top-level RB / WR starters.  I like the Ellington / Jennings picks behind Forte, though, considering draft position, so the roster as a whole doesn’t look as bare as one might think from a team that took QB and TE early.  Teams that take those positions early are likely to look worse than they perform, though, so I have this squad pretty “up there” and poised for a repeat championship.

QB Cam Newton
RB Arian Foster
RB Doug Martin
RB/WR Alfred Morris
WR Jordy Nelson
WR DeSean Jackson
TE Kyle Rudolph
D/ST Panthers D/ST
K Justin Tucker
Bench Jeremy Maclin
Bench Chris Johnson
Bench Michael Floyd
Bench Bishop Sankey
Bench Shonn Greene
Bench Sammy Watkins
Bench Khiry Robinson
QB 4
RB 8
WR 5
TE 5
Jon-Michael didn’t draft his own team and finished in last place last year, and he was rewarded with the last pick this year.  He loaded up on running backs early to compensate for his missing the top guys, netting three top-15 guys at the position.  Leaving Cam as his only quarterback is a risk considering the injury and receiving corps concerns, so we’ll see how that goes, but there’s a big chance Jon-Michael looks really smart or really dumb as a result.  I thought he was a steal this year until he had the rib injury, and now I’m not so sure.  I think there’s some upside at receiver but not much in terms of proven performers , so I could be wrong on my rank there.

QB Aaron Rodgers
RB Marshawn Lynch
RB Le'Veon Bell
RB/WR Emmanuel Sanders
WR Antonio Brown
WR Vincent Jackson
TE Dennis Pitta
D/ST Seahawks D/ST
K Dan Bailey
Bench Nick Foles
Bench Ryan Mathews
Bench Ray Rice
Bench Wes Welker
Bench Kendall Wright
Bench Brandin Cooks
Bench Terrance West
QB 10
RB 8
WR 6
TE 5
Kyle didn’t follow his usual grab-dem-RBs strategy, instead grabbing A-Rod as the first QB off the board, and also taking two solid receivers.  However, having Mathews and Rice on the bench is pretty solid in this climate, so there isn’t too dramatic a drop-off when the byes hit.  I initially wasn’t a huge fan of the receivers, but having the Sanders/Welker combo with the upside of Cooks is pretty solid, so I moved him up to a tie with Jesse.

QB Matthew Stafford
RB Jamaal Charles
RB DeMarco Murray
RB/WR Reggie Bush
WR Brandon Marshall
WR Larry Fitzgerald
TE Jason Witten
D/ST Cardinals D/ST
K Phil Dawson
Bench Russell Wilson
Bench Toby Gerhart
Bench Reggie Wayne
Bench Julian Edelman
Bench Darren Sproles
Bench Terrance Williams
Bench Anquan Boldin
QB 7
RB 10
WR 6
TE 6
Jesse got maybe the steal of the draft in Russell Wilson in the last few rounds, which is great insurance for the potentially-erratic Stafford.  I’m obviously a fan of the RB group headed by Charles and Murray but with Bush and Gerhart as solid depth.  This roster is chock full of aging possession receivers (I count 4, plus one moderately-aged one in Edelman), so I just don’t see much upside in that group.  I think this roster is pretty bust-proof, but might lack the “oomph” to get over that 7-6 hump that Jesse hasn’t summited.

QB Drew Brees
RB Adrian Peterson
RB Ben Tate
RB/WR Frank Gore
WR Julio Jones
WR Alshon Jeffery
TE Greg Olsen
D/ST Rams D/ST
K Stephen Gostkowski
Bench Keenan Allen
Bench Torrey Smith
Bench Steven Jackson
Bench Mike Wallace
Bench Golden Tate
Bench Jeremy Hill
Bench Philip Rivers
QB 9
RB 6
WR 10
TE 5

Matt had his SIXTH CONSECUTIVE top-2 pick in this league, and made it count.  He benefited from Alshon Jeffery falling a bit, and that gave him a ridiculous set of five receivers where the worst is the #1 receiver in what should be a vastly improved offense.  The running backs behind Peterson have some serious question marks, but, oh wait, is that Drew Brees?  Crap.  I hate liking this team.

QB Andrew Luck
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
RB/WR Michael Crabtree
WR Dez Bryant
WR A.J. Green
TE Jordan Cameron
D/ST Chiefs D/ST
K Nick Novak
Bench Vernon Davis
Bench Joique Bell
Bench Stevan Ridley
Bench Tom Brady
Bench DeAngelo Williams
Bench DeAndre Hopkins
Bench Tony Romo
QB 7
RB 5
WR 8
TE 7
Emily went a little out of her way to grab her team’s namesake in Andrew Luck, but picking up Brady AND Romo late was a great (if overzealous) performance.  Her top 3 receivers are awesome but a lack of depth could be a problem, and speaking of a lack of depth, that RB group behind McCoy is very suspect.  She also grabbed two top-7 tight ends, which should serve her pretty well considering both players’ inconsistency last year.