But Kickers have Feelings too! (the fantasy relevance for kickers and defenses)

Fantasy football is a fickle friend. Where last weeks studs can be this weeks duds, players can suffer season ending injuries, and there’s no such thing, as a sure thing. But there are two tried and true rules that I ALWAYS live by. At the beginning of the season I heavily suggested taking a defense and kicker in the last two rounds of your fantasy draft. I am now suggesting as the season continues, to only carry one kicker and one defense. Don’t worry, I’m going to explain why this makes sense. We’ll also take a look at why waiting on a defense and kicker was a good draft strategy.

The reason I lump kickers and defenses into the same category is that they have similar value. But, what makes up a players value? Basically three things: Points they produce, scarcity of position, and how many roles they can fill for your team: basic supply and demand. (foreshadowing for next article) The scarcity of position and role fulfillment of both kickers and defenses is equal. There are 32 teams and each team starts one defense and one kicker.  On standard fantasy rosters kickers and defenses can only occupy one position. So you have 32 possible players to fill one role.  The takeaway from this is there are a lot of available players to fill a small part of your roster. For comparison, each team starts one running back for a total of 32 RB “starters”. Every now and then there are teams that produce two fantasy relevant running backs so we’ll bump that number up to 45. But standard rosters require two running backs, and most will allow you to play a running back in your flex position as well, which is up to three roles. So while the number of startable players is slightly higher for running backs, the demand is up to three times higher. This makes running backs much more valuable.

So that’s two points covered: Supply and Demand. But the other point, which is literally points, is more important. Lets take a look at the top 10 kickers.

  1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE
  2. Dan Bailey, DAL
  3. Cody Parkey, PHI
  4. Adam Vinatieri, IND
  5. Phil Dawson, SF
  6. Nick Novak, SD
  7. Justin Tucker, BAL
  8. Chandler Catanzaro, ARI
  9. Matt Bryant, ATL
  10. Graham Gano, CAR

Of those top ten there is only a 3 point difference in their game averages. The highest being 12.2 and the lowest 8.8. The worst ranked kicker in the league Sebastian Janikowski, OAK has an average of 4 points per game. That’s only about a four point difference from the top 10. Let’s say thats a total 7 point spread. Now, let’s go back to our comparison with the running back. These are the top 10 running backs:

  1. Demarco Murray, DAL
  2. Matt Forte, CHI
  3. Arian Foster, HOU
  4. Marshawn Lynch, SEA
  5. Le’Veon Bell, PIT
  6. Giovani Bernard, CIN
  7. Darren Sproles, PHI
  8. Ahmad Bradshaw, IND
  9. Justin Forsett, BAL
  10. Antone Smith, ATL

Now, between these top 10 there is a 9.9 point spread in game averages. If you look at the 45th ranked running back, Chris Johnson NYJ, his average is 5.7. This is 4.7 points lower than the 10th ranked back. If you add those totals its 14.6. This is a much larger point discrepancy.

So what does this all mean? What it breaks down to is that not only is the point discrepancy between a “starting” kicker and a kicker you can pick up off the waiver wire very small., but there is also a low demand. It makes more sense to carry one kicker and use the bench spot for a position with more value, such as a running back. Your goal should always be to have as much value on your team as possible. This also translates to your draft. Wasting a pick on a player that you can replace easily with the waiver wire sabotages the strength of your team.
The same rules apply to defenses. The Seattle Seahawks defense was drafted on average in the 8th round. They are currently ranked 20th. Between the top ranked defense and the last (32nd) ranked defense there is only a 12 point difference in average points per game. But even the Eagles (ranked first) have had a game in which they scored only one point. Defenses have a much bigger swing in game to game point production than the average position. For this reason, it’s not smart to blow a 8th round pick on a defense when you could get the likes of Steve Smith Sr. (ranked 4th) or Rob Gronkowski (6th). There are some good defenses out there, but any defense is playable against the right offense. Target these defenses, which will change on a week to week basis based on opponent.

In conclusion ONE defense, ONE kicker. Those type of players are not shoes. You do not need a different pair for every occasion. They are more like socks; wear ‘em, wash ‘em, repeat. Good luck gals!


2014 Fantasy Football: Week 5 PPR Studs and Duds

Another post in the books at http://www.yourfantasyfootballcoach.com My weekly PPR picks will be a reoccurring article! Check it out there.

Your Fantasy Football Coach

Fantasy Football Female Writers Image courtesy of Ale Ale
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It’s not just any PPR player that can catch my eye. There is a particular sort of player I go for. Anyone would be happy to be going steady with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown or Brandon Marshall. They are the go-to-guys. The hot, popular guys hanging out in the parking lot after school. But in the words of Shania Twain, “That don’t impress me much”. I go for more of a diamond in the rough sort of player. A player perhaps overlooked by others that has potential. They are the guys that make my heart go pitter patter. Guys that I daydream about before my morning coffee. These are my PPR Heartthrobs.


Hot and Heavy

Kelvin Benjamin has solidified himself as the go to guy for the Carolina Panthers, with his impressive catches game after game…

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Waiver Wire Watchdog

Fantasy football is full of highs and lows, and were already experiencing the affects of injury on your fantasy football game. So the importance of the waiver wire is definitely not to be forgotten. Wondering which guys will be break out stars off the waiver wire? These are some guys that I personally have my eye on. Check it out!

2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Spotting Greatness

I’ll be posting early in the week each week about players that I plan on targeting on the waiver wire. Consider me your personal, Waiver Wire Watchdog. Sound off on people you have your eye on as well and we can debate the highs and lows of both.

And don’t forget to subscribe to http://www.yourfantasyfootballcoach.com

Players, Players everywhere, and not a one to draft…..

  It’s draft day! You are prepared. You are ready. You have done your research. You have your cheat sheets in hand. You are going to rock this draft! UNTIL EVERYONE STARTS TAKING EVERY PLAYER THAT YOU WANT, RIGHT BEFORE YOU DRAFT THEM. I have been there, done that. (It happens to the best of us) So I have compiled a list of some later round draft picks that I think have value to replace some of those near misses.

Running Backs:      Frank Gore (Round 4/5)

                               Trent Richardson (Round 5/6)

                               Ray Rice (Round 6)

                               Chris Johnson (Round 6/7)

                               Shane Vereen (Round 7)

                               Maurice Jones Drew (Round 8)

                               Fred Jackson (Round 10)

                               Danny Woodhead (Round 10/11)

  Frank Gore, Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones Drew are all at the top of their depth charts. I think any starting running back past round 6 has inherent value. Vereen, Jackson, and Woodhead, all proven backs, are RB2’s playing behind shaky starters. When it comes to finding value with low risk, these guys are it.

Wide Receivers:    DeSean Jackson (Round 4/5)

                              Wes Welker (Round 5/6)

                              Torrey Smith (Round 6/7)

                              Emmanuel Sanders (Round 7/8)

                              Erik Decker (Round 8/9)

                              Mike Wallace (Round 9)

                              Cecil Shorts (Round 10/11)

                              Greg Jennings (Round 11/12)

   Again, almost all of the receivers are WR1’s for their respective team and at the rounds they are going have great value. Welker and Sanders are not WR1’s but will see their fair share of work. Based on preseason performance, and updates  Sanders has developed a strong rapport with QB Peyton Manning. Welkers concussion woes only add value for Sanders. However if Welker can stay healthy he still has value. Erik Decker and Mike Wallace are sneaky pick ups. These are affirmed wide receivers learning the mechanics of new teams. Either could have a break out season and are worth the gamble at their average draft position. Cecil Shorts as a starter at round 10? Sure he doesn’t have the greatest QB but who else are they going to throw it to? This list represents some safer draftees with a lot of upside.

Tight Ends:           Jordan Cameron (Round 7)

                             Greg Olsen (Round 8)

                             Kyle Rudolph (Round 10)

                             Martellus Bennett (Round 11)

                             Charles Clay (Round 12)

  Minus Jordan Cameron, who I simply like as a tight end, the other tight ends listed seemingly have a solid harmony with their QB’s, and with the lack of disparity after Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, and Rob Gronkowski, this is what makes them standout players. My favorite by far is Martellus Bennett. Although surround by talent on all sides, I predict he has a break out season. I am particularly impressed by his yards after the catch, and with Cutler spreading the ball around, he’s sure to have the ball in his hands. In comparison to other tight ends going around that round, drafting Bennett is the safer bet.

Quarterbacks:      Andrew Luck (Round 4)

                            Tom Brady (Round 5/6)

                            Tony Romo (Round 9)

                            Jay Cutler (Round 10)

  These are the average draft positions as reported by various sports websites. However, in mock drafts I have noticed that quarterbacks are going MUCH sooner rather than later. So don’t be afraid to reach around earlier for a quarterback you like, especially after the 4th or 5th round. If you end up with Romo or Cutler in the 9th or 10th round count your lucky stars and the points these two studs will pull in for you throughout the season.

  Remember guys; MOCK DRAFTS, MOCK DRAFTS, MOCK DRAFTS! There is no special formula that will guarantee you a fantasy football championship; No single player that will make or break your fantasy season. Want to know the secret to life, the universe, and everything? In the words of the great Matthew Berry, “at a fundamental level, fantasy football is about minimizing risk and giving yourself the best odds to win on a weekly basis. Everything leads back to that. Everything.”