Fantasy Football 2006

Last night I had an online fantasy football draft. It was a 12 team league, and by all accounts this year should be a running back heavy year. Just about every fantasy mock draft has running backs going 5th to 10th. In my draft, the first four picks were Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexandar, LT2, and Tiki Barber. So with the 5th pick, I decide to take… Peyton Manning. Earlier in the day Aaron Schatz (yes THAT Aaron Schatz) said in a BP Chat that taking Manning in the 4-5-6 range was justifiable “if all touchdowns are equal.” So with the knowledge that passing touchdowns are only 4 points in our league (compared to 6 for running or receiving), why did I do it?

First is that I felt the RB position was deep this year. Our league only starts 1 RB & 1 RB/WR, so I can get away with a single back if needed. I wasn’t in a position to get any of the big three, so I was left to choose from the second tier of the Rudi Johnson/Ronnie Brown caliber. In this league, 13 of the first 15 picks were RBs, and I didn’t feel that any of these guys gave me that much of an advantage over the other teams. While a few of these guys might be significant upgrades over the others, finding which ones could be tricky. In other words, these guys are so close together how I could I pick the one that will outperform the others?

My second line of reasoning is that the QB position isn’t that deep. After Peyton, Brady, & Hasselbeck, there is a clear drop in QB worth. Carson Palmer would have made it a ‘big 4’ if not for his tenuous return from injury. Not only is Culpepper returning from a similar injury, but he’s also coming off his worst season & now has a new surrounding cast. That’s too many question marks for my taste. While McNabb might be the best of the second tier guys, he’s had 2 major injuries in the last 4 seasons. I just wasn’t willing to take the injury risk on him. After the second tier, there is tier “Just For Men” (Bledsoe, Warner, Green, Farve, McNair), tier “Baby Mozart” (Michael Vick, Chris Simms, Vince Young, Leftwich, Leinart) injury tier — “The Sequel” (Brees, Rothlisberger, Pennington) and tier “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” (Brooks, Kitna, Carr, Volek, Lossman, Grossman, Alex Smith).

Finally I feel that my style of fantasy football play allows me to make up for draft day mistakes. I’m usually the fastest draw at free agency, and can grab a backup running back that’s been promoted due to injury or coach’s discretion.

Continuing with my strategy, I grabbed Larry Fitzgerald in the second round with the 20th pick. Steve Smith & Chad Johnson were taken before Fitzgerald, but I had Larry as my top rated WR anyway. By my 3rd round pick 17 other RBs had been taken, but I was still able to get Willie Parker (29th) and waited the long way back to me to get Frank Gore (44th) in the 4th. I’m really high on Gore. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry last year, is DVOA friendly, has sole occupancy of the starting RB job, and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry in preseason. That and one definition of his name is “murder, bloodshed, violence, etc.

To make up for my RB deficiency, I tried to grab guys that would improve their worth during the season. One of Lundy & Morency should win the Houston job & if Kubiak can emulate Denver’s blocking scheme one of them could hit 1000 yards. I also nabbed Mike Anderson in the hopes that Baltimore realizes that Jamal Lewis is history, and they need a veteran back on the season.

In any case here is what I ended up with. Feel free to comment:

Peyton Manning	IND	1	QB
L. Fitzgerald	ARI	2	WR
Willie Parker	PIT	3	RB
Frank Gore	SF	4	RB
Muhsin Muhammad	CHI	5	WR
Nate Burleson	SEA	6	WR
Chris Cooley	WAS	7	TE
Mike Anderson	BAL	8	RB
Michael Vick	ATL	9	QB
Wali Lundy	HOU	10	RB
Ben Watson	NE	11	TE
Roddy White	ATL	12	WR
Vernand Morency	HOU	13	RB
Braylon Edwards	CLE	14	WR
Michael Jenkins	ATL	15	WR
Chad Pennington	NYJ	16	QB
Lions Defense	DET	17	D
Jeff Wilkins	STL	18	K
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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

21 thoughts to “Fantasy Football 2006”

  1. I was always a huge Frank Gore fan. I thought he was better than McGahee before blowing out both knees. The two things that would give me pause about Gore are: 1. both knees are reconstructed (iirc); 2. SF may be abandoning the running game early in many of their contests.

    But then, what the hell do I know? I’ve never even played fantasy football. :)

  2. although knickerblogger i am more than happy anonymously debasing your team without an explaination i really think that gore could have been had several rounds later. muhammad is on a very poor passing team and had medicore numbers last year on the bears, fitzgerald’s team now has a running game so his numbers should drop, anderson’s success was a byproduct of the denver system, the key here is that running backs attain more fantasy points than wide recievers so that second round pick has got to be a back. Gores too risky to start.

  3. I like some of your stratagies and actually had some of the same thoughts when I drafted my team. But I do believe that you made a couple of missteps:
    I like Fitzgerald, I had him as a top 10 WR but he is a little risky sharing catches with an equally talented partner(Boldin)especially because they should be running more.
    I do not believe that any of your other recievers are even good #3 recievers much less #2 recievers.
    Parker is good value in the 3rd and I really like both Gore and Lundy unfortunatly both Gore and Parker are really #2 quality backs and Lundy is probably only a good #3.
    I think while drafting Manning in the 1st and Fitzgerald in the 2nd are both decent value picks it is usually unwise to pass on RB’s with both of your first two picks.
    I hope I am wrong but I see your team as a middle of the road team unless you can find a solid #2 reciever and one of your RB’s becomes a stud. Good Luck.

    My fantasy team is:

    Steven Jackson STL 1 RB
    Tory Holt STL 2 WR
    Antonio Gates SD 3 TE
    Donald Driver GB 4 WR
    Frank Gore SF 5 RB
    Jake Plummer DEN 6 QB
    Wali Lundy HOU 7 RB
    Bills BUF 8 DEF
    Matt Jones JAC 9 WR
    Dolphins MIA 10 DEF
    Jay Feely NYG 11 K
    Laveranues Coles NYJ 12 WR
    Jeb Putzier HOU 13 TE
    David Carr HOU 14 QB

    I feel really good about my team but I reached for Plummer (Broncos Fan) and the computer auto picked the Bills defense (instead of Rod Smith) when I lost my connection. Other than that I think I am really solid. Gates was a bit of a reach but he is so much better than every other TE he is worth it IMO. If anyone would like to comment that would be great.

  4. re: Gore. Trust me he was going. FoxSports had Gore at 50, I took him at 44. The RB taken just after him was Addai. (We were going back & forth on the two). I think it was a good value pick considering about 25 RBs were taken before him.

    re: Muhammad. Bad passing team yes, but without the absolutely pitiful Kyle Orton throwing the ball this year, you’d have to imagine those numbers going up. Also, I still have both Atlanta WR, so one of them should be able to fill in admirably at WR2.

    re: Not having a top RB. Last year Parker had 1200 yds & 4 TDs. Bettis had 9 TD. The current reports are that Staley only has a 50/50 chance of even making the team. Let’s say half of those goalline TDs go to Parker to give him 1200 yds & 8TDs. That’s about what you’d get from Cadillac (drafted 10th), Stephen Jackson (11th), Lamont Jordan (12th).

    So the optomist in me says I can have a decent RB1, with the best QB & a top 5 WR. I have a ton of depth & will be able to make a couple of trades when some of the bench guys develop.

    The pessimist in me says I should have grabbed Rudi Johnson, taken Hasselbeck in the 3rd, and why the hell didn’t I take a defense & kicker before the end of the draft?

  5. Ben – I like your team. That’s kinda what I would have ended up with had I taken a RB first. Hopefully with Martz out of STL, Jackson will see more work. Gates is fine for the 3rd, but I just couldn’t take a TE early (been burned too many times). I don’t think you reached for Plummer at all. I’m a bit dubious on your WR, especially with the way GB has been playing. Are any ATL WRs on the wire?

    I think we both agree that Gore should have a good year & Lundy is a nice late round flier. You think Houston can have some success with Denver’s blocking scheme?

  6. I actually had Jackson as my 5th ranked player overall. I think he is going to have a heck of a season. About my receivers, Holt was the #3 reciever on my board and has not had less than 1300 yards since his rookie season and has averaged more than 10 TDs the last three seasons. Though they will be running more I do not expect his numbers to take much of a hit because with Bruce’s decline he will be more of a focus than he has ever been. Driver has had over 1200 yards the last two seasons and over 1000 3 of the last 4. I expect another 1200 yard season because Farve will throw alot and someone has got to catch the ball, even if they suck again, and he is by far their best receiver. Also Matt Jones had a promising season last year and both he and Coles are #1 receivers on their respective teams so they are not bad backups IMO.
    About Atlanta they have not had a 1000 yard receiver since Vick became the QB and I do not expect that to change. Besides I think Lelie will be their #1 by midseason.
    I do think Houston will be a good running team. I have a lot of faith in Kubiak. I am a Denver fan and I have seen some fairly underwelming players get 1000 yards.

  7. Although handcuffing the (weak) Houston duo late was a sound move, not picking a RB in the first 2 rounds is probably going to kill you. And your depth at that position is going to make any injury greatly magnified.

    In a nutshell, you absolutely should have taken a RB instead of Manning in the 1st round and at the very least, taken the best RB still available in round 2 instead of Fitzgerald (I’m guessing MaGahee?). I’m also assuming that the WR’s going in the 3rd (and even the 4th) round weren’t all that much below Fitz in the grand scheme. You can win a league while being weak at the QB position but I’ve never seen somebody win a league while being weak at RB.

  8. teddd: Next RBs taken after Fitzgerald (my 2nd pick): Corey Dillon, Julius Jones, Willie Parker. And I got Parker. I really didn’t miss out on much waiting until the 3rd round.

    The WRs gone between my 2nd & 3rd pick:
    Holt, Harrison, Owens, R.Moss, Chambers.

    So I could have had Fitzgerald/Parker or Jones/Chambers.

    As for RBs that were selected before my 2nd pick:
    Larry Johnson
    Shaun Alexander
    LaDainian Tomlinson
    Tiki Barber
    Clinton Portis
    Edgerrin James
    Rudi Johnson
    Cadillac Williams
    Steven Jackson
    LaMont Jordan
    Domanick Davis
    Ronnie Brown
    Brian Westbrook
    Reggie Bush
    Willis McGahee

  9. It looks like you were in a bind in the 2nd round because the RB’s went off the board so fast between those 2 picks. In reality, you were picking in one of the 2 worst spots this year (4 or 5) but I still think that Manning was a huge reach at #5. The Fitz pick in the 2nd round didn’t hurt as much because you still got 2 of the next tier of RB’s in Parker & Gore. I wonder who might have been still available at RB in rounds 5/6 because adding RB depth was probably a very good idea (at that stage) when it was obviously your weakest point (eg: F.Taylor, J.Addai, M.Bell, T.Jones, D.Rhodes, D.McAllister, A.Green, L.Maroney). I’m not sold on M.Anderson as better than an RB5 solution myself.

  10. teddd: I agree with being in a bind early. Going into the draft I knew my spot & that I would be hurting going each way. So I actually planned this out.

    And you’re right that I should have taken a few more solid RBs for depth. Addai was gone the pick after I took Gore, or I would have taken him the round after. After that I didn’t have any other RB sleepers until the Texas Two, so I stayed away.

    So anyway, the RBs taken rounds 5-11:

    Ahman Green
    Thomas Jones
    Deuce McAllister
    Chris Brown
    Cedric Benson
    Dominic Rhodes
    Mike Bell
    Fred Taylor
    DeAngelo Williams
    Laurence Maroney
    Ron Dayne
    Kevan Barlow
    Mike Anderson
    Brandon Jacobs
    T.J. Duckett
    Duce Staley
    LenDale White
    Cedric Houston

  11. I just traded Gore & Vick for R. Brown & Elam. There goes the RB debate. Starting lineup now:

    Peyton Manning IND 1 QB
    L. Fitzgerald ARI 2 WR
    Ronnie Brown MIA 1 RB
    Willie Parker PIT 3 RB
    Muhsin Muhammad CHI 5 WR
    Chris Cooley WAS 7 TE

  12. I agree with some of the others that it might have been good to go RB in the first or 2nd round. But, I think you adequately addressed the issue with the trade.

  13. Not a football topic…but is anyone worried about Stephon Marbury. I guess we all don’t have a lot to look forward to this season – especially since all our starting point guard is doing this offseason revolves around his new “cheap” shoe line. Jesus man – I haven’t heard one thing about Steph or any of the other knicks working out/playing together (with the exception of Nate and Crawford playing at Rucker park). No curry progress reports of losing weight and looking good…no jerome james stories of him looking to make an impression after his bum season. I’m frustrated because I hear about a lot of other guys working out together and nada about our guys…is this a sign of things to come???

  14. “I just traded Gore & Vick for R. Brown & Elam. There goes the RB debate. Starting lineup now:”

    While that trade has yet to work out in the short run, I think that it will prove to be a sound move by the end of the season.

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