We hear endless predictions on each years rookie class’ fantasy football production. There’s endless hyperbole, and this year will be no different, however this year’s positional breakdown can be determined by tiers. The QB class is two deep (top 2 overall picks), after that it’s all developmental, long-term projects (such as Bryce Petty, Sean Mannion, Garrett Grayson & Brett Hundley). The RB group is one of the better in recent history with solid top, immediate starting caliber, talent (M. Gordon, TJ Yeldon & T Gurley) plus lots of strong committee (RB3/Flex) talent with upside to be a primary backs (Abdullah, T Coleman, J. Allen, D. Cobb, J. Ayaji, and Johnson (ARI & CLEV) and another intriguing group who have near term upside due to situation or talent (J. Robinson, J. Langford, M. Jones & M. Davis). It’s as deep a group as I can remember. The WR group has a lot of talent as well, likely a step or two below last year’s group (statistically the best rookie class ever) but don’t sleep on both the top tier (A. Cooper, K. White, D. Parker, D. Green-Beckham, N. Agholor) or the long second group who all have potential to be top producers at the NFL level (D. Funchess, B. Permian, J. Strong, D. Smith, P. Dorsett among others). The TE class is weak, there’s a single name, Maxx Williams, to note but even he’s not a sure thing in a crowded Ravens group.
The NFL forever looked the other way on everything that didn't promote the game or detracted from their perceived value and/or protecting "the shield" as the current commissioner loves to say. Until this offseason the league focused on drugs and alcohol violations, they didn't seem to care much about or spend any of its capital on more severe issues such as domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. That all changed with a security camera video from an Atlantic City casino where current/suspended running back, Ray Rice, was caught fighting with his financee, and most damning, showing him knock her out. Thanks to this incident, the NFL now appears ready to make domestic violence a serious offense, we as the paying public though needs to show support that this is the right move and they must consistently apply the rules to all cases (spousal, sexual assault & child violence) indiscriminately.
That's the important part, indiscriminately, because the National Football League has always chosen the easiest path to protecting their own, active, players at every turn, at the expense of the real victims. This isn't conjecture, this is pure fact, look no further than all pro defensive end, Greg Hardy, as an example, he beat his girlfriend so bad she was admitted to a hospital. He was charged and then convicted by a judge, however since he's "denying" and "appealing" he remains an active participant, playing under the franchise tag ($13.1 million guaranteed) for the Carolina Panthers. Ray Rice, who had no record but a very public display of violence, was given a 2 game suspension following full admission of guilt and post criminal proceedings settled, but now has been released by Baltimore and is "suspended indefinitely".
The most recent and damning example of the NFL not taking a firm stance on domestic violence is the news and indictment of running back great, Adrian Peterson, for child abuse. The photos and detailed account should be read to understand the gravity of the situation. The fact remains though when you look at the photos, read the police report and Peterson's own words, that this is clearly child abuse. Peterson's attorney is setting up the stage to argue that this "disclipline" is no different than what he received as a child, but that's deflecting the real issue, which is that b/c Peterson's dad abused him, then it's fine for him to be abused too?
Why I care is because I lived through domestic violence and child abuse. As a young kid, my biological father would sometimes lose his temper and violently take it out on my mother (sometimes in front of me) and when I fell into his path, his ire would be directed at me. I was fortunate to have a mother with rational sense and a safety net to fall back on (she finally moved out and away from the violence when I was 7). But I saw how much that impacted her and myself, I've spent time in therapy, I fight the same temper urges with my own kids. And what hurts me most is when somebody demonstrates a faux "moral compass" essentially only places a window dressing on their effort. Like Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods who curated their "brands" as pristine, moral high ground. I'm fine if somebody wants to do that but they better live up to it for face the wrath of the public. I love the national football league but my passion for and interest in are waning in this current era b/c of their hypocrisy. In the past the NFL looked the other way but they also didn't pretend to care or promote "moral compass" values. That all changed with this current commissioner, Roger Goodell.
This current NFL commissioner has come in with a self proclaimed "moral compass" to "protect the shield" but with such random priorities that it's left a bad taste for an increasing majority of Americans. The Atlantic wrote a short but great contextual piece on Goodell's upbringing that helps explain his approach, the short explanation is he's on a witch hunt to "clean the game up" but in doing so has lost a sense of justice. Maybe the new drug policy (that eliminates his dictator role AND finally reclassifies recreational drug use less harshly to focus on true performance enhancing drugs) will help. However he's stepped on one landmine with the Ray Rice & domestic violence issue, and he's about to step on another with Adrian Peterson's child abuse case. My request is that this commissioner live up to his self proclaimed mandate and take a stand. Adrian Peterson should miss the rest of this year or be suspended the 6 games while he follows through on a court mandated diversion program to demonstrate the seriousness of his crime. Anything less than immediate punishment diminishes it's importance and further demonstrates that the NFL will subjectively apply rules when it best suits them solely.
I finally had the opportunity to sit down and start my preliminary fantasy football research this year (latest by at least 2 months; I know I'm an addict :). I had some interesting observations when I looked at the values by position. The short answer is there is a LOT of parity in pricing and there's far less discrepancy in pricing, or more simply, there's fewer "deals" on contracts than just a few years ago, and presumably much less than a decade ago.
Since our quasi Commish is busy trying to further his professional career and can't seem to focus on what's important in the world, here is Team Kitty's quick prediction for rookie picks at this year's draft. I haven't spent any time recently analyzing team's rosters (is google doc updated?) so this list has more to do with my perceived values of the rookies than the respective teams' needs.
The NFL has evolved into a passing league, run centric offensive philosophies have slowly died due to the advent of short passing game strategies and matchup systems setup to exploit personnel. This has led to a proliferation of 3 wide receiver sets, 1 back (or no back) sets, and a focus on moving the chains while taking “chunks” of yardage versus the three yards and a cloud of dust of decades past.
First off it's important to celebrate the 2013 Jankster Cup champion, East Bay Funk. The Funk, under Vic's leadership, has perennially been one of the top teams, competitive year to year in one of the toughest divisions. There are many of us who feel like we deserve a title but none arguably deserved it more and I'm happy to call them 2013 Jankster Cup Champions.
I apologize now for not putting in the time/effort to write this up properly, there's simply no excuse other than this week has been crazy and with my team in the crapper, I just couldn't muster the energy. But it's not from a lack of interest or love, so I'm here in a limited form to give you all my take.
There's seemingly a lot less drama this year on both the playoff and non-playoff tourney's. Can anybody recall a more parity laden year though? Seriously we have 2 deadbeat teams that completely are a wash, three others that neutered their squads but still remain competitive and then 11 others that are all within 3 games of each other. Maybe I just contradicted myself with those two comments, yes, maybe so, who knows.
Due to some unusually heavy travel and personal schedule, this week's previews are going to be abbreviated. Though given the fact only 9 teams are still in the running for the 8 playoff spots with 2 weeks to go means this week's games are less meaningful than any other week 12 in the PAFFL's history (and speak to a need to tweak the "Flex" playoff spots a bit).
The ethos of this league is to constantly iterate in the quest of the ultimate game. To have a competitive, fair balance that gives everybody a chance but requires a deliberate strategy and attention to succeed. It's our history, it's what spawned and quickly killed the Double DS, and birthed contracts, the rookie tourney, sixteen teams and deals year round. Here are some ideas I suggest to keep with our tradition and improve the game play for '14.
We're at the end of the regular season, the intra-divisional games that will determine who is fit for the money round and who will be looking to '14 for glory. The sad truth this year though is nearly all the playoff spots have been determined, and all that's left to root for are division & conference champions and the worse four placement squads. This week in particular saw another team wave the white flag, the Beavercats have had a streak of five conference championship appearances (including 4 Jankster Cup match ups and 2 titles) that will be broken. This will be the first season in the history of the PAFFL that the Beavercats owner will finish a year under .500. their squad just wasn't up to the task this year even while featuring one of the best starting QB tandems. Anyhow here are the game previews.
PA Short Bus acquires WR Roddy White and K Greg Zuerlein from BINGO for $4 in '14, WR's Brian Hartline ($2, '14) and Brandon Lafell ($11, '13). Solid deal for both parties, Short Bus improves it's depth and ceiling with White while BINGO picks up solid chain movers with lower ceilers and small price tags in Hartline & Lafell.
Blak Jesus acquires WR Marques Colston from Beavercats for Engel Shiz '14 rookie pick. Classic trade deadline deal, a tier 2 rookie pick (Engel Shiz is in the playoffs) for a quality starting receiver.
It's officially crunch time, there's a handful of teams that took an important step to locking up a playoff spot last week and a few that took a step back from the playoffs. With the aggressive blockbuster trades this year, it feels that all but the final two playoff spots will be sewed up by the trade deadline next week and it'll be a race for rookie tourney positioning and/or "flex" playoffs spots. So this kicks off the stretch run, the last week of inter-conference match ups and the final test before the trade deadline. I implore folks to set their strongest potential lineups, go out with pride and your head held high, nearly everybody is still alive and anything can happen but regardless you owe it to your fellow owners. Here are the previews…
We're down to the final two weeks of inter conference play and the jockeying for haves and have nots is in full swing. With the trade deadline two weeks away, these next two weeks will define who is truly a seller and who is a buyer. This week also features some high quality match ups, so here they are.
We're hitting that critical point in the season where the wheat is separating from the chaff, only this year teams are self-selecting to be this year's chaff and others loading up to be premium wheat. At this rate we may end up with eight clear playoff squads, most of which have made moves to establish dominant 2013 lineups and eight squads battling for the worst four in an effort to select Teddy Bridgewater, the likely #1 overall 2014 NFL draft selection. Philosophically it actually makes sense, if your team isn't lining up the way it needs to make a strong run, why not put your hand in the hat at the lottery pick(s) that is Bridgewater & Mariotta, guys who can lead your franchise for the next 3+ years. So thanks to major deals the past week, the composition of the league has shifted, so here's our week eight previews.
Here's the week 7 game recaps, another solid stanza of the 2012 season is in the books and we're firmly past the regular season's midpoint. Good luck to everybody as we head into the thick of the playoff races.
This is easily the most unorthodox deals in the twenty-six year history of the PAFFL. Engel Shiz acquire two future hall of famers and another hall of fame talent in QB Tom Brady, RB Chris Johnson ($83, '13*) and TE Antonio Gates from Naughty Thoughts for TE Ed Dickson & $75 in '14 cap space.
This was a back door salary dump, a classic trade move that on paper may look equitable but in the long run will be very one sided. Monkey Fust acquires WR Aaron Dobson ($17, '15) and QB Brandon Weeden ($55, '15) from Short Bus for WR Larry Fitzgerald.