Saturday, September 27, 2008

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume I, Issue IV

Welcome to our fourth-ever edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on In case you missed it, here are the previous issues:

^ Volume I, Issue I (September 4, 2008)
^ Volume I, Issue II (September 13, 2008)
^ Volume I, Issue III (September 19, 2008)

In this week's edition:

^ NFL Week 4 game-by-game
^ Our Top 5 NFL waiver wire recommendations for NFL Week 4, as unveiled on this past week.
^ In hoops and other sports, balance is the key
^ Leveraging fantasy strategy from a non-fantasy source

As always, we urge to you subscribe to this newsletter via the available feed options on Blogger. It has come to our attention, however, that there do not appear to be means to subscribe to this via any aggregate news readers at the moment; if that is true, it is because it is being published on the older Blogger platform. Our sister publication in cyberspace, the all-subjects periodical The FDH Lounge Multimedia Magazine, is on the newer Blogger platform and can be subscribed to in that manner. As such, for the forseeable future, we will publish a link to this newsletter on The Lounge each week so that those of you who subscribe via aggregate news readers can have the content show up in the most convenient manner.

NFL Week 4

NOTE: Our advice, as it does on our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER weekly program (Wednesdays, 7-9 PM EDT on, is based on helping you determine which of your marginal starters are worth a play this week. Hopefully, your initial draft/auction efforts were successful, because frankly, “playing the matchups” is far from an exact science regardless of what you will be told by other advisory services claiming to possess a crystal ball. But our weekly game notes are designed to try to help you maximize the potential of your situation. We will post this preface to the notes every week to remind you of the context of our advice. Also, each of our game previews links to the page for that game on, with statistical information and a video preview of each game.


(Byes: Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, New England, N.Y. Giants, Seattle)

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers 1:00 p.m. RB Turner is the only really solid option here; WR White is acceptable, but if you have a comparable player, he is likely to have a better option than this. Stewart and Rosario are the most solid options of the marginal ones for Carolina.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. Don’t start DA under any circumstances as he will be on a short leash. Now, he may well have another monstrous statistical game against the Bengals as he did the first time last year, but the odds of him finishing the game are not acceptable. Both starting RBs, Lewis and Perry, are only worth a start based on the pathetic nature of the defenses they will be facing. For that matter, the Bengals are all-in against this Browns D.

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 p.m. In this divisional matchup of offenses struggling to find themselves, only RBs Slaton and Taylor are worth starting among the marginal players (and we don’t consider Jones-Drew a marginal player, but rather one that you reflexively start each week).

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 p.m. All-in for the Broncos’ borderline players, including RB Young, who is slowly emerging in more of a dominant role. RB Johnson showed last week that he is still among the players who you really dare not bench lest he explode. Bowe is likely to get some looks against a pass defense that can be exploited – plus, the Chiefs should be down big so he’ll benefit from garbage time.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints 1:00 p.m. The O’Sullivan/Johnson battery looks really good in this circumstance. For the Saints, the WR situation is a real dilemma – with Shockey joining Colston on the injured list, somebody’s got to go off, but there are no high-percentage players to recommend. Patten is the best of a weak bunch.

Arizona Cardinals at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m. A few QBs have become every-week starters until future notice this year and Warner is one of them. Favre is not, but he is part of our all-in recommendation on marginal starters for both teams.

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 p.m. The Packers are also an all-in recommendation, while the Bucs are not. Don’t be a week behind the curve in jumping on Griese, who won’t duplicate the monster game against the Bears. RB Graham and WR Bryant are both good bets, however, as Galloway’s lingering physical issues will cause these players to be counted on for more.

Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans 1:00 p.m. This game is the inverse of Cards-Jets: all-out with the marginal players here.

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders 4:05 p.m. Like Warner, Rivers is also now an every-week QB recommendation until further notice. For that matter, the Chargers are an all-in recommendation, although LT should be monitored up until game time. For the Raiders, it’s all-out except for Run DMC as the Al Davis drama continues to suck the life out of this team.

Buffalo Bills at St. Louis Rams 4:05 p.m. All-in for the Bills, all-out for the Rams. RB Jackson and WR Holt still aren’t subject to being pulled from your lineup under any circumstance, but each could conceivably get there this year. Don’t make any assumptions about Green being an upgrade over Bulger at QB, because he probably won’t be.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys 4:15 p.m. This is another exceedingly simple game to evaluate: all-in except Randle El for the Skins.

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears 8:15 p.m. Don’t count on Buckhalter even in the likely event Westbrook gets scratched. WR Brown joins Jackson as somebody who should be in your lineup this week and Forte stands out as the only worthy Bear in this matchup.

Monday night

Baltimore at Pittsburgh 8:30 p.m. Even with Fast Willie on the pine this week, Mendenhall is a bad bet vs. the Raven D. Ward and Holmes look good for the Yinzers, while the entire Raven O is a horrible match against the only other good defense in the division.

FDH Top 5 Waiver-Wire Recommendations for NFL Week 4

These players were all owned in fewer than 40% of leagues on last week. As always, none of these players should be counted on to serve as a magic bullet if you had a bad draft or auction and any services promising to help magically restore a bad team at this point are, frankly, fraudulent.

1. Antonio Bryant – This guy doesn’t give you guaranteed production – Britney Spears’ teenage videos think this guy’s a tease. But he has undeniable talent that manifested itself in college and fleetingly, at every stop along the way in his pro career. Jon Gruden doesn’t think “retread” is a dirty word – call it his Raider heritage – and having seen Bryant blow up yesterday, he’s going to keep feeding him opportunities. If he catches on for real this time, this could be the waiver-wire pickup of the year. If he doesn’t, hey, you’re probably just cutting a bum to make way for him.

2. Rian Lindell – He was owned in only 17% of leagues coming into Week 3. The Bills offense is good but not great, which could set up a nice fantasy season for Lindell since they’re strong enough to have a number of long drives but not strong enough to finish most of them. If he ends up being a Top 5 kicker this year, it won’t be the biggest surprise we see.

3. Miles Austin – One great performance does not a career make, but he’s showing the potential to be a matchup problem for defenses who are already stretched thin by what might well be the league’s best offense right now. Not being under the radar anymore and defenses having an extra DB to shut you down are two different things entirely. Can he perform at the level of a 1999 Az Hakim or 2004 Brandon Stokely in terms of a third wide receiver? We shall see.

4. Le’Ron McClain – Like many other Willis McGahee owners, I watched in horror as the Ravens’ fullback stole some goal-line touchdowns from my player. Paul Belfi’s mocking laughter did not add to my good mood, let me assure you. And there may be much more vulturing in the future, at least until defenses prove they can shut him down in short-yardage situations.

5. Steve Smith – No, it’s the “other” Steve Smith we recommend since the Panther flanker isn’t available anywhere anymore. We’ve noted on the fantasy show the past few Wednesdays that #2 wide receiver is the only real hole in the Giants offense in terms of fantasy production and this excellent possession receiver is stepping into that role nicely.

Honorable Mention: Brian Griese had a huge day against a great defense – probably his high-water mark for the year, but he’s a fine backup at the very least


Brandon Lloyd, who is the #1 receiver in Chicago right now. Albeit, that’s kind of like being the best investment bank on Wall Street these days, but you take what you can get.

In hoops and other sports, balance is the key

On the fantasy show Wednesday night, we spent our first real chunk of time on basketball this fall. We tied in our discussions to what we had already gone over with hockey in previous weeks: namely, the need to compile your team with supremely balanced players whenever possible.

Dany Heatley was our poster child for balance this year in hockey with excellent stats in every major hockey category – including penalty minutes, which is rare for a top star. As we indicated, there are no Heatleys in the NBA; players are going to have defined strengths and weaknesses by position as you will never find a guard with elite rebounding stats and you will not find any frontcourt players who are tops in assists – well, except for Lebron, but he’s a unique specimen in so many regards.

What you want, though, are players who are capable of doing as well as they possibly can at a position’s non-traditional points of strength. A guard with pretty good rebounding numbers, like last year’s leader in Jason Kidd with 7.5, helps in that regard. And a forward like Lebron with 7.2 APG last year really helps you to build balance as well. Players who are super-studly in more limited areas do have some value as well, but in more limited instances. One such example is Marcus Camby, whose whopping 13.1 RPG and 3.6 BPG more than negate his 9.1 PPG.

We’ll certainly be breaking down the stars of the hardwood much more as we lead up to our mock draft on the program on October 8 and our unveiling shortly thereafter of FANTASY HOOPS DRAFTOLOGY 2008, a joint production with our pals at Sportsology.

Leveraging fantasy strategy from a non-fantasy source

By Rick Morris

We want to thank our friend and “creative consultant” The FDH New York Bureau for hooking us up with ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark for a November interview for The FDH Lounge. It’s going to be a real treat to talk baseball past and present with one of the finest diamond scribes going today.

While our conversation is bound to drift into the 2008 season, which will have ended shortly before we speak, the focus of our discussion will be his great book THE STARK TRUTH: THE MOST OVERRATED & UNDERRATED PLAYERS IN BASEBALL HISTORY. The book shines the light the top five overrated and underrated at each position in baseball throughout history.

Now, we shouldn’t be giving away any specifics as to where players are slotted on the lists, lest we tick off Mr. Stark and the publishing house. It’s not cool to give away those kinds of details here, but we need to put a few things out there so that you can understand how the book translates to fantasy in an odd kind of way.

Players such as Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Rogers Hornsby find themselves on these lists, which leads to the question of how any of them could conceivably be considered overrated or underrated? Aren’t they all too good to be considered overrated and too well-known to be underrated?

The answer to both questions is yes, which leads to why you have to apply Stark’s definitions of overrated and underrated – definitions very similar to how we define overvalued and undervalued players, because they relate exactly according to value.

Stark takes great pains to paint the context that he is using when he says “overrated” or “underrated.” “Overrated” means “good or great, but not at the level we commonly regard him.” “Underrated” means “good or great, but even better than we commonly regard him.”

On a very similar basis, in our draft guides for different sports, we have “overvalued” and “undervalued” lists by position based on how a player rates on our draft board versus our “experts’ draft board,” which is a compilation of many other prominent draft boards in the industry. Hence, we may end up calling a great player like Ichiro overvalued, but that just means that we disagree with the conventional wisdom about how high he should be slotted on your draft board.

Sometimes, it can be a challenge to communicate with people using these words. I remember a few years back on an STN program exploding with anger when an emailer accused me of referring to Mark Prior as “underrated” and he had a part of the email that read something like “How can you call him underrated? We all know who he is. Do you think we’re all stupid?” I bellowed into the mic (and later apologized for my manner in doing so) that I didn’t call him underrated, I called him undervalued (which was my mistake, since he got hurt again that year) and that there was a substantive difference between the word I used and the word the emailer thought he heard.

Stark’s book reminds us of the usefulness of evaluating players in the context of whether or not they are better than the public generally believes that they are – a lesson as well-suited to the fantasy world as it is to the baseball historical scene that serves as his backdrop.


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