Tuesday, January 20, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue III

Welcome to our 20th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on FantasyDrafthelp.com. 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), Volume I, Issue IV (September 27, 2008), Volume I, Issue V (October 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue VI (October 11, 2008), Volume I, Issue VII (October 18, 2008), Volume I, Issue VIII (October 25, 2008), Volume I, Issue IX (November 1, 2008), Volume I, Issue X (November 8, 2008), Volume I, Issue XI (November 15, 2008), Volume I, Issue XII (November 21, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIII (November 30, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIV (December 7, 2008), Volume I, Issue XV (December 14, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVI (December 20, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVII (December 28, 2008), Volume II, Issue I (January 3, 2009), Volume II, Issue II (January 11, 2009)

In this week's edition:
^ Lessons of Fantasy Football ‘08
^ Unveiling of our “Ultimate Stat” for NASCAR ‘09
^ Fantasy Tennis Draft Recap

NOTE: Our advice, as it does on our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER weekly program (Wednesdays, 9:00-9:30 PM EST as part of THE FDH LOUNGE on SportsTalkNetwork.com), is based on avoiding the obvious and trying to be of actual help to you.

Lessons of Fantasy Football ‘08

We brought you The FDH New York Bureau early Top 20 for fantasy football 2009 a few weeks ago and subsequently our 30 honorable mention players. This week, we wish to leverage some lessons from the season that has just passed as we look ahead to the future.

^ The platoon back trend, which we first began discussing in great detail in 2005 (the same season as the excellent article in The Sporting News about the same dynamic), is stronger than ever. The “Thunder and Lightning” combos now used by most teams with a power back augmenting a lead speed back – or a speed back augmenting a lead power back – are becoming a fixed part of the game that will not be easily dislodged. Even two likely first round backs in the 2009 NFL Draft, Knowshon Moreno and Chris Wells, are envisioned by many draft analysts to merely be lead backs as opposed to backs with a dominant role. The Matt Fortes and Frank Gores of the world should go no lower than the late first round next year – because there are so few of them at this moment in history.

^ Viva la scatback! While few teams will put their tiny backs in a dominant role like the Eagles have with Brian Westbrook, two super-speedy rookies motivated coaches all over the league to try to find “lethal space weapons.” Chris Johnson and Steve Slaton both reemphasized that size is not necessarily an impediment to becoming a #1 fantasy RB. In a copycat league, this will have ramifications at least in the near future.

^ Larry Fitzgerald is now unstoppable! The New York Bureau had the foresight to proclaim him the #1 WR in fantasy weeks ago, but the playoffs are providing the stage for the blossoming of a truly rare talent. We’ve seen what he can do even without #2 WR Anquan Boldin – which is fortunate, because he’ll be sulking in a different-colored uniform next year – and for a player whose psyche is very important to his game, the notion that he now understands his capabilities is frightening indeed.

^ Chaos after Drew Brees at QB. Brees put up one of the great statistical seasons ever at the passer position, in a year when he had tremendous flux around him due to a rash of injuries, so it’s anything but overly optimistic to state that an even better ’09 might be in store. As such, he’s mighty valuable, because the folks behind him all have questions attached to them. What’s up with Tony Romo and will he still have T.O. next year? How long can Kurt Warner keep it going and will the loss of Boldin hurt his numbers significantly? As the Indy passing game becomes “Reggie Wayne and then everyone else” to a greater degree, will Peyton Manning’s numbers pay a price? What can be expected of Tom Brady with all of the physical questions? How will Jay Cutler respond to a new offensive system? Can Philip Rivers handle the pressure without L.T. (potentially) as a cushion for the offense? Will Aaron Rodgers continue to show progress? Brees is the only QB without questions on the scale of the ones we’ve listed here, and scarcity (in this case, sure-thing quarterbacks) leads to great value.

Unveiling of our “Ultimate Stat” for NASCAR ‘09

Our fantasy NASCAR draft guide will be released in early February. The centerpiece of that guide, as it is with any of our draft publications, is our draft board with all of the key information contained within – and one of those key pieces of information is our Ultimate Quantitative Stat (UQB).

What is the UQB, you might ask? Well, we’ll borrow an explanation from the “We’re Unique” page on FantasyDrafthelp.com.

“We utilize cutting-edge statistical methods in pursuit of fantasy sports value. Specifically, we use a statistic for baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, drag racing and NASCAR based on the concept of standard deviation from the mean. The linked explanation of the concept in Wikipedia is a bit complicated, but we include it to show the intellectual foundation of our work. What does it mean in simpler terms? Imagine, if you will, a spectrum from left to right, with zero in the middle of the spectrum. Numbers to the left of zero are negative, while numbers to the right of zero are positive. For each commonly utilized fantasy statistical category in a given sport (i.e. home runs in baseball), we calculate this standard deviation from the mean number, and then add up the numbers from all of the categories (making necessary adjustment) to find a composite score. In so doing, we measure production on a per-at bat or per-innings pitched basis in baseball or per-game or per-race basis in the other sports and NASCAR. This statistic allows you to measure exactly how much some players help you in some categories (i.e. Adam Dunn’s home runs or Ichiro’s batting average) and exactly how much some players hurt you in some categories (i.e. Adam Dunn’s batting average or Ichiro’s home runs). While nothing that happens the previous season is a completely reliable predictor for the next season, this statistic offers the most accurate baseline possible in terms of measuring productivity.”

For NASCAR, we measure exactly how much better or worse each driver rates in terms of their performance on each type of track. We weight the ratings accordingly; for example, the fact that 2/3 of the races are held on intermediate-length tracks gives significant heft to drivers who fare well at that length.

Our forthcoming draft guide will have our draft board and all of the varied elements that are a part of it, but in the meantime, you may peruse our Top 20 UQB rankings for NASCAR ’09.

1. Carl Edwards (147)
2. Jimmie Johnson (145)
3. Kyle Busch (137)
4. Jeff Burton (135)
5. Kevin Harvick (126)
6. Greg Biffle (122)
7. Clint Bowyer (111)
8. Mark Martin (107)
9. Jeff Gordon (99)
10. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (98)
11. Tony Stewart (93)
12. David Ragan (85)
13. Denny Hamlin (81)
14. Matt Kenseth (72)
15. Kurt Busch (67)
16. Kasey Kahne (60)
17. Martin Truex, Jr. (55)
18T. Bobby Labonte (53)
18T. Brian Vickers (53)
20. Paul Menard (48)

Fantasy Tennis Draft Recap

Year in and year out, we bring you coverage of not only the major fantasy sports, but also a wide array of niche sports. As such, we bring you here our newly-posted recap of our fourth annual fantasy tennis draft.
On our January 14, 2009 FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER program on SportsTalkNetwork.com, we held our fourth annual tennis mock draft.

^ Ideally, a league should be configured using standard serpentine rules. Previously, we had utilized "The Federer Rule," which forced the owner who drafted Roger Federer to forfeit picks in order to even out Federer's dominance. With a disappointing 2008 season (by his standards) in the books, however, this rule is not necessary in 2009.
^ A league should contain five owners selecting seven players apiece, with each team consisting of three men, three women and one extra "wild card" pick of either gender.
^ Tournaments utilized are the Masters events on the men's tour and the Premier events on the women's tour, in addition to the Grand Slam events. All points for the Grand Slam events are doubled -- and here is how points are awarded in the standard 10 tournaments on each tour: 3 points for making the quarterfinals, an additional 5 points for making the semifinals, an additional 7 points for making the finals and and additional 10 points for winning the tournament.

DRAFT BOARD (points listed were earned on the pro tours in 2008)
First Tier
1. Rafael Nadal (6675)
2. Roger Federer (5305)
3. Novak Dkokovic (5295)
Second Tier
4. Serena Williams (3866)
5. Ana Ivanovic (3457)
6. Andy Murray (3720)
7. Venus Williams (3272)
8. Jelena Jankovic (4710)
Third Tier
9. Dinara Safina (3817)
10. Elena Dementieva (3663)
11. Maria Sharapova (2515)
Fourth Tier
12. Andy Roddick (1970)
13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2050)
14. Nikolay Davydenko (2715)
15. Vera Zvonareva (2952)
16. Juan Martin Del Potro (1945)
17. David Nalbandian (1725)
18. Gilles Simon (1980)
19. Svetlana Kuznetsova (2726)
Fifth Tier
20. James Blake (1775)
21. Fernando Verdasco (1415)
22. Agnieszka Radwanska (2286)
23. Fernando Gonzalez (1420)
24. Nadia Petrova (1976)
25. David Ferrer (1695)
Sixth Tier
26. Amelie Mauresmo (1081)
27. Lindsay Davenport (775)
28. Daniela Hantuchova (1192)
29. Richard Gasquet (1160)
30. Mardy Fish (1165)
31. Nicole Vaidisova (715)
32. Stanislas Wawrinka (1510)
33. Gael Monfils (1475)
34. Tommy Robredo (1195)
35. Tomas Berdych (1215)

Participants drafted in the following order:
1. Pat Davis, tennis columnist for Most Valuable Network
2. Rick Morris, FDH Managing Partner
3. Jason Jones, FDH Senior Editor
4. Mike Vili, FDH niche sports contributor
5. Jon Adams, FDH niche sports contributor

Here were the round-by-round results (and here is a link to Pat's analysis of the draft)
ROUND ONE -- Pat: Andy Murray, Rick: Rafael Nadal, Jason: Roger Federer, Mike: Novak Dkokovic, Jon: Ana Ivanovic
ROUND TWO -- Jon: Serena Williams, Mike: Jelena Jankovic, Jason: Venus Williams, Rick: Dinara Safina, Pat: Elena Dementieva
ROUND THREE -- Pat: Gilles Simon, Rick: Andy Roddick, Jason: Maria Sharapova, Mike: Juan Martin Del Potro, Jon: David Nalbandian
ROUND FOUR -- Jon: Vera Zvonareva, Mike: Nikolay Davydenko, Jason: James Blake, Rick: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Pat: Agnieszka Radwanska
ROUND FIVE -- Pat: Fernando Verdasco, Rick: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jason: Nadia Petrova, Mike: Richard Gasquet, Jon: Nicole Vaidisova
ROUND SIX -- Jon: Fernando Gonzalez, Mike: Daniela Hantuchova, Jason: Mardy Fish, Rick: David Ferrer, Pat: Amelie Mauresmo
ROUND SEVEN -- Pat: Gael Monfils, Rick: Patty Schnyder, Jason: Tommy Robredo, Mike: Anna Chakvetadze, Jon: Tomas Berdych


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