Sunday, August 30, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXIV

Welcome to our 50th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

In this week's edition:

^ Evaluating Matt Berry's latest advice
^ Recapping our college football team draft

Evaluating Matt Berry's latest advice

FDH has been fairly critical of Matt Berry over time (if you listen hard enough, you can hear a solitary, frustrated voice from the Bristol campus yelling out, "More than a little critical, fellas!"). And true, some of it has been in over-the-top ways, which we have admitted in retrospect in ways that lesser men would not. We're stand-up guys like that.

Having said that, our animus has stemmed from the ways that the man with the biggest megaphone in our industry has represented all of us -- a responsibility which, like it or not, he has. Our recent industry summit, at which ESPN was not represented because of concerns over our concerns with them, focused in part on the responsibility we have to our content consumers not to embrace our inner say-anything Skip Baylesses at the expense of credible commentary.

So, with the publication of this year's Berry Manifesto for the football season, it's worth a look to see if the level of concern we have raised in the past is justified.

Shockingly, it is not (at least for this moment in time).

First of all, there's none of this "don't take Terrell Owens no matter what" gaga polluting his analysis this year. That's a big step forward in and of itself. And the pragmatism he shows in advising that a big-time WR could well be a first-round pick is a far cry from the "Take a RB no matter how picked-over they may be" advice of years past. Now, he still says, "Don't take a kicker until the last round," which is still a bit of know-nothingism since it disregards our second-favorite word during a draft -- "context," with "value" of course being Number 1, and since Berry actually uses "value" in his column, he probably owes us something! But the kicker advice is not terribly consequential, fortunately.

On balance, his advice is rich in context and research, areas for which we have found fault in the past when he has been more sound-byte oriented in our opinion. Were there any points that made us ponder anything we have not thought of before? No -- and we're honest enough to admit that some pundits in the industry deliver that punch in our estimation. Is his advice on a par with what you will find in our FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide? To quote Chad Ocho, "Child please!" But that's kind of setting an unfair benchmark for the poor guy, don't you think?

But even this mildly qualified praise is light years ahead of what we've written previously. It certainly gives the lie to the bunker mentality at "Bristol Fantasy Central" that those who criticize an approach are by definition ankle-biting haters -- but then again, we knew that take was without credibility anyway. We were prepared to be more generous when circumstances dictated -- and when Matt Berry called our bluff by stepping up his game this year, we proved it. Did our words and those of others critical of a more "show biz" approach to fantasy sports at the Worldwide Leader cause a reevaluation of approach and rededication? If so, we applaud him, but at any rate, we're just grateful that the man most identified with our industry is upholding his responsibility to put us collectively in a credible light.

Recapping our college football team draft

Our fourth annual FDH college football team draft took place on our August 26 episode of THE FDH LOUNGE (you can scroll down to that date on the program's home page and click the link to listen to the episode).

It's a fun way to add some additional competitive interest to your college football viewing during the course of the season. Our panel was comprised of the following participants:

1 The FDH New York Bureau Steve Cirvello
2 host/producer TJ Zuppe
3 FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones
4 Googling Atlee Hammaker proprietor Platinum Smalls
5 FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris

We drafted in standard serpentine fashion.

1 Steve: Florida
3 Jason: Texas
4 Smalls: Ohio State
5 Rick: Oklahoma

1 Rick: Alabama
2 Smalls: LSU
3 Jason: Penn State
4 TJ: Boise State
5 Steve: Oklahoma State

1 Steve: Mississippi
2 TJ: Georgia
3 Jason: Virginia Tech
4 Smalls: California
5 Rick: Georgia Tech

1 Rick: Oregon
2 Smalls: Florida State
3 Jason: TCU
4 TJ: Texas Tech
5 Steve: Kansas

1 Steve: BYU
2 TJ: Utah
3 Jason: North Carolina
4 Smalls: Michigan State
5 Rick: Iowa

1 Rick: Notre Dame
2 Smalls: Missouri
3 Jason: West Virginia
4 TJ: Nebraska
5 Steve: Rutgers

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXIII

Welcome to our 49th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

This week's edition is completely devoted to the updates you will find in Version II of our free FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide, the only resource you need to dominate your league this year.

With training camps now more than half over, we have had reason to update our original assessments from August 1 of 15 players due to a variety of reasons. Some players have had an official change in status for the 2009 season (hello, Brett Favre, goodbye Plaxico Burress), some have had nagging injuries, some have made a better or worse impression than anticipated so far. Now, with players being moved up and moved down, a great many other players have moved perhaps one or two spots just as a side effect; that's not what we're talking about here. These players are the ones who have moved at least four spots up or down -- or who had a change of status altogether in terms of making the draft board. Whatever the reasons, our guide is being updated with these 15 changes on our draft board:

Brett Favre: 27 to 18

Julius Jones 33 to 37
Rashad Jennings 44 to 61
Jerome Harrison 50 to 63
Shonne Greene 59 to 49
LeSean McCoy 58 to 50
Glenn Coffee 60 to 55
Ladell Betts UNRANKED to 57
Fred Taylor UNRANKED to 60
James Davis UNRANKED to 62
Andre Brown 61 to UNRANKED
Garrett Wolfe 62 to UNRANKED

Antonio Bryant 22 to 28
Michael Crabtree 29 to 47
Plaxico Burress 59 to UNRANKED

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 College Football Team Draft

On the 70th edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT) on August 19, we at bring you our fourth annual college football team draft. It’s a fun way to mix traditional fantasy sports with straight college football, as we will each compile a stable of teams that will be competing for us. Here’s our suggested league guidelines, which we will be following for the show.

Take 6 owners and conduct a 7-round standard draft. Points will be assigned at four intervals: when the September 27 Associated Press poll is released, when the October 25 Associated Press poll is released, when the December 6 Associated Press poll is released and when the final BCS poll is released after the national championship game. The September 27 poll accounts for 20% of the total score (with the exception of the bonus points, which are mentioned below), the October 25 poll accounts for 20% of the total score, the December 6 poll accounts for 20% of the total score and the final BCS poll accounts for 40% of the total score.

For the first three polls, scoring is as follows: 1st place (50 points), 2nd place (45 points), 3rd place (43 points), 4th place (42 points), 5th place (41 points), 6th place (38 points), 7th place (37 points), 8th place (36 points), 9th place (35 points), 10th place (34 points), 11th place (30 points), 12th place (29 points), 13th place (28 points), 14th place (27 points), 15th place (26 points), 16th place (22 points), 17th place (21 points), 18th place (20 points), 19th place (19 points), 20th place (18 points), 21st place (13 points), 22nd place (12 points), 23rd place (11 points), 24th place (10 points), 25th place (9 points). Points are doubled in the final poll, since it accounts for twice the point total of each of the three previous ones.

Additional bonuses are awarded for the following accomplishments: 25 points for winning the BCS Title Game, 10 points for earning a spot in the BCS Title Game, 12 points for winning a BCS Bowl Game, 6 points for earning a spot in a BCS Bowl Game, 5 points for winning a non-BCS bowl game, 10 points for having the Heisman Trophy winner on one of your teams.

With the guidelines having now been established, here is the FDH draft board for this event and one that could help any of you who are reading this in your own college football team drafts. The first number represents the rank that each team earned on our “Experts Draft Board,” which was compiled from an average of eight prominent preseason polls. The second number, in parentheses, is the sum total of how each team scored in the poll based on the above scoring system. With 50 points representing first place in a poll, Florida's perfect score of 400 means that they topped the polls in every one of the ones we tallied. Please note, however, that the pollsters were weighing in on their present perceptions of where these teams rank and our draft board is based on a series of predictions in terms of where these teams will end up at the close of the season. For example, an SEC team, who plays in the toughest conference in the country, may be penalized for that on a draft board like this.

1 (400)
2 (358)
3 (345)
4 (331)
5 (307)
Virginia Tech
6 (297)
Ohio State
7 (283)
10 (269)
Georgia Tech
12 (225)
Boise State
14 (219)
Penn State
11 (242)
9 (272)
Oklahoma State
8 (273)
13 (224)
17 (156)
15 (208)
19 (114)
16 (176)
20T (100)
Florida State
18 (149)
20T (100)
Notre Dame
22 (91)
Brigham Young
25 (75)
Oregon State
23 (79)
Texas Tech
24 (65)
North Carolina
26 (74)
East Carolina
31 (9)
27 (65)
28 (31)
29T (10)
South Florida
29T (10)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXII

Welcome to our 48th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

Before we go any further, we would be remiss in failing to remind you about our brand new and free FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide, the only resource you need to dominate your league this year.

This week's newsletter is completely given over to a recap of two of the greatest words to any fantasy sports player: mock draft. On the 69th edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT), THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER took over the entire program as we held our sixth annual fantasy football mock draft. A “who’s who” from the Network, FDH and allied entities took part in the drafting in this order:

1 FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris
2 FDH Entertainment Editor Samantha Jones
3 STN show host Greg Kozarik
4 The FDH New York Bureau Steve Cirvello
5 Outside The Boxscore proprietor Ben Chew
6 STN show host/producer Pouyan Karbassi
7 STN President Paul Belfi
8 STN show host/producer Rob Paternite
9 FDH Lounge Dignitary Dave Adams
10 FDH Lounge host/producer Ryan Scott
11 FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones
12 STN “Intern DJ”

Guidelines were as follows:
^ Standard 12-team serpentine draft with 2 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 RB/WR flex, 1 TE, 1 D/ST, 1 K.
^ Points as follows: 6 points per rushing/receiving TD, 4 points per passing TD, 1 point per every 10 yards rushing/receiving, 1 point per every 25 yards passing, 1 point per kicking PAT, 3 points per FG (with 1 additional point at 45 yards, 2 additional points at 50 yards and 3 additional points at 55 yards), 1 point per 2-point PAT by pass, 2 points per 2-point PAT by rushing or receiving, 6 points per special teams TD, 1 point per fumble recovery, 2 points per INT.

Here’s how the event unfolded (full show audio here):

1 Rick: Adrian Peterson
2 Samantha: Michael Turner
3 Greg: Brian Westbrook
4 Steve: Matt Forte
5 Ben: Drew Brees
6 Pouyan: Tom Brady
7 Paul: Steven Jackson
8 Rob: LaDainian Tomlinson
9 Dave: Maurice Jones-Drew
10 Ryan: DeAngelo Williams
11 Jason: Larry Fitzgerald
12 DJ: Randy Moss

NOTES: There weren’t any huge surprises, although Greg taking Westbrook third overall comes closest. Pouyan is obviously counting on Brady picking up where he left off in 2007. Steven Jackson was a really good value for Paul.

1 DJ: Steve Slaton
2 Jason: Andre Johnson
3 Ryan: Calvin Johnson
4 Dave: Peyton Manning
5 Rob: Chris Johnson
6 Paul: Philip Rivers
7 Pouyan: Frank Gore
8 Ben: Marion Barber
9 Steve: Reggie Wayne
10 Greg: Brandon Jacobs
11 Samantha: Clinton Portis
12 Rick: Marques Colston

NOTES: DJ had a nice couple of rounds to open the draft, but this was his most questionable pick. Jason went back-to-back on WR big guns with Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Dave got a sweet value in Peyton Manning, who many are sleeping on this year. Paul’s Philip Rivers selection really dumbfounded the room, coming as high as it did.

1 Rick: Kurt Warner
2 Samantha: Steve Smith
3 Greg: Greg Jennings
4 Steve: Ryan Grant
5 Ben: Terrell Owens
6 Pouyan: Thomas Jones
7 Paul: Ronnie Brown
8 Rob: Donovan McNabb
9 Dave: Pierre Thomas
10: Ryan: Roddy White
11 Jason: Carson Palmer
12 DJ: Anquan Boldin

NOTES: This wasn’t a very noteworthy round, except for perhaps the last three picks. Ryan got a nice value in White, DJ got a great value in Boldin and Jason may have reached a bit for Palmer.

1 DJ: Aaron Rodgers
2 Jason: Chad Ochocinco
3 Ryan: Beanie Wells
4 Dave: TJ Houshmandzadeh
5 Rob: Braylon Edwards
6 Paul: Dwayne Bowe
7 Pouyan: Wes Welker
8 Ben: Jonathan Stewart
9 Steve: Tony Gonzalez
10 Greg: Jay Cutler
11 Samantha: Willie Parker
12 Rick: Darren McFadden

NOTES: Ryan got some “oohs” and “ahhs” with the Beanie pick, but the value was pretty close to the FDH board. Greg and Samantha each reached a bit for their picks, especially considering that we were only in the late fourth round.

1 Rick: Jason Witten
2 Samantha: Hines Ward
3 Greg: Antonio Gates
4 Steve: Brandon Marshall
5 Ben: Donald Driver
6 Pouyan: Lee Evans
7 Paul: Tony Romo
8 Rob: Roy Williams
9 Dave: DeSean Jackson
10 Ryan: Dallas Clark
11 Jason: Larry Johnson
12 DJ: Kevin Smith

NOTES: The fifth round seemed to be a place for many people to realize value, especially Steve (with Marshall), Pouyan (with Evans), Rob (with Roy Williams) and especially DJ (with Kevin Smith). Paul made sure he had the best 1-2 QB combo by taking Romo here; again, the question is what price he will pay for spending two of his top five picks in that area and in going so high on Rivers. In an amusing note, Jason’s LJ pick came after he got bypassed by both of DJ’s picks because the one-minute clock expired and DJ jumped ahead in line.

1 DJ: Matt Ryan
2 Jason: Pittsburgh D/ST
3 Ryan: Matt Schaub
4 Dave: Joseph Addai
5 Rob: LenDale White
6 Paul: Jamal Lewis
7 Pouyan: Ben Roethlisberger
8 Ben: Marshawn Lynch
9 Steve: Santonio Holmes
10 Greg: Jerricho Cotchery
11 Samantha: Eli Manning
12 Rick: Knowshon Moreno

NOTES: Jamal Lewis was a good bargain for Paul, but all in all, this round featured very few of them.

1 Rick: Kevin Walter
2 Samantha: New York Giants D/ST
3 Greg: San Diego D/ST
4 Steve: Kyle Orton
5 Ben: Matt Cassell
6 Pouyan: Reggie Bush
7 Paul: Minnesota D/ST
8 Rob: Matt Hasselbeck
9 Dave: Baltimore D/ST
10 Ryan: Tennessee D/ST
11 Jason: Owen Daniels
12 DJ: Greg Olson

NOTES: By this point, Reggie Bush ended up being a really nice value for Pouyan. Greg’s San Diego D/ST pick was a head-scratcher.

1 DJ: Le’Ron McClain
2 Jason: Trent Edwards
3 Ryan: Chad Pennington
4 Dave: Chris Cooley
5 Rob: John Carlson
6 Paul: Kellen Winslow
7 Pouyan: Jeremy Shockey
8 Ben: Heath Miller
9 Steve: Jake Delhomme
10 Greg: Bernard Berrian
11 Samantha: Jeff Reed
12 Rick: David Garrard

NOTES: With the mediocre TEs and backup QBs flying off the boards here, there wasn’t much unusual to note. Bernard Berrian was a pretty nice value for Greg.

1 Rick: Stephen Gostkowski
2 Samantha: Joe Flacco
3 Greg: Kerry Collins
4 Steve: Philadelphia D/ST
5 Ben: Dallas D/ST
6 Pouyan: New York Jets D/ST
7 Paul: Rob Bironas
8 Rob: New England D/ST
9 Dave: Jason Campbell
10 Ryan: Ryan Longwell
11 Jason: Willis McGahee
12 DJ: Chicago D/ST

NOTES: Rick was pretty fortunate to get the top kicker on the FDH board here. Jason passed on some pretty good value to take McGahee at this point.

1 DJ: Nate Kaeding
2 Jason: David Akers
3 Ryan: Eddie Royal
4 Dave: Mason Crosby
5 Rob: Phil Dawson
6 Paul: Vincent Jackson
7 Pouyan: Nick Folk
8 Ben: Kris Brown
9 Steve: Neil Rackers
10 Greg: Garrett Hartley
11 Samantha: Brandon Pettigrew
12 Rick: Carolina D/ST

NOTES: Paul’s Vincent Jackson pick was one of the best values of the night. Samantha’s Brandon Pettigrew selection was very risky, especially in a one-TE league.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXXI

Welcome to our 47th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

Before we go any further, we would be remiss in failing to remind you about our brand new and free FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide, the only resource you need to dominate your league this year.

This week’s newsletter is completely given over to a review of the First Annual FDH Fantasy Sports Summit, which was held on the 68th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE on on August 5, 2009. The full audio of the event can be found on the show archive here, with the summit starting at about the 56-minute mark of the show and proceeding for almost exactly an hour.

We brought on four heavyweights from the world of fantasy sports:

^ Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of
^ Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at
^ Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog
^ Dave Richard, Fantasy Football Writer at

Dave was on for more than half of the segment; the others were on for every segment. Managing Partner Rick Morris moderated the event and also provided his own answers to a handful of questions, particularly those about the upcoming football season. All questions as they are posed here are paraphrased from the actual event and all answers provided are paraphrased as well. We refer you again to the actual audio archive of the proceedings for the exact transcript of how this extraordinary event transpired.

We cannot thank the participants enough for their contributions to this wonderful collective accomplishment and we can announce that we have plans to reprise this event twice in 2010, once right before fantasy baseball drafting season and the next one in late July or early August again next year.

At the end of the 2000s, the first full decade of Internet integration with fantasy sports, how do you see the landscape evolving?

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of There is a temporary plateau in terms of fantasy sports growth, but that may be partially due to the economy.

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at Social media and new applications are the next stage of the evolution of the industry.

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: Customization is the next frontier of fantasy sports; while traditional league structures may well hit a plateau, new forms of participation are the key to industry growth.

Right now, football is the biggest fantasy sport out there, followed by baseball and then hoops and NASCAR to a certain extent. Hockey pools are big in certain regions of the US and Canada. This has been the industry structure ever since football surpassed baseball at some point in the 1990s. With this having been the dynamic for so long, are we basically locked into this picture, or might something happen to change it, including the possible growth of some niche fantasy sports?

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of Football will be tough to surmount as #1, just because it demands so little of the participants and thus is all about casual participation. NASCAR also has room for growth for similar reasons; there are not many key moves to be made in-season. Golf actually has some upside if the PGA Tour can find the right ways to leverage public interest into fantasy participation.

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at “Streak” contests may continue to grow and globalization could come into play as world soccer circuits could become bigger playgrounds for fantasy sports.

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: While football looks likely to be #1 for a long time, innovative ways to craft fantasy participation for other sports could help change the overall hierarchy. Soccer does indeed have room for growth in this country, as does college football. The growth of fantasy bass fishing is surprising to some, but the large participation of the sport leads to a great sense of identification with the pros.

Dave Richard, Fantasy Football Writer at College fantasy football is already very popular on the CBS Sports website and shows great potential for growth.

How do you see the Top 5 overall players being slotted for this season in fantasy football?

Rick Morris, Managing Partner of 1 Adrian Peterson 2 Matt Forte 3 Steven Jackson 4 Michael Turner 5 Drew Brees

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of 1 Adrian Peterson 2 Maurice Jones-Drew 3 Michael Turner 4 LaDainian Tomlinson 5 Matt Forte

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at 1 Michael Turner 2 Adrian Peterson 3 Maurice Jones-Drew 4 Matt Forte 5 LaDainian Tomlinson

Dave Richard, Fantasy Football Writer at 1 Adrian Peterson 2T Maurice Jones-Drew 2T Matt Forte 4 Michael Turner (phone cut out before fifth pick)

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: 1 Adrian Peterson 2 Maurice Jones-Drew 3 Michael Turner 4 Steven Jackson 5 LaDainian Tomlinson

Respond to any or all of these “devil’s advocate” points about the worth of any of these top fantasy players in 2009 (or throw out any observations of your own): DeAngelo Williams risks getting vultured on the goal line – and maybe suffering more loss of playing time than that – by Carolina’s top draft pick in 2008, Jonathan Stewart. Maurice Jones-Drew is completely unproven as a back with the anticipated workload he will face this year. History shows that running backs with the workload carried by Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson generally suffer great adversity the next year.

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of There should be some concerns with just about every top pick this year. Maurice Jones-Drew has been a top performer in the past few years and should benefit from more playing time and a better offensive line. Michael Turner may lose some touches as Tony Gonzalez will need the ball this year as well. Matt Forte could lose a bit of production with Jay Cutler now on board in Chicago and the fact that the team’s offensive philosophy will be at least somewhat more tilted towards the pass. Balancing risks in the first round can be very tough, but the failure to do so successfully can be fatal.

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at Matt Forte should benefit from the defenses having to play more honest with Jay Cutler now in the fold for the Bears. The offensive line in Jacksonville was not healthy for much of last year and now they will be, thus benefiting Maurice Jones-Drew. Steven Jackson is probably the biggest wild card of the first six or seven players on the board. He hasn’t played at the highest levels in the last two years, although he had some nice stretches last year, but he should be healthy and able – assuming that his bulldozing running style doesn’t leave lasting damage on his body. Jonathan Stewart has no place to go but up in Carolina, which could cut into DeAngelo Williams’ production.

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: Matt Forte may suffer in terms of production as the Chicago passing game becomes more prominent with Jay Cutler. Steven Jackson has to stay healthy, but has tremendous upside.

Who do you think is a key sleeper for 2009?

Rick Morris, Managing Partner of Kevin Walter.

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of Matt Schaub – and don’t worry about getting a consensus #1 QB if you take him.

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at Carson Palmer. James Davis is a very deep sleeper.

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: Darren McFadden.

Dave Richard, Fantasy Football Writer at Fred Jackson.

As any industry grows, it faces increasing pressures in terms of commercialization. We at FDH do critique the biggest industry voices from time to time, because to a certain extent any of us in the business may be associated in the public’s mind with some of the more memorable takes put forward. This has led us to be critical from time to time of ESPN’s Matthew Berry, who has the biggest platform in the business – now, he has found some of our critiques at times to be a bit intemperate (hence, no ESPN participation here) and we have acknowledged as much and subsequently kept everything on point, for there are many matters of substance where we differ. Fairly or unfairly, he represents the industry in the public’s mind and when he says something dubious, we all bear the brunt of it to an extent. He is a proponent of such gimmicks as ironclad rules that don’t allow room for the nuance that drafts and auctions tend to demand and as such, we have sadly judged many pieces of advice to come out of the “Skip Bayless Show Biz Say Anything Worldwide Leader Culture” as opposed to sound, end-user based critical analysis. With these four gentlemen also occupying prominent places on the fantasy landscape, it’s worth examining what they think of the competing pressures of saying something that people will remember and saying something that people can take seriously from a basis of intellectual honesty. NOTE: Participants were not put in the position of taking shots at Matthew Berry and none did.

Dave Richard, Fantasy Football Writer at People in the business need to take pride in their work. Most people outside the business don’t know just how many intricate details go into football analysis. Ideally, fantasy analysts approach their work as a scout would, with film analysis being included. The ability to research and having respect for football are critical elements. Lazy formulations (such as a running back over 30 being worthless and third-year wide receivers automatically breaking out) are very harmful. The business is getting better because more people who are willing to put in the requisite work are making an impact.

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of The industry has grown greatly in this decade. The marketplace tends to sort out the pretenders and reward those who are willing to put in the necessary work. Feedback from satisfied readers and subscribers is very rewarding and indicative of being on the right path. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it also can be problematic, because it gives anybody a platform of at least some size when they start up a website. It can be infuriating to dispel a rumor or opinion that starts from a dubious place that people buy into because they are putting their trust where they should not. The industry has many worthy people in it who do great work.

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: There is a tension between wanting to entertain and seeking to grow the business in that manner and taking pride in the professionalism necessary to maintain your level of pride. Entertainment is a necessary component in fantasy sports, but the end consumer is ultimately wise enough to also find the entities best able to provide the high level of analysis they require. Thus, entertainment really only works as a hook to draw people to a company which then has to deliver substantive help to content consumers.

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at It is a fine line between entertaining people and feeding them the substance that they need. In some ways, outside factors can help. Fox Sports now has an endorsement deal with Hooters, so that provides a garnish that keeps analysts from having to go out of their way to sprinkle in entertainment value to the sound fantasy analysis. There has to be appeal to sponsors as well, especially in this economy, so targeting your package of work to the right demographic in an effective way that preserves professional integrity is a complicated balancing act.

For the final question, returning to the 2009 fantasy football season, we need to solicit some overarching thoughts.

Rick Morris, Managing Partner of For the first round or two in a draft this year, nothing will feel like a value at gut level. Even the very top players in this season have holes that can make you feel like you are making a reach – ignore that impulse and go with whatever your draft board tells you to do. This feeling has much to do with the trend in recent years in which lead running backs have yielded greater and greater amounts of production to their backups. The subsequent few rounds will be filled with players who will both feel like great values at gut level and will actually be if you draft wisely. Wide receiver is particularly deep this year as well, especially at the #2 and #3 starter levels.

Cory J. Bonini, Managing Editor of There is not as much pressure to draft a top quarterback early this year. Running backs are deeper than usual, if not in terms of dominance at the top of the draft, then at least in terms of potential for strong production down the line. Value for #2 and #3 running backs can thus be found later in the draft than in past years. The same is true of wide receivers. You are almost guaranteed three top receivers in the top 36 at the position if you draft smart. Tight ends are much deeper than usual as well. Fantasy players can be self-defeating when they look too hard for deep sleepers.

Mike Harmon, Fantasy Guru at Increasing prevalence of points-per-reception leagues is leading to more wide receivers being drafted in the first three rounds than in recent memory. People are being turned off of the “RB-RB” trend in the first two rounds because of the running-back-by-committee trend. Quarterbacks such as Matt Schaub and Carson Palmer even offer potential starter value in the middle rounds if you get shut out of any of the “top QBs.” Draft charting is going to be more important than usual in drafts this year because of the depth of potential value that figures to fall to the middle and possibly even later rounds.

Dave Richard, Fantasy Football Writer at There is a definite trend towards PPR leagues taking precedence in the industry and wide receivers becoming much more important as a consequence. Last year, Round Three was the “receiver round” in drafts and this year it’s Round Two because they have gained in perceived value. Larry Fitzgerald is going no later than the latter part of Round One in many drafts this year, with Andre Johnson and Randy Moss not far behind. People need to draft receivers early this year, because it will be sketchy after the top 25-30 are off the board. Kansas City’s signing of Amani Toomer may well be indicative of the running back trend of recent years migrating to wide receivers; that is to say, wideouts may now be signed for the same micro-niche utilization that we have seen with goal-line vulture backs, situational scatbacks and the like. Toomer may well be a receiver who earns his keep by solely taking the field on third down for the Chiefs. A stud wide receiver this year still may not perform at the level of a stud running back, but he could be at the level of a very good running back or a top quarterback. Relative to years past, that could make this “The Year of the Wide Receiver.”

Kelly Perdew, CEO of Rotohog: Depth at the quarterback position this year diminishes the value of the top few to an extent. The industry’s increasing trends towards points-per-reception leagues is really skewing the perceived value of many players – and Michael Turner, who catches very few balls, is affected disproportionately in those leagues. Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are big winners comparatively in those leagues. The few running backs who don’t have to share significant playing time are again worth so much more than everyone else.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


We've got the only fantasy football guide you need for this year, squeezed into 18 very vital pages. FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 is now online, with the following features:

^ FDH draft board with: industry compilation rankings, our UQB "Ultimate Stat," dollar figures for auction leagues, bye weeks and four key statistical categories per position along with rankings in each category.

^ FDH Top 60 Overall

^ FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones' rankings by position, along with notes for each player

^ Draft Philosophy Overview

^ 2009 Fantasy Overview

^ 2009 FDH Mock Draft & Analysis

^ Don't Be That Guy

^ Injury Analysis

^ Projected Breakthroughs

^ Rookie Player Rankings

^ Overvalued Players

^ Undervalued Players

^ Suggested League Guidelines

As a bonus, we've also got some non-fantasy aspects for you as well:

^ 2009 FDH Standings/Playoff Predictions

^ 2009 NFL Draft Notebook

^ 2009 Donruss Football Classics Review

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXX

Welcome to our 46th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

In this week's edition, serialized from our brand-new FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009, we bring you the following:

^ Don't Be That Guy
^ 2009 Fantasy Overview
^ Suggested League Guidelines

Don't Be That Guy

^ Don’t be that guy who is unprepared and whines in the mid to late rounds that everyone worth taking is already gone. They’re not, you’re just woefully unprepared.

^ Don’t be that guy who doesn’t properly understand your league’s scoring system. League setups are like snowflakes; no two are the same. Our draft board is configured to conform to a fairly basic scoring system (illustrated below), but your league could well have some quirks that would force you to make adaptations to our board. Be aware of them.

^ Don’t be that guy who doesn’t pay enough attention and selects players who are already off the board. It’s impolite to your leaguemates and it will invariably break your concentration when everyone howls at you and you’ve got to go back to Square One on a backup pick. To ensure that you are aware of everything that is going on during your draft, utilize a “grid” to track all teams, with the number of rounds going down the left side and the teams listed in order along the top.

^ Don’t be that guy who approaches the draft like it’s a night of epic decision-making. If you’ve done your homework, it’s not. You merely find out where you’re drafting and you “let the draft come to you.” Trust your draft board, abide by it and don’t overrule your rankings lightly. Weeks of preparation will trump minutes of frantic guessing anytime.

^ Don’t be that guy who has ironclad rules, like the weenies who always say, “I’m going to take running backs with my first two picks.” Really? No matter how picked-over they are? That’s insane. To a certain extent, this goes back to the last point about letting the draft come to you. When everyone else zigs, you zag and you’ll get value with every pick.

2009 Fantasy Overview

^ Now more than ever, you have to abandon the feeling that you have to be super-comfortable with every pick. Even Adrian Peterson, with his past injury history and his 2008 workload, cannot possibly engender the amount of comfort that LT did in past years, but he still rates the top pick. Matt Forte was a lightly-regarded rookie at this time last year, but he still merits top-five selection. DeAngelo Williams is now a legitimate first-round pick despite having his team’s top draft pick of a year ago pushing him for time and probably taking away goal-line carries. Especially very early in the draft, you just have to do what the draft board tells you to do in a given situation without worrying about that little voice in your head saying, “WHAT???”

^ While there are fewer slam-dunk picks at any position than most years in recent history (due in part to the RB-by-committee trend that we have been chronicling since 2005), there is also more depth overall than in most years. We rate 8 QBs and 8 RBs as worthy of the #1 level and while we only rate 5 WRs at that level, our acceptable level of #2 WRs goes all the way down to 20. Wide receiver depth in particular this season is quite incredible. While our first point warns you that your first pick or two may leave you feeling cold purely on a gut level, your subsequent selections will fill you with joy if you draft properly.

^ Every season is different and while last year’s numbers are never to be used as an absolute in terms of predicting this year, so too should last year’s trends be considered in the same manner. Last year saw the emergence of many top-flight RBs, many of them under the radar at the beginning of the season. This year should be closer to the norm, with few RBs breaking out big-time and the most likely ones being the ones picked high last April (Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno).

Suggested League Guidelines

Many leagues start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1TE, 1 K and some D/ST combination. Some leagues allow the TE position to be WR or TE (in which case, only a few TEs merit any consideration) and some have a “flex” position, which is generally 1 additional RB or WR. With leagues who utilize defense, some deploy a team D/ST unit and some use individual D players.

The most common scoring system is a variation of the following: 4 points per passing TD, 1 point per 25 yards passing, 1 point per passing 2-point PAT, 6 points per receiving or rushing TD, 1 point per 10 yards rushing or receiving, 2 points per rushing or receiving 2-point PAT, 2 points per “big play touchdown” (50 or more yards), 1 point per kicking PAT, 3 points per FG, with a 1-point bonus at 45 yards, a 2-point bonus at 50 yards and a 3-point bonus at 55 yards, 6 points per defensive or special teams TD, 1 point per interception, sack or fumble recovered and 2 points per safety. In leagues that award 6 points for passing TDs, QBs are worth much more.