Walter - I feel your pain re SD; they have had a huge injury list! I thing I note - doing analysis for AFL Australian football - is that teams with a huge injury list often underperform when they begin to get players back from injury; this is often because the injured players return a week too early and fail to fire (or get re-injured); also the players who have been carrying the extra load for them tend to relax that week; the trend in the AFL is that these teams generally miss the spread (often by a lot) as the year goes on - but they sometimes have 1 (maybe 2) unexpected wins against unwary middle to lower ranked teams. They may fire against JAX this week, but I would like a SD expert to tell us if the recently returned players are likely to improve.
Speaking of injuries - these are good reasons for being confident on TB and DEN this week. Harry Young, Melbourne
2010 Fantasy Football Mailbag Notes: Note that the e-mails I received have been italicized and left mostly unedited. My responses follow them.
2010 Fantasy Football E-mails - Running Backs
From Hunter S:
Like you, I really don't like going WR early, but this year seems funny. Wanted to get your take on something when you got a second.
Lately (and I know it's stupidly early) I've been drafting in the 8 spot since I'll draft their in one of my leagues, and I'm getting these results...
I got Reggie Wayne or Andre Johnson in 1, Calvin Johnson in 2, Sidney Rice in 3, then some combination of LeSean McCoy, Felix Jones, Ben Tate, Reggie Bush, Clinton Portis, Montario Hardesty at RB by waiting. Wondering if you thought those RBs were good enough to really load up on WR early. Just don't like any of the RBs left at that 8 spot, and by the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the RBs I can get later are just as good as teh ones I could get there.
I don't think going WR-WR is a bad strategy, but I wouldn't go WR-WR-WR. I'd like to have a top-15 running back in there just in case those guys don't pan out.
I really like LeSean McCoy, but every other back you mentioned has red flags. Felix Jones gets hurt often. Ben Tate plays for Gary Kubiak, who won't hesitate to bench him if he fumbles a few times. Reggie Bush always misses at least a quarter of the season. Clinton Portis has 2,100 carries on his resume and may not start. Montario Hardesty may give up half his carries to Jerome Harrison. You're taking a huge risk by going with those guys.
Taking receivers isn't safe. Andre Johnson should be fine, but Reggie Wayne is a 32-year-old who had knee problems last year. Sidney Rice's quarterback is a 41-year-old coming off ankle surgery. Those guys could easily bust - I actually wouldn't even touch Wayne in the first three rounds.
From Yankee L:
I'm not sure why you are so high on the Carolina running backs. I think Stewart could be like Derrick Ward.
Although Ward's decline was because he didn't play at all, I think Stewart could have just had a good year as a RB2 for the Panthers.
He only got to 1.1k yds because the Giants didnt feel like playing defense in the last game against them where he got about 200 yds.
I'm not denying his talent or the fact that he will put up numbers. I just think his stats were inflated due to a bad defense and DeAngelo's injuries. I'm not sure how the Panthers are going to put up 2200 rushing yards, and I'm not sure that the running backs will split evenly.
I agree that Stewart isnt gonna be good, but I just dont think he is a top 50 pick because hes in a timeshare.
I have to strongly disagree. Carolina's running backs had 2,250 rushing yards in 2009 and 2,350 rushing yards in 2008. They're going to rack up tons of yardage again, and I was actually being conservative with their projections. Stewart is the more talented of the two backs, and he's going to be getting the goal-line carries.
From Mike M:
Let's say you're in a 12-team league and you get 12th pick in snake draft. Do you go DeAngelo at 12, then Stewart at 13? Maybe the week to week ceiling for points isn't as high as taking higher ranked guys, but you'll have a very high floor.
I don't know if I'd pick either at 12-13... I'd rather have 2 players I could rely on every week. By doing that, you're hedging your bets and getting only one really good fantasy player.
I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on either in the middle or late second round, but I'd want a sure thing with one of my first two selections.
From Will S:
You have Ryan Mathews way too high. The Chargers are not only a pass-first team, but a pass-first AND second team, so what makes you think a rookie running back is going to have an above average seaon.
LaDainian Tomlinson had a very good fantasy season last year even though he sucked in real life. That's because San Diego's offense was so good that Tomlinson had so many scoring opportunities. Norv Turner loves running the ball, and he didn't trade all the way up to No. 12 to ignore Ryan Mathews on offense. Doing so would be illogical.
From Yankee L:
How high would you put Leon Washington and Forsett now that Big Fat LenDale White isnt on the team anymore? Also, who do you think gets the start?
Hey, let's give LenDale some credit here. He's not a fat, lazy slob anymore. He's just a lazy slob.