A Tale of Two Carrs

Derek Carr

The following is a short guest post by the awesome @2QBFF. He will be hosting a live draft party at SportableNFL, so don’t miss that tomorrow. And if you want more on the Derek Carr enthusiasm

Carrbrehetors

Written

by

Salvatore Stefanile

INT. MUSIC CITY RADIO HALL – NIGHT

Commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium.

The draft countdown clock with a Houston Texans logo hits the :59 second mark. Commissioner Goodell inches close to the podium microphone.

COMMISSIONER GOODELL

With the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft… the Houston Texans select… David Carr, Quarterback, Fresno State.

DEREK CARR angrily stares down his agent. A befuddled DAVID CARR walks out from the audience. NWO theme music blares. The crowd chants ‘Holy Shit.’

David reaches out his hand to his brother, but Derek storms off.

Commissioner Goodell has no idea what’s going on.

Texans GM Rick Smith, owner Bob McNair and head coach Bill O’Brien await DAVID Carr’s arrival to the main stage. The trio hold up a Texans D. Carr “1″ jersey.

CUT TO:

ESPN interview with David CARR and the Texans organization.

ESPN REPORTER

The first question for you guys, and what everybody at home is probably wondering, WTF?

GM RICK SMITH

We figured we’d get that type of reaction.

(he laughs to himself)

But throughout the whole draft process we maintained that we’d do what was best for this organization…

(beat)

What was best for the team…

(beat)

And, most importantly, what was best for the fans. And right from the get go we fell in love with David.

(beat)

All over again, I guess you could say. He didn’t have a bad Pro Day and his senior year’s 10.0 adjusted passing yards per attempt was third-best in the nation.

Texans Owner Bob McNair interjects himself into the interview.

OWNER BOB MCNAIR

It’s a new era. No longer are we tied to having to pay a rookie QB who’s never played a down of professional football $60 million.

(beat)

Instead, we only have to pay them about $25 million, and we can spend the rest on building an offensive line that didn’t allow 76 sacks during David’s first rookie year.

ESPN REPORTER

Coach O’Brien, how do you feel about the pick?

COACH BILL O’BRIEN

(gritting his teeth)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more pro-ready QB than David. And we feel his years of experience in the NFL will be an asset to this organization; both in the long run and the short term.

ESPN REPORTER

But couldn’t you have just signed him for the veteran minimum?

GM RICK SMITH

We didn’t want to take the risk another team would sign him during the draft.

As the interview continues, Commissioner Goodell can be seen walking to the podium to make the next pick.

COMMISSIONER GOODELL

We have a trade to announce. The St. Louis Rams trade the number two overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to the Houston Texans for Houston’s 2014 second round pick, their first round pick in 2015, and their first round pick in 2016.

(beat)

The Houston Texans are now on clock.

A Houston team representative can be seen off in the distance holding a D. Carr “2” jersey.

Pai Mei, Zero RB, and the NFFC – A 2013 Report Card

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Editor’s Note: This looks at the Banana Stand results through the regular season and isn’t updated for the Gronk injury, for example.

I write a lot of stuff for RotoViz and Pro Football Focus that’s pretty far out of the mainstream. When someone sounds like a crackpot, the most likely explanation is that they are, in fact, a crackpot. I hope that isn’t the case.

Ideas are valuable in their own right – even if they prove unfounded. Most innovations begin with a trial-and-error process that is heavy on the error. But the value of ideas passed off as fact should be judged by whether or not those ideas work. In order to test my ideas, I like to play high stakes fantasy football. If the value of things like the Agility Score, Vision Yards, Dominator Rating, Height-adjusted Speed Score, and Zero RB can be found in their application to reality and fantasy pursuits, then the proof should be in the pudding. If the Sim Scores developed by RotoViz creator Frank DuPont provide a competitive advantage and the advanced stats generated by PFF’s game charters hold a special insight, then someone using those tools ought to be able to produce some decent results.

This is my report card.

The Contest

I play high stakes with my brother and Banana Stand co-owner, Tyson Siegele. Our format of choice is the National Fantasy Football Championship, a contest run by Tom Kessenich and Greg Ambrose. NFFC innovations include Third Round Reversal, KDS draft positions, and the strongest playoff format in the industry. Because of the strength of the format, it’s populated by many of the best fantasy football players in the world, including guys like Chad Schroeder, Jared Danielson, Tom Yates, Glenn Schroter, Michael Edelman, David Hughes, and many, many more.

This season we entered 14 Main Events, four in the Classic (the world’s premier 14-team format) and 10 in the Primetime. In each individual league, the top three teams advance to the playoffs. If a team finishes with the best record and most points through 13 weeks, that team finishes first and the next two teams in points finish second and third. If two teams split record and points, those teams face a three-week playoff for the title that runs concurrently to the Grand Prize portion of the contest.

The Classic has 280 total teams and a $100,000 grand prize. The Primetime sports 432 teams and a $150,000 grand prize. It seems vanishingly unlikely that anyone could win both, but, if accomplished, that triggers a $75,000 bonus for a cool $325,000.

This is how our teams performed.

NFFC Classic

5 Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique – Most Points/Best Record, No. 3 Finish Overall

QB: Jay Cutler/Josh McCown, Ryan Tannehill

RB: Le’Veon Bell, Pierre Thomas

WR: Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffery, Pierre Garcon, Jordy Nelson

TE: Jimmy Graham, Charles Clay

This is one of the two teams I wrote about for RotoViz in Zero RB, Antifragility, and the Myth of Value-Based Drafting. The three top-rated players on my board this season were Calvin Johnson, Jamaal Charles, and Jimmy Graham. My preferred strategy was to pair Megatron and Graham every time that opportunity presented itself.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Le’Veon Bell, especially since he was injured when I drafted him, but I have great faith in my Agility Score model and he finished as far and away the top runner in  Ryan Rouillard’s breakthrough running back evaluation model. I felt he represented a steal in the reality draft and a good value once his injury knocked him into the sixth round of fantasy formats.

Alshon Jeffery was the one player I tried to target for every team. It’s worth repeating again. Jeffery was the best SEC receiver in 2010 despite the presence of A.J. Green and Julio Jones. I’d challenge anyone to check out his stats, watch the video of his second touchdown catch against Minnesota, and not admit it’s possible he ends up as the best NFL receiver of the three. Continue reading

Don’t Finish 3rd – Use RotoViz RB Cheat Sheet

Ray

Archer: I forgot you won the Olympic gold medal in men’s downhill.
Gillette: Well, ass, it was giant shalom and I only took bronze.
Archer: So? You lost?
Gillette: I came in third.
Archer: Which is last.
Gillette: Which is third…
Archer: Last.
Gillette: In the world.
Archer: You lost. Geeze, get over it.

 

A lot more drafts coming up this weekend. If you haven’t already, I recommend signing up for PFF’s Going Deep. It’s the best game out there. Recently a bunch of industry heavyweights participated in a mock draft, and I have the breakdown in true contrarian style. Part 1 looks at Rounds 1-9, and Part 2 examines 10-18. Since you have to start 13 players in this format, figuring out a good approach to those late rounds is just as important.

Going Deep is probably best approached with a triple-RB strategy, or RB-RB-RB. If you go after your draft that way, it’s crucial to build in as much safety and upside as possible. Yesterday, I used the RotoViz RB Custom Cheat Sheet to project the Top 45 runners (rookies excluded). Ray Rice, Alfred Morris, and DeMarco Murray appeared to be very underrated options, while Adrian Peterson’s projection again trailed the RB1 pack.

And now a quick reminder of previous content…

Of course, if you don’t like projections based on what actually happened last year, RotoViz has another solution. They also have a RB Sim Score Lab where you can create your own hypothetical runner.  I recently used this tool to create complete projections for the Top 50 runners.

Part 1 RB1-RB20: In something of a shocker, Trent Richardson finished No. 1. I’d expect you to immediately move Cerberus to the top of your board, but if you check out the article and the methodology, I think you’ll find yourself a lot more willing to use a mid-first round pick on him. (And be excited to pounce if he falls toward the end of the round.) Jamaal CharlesDoug Martin, and C.J. Spiller all perform very well, while Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster struggle a little.

Part 2 RB21-50Lamar Miller leads this group, although he would have placed even higher if I hadn’t broken the players into two groups by current ADP. He’s joined near the top by David Wilson, or the World Turtle, as I like to call him. In this section we see players high profile and contentious players like Ryan MathewsChris Ivory, and Mark Ingram.

As a quick reminder, my two most popular posts on RotoViz continue to be Cecil Shorts, Stevie Johnson, and the 10 Most Undervalued Players, and Ryan Mathews, Jacquizz Rodgers, and How to Lose a Fantasy League in 10 Picks. Check them out on your way to a title.

Follow the Banana Stand on Twitter.

If you’d like to support the Banana Stand and simultaneously purchase the service that helped us win the 2013 NFFC Primetime Championship, please subscribe to RotoViz through our site. We receive half of the proceeds and you get the best fantasy information on the planet. Alternatively, if you want to support the site by doing something you’re almost certainly going to do anyway, consider making your Amazon purchases through our link at the top right. You get exactly the same price, and we make a tiny percentage that could help us keep the site alive. (I also strongly recommend the listed fantasy football books written by friends of the site.) To those who have been Banana Stand readers from the start, thank you. Your enthusiasm has helped us make it this far, and hopefully this is just the beginning.

 

PFF Fanium Draft – Rounds 5 through 8

 

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If you haven’t already, check out the first four rounds of the PFF Fanium Draft. My philosophy at the Banana Stand is to provide content with content, but sometimes that means pointing you in the direction of the actionable info craved by true football fans (and fans of dominating fantasy leagues). In this piece I’m giving you a quick snapshot of how the PFF writers approached the Fanium format and links to ridiculously deep content on the players involved.

Round 5

41. Vernon Davis – Jonathan Bales does an excellent job covering Davis’ prospects in The Tight End Volatility Rankings.

42. Sam Bradford – This is a Bryan Fontaine special and shouldn’t be surprising since PFF’s reigning dynasty champion thinks the Rams signal caller could throw for 50 touchdowns. I am much more skeptical of his chances. (For those new to the format, keep in mind that this is an ultra-QB-heavy league.)

43. Reggie Wayne – Wayne’s efficiency is collapsing.

44. Marques Colston – Colston is a RotoViz favorite who projects better even than Julio Jones and A.J. Green.

45. Pierre Garcon – A pure lottery pick, Garcon was up with Andre Johnson in yards per route.

46. Steven Jackson – Jackson’s outlook in St. Louis makes him a Matthew Freedman pick for fantasy MVP. I’m worried that S-Jax has appeared visibly slower the last several years and could barely change direction at all in the first preseason game.

47. Vincent JacksonThe most underrated player in fantasy?

48. Reggie Bush – Another Freedman special, I’m moving higher on Bush than Jackson.

Round 6

49. Danny AmendolaWelker 2.0 might be my favorite player for PFF’s unbelievably cool contest, Going Deep.

50. Maurice Jones-Drew – Varoon Bose and J.J. Zachariason weigh in on MJD.

51. Kyle Rudolph – Rudolph is one of the 10 Most Overrated Players in fantasy. I expect him to finish outside the Top 15 tight ends.

52. Dwayne Bowe – Davis Mattek points out how the Andy Reid teams like to spread the ball around. This is a legitimate concern, but I think Bowe in his prime is the second best wide receiver to ever play for Reid.

53. Wes Welker – Another player who would have to hit his absolute ceiling to return value at his ADP, Welker is an example of a player even the experts are missing badly on.

54. Jordy Nelson – If you haven’t read Jon Moore’s take on Jordy Nelson, you could be missing a golden opportunity for value. Get him now while he has a double injury discount.

55. Jermichael Finley – Ridiculously under the radar, Finley’s ADP represents an obvious and easily playable inefficiency.

56. Stevan RidleyRidley is the RB2 on my All-Trap Team. (If there’s a takeaway from Week 1 of the preseason it’s that everyone is going to look awesome against Philadelphia.)

Round 7

57. Darren SprolesSproles came in No. 33 in my RB rankings, which is probably too low. But that’s the beauty of Sim Scores. They tend to see things we can’t.

58. Torrey Smith – Bryan Fontaine is all Torrey Smith all the time.

59. Hakeem Nicks – I’m starting to feel like Nicks will either be dominant or worthless. He’s a difficult fit in a league where the cost to also own Rueben Randle is pretty steep.

60. Ben Roethlisberger – I’m expecting a massive season from Big Ben, but also check out his schedule concerns.

61. Eric DeckerNo. 3 on my Undervalued List, Decker could be this year’s James Jones (but, you know, also be a decent all around receiver).

62. Owen Daniels – I’m high on Daniels because Matt Schaub is going to make everybody remember 2009 while DeAndre Hopkins opens the field for the underrated tight end.

63. Darren McFaddenInjury-prone runners see their stocks crushed in this format.

64. Steve Smith – Could Smith be undervalued because of his potential role in the slot?

Round 8

65. DeMarco Murray – If you’re about to start a Fanium draft, consider how far the runners are falling. But there’s no format in which a potential post-hype superstar should be immediately followed by Cook, Wallace, and Eli.

66. Jared Cook – I’ve broken down the Bradford/Cook lovefest and suggested both players are individually overrated and a trap tandem. I’ve also updated that analysis to move into the neutral camp on Cook.

67. Mike Wallace – The arrow has always been pointing down on Wallace and now it’s fallen on the floor.

68. Eli Manning – This is the perfect year for Late Round QB, but there are still dangers. Eli is the perfect example of how not to play LRQB.

Okay, you get the idea. I had a blast with the Fanium draft. Moreover, you can use the same tools to crush your opponents in this novel format as you can in more traditional leagues. If you haven’t purchased the PFF Draft Guide and subscribed to Fantasy Gold, you’re going to miss out on features from award-winning writers along with reel upon reel of advanced stats that simply don’t exist anywhere else. If you aren’t on RotoViz taking advantage of the apps, well, your competitors are and when you meet them on the field of play or on the computer or in the box score . . .

You can now also follow and/or heckle the Banana Stand on twitter. No word yet on when the first actual tweet will occur. But it’s coming.

Shawn Siegele has finished in the Top 10 of the NFFC’s Main Event Classic for two consecutive seasons and is one of only a handful of players to own three or more Main Event league titles. He also contributes to Rotoviz and works as Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy.