Posted 12/22 by Jason Wood, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
As many of you know, there is a group of Footballguys, myself included, that
take great pleasure in the use of statistical analysis as a means to succeed
in fantasy football. Traditionally, we do much of our work leading up to the
draft, using historical trends analysis and number crunching to help fine tune
our annual projections for players and teams. But statistical analysis can,
when used in conjunction with logical reasoning and sound football acumen, be
useful during the season, as well. With that in mind, I will attempt to address
some relevant in-season issues each and every week, with a statistical slant
Holiday Cheers & Jeers
It's Week 16 and fantasy seasons are sadly coming to a close. I'm sure I speak
for all my fellow Footballguys when I say that it's my sincere hope you're still
playing this weekend, as that likely implies you're in your league's championship
By now, there's not much strategizing left
you go with your top dogs and
hope they don't disappoint in the most critical of weeks. To those of you chasing
a title, best of luck. To those who are done for the season, better luck next
So with the holidays quickly upon us, I thought this week would be as good
a time as any to dish out some Cheers & Jeers. Late December is a time for
Cheers to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady
Two of the favorites for league MVP, Manning and Brady have both been excellent
Manning, after looking like Jim Sorgi through the first month, now stands
at 28 TDs and 10 INTs through 14 weeks. He's 2nd in the league in TD passes,
and seems a virtual lock for his second consecutive 30-TD season. If Manning
wins the MVP award [entirely possible given the Colts fantastic record], he
would join Brett Favre as the only 3-time winner.
Brady, who has had the reputation of being a better NFL QB than fantasy
passer, has changed that perception this year. Through Week 15, Brady is 2nd
only to Carson Palmer in fantasy points and leads the league with 3,888 yards.
With a decimated defense and a hobble Corey Dillon, this could arguably be his
most impressive regular season. But as we know, Brady's legend has been [and
will continue to be] made in the postseason.
Cheers to current state of the quarterback
It seems just a few years ago NFL pundits were lamenting the lack of viable
NFL franchise QBs, those who could take the mantle from aging veterans like
Elway, Young, Marino and Favre. Well, aside from Brady and Manning [28 and 29
years old, respectively], the QB position has experienced a renaissance of late
- Carson Palmer, Cincinnati [25 years old]
- Drew Brees, San Diego [26 years old]
- Eli Manning, New York Giants [24 years old]
- Michael Vick, Atlanta [25 years old]
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh [23 years old]
- Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville [25 years old]
Jeers to an injury-riddle season for preseason
Marc Bulger, Daunte Culpepper & Donovan McNabb were consensus top 5 fantasy
QBs this preseason and all fell prey to significant injuries this year.
Jeers to an unfitting final chapter in Brett
Brett Favre, the league's only 3-time MVP, deserves to go out better than this.
Granted, Favre may [and probably will] come back next year but that doesn't
change the fact that 2005 has been one of his most disappointing on many levels.
From an NFL perspective, his team is 3-11, the second worst record in the NFC.
His personal standard of excellence is in serious jeopardy as well as he's thrown
only 19 TD passes through 14 weeks while throwing a league high 24 interceptions.
Barring an exemplary final two weeks, Favre stands to finish outside the
top 10 fantasy QBs for the first time in his Packers career.
Cheers to Shaun Alexander's consistent excellence
Say what you will about LaDainian Tomlinson being the better back, but no one
has been more consistently excellent in the last five years than Shaun Alexander.
Alexander has already gone over the 1,600 yard rushing and 16 TD mark this year
is his FIFTH CONSECUTIVE season of said accomplishment.
- No one in NFL history has accomplished the feat FOUR times [much less five]
- Only one other RB has done it three times [Emmitt Smith]
On top of that, Alexander still has a chance to break Priest Holmes' record
for most TDs in a season. He's got 24 through 14 games, and needs 4 more touchdowns
to tie Holmes, five to break the record. Good luck Shaun.
Cheers to those backs who delivered this
We applaud you LaDainian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, Tiki Barber,
Larry Johnson, Lamont Jordan, Rudi Johnson, Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson, Steven
Jackson, Thomas Jones & Warrick Dunn
who delivered as much if not more
than we hoped you would this season.
Jeers to those backs who fell short this
Priest Holmes, Ahman Green, Deuce McAllister, Willis McGahee, Kevin Jones,
Julius Jones, Tatum Bell, Jamal Lewis, Curtis Martin & Fred Taylor, you
came up short
some of it was beyond your control, but much of it wasn't.
Cheers to backup RBs saving our hides
We thank you Larry Johnson
Jeers to Curtis Martin's streak ending
Martin entered this season with 10-consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons to
begin his career, a remarkable measure of ability and consistency. Unfortunately,
that streak ends and also keeps Martin from tying Emmitt Smith for most 1,000
yard seasons in a career [with 11], at least for another season. If Martin never
gets another 1,000 yard season, he'll finish his career alongside Barry Sanders
and Walter Payton, with 10 each.
Cheers to veteran receivers proving their
Marvin Harrison, Joey Galloway, Rod Smith, Keenan McCardell, Terry Glenn &
Jimmy Smith are all enjoying top-20 fantasy seasons and proving that WRs can
stay productive well into their 30s.
Jeers to the 'can't miss' youngsters who
- Nate Burleson [Preseason rank = 12]
- Michael Clayton [Preseason rank = 13]
- Andre Johnson [Preseason rank = 7]
- Javon Walker [Preseason rank = 10]
- Roy Williams [Preseason rank = 16]
- Jerry Porter [Preseason rank = 23]
- Ashley Lelie [Preseason rank = 24]
and Cheers to those who didn't
- Larry Fitzgerald [Ranked 4th through Week 15]
- Anquan Boldin [Ranked 5th through Week 15]
Jeers to the 2/3rds of the "Big 3"
T.O. and Randy Moss, this year your on-field performance most certainly did
NOT make up for your considerable off-the-field flaws [Marvin Harrison, this
is a salute to you at the same time].
Cheers to the smurfs
Santana Moss, Steve Smith, where would we be without you?
Jeers to Kansas City's offensive line woes...
You cost Tony Gonzalez far too many receiving opportunities and, in turn, have
him all but assured of his worst fantasy finish since he became a full time
Cheers to Antonio Gates' making history,
Despite sitting out Week One [due to suspension], Antonio Gates has ALREADY
gone over the 1,000 yard mark, has 82 receptions, and nine receiving TDs. With
one more touchdown in the final two games, Gates joins Tony Gonzalez, Shannon
Sharpe and Wesley Walls as the only TEs in league history to have multiple 10+
TD seasons. Even if Gates doesn't play another down this year, his season stands
as the 15th best in NFL HISTORY by a fantasy TE, and he looks like a very solid
bet to finish with one of the 10-best single seasons for the second consecutive
I'm sure you have a litany of your own Cheers and Jeers, I would love to
perhaps I'll create a thread in the Forums to foster the discussion.
Feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to
discuss this column further or share other ideas for future issues