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Archive for the ‘Fantasy Football’ Category

Hogs Lose Knile Davis

Friday, August 12th, 2011

By Ron Jumper

Throughout his football career, dating back to high school, Knile Davis has had some bad luck when it comes to injuries, particularly his ankle. The injury bug has bitten Davis again, as he looks most likely to miss the 2011 season. Davis had been getting a lot of love from the media and many considered him the top running back in the SEC. Without question, head coach Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas Razorbacks lost a talented young man.

Now that the dust has settled, how will this impact the Razorbacks 2011 campaign?

Running back was a position that Hog fans worried very little about because, not only did they have Knile Davis but Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo have proven to be playmakers themselves. The concern was more along the offensive line, with left tackle being the most glaring weakness. Dennis Johnson has been a dynamic playmaker at different points in his career and Ronnie Wingo, a monster recruit coming out of Missouri, had a great spring that led to the coaches feeling he had finally reached his potential. Is Davis a stud? Obviously, but these two backs will be able to fill the void in terms of talent. More importantly, if the inexperienced line doesn’t create running lanes it really doesn’t matter who the running back is.

One thing to remember, back when Petrino was at Louisville he took them to the Orange Bowl despite losing highly touted running back Michael Bush to injury in the first game of the season. With the kind of talent and depth that Petrino has playing in his system, counting him out is simply a mistake.

Fantasy Spin:
Ronnie Wingo is the most likely to see the biggest increase in his workload, while also being likely to get the goalline carries that fantasy owners covet. At this point, Wingo is flying under the fantasy radar but he is a great value in what am I guessing will be the middle rounds of 120 drafts. Dennis Johnson will get touches but he doesn’t have the same upside as Wingo. If you don’t get the running back you want early in your draft, Wingo is a perfect low risk, high reward option.

Handicapping Spin:
The public sees this as a bigger detriment than it actually is, which could lead to better value for Hog backers. If the public perceives Arkansas as less talented, the spreads might be a little softer as opposed to being a public darling. The combination of breaking in a new QB and now losing Davis will scare away the average public bettor until the Hogs show they are still an elite team. Watch the lines closely, you might be able to get better value early in the season.

College Fantasy Football 2011: Getting Started

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

By Ron Jumper

It is that point in the summer where there is nothing interesting to read in the sports section of the newspaper and there is nothing but baseball highlights on Sportscenter. For football fans, it is that calm before the storm only in this case we welcome that storm with open arms. For the avid fantasy football fan, it is right about that time to start researching who we are going to be targeting on draft day. Long gone are the days of preparing for the draft the week of, to compete in college fantasy football one must have done their homework well in advance. Class is now in session.

**This is not a rankings or preview article, this is a helpful guide to get you started in the right direction.

Lesson 1: He’s Back!

Case Keenum is perhaps the greatest fantasy football player in history, yes I did just say that. While I’m sure that those who drafted him last year will disagree, it was great news for the college fantasy game when he was granted another year of eligibility. In 2009, Keenum racked up 5,790 total yards and 48 total touchdowns in an explosive Houston offense. This was coming off a monster 2008 season that saw him tally 5,234 total yards and 51 touchdowns. If he does as expected and has another phenomenal season, I don’t see any way he isn’t the greatest college fantasy player of all time.

Lesson 2: Name Recognition Doesn’t Score Fantasy Points

When I look at other fantasy rankings, I see a lot of BCS running backs ranked highly. Don’t count on all of them finishing ranked that highly at the end of the season. I’m targeting some studs out of the Sun Belt in North Texas running back Lance Dunbar and Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey. Here are some potential busts:

Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
It isn’t that Lattimore doesn’t have talent, he does. However, the Gamecocks quarterback situation is unsettled and the offensive line has some question marks. Oh yeah, and they play in the SEC…

Trent Richardson, Alabama
Again, talent is not the issue. Richardson has not been able to stay healthy for a full season and I just don’t know if he can get you the type of numbers you need from a first round fantasy pick. Also, this just in, the SEC has awesome defenses.

Knile Davis, Arkansas
Davis is another talented running back but Arkansas has some youth on the offensive line and they will be rotating carries between not only Davis but Ronnie Wingo and Dennis Johnson. I doubt he matches last season’s production. Did I mention the SEC has awesome defenses?

Lesson 3: Project New Starters With Caution

In some cases, the system is the reason for the production and in others the talent of the player was what led to success. Make an educated evaluation of each player, here is my take:

Thumbs Up
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
QB Mike Glennon, NC State

Thumbs Down
QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
QB Casey Pachall, TCU

Lesson 4: Understand Value Based Drafting

Even if you like a player enough to take him in the 3rd round, you shouldn’t unless someone else is likely to draft him that high also. Just because you think you are on to a “sleeper” doesn’t mean you should draft them several rounds too high, always draft proven talent in the early rounds then take your sleepers late.

Also, understand the depth at each position and what value each player has. For example, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon is far and away the best wide receiver so taking him in the first round is worth it because your receivers will be better than your opponents. Even though the quarterbacks that went in the first round are scoring more points, it is still worth it because there are plenty of quarterbacks later in the draft that will score similar amounts of points where as no receiver in this draft class came close to Blackmon’s production last year.

Lesson 5: Keep An Eye On Those Sleepers

As you get later in the draft, there is no reason to draft guys that are just average. You should swing for the fences and be willing to take risks. Either way, the majority of your later round picks will be guys you let go to waivers as better players emerge. What do you actually have to lose by taking a flyer on a guy with huge upside? Here are some guys I’m targeting:

Sleepers (Ranked Outside Top 50):
QB Zach Collaros, Cincinnati
QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
QB Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB Ryan Tannenhill, Texas A&M
QB Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
RB Jason Ford, Illinois
RB Davin Meggett, Maryland
RB Jonathon Franklin, UCLA
RB Lennon Creer, Louisiana Tech
WR Marquess Wilson, Washington State
WR Damario Belcher, Indiana
WR Josh Gordon, Baylor
WR Mark Harrison, Rutgers
TE Ladarius Green, UL Lafeyette

Deep Sleepers (Outside Top 200):
QB Ryan Radcliff, Central Michigan
QB Matt Schilz, Bowling Green
QB Barrett Trotter, Auburn
RB Bryce Brown, Kansas State
RB Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic
RB Ralph Bolden, Purdue
RB Perry Jones, Virginia
RB Ryan Bass, Idaho
RB Ronnie Wingo, Arkansas
WR Travis Benjamin, Miami
WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

This will hopefully get the wheels turning as you prepare for the draft, it is still a long ways away but there is so much information to cover in 120 leagues. I’ll continue on with my college fantasy football preview issue, as well as handicapping and traditional preview coverage.

The Future of College Fantasy Football

Monday, October 11th, 2010

By Ron Jumper

I love college fantasy football, it is like pro fantasy football…only on steroids. It is like the difference between chess and checkers. Is checkers fun? Yeah. Is it as mentally demanding as chess? Not even close. However, depending on how obsessed with sports you are, that may be something that is perfectly okay with you. You may like the simplicity of pro fantasy football and play in part because you are in a league with friends so it is a great excuse to…umm…bond over cold beverages every Sunday afternoon. It is why knowledgeable sports fans are driven crazy when ESPN talks about nothing but Brett Favre all day, yet the ratings are through the roof.

Why is this?

Because your average guy just wants to enjoy the game and have a good time. He doesn’t read the sports page first thing every morning when he gets up, he doesn’t have ESPN Insider/Rivals/Scout subscriptions, nor does he scour the internet looking for golden nuggets of information every week. And you know what: that is okay. In fact, he might be better off. Ignorance is bliss. He is a just a fan, watching the game without a care in the world.

I say that to say this, while I love college fantasy football, maybe it is not meant to be. Maybe it can’t reach the level I once thought it could because your average sports fan just isn’t willing to invest the time to become knowledgeable of 120 teams. Who can blame them? Who has the time? Earlier, I made the comparison of pro and college to checkers and chess. Well, it is time for the truth. I don’t know how to play chess and I don’t want to learn, it sounds exhausting. So who am I to judge if you don’t want to take the time to learn college fantasy football? Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite?

This concept is why many businesses fail and, yet at the same time, it really is so simple. Business owners can’t understand why average consumers don’t appreciate their brilliance as much as they do. In other words, to someone who lives and breathes sports, the idea of college fantasy football is awesome because the possibilities are endless. To just your average sports fan, it sounds…you guessed it…exhausting to learn about all those players and follow all those teams every single week.

I’ve said since Day 1 that I think college fantasy football can succeed but it has to change its model. It has to focus on the customization that it can offer and regionalize the product. The emphasis needs to be for every region of the country to have leagues made up of just the conference(s) in their region, such as the SEC or Big Ten if you live in the Southeast or Midwest. My reasoning is simple, college football fans are not necessarily passionate about college football as a whole but they are instead passionate about their team and their conference. While this option is available already, it is not widely known. It is kind of like how nobody knows you can get an ice cream cone at McDonald’s for 59 cents (or two for a dollar) because they are too busy trying to sell you a McFlurry. How awesome is an ice cream cone for only 59 cents? Just as awesome as an SEC-only fantasy league to a die-hard SEC football fan. My point is that sports fans, just like all consumers, have to be aware of their options before they can make an informed decision. Remember when I said this was simple?

I’m pulling for the college fantasy football industry as much as anybody. Being a participant in the FCFI (Fantasy College Football Invitational), I consider myself an expert. That being said, without a few changes, it might not reach its full potential. I sure hope I’m wrong.


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