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Mike Davis | Archive | Email  
Staff Writer

Q&A: How Do Experienced Drafters Respond When Drafting-for-Value Compels Them to Take Multiple Players from the Same Team?
Week 3

Last Week's Question: What is the best online fantasy football glossary?

Last week's question was inspired by a reader named David, who wanted to know how "handcuffing" came to be the accepted term for drafting an NFL starter and his backup. I hoped to hear from some veteran FFers who might know exactly who popularized that term or exactly when or how it was popularized. Unfortunately, I received no credible responses concerning its etymology. Mike Krueger tried to help out by posing the question on the FFToday boards, but he had no more luck than I did.

I'm sorry David, but you will just have to tell your brother to get over his confusion and accept the fact that the word has been accepted by the community that uses it.

As for my more general question about the best fantasy football glossary on a publicly accessible website, the most useful response came from Roger:

I have bookmarked a number of fantasy football glossaries over the years. Whenever I recruit a new owner to our league, I give them a link to the best glossary I know of at the time. I have bookmarks for the sites you mention in your column, and for a while I used the one from Ron Knight (.pdf). I am not a fan of the Dummies list because it just seems padded to me. I don't see any point in defining "fleecing" as taking advantage of someone in a trade because that meaning isn't specific to fantasy football. I'm also not sure that there is any need to define terms like "elite," "damaged goods," or "game-time decision"--since they all mean pretty much exactly what they say. What I like about the Dummies page is that it loads quickly (whereas the Knight PDF can take a while to render on crappy computers).

I went looking for a list as good as Knight's that would load immediately, and I found a pretty good one from The Fantasy Football Times, but you have to scroll halfway down the page to get to the beginning of the list. That only confused the people I mailed it to, so these days I use the glossary on The list is comprehensive enough to be useful to most owners (with definitions of such terms as ADP, IDP, and "performance-scoring"). More importantly for me, the page loads quickly--and even though readers end up scrolling past the pointless video at the top, you can see where the list starts from the second you load the page (unlike the Times glossary). The writers include definitions for some useless terms (e.g. "The Gooch" & "Houshmazoo"), so it probably isn't quite as good as Knight's list. But the convenience factor makes it the best glossary I know of.

My thanks to Roger for bringing the glossary to my attention. It does load quickly and is fairly comprehensive. At first I thought that it omitted "lineup," but that was because I had to look under S for "starting lineup." The glossary also introduced me to a term ("draft dasher") for "People who enjoy drafting a fantasy football team but disappear long before the season is over, abandoning their team." I don't recall having seen that term before, but I am certainly familiar with the phenomenon.

This Week's Question: How Do Experienced Drafters Respond When Drafting-for-Value Compels Them to Take Multiple Players from the Same Team?

Most experienced FFers have learned to build their fantasy rosters the same way investors build their stock portfolios--with a heavy emphasis on diversification. If you choose to stand or fall by one NFL team with your fantasy squad, you will eventually fall--even if the team you have chosen to focus on ends up going to the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White are all desirable players, but putting all three on the same fantasy squad is a great way to ensure that you will win four games by a margin of 50 points and lose eight by a margin of 5 to 10 points.

Even though a reader named Michael knows better than to draft too many players from the same team, his draft position practically coerced him into going more Lion-heavy in 2011 than he wanted:

I targeted Lions WR Nate Burleson in all of my drafts this year. I felt I could get him in a late round, perhaps drafting him as a WR4 or WR5, and fully expect to get solid WR3 production from him. However, in one of my drafts Calvin Johnson unexpectedly (and happily) fell to me in a spot where I could not pass on him. I drafted Johnson, fully planning to still aim for Burleson late. However, a few rounds later the same thing happened with Jahvid Best. I again felt I was getting too much value to pass, so I drafted Best as well.

At that point I was uncertain if I should still be targeting Burleson. The stacked bye weeks do not bother me, but the possibility of the skill players cannibalizing each other's stats does. I'm extremely high on the Lions this year, but at what point is it too many players on the same team? For example, there is an owner in one of my leagues who ended up drafting Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Peyton Manning, AND Austin Collie. I can't imagine he's happy right now.

My own general strategy for diversification is a simple and presumably commonplace application of the "other things being equal" formula. As an example, let's say that I have drafted Miles Austin as my top receiver. When I am ready to draft a quarterback, I find myself looking at Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford. Other things being equal, I want the quarterback who doesn't play for Dallas, so I end up grabbing Stafford. That works out fine because Romo and Stafford are both solid choices.

But what if other things aren't close to equal? What if I have to choose between Romo and Kerry Collins? Have any seasoned drafters actually applied a mathematical formula to the re-ranking of a player whose team is already over-represented on their roster? Or is it as simple as saying, "I don't care that player x is ranked two full tiers ahead of everyone else left at his position. I won't take him because I already have y number of players from his team"? Is it safest to draft for value regardless of team distribution and then diversify via trades? If you have given this question any serious thought, I look forward to hearing from you.

Last Man Standing - Week 3 (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)

Trap Game (New England at Buffalo):

This match is guaranteed to be a shootout. The key factor here is that Buffalo has the edge defensively. The Bills have given up an average of 337 yards per game over the first two games of the season, and the Patriots have allowed an eye-popping 479 yards (good enough for a next-to-last ranking in the NFL). Ryan Fitzpatrick may be without Roscoe Parrish for the season, but Dan Nelson seems more than capable to step in opposite Steve Johnson. This game will not be played in Foxboro, and although the Pats are heavily favored, it will be hardly a blowout. The Buffalo faithful finally have a squad that can compete against a playoff-caliber team. For the first time in years, there is hope springing up off the lake that the Bills might play a meaningful game in January.

#3 Pittsburgh over Indianapolis (1-1 KC, GB):

It’s becoming a little painful to watch the Colts play without Peyton Manning. Kerry Collins in his prime couldn’t hold a candle to Manning, and today . . . what can we say except that Collins is no longer in his prime? Last week the Steelers redeemed themselves from their Week 1 loss to the Ravens and barring a setback, that momentum should carry them to victory against a team that is ranked 29th in both total yards (260/game) and points (26 total points for the season). The Steeler defense still sets the tone for this team, and the fact that Pittsburgh is ranked 2nd overall in yards given up will make things especially tough on the struggling Colt offense.

#2: San Diego over Kansas City (2-0 AZ, DET):

Kansas City is a mess. Last year’s playoff team is a shell of what it once was. With Jamaal Charles out for the year with a torn ACL, Matt Cassel and company will have to rely on Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster to carry the rock. Meanwhile, Vincent Jackson had a career day last week with 10 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Somehow, that wasn’t enough for him to get a contract extension. You can bet that this will make him an “angry” player on the field and should translate into another stellar day. While these divisional games usually sound warning alarms in Survival Pools, The Bolts will be too much to handle for a defense that has allowed 89 points in two games (last in the NFL by more than 20 points over the 31st ranked team). Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, embarrassing losses may become a habit for this reeling franchise.

#1 Tennessee over Denver (2-0 SD, PIT):

Denver is a product of the NFL lockout. They have a new coach, a new scheme, new players and some injuries. Tennessee meanwhile is just trying to figure out how to distribute the workload for players who are already enjoying success. Clearly the coaches don’t think that Chris Johnson can handle the full-time load yet as they have stated that Javon Ringer will see more action in the running game this week. Matt Hasselbeck meanwhile has been the beneficiary of taking it slow with CJ2K being shelved as a decoy and Kenny Britt emerging as a consistent target for a quarterback who lacked just that in Seattle the last few years. This game won’t be flashy. It won’t have great highlights, but CJ2K and company are poised for a solid outing at home when the rest of your choices are either too tight to choose from or off limits because you already used them up. I might prefer either my number 2 or number 3 choice this week, but I have already used both San Diego and Pittsburgh as my top picks.

For responses to this month's fantasy question please email me.