Archive for Aaron Rodgers

2015: Can you buy-low on Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck right now?

If you play in dynasty fantasy football leagues, well, then you know that many fantasy owners often get emotional after losing a league. Thus, the crafty fantasy football owner can take advantage of this by buying low on players that recently disappointed certain fantasy football owners.

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, despite having solid fantasy football seasons in 2014, disappointed fantasy worlds when push came to shove. Rodgers finished the season kind of rough, passing for just 185 yards and 0TDs (2INTs) in Week 15, and he only threw for 3TDs combine in Weeks 16 and 17. Toss in a disappointing final playoff game (22-28 loss to Seattle) and you might have some fantasy owners not thinking clearly when it comes to retaining the passer. Will you steal him away from the current owner? No. That isn’t likely. However, can you buy the 45TD-capable passer at a value you won’t be able to even sniff come August? I say yes, at least in some cases. So, try taking a stab at acquiring Rodgers on the cheap, and cheap is outside the top 15 overall value (vs. where he should be, which is top 5-10 overall value).

Andrew Luck

The same can be said for Andrew Luck, who just disappointed Colts fans in general via his team’s 45-7 Conference Championship loss to New England. Plus, Luck went from dropping some insane fantasy football numbers early on in 2014 (300+ and 2-4TD games) to throwing 187, 109 and 160 yards in Weeks 15-17. And, again, toss in his last playoff performance, you’re looking at some doubt being entered into the equation. Again, like with Rodgers above, you won’t steal him away from his current fantasy owner, however, I can certainly envision it being an easier task acquiring Luck after all of this consistent disappointment.

Conclusion

No one is going to give away either Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck in 2015 fantasy football dynasty leagues, but now is the time to try and acquire these guys in dynasty given they are coming off disappointing finishes to their 2014 fantasy football seasons. They are rock-solid locks as 40TD-capable passers moving forward, and both arguably have top 5-10 overall value in any format you look at. You might be able to acquire both at top 15 overall value, which is a huge, huge advantage if you can pull it off!

Tale of two Quarterbacks

We know the tale of the two franchises and the folklore that embodies their existence as they head into Super Bowl 45.

The tale of the two quarterbacks is also interesting; you have one, a rookie starter that for the most part made an instant impact to an offense by adding another dimension while the other was able to sit back, watch and learn before he would step up to lead his team, then do so without missing a beat from his predecessor.

Roethlisberger’s luxury was a formidable franchise picking 11th in the 2004 draft. The Steelers tradition of building through the draft is well documented, with a defense in place and a notorious propensity to pound the rock leaves one to imagine how much further the team could go if they had that one QB, that one guy. So as Steeler fortune would have it that one guy was there, he had the tangibles that fit their mold and then became not only the youngest QB ever to win a super bowl but do it twice in his first four years. A consistent performer, his passer rating, yards per attempts and completion percentage rank him among the top in the league and has established him as one of the most efficient passers in the game with at least 1,500 attempts. Ben along with his supporting cast knows what it will take to win his third Championship in six seasons.

Rodgers on the other hand took the path least traveled, so the story goes; being touted as possibly the #1 over all pick in 2005 to being afforded the luxury of slipping to the 24th  pick. Good quarterbacks typically go to bad teams, right?  It is not often a top rated quarterback prospect suddenly becomes stigmatized by the first 23 teams, in this case each possibly suffering from Tedford Syndrome, you know the one, where you get all twitchy and bark out obscenities, oh wait; wrong syndrome, but now that I think about the characteristic may have been eerily similar?  Anyway this could quite possibly be the best thing to happen to Rodgers’ career, the perfect scenario; top prospect falls in draft to franchise with winning tradition, quality staff of coaches that can afford him the ‘luxury’ of holding the clip board for a few years while learning behind one of the games most time-honored players. Rodgers play has been a steady progression and could very well make him the next super bowl winning quarterback.

Word has it that disrupting the rhythms would be keys to victory in this game, taking players out of their comfort zones. I believe both Roethlisberger and Rodgers will overcome the adversity each other will face from the opposing defenses to which I will give the edge to Green-Bay. I believe Packers Defense will match up better against the Steelers offense while Steelers defense will be more susceptible to the Packers passing offense.

Green-Bay 31 Steelers 24

And the Super Bowl 45 Winner is…

Aw heck, really it’s just too darn close to call!

Ask any group outside of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and you’re likely to get a fairly even 50/50 split on whether the Pittsburgh Steelers or Green Bay Packers will win Super Bowl 45. Just look at how the opinions vary at FantasyFootballStarters.com:

Our predictive software tool, the Lineup Analyzer, predicts Steelers to win 20-17

In my fantasy football blog I took Packers to win 24-21

We had our Forums Moderators chime in with their Super Bowl predictions and we came up with:

Michael: Steelers 31-24

James: Packers 24-19

Eric: Packers 34-20

Jeff: Steelers 24-20

Stephen: Steelers 27-21

One of our other Moderators, our IDP Guru Robert, posted on our fantasy football forums that he likes Pittsburgh 31-27. But he’s from the Pittsburgh area and I’m surprised the margin of Steelers victory isn’t higher here.

But everywhere you look, you see a divide on who will win. This isn’t like last year when the Colts were favored by a good majority. Or the year before when the Steelers were heavily favored over Arizona. And if the Patriots hadn’t choked away their playoff game against the Jets, and managed to get by the Steelers the next round, I’d be willing to bet we’d be seeing the Patriots a fairly heavy favorite.

Rashard Mendenhall could be the MVP of Super Bowl 45

But we see a lot of possibilities. While I took Aaron Rodgers to be my Super Bowl 45 MVP, I could also easily see it being Rashard Mendenhall, or Clay Matthews, or Charles Woodson, or Ben Roethlisberger, or Mike Wallace, or Troy Polamalu, or any number of other players. There are so many players who could end up being the difference in this game that it is difficult to choose from. I took Rodgers because of the popularity QB’s enjoy in the media and the fact that if the Packers do win, it’s likely the team will want Rodgers to be their MVP so they can finally exercise the Brett Favre demons that hang like a cloud over both him and the organization.

One thing is very certain though, it’s going to be a great game and there will be plenty of splits on the choices for both the winner and the MVP in the media.

Building a Dynasty – Quarterback Strategy

Say what you will about runningbacks, quarterbacks are the key to dynasty league success. There is no doubt RB production is hard to come by and there are many studies and many sites to prove that the value of RBs is premium in the fantasy world. But, all of those studies and sites are based on the redraft league format, they take into account neither time nor longevity. In the dynasty format, where you keep your players from year to year, production variability from year to year is an important component to consider when choosing players for your team. The QB position especially must have low variability if you will succeed in dynasty. Also, your QB has a longer NFL career span so picking the right QB can set you up for years.

To be sure, there is no science to picking QBs. It will always be hit and miss. That being said, if you follow these tenets you will maintain a good flow of QBs through your franchise. In many dynasty leagues there are limits to the number of QBs you can have on the roster. In my league the limit is 4. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for developing a roster, but this is how I think about each roster spot. Keep in mind if your league allows more or less players at the position you must adjust these as necessary:

QB Slot #1 – Superstar - you want this guy to be your most consistent and reliable guy. Not everyone will have a superstar, but if you get one, put him in this slot and ride him for as many years as you can. Example – Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers

QB Slot #2 – Solid Starter - you want this guy to be a starter that is established and is not in danger of losing his job in the next 3 years or so. Example – Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning

QB Slot #3 – Emerging Starter - if you have a solid starter in slot #2 and you find one for this slot, then your ahead of the game. If not, you want a guy who is slated to start in the upcoming season and has the potential AND opportunity to become a solid starter. Example – Chad Henne, Mark Sanchez, Matt Moore, Josh Freeman

QB Slot #4 – Developing Player - Again, if your QBs are developed enough where you have a solid starter or an emerging starter in this slot, then you are golden, if not, you want a first or second round rookie or second year player that will have the opportunity to start in the next 2 seasons and has all of the tools to become a future star. Example – Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Charlie Whitehurst, Tim Tebow

Here are some tenets that will help you choose your QB carefully:

Rookies -

  • Choose players from the first two rounds, while there are success stories from later rounds (Who’s the next Tom Brady?), there’s a much higher success rate in the higher rounds. Picking a QB in the first 2 rounds is no gaurantee, but odds are better than the later rounds.
  • Choose a QB that has led his team to a bowl game at least 2 times. Leadership is an important characteristic of a Qb, you want a guy who has been on a winning team. Bowl games mean that the team has had a winning record (for the most part) and has had some success as a leader.
  • Choose a Qb with a live arm. You don’t need a rocket, but an NFL QB must make throws that most college abs can’t make.
  • Choose a qb that will have an opportunity to start in the next 2 years. You don’t want to wait 3 or 4 years just to see if your pick paid off. It could be worth the wait, but maybe not. The sooner you know, the better.

Veterans –

  • If you are doing an initial draft, make sure you find at least 3 solid starters to fill your roster. You don’t necessarily know which one will fill which slot on your roster, so depth is critical.
  • When looking for veterans, look for guys who have been drafted high but have not come to immediate success. Many times it takes 4 or 5 years to hit your stride. Drew Brees is a perfect example of this, Alex Smith seems like he could be one too, we’ll see.
  • Look for veterans who have been in the same system for at least 3 years. Many times, guys who were drafted late get into a system and are a backup for several years but by they time they get a chance to fill in for an injury or poor play by the starter, they know the system and execute very well. Matt Moore seems to be a pretty good example of that.
  • Finally, look for veterans who have had some decent production in the past and have changed teams which provides an opportunity to start in the near future. Derek Anderson is a good example, leaving Cleveland to go to Arizona where Matt Leinart is anything but established.

So, good luck, use these nuggets to help think through your QB strategy and happy hunting!

Ken Clein owns www.dynastyfootballfan.com