By Jesse Carrajat
WFAN Disclaimer: If you do not possess at least a general understanding of what Fantasy Football is, you are advised to refrain from reading this article. Otherwise, the information that follows will be as comprehensible as a monologue featuring Shannon Sharpe reciting Shakespeare with a mouth full of peanut-butter.
If you are like me, when you ask a fellow friend, colleague, or complete stranger if they “play” Fantasy Football, you pretty much expect that they do. For me, Fantasy Football is so deeply ingrained in daily life that participation has become the norm. When someone tells me that they don’t play Fantasy Football, it’s fascinating. I want to know why, and better yet, how? Why/how does/can this person choose not to participate in the single most absorbing, exhilarating, and entertaining activity blessed upon the human race? It’s like asking someone if they drink alcohol: you always expect a ‘yes’, and in the rare times you get a ‘no’, you automatically wonder what events have or haven’t occurred in their life for them to arrive at such a decision. They just don’t understand…
But WE do. We understand that Fantasy Football isn’t just a “stupid game,” as our agitated and neglected wives, bosses, and front lawns will so often tell us. To us, it’s more than that. We love the genuine joy we feel that exact moment we glance over at the television (probably while some family member is talking at us about some thing) and notice our bye-week replacement TE hauling in a 45-yard touchdown pass. We love that despite being a Giants or Jets fan, we will scream at a random, meaningless week 15 Broncos vs. Browns game while our wives ask themselves repeatedly, “What the hell is a Selvin Young?” We sneak player updates at our cubicles with the Man lurking in the shadows. We monitor our league’s transaction report closer than we monitor our own bank account. Bottom line is, we love Fantasy Football, and ladies and gentlemen….Fantasy Football is BACK!!!
Welcome to Fantasy Football 2010, WFAN style
Welcome to WFAN FANTASY, your weekly inside scoop to NFL Fantasy Football around the league, and especially, across the tri-state area. This weekly feature article will deliver in-depth analysis of some of the latest trends, transactions, and happenings in the world of professional fake sports, and trust me, this will NOT be your typical fantasy blog….
Realizing that an overwhelming majority of visitors to this page will undoubtedly be New York Football fans, I will always include news/notes/and predictions on Jets and Giants players that are RELEVANT fantasy contributors (much emphasis on the word relevant.) If your cousin Jo-Jo is currently the backup right tackle on the G-Men practice squad, I’m sorry, but you won’t be reading about him here. On the other hand, if you are seriously considering starting, say, Jets QB Mark Sanchez (god bless you if you are), than WFAN Fantasy is your inside source.
Now, without further adieu, let’s kick this thing off!
2010 Pre-Season Predictions:
QB- Mark Sanchez: In 2009, Mark Sanchez became only the 2nd starting rookie quarterback in NFL history to win 2 playoff games. More notably in 2009, Mark “Sanchize” officially overtook the title of “Most Undeserved, Ridiculously Pre-Mature Nickname in the History of all Sports.”* In 2009, The “Sanchize” threw for 2,444 yards (23rd ), 12 TDs (24th), and 20 picks (30th), while completing 53.8 percent of his passes (29th) for a QB rating of 63.0 (28th). However, despite all of this, Sanchez was first in the entire NFL in TSSC: Time Spent Shaving Chest. We’re talking about a guy who fires out more ducks than a double-booked PF Chang in Times Square.
But he was just a rookie, right? I scaled the record books to find another starting rookie quarterback to post similarly horrid numbers, with similarly girly attributes:**
In 2002, rookie David Carr threw for 2,592 yards, 9 TDs, 15 picks, 19 bottles of hair-gel, a 52.5 completion percentage, and a QB rating of 62.8. Carr, however, was also sacked an NFL record 76 times while sharing the field with exactly 0 offensive Pro-Bowlers (their top RB was Jonathan Wells). Sanchez, on the other hand, was sacked just 26 times last year thanks to a Jets team boasting 3 Pro-Bowl offensive linemen and the leagues 5th ranked rushing team. Carr, with a supporting cast that would force even Shane Falco to throw in the towel, produced identical numbers to Sanchez in their rookie seasons. However, even if you Google your absolute hardest, the only nickname you’ll find for poor Carr is……. Mickey Mouse.
WFANtasy Synopsis: The Jets are a run-first franchise that threw the ball far less than any other team in the NFL in 2009. They will continue to win games with smash-mouth running and smothering defense. This may translate into W’s on the field, but it does not translate to fantasy production from Sanchez. He struggled last year and has shown little-to-no improvement this pre-season. Sanchez is the face of the Jets franchise because of his face, not because of his arm. Avoid him at all costs until he proves otherwise.
*September 30th, 2009. 3 games into his career; this is the earliest digital occurrence of “Sanchize” I could find.
**Another reason to feel worse about the “Sanchize”: In their rookie seasons, D. Brees, P. Manning, and A. Rodgers, the top 3 drafted fantasy quarterbacks in 09’, combined for an average of 3,687 yards and 24 TDs.
QB-Eli Manning: PR= (a + b + c + d) / .06 This is the equation that determines the passer rating of an NFL quarterback. If you’re anything like me, than you think math and football go together like Andrew Dice Clay and CNN: the two just don’t mesh. But don’t worry, unless you have aspirations of landing that dream gig as an NFL statistician, you’ll never have to crunch the numbers yourself. Most of us throw the term QB Rating around loosely in weekly water-cooler debates, but how many of us really know what it means? 3 minutes ago, neither did I. QB Rating is a measure of a Quarterback’s overall efficiency by factoring in the 4 most substantial individual quarterback stats: completion percentage, passing yardage, touchdowns, and interceptions. An average rating is considered to be in the low 80’s, while an above average rating is typically anywhere in the 90’s and higher.
How accurate of a gauge is the QB Rating? The top-ten career QB rating leaders are Steve Young, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Chad Pennington. Pretty good company, wouldn’t you say? What does this have to do with Eli Manning? Glad you asked.
Eli Manning’s QB rating has increased steadily and dramatically over the past three seasons, from 73.9 in ‘07 to a career high of 93.1 in ‘09. He also posted career-high numbers in every other relevant passing statistic: passing yards (4,021), passing touchdowns (27), completion percentage (62.3), and yards-per-completion (7.9). Common consensus is that he posted those numbers because the Giants threw the ball more in ‘09, but this couldn’t be more wrong. Eli’s 509 attempts in ‘09 are third-fewest in his entire career. The reality is, Manning became an efficient and productive quarterback in 2009.
WFANtasy Synopsis: In 2010, Eli is not going to be the barn-burning weekly fantasy juggernaut. However, that’s not to say he won’t be a consistent fantasy contributor that occasionally blows up for 350 yards and 4 TDs. The Giants enter 2010 with a questionable defense in arguably the most stacked division in all of football. You can expect Eli to be in plenty of high scoring games and 4th quarter shootouts, which will translate to fantasy gold. Eli has developed a rapport with WR Steve Smith. For the first time in Eli’s career, he had the same leading receiver in two consecutive seasons in Smith. The continued development of stud Hakeem Nicks and speedster Mario Manningham will only improve Eli’s fantasy production. You should feel comfortable going to battle with Eli on Sundays.