Monday, August 27, 2012

2012 Fantasy Football Rankings v2.2

I told you there would be a Monday rankings update, didn't I?  I thought I might be up against a midnight "deadline" in a hotel room outside of Cleveland, but as it turns out my flight is delayed. My original departure time was 6:47pm, which was changed to 7:40pm, and the latest update is now 8:50pm (end of article revision: now 9:05pm).  So these rankings are brought to you from Gate B2 at Richmond International Airport sponsored by United and Caribou Coffee*.

*I am in no way sponsored by United or Caribou Coffee.  However, in a way I am kind of sponsored by Progressive, so here's a shout out to them.  (Awesome.)

1. Arian Foster
2. Ray Rice
3. LeSean McCoy
4. Aaron Rodgers
5. Tom Brady
6. Drew Brees
7. Calvin Johnson
8. Chris Johnson
9. Darren McFadden
10.Jimmy Graham
11.Rob Gronkowski
12.Matt Forte: Moving up Forte, SJax, and Charles.  Good RBs at a premium over WRs this year.
13.Steven Jackson
14.Jamaal Charles
15.Maurice Jones-Drew: If he ends holdout this week, will move back up above Forte (probably).
16.Larry Fitzgerald
17.Brandon Marshall: I really like what I'm seeing with him and Cutler in preseason.
18.Greg Jennings
20.Ahmad Bradshaw
21.DeMarco Murray
22.Matthew Stafford
23.Cam Newton
24.Adrian Peterson
25.Ryan Mathews 
26.Roddie White
27.Julio Jones: I just feel better about taking him over Andre Johnson.  Much more upside.
28.Andre Johnson
29.Wes Welker
30.Brandon Lloyd
31.Percy Harvin
32.AJ Green
33.Hakeem Nicks
34.Trent Richardson
35.Antonio Gates
36.Victor Cruz
37.Michael Turner
38.Frank Gore
39.Marshawn Lynch
40.Reggie Bush
41.Doug Martin: The more I see and hear about Martin, the more he moves up my board.
42.Dez Bryant
43.Marques Colston
44.Michael Vick: Getting banged up in preseason. Still think reward worth the risk around here.
45.Darren Sproles
46.Fred Jackson
47.Willis McGahee
48.Demaryius Thomas: I think I was a little too high on Thomas, and a lot depends on Peyton.
49.Antonio Brown
50.Mike Wallace: The holdout is over, so moving him back up into the top 50.
51.Steve Smith
52.Jordy Nelson
53.Dwayne Bowe
54.Jeremy Maclin: If I'm dropping Vick, I feel the need to drop Maclin slightly.
55.Philip Rivers
56.Donald Brown: Seems to have the hold on the feature back slot in Indy.
57.Stevan Ridley
58.Beanie Wells
59.Torrey Smith
60.Eric Decker
61.Vincent Jackson
62.Stevie Johnson
63.Miles Austin
64.Aaron Hernandez: I like the contract extension.  I also like that Brady seems to like him too...
65.Vernon Davis
66.Jermichael Finley
67.Peyton Hillis
68.Isaac Redman: Mendenhall off the PUP list, and he's dealing with injuries of his own.
69.Shonn Greene: Watched him get a lot of touches against Carolina in Week 3 of preseason.
70.Eli Manning
71.Tony Romo: A lot of receiver issues have me moving Romo down further.
72.Peyton Manning
73.DeShaun Jackson
74.Pierre Garcon
75.Mark Ingram
76.CJ Spiller: I got too high on Spiller too early. Still lots of upside, but wait a round longer for him.
77.Reggie Wayne
78.Darrius Heyward-Bey
79.Jared Cook
80.Fred Davis
81.Jason Witten
82.Michael Bush
83.Ben Tate: I had a lot of "question mark" RBs ahead of Tate.  Much like Bush, he's a safer pick here.
84.Ryan Williams
85.Toby Gerhart
86.David Wilson: He's looked good in preseason, and Bradshaw a little banged up already.
87.Cedric Benson: OK.  Let's get crazy with Benson now.  Great old-timer potential here.
88.Kevin Smith
89.Montario Hardesty
90.Rashad Jennings: Even if MJD comes back soon, Jennings has proven his worth in preseason.
92.Matt Ryan
93.Anquan Boldin
94.Lance Moore
95.Robert Meachem
96.Greg Little
97.Mike Williams
98.Denarius Moore
99.Josh Freeman: Moving my Fantasy Redeem Team QB into the top-100!
100.Mikel Leshoure:  Ultimately, I think he could be the Detroit RB to own. Just have to wait 2 games..
101.Ronnie Brown
102.Lagarette Blount
103.DeAngelo Williams: Could get early action as feature back if Stewart out with ankle injury.
104.Brandon Pettigrew
105.Jacob Tamme
106.Coby Fleener
107.Malcom Floyd
108.Titus Young
109.Jon Baldwin
110.Sidney Rice
111.Randall Cobb
112.Jacquizz Rodgers
113.Daniel Thomas: Dropping him and Turbin down to the level of these other backups.
114.Robert Turbin
115.Ronnie Hillman
116.Jonathan Stewart: I don't want to get too low on him, even though he is a Carolina RB.
117.Jay Cutler
118.Andrew Luck
119.Big Ben
120.Carson Palmer

121.Greg Olsen: I thought I'd throw another tight end into the mix, and he could have a big year.
122.Jermaine Gresham
123.Tony Gonzalez
124.Justin Blackmon: It's time to start considering the keeper factor with these WRs.
125.Kenny Britt: Same with Britt, if he ever gets back on track.  Elite talent this late.
126.Brandon LaFell
127.Nate Washington
128.Michael Crabtree
129.Shane Vereen: Moving up slightly just because you never know if he could be #1 RB.
130.Alex Green: Another one I'm moving up with potential to be starter in no time.
131.Evan Royster: Let's go ahead and put a couple Redskins RBs in here at this point.  
132.Roy Helu:: Dropping way down due to Achilles injuries and unknown with Shanny.
133.Mike Goodson
134.Felix Jones
135.Isaiah Pead
136.Kendall Hunter
137.Michael Floyd: Moving down a little with a couple other WR fliers.
138.Kendall Wright: Yes, another Tennessee WR.  He's looked good so far though.
139.Danny Amendola: A safe pick this late.  Should be Bradford's #1 receiver.
140.Rashard Mendenhall: Replacing Dwyer on my list.  I'd stash Rashard if I could afford it this late.
141.Bernard Scott
142.Dion Lewis
143.Bernard Pierce
144.Javon Ringer
145.Bears DEF
146.Jets DEF
147.Eagles DEF
148.49ers DEF
149.Steelers DEF
150.Ravens DEF
151.Bills DEF
152.Seahawks DEF
153.Patriots DEF
154.Packers DEF
155.Texans DEF
156.Lions DEF
157.Gostkowski (bye:9)
158.Akers (bye:9)
159.Prater (bye:7)
160.Bailey (bye:5)
161.Janikowski (bye:5)
162.Henery (bye:7)
163.Bryant (bye:7)
164.Crosby (bye:10)
165.Gould (bye:6)
166.Rackers (bye:10)
167.Bironas (bye:11)
168.Hanson (bye:5)

...and once again, a few more names I'm still keeping an eye on (Santonio Holmes has been permanently removed from my fantasy rankings until he proves he belongs).  Look for this list to change drastically in about two weeks:

David Nelson 
Jerome Simpson  
Doug Baldwin
Brian Quick
Davone Bess
Brian Hartline
Devery Henderson
Alshon Jeffery
Delone Carter
Vick Ballard
Curtis Brinkley
Philip Tanner
Pierre Thomas
James Starks
Ryan Grant (free agent)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fantasy Island: Grantland Challenge

It's Friday, and that usually means another rankings update...but you'll have to wait until Monday for those.  The third preseason games are being played around the league this weekend (typically regular season dress rehearsals), so I'd like to wait and see if there are any storylines that might impact my rankings before I update them for the sake of updating.

Today I'd like to share with you an article I submitted for the Grantland Challenge.  I figured I was already blogging anyway, so I might as well give it a shot.  As I was writing the article that is pasted below, I quickly realized that keeping yourself tied to a very specific topic and 750 word count is not as easy as I thought it would be.  I got through an intro and four of my six players, and I was already well north of 1000 words.  So the finished product here is a highly edited version of something that I would typically write, but maybe that's a good thing.  Let me know what you think!

I've never been to Coldstone Creamery.  [My fiancĂ©e glares at me in disbelief.]

The only knowledge I have of it comes from Aziz Ansari's standup.  Lately while updating my fantasy football rankings, I’m reminded of the sizes of ice cream he says they serve:  "Like It", "Love It"…….and "Gotta Have It!!!!!"

Today I'm focusing on the Gotta Have Its.  If you’re doing an auction or have a top pick in your draft, you want to know which players you should target and why you must own them.  You need one of these players like you need air, water, and yes, food.  Think of these players as your five major food groups, and I'll even throw in something extra at the end.

1. Arian Foster (Fats, Oils, Sweets):
Unless he tweets a picture of his hamstring completely obliterated, Foster's going to stay at the top of the food chain.  Not only can you count on 300+ carries and 1000+ yards on the ground, but this guy has over 600 yards receiving in each of his last two seasons.  Have you ever had a bad piece of chocolate or a cheeseburger that wasn't delicious?  Of course you haven't!   Foster will be that good, and you won't feel guilty for having him on your squad like you might after that burger.

2. Ray Rice (Meat, Eggs, Nuts, Beans):
Rice may not be the most glamorous guy, but he has everything you need to fuel your fantasy team.  If he were a steak, he'd be an irresistible Petit Filet on draft day.  I think he'll end up with 20 total TDs, and whereas Foster has a solid backup, Baltimore should have an unproven rookie as the second stringer.  There's no one to vulture touchdowns from Ray, and he’ll have no problem muscling his way in himself.

3. LeSean McCoy (Fruits and Vegetables):
As a Redskins fan, I inherently don't want anything to do with McCoy.  But you know what?  I know that LeSean, much like a vegetable, is going to be good for me.   The guy had 20 TDs last year.  Twenty!  If he was a wide receiver, I'd say there's no way he'll repeat that.  But for a running back, it's very possible.  And when I look past these top three backs, I see a lot of questions marks: holdouts, injuries, timeshares, and poor 2011 performances.  Get one of the big three if you can.

4. Aaron Rodgers (Milk, Yogurt, Cheese):
When it comes to Aaron Rodgers, there is no question he will do your body good.  (That came out wrong.  I tried to make a milk commercial reference, and it didn't work.  Can we just go with it?  OK cool.)  If you miss out on one of the top 3 running backs, you need to start thinking about one of the top 3 quarterbacks.  The difference between the top 3 QBs and the rest of the field is huge, just as it is with the RBs.  Also realize that Rodgers is still younger than rookie Brandon Weeden, and he’s been a top QB for, well, every year he's been a starter.   It’s a no brainer.

5. Tom Brady (Breads, Cereals, Grains):
This is the most boring food group, but also one of the most important.  We might be splitting hairs between Rodgers, Brady, and Brees, but the point is that you need one of these guys to anchor your team.  Brady’s receiving corps is actually improved with the subtraction of Ocho Cinco/addition of Brandon Lloyd, and there's still Welker, Gronk, and Hernandez to throw to.   I think he’s a boring first round pick, but he could also throw 50 TDs and win you a fantasy football championship.

Jared Cook (potential anabolic steroid for your fantasy team):
At 6’5”/250 lbs, Cook and his 4.4-40 have been hyped up for some time now.  He’s never had 50 receptions in a season (or more than 3 TDs), but that’s why they call them “sleepers”!  With such a premium on guys like Graham and Gronk, you could strike gold ten rounds later in your draft with a guy like Cook.  When Jake Locker took over the team at the end of 2011, Jared started to wake up.  In just three games, the two connected 21 times for 245 yards and a score.  Locker has now been named the starter, and with Britt potentially out to start the season, these two could hook up early and often like cast members from The Real World. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Fantasy Redeem Team

Tell me if this story sounds familiar:
You draft a guy in the first couple of rounds, and you're banking on his production to help carry your team to a fantasy football championship.  Weeks go by and you still have him in your lineup, but he's giving you inconsistency (let's say anywhere from 1 to 8 fantasy points per week).  You don't lose faith.  He drops a negative number on you in Week 6, and you want to waive him, but you can't bring yourself to it.  Maybe you're so frustrated that you do waive him.  Maybe you take out your frustration on your significant other or your labradoodle.  Maybe you try to trade this fantasy bust, but no one wants him.  Someone offers you a kicker for him straight up as a counter offer.  Salt in the wound.  

Fantasy football can present some tough pills to swallow, but let's try to find a silver lining here.  Some of those guys who were frustrating in 2011 still have value, and now you can get most of them at a discount (and anyone who knows me knows that I looooooove a good discount).  I'm going to give you a team who is ready to atone for their sins: my 2012 Fantasy Redeem Team.  This doesn’t really work for defenses and kickers, but I'll give you a full fantasy squad other than that.  I'm ignoring players who missed a considerable amount of time last year due to injury, so you won't find Peyton Manning or Jamaal Charles starting on this fantasy-fantasy team.  What I am creating is a team of guys who had a pretty high 2011 ADP versus how they finished the season.  This could also be seen as a 2011 Hindsight All-Hype Team.

Below you'll find each player's 2011 stats, my bold projected 2012 stats for them, 2011 ADP vs. 2012 ADP (roughly, based on yahoo and espn combined), and where I have each ranked in my personal rankings.  Get ready to get overloaded with numbers.

QB: Josh Freeman
2011 Stats: 15 GP, 3592 Pass Yds, 16 Pass TDs, 22 INTs; 238 Rush Yds, 4 Rush TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 3800 Pass Yds, 27 Pass TDs, 15 INTs; 300 Rush Yds, 2 Rush TDs
2011 ADP: 75; 2012 ADP: 125; My rank: 117

I was all set to start this article with Michael Vick, a consensus first round pick in 2011.  But then I realized I had a hard time projecting him to bounce back this season, especially since he's already been dinged up twice (two different injuries in two preseason games).  I'm not sure he's built to play even 14 or 15 games anymore.  On the other hand, Josh Freeman is a beast and ready for a big year.  The Bucs added Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark in the offseason, and they recently signed Jordan Shipley to add to the mix as well.  After an improved second year, Freeman was drafted pretty highly in 2011 fantasy drafts, but fumbles and interceptions plagued him throughout the year.  He also didn't have the weapons in the receiving corps that he now has, not to mention a guy like Doug Martin who could take some pressure off with the running game.  Tampa Bay could be improved all around this year, and Josh Freeman is a guy who people aren't talking about like they were a season ago.  I currently have him ranked around where he's being drafted in leagues, but that's a bargain this late.  If I miss out on a QB in the first couple rounds of my draft, he'll creep up into my top-100.

RB: Chris Johnson
2011 Stats: 16 GP, 1047 Rush Yds, 4 Rush TDs; 418 Rec Yds, 0 Rec TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 1500 Rush Yds, 10 Rush TDs; 450 Rec Yds, 2 TDs
2011 ADP: 8; 2012 ADP: 9; My rank: 8

One look at those rankings, and I quickly realize that Johnson isn't coming at a discount this season.  People are still drafting him based on the results they've seen and the potential to get back to those numbers.  I am also one of those people.  I think Jake Locker could take away from some of CJ's rushing stats, and to a lesser extent whoever the #2 running back ends up being in Tennessee.  But assuming Johnson gets his 20-25 touches a game, I think he ends up with first round fantasy numbers once again.

RB: Peyton Hillis
2011 Stats: 10 GP, 587 Rush Yds, 3 TDs; 130 Rec Yds, 0 Rec TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 900 Rush Yds, 11 Rush TDs; 250 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD
2011 ADP: 25; 2012 ADP: 90; My rank: 71

Mr. Madden Curse himself, Hillis came with a hefty price tag in 2011.  I'm sure many fantasy owners were drafting him in the 2nd round, and boy were they disappointed.  This season, you can get him much later now that he's not expected to be the feature back in Kansas City.  But keep in mind the history of running backs in their first season back after tearing their ACLs (hint: it's not great).  Jamaal Charles looks to be fine, but Hillis will still get a big workload.  Also remember that Thomas Jones had 245 carries for 896 yards and 6 TDs in 2010 (when Charles had his breakout season), and if for some reason Charles isn't 100% healthy, Hillis could be the feature guy no problem.

WR: Reggie Wayne
2011 Stats: 16 GP, 960 Rec Yds, 4 Rec TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 1050 Rec Yds, 7 Rec TDs
2011 ADP: 30; 2012 ADP: 107; My rank: 79

Everyone who drafted any Colt last year wishes Peyton Manning could've figured out he was sitting out the entire season before they had their fantasy draft.  Geez, Peyton.  Have a heart.  Had we all known that Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins, and Dan Orlovsky would be throwing to Reggie, his ADP probably would've fallen into the 40s or 50s (but surely not outside the top-100, right?!?).   If this motley crew was still battling for the starting QB role in Indy, I wouldn't be including Wayne on the Redeem Team.  But Andrew Luck isn't Curtis Painter, and I think Reggie Wayne still has something left in the tank.  He will turn 34 in November, but we've seen solid productivity from receivers in their mid-30s before.  Guys like Jimmy Smith and Terrell Owens have produced 1000YD/10TD seasons at this age, and I don't see why Wayne can't do it too.  There are plenty of examples on the flipside too, including his former teammate Marvin Harrison, who really fell off around age 34.  I don't know if he'll haul in 10 TDs with the rookie quarterback, but I think the yards will be there.  Luck will have to throw to somebody.

WR: Brandon Lloyd
2011 Stats: 15 GP (4 in Denver and 11 in STL), 966 Rec Yds, 5 Rec TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 1250 Rec Yds, 10 Rec TDs
2011 ADP: 45; 2012 ADP: 50; My rank: 32

After his breakout 2010 season in Denver with 1448 yards and 11 TDs, people were no longer sleeping on Brandon Lloyd in 2011.  I don't think too many people were going nuts and over-drafting the journeyman, but there was reason to get excited.  After getting traded to St. Louis, there was less reason for excitement.  But now he's landed in New England, and so the pendulum swings back the other way again.  You see, the Patriots have this quarterback named Tom Brady (you might want to write that down).  He's pretty good.  I've written about this at length elsewhere, so I won't do it again.  Brady will spread it around, but Lloyd will get his.

TE: Antonio Gates
2011 Stats: 13 GP, 778 Rec Yds, 7 Rec TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 900 Rec Yds, 11 Rec TDs
2011 ADP: 35; 2012 ADP: 46; My rank: 41

If you look at his numbers from last year, you wouldn't think Gates was that big of a disappointment.  But if you owned him in any league, you know that he was.  He was drafted as the top tight end in most leagues (side note: Dallas Clark was up there too...ouch).  If you were using a second, third, or even fourth round draft pick on a tight end, you were expecting 1000 yards and 10 TDs.  Some people got that (and then some) much later out of Graham and Gronk, so it's safe to say that Gates was a let down.  This year, he's healthy and ready for redemption.  Touchdowns are hard to predict for any player, but I think with Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert leaving town, Gates will be that reliable guy who Rivers finds often when they're inside the 20.  I'm looking for him to get close to 1000 yards and definitely double-digit TDs, and now that you can get him a round later than last year, I think it's worth it.

FLEX: Mike Williams
2011 Stats: 16 GP, 771 Rec Yds, 3 Rec TDs
My 2012 Projection: 16 GP, 1025 Rec Yds, 7 Rec TDs
2011 ADP: 40; 2012 ADP: 150; My rank: 95

Here's a guy who was getting drafted way too high in 2011, but now he is falling way too low in 2012 drafts.  I can't see how he is outside of the top 100.  Which WRs are getting picked ahead of him?  Michael Crabtree?  Laurent Robinson?  I'm sorry, but that's just crazy to me.  Williams had a bit of a sophomore slump, but his QB (and the rest of his team) struggled a bit as well.  I'm looking for Freeman to help his team bounce back this year, and I think that means bigger numbers once again for his receivers.  The addition of Vincent Jackson might mean fewer targets for Williams, but the extra attention on VJax might help his value more than it hurts it.  This is to be determined, but if I'm going to project 27 passing touchdowns for Josh Freeman, then some of those are going to Mike Williams.  Maybe Jackson gets 10 or more TDs, but I think 7 is a reasonable number for Williams, and I think he finally breaks the 1000 yard mark in his third year in the league.  If you draft a defense before a guy like Mike Williams, you're making a huge mistake.

Have a good week, and keep an eye on those third preseason games: lots of starters getting lots of rep!


Friday, August 17, 2012

10 Reasons To Love the TMR

This week, Matthew Berry put out his 10 lists of 10, so I thought I’d make my own list.  Mine will try to explain why people can’t seem to get enough of the fantasy guru in their lives.  Everyone might not agree with the reasons I lay out below, but this is my perspective.  I read all of his fantasy football articles (and some of the baseball ones), follow him via social media, and I’ll catch a podcast every now and then.  I really enjoy the guy.  But why?  There are plenty of fantasy football “experts” out there.  What makes him so special?  Well, I’ll try to explain why I think that is the case, but I think most of these boil down to one thing: he’s the regular-everyday-normalguy.

Hopefully if he takes the time to read this, he’s flattered and not pissed off.  I’ve seen some of the nasty tweets and emails he gets, and while most are hilarious, that’s not me.  I have nothing but respect for the guy.  I’ll start with the most obvious reason and work my way through until a couple that I think are the most apt to his readers. 

He’s on the four letter
I realize the guy hasn’t always worked for ESPN, but he’s there now.  I don’t know his life story, but I imagine he didn’t pop out of the womb posting his love/hate lists.  He had to work hard (and/or maybe get a break) to get there.  Whatever the case may be, he’s working for the worldwide leader, and that’s where most people go to get they’re sports 411.  The thing is, there are plenty of other guys who do fantasy stuff at ESPN, but with him I guess the cream has risen to the top.  Any way you slice it, ESPN has definitely put him in the best position to succeed, but what else is it about him that people like?

He takes this $*^# seriously
I mean, it is his job, so I’d hope he takes it seriously.  But this guy drops stat nuggets that I don’t see other people producing.  Sure, he has his sources so he’s not doing 100% of this himself, but you try Googling “2011 red zone targets QB to TE” and see how far you get.  Yeah.  Ninety seconds later and my brain hurts.  I’ll just check out Berry’s article where he puts it all out there nicely wrapped, bow and all.

From his Hundred Facts…
Over the final five games last season, no quarterback had a higher QBR than Philip Rivers (94.4 out of a possible 100).”

Where else are you going to get stuff like that?  That is invaluable.  We all have day jobs.  Let guys like him sort through the stats and give us greatness like that.  Just make sure you can sort through everything and make your own mind up yourself. 

He doesn’t take this $*^# too seriously
“Wait.  But you said he does.”  What I mean is that he seems to recognize the craziness that is fantasy sports, and he rolls with the punches.  The picture of him standing in Times Square says it all.  This guy can laugh at himself.  I can’t imagine the type of hate mail he gets because I’m sure he’s only sharing a few here and there.  You need to have some pretty thick skin and a good outlook on life to deal with that mess, and I think he does.  I have to respect him for that, and I’m definitely glad he does share some of it with us. 

He gives insight into his personal life
Speaking of sharing, I think it’s a big reason that people enjoy his material.  I loved the story in this year’s Love/Hate when he tells us about doing the kid’s league.  Great stuff.  I like that he includes a little insight into something other than just fantasy football, and I think people like to relate.  I mean, how many of his readers can probably relate to a middle-aged, balding, family man?  Quite a few.  That’s how many.  Meanwhile, it gives his writing a little something more than just quick stats and “pick this guy over that guy”.

His writing style
To add on to that thought, I personally really like his writing style.  It’s casual, conversational, funny (slash corny at times).  He references pop culture, mixing in a little old and new.  I mean, I think this guy just gets it.  Again, mass appeal and super-relatable.  And also again (I know, great English), I hope he takes that as a compliment.

He’s social media savvy
If you don’t think he “gets it”, I would point to his Facebook page, Twitter, Chats, Podcasts, etc.  The dude is everywhere.  And not only that, but he reacts to his fans.   He’s interactive enough for people to feel like they have a connection, and in this age of social media, that can be really important to readers.

He’s a Redskins fan
Let me explain because if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I am also a Redskins fan.  However, I’m not implying that people enjoy his writing because he’s a Redskins fan.  That’s just insane.  What I mean is that you know he’s a Redskins fan.  He’s known to wear his heart on his sleeve (and he usually acknowledges it), he’s genuine, and even self-deprecating at times.  Oftentimes writers, journalists, and the like will try to remain neutral.  Not Berry.  You know he’s a Skins fan through and through, but he’s sure to keep a balance with it by letting you know he knows it.  I think people appreciate that honesty.

He sticks to his guns
I heard a rumor that he’s purchased his burial site right next to Michael Vick’s.  I don’t know if it’s true or not (probably not because I’m just now starting it).  How long is he going to stick with Vick?  I think it’s great.  He pretty much stuck with him all of last year, and I believe he’s alluded to it a time or two in 2012.  I was surprised not to see him ranked in his top-10 this year, but I guess he’s a little snakebit.  If Vick starts the year off hot, I bet Berry will be praising him until the end…or at least until 2018 or so.  This is just one example, but I think he has very strong opinions and he sticks to them.  He’ll also acknowledges that he’ll get some right and he’ll get some wrong.  It’s the nature of the beast.

We all need self-affirmation
These last two I think are the most telling.  I started working on my rankings some time in early July I think, and one of the first things I looked forward to was how they would compare with “expert” rankings, specifically Berry’s.  Why?  I think it has to do with some type of affirmation and satisfaction that I’m on the right track with my own rankings.  And maybe everyone doesn’t take the time to make their own list, but they have certain ideas about players, and they want to confirm them with someone who does this for a living.  I’ll be honest, it feels a little lonely out on this limb with Benjarvis Green-Ellis as 19th overall on my list.  On one hand, I’d like to see someone write an article featuring him or hyping him up as a top pick.  On the other, I don’t mind him lasting to the middle rounds because then I’ll probably be able to snag him a little earlier than everyone else.  If I’m right, awesome.  If I’m not, then maybe I should’ve listened to the experts…

People need a goat
I’m not referring to the “greatest of all time” here, but rather someone to blame.  There are a lot of haters out there who want someone to blame when told to start this guy over that guy.  We need Matthew Berry so we don’t have to take responsibility for that heartbreaking fantasy loss.  After all, it was his advice that cost us the championship, right?  I could go on and on with the sarcasm for this last point, but I think you get it.

OK, fantasy football fans.  It's back to the day job for me.  Enjoy your weekends! 


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings v2.1

Just a quick rankings update on this Friday afternoon.  I'm going to keep the same format I created earlier this week, and I'll just add comments where I've moved a few guys around.  That's it.  Nothing fancy for now...

1. Arian Foster
2. Ray Rice
3. LeSean McCoy
4. Aaron Rodgers
5. Tom Brady
6. Drew Brees
7. Calvin Johnson
8. Chris Johnson
9. Darren McFadden
10.Jimmy Graham
11.Rob Gronkowski
12.Maurice Jones-Drew
13.Larry Fitzgerald
14.Greg Jennings
15.Brandon Marshall
16.Matt Forte
17.Steven Jackson
18.Jamaal Charles
20.Ahmad Bradshaw
21.DeMarco Murray
22.Matthew Stafford
23.Cam Newton
24.Michael Vick: His little preseason injury just reminds me of his fragility. I feel safer with Cam.
25.Adrian Peterson
26.Ryan Mathews 
27.Roddie White
28.Andre Johnson
29.Julio Jones
30.Wes Welker
31.Brandon Lloyd
32.Percy Harvin: Been reading a lot hyping up Percy.  Forgot how many rushes he got last year too.
33.AJ Green
34.Hakeem Nicks
35.Trent Richardson
36.Antonio Gates: With Witten's injury concern, Gates seems more valuable to me.
37.Victor Cruz
38.Michael Turner: OK, so I'm getting a little down on him, but Quizz looks good and he doesn't.
39.Frank Gore
40.Marshawn Lynch
41.Reggie Bush
42.Dez Bryant
43.Demaryius Thomas
44.Marques Colston
45.Darren Sproles
46.Fred Jackson
47.Willis McGahee
48.Doug Martin
49.Steve Smith
50.Antonio Brown
51.Jeremy Maclin
52.Jordy Nelson
53.Dwayne Bowe: The holdout continues, so I'll move Bowe down little by little.
54.Philip Rivers: Mathews going down means to me that SD will throw even more.
55.Tony Romo: Witten (spleen), Miles (hamstring), and Bryant (let's just say "brain injury")
56.Stevan Ridley
57.Beanie Wells
58.Donald Brown: I keep moving him up my draft board.  He could finally break out this year.
59.Isaac Redman: Getting MRI on injured groin.  Not a good way to start the season.
60.Torrey Smith
61.Eric Decker
62.Vincent Jackson
63.Stevie Johnson
64.Miles Austin
65.Vernon Davis
66.Jermichael Finley
67.Aaron Hernandez
68.Peyton Hillis: A popular "sleeper". To be featured in my "Fantasy Redeem Team" (coming soon).
69.CJ Spiller
70.Mark Ingram
71.Eli Manning
72.Peyton Manning
73.Mike Wallace
74.DeShaun Jackson
75.Pierre Garcon
76.Reggie Wayne
77.Darrius Heyward-Bey: Another guy I keep moving up.  I guess I want him this year.
78.Jared Cook: The Witten injury has me moving Cook up.  Also it sounds like Locker will start!
79.Fred Davis: Same for Fred.  Might be a little high, but if you still need a TE, he's worth reaching too.
80.Jason Witten: I don't like phrases like "possible surgery", "no timetable", or "out indefinitely".
81.Shonn Greene
82.Michael Bush
83.Toby Gerhart: AP is already looking good in practice, but Toby still great handcuff to have.
84.Kevin Smith
85.Ryan Williams
86.Montario Hardesty: Looking good with the first team in preaseason.  Just sayin...
88.Matt Ryan: Moving just behind RGIII (belong in same area).  Do you want safe or a rookie risk?
89.Anquan Boldin
90.Lance Moore
91.Robert Meachem
92.Greg Little
93.Mike Williams
94.Denarius Moore
95.Ronnie Brown: Try to disregard how high he is for me because Mathews is my main keeperl.
96.Lagarette Blount
97.Ben Tate
98.Mikel Leshoure: Still not healthy enough for team drills (and there's the 2-game suspension)
99.Roy Helu
100.David Wilson
101.Brandon Pettigrew
102.Jacob Tamme: I think he's on the same tier with Pettigrew, assuming Peyton's healthy.
103.Coby Fleener: Same for Fleener.  Luck looked good in debut.
104.Robert Turbin
105.Daniel Thomas
106.Rashad Jennings
107.Cedric Benson: I don't want to get crazy moving him too high just yet, but in good situation.
108.James Starks: Cedric Benson, welcome to the party.  Starks goes waaaaaay down.
109.Malcom Floyd
110.Titus Young: I like the thought of him being the #2 WR in a pass-heavy offense.
111.Jon Baldwin
112.Sidney Rice
113.Randall Cobb
114.Jacquizz Rodgers
115.Ronnie Hillman
116.Jay Cutler
117.Josh Freeman
118.Andrew Luck
119.Big Ben
120.Carson Palmer

121.Jermaine Gresham: I should only rank 12 TEs, but you never know if someone will draft two.
122.Tony Gonzalez: I'm moving him down to this tier as well. 
123.Nate Washington
124.Justin Blackmon
125.Kenny Britt
126.Brandon LaFell: I realize I'd draft him over either 49ers WR.
127.Vincent Brown: Not sure if enough targets to go around in SD, but maybe he overtakes Floyd?
128.Michael Crabtree
129.Mario Manningham
130.Michael Floyd
131.Jonathan Dwyer: If Redman kept out week one, Dwyer could shine and get some of the workload.
132.DeAngelo Williams
133.Jonathan Stewart
134.Mike Goodson 
135.Shane Vereen
136.Felix Jones
137.Isaiah Pead
138.Alex Green
139.Kendall Hunter
140.Delone Carter
141.Bernard Scott
142.Dion Lewis
143.Bernard Pierce
144.Javon Ringer
145.Bears DEF
146.Jets DEF
147.Eagles DEF
148.49ers DEF
149.Steelers DEF
150.Ravens DEF
151.Bills DEF
152.Seahawks DEF
153.Patriots DEF
154.Packers DEF
155.Texans DEF
156.Lions DEF
157.Gostkowski (bye:9)
158.Akers (bye:9)
159.Prater (bye:7)
160.Bailey (bye:5)
161.Janikowski (bye:5)
162.Henery (bye:7)
163.Bryant (bye:7)
164.Crosby (bye:10)
165.Gould (bye:6)
166.Rackers (bye:10)
167.Bironas (bye:11)
168.Hanson (bye:5)

...and in no particular order, here are some guys who didn't quite make the cut (but let's keep an eye on them just in case they do in a week or two)

Santonio Holmes
David Nelson
Austin Collie 
Kendall Wright
Danny Amendola 
Jerome Simpson  
Reuben Randle
Doug Baldwin
Mohamed Sanu
Brian Quick
Leonard Hankerson
Jahvid Best
Curtis Brinkley
Evan Royster
Tim Hightower
Philip Tanner
Pierre Thomas
Ryan Grant (free agent)