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Scott M

Salary Cap War Room 2009

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Last year we had a salary cap league, but I felt it stifled a lot of the good discussion we had in the proceeding two years about good salary cap pickups. Salcap is essentially like a year round waiver wire. All fantasy football games, scoring, and styles have their pros and cons. Auction, Rotisserie, Head to Head, Salary Cap, Keeper, Points, Dynasty, Winners Survival, you name it. For some reason I'm drawn to Salary Cap because you have a chance each week and have complete freedom to get whatever player you want.

At any rate, I was hoping we might talk about sleepers (again using the definition of someone that will outperform their salary value, salary values being calculated off the last two year's statistics), rookies, strategy, weekly matchups, etc. There's always a certain amount of strategy involved for the course of the season and from week to week. Rookies are cheap but unproven. Players on a new team may get more chances. Kickers and defenses may perform better at home rather than on the road or better in fairer weather than in poor weather.

So, let's talk Salary Cap.

QB-I think the discussion begins and ends with Tom Brady. If you had Brady from wire to wire in 2007, you probably won your league. This year, he is again available cheap because he missed last year, and I think most salary cap vets will be taking him. I expect all 12 members of my league to start him week 1 (Although I did hear Albert Haynesworth fell on his shoulder last night). He is projected to be the #1 QB in most rankings. Still, if someone has another guy and can make a case, I'd love to hear it.

RB-This is where things are made or broken. There is a lot of variance in production, so there are always going to be a bevy of players that outperform their salary early on...it's up to you to find which ones they are, by how much, and to lock in early. Rookies and new additions can really play up well here. Last year, I kept Michael Turner from Week 1 to Week 17. He was coming off a back up role in SD where in limited action he looked great. That's the beauty of salcap. Michael was consistent every week so his salary incrementally rose, it wasn't a 5 TD game that put him out of reach for a month or something. He was available almost every week, and some people didn't figure it out until midseason when he wasn't as much of a bargain. But that is the past, what does this season hold? I've been thinking a lot about Ray Rice. He's going to get a ton of touches, he fits the Ravens style, and he's very cheap as a NFL sophomore.

I also like Pierre Thomas. He really finished strong last year, getting 9 TDs in his last 6 games. This year, he's getting a lot of touches. Reggie Bush scares some people off, but he is used more as a receiver than anything, and Pierre catches passes very well too. He's available at a decent price and has a lot of upside for some low risk.

Maurice Jones-Drew has me intrigued. Fred Taylor is gone and MJD has a full year to showcase his skills. He gets goal-line carries, catches the ball out of the backfield a ton, and has a low odometer from splitting carries with Taylor. He should do well with the bulk of the RB duties.

Matt Forte should be another stud. He had 12 Tds last year as a rookie, shouldn't be any different this year. The Bears dumped Benson and made it clear Forte is their man.

Rookies: Knowshonne Moreno and Chris Wells might make a splash. Last year was a good year for rookie RBs; sometimes they come in waves or make little impact at all. This year might be a down year. Moreno is in Denver where its always a mystery who will be the feature back (The Broncos have Peyton Hillis, LaMont Jordan, and Correll Buckhalter lining up at that position as well). Wells was banged up a lot in college and that continues to be a concern. He has to beat out Tim Hightower, but Edge James is gone, so it's a two back race. I haven't heard if anything has shaken out, but you could realistically expect them to split carries, with Hightower getting the 3rd down and goal line carries. Nothing too exciting for me to want to sign these guys.

WR-I look at receivers as the Stats 1001 example position. A running back and quarterback are going to have the ball in their hands around 20-25 times a game. They are going to get theirs. A receiver however, may not. He may have a bad day, he may drop some balls, the QB may have a poor day, he may get matched up with a shut down corner. As it is, this is a position where you can't afford to skimp unless you are dating lady luck. I don't know anyone that consistently strikes it rich with spot starts and lots of weekly player additions at WR. You gotta go with a guy and stick with him. That's where I look at it like a Stats problem. You get a receiver, in their physical prime, and compare to his past two years of production and expect about the same. For that reason, I'm going with Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, and Calvin Johnson. Amongst that list, Johnson sticks out as someone that may not perform as well. He does have some risk. But physically he is a freak. Even with a junk QB he puts up amazing numbers. Boldin, Andre Johnson, and Greg Jennings are the other players I would consider. After those 6, the talent drops off and the risk comes up.

TE-Lots of intrigue here. The good guys (Gates, Richardson, Witten, Clark) get theirs in this position, but its going to cost you. I haven't entirely settled on a player here yet, but I have a few guys in mind. Minnesotan John Carlson should find more space across the middle with the upgrades in Seattle's receiving corps. He had a respectable rookie year and could make more strides this year. Jeremy Shockey could make some improvements. Last year he showed some flashes, but didn't get along too well with the team. Chris Cooley caught a bunch of balls, but only one was in the end zone. Visanthe Shiancoe is a legit fantasy guy now. I can't believe I'm saying that after 1.5 years of dropped passes. Maybe it was all in his head. Now he's got a QB that loves targeting TEs, especially in the end zone. Zach Miller might be the only fantasy play in Oakland. He'll get his yardage, but how many catches will he snag in the end zone? Yardage doesn't mean squat in the scoring I use. Allright, this list is getting too long and I could keep on going, but its not really helping anyone narrow anything down, so here goes: Right now, I'm leaning towards Greg Olsen. The lack of WR playmakers in Chicago will probably make Olsen the pass catching target. If he can get open and make the plays, he should do all right. A little play action tight end seam outta do the trick. Olsen might be able to do what Carlson did in the absence of good receiving in Seattle last year, but with better results.

K-Don't overpay or overthink here. You need to invest in skill positions, not kickers. Rookies are a decent cheap bet. Dan Carpenter was popular last year, Folk and Crosby the year before. This year, the abysmal Chiefs have a rookie by the name of Ryan Succop, and he's probably going to be my week 1 starter. If you still have money here, an indoor kicker or a look at your front runners late season schedule should help you decide whether or not to pull the trigger. Better offenses mean more points...it's pretty simple really.

DEF-I don't like to pay much here either, but that's not always the case. I know some people do very well with strong defenses. Last year's Eagles team forced a bunch of turnovers and scored a few times. The Vikings the year before had a few pick-6's. I saw Washington was cheap this year and they added DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth. Defenses can be a crapshoot. I wouldn't change too much from week to week, especially if you build a ton of value with one team. So what if they play a juggernaut.

So there it is, a few thoughts on salary cap. I'm hoping a few others will chime in with guys they like, bargains, etc. We're about two weeks away, so get your picks in now...I've already appreciated 1.27 million in salaries just from incremental changes since yahoo turned the game on. You wouldn't want to be a penny short just because you waited too long to get your team set up.

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WR-Ocho Cinco and Roy Williams are pretty cheap. I still think you gotta get proven receivers, but both are #1s on their team.

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i agree that you shouldn't try to find a sleeper at WR. i think my starting 3 are reggie wayne, braylon edwards, and colston. they aren't the top 3, but i used the extra money to get adrian peterson and the MN defense.

i think rb's are always the wild cards. you can strike gold there, but don't get too creative. watch for an injury to a number one in a good run system and pick up the back-up if you're in need of some change.

i never spend money on kickers, it seems their values can fluctuate wildly from week to week, so be patient and start with a scrub and maybe pick up a better kicker after they have a bad week. i like to take kickers that play in domes.

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Well, there are 2.5 games to go for week 1, but if you played Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, John Carlson, or Willis McGahee to name a few peak performers, you're probably off to a good start. I needed to make some changes when I found out Thomas was hurt so I juggled my RBs a little. MoJo and Turner. Was 7 cents short on Peterson, wish I would have juggled to get him. I'm okay with not owning Brees because I think Brady will put up good numbers at a far cheaper cost. I believe Brees was the most expensive player to sign entering week 1.

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i like my team, but i think i need to dump braylon edwards. quinn isn't going to have to many big games and that will probably hurt edwards all season.

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So week 2 I went with Ochocinco and I've been pretty happy with that. Also bought in on Steve Smith this week...looks like he's really stepping up in New York in Burress' old role....really cheap at 7 bucks.

There are some really putrid teams this year, so if you can jump around on defenses you can save some money...The Raiders, Lions, and Rams are all pretty bad, and chances are someone cheap defensively is playing them.

I haven't accumulated a ton of value with any running backs yet, so I'm willing to swap some out going into bye weeks. Still, you want to have a set lineup because salaries are going to get out of hand in a few weeks...you get to the point of no return where you get stuck with your team. It's easy to jump around a lot early in the season, but later you need to lock down.

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Top of the league right now, up by about 60. Got Brady still, coming off his bye. I'm hitting the defenses right, mostly because I keep looking for cheap teams playing bad teams...there are some horrible teams this year...Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Oakland...no need to overspend on defenses.

Also picked up Stover to kick for Indy while Vinatieri heals.

MoJo and Peterson are getting it done, but since I got rid of them during their byes, they will get expensive.

Anybody have any other good tips as we start the second half of the season?

Sleepers, injury replacements, rookies to watch for?

I'm liking Brent Celek for cheap at TE, Crabtree to do decent for under $5, Ray Rice to keep cooking...

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I kept Brady through the bye, RBs are Rice and Peterson at a decent price, WRs are Moss, Ochocinco, and Andre Johnson. I dropped Sid Rice before Sunday's game...that was a mistake but not a backbreaker, although I did have him cheap from the previous week at around 7 bucks. That was my bonehead move and my good move was signing Billy Cundiff for about 6 bucks. He netted me 15 points and should have won the starting job for the rest of the year with Baltimore. I've got the Arizona defense and Brent Celek holding it down. I don't want to use the word coasting this early, but I've got a 120 point lead with 6 games to go. If I can play merely above average I should be able to pull off first place and the money pot.

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Well, I've got about $200 coming my way from Salcap. Thank you Brent Celek, Billy Cundiff, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Chad Ochocinco, Andre Johnson, Tom Brady, and plug and play defenses of weeks gone by.

I could have skipped the last 2 weeks and still won handily. 99th percentile scoring.

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Gotta drag this thread up one more time. Any standouts for 2010? I guess we'll see what the free agency brings. I'm thinking:

WR: Sidney Rice, Miles Austin, Steve Smith, Housh, Greg Jennings, Davone Bess, Crabtree, Harvin (Guys with lots of targets, or low TDs and lots of yardage, or guys that had breakout years but average years the year before ***remember that salcap starts salaries off with the average of the previous 2 years performance***)

RB: Jamaal Charles, Knowshon Moreno, Jerome Harrison, Felix Jones, Beanie Wells (a couple guys in sophomore seasons and guys that made the most of opportunities)

QB: Cutler and Leinart (Cutler was in the upper quartile of the league in TDs, he can only get better with more familiarity and better personnel, cutting INTs alone makes him better. Leinart will be handed the reins of a pretty good offense with good receivers)

TE: Jermichael Finley (came on strong, great playoff game), Kevin Boss (finished strong), Witten (low TDs), Keller (familiarity with Sanchez)

K: lots of rookies and cheap kickers...hard to say now...sometimes if a team looks better on paper in terms of offense (new personnel or coaches), the corresponding kicker is a good choice

DEF: see last comment about kickers and apply it to defenses...unless there is a lot of turnover, most defenses don't change in scoring too rapidly from year to year.

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Too bad KC had to add Thomas Jones to water down Charles. Carson Palmer looking better with the two egos at WR. One of the Bears WRs will blow up. C.J. Spiller a good pick, Megatron should have a monster year.

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Yahoo changed their Salcap and it stinks. Citizen Sports runs it as an application on Facebook. Yuck. Player values aren't based on previous years performance and values are rounded to whole dollars. Not cool. They ruined something that was pretty cool and made me some money.

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