Boser’s Tweetbeat: Rules Change, Eagles’ Quarterbacks, and the Harbaugh Effect
Boser’s Tweetbeat – Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
A Kick in the Teeth?
The NFL’s decision to move kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line has been widely criticized by coaches, players, and fans alike. Touchbacks are boring, and more importantly, they deprive us of fantasy scoring opportunities. Last season roughly 16 percent of kickoffs resulted in touchbacks — that number is expected to double in 2011. Furthermore, it’s been speculated that there will be an emphasis on kickoff height, giving coverage units extra time to swarm. So how exactly will this rule change affect fantasy football? Well, unless your league awards points for return yards, the impact will be minimal. The odds of that pleasantly unexpected six-pointer from guys like Percy Harvin or Jacoby Ford just took a hit, but you shouldn’t be banking on those perks anyways.
The Quarterback Shuffle
Now that the Super Bowl buzz has subsided, Michael Vick has reclaimed his throne from Aaron Rodgers as the No. 1 2011 fantasy quarterback. What’s more interesting is the range at which he’s been drafted. In nearly 40 expert mocks run by the fine folks at FantasyFootballWhiz.com and ProFootballFocus.com, he’s been selected everywhere from No. 1 to No. 26. I can’t recall a more polarizing fantasy prospect. I find myself trending towards the low end of the spectrum — outstanding quarterback value can be found in rounds 4-6.
Now that Andy Reid is reportedly willing to listen to trade offers for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, we can safely begin to discuss his fantasy impact as a starter. Where? Take your pick — his name has been tied to speculation in Tennessee, Carolina, San Francisco, Minnesota, Cleveland, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Arizona. Of the eight teams mentioned, no player stands to gain more than Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The addition of a quarterback who can put a ball in his general vicinity would likely propel his fantasy draft stock back to where it belongs — among the top three wide receivers.
The fantasy stock of San Francisco’s passing game has seen an uptick since the hiring of Jim Harbaugh in January. For now, we have to assume Alex Smith will return as quarterback, although that could obviously change depending on how April’s draft plays out. In particular, tight end Vernon Davis’ and wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s ADPs are pointing up. Davis belongs in the top five at his position, regardless of coach or quarterback, but I’m still leery of Crabtree. He’s shown us very little at the NFL level, and his size/speed combination is nothing special. In 27 career games, he’s topped 81 yards just twice, and he’s only scored eight times. Moreover, he’s caught just 55% of his targets (103/187), and averaged a mundane 13.3 yards per catch. Does that seem like mid-round value to you?
Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.