By Adam Holtz
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“It’s the most wonderful time… of the year!”
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Yes, draft day is here again (okay, just pretend it is). The time when old men act like they’re at a bachelor party. The time when you get together with all your buddies once again for a night of drinking and drafting. The time when you spend an evening ripping the guy who finished in last place the year before about how he’s never gonna contend, as he begrudgingly serves all the food at the draft party, a fitting penalty for such a poor performance last year.
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And it’s the time that you know your commissioner somehow, some way, is going to mess things up once again, making the night a memorable one for all the wrong reasons.
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It could be like last year, when the monstrous easel he constructed just for the occasion fell over and smacked his wife on the back of her noggin, postponing the last 4 rounds of the draft while
he took her to the ER.
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It might end up like the year before, when you held the draft in a restaurant parking lot, because the commish made the mistake of reserving their party room for the wrong Saturday night.
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It could be like that one time when the old wireless router he had pulled out of the closet hours before the draft pooped out after the first 3 picks, and the entire online draft was then conducted
by auto-picking everyone’s team.
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Or maybe, just maybe, it’ll be like that time so many years ago (actually it was just four years ago, but seems like 44), when everything went smoothly and without any problems whatsoever. Everyone had a great time, ate and drank as much as they wanted, laughed and joked the whole time, and each owner “knew” he had the best team in the league when the night was over, and were eager to get the season started.
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Truth be told, the annual draft is THE singular highlight of any fantasy sports league. More so than even the championship, everyone looks forward to it with eager anticipation, hoping that this year might be “the year.” It’s kind of like NASCAR, where the pomp and pageantry of the season-opening Daytona 500 rivals and perhaps dwarfs that of the season-ending, championship-deciding, race. The draft also is likely the only time that all of your league’s owners are able to sit down together in the same place at the same time. Because of all these factors, it is important that the commissioner make draft night a success.
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And the truth is that there is a fine line between running the draft, and ruining the draft. Just like how the two words are very similar – just one letter changes – there are also many small things that can turn a well-executed draft night party into a ruined one. Here’s a handy checklist that all commissioners ought to keep in mind when planning the draft:
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1. Get arrangements made months in advance (if possible).
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Nobody likes to have something inserted into their own personal calendar by someone else, but such an event is even more poorly-received when it is done at the last minute. I usually start putting out feelers in May or June for a draft in August. It might sound crazy, but it works.
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2. Find a date/time that works for EVERYONE.
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Goes hand-in-hand with #1. This is indeed possible if you work with enough advance time to allow others to set their schedules around it. It’s so much more fun when everyone can attend without having to “phone-in” or “here’s my list for tomorrow night” auto-pick. Plus it really ticks off the one person who can’t attend if you schedule it when everyone else but him CAN attend.
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3. Don’t try so hard to be over-the-top that you overlook little things.
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Look back at the awful instances described above. Your job as commissioner is to conduct the draft, NOT to turn it into a circus, no matter how much fun the latter might seem. Just keep track of the picks – whether that’s on overhead projector, laptop, easel, or pen and paper is all up to you. But don’t let something get in the way of tracking each pick in an effective manner. Make sure the router works – days in advance. Nothing is worse than technology problems on the most important day of the fantasy year. Confirm reservations and accommodation details with your host a week in advance. Which leads me to my next point:
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4. If you are dealing with a host(ess?), don’t assume anything on his part.
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It sounds mean, but it’s nothing more than looking out for number one. It’s your butt that will be the butt of jokes when something doesn’t go well. No one will ever care or remember that the Hooters reservation clerk you talked to when reserving the party room for your draft does not know how to read a calendar and to reserve the correct date you requested. If you have a restaurant or party room hosting your draft, contact them about a week in advance to confirm all the details – food, space, internet access, etc. Leave nothing to chance (or to stupidity). Likewise, if Bob is hosting the party, do NOT assume that he knows how much your 10 buddies will eat or drink – or that his wife has ever cooked before. It sounds harsh, but trust me, bad things have happened to commissioners who do not cover all these bases.
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5. Have a backup plan for EVERYTHING.
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This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just ask yourself “what-if” questions constantly, and you’ll be in pretty good shape here. The bottom line is that if something can go wrong, you need to anticipate that it will. Internet goes on the fritz, drunkenness leads to injuries, natural disaster, act of God, etc. There’s any number of things that could go wrong, and eventually, something will. Just remember what my old coach always used to say: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
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The most important thing to remember when planning the draft, is that you are the commissioner not for yourself, but for the rest of the owners in your league. More than likely, they NEED you to make sure the draft goes smoothly (think about it – you could name a couple owners in your league who DEFINITELY could not run a draft). But don’t let that feeling of being needed go to your head. You are the one on whom they depend for their biggest “fantasy fix,” but next year, they could always turn to someone else, too. Don’t take anything for granted, take pride in what you organize for draft day, and appreciate that the owners in your league gave you the responsibility for setting everything up. AND ENJOY THE DRAFT!
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(Anyone who has some “nightmare” stories about fantasy drafts gone bad is welcome to post comments – let us know of other mistakes to avoid!)
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Adam Holtz is a former college sports information director living in southern Minnesota. His 15 years of playing fantasy sports – as well as 15 years of commissioner work – have given him a wealth of experience on which to draw. As much as he loves fantasy football, he still wonders sometimes if his wife loves it even more than he does.
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Email the Commish: adam.holtz(at)gmail.com or check out his blog atchampguy.blogspot.com.


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Obviously the state of the NFL is in complete turmoil. Will there be a season? Hard to say, but we have to still prepare like there will be one. We continue our series of analyzing the number one pick in 2011 fantasy football drafts with Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.
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Calling Chris Johnson’s 2010 season a disappointment doesn’t give enough credit to the 1609 total yards (1364 rushing, 245 receiving) he amassed or the 12 touchdowns (11 rushing) he scored. Those are unbelievable numbers. They are along the lines of the 1488 total yards (1228 rushing, 260 receiving) and ten touchdowns (nine rushing) he posted as a rookie. However, when you compare them to the 2509 total yards (2006 rushing, 503 receiving) and 16 touchdowns (14 rushing) he posted in 2010 or the 2500 rushing yards he spoke of heading into last year, and I can see where you were a little let down.
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The Titans were a mess last year. So much so that both Vince Young and Jeff Fisher were sent packing. With order presumably restored, Chris Johnson and the Titans look to get back on track. They’ll need to figure out the quarterback situation, but it’s hard to imagine it being any worse than last year. Especially with Kenny Britt developing into a big game receiver. Defenses won’t simply be able to stuff the box on CJ2K.
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What I like about taking Johnson first is that he produced the monster year like Arian Foster did last year, has the explosiveness of Jamaal Charles, and the track record of Adrian Peterson. In three years he’s averaging 1868.7 total yards and 12.7 touchdowns. He has 24 100 yard games. He is tied with Rondel Melendez for the fastest 40 time in NFL Combine history. He has had at least 43 catches in each of his first three years, making him even more valuable in PPR leagues.
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If 1609 total yards and 12 touchdowns is a down year, then what could he do if he bounces back? Personally I would love to have the third pick in fantasy drafts. With Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and Chris Johnson, how can you go wrong? Depending on the Titans’ quarterback situation next year, I would have a hard time not selecting CJ2K number one in 2011 fantasy football drafts.
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Obviously the state of the NFL is in complete turmoil. Will there be a season? Hard to say, but we have to still prepare like there will be one. We continue our series of analyzing the number one pick in 2011 fantasy football drafts with Jamaal Charles. Charles finished second in the league last year with 1467 yards. He did so while sharing carries with Thomas Jones, who actually had 15 more carries than Charles. Jones ran for 896 yards. Jones’ 3.7 yards per carry paled in comparison to Charles’ 6.4 ypc, which was second in the league to Michael Vick. It’s mind-boggling why Jones got more work, but rest assured that won’t be the case in 2011.
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Charles was also effective catching the ball out of the backfield, adding 468 yards on 45 receptions. He had 40 catches in 2009 for 297 yards. With more touches in 2011, Charles can challenge for the league lead in total yards.
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Initially there were questions as to whether Jamaal could hold up for a full season. The bulk of the damage Charles did in 2009 came in the second half when he had fresh legs. Charles more than put those questions to rest. In his last 24 games Charles has averaged 127.5 total yards per game. He’s every bit as explosive as any running back in the league, sporting a career 6.0 ypc. Charles tied for sixth with ten 20+ yard runs. Despite basically playing only half a season in 2009 he was tied for eight with nine 20+ yard runs.
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The knock on Charles is his lack of touchdowns. He combined for eight (five rushing, three receiving) last year and nine (seven rushing, one receiving, one kick return) in 2009. Four of his five rushing touchdowns last year where from the five yard line and in proving he’s capable of scoring on tough runs. I expect him to continue to excel near the goal line, thanks in part to his versatility in the passing game and the emergence of Dwayne Bowe. I also think he will break more long touchdown runs next year.
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Personally I wouldn’t take Charles with the number one pick, but there is certainly a case to be made, especially if he receives 300+ carries.
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Also check out:

 


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The Vikings were terrible last year. Brett Favre was nowhere near the level he played at in his first year with the Purple. Sidney Rice wasn’t Sidney Rice. Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe were in the same boat. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams weren’t even as dominant. It was like it was a completely different team…except for Adrian Peterson.
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Peterson, who was much maligned for his fumbling issues, lost just one fumble, and it was caused by his own teammate, Bernard Berrian. AP ran for a career low 1298 yards, but nobody should be complaining about nearly 1300 rushing yards. He added 36 catches for 341 yards. Peterson ran for 12 touchdowns and caught another one. Quite simply, Adrian Peterson had a typical year for him.
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What exactly is a typical year for #28? In his four years All Day has averaged 1445.5 yards per season at 4.8 yards per carry. Last year Peterson posted a 4.6 yards per carry clip. When you ask a Viking fan what the most pressing need after quarterback is, the majority will tell you the offensive line. Yes, Peterson compiled 1639 yards of total offense and top ten ypc rank. AP finished with 13 total touchdowns, which is nothing new to him. He has averaged 13.5 touchdowns since setting the league ablaze as a rookie out of Oklahoma in 2007.
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I know he only had five 100 yards games last year, but he scored in nine of the 15 games he played. He has 1198 career carries, but he’ll be just 26 when (if) the season starts. One could argue that he inflicts more pain on would-be tacklers than vice versa. My guess is when Peterson does decline, it will be a rapid one. His body will probably give way because he is such a violent runner. You may not be prepared for his fall, but I don’t see it happening now. Peterson works too hard. He needs to improve at catching the ball out of the backfield and he goes for 43 receptions the next year. He has to solves his fumbling woes and he loses just one fumble in Week 16. Every year Peterson comes back a better player. This year shouldn’t be the exception.
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You want to draft Arian Foster? I can’t fault you, but do note that he has one spectacular year under his belt. Peterson has four. Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, etc? I won’t argue with you, but nobody has the track record that All Day does. If you’re lucky enough to win the first pick in your fantasy draft, remember the guy who has averaged 1738 total yards and 13.5 touchdowns for the past four seasons.
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While the NFL has become a quarterback driven league, fantasy football still remains a running back league. I know, wide receivers and quarterbacks have come a long way, and I do believe the elite ones like Aaron Rodgers and Andre Johnson are first round material, but we’re talking about the first overall pick here. To me, the first few picks are still reserved for the top running backs, and while he came out of nowhere, Arian Foster was easily the top running back last year.
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Foster opened the season with a bang, dismantling the Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 231 yards and three touchdowns. He went on to pile up 2220 yards, 1616 on the ground and 604 through the air. He racked up 18 touchdowns, 16 rushing and two receiving. That’s an average of 138.8 total yards and 1.1 touchdowns per game.
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He did it week in and week out. Aside from two poor outings (Week 5 against the Giants and Week 15 against the Titans), Foster delivered. He did not slow down either, as he recorded his second highest rushing total in Week 17 when he ran for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Jacksonville.
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I know some of you are concerned that last year was a fluke, but keep in mind he ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 and 119 yards (with 26 receiving yards) and two touchdowns in Week 17 of 2009. Foster will be just 25 and he has proven to be the perfect back for Houston’s zone blocking scheme.
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He has little competition for carries in Houston. Sure, Ben Tate is returning leg and ankle injuries, but he is the clear backup. After searching for a running back for years, the Texans have a winner in Foster. Don’t expect them to suddenly go away from him. Plus, with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson there is no concern that opposing defenses will stuff the box to stop the running game. Johnson is far too talented for that. It’s truly a pick your poison situation in Houston.
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Even Vick knows where he should be drafted.
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By Cy Holt
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For those of you who were lucky enough to pick up Michael Vick last year you don’t have to read this. Because only you select few know the great feeling and comfort of having him on your team. And for those who weren’t so lucky, you know the awful uncomfortable feeling of playing against him. #7 scored 300 points in 2010, including his monster 49-point game against
Washington in week 10.
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He was only surpassed by breakout running back Arian Foster who scored 313 points (according to ESPN fantasy football
standard league scoring). Vick did his damage in just 12 games. That is an average of 25 points per week. Just think of what he could have done if he would’ve played all 16 games!
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Within the top five scorers last year no player scored over 20 per game. Except Vick. Yes, there is some discussion on if Michael will be able to stay healthy and not get hurt. People say he runs too much, and takes too many big hits from opposing defenses instead of sliding. Well I got two things to say…
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#1 He got better of running out of bounds and sliding after his injury
#2 News flash for you, running backs take those same hits every play.
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So there is a risk with whomever you draft. But just know that Vick is as tough as they come. Most people are still stuck on drafting a running back with the number one overall pick . Well, I’m here to change your mind. Nobody in football has the capability to put up the monster week as Vick. He set a career high in rushing touchdowns and easily had his best season passing the football. He matured this year, finally working at his craft. With a ton of young, explosive weapons on offense, the sky is the limit for Vick.
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If I had the number two, three, or four pick I am taking a RB, but for the number one pick it is a clear and obvious choice that you should take Michael Vick.
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The Ultimate Draft Tool is created by UltimateFFStrategy.com but our player rankings have been integrated into the draft tool.

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The Ultimate Draft Tool is a very unique program which tells you who we believe you should pick in your fantasy draft. It adjusts itself based on your league settings, position settings, drafting tendencies, the players that other teams have picked and evidently the players you have selected. This year there is even a mock draft feature which allows you to practice drafts in 5 to 10 minutes while getting our suggested picks.

Buy the 2010 Ultimate Draft Tool for only $15

Download the 2010 Ultimate Draft Tool
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Download the 2009 Ultimate Draft Tool (FREE)
This includes the same features as the 2010 version but with last year’s rankings. This will allow you to make sure the tool works on your computer and to see how the tool can help you.

Download the unprotected version : If you are unable to edit cells for any version you can download this version. Be very careful however because you could experience problems if you change any cells that are not in green.

Once you buy the Ultimate Draft Tool, we will send you an e-mail with your password to access the file within 24 hours (generally much faster). The player rankings and average draft position rankings will be updated about once a week. All you have to do is download the program before your draft to get the most up do date version.
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Is your fantasy football draft done online without a get together?  I understand if you have people who live far enough away that it just isn’t feasible.  I also understand if you choose to put aside some time during your workday or it’s easier for you to get to OK from your better half if you don’t actually leave the house.  I still think the best way to do a draft is getting together over beer and wings and such.  It’s half the fun really.  You can give the last place finisher crap and ridicule the guy (girl) who made the trade that imploded his (her) team.  However, there are circumstances when getting everyone together is nearly impossible and the autodraft feature helps fill out the roster.  Judging by some of the people I’ve played with over the years, they’d be better off to have the computer picking any way.

Alternatively, say you do get together.  There’s always one owner who conveniently forgets their cash or checkbook.  It happens every year.  You’ve got to do everything in your power, just short of calling in a collection agency, to get the money, especially if there team is in the tank.  That’s a headache that the commissioner doesn’t need.

Well if you have either of these problems, I’ve discovered a solution .  Let me start by saying I have no affiliation with this service, but found it interesting and decided to pass it on to you.  It’s called League Safe

league-safe.gif League Safe is a free service (they collect the interest on your money I assume) that allows your owners to pay online.  The entry fees go  into one of LeagueSafe’s FDIC-insured partner bank (US Bank or The Bancorp Bank).  At the end of the season you just validate who the winners are and what the payouts are going to be.  Within three to ten days you get your money. 

If you’re on-the-fence about whether or not this is a good idea for your league, just know that fantasy guru Paul Charchian is the Founder and President of League Safe.

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Paul Charchian


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