Fantasy Focus: Don't Be A Homer

One of the cardinal rules of Fantasy Football is to take the "fan" out of "fantasy." Don't overvalue the players from your favorite team. ColtPower.com staffers Brad Keller and Eric Hartz already have a draft each under their belts, and Brad Keller chimes in with his advice for Indianapolis Colts fans everywhere.

Eric drafted in a 12-team league and Brad drafted in a 12-team league with one keeper.  His keeper was Larry Johnson — yes, that makes him very, very nervous.

Here are the results of both drafts, with the Colts player listed and the round in which they were drafted:

Eric:

Joseph Addai, Round 1 (6th overall)

Peyton Manning, Round 1 (8th overall, drafted by Eric)

Reggie Wayne, Round 2 (17th overall)

Dallas Clark, Round 4


Joseph Addai is a valued commodity in most leagues
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Marvin Harrison, Round 5

Anthony Gonzalez, Round 8

Colts D/ST, Round 9

Adam Vinatieri, Round 11

Mike Hart, Round 12

Dominic Rhodes, Round 15 (drafted by Eric)

Brad:

Joseph Addai, Round 1 (1st overall, his owner kept Tom Brady)

Peyton Manning, Round 2 (22nd overall, Brad drafted next and was hopeful, but didn't get him)

Reggie Wayne, kept by one of the 12 teams

Dallas Clark, Round 6 (4th tight end taken)

Marvin Harrison, Round 4 (by Brad, explanation follows)

Anthony Gonzalez, Round 7

Colts D/ST, Round 13

Adam Vinatieri, Round 12

Hart and Rhodes went undrafted.

Notes:  The keeper league format basically bumps all players up a round, since all the owners have one round of players under their belts when the draft starts.  Brad's draft took place in Pittsburgh, where Steelers were, as is against the rules, at a premium.  Eric's draft took place in Indianapolis where Colts were at a premium.  One owner in Eric's league — a Hoosier living in Tennessee — drafted Clark, Harrison, Gonzalez, the Colts D/ST, and Vinatieri, so that skews the results slightly, but they're surprisingly normalized when the keeper league factor is taken into account.

What We Learned:

Joseph Addai: He is a highly coveted player, particularly in leagues that award one point per reception.  In Pittsburgh, no one believed that Addai would get injured or that Rhodes or Hart would cannibalize his carries.

The owner that kept Brady over Addai caught a great deal of flak from the other owners, since they believed Addai to be a prized possession.  If you are fortunate enough to have a shot at Addai drafting fifth or sixth overall, take him, especially in PPR (Points Per Reception) leagues.

Peyton Manning: Eric felt as though he may have reached for Manning at 8th overall, but knew, as anyone that has owned Manning in Fantasy, that owning him can have a calming effect on the rest of the team.  An owner is never unsure about who to start at quarterback, Manning puts up consistent numbers, and he never gets hurt.

The rumors surrounding his knee injury probably hurt him in Brad's league, but Brad almost pulled the trigger on him 3rd overall.

He is going to have a big season, should be healthy, and if you find yourself in a situation where he is available late in the first round or early in the second, draft him.  If his past performance is not enough, the fact that owners in two different leagues drafted his third receiver in the eighth round should be sufficient evidence.  He has a lot of weapons and is very adept at getting the ball in their hands.

Reggie Wayne: He may be overvalued in the early going, considering all the weapons the Colts have at their disposal on offense. In the first few games, defenses will likely focus on Wayne and make the Colts beat them with Harrison, Gonzalez, and Clark.

Since Manning will simply throw to the open receiver, that will take away from the number of times he targets Wayne — and the number of times Tom Moore tries to isolate him in the formation to get the best matchup.

Wayne stepped up last season against tremendous odds and was able to overcome the fact that he was the focus of the defense through effort and scheme.  Without scheme in his favor, he may struggle early.

However, he is too talented to be kept down for long, so keep your eyes peeled for an owner that wants to unload their second round pick in Week 4.


Dallas Clark puts points on the board, but there are better values to be found
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Dallas Clark: If your league requires you to start a tight end, Clark is a good target, but there are a number of other tight ends that hold more value in the later rounds.  Jason Witten and Kellen Winslow are no longer well-kept secrets, but late-round acquisitions such as Alge Crumpler and Tony Scheffler might serve you better while you pick up wide receivers and depth at running back.

As good as Clark is — with 11 touchdowns last season, he certainly will get looks in the red zone — he is still not in that absolute top tier of fantasy tight ends and there are better values to be had.

Marvin Harrison: If the preseason is anything to shout about, Harrison has a great deal of value in PPR leagues, since he will be targeted early and often as defenses attempt to prove that they can take Wayne out of the play.

As the season progresses, his numbers will decline, but he will still end up with a solid season, a very respectable reception total, and his fair share of looks in the red zone.  He still has a deep connection with Manning and his quarterback will continue to look his way until he is no longer on the field.

In non-PPR leagues, Harrison has less value, but will still contribute and is worth a sixth or seventh round selection.

Anthony Gonzalez: He may be seen as a handcuff for Harrison, but, provided that Harrison can stay healthy this season, he may prove to be much more than that, especially early in the season.

If defenses try to take away Wayne, Manning's first read will be to the deepest receiver that is open, which means that he will look at Gonzalez first.  If your league rewards long touchdowns or high receiving averages, Gonzalez could prove to be an excellent third receiver.

However, if Harrison gets the bulk of the early action, ball distribution will return to normal and Gonzalez will not get targeted as frequently.  As a fourth receiver or handcuff, though, he has a great deal of value, so draft him with confidence in the seventh or eighth round when you would ordinarily draft a fourth receiver, but not before.

Colts D/ST: Brad is staying away from the Colts D/ST for the simple fact that they will not be a stellar fantasy defense in spite of the fact that he believes they will be a top-10 defense in terms of yards and points allowed in 2008.

The Colts defense does not have the look of a unit that will cause a great number of turnovers (although they have led the league in turnover ratio over the last five years), score a great deal of touchdowns, or pile up a lot of sacks.  For fantasy purposes, that's a bad defense.

Brad took a defense before the next-to-last round for the first time in recent memory and took the Seahawks.  They are generally available late and will accumulate a large number of sacks and turnovers in a still diluted NFC West.

Adam Vinatieri: As the most clutch kicker in the history of the NFL, Vinatieri often gets more credit than he is due as a placement specialist.

If your league rewards higher point totals for longer kicks, Vinatieri should be avoided.  Though he will once again be kicking indoors for most of his home games, he didn't convert an attempt over 40 yards until January.

He will regain his clutch status in 2008, but fantasy success comes in number of converted attempts, not number of clutch kicks.  The Colts offense is too effective in the red zone to give him many easy opportunities and a missed field goal from 50 yards still counts as a missed field goal.  Let another owner reach for Vinatieri.  Robbie Gould, Mason Crosby, Phil Dawson, Josh Brown, and John Kasay are fine.

Mike Hart/Dominic Rhodes: These men are best as handcuffs if you already own Addai or want to take the security of another owner away from them.  The lead tailback job is Addai's to lose to injury and injury alone.

Though it's true that he has shown a propensity in his first two seasons to wear down over time, Rhodes in particular, and Hart, to a lesser degree, should be added as insurance and insurance alone.

The 15th round seems about right for Rhodes.  In most leagues, Hart should be available as a free agent and, if he isn't at the outset of the season, he will become a free agent as other owners lose interest in him with a healthy Addai and Rhodes ahead of him in the depth chart, and release him.  Save a roster spot for that eventuality. 


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