That’s not to say that I wasn’t concerned with the possibility of missing a game or two, but I even thought that was only a remote possibility. In the end, our beloved game is protected for many seasons to come and the recent drama is well behind us. While it would have been nice to avoid the stress of an eleventh hour agreement, it’s the way that dealings of this nature have to be. A pat on the back to both sides for respecting the game and the fans enough to get a deal done and not allow things to drag out more than they had to.
We hope you have enjoyed our off-season content and our first Dynasty Essentials Guide as we continue to build DLF with the goal of providing the most relevant fantasy football content on the net, especially as it relates to the dynasty format. But even more important is our desire to attract the best fantasy coaches and minds on the planet and give them a home to share their experiences, opinions and stories in our forums. We want each of you to be an active member of our growing community.
We fully understand that there are many great sites available but we feel that we are the best at orienting and delivering our content with YOU in mind and respecting you as the fantasy coach you are. It’s not about volumes of arbitrary articles or content pieces that have little value or lining our pockets with your dollars so that you can simply see what we have to say. Sure, we do consider ourselves experts but we are not going to pretend that many of you aren’t also at that same level in both interest and ability. So between our site, content, guide and forums and most importantly you, we feel that we have everything needed to provide value to all levels of fantasy players, expert and novice alike. So if you haven’t already done so, get signed up on our forum and call us home – we can’t be successful with what we are trying to accomplish without YOU and we want our community to be biggest, best and most knowledgeable in the game.
Thanks to all of you for making 2011 DLF’s best year yet. Stay tuned, we have a lot more that we want to accomplish.
Now let’s talk some football….
I’m curious to see what 2011 offers, at least early on. In normal years, offensive production is typically down until rhythm and chemistry are established. Obviously, how long this period takes will differ from team to team based on any number of factors. With the protracted training camp schedule, it’s likely that offenses will look anything other than sharp for a longer period of time in 2011. Obviously, opportunistic coaches looking to add offensive talent should stay alert as to take advantage of other coaches that leave the gate very slowly and begin to panic at or near week three. Within that last statement is a good piece of advice, do NOT overreact to a slow start! While every game is most certainly important, a slow start to the beginning of the season won’t necessarily dictate a slow finish, especially if you feel you have a strong offensive team. This is also a great time to trade away first round draft picks for the following year if you believe you are a piece away from a ring. This is also a great time to add draft picks from those teams that aren’t being objective and see themselves as a championship contender when they clearly anything but.
Speaking of draft picks, let’s get one thing straight that anyone playing this game for any length of time understands – draft picks are highly overrated! That is not to say that there aren’t great players who emerge from the draft or that there can’t be a particularly deep year, but generally speaking, stockpiling draft picks or trading away known productive talent for draft picks is a fool’s folly. And draft picks always lose value AFTER the NFL draft. Every year, work out warriors and big names go to disappointing situations which shrinks the pool of potential rookie production. Look at what 2011 has become in respect to the rookie class. Outside of the top three, it’s a horrific class.
2011 has, thus far, been a particularly brutal year and in the drafts that I have done, it has actually been somewhat shocking at the drop-off in talent outside of the second round. Between season ending injuries to higher profile rookies to less-than-ideal quarterback situations to teams that are just not going to be good in 2011, there just seems to be a lot of variability this year. We’ll see whether this plays out as the year unfolds or whether or not staying true to your well thought out draft list will be the strategy that pays the most dividends. Even in the top ten picks, there have been so many stories this year such that each pick is almost a coin flip.
Another thing that I have been watching over previous years has been the slow devaluation of the fantasy running back. A number of years ago this was most evident with the wide-spread adoption of the 2-2-1 system utilizing three backs to, now, a less formal 2-2-1 strategy where offenses rely on two to three role playing backs and passing games that are expanding. Never has it been more obvious that NFL head coaches truly do believe that talented running backs can be found anywhere in the draft and many times as undrafted free agents. And I thought I was the smart coach who traded away Arian Foster before last year because the Texans drafted Ben Tate and Foster finished 2009 with a couple of nice games. Oops. As it relates to passing in the NFL, I believe that 2011 is going to break records for the number of pass attempts. Coaches are realizing that the best opportunity to win comes from getting your play makers into open space and there exists no better way to do that than with a short to intermediate passing attack. Watch Matt Ryan this year, I think this year he will join Manning and Brees in averaging more than forty attempts per game. Other teams will be following.
In response to this slow devaluation of the running back position, I have been stockpiling young receivers as I am able to. Make no mistake that you do have to have a bell cow back, but serious injury is too often an occurrence and short careers plague the position. I’d much rather have a stable of four to five young and established receivers and take my chances in landing a top back somewhere along the line when needed. Rebuilding and under-performing teams are great places to go searching for a productive running back. Young productive receivers can have careers lasting over a dozen years.
The college football season is underway as well and the experienced fantasy coach understands that he/she must stay abreast of what is happening in college. Tomorrow’s NFL stars will arrive from the college game and the depth of the college class, if talented, does make for a more exciting rookie draft in your league. Picks in the bottom half of your first round can still be exciting if the draft class is deep and talented. At least spend a few minutes each week reviewing some of the top teams and the top players to get an idea of how they are performing, especially against other top teams. For the 2012 draft, I am currently working on an all new valuation metric for valuing rookies, one that will include many more attributes and traits toward the goal of determining which rookies have the best opportunity for NFL production. I’ve had particularly good luck when it comes to the receiver position in years past and am looking to come up with a rating system that will rival any other system in existence.
Each week you’ll see continuing articles and content from us here at DLF as we walk you though the 2011 season. We’ll be using more blog style posts to allow for maximum coverage of news and events along with highlight articles for those items that deserve individual attention. As always, we appreciate and welcome your input and questions, especially on the blog pieces since they will be week-long pieces and are ideal for ongoing discussion. We’ll also be offering pre-game chats on Sundays as time permits. We’ll be sure to announce the chats prior to having them, so stay tuned.
Some things to think about as we head into the regular season …
1. Never Bench Your Studs – Don’t get cute or try to outsmart a match-up. Sure Andre Johnson loses some value if he’s going to Revis island, but you don’t bench him. The same goes for the top running backs and quarterbacks.
2. Do the Work – Every successful coach takes a little bit of time each week to study the box scores looking for possible waiver wire gems. This is just as important for IDP leagues. Do the work – every week!
3. Don’t Overreact – Ever! If you find yourself flustered or overly emotional about a move, take some time. Sleep on any big decision that time and situation allows.
4. Sportsmanship – Smack talk is a big part of the game (at least mine), but never smack talk after a game! Some of us take this very seriously and gloating or talking smack after a game can lead to drama and stress.
5. League Commitment – Commit to your league through the last game. Manage your team as if each week was a championship game, whether your 15-1 or 1-15. No sandbagging or intentional mismanagement!
6. Surround Yourself with Excellence – Take part in forums, sites and discussions with good coaches. If you surround yourself with good coaches and good people, your results will be positively impacted.
7. Have Fun – Fantasy football, especially the dynasty format, can be a lot of fun. Your results will eventually equate to the work you put in. Have fun with the game, win or lose!
8. Support DLF – I can speak for all three partners and those that help with making DLF what it is. We love this game, we love the site and we’re try to create a community like that which has never been seen before. Sign up and help us to reach that goal!
Good luck to all of you on your 2011 campaigns and thank you for being a big part of what we’re doing here at DLF!
Are you ready for some football!?!?!?!
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