Free Agent Frenzy

Updated: April 21st 2015

Last week I opened up our offseason strategy series with Top 5 Offseason Questions, which hopefully you’ve read by now. It took a high level look into how you can best assess your Reality Sports Online team as the league offseason is now underway. After one of the craziest weeks of free agency ever and NFL General Managers acting like fantasy football owners at the trading deadline, moving star players around like they were football cards, I figure we should analyze the potential fantasy impact of new landscapes for key fantasy players and other players in those offenses.

I won’t get into players who stayed with their current teams, because we are fairly familiar with what type of production you can expect in those landscapes, although I’m sure many Randall Cobb owners are among the happiest during the free agent period based on him staying with the Packers very productive offense.

1) Jimmy Graham Gets Traded to Seahawks

Of all the days I ended up being away from Twitter for a few hours, I picked a day where NFL GM’s were acting like people selling Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice on the trading floor in Trading Places. I think at one point the internet may have broken when it was announced that the Seattle Seahawks traded Max Unger and the 31st pick overall to the New Orleans Saints for Jimmy Graham and a 4th round pick. The move helps the Saints cap wise as Graham was on a 4-year, $40 million contract signed in 2014 , but leaves a big void by virtue of getting rid of Drew Brees‘ biggest and best target, especially in the red zone.

Seahawks Impact: The Seahawks have been one of the most run heavy teams in the NFL the past three years. That doesn’t figure to change, although having Graham will certainly change the matchup possibilities. Seattle was clamoring for a red zone threat who could win balls in the end zone and in traffic. Graham is that guy, but not someone who is going to cut into Marshawn Lynch’s touchdowns much (maybe Russell Wilson’s rushing touchdowns a bit). Expect the touchdown totals to be down around 8-10 per year and 1,000 yards receiving to be a stretch. I’d move Graham down into a tight end tier with Greg Olsen and a few others. From an RSO standpoint, his average contract of 2.7 years and $57.5 million (average of $21.3 million) is probably about $10.0 million more than you’d want to be spending in the Free Agency Auction Room if he was a free agent in your league. If you can move him and get appropriate value, it may be worth it.

The biggest impact is that this should significantly propel Wilson as a passer. I’d move him into Top 5 quarterback status, passing Drew Brees on the way by virtue of the subtraction of Graham. The Graham acquisition really opens up the middle of the field on intermediate routes with solid depth where the Seahawks like to operate, and also takes the burden off of Lynch a bit. At the end of the day, the Seahawks are still a run first team, but Graham can create big matchup problems (especially in division as teams like the Cardinals don’t perform well versus the position), and this could open up even more zone-read for Wilson. I’m thinking his passing numbers will increase and you may see his first 4,000 passing yard season and his passing touchdowns will be up at the expense of his rushing touchdowns, which one could argue his 2014 total of six rushing touchdowns are headed for statistical regression anyways. If you own Wilson at his average contract of 2.2 years and $16.3 million (average of $7.5 million), you should be getting a great value this year and can improve the other aspects of your team by virtue of having a potential Top 5 quarterback on an amazing contract.  If you are prospecting on any quarterbacks this offseason, I’d have to imagine Wilson would be at the top of your list.

Saints Impact: On the flip side, the Saints re-signing Mark Ingram to a 4 year, $16.0 million deal with $7.6 million guaranteed and making this trade points to them being more of a running team going forward (also added C.J. Spiller)  especially with Unger as their new center. Based on age and losing Graham and Pierre Thomas essentially for cap reasons, I would downgrade Brees to between the 5-7 range among quarterbacks because losing 11.5 touchdowns a year out of Graham is tough to replace and now the team has traded Kenny Stills, there best vertical threat as well. Brees also showed a penchant for turning the ball over last season as well. If you have him and can trade him on name reputation, especially carrying a high-salary deal like the 2.2 years and $43.6 million (average of $19.9 million) deal, I think you would be wise to if you get value you are excited about. Do this especially if lots of quarterbacks figure to be free agents in your league this year as I’m sure you’d rather have Tony Romo for half the price of Brees. I obviously would upgrade Ingram on the Graham deal, but not crazily, in spite of him being a really efficient running back in 2014, he does have a long injury history.

The player I like to benefit most from the Graham trade is second year wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Look for Cooks to move all around in different formations and get a good share of the looks that were headed to Graham and Thomas. It is only a matter of time before Cooks becomes the Cobb of the Saints and if you are in a league where you get fantasy points for returns, he’ll add even more value for you. You probably nabbed him in last year’s rookie draft, as his average deal is 3.3 years and $15.1 million ($4.6 million average). Cooks’ value should be through the roof and I’d hold onto him unless you get a king’s ransom for him.

2) Buffalo Likes Its Sauce Shady Style and Eagles Poach Murray

We all knew that Chip Kelly wants to build his own team. He proved that last year by moving on from DeSean Jackson and cutting several players this offseason. However, we had no clue he’d be trading his star running back Lesean McCoy like two kids trading snack packs in their lunches for linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Bills Impact: Coach Rex Ryan gets a bell-cow for his beloved run game. The team clearly valued McCoy by giving him a new deal for 5 years and $40 million with $26.1m guaranteed after the trade. The 26 year old running back has plenty of tread left on his tires, but is coming off a year where his numbers were significantly down, especially in the receiving game. McCoy has a tendency to not be patient and hit the right holes sometimes which limited him in 2014. That said, he still had over 1,300 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns in a down year. Expect Buffalo to run a-plenty in 2015, including using veteran Fred Jackson as well. I think Jackson will still be a big factor in the receiving game. McCoy’s value was obviously higher as an Eagle (2.6 years and $64.7 million, or $25.2 million average). If you can trade him and use the cap space you got to get a younger player with upside, it may be worthwhile and I certainly wouldn’t give him more than $15.0 million a year on a free agent deal, especially with a quarterback like Matt Cassel at the helm.

Eagles Impact: The team moved a high dollar cap contract and thought it was getting a replacement for McCoy in veteran Frank Gore, who ultimately ended up signing with the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles offense is a bit in flux because it is uncertain whether Mark Sanchez or newly acquired Sam Bradford will be their quarterback and who he will throw to besides Jordan Matthews, who is someone I love this year.

However, this all changed when DeMarco Murray signed with the Eagles on a 5 year, $42.0 million deal with $21.0 million guaranteed on Thursday, shocking the football world, by not only leaving the Cowboys, but going to their division rival in the process. Murray now joins good friend and ex-college roommate Bradford in Philly. Murray had a ton of carries last year and the Eagles have their third down back solution already. I fail to see how but you pay his RSO 2.0 year, $27.0 million contract with a $13.6m annual average in such a crowded backfield, unless trader Chip has not finished making moves yet.

I’d be more on board with the move obviously if the Murray signing meant Ryan Mathews did not sign with the Eagles, however that’s a moot point now. Mathews signing with the Eagles is a better NFL move than a fantasy football one at 3 years, $11.5 million with $5.0 million guaranteed. While he’s been injury and fumble prone to say the least, Mathews also averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2013 and 4.5 yards per carry in limited 2014 action. Mathews’ average RSO deal reflects his injury history at 1.6 years and $11.1 million ($7.2 million average), which is a lot of money for a backup to Murray.

The big question is what Dallas now does to replace Murray, and it seems like based on cost and availability the team should look to the first round of the NFL Draft to nab their bell-cow. Todd Gurley is personally my favorite running back in the draft by a wide margin (think Lynch with more speed) and worth the injury wait and Melvin Gordon would look nice in the Big D as well.

3) Orange Julius Changes His Color

One can’t help but think that if Julius Thomas was writing thank you notes after getting a big new job in Jacksonville, the first one would be to Peyton Manning for turning him into a touchdown machine the past two years. Thomas cashed in on his 24 touchdowns in 27 games by signing a huge 5 year, $46.0 million deal with $24.0 million guaranteed.

Jaguars Impact: I like giving second year quarterback Blake Bortles a security blanket in the red zone. The team just has to get their first and it would be naive to think that Thomas will come close to double digit touchdowns in Jacksonsville as the pass-catching tight-end. He has great hands, but needs to avoid persistent ankle injuries to live up to the value of his deal. Thomas’ 1. 8 years and $25.4 million ($13.9 million average) should be cut in half or by two-thirds for being in the Jaguars offense relative to the Broncos offense. His volume should increase, but the value of his touchdowns in Denver will be really hard to replicate in Jacksonville, at least the next two years, especially if he can’t stay healthy.

Broncos Impact: Many of Manning’s tight-ends have been the product of his confidence in them and the system. Tight end Virgil Green is a super-cheap sleeper option in your auction. He’s noted as a good blocker as well, which should keep him on the field and in Manning’s good graces. Owen Daniels was a sneaky signing (3 years, $12.0 million) for the Broncos who had success under Gary Kubiak in both Houston and Baltimore. I imagine that will be even more pronounced with Manning and if you are in a league where someone kept him (average deal was 1.0 year for $1.1 million), I really like Daniels as a buy-low and ride high guy.

4) The Colts Get Some Vets

It became clear in the playoffs that the Indianapolis Colts were on the brink of becoming a contender for the AFC Championship every year. Improving on offense was a priority, especially at running back. The Colts did one better. Not only did they pry Gore away from the Eagles to replace a horrid Trent Richardson in the backfield, but they also signed wide receivers Andre Johnson and Duron Carter to provide two huge targets for all-world quarterback Andrew Luck to throw to in addition to T.Y. Hilton, while the team cut veteran Reggie Wayne.

Colts Impact: These veteran signings increase the stock of Luck the most and signing Todd Herremans on the offensive line should be big too. He’d be a top three QB option anyways, but you have to salivate at Johnson getting two shots a year at the Texans as well. Johnson never has been a great red zone receiver (last season with 8 or more touchdowns was 2010), but he can win in the middle more than Wayne can at this point and had 85 receptions and almost 1,000 yards in a down year with a terrible quarterback situation last year. Carter, the son of Hall of Famer Cris Carter, is a project, but provides a huge 6’5″ target for Luck, along with Donte Moncrief, who showed some flashes in an inconsistent rookie season. Johnson’s $9.6 million average on a 1.5 average deal length is more than I’d pay at this point, but it will be interesting to see how he extends his career with Luck.

The Gore signing is better from an NFL perspective than a fantasy one. I think he could score 8-10 touchdowns if given the lead-back role, but at his age, you aren’t counting on him for a multi-year deal or either trading him or trading for him.

5) Jeremy Maclin’s Homecoming

Once Cobb announced early in free agency that he’d return to the Packers, Jeremy Maclin became the prized piece for free agent wide receivers. In a move that probably shocked nobody, Maclin agreed to a 5 year, $55.0 million deal with $22.5 million guaranteed with his former coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. For Maclin it is a homecoming to rejoin Reid and because the St. Louis native went to the University of Missouri. Maclin figures to bolster a receiving corps that had zero wide receiver touchdowns in 2014, compared to Maclin’s 10 touchdowns.

Chiefs Impact: Tough to say because quarterback Alex Smith is a known dinker and dunker. With Travis Kelce emerging at the tight end position, the signing of Maclin was a necessary move, even at high dollars for a receiver that only has cracked 1,000 receiving yards last year (85 receptions for 1,318 yards) and already missed the 2013 season with a torn ACL. Maclin’s injury and free agent status seem to be priced into his 2014 contract values from RSO auctions as his average deal is for 1.7 years and $7.0 million, or an average of $4.2 million. If you own a deal like that, you stick as Maclin should be the focal point of the Chiefs passing game. If you believe Maclin will still be a 1,000 yard and 8 touchdown guy for the Chiefs, you should pursue offseason deals for him as he’s very familiar with Reid’s offense and is a pro’s pro.

6) Other Notes

I think Nick Foles can be a solid starter in St. Louis and love the idea of two teams swapping potential starting quarterbacks in a fantasy-football like deal, but I’m not sure I’m thrilled about paying him $7.8 million annually. Bradford, who he got traded for has too long a history of injuries and inability to hit on big plays for my liking, so I’m staying away from him. Shane Vereen signing with the Giants benefits nobody in the backfield, but should be a significant upgrade for Eli Manning as a pass-catching running back. I’m not afraid to call Eli a sleeper with the weapons he has and I’d gladly pay his 1.2 year contract for $2.8 million ($2.4 million average) even in a backup capacity. The Ndamukong Suh signing in Miami figures to give the team a monstrous front four, but I still think the Miami defense is no better than a fringe top-ten option. I like the potential impact Trent Cole can have on the Indy defense.

That’s all for now, folks, but we’ll continue this throughout the offseason. You can find me on Twitter @mattgoody2

RSO Off-Season Schedule

Updated: January 4th 2016

Welcome to the RSO off-season, where things can get even more interesting and exciting than during the season. Congrats to all of our 2015 league champions! Remember, it is never too early to start strategizing for 2016, and to help you better prepare for the upcoming season, please find some important dates and off-season rules/info below:

January 1st, 2015 to March 1st, 2015

From now until March 1st, we will be making enhancements and implementing necessary upgrades to our site, which will make our platform even better in 2015. If you have not completed our end of the year user survey yet, please take a few minutes to do so. Your feedback will help us make the site better for you in 2015 and beyond. Additionally, we will be rolling-over existing leagues from the 2014 season to the 2014-15 RSO off-season during this period. While you will be able to access and view your league during this period, lineups will be locked and no transactions will be able to be made.

Week of March 1st, 2015

The week of March 1st, 2015 is the expected official start of the 2014-15 RSO off-season. Last season, the NFL announced the 2014 salary cap on February 28th, and we expect them to do so again this year around the same time. The 2015 NFL salary cap is expected to be anywhere from $138.6 mm to $141.8 mm. Once the NFL announces the new salary cap for 2015, we will re-open the site and existing leagues will commence the RSO off-season, meaning teams can make off-season trades and cuts. Additionally, new league creation will be available at this time.

April 30th, 2015 to May 2nd, 2015

These are the dates of the actual NFL Draft. Once the NFL Draft is completed, leagues will be able to conduct their RSO Rookie Drafts and Free Agent Auctions. The NFL Draft is set to end on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, and we expect to have all rookie information updated on the site by Monday, May 4th, 2014.

March 1st, 2015 to Three (3) Days Before Your League’s 2015 RSO Rookie Draft

Different for every league depending on the date set for your 2015 RSO Rookie Draft, this is the franchise tag designation period. During this period, team owners must decide whether to place a franchise tag on a player whose contract expired in 2014 (the tagged salary for each player can be found by clicking the “Tag” button on the Team-Contracts tab). At the end of this period, players on expiring contracts will be removed from your Team Roster (unless you franchise tag a player). Additionally, at the conclusion of this period, team owners must have enough salary cap space to fill their respective rosters through the Rookie Draft and Free Agency in order to avoid having players automatically dropped from their rosters to create cap space. A Salary Cap Health Overview feature located on the Team-Overview tab contains all the information team owners need to ensure they have enough salary cap space. Note: no trades will be allowed during the three-day period between the end of the franchise tag designation period and your 2015 Rookie Draft. Trading will resume after the conclusion of your Rookie Draft.

March 1st, 2015 to Three (3) Days Before Your League’s 2015 RSO Free Agent Auction

This period is the official duration of the RSO off-season for each league. The length of the off-season is important because of the rules surrounding off-season vs. in-season cuts. This is best explained by example. Assume you have Doug Martin under contract for $10mm in 2015 and $12mm in 2016. If you cut Doug Martin during the 2014-15 off-season, you will only owe him $5mm in 2015 and then $6mm in 2016. If you wait until the off-season concludes before cutting Martin, you will owe him his full $10mm in 2015 in addition to $6mm in 2016. Therefore, it is important to assess your roster and make desired cuts before your off-season concludes three days before your league’s 2015 Free Agent Auction.

September 3rd, 2015

Likely first NFL game of the 2015 season. It will be here before you know it!

I'll Take Hodgepodge For $800, Alex

Updated: October 1st 2014

Four weeks into your Reality Sports Online fantasy experience, there have been several surprises.  Lesean McCoy has struggled.  Adrian Peterson is on paid leave. Tom Brady stinks. While all of these headlines are known to just about everyone, you as an RSO owner are looking for an edge in the regular season. So the first part of this hodgepodge article is a Top 10 Players to Target on Waivers, based on Percentage Owned (any player owned in less than 60% of all Reality Sports Online leagues):

A) Top 10 Players to Target on Waivers Based on Percentage Owned

1. Jerick McKinnon, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings (48.3% owned)

If he wasn’t taken in your rookie draft, which his 48.3% owned clip would seem to indicate, pounce on McKinnon following his 18 carry, 135 yard performance in Week 4 vs. the Falcons. He has big play ability and is still a little raw in terms of playing football, but his athleticism is too good for the Vikings to keep off the field. Spending $1-$1.5m of your FAAB dollars on him may be the best investment you spend in free agency this season and if you are rolling in the deep pockets, you can go up another $1 million.

2. Lorenzo Taliaferro, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens (51.7% owned)

The rookie running back has burst onto the scene the past two weeks with two touchdowns and 141 yards rushing. He runs downhill very well and punishes defenders. Keep an eye out to see if Bernard Pierce is slated to return to make the backfield even more crowded with Justin Forsett in the mix as well, but Taliaferro is the best pure rusher of the three.

3. Alfred Blue, Running Back, Houston Texans (59.1% owned)

If you are the owner of Arian Foster, sprint, don’t run or walk to grab Blue off of the waiver wire. Foster’s balky hamstrings are an ongoing concern and the Texans need to mix in the run to keep opposing defenses honest. They can’t rely on J.J. Watt to do everything, right? Blue should be owned in more leagues as an effective handcuff if Foster misses extended time and someone who may get carries to keep Foster fresh as well.

4. Isaiah Crowell, Running Back, Cleveland Browns (59.1% owned)

Yes, another running back, which just shows how the elite running backs have either disappointed, gotten hurt, or both. Crowell has already found a knack to hit paydirt with 141 yards rushing and 3 Touchdowns on the season. I know that Ben Tate is coming back now post bye and Terrance West is in the mix too. However, Crowell has the most talent of any of the Browns running backs and the best ability in Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. Obviously Tate has had a laundry list of injuries in his career as well, so Crowell certainly should get tote with or without Tate in the mix.

5.  Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals (57.6% owned)

Marvin Jones had 10 touchdowns in 2013, including a whopping 4 in a single game in 2013. He’s coming back from a leg injury after the team’s Week 4 bye. Look for Jones to establish himself quickly and he would have been a valuable chip in your auction had he not been hurt heading into the season.

6.  Eddie Royal, Wide Receiver, San Diego Chargers (32.3% owned)

I know, I know. Royal started hot last season with 5 touchdowns on 10 receptions in his first two games of 2013. Then he burned you when you spent decent FAAB to grab him with a dismal rest of 2013, ceding catches in bunches to then-rookie Keenan Allen. So how do you trust Royal this year after another hot start where he’s totaled 17 receptions on 29 targets for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 4 in the last two games. In this case, you let targets be the indicator and 7 targets a game shows Philip Rivers’ confidence in Royal. Additionally, add in the fact that the Chargers have serious injuries and lack of production in the running game, and Royal becomes a more valuable chip, especially in leagues where you get rewarded for return yardage as Royal is the Chargers primary punt returner, albeit with only 7 returns for 31 yards so far this season.

7. Michael Vick, Quarterback, New York Jets (16.0% owned)

Geno Smith is just not an effective NFL quarterback right now and his turnovers are starting to pile up. Michael Vick still has some gas left in the tank and could be a nice stash on your bench that could pay dividends at some point this season. Imagine the team speed with Vick at quarterback and Chris Johnson at running back.

8. Brian Hoyer, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns (46.8% owned)

My RSO bosses will note that I’m a Browns fan. However, Hoyer’s quick release and offensive efficiency have kept the Browns in games and a few plays away from being 3-0. He has established immediate chemistry with Andrew Hawkins in the slot and makes good decisions. The team just had their bye in Week 4 and should have tight end Jordan Cameron back from a shoulder injury. Cameron should turn into Hoyer’s primary target until Josh Gordon returns at the end of the season. At that point, Hoyer could be very useful to fantasy owners if their starter gets hurt or as a streaming quarterback option.

9. Antone Smith, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons (15.2% owned)

All Smith does is make big plays. He has three touchdowns on the year in limited work and has serious burst in the open field. With Steven Jackson being an older running back, Smith has some flier value as Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Devonta Freeman haven’t done anything to establish themselves as more than peripheral options. You have to think Smith’s play has earned him more playing time.

10. Houston Texans, Defense/Special Teams, Houston Texans (57.3% owned)

J.J. Watt does everything and now Jadeveon Clowney seems ready to come back in a few weeks. They have made some big plays and also have stopped opposing offenses. Definitely worth considering as a streaming or starting option.

B) Update on numberFire/Reality Sports Online Writer’s League

Team Wins Losses Points For
Leo Howell 4 0 468
B-Ron’s Ballas 4 0 450
La Morsa Roja 3 1 506
The Johnny Cleveland Show 2 2 467
Cleveland’s Award Tour 2 2 440
King Back 2 2 430
Univ of Phoenix Online 1 3 447
SamHerbie 1 3 381
Loco Roco 1 3 360
Great Odin’s Raven 0 4 348

 

While my team Cleveland’s Award Tour has had a disappointing start from Demaryius Thomas, I feel good about where my team is at following a huge bye week in week 4, as I suffered a close loss to B Ron’s Ballas (Brian Luzier)  without Peyton Manning, Thomas, Andre Ellington, Michael Floyd, and the Seahawks DST.

Leo Howell, who does some fantastic writing for numberFire and film study for RotoGrinders and should be followed by all RSO users on Twitter via @LeoHowell8, is undefeated in spite of Jamaal Charles suffering an injury. DeMarco Murray, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins have paced Howell thus far and he’s certainly enjoying his debut in a Reality Sports Online league. Luzier has been buoyed by Julius Thomas’ hot start as well as Jordy Nelson, although he was shopping for running backs a few hours ago on the league message board.

La Morsa Roja, led by Tyler Buecher has ridden a hot start from Le’Veon Bell to a 3-1 start, as well as strong WR performances from Randall Cobb and Julio Jones. Lesean McCoy has been disappointing thus far for Tyler, but his team looks formidable after four games. Ari Ross’ The Johnny Cleveland Show would be the #4 seed in the playoffs if they started today in spite of a 2-2 record. Rashad Jennings and Martellus Bennett have been the main contributors to Ross’ early success.

C) The Anatomy of an RSO Trade

This past weekend, I made my first trade of the regular season in my primary Reality Sports Online league. My league is very unique, so before analyzing any trade, I feel the need to put some context into my team and the competitive landscape. Our league is a 12-team PPR league, where negative plays such as QB interceptions and any player fumbling result in penalties of -5 fantasy points. Additionally, quarterbacks gain 0.5 pts for completions and lose -0.5 for incompletions. We start the following lineups, with an emphasis on flexibility and the fact that the NFL is a passing league: 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 DST, 1 K, 3 FLEX (RB/WR/TE). We are in the second year of our league and have 22 man rosters to handle cascading rookie drafts and player contracts in future years.

My team going into the trade was as follows (note I had previously traded for several of these players in 2013 and for A.J. Green in the 2014 offseason (for Colin Kaepernick-3 years, $43.5 million and a 2nd round pick in 2014):

Starting Player Position Contract Years Contract Dollars
Russell Wilson QB 3 $26,000,000
Rashad Jennings RB 1 $4,000,000
A.J. Green WR 4 $105,000,000
Cobb WR 4 $62,000,000
Gronkowski TE 2 $26,000,000
Tucker K 1 $1,000,000
Seahawks DST 1 $3,000,000
A. Johnson FLEX 3 $30,000,000
Fitzgerald FLEX 2 $33,000,000
Harvin FLEX 2 $8,500,000
Bench Player Position Contract Years Contract Dollars
Bridgewater QB 2 $1,500,000
Cousins QB 1 $1,750,000
Fitzpatrick QB 1 $1,000,000
L. Miller RB 1 $4,500,000
Freeman RB 4 $5,440,910
Dunbar RB 2 $4,500,000
Taliaferro RB 1 $500,000
McFadden RB 1 $2,500,000
Dobson WR 3 $8,500,000
D. Baldwin WR 1 $2,500,000
H. Miller TE 1 $3,000,000
Dolphins DST 1 $406,250

 

I traded the three players in bold – Larry Fitzgerald, Teddy Bridgewater and Darren McFadden – to a team that entered the league as an early season replacement for a capped out team that was lacking talent in spite of being capped out in 2014. In return, I basically received Alshon Jeffery, for a 1 year, $26.3 million salary. My thought is that in the second year of my league, I have a really good team, especially at wide receiver in a PPR league. Fitzgerald is starting to decline some, but still can be productive, but it was worth it to me to get Jeffery’s upside, even if it is only for a year (he was franchise tagged by other owner). I feel like I have a star at every position, which is important as the league arms race has a few teams that have serious star power as well. While Jeffery has been nursing a hamstring injury, his 100 yard game vs. the Jets on Monday Night Football alleviated any concerns I had about making the deal.

The team I traded with wanted a combination of 2014 cap space, they picked up over $5.0m in the deal, someone they could start this past Sunday (McFadden), a usable good player (Fitzgerald), and most importantly a good future asset on the cheap. Bridgewater’s 2 year, $1.5 million could be a seriously valuable asset to this owner’s team if he becomes a QB1, either to keep or to trade and Bridgewater got off to a great start last Sunday.

I had several players on bye last week, but made a combination of the right starts (other than Kirk Cousins) with Heath Miller and Lamar Miller in my lineup and the addition of Jeffery helped me win last week, raising my record to 2-2 overall (I scored plenty in a Week 1 loss where my opponent put up a league record against me). With the last two playoff spots in our league being determined by Total Points Scored, my star power should alleviate any issues I may encounter from head to head action.

If you want me to dissect any of the Reality Sports Online trades you are contemplating or involved with, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter via @mattgoody2

I’ll Take Hodgepodge For $800, Alex

Updated: October 1st 2014

Four weeks into your Reality Sports Online fantasy experience, there have been several surprises.  Lesean McCoy has struggled.  Adrian Peterson is on paid leave. Tom Brady stinks. While all of these headlines are known to just about everyone, you as an RSO owner are looking for an edge in the regular season. So the first part of this hodgepodge article is a Top 10 Players to Target on Waivers, based on Percentage Owned (any player owned in less than 60% of all Reality Sports Online leagues):

A) Top 10 Players to Target on Waivers Based on Percentage Owned

1. Jerick McKinnon, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings (48.3% owned)

If he wasn’t taken in your rookie draft, which his 48.3% owned clip would seem to indicate, pounce on McKinnon following his 18 carry, 135 yard performance in Week 4 vs. the Falcons. He has big play ability and is still a little raw in terms of playing football, but his athleticism is too good for the Vikings to keep off the field. Spending $1-$1.5m of your FAAB dollars on him may be the best investment you spend in free agency this season and if you are rolling in the deep pockets, you can go up another $1 million.

2. Lorenzo Taliaferro, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens (51.7% owned)

The rookie running back has burst onto the scene the past two weeks with two touchdowns and 141 yards rushing. He runs downhill very well and punishes defenders. Keep an eye out to see if Bernard Pierce is slated to return to make the backfield even more crowded with Justin Forsett in the mix as well, but Taliaferro is the best pure rusher of the three.

3. Alfred Blue, Running Back, Houston Texans (59.1% owned)

If you are the owner of Arian Foster, sprint, don’t run or walk to grab Blue off of the waiver wire. Foster’s balky hamstrings are an ongoing concern and the Texans need to mix in the run to keep opposing defenses honest. They can’t rely on J.J. Watt to do everything, right? Blue should be owned in more leagues as an effective handcuff if Foster misses extended time and someone who may get carries to keep Foster fresh as well.

4. Isaiah Crowell, Running Back, Cleveland Browns (59.1% owned)

Yes, another running back, which just shows how the elite running backs have either disappointed, gotten hurt, or both. Crowell has already found a knack to hit paydirt with 141 yards rushing and 3 Touchdowns on the season. I know that Ben Tate is coming back now post bye and Terrance West is in the mix too. However, Crowell has the most talent of any of the Browns running backs and the best ability in Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. Obviously Tate has had a laundry list of injuries in his career as well, so Crowell certainly should get tote with or without Tate in the mix.

5.  Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals (57.6% owned)

Marvin Jones had 10 touchdowns in 2013, including a whopping 4 in a single game in 2013. He’s coming back from a leg injury after the team’s Week 4 bye. Look for Jones to establish himself quickly and he would have been a valuable chip in your auction had he not been hurt heading into the season.

6.  Eddie Royal, Wide Receiver, San Diego Chargers (32.3% owned)

I know, I know. Royal started hot last season with 5 touchdowns on 10 receptions in his first two games of 2013. Then he burned you when you spent decent FAAB to grab him with a dismal rest of 2013, ceding catches in bunches to then-rookie Keenan Allen. So how do you trust Royal this year after another hot start where he’s totaled 17 receptions on 29 targets for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 4 in the last two games. In this case, you let targets be the indicator and 7 targets a game shows Philip Rivers’ confidence in Royal. Additionally, add in the fact that the Chargers have serious injuries and lack of production in the running game, and Royal becomes a more valuable chip, especially in leagues where you get rewarded for return yardage as Royal is the Chargers primary punt returner, albeit with only 7 returns for 31 yards so far this season.

7. Michael Vick, Quarterback, New York Jets (16.0% owned)

Geno Smith is just not an effective NFL quarterback right now and his turnovers are starting to pile up. Michael Vick still has some gas left in the tank and could be a nice stash on your bench that could pay dividends at some point this season. Imagine the team speed with Vick at quarterback and Chris Johnson at running back.

8. Brian Hoyer, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns (46.8% owned)

My RSO bosses will note that I’m a Browns fan. However, Hoyer’s quick release and offensive efficiency have kept the Browns in games and a few plays away from being 3-0. He has established immediate chemistry with Andrew Hawkins in the slot and makes good decisions. The team just had their bye in Week 4 and should have tight end Jordan Cameron back from a shoulder injury. Cameron should turn into Hoyer’s primary target until Josh Gordon returns at the end of the season. At that point, Hoyer could be very useful to fantasy owners if their starter gets hurt or as a streaming quarterback option.

9. Antone Smith, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons (15.2% owned)

All Smith does is make big plays. He has three touchdowns on the year in limited work and has serious burst in the open field. With Steven Jackson being an older running back, Smith has some flier value as Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Devonta Freeman haven’t done anything to establish themselves as more than peripheral options. You have to think Smith’s play has earned him more playing time.

10. Houston Texans, Defense/Special Teams, Houston Texans (57.3% owned)

J.J. Watt does everything and now Jadeveon Clowney seems ready to come back in a few weeks. They have made some big plays and also have stopped opposing offenses. Definitely worth considering as a streaming or starting option.

B) Update on numberFire/Reality Sports Online Writer’s League

Team Wins Losses Points For
Leo Howell 4 0 468
B-Ron’s Ballas 4 0 450
La Morsa Roja 3 1 506
The Johnny Cleveland Show 2 2 467
Cleveland’s Award Tour 2 2 440
King Back 2 2 430
Univ of Phoenix Online 1 3 447
SamHerbie 1 3 381
Loco Roco 1 3 360
Great Odin’s Raven 0 4 348

 

While my team Cleveland’s Award Tour has had a disappointing start from Demaryius Thomas, I feel good about where my team is at following a huge bye week in week 4, as I suffered a close loss to B Ron’s Ballas (Brian Luzier)  without Peyton Manning, Thomas, Andre Ellington, Michael Floyd, and the Seahawks DST.

Leo Howell, who does some fantastic writing for numberFire and film study for RotoGrinders and should be followed by all RSO users on Twitter via @LeoHowell8, is undefeated in spite of Jamaal Charles suffering an injury. DeMarco Murray, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins have paced Howell thus far and he’s certainly enjoying his debut in a Reality Sports Online league. Luzier has been buoyed by Julius Thomas’ hot start as well as Jordy Nelson, although he was shopping for running backs a few hours ago on the league message board.

La Morsa Roja, led by Tyler Buecher has ridden a hot start from Le’Veon Bell to a 3-1 start, as well as strong WR performances from Randall Cobb and Julio Jones. Lesean McCoy has been disappointing thus far for Tyler, but his team looks formidable after four games. Ari Ross’ The Johnny Cleveland Show would be the #4 seed in the playoffs if they started today in spite of a 2-2 record. Rashad Jennings and Martellus Bennett have been the main contributors to Ross’ early success.

C) The Anatomy of an RSO Trade

This past weekend, I made my first trade of the regular season in my primary Reality Sports Online league. My league is very unique, so before analyzing any trade, I feel the need to put some context into my team and the competitive landscape. Our league is a 12-team PPR league, where negative plays such as QB interceptions and any player fumbling result in penalties of -5 fantasy points. Additionally, quarterbacks gain 0.5 pts for completions and lose -0.5 for incompletions. We start the following lineups, with an emphasis on flexibility and the fact that the NFL is a passing league: 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 DST, 1 K, 3 FLEX (RB/WR/TE). We are in the second year of our league and have 22 man rosters to handle cascading rookie drafts and player contracts in future years.

My team going into the trade was as follows (note I had previously traded for several of these players in 2013 and for A.J. Green in the 2014 offseason (for Colin Kaepernick-3 years, $43.5 million and a 2nd round pick in 2014):

Starting Player Position Contract Years Contract Dollars
Russell Wilson QB 3 $26,000,000
Rashad Jennings RB 1 $4,000,000
A.J. Green WR 4 $105,000,000
Cobb WR 4 $62,000,000
Gronkowski TE 2 $26,000,000
Tucker K 1 $1,000,000
Seahawks DST 1 $3,000,000
A. Johnson FLEX 3 $30,000,000
Fitzgerald FLEX 2 $33,000,000
Harvin FLEX 2 $8,500,000
Bench Player Position Contract Years Contract Dollars
Bridgewater QB 2 $1,500,000
Cousins QB 1 $1,750,000
Fitzpatrick QB 1 $1,000,000
L. Miller RB 1 $4,500,000
Freeman RB 4 $5,440,910
Dunbar RB 2 $4,500,000
Taliaferro RB 1 $500,000
McFadden RB 1 $2,500,000
Dobson WR 3 $8,500,000
D. Baldwin WR 1 $2,500,000
H. Miller TE 1 $3,000,000
Dolphins DST 1 $406,250

 

I traded the three players in bold – Larry Fitzgerald, Teddy Bridgewater and Darren McFadden – to a team that entered the league as an early season replacement for a capped out team that was lacking talent in spite of being capped out in 2014. In return, I basically received Alshon Jeffery, for a 1 year, $26.3 million salary. My thought is that in the second year of my league, I have a really good team, especially at wide receiver in a PPR league. Fitzgerald is starting to decline some, but still can be productive, but it was worth it to me to get Jeffery’s upside, even if it is only for a year (he was franchise tagged by other owner). I feel like I have a star at every position, which is important as the league arms race has a few teams that have serious star power as well. While Jeffery has been nursing a hamstring injury, his 100 yard game vs. the Jets on Monday Night Football alleviated any concerns I had about making the deal.

The team I traded with wanted a combination of 2014 cap space, they picked up over $5.0m in the deal, someone they could start this past Sunday (McFadden), a usable good player (Fitzgerald), and most importantly a good future asset on the cheap. Bridgewater’s 2 year, $1.5 million could be a seriously valuable asset to this owner’s team if he becomes a QB1, either to keep or to trade and Bridgewater got off to a great start last Sunday.

I had several players on bye last week, but made a combination of the right starts (other than Kirk Cousins) with Heath Miller and Lamar Miller in my lineup and the addition of Jeffery helped me win last week, raising my record to 2-2 overall (I scored plenty in a Week 1 loss where my opponent put up a league record against me). With the last two playoff spots in our league being determined by Total Points Scored, my star power should alleviate any issues I may encounter from head to head action.

If you want me to dissect any of the Reality Sports Online trades you are contemplating or involved with, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter via @mattgoody2

RSO Staff Picks: Week 3

Updated: April 21st 2015

Week 2 Results

1t. Wendell – 8-8 + 1 fantasy wins (+1 Sleepers, +1 Stars)
1t. Goodwin – 8-8 + 0 fantasy wins
3. Papson – 7-9 + 0 fantasy wins (+1 Busts)
4. Wendkos – 6-10 + 0 fantasy wins

Wendell maintains a hefty lead. Goodwin overtakes Wendkos, who struggled with his gambles. Papson picks up a fantasy win, but remains in last place, barely. Another unpredictable week in the books, and it’s sure to be another fun weekend in the NFL. Here are the standings as of today:

Overall Standings

1. Wendell – 19-13 + 3 fantasy wins (+2 Sleepers, +2 Stars)
2. Goodwin – 17-15 + 0 fantasy wins
3. Wendkos – 15-17 + 1 fantasy wins (+1 Busts)
4. Papson – 14-18 + 1 fantasy wins (+1 Busts)

Week 3 NFL Game Picks

Game 1. Wendell 2. Goodwin 3. Wendkos 4. Papson

TB @ ATL

SD @ BUF

DAL @ STL

WSH @ PHI

HOU @ NYG

MIN @ NO

TEN @ CIN

BAL @ CLE

GB @ DET

IND @ JAX

OAK @ NE

SF @ ARI

DEN @ SEA

KC @ MIA

PIT @ CAR

CHI @ NYJ

Week 3 Fantasy Sleepers

Day Wendell Goodwin Wendkos Papson
Thursday Mike Evans Josh McCown Bobby Rainey Brandon Myers
Sunday Terrance West Aaron Dobson Brandin Cooks Khiry Robinson
Monday Chris Ivory Geno Smith Martellus Bennett Santonio Holmes

Week 3 Fantasy Stars

Day Wendell Goodwin Wendkos Papson
Thursday Julio Jones Julio Jones Julio Jones Roddy White
Sunday Jimmy Graham DeMarco Murray T.Y. Hilton Alfred Morris
Monday Jay Cutler Brandon Marshall Alshon Jeffrey Martellus Bennett

Week 3 Fantasy Busts

Day Wendell Goodwin Wendkos Papson
Thursday Vincent Jackson Steven Jackson Steven Jackson Bobby Rainey
Sunday Tony Romo Michael Crabtree Peyton Manning Cam Newton
Monday Eric Decker Matt Forte Jay Cutler Geno Smith

USA Today RSO Experts League

Updated: July 31st 2014

Last week the USA Today RSO Experts league held its Rookie Draft and Free Agent Auction. Some stalwarts in the fantasy industry participated in this startup league, including the following:

  1. Ryan Bonini, USA Today
  2. Cory Bonini, KFFL
  3. David Dorey, The Huddle
  4. Bob Harris, Football Diehards
  5. Russell Clay, Dynasty League Football
  6. Matt Papson, Reality Sports Online
  7. Adam Harstad, Football Guys
  8. Tony Holm, FantasySharks
  9. Matt Deutsch, Sirius XM Fantasy
  10. James Hatfield, Hatty Waiver Wire Guru
  11. Matt De Lima, FFToolbox
  12. Sam Light, Reality Sports Online

Below we have posted the results of the league’s 3 Round Rookie Draft as well as the Free Agency Auction. Lastly, you can see the Contract Overview for every player under contract in the entire league. We want to thank all the guys for participating in what looks to be a very exciting and competitive league for years to come.

Rookie Draft Board

Player Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
1. Sam Light Sammy Watkins Andre Williams Martavis Bryant
2. Cory Bonini Tre Mason Donte Moncrief Lache Seastrunk
3. David Dorey Mike Evans Blake Bortles James White
4. Bob Harris Johnny Manziel Teddy Bridgewater Jace Amaro
5. Russell Clay Brandin Cooks Cody Latimer Paul Richardson
6. Matt Papson Carlos Hyde Austin Seferian-J. Allen Robinson
7. Adam Harstad Jordan Matthews Davante Adams Richard Rodgers
8. Tony Holm Bishop Sankey Marqise Lee Logan Thomas
9. Matt Deutsch Devonta Freeman Ka’Deem Carey Marion Grice
10. R. Bonini Kelvin Benjamin Derek Carr Charles Sims
11. James Hatfield Jeremy Hill Terrance West Jerick McKinnon
12. Matt De Lima Eric Ebron Odell Beckham Jr. Lorenzo Taliafero

Auction Board

auction-board

Contracts Overview

contracts