The Scoop – Fantasy Football Edition

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

The discrepancy between Antonio Gates and the second best fantasy tight end this year (an aging Tony Gonzalez catching passes from a rookie?) makes Chase Utley look close to the pack of other second basemen. LaDainian Tomlinson is not going to get another 30 TDs, so expect San Diego to score more air strikes this season. Gates is probably the best red zone target in the NFL, so I think he’s worthy of an early third round pick.

Peyton Manning is the best player in the NFL, period. That said, I’d give Carson Palmer about a 50/50 chance of finishing the season as the most valuable fantasy quarterback. The Bengals have an even worse defense than the Colts, and Palmer approached Manning’s numbers last season while clearly still hampered by the knee injury. He’ll finally be back to full strength this year and can typically be drafted 2-3 rounds after Manning, so he makes more sense as a target. That said, the best strategy is to wait even longer on the QB position and go after Vince Young, Ben Roethlisberger or Jay Cutler later on.

With word of Larry Johnson’s hold out threat becoming very real, Joseph Addai has officially passed him on my draft board. Don’t let LJ slip much further past that, however. If a trade does indeed go down between Kansas City and Green Bay, look for intriguing rookie Brandon Jackson to come back the other way, giving him legit fantasy value either way.

The most interesting backfield entering training camp has to be in Dallas, where the Julius Jones hype machine is again in full effect. Falling just short of his 2,000-yard prediction last season (by half), Jones is again being talked about as “the guy” in the Cowboys’ backfield. Marion Barber disappeared during stretches last year – and was typically only worth using in fantasy leagues in games the Cowboys won – but I don’t buy the talk that Jones is the one to own this year because of Barber being Bill Parcells’ guy. When on the field, Barber has time and again outplayed Jones by a large degree. Jones has superior long-speed and, um, does nothing else better. Barber is a better blocker, pass catcher, short-yardage runner and is much, much tougher than Jones. When deciding between these two at fantasy drafts this season, just ask any linebacker whom they’d rather tackle. Don’t worry about projected playing time and trust the better player will be on the field more.

Steve Smith is the clear-cut No. 1 fantasy wideout entering the year (his numbers last year when both he and Jake Delhomme were healthy were essentially identical to his huge 2005 season), but after him, options 2-15 are quite debatable and will likely look different on every person’s draft board. Because of that, the smart strategy appears to be to let others reach for the WRs in the middle of the second round while waiting and nabbing similar talents in the third and fourth rounds.

And now, I’ll leave you with a brand new RotoScoop feature called “Top-5,” where I rank anything from sports, music, movies or TV. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll discuss:

Top-5 Adam Sandler movies

1. The Wedding Singer
2. Punch-Drunk Love
3. Happy Gilmore
4. 50 First Dates
5. Billy Madison

Top-5 films by David Fincher

1. Zodiac
2. Se7en
3. Fight Club
4. The Game
5. Panic Room

15 Responses to “The Scoop – Fantasy Football Edition”

  1. Keith says:

    I haven’t switched into football mode yet, but I guess it’s about time to start.

    Gates is till a clear-cut #1, but I think TE is so deep this year, I’m waiting, and trying to catch VD (it just doesn’t get old saying that).

    I don’t know if I trust your lists if you rank Wedding Singer (a romantic comedy) as #1, and possibly even worse, 50 first dates as #4…I hope you just have a Berrymore crush, though even that is slightly disturbing.

    Never saw Zodiac, but the other 4 were fantastic…pretty impressive if you have it ranked first; I was planning on checking it out anyway.

    Last thoughts on Baseball: hanging on to (10 total): Crawford, Hafner, Berkman, Mauer, Gordon for sure; some combo of Bonderman, Prince Felix, Lincecum, Gallardo, Street (probably not keeping Kazmir, and looking to trade Bonderman), and then I have to decide between Bay, Swisher, Pence & Hart. Bay & Swisher have really pissed me off this year (with BB’s as a cat, I thought they’d be huge), so I think I’ll stick to a young guy. What do you think of Pence/Hart long term?

  2. tom says:

    Keith, I saw Pence play the Cubs with Ted Lilly pitching and I have to say I was thorougly UNimpressed. He looked terrible. I don’t know if it was an off day or if the scouting reports are catching up to him (prior to his injury of course) but he looks at least a year or two away from being able to maintain a high average and the power that he has flashed so far. I would much rather keep Hart but I wouldn’t keep either of those guys over Bay or Swisher. Bay isn’t having a great year but he is still better than Hart or Pence next year. Swisher is tough. He can look so good and so bad in the same game. I thought he would take a step forward this year but it looks like he just doesnt make enough good contact on the bat to ever be a consistent player.

  3. Robby says:

    I never saw The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates. I guess I should. Although Adam Sandler is not very funny. He was in Dirty Work (uncredited) which was a very underrated flick.

    Zodiac at #1???!!! Insane. I better see that too. Never saw Panic Room but the other three flicks are obviously amazing…

  4. butch says:

    You cannot, cannot, cannot rank Zodiac above se7en and Fight Club.

    The fact that you have a Top 5 David Fincher Film list impressses me to no end, HOWEVER, you go an negate all that awe with the order of your list.

    Correct order is:
    1. se7en
    2. Fight Club
    3. Zodiac
    4. The Game
    5. Panic Room

  5. RotoScoop says:

    Keith – Tight end is deep, I agree, but I still think Gates is worth it. It wouldn’t be that surprising if he put up numbers like a top-10 WR.

    Wedding Singer is vastly underrated. I’m pretty much the only one who’d put it that high, tho. I figured that ranking would get a rise out of some. Aren’t all Sandler movies romantic comedies? They all suck, basically.

    I only watched Zodiac once, and I’ve seen the others multiple times, so I won’t be stubborn with that ranking. You could reverse those top-3 and I’d have no problem with it. More on Zodiac below…

    That’s a strong 10 guys to choose from….I’d throw Swisher out of the equation pretty easily, but he’s actually close b/c of the BB cat – normally he’s a better real life player than fantasy b/c of the high OBP and low BA. Anyway, you don’t need me to tell you Pence’s .330 BA was fluky with that K/BB rate, but I love him long-term despite that. He and Hart are pretty similar, but Pence’s minor league track record is superior, and plus he seems to have his organization’s full support, whereas Hart gets dropped in the order after five bad games following winning NL player of the month.

    I agree w/ Tom not to give up on Bay long-term, but the fact he has attempted just 3 SBs all season is a major concern for me and gives the other two more fantasy upside. Maybe it was the offseason knee surgery and he’ll return to running next year, but it’s a risk worth passing on him. Bottom line – I really like Pence and Hart long-term, with Pence more so. That said, I certainly hope you are keeping Lincecum – and it’d be awfully tough not to hold onto Prince, Felix and Gallardo as well.

  6. RotoScoop says:

    Tom – Interesting. When I saw Pence play in person he didn’t look too good either. But those have got to be coincidences.

  7. RotoScoop says:

    Butch – Well, like I said in the comment I was apparently writing when you made yours, I’d have no problem whatsoever reversing my top-3. Again, I’d really like to watch Zodiac again. Here’s the deal – I’m not surprised you disagree, and I expect most others will as well after this hyping. It’s basically a 3 hour movie with just dialogue. And no conclusion. But the acting is so good, and it’s a little more realistic than say Se7en. (Se7en has been my favorite movie for years, but let’s just say Zodiac doesn’t have a chase scene with Brad Pitt running in the rain).

    Again, I love Fight Cub and Se7en very, very much. But Zodiac is such a unique, well-shot, arching telling of a serial killer. You can’t go wrong here, ultimately.

  8. RotoScoop says:

    A few more thoughts regarding Zodiac/Fincher:

    For those who haven’t seen it, watching movies in the theatre is better than renting them.

    I guess me not knowing anything about the zodiac killer probably made it more interesting/better.

    Fight Club and Seven are both in my top-10 of all-time, so it pains me to argue against them. So I’m not going to.

  9. butch says:

    Well then, we agree to disagree..BUT I do agree you are wrong.

    1. se7en
    2. Fight Club
    3. Zodiac

  10. Keith says:

    Of course Lincecum is a keeper! I was sitting on him in both leagues just waiting for him to come up! I’m actually trying to package Bonderman + Pence for a big hitter, since I don’t think Pence can keep it up next year, as much as I like hom long term. Bay’s just been so disappointing this year, power down, walks down, SB’s down. He’s had like the 3 wors months of his entire career all in a row (though 2 HR’s today). I’ll see what I can do. I really haven’t seen Pence play at all, but his minor league numbers were darn good, and his plate discipline was even much better, so there’s reason to think he could become more selective and improve that awful K:BB rate. Anyway, thanks for the advice guys.

    Happy Gilmore is a very entertaining movie, by far his best work. By no means quality, but not a chick flick either. I thought The Game was surprisingly good, though by no means in the Se7en/Fight Club category.

  11. Mark says:

    Both Fight Club and Seven are great movies, but I have to back up Dalton here. Zodiac is the best. It may not be as entertaining in some ways but its pretty flawless.

  12. Jason says:

    I’m very impressed you have a Fincher list. I haven’t seen Zodiac yet, so I can’t comment on that list. For Sandler’s list, very impressed you’ve included Punch-Drunk Love. Not too many like it; it’s a very underrated flick. I actually think Click was excellent, provided a good life lesson as well as being funny. besides, any film with a scantily-clad Kate Beckinsale is worth watching. I’d put that #3 and drop 50 First Dates.

  13. Donald Trump says:

    the wedding singer is the bomb, def #1 sandler movie.
    Fight club should have been #1 on that list.

  14. RotoScoop says:

    Keith – OK, just making sure about Lincecum. In keeper-league situations where you can only hold onto 10 guys but have 12-13 quality options, you definitely have to try to pull off a couple of 2-for-1 deals.

    I hear ya with the chick flick criticism. The Game is very good.

  15. RotoScoop says:

    Mark – Thanks.

    Jason – Yeah, I’m a pretty big P.T. Anderson fan. Click wasn’t bad, either.

    Donald – Cool, glad somebody agrees with me on The Wedding Singer. You might be the first. Fight Club is awesome.

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