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SSOG

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  1. I think it would be if it were possible. The issue is that there's no way to compare a "fresh" 30 year old LaDainian Tomlinson with a "worn down" 30 year old LaDainian Tomlinson because there's only one LaDainian Tomlinson. We have no way of really knowing how long a guy like Tomlinson, Faulk, or Portis could've played if he hadn't been worked into the ground from the age of 20-27. Without the wear and tear, maybe they could've lasted longer. I think it makes sense to consider mileage as a negative, even if there's nothing concrete in the data to support it. On the flipside, the fact that a back is talented enough and durable enough to handle a high workload bodes well for his future. In general, the reason why players get those opportunities is because they can deliver. That's a reasonable hypothesis, but even by that hypothesis, there's no reason to expect Jackson/Gore to decline more than Sproles. Jackson/Gore get negative points for "wear related to workload" and positive points for "workload indicating general awesomeness", and the negative and positive points perfectly offset. So while I will gladly accept that, in theory, workload is a possible contributor to a player's decline... I just don't see how in practice considering workload will increase your accuracy in predicting declines.
  2. John Riggins and Mike Anderson were also backs that had great older seasons after light workloads early in their career. Still, I agree with you that "mileage" is an answer in search of a question. It's intuitively appealing, especially given the fact that overuse over a short time frame is generally considered to be bad- witness guys like Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, or Ricky Williams getting run into the ground in a single season. If we agree that too much workload in one year can be bad, it makes sense that too much workload over an entire career can be bad, too. It's just not really supported by the data, though.
  3. I like this guy. You should, too!

  4. The same could easily be said about Frank Gore and Steven Jackson, who are both the same age as Sproles, who are both on teams that know how to use them and who are both guaranteed to get their touches this season (or as guaranteed as a 30-year-old back can possibly be), and who both have a dynasty ADP after Stewart's (Gore is the next back off the board, and SJax comes off 5 RBs and 17 picks after Stewart). What makes Gore and Jackson different from Sproles? Are owners underrating Sproles' age risk? Are they overrating Gore's and Jackson's? Seriously? Gore and SJax have had a lot more touches over the years, and thus way more wear and tear on their bodies, so to compare them to Sproles just cause they are the same age is rather silly. Also, we have no idea yet how Atlanta will use Jackson; it's all just speculation until we see it. I thought you were better than this. Well, again, I give 0% credence to workload and 100% credence to age when predicting declines, so I don't see what's so silly about the comparison. Either way, it seems to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you agree that Sproles will be out of the league before Stewart, but value him higher anyway because he'll be more productive in the meantime. If that's the case, I don't see how the Gore/Jackson comparison is so crazy. And the question isn't "why is Sproles going before Gore/Jackson", it's "why is Sproles going 2-4 rounds before Gore/Jackson". It seems to me that people are either underrating Sproles' decline risk, or overrating Gore/Jackson's. or possibly the average risk calculation is far, far more "workload heavy" than I thought, because I wouldn't think even a 50/50 age/workload split would have gotten those two backs so far behind Sproles. It just seems to me like Sproles is being treated differently than everyone else because his value comes from receptions instead of rushes. I don't know if the data justifies that. 20 players have topped 60 receptions at age 26. 21 have done it at age 27. 19 have done it at 28. 10 have done it at 29. 9 did it at 30, 4 at 31, 3 at 32, 2 at 33, and just one at 34. Change the threshold to 75 receptions and the drop is even more precipitous, as Larry Centers and Darren Sproles are the only players in history to top that mark twice after age 28, and only four times has a back made it there at age 30 or later. Receiving backs age, too. Sproles is an oddity, but he's not unique in history, and 30 years old is 30 years old no matter who you are.
  5. The same could easily be said about Frank Gore and Steven Jackson, who are both the same age as Sproles, who are both on teams that know how to use them and who are both guaranteed to get their touches this season (or as guaranteed as a 30-year-old back can possibly be), and who both have a dynasty ADP after Stewart's (Gore is the next back off the board, and SJax comes off 5 RBs and 17 picks after Stewart). What makes Gore and Jackson different from Sproles? Are owners underrating Sproles' age risk? Are they overrating Gore's and Jackson's?
  6. Oh yeah, Stewart is absolutely a flawed asset. That situation is toxic, and who knows if it'll ever revert back to 2011 levels or remain at 2012 levels going forward? Who knows how the carries are going to be broken out? I'm not arguing for Stewart as a top 12 dynasty RB, here. According to the DLF mocks, Stewart's being drafted as RB23. Looking at the RBs around him, that seems out of whack to me. Darren Sproles is going 2 rounds before Stewart, despite being 4 years older, never having double-digit TDs, and only topping 400 rushing yards once. Yeah, he gets 80 receptions a year, but... two rounds earlier! You've got Lamar Miller going before Stewart. Miller's a 4th round pick in a complete mess of a situation. He was the 15th pick in rookie drafts last year! As I said, I'm not calling for Stewart to be in the top 12, I'm just saying that a ranking in the late teens seems far more reasonable for an ultra-talented 26 year old with a track record of success. Also, I may be attacking a straw man or tilting at windmills, here, but I think the whole "if Stewart is so talented, why hasn't he seized the job yet?" line of questioning is off track. Of all the questions surrounding Stewart (health, situation, age, talent), talent is the only one that doesn't bother me in the slightest. On talent alone, Stewart would be a slam dunk dynasty RB1. your "track record of success" is different than mine. I see talent player, who has 1 decent end of season run and exactly 1 top 12 finish in his career. (FBG scoring) and 1 season with more than 20 catches. The reasons (excuses) are endless. Lets just call a spade a spade here. He is what he is, his situation isnt going to change because we wish it to. Context is important. Compared to Jamaal Charles or Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson or Ray Rice, Stewart does not have a "track record of success". Compared to the guys being drafted around him, though? Absolutely, Stewart has a track record of success. In addition to his top 12 finish, he was RB18 in PPR leagues as recently as 2011. 4.7 career YPC. You can say the situation isn't going to change at this point, but isn't that what situations do? They change. His situation changed dramatically from 2011 to 2012. Why can't it change again? If Carolina's situation was the same as it was in 2011, Stewart would be in an enviable position. Irrelevant. Sproles has never been a guy who get a ton of touches, and his style is not conducive to taking a lot of hits, so he doesn't have the wear and tear of a normal 30-year old RB. Plus, he has shown over the years that he is the king of doing more with less. He doesn't need a lot of touches to produce. It's not irrelevant if you believe that workload is essentially useless in predicting decline, while age is the opposite. I don't care how light his workload has been to this point, I care about the fact that he's already going to be on the wrong side of 30 by the time this season kicks off. And it's not just that he's getting drafted ahead of Stewart, it's that he's going TWO ROUNDS ahead of Stewart. That's an awfully large gap to bridge.
  7. Oh yeah, Stewart is absolutely a flawed asset. That situation is toxic, and who knows if it'll ever revert back to 2011 levels or remain at 2012 levels going forward? Who knows how the carries are going to be broken out? I'm not arguing for Stewart as a top 12 dynasty RB, here. According to the DLF mocks, Stewart's being drafted as RB23. Looking at the RBs around him, that seems out of whack to me. Darren Sproles is going 2 rounds before Stewart, despite being 4 years older, never having double-digit TDs, and only topping 400 rushing yards once. Yeah, he gets 80 receptions a year, but... two rounds earlier! You've got Lamar Miller going before Stewart. Miller's a 4th round pick in a complete mess of a situation. He was the 15th pick in rookie drafts last year! As I said, I'm not calling for Stewart to be in the top 12, I'm just saying that a ranking in the late teens seems far more reasonable for an ultra-talented 26 year old with a track record of success. Also, I may be attacking a straw man or tilting at windmills, here, but I think the whole "if Stewart is so talented, why hasn't he seized the job yet?" line of questioning is off track. Of all the questions surrounding Stewart (health, situation, age, talent), talent is the only one that doesn't bother me in the slightest. On talent alone, Stewart would be a slam dunk dynasty RB1.
  8. Since 2008- Yards per carry: 5.0 DeAngelo 4.7 Stewart 4.0 Goodson 3.4 Tolbert Also, moving beyond YPC (which is a pretty flawed metric heavily influenced by usage patterns), you've got the following stats: 2008 DVOA: Williams (24.9%, 1st overall), Stewart (4.6%, 13th overall) 2009 DVOA: Stewart (12.8%, 8th overall), Williams (11.3%, 10th overall) 2010 DVOA: Stewart (-12.2%, 37th overall), Goodson (-15.3%, 52nd overall), Williams (-17.2%, not enough carries to be ranked) 2011 DVOA: Stewart (23.4%, 2nd overall), Williams (18.0%, 3rd) 2012 DVOA: Williams (-6.6%, 26th overall), Stewart (-18.5%, not enough carries to be ranked) Williams topped Stewart in Jon's rookie year, and again last year (when he was injured all season), and Stewart had the best DVOA on the Panthers the other three years. 2008 Success Rate: Stewart (49%, 11th), Williams (47%, 19th) 2009 Success Rate: Stewart (50%, 19th), Williams (45%, 30th) 2010 Success Rate: Goodson (38%, 42nd), Stewart (36%, 45th), Williams (not enough carries) 2011 Success Rate: Stewart (53%, 8th), Williams (46%, 28th) 2012 Success Rate: Williams (48%, 22nd), Stewart (not enough carries) And of course, there's always Pro Football Focus... Point being, Stewart has not been outperformed by his teammates- even if you go purely by the statistics and ignore the "eyeball test". He's performed comparably (and even slightly better) to Williams (who also benefits from not having his own rookie season thrown into the comparison...), and he's dramatically outperformed everyone else. And, again, since DeAngelo Williams is one of the best backs of the last decade, performing comparably (and even slightly better) to him reinforces that Stewart is a fantastic talent who has been very productive to this point in his career. Value is pretty relevant when discussing Stewart. If you buy him as rb22 in a startup and he gives you three top-5 seasons, that's worth a lot more than if you buy Peterson as rb1 and he does the same. That's what I was saying about reaching a point in the draft where upside begins to far outweigh downside. As for consistency... It's not the key to a great player. Great players are often consistent, but that gets the causal arrow backward- players that score a lot of point tend to have fewer games where they don't score many points, sure, but that's because they score so many points. Players who are consistent don't become great, players who are great become consistent. Add to this the fact that consistency is not consistent (knowing how consistent a player was in year N tells you very little about how consistent he'll be in year N+1), and that consistency really isn't that valuable (someone- maybe ZWK?- ran a study that found that a super-consistent WR that scored 180 points would be expected to net as many wins for his owner as a super-inconsistent WR that scored 182 points). To finish this off, consider that Jonathan Stewart has actually historically been a pretty consistent guy. Come up with any definition of consistency you want (games above 8 points, percentage of games within one std dev of his scoring average, percentage of points scored in his four best games) and compare Stewart to the two guys immediately above and below him in the year-end rankings and you'll see that Stewart is no more inconsistent than we would expect an RB with that many points to be. In short, consistency isn't worth much of anything, IMO- give me the guy who scores more points, regardless of how consistently he does so. If Stewart had laid eggs in week 15 and 16 of 2009, I wouldn't be talking about how he carried teams to titles, and I wouldn't be saying I got a pretty good return on him already. He didn't, though, and the championship trophy he put on my mantle disagrees with anyone who says he's been a disappointment so far and has underperformed what his owners had to pay to get him. Okay, again, you are focusing mostly on value, which was not part of the equation I originally had a problem with. I don't know you can still he put a championship trophy on your mantle all by himself. Did the rest of your team suck ### down the stretch and in the playoffs and all of your opponents' lineups also lay eggs? Cause otherwise it is foolish to ever suggest that one guy gave you a championship (although I get the hyperbole of saying it when players have all-time great seasons, like ADP this past year, Moss in '07, Peyton in '04, etc.). And if all it takes is one good stretch for a player to not be a disappointment, does his solid play this past season prove that Knowshon Moreno is not a disappointment? I mean, his solid numbers for excellent value (since most probably picked him up for nothing since he went undrafted or not auctioned off in most leagues) likely helped some fantasy teams win titles, so he is now not a disappointment as well? It seems that there's a problem with the language that I used, and I apologize for that. No, Jonathan Stewart did not literally carry me to a championship. I did not submit a starting lineup that consisted of Stewart and 7 empty spots. You're right that I was being hyperbolic, and that seems to have distracted from my larger points, so I would be very happy to replace "he single-handedly carried me to a title" with "he was by far the most important player on a team that won the championship". That particular team was 8th in points scored, had a losing regular season record, snuck into the last playoff spot on tiebreakers (thanks to some big Stewart games down the stretch), and walked away with the championship largely because Stewart put up a couple of monster games (magnified by my league's yardage-heavy scoring). Getting past the sticky particulars, though, what are your thoughts on my larger point? Jonathan Stewart is someone who I believe could explode and carry teams to championships (or, at the least, become the most important piece on championship-winning teams). As evidence for this assertion, I submit the fact that Jonathan Stewart has already done exactly that. And even if we want to ignore the timing (yes, it was lucky that Stewart's big games were week 15 and 16 instead of weeks 13 and 14), how many other RBs currently ranked in the late teens or later are both 26 or younger *AND* have a top 12 finish on their resume? What better proof that a player has huge upside than actually having a player demonstrate that huge upside in the NFL already? There are a lot of important questions to ask about Stewart. Was last year a fluke resulting from his injury, or a meaningful sign of decline? What will his role be in Carolina going forward? These are very important questions, and it seems to me that there is a lot of room for genuine and legitimate disagreement. Was Jonathan Stewart ever any good? Obviously I'm biased, but I just don't see how there's room for significant disagreement on this one. Stewart has performed comparably to DeAngelo Williams, who is one of the best backs of this generation. He has a top 12 fantasy finish, averages 1000 yards a year for his career despite playing in a timeshare, has off-the-charts stats (both simple and advanced), is top 5 among active RBs in career YPC, holds an NFL record (most rushing yards in a player's first 3 starts), has a "small legion" of major fans who can't stop raving about how talented he is, and got a $38 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. It seems to me that Stewart has been every bit as good as his fans thought he was, and if last year's injury wasn't a harbinger of things to come, that talent will likely pay major dividends over the next 4 years. I'd much rather buy him as a low-end RB2 than a guy like Reggie Bush, Kendall Hunter, Mark Ingram, or Lamar Miller.
  9. Talk about revisionist. If all they needed to do is meet the salary floor they could have overpaid a someone just for that year, not locked up Williams with a $21M guaranteed contract.It's only revisionist if I didn't believe it at the time. Look, even if we leave aside all talk about WHY they did what they did and just present the facts on the ground, it's pretty compelling. Up through 2010, Carolina was shedding money like their life depended on it. The front office even acknowledged that that was what they were doing- using the uncapped season to shed salary. Then, the new CBA was signed, and for whatever reason you want to believe, Carolina suffered one of the most extreme changes of direction you'll ever see. Over a one month span, in addition to the Mare and Williams contracts, Carolina also gave huge new deals to its defensive end, its entire LB corps, and its center. The guaranteed money alone from those seven deals totaled $125 MILLION, all paid out over the course of about 30 days. Seven contracts, every one of them insanely above expected market price, and the end result was locking in the core of a 2-14 franchise. Maybe they were spending up to a floor. Maybe their decision makers all suffered a collective stroke. Maybe they liked getting the #1 overall pick so much they wanted to immortalized the roster that did it. Who knows. All I know is, taken in the context of everything else Carolina was doing at the time, I think the correct reaction wasn't "wow, Carolina just gave DeAngelo huge money, they must not be believers in Stewart". I think the correct reaction was "wow, either Carolina has gone completely off the rails, or else someone has a gun to Richardson's head and they'll pull the trigger if he doesn't spend $3m a day, every day for an entire month". If we're talking about revisionist history, I think this idea that the Williams signing meant Carolina doesn't like Stewart is a revisionist idea. If Carolina didn't like Stewart, or if Carolina thought he was an overrated tease or mediocre talent, Carolina wouldn't have given Stewart a huge new contract, too. The DeAngelo contract says very little about what Carolina thinks of Stewart.
  10. I don't think that's a valid assumption. I think all it means is that former GM Hurney was an idiot with the owner's money. And with a lot of other things -- IMO one of the worst GMs in the league when he was in there. Now he's gone.The situation is more complicated than that. Leading up to the end of the CBA, Jerry Richardson issued a mandate to be incredibly cheap (I'm sure he'd call it "cautious") until he saw what the new CBA looked like. Carolina purged assets and cleared cap space like it was their full-time job, leading to the 2010 season where Carolina was so talent deprived that even John Fox, a good coach who is at his best getting talent-shy rosters to overperform, couldn't lead them to better than a 2-14 record (only to get ushered out the door himself to save the cheapskate owner even more money). While owners like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder were using the uncapped season to try to load up on talent, Richardson was engaged in a race to the bottom to see just how little money he could possibly spend on an NFL franchise. The problem, then, was that the new CBA came out, and it contained a salary floor, which Richardson and the Panthers were something like $30 million below with only half their players under contract. That, combined with a weak free agent class, led to Carolina giving ridiculous money to anyone with a pulse. Just look at Olindo Mare, who got a 4-year, $12 million dollar contract that offseason (he lasted just one season). Mare's tenure with the team was such a joke that a Panthers fan blog wrote an article about Carolina resigning him for April Fools' this year. His tenure was so forgettable that it doesn't even show up on his Wikipedia page, which lists his team in 2010, and his team in 2012, but not his team in 2011. Today, when he should be two years into the contract, he's instead out of football entirely. And Mare wasn't the only bad contract that year. Faced with a terrible situation, Carolina spent huge money overpaying its own free agents, including Williams, leading to many of the national punditry joking up that they were busy "locking up their core" (off a 2-14 team). But it was really the least bad of all the bad options- they had to spend the money, and these guys were better than most of the free agents on the street. If you have to overpay someone, why not overpay the guys you got and earn some points for "loyalty"?Anyway, DeAngelo's contract isn't really a product of the FO's view of Stewart, it's a product of a unique and unprecedented situation. In a vacuum, the DeAngelo contract was a bad contract. In context, it was the least bad of a range of bad options.
  11. Rule of thumb #102: all rules of thumb are sometimes wrong, even this one.
  12. Yeah, the dynasty distinction is very important. I find that the redraft market tends to be very, very good at pricing Stewart. Whatever his redraft ADP winds up being, I feel pretty confident that it will represent a fair and accurate value for him.
  13. Value is pretty relevant when discussing Stewart. If you buy him as rb22 in a startup and he gives you three top-5 seasons, that's worth a lot more than if you buy Peterson as rb1 and he does the same. That's what I was saying about reaching a point in the draft where upside begins to far outweigh downside. As for consistency... It's not the key to a great player. Great players are often consistent, but that gets the causal arrow backward- players that score a lot of point tend to have fewer games where they don't score many points, sure, but that's because they score so many points. Players who are consistent don't become great, players who are great become consistent. Add to this the fact that consistency is not consistent (knowing how consistent a player was in year N tells you very little about how consistent he'll be in year N+1), and that consistency really isn't that valuable (someone- maybe ZWK?- ran a study that found that a super-consistent WR that scored 180 points would be expected to net as many wins for his owner as a super-inconsistent WR that scored 182 points). To finish this off, consider that Jonathan Stewart has actually historically been a pretty consistent guy. Come up with any definition of consistency you want (games above 8 points, percentage of games within one std dev of his scoring average, percentage of points scored in his four best games) and compare Stewart to the two guys immediately above and below him in the year-end rankings and you'll see that Stewart is no more inconsistent than we would expect an RB with that many points to be. In short, consistency isn't worth much of anything, IMO- give me the guy who scores more points, regardless of how consistently he does so. If Stewart had laid eggs in week 15 and 16 of 2009, I wouldn't be talking about how he carried teams to titles, and I wouldn't be saying I got a pretty good return on him already. He didn't, though, and the championship trophy he put on my mantle disagrees with anyone who says he's been a disappointment so far and has underperformed what his owners had to pay to get him.
  14. He was the #5 fantasy RB over the last half of the season, the #3 fantasy back in week 15, and the #1 fantasy back in week 16 championship games (plus #10 in week 17 for those guys still playing at that point). He's not the reason I made the playoffs (although some big games down the stretch sure helped), but I went from barely a playoff team to blowing the doors off of people because my RB2 went from spot starter to top 3 stud. When Peterson performed like a top3 back that year, he helped his teams, but they spent a top3 pick to get him. Stewart's ADP that year was outside of the top 24 entirely. Arian Foster scored more points than Alfred Morris last season, but I bet Morris carried a lot more teams to championships. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if Knowshon Moreno did, too, for that matter. Part of Stewart's value in 2009 was how many points he put up, but part too was where he put them up from.
  15. PFF loves him. He might not have the best ypc, but he's pretty consistently been the top graded RB on the team. Prior to last year, they ran an "elusiveness score" retrospective and Jon Stewart was the best back in the league at evading or breaking tackles since they started grading. Last year, Stewart was pants... but prior to that, he was legitimately great. Plus he has the most wicked stiff arm in the entire league. Absolutely filthy. It just remains to be seen whether last year was a harbinger of things to come, or the lingering effects of his preseason injury. I still like him towards the back half of the rb2s because no one there can even come close to catching a whiff of Stewart's upside. He's the only guy around once 18 RBs off the board with the potential to single-handedly carry teams to titles, like he did in 2009. At some point, his (really high) downside becomes secondary to his (really high) upside.
  16. Not to mention it is also usually players he has been pimping on this forum for ages in other threads (Jon Baldwin is a example that comes to mind). IMO, It seems to be all about some sort of self promotion with EBF, perhaps so he can gleefully bump a thread like this down the line and say "See, I was right! I told you so!" and add it to his "Best of Funk" signature line. I hope I am wrong, but It doesn't seem to me that the motivation is to really to help people find an undervalued player, but rather, just laying the groundwork to document his long standing opinion if/when the player lives up to his hype.I talked a year or two ago about the concept of "inertia" in rankings. Once a guy is in place, how much force does it take to move him up or down? Some owners have very little inertia- if a player has a single good game, he'll shoot up the board and they'll say "if you wait for him to prove it, it'll already be too late to buy". Other owners have a ton of inertia, and it takes a huge amount of contrary evidence to get them to move- think of the guys who were unwilling to spend a first rounder on Arian Foster after his #1 finish. Honestly, I use "inertia" as a description, not a judgment. It's not like there's a "right amount" of inertia. For guys like Demaryius Thomas, Andre Johnson, or Michael Crabtree, I hope you were very, very inert (and to EBF's credit, he was). For a guys like Charles Rodgers, Roy Williams, or Big Mike Williams, the less inert you were, the better off you'd be. High inertia would prevent someone from buying high on Brandon Lloyd or Steve Slaton. Low inertia would allow someone to buy low on Jamaal Charles or Maurice Jones-Drew. It's hard to find the perfect value of inertia, and everyone strikes their own balance, decides for themselves how inert to be and when to make exceptions. EBF is a very inert owner. This is not an insult, it is a description. There is nothing nefarious at work- he's not just throwing things at a wall to see what sticks or constantly trying to nail a hero call, he's just inert. It's understandable- if you grind 10 hours of tape on a guy, it'll take a lot more than a handful of games to change your mind, and even several seasons don't totally outweigh what you originally saw. For me, since I don't watch all that tape, it's pretty easy to change my mind- all of my opinions on players start very weak and solidify over time, as opposed to EBF, whose opinions are crystallized before the prospect ever takes an NFL snap. Again, though, I think questioning his integrity is way off base. This is a question of style and philosophy, not ego and grandstanding.
  17. The problem with the question of whether Stewart is undervalued is that it's far less relevant than the question of whether Stewart is poorly sorted. The average owner might undervalue Stewart, but the average owner doesn't own Stewart- at this point, after years of hype and "buy low" moments, odds are whoever owns Stewart is the guy in the league who is highest on Stewart. Odds are that guy is committed to holding at this point, and won't sell him for anywhere near consensus value. So saying Stewart is a good "buy low" is useful for startups, or maybe for very young leagues (say, second season) where owners haven't had as much opportunity to sort, but it's pretty meaningless in established leagues. Odds are very low that Stewart is a good "buy low" in any league 3 years old or older. You have been telling everyone in this forum to buy him for the last three years (maybe longer). Hard to get excited about you hyping him again as a possible bargain acquisition, since you have never viewed him as anything but that. In your book he has always been undervalued and a player to buy Now. Is there even one time that you have not recommended him as an acquisition target? If so, I would really like to see your quote on that and a link to the thread.This is confusing process and outcome. It'd be like saying "People have told me four times now that heads was a good bet, and the coin came up tails four times, so screw that- I'm never betting heads again". To this point in his career, Stewart has had three paths to a starting job. The first was beating out DeAngelo as a rookie. The second was when DeAngelo's contract was up. The third was when Stewart's contract was up. Before each of those points, Stewart fans valued him highly because there was a good chance that he'd be a featured back soon. All of those flips wound up coming up tails (partly due to unforeseen circumstances- if the old CBA didn't expire, Richardson never would have shed so much salary, and if the new CBA didn't contain a salary floor, he never would have offered DeAngelo such a ludicrous contract or had enough money left over to give one to Stewart, too). This does not mean that all future flips are guaranteed to come up tails, too. When Stewart fans say there's a good chance he gets his own gig in the next couple of years, pointing out that they've been wrong about it before doesn't make it any less true. By the same token, if a guy said Marvin Harrison was old and washed up at 34, whether or not he made the same prediction at 32 and 33 has no impact on his chances of being right (although I get what you're saying- there's a strong chance he has a prejudice against Harrison, old WRs, or both, which makes him easy to discount because that's just his bias talking. Not any more likely to be wrong, but certainly easier to discount). Also, for what it's worth, people who think Stewart has been overvalued have a spotty track record so far. In 5 years in the league, Stewart has underperformed his ADP twice, overperformed his ADP twice, and finished right at his ADP once. It's true that in dynasty, his cost has exceeded his returns to date... but it's not like he hasn't provided any returns at all. I have a championship trophy on my mantle because of his absurd end-of-season run in 2009, which in my mind justifies any price I may have paid to acquire him. And the book still isn't closed on him, yet. Is he a good buy-low? Well, I have him valued in the low teens, so I suppose it depends on the context. It helps that the current RB crop is so atrocious.
  18. This seems impossible with the current landscape of the NFL. When you have perennial studs like Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, and throw in newcomers like RGIII, Luck, Kaep, Wilson, there are not a lot of spots left in the top 10. Where do you put guys like Cam, Ryan, Stafford, etc.??The theory means almost nothing because breaking into the top 10 can be done on either talent OR opportunity. For instance, Stafford has back to back top 10 finishes, but that is almost solely due to the fact that he leads the league in passing attempts over the last two years AND he's got Calvin Johnson. Should Tannehill throw the ball 700 times in 2013, bam, he's instantly in the top 10. If he only throws the ball 500 times, is he a different player than if he'd gotten 700 attempts? You need talent to get to those numbers though. Stafford is a #1 overall pick. It's not like he's Ryan Lindley out there. How far down the attempts list do you have to go to where you'd consider someone cracking the list solely because of opportunity? Gannon or Cutler? Bill Kenney? Tommy Kramer? I don't think i or SSOG have claimed that this is an absolute, but when you are reaching back to 1983 to try to disprove this theory, it's probably easier to accept that more often than not if a guy hasn't broken through by his third year, he isn't going to do it. Stafford's only top-10 finish was in 2011, even though he had 4 more attempts per game in 2012. You can say that 2011 was solely volume, but he was top-10 in pretty much every advanced metric and was top-5 in passer rating. If he had benefited only from attempts, his advanced metrics would have been mediocre, but Stafford was solidly top-10 in everything in 2011. Fair enough. If you were allowed only one piece of information then this might be useful, but situation obviously plays such a huge role in this, that unless you just don't have time to lightly analyze situation then this rule just isn't very useful. I mean, if Tannehill were to throw the ball less than 500 times this season, would you write him off? What if Russell Wilson runs a conservative offense again and finishes just outside the top 10? As an A&M grad, I found Tannehill kind of error prone so I'm not overly excited about him, but at the same time he was very green, not having played until almost halfway into his junior year. So I've got to cut him some slack. 13 INTs in 484 attempts isn't terrible for a rookie, so there's reason for optimism this year. His O-line is a concern but he's mobile although he doesn't always play like it - which is commendable in a way. Nobody want to see their QB scrambling at the slightest hint of pressure. Given his youth and measurables, I can see why some would consider him a borderline top 10 dynasty QB. How many more good years can you expect out of Brady and Manning? Just looking at the current staff rankings, I'm not sure it would take a lot to pass guys like Ryan and Stafford as far as talent goes, but they do have great situations. Eli and Flacco aren't really intimidating, either. Personally, I never intended for the look to be definitive, merely suggestive. I never meant for it to be interpreted as "if you don't crack the top 10 in your first 2 years as a starter, there's less than a 10% chance you'll ever do so!", I meant more for it to be interpreted as "Wow, I think we're all underrating just how quickly good QBs become fantasy viable, and how rare it is for a QB to deviate from this pattern". And also, to some degree, I meant it to be an indictment of just how low of a threshold "fantasy QB1" really is. Maybe 20 guys a year are going to play 15+ games. If you're one of them for several years running and yet you can't crack the top 12, that needs to be a serious red flag. Again, though, this was never intended as definitive. Ben Roethlisberger started his career with poor fantasy stats, but it was obvious to anyone who watched him that he was awesome, and I hitched my wagon to him in plenty of leagues figuring his production would eventually follow his talent. I said when I originally did the comparison (back in 2010) that while it suggested Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were unlikely to ever be fantasy QB1s, I very much doubted that both of those guys would miss. I think we're seeing more of a shift towards starting QBs younger and earlier and letting them develop on the job, to the point where I don't know if today's results will exactly mirror the results of the last two decades. That doesn't mean I think we should just ignore those results entirely. We can use them to INFORM our beliefs even as we question their usefulness to FORM our beliefs. The Form/Inform distinction is a very important one, and it's one that I've hammered on essentially since I first joined, back when people assumed that the fact I looked at numbers and historical trends meant I just looked at box scores and didn't actually watch any football. Historical analysis should be used as a supplement to all the other tools in your belt, not as a replacement for them, especially since the most valuable assets in fantasy football will always be the outliers (Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Adrian Peterson last year), and historical analysis, by its very definition, will not and can not predict outliers. I agree with you that Tannehill is a unique case and deserves to be treated like one. Comparing Ryan Tannehill, (who started week 1 of 2012 after 1.5 years as a college starter and 0 years in the NFL), to Philip Rivers, (who started week 1 of 2006 after 4 years as a college starter and 2 years in the NFL), doesn't make sense. At the same time, I think it is useful and valuable to make the observation that, historically, great QBs have very quickly reached some minimum threshold of acceptability (defined here as "fantasy QB1"), and that QBs who have failed to quickly reach that threshold have seldom proven themselves great over a longer timeline.
  19. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about how Shanahan's RB situation played out in Denver, so I'd like to post a brief history. Part 1- The Terrell Davis Years1995- Denver's RB situation was unsettled, and some 6th round nobody named Terrell Davis came on like gangbusters in the preseason and took the job. 1996- Terrell Davis1997- Terrell Davis1998- Terrell Davis1999- Terrell Davis. When he got hurt, Denver went to his backup (Olandis Gary)2000- Terrell Davis. When he got hurt, Denver went to his backup (Mike Anderson, who had replaced Gary because Gary wasn't any good)2001- Terrell Davis. When he got hurt, Denver went to his backup (Mike Anderson, still)Pretty straightforward so far. Now, after 2001, Davis retired and Denver drafted Portis in the 2nd. I don't think Denver was looking for an RB, but Shanahan had Portis rated extremely high and didn't think he'd fall all the way to their 2nd round pick, so he couldn't pass when he did. With Portis in the fold, Shanahan moved Anderson to FB so he could continue to get on the field. 2002- Olandis Gary opened the season atop the depth chart, but gave way to Portis after 2 games.2003- Portis. When he got hurt, Denver went with a combo of Quentin Griffin and Anderson (who was still a FB, playing 10-20 pounds heavier than his ideal RB weight). After 2003, Portis started making it clear that he was upset with his contract and looking to become the highest paid RB in the league. Rather than committing that kind of cash to him, Shanahan traded him for a HoF CB and a 2nd rounder, drafting Tatum Bell. I think the original plan was to make Tatum a featured back, but once he got in town, it became clear that he couldn't hold up to a full workload, and Shanahan would ensure he remained in a CoP role from that point forward. Because of that, Shanahan also transitioned Anderson back into FB shape. 2004- was supposed to be Anderson, but he got injured in preseason. Instead, it was Quentin Griffin, who was TERRIBLE, had a game-losing fumble, and got hurt, so Denver turned to their 4th string RB (remember, Tatum Bell is strictly a CoP guy), who was Reuben Droughns (their FB). After 2004, Denver didn't feel like paying big money to Reuben Droughns, who was their 4th string RB, so they let him walk. Instead, they went back to their plan A from 2004. 2005- Mike Anderson, with Tatum Bell in a CoP role. After 2005, Mike Anderson was 33 years old (ancient in RB terms) and Denver felt like he was done (note: they were right), so they let him walk. Again, though, Tatum was just a CoP back, so Denver had to bring in another complementary back2006- Mike Bell and Tatum Bell in a platoonMike Bell was just a seat warmer (evidenced by the fact that he couldn't get more run than Tatum), and Tatum was just a CoP guy, so Denver let them both walk. Instead, Shanahan decided to try free agency and brought in Travis Henry. 2007- Travis Henry, and when he got hurt, Selvin Young, Andre Hall, and a little bit of Cecil Sapp. Travis Henry had failed drug tests and started missing workouts, basically just being a headcase, so Denver cut him, which led to the biggest injury cluster-you-know-what I've ever seen. The 2008 Denver Broncos suffered so many injuries that they ended their season using their SEVENTH STRING RB (old friend Tatum Bell, who was selling cell phones from a kiosk in a local mall in October, and leading the Broncos in rushing in November. True story). So, that looks like a massive mess, like Shanahan was unpredictable or impulsive, but there was a very clear and simple logic underlying all of his moves. If Terrell Davis or Clinton Portis was healthy, they were the starter. If they were not healthy (or around), Mike Anderson was the guy. If Mike Anderson wasn't around, either, Denver was forced to rely on any one of a number of stopgaps, bandages, or temporary fill-ins (including, but not limited to, Olandis Gary, Quentin Griffin, Reuben Droughns, Mike Bell, Selvin Young, etc). All of those fill-ins were totally exchangeable and expendable, and Denver churned through them pretty regularly because they were just warm bodies. Through all of this, if Tatum Bell was healthy, he'd get about 10 carries a game as a CoP back. After churning through a lot of warm bodies without success, Shanahan tried turning to free agency with Travis Henry, but he was a malingerer and a malcontent and Shanny cut him after a single (injury-marred) season because he stopped showing up to team activities. When an RB was let go, it was usually over money (Portis, Anderson, Droughns, Tatum, Henry)- Shanahan just didn't believe in committing huge resources to RB when he already had the highest-paid line in the league for much of that time (with Davis being the only exception). The only reason it looks like Shanny was playing games is because he churned his backup RB position a lot (because most of them sucked), and because he suffered an absurdly high number of injuries to his starters.What does this mean for Alfred Morris? Well, I've already said that he's no Terrell Davis or Clinton Portis, but I think Anderson is a favorable comp. as you saw, outside of a Davis/Portis type, nobody could send Anderson to the bench (hell, even with Portis, Shanahan moved Anderson to FB to get him more playing time). So the biggest risk to Alfred Morris's playing time would be if Washington acquired a Davis or Portis. Given Washington's lack of cap space (because of league penalties) and draft picks (because of the RGIII trade), I don't see any uber talented RBs riding though those doors any time soon (not that this draft class even has any), which makes Morris's job pretty safe. I could see Shanahan moving on from him if he was making exorbitant salary demands, but his contract literally cannot possibly be renegotiated for at least two more seasons, so there's no risk of that, either. Alfred Morris is not the greatest RB to ever play for Mike Shanahan, but he's plenty good enough for his job to be very secure for the foreseeable future.
  20. The fit is not what you say it is. Shanahan prefers RBs who can catch the football and who have more speed than Morris has. You are giving him way too much credit to think that he sat back and took Morris in the 6th because he was a "Shanahan" type of RB. He was the 4th RB that the Redskins have drafted in the Shanahan era. Looks to me like Shanahan is cycling through RBs until he finds them. Morris was likely drafted to be the short yardage back that they did not have on the roster already. To say that Shanahan drafted a guy in the 6th round with the goal of handing him 90% of the team's carries is unsupported by any evidence out there. Royster was named the starter for week 1 and he and Helu got hurt in the preseason. Morris did everything he could with that job but to say that he was drafted as a Shanahan RB has little support. I agree with the bolded 100%. Mike Shanahan is cycling through cheap RBs who he thinks can fit his scheme until he finds a good one. I'm just arguing that he's found a good one. As for preferring fast RBs... seven RBs have rushed for 1,000 yards under Mike Shanahan. Five of those seven RBs ran slower than 4.6 at the combine. The slowest back Shanahan ever coached based on combine times was Terrell Davis.
  21. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but we don't know what Gronk's designations would have been had he been hurt earlier on in the season. And IMO the back injuries in college are not so insignificant that they should be totally ignored.I agree that the broken arm was a flukish injury (and why he was even on the field then still mystifies me). Clearly when he's 100% he is gold, pure gold. But that's still 3 pretty major injuries over roughly a 5 year span. Those could happen at any point to anyone, so I would tend to agree that injuries are mostly bad luck. I wouldn't discount Gronk very much, but I would still tend to say he should be discounted slightly with the injury concerns.It sounds to me like we have more of a philosophical disagreement than a structural one. I find that I tend to be several standard deviations below the mean in terms of risk discounts I apply for injuries- basically, unless I hear the words "concussion", "hamstring", or "bone-on-bone", I'm not discounting at all. I find that the typical injury discounts are too excessive, which is a systemic market inefficiency ripe for exploitation.
  22. I'm not a doctor, but Jene Bramel is, so I defer to his expertise on this one:http://bramelsecondopinion.com/2013/01/15/how-likely-was-rob-gronkowskis-second-arm-fracture/ I think your accurate crystal ball comment really sums it up for me. Frankly, would I be shocked if Gronk got a DUI? Not really. If you told me that an NFL player would go missing for two weeks and resurface in a Mexican prison, would Gronk be one of the first names I guessed? He sure would. But these are astronomically small risks, IMO. We might as well start downgrading players because they play the lottery, and if they win, they're likely to retire. My crystal ball is nowhere near accurate enough for me to believe that incorporating wild suppositions about a stranger's character would improve the quality of my predictions. Especially since a fondness for partying is rather common among his age group, and almost always declines naturally with time. Punishing him in rankings for being immature seems bass-ackwards- since when is youth a negative in dynasty rankings?As I mentioned, it seems the biggest strike against Gronk is the broken arm. My thoughts on that are largely shaped on what Bramel says- the recovery period seems reasonable, the second break was likely a perfect storm, an offseason to heal should alleviate any remaining issues.
  23. I compared Gronk to Calvin earlier. I want to expand on that comparison. Here is the injury report from the last 3 years. I broke it down by injury, and if the same injury appeared multiple consecutive weeks, I counted it as one injury and listed duration and severity. Also, sometimes injuries would overlap (example: in 2012, Calvin had a game listed as Probable- ankle/thumb, which I counted under both his ankle and his thumb injury). So if the numbers don't add up, that's why. Keep in mind, too, that Belichick is famous for over reporting injuries (he's being passive aggressive after the NFL smacked him down for under reporting injuries, which is why Brady was "probable/shoulder" for half a decade). Calvin Johnson- 2012 - foot injury (1 game probable), ankle injury (2 games probable), knee injury (2 games probable, 3 games questionable), thumb injury (2 games probable), knee injury (3 games probable), ankle injury (1 game probable) 2011- ankle injury (1 game questionable, 3 games probable), ankle injury (2 games probable), Achilles injury (2 games probable) 2010- shoulder/knee injury (1 game questionable), shoulder injury (1 game probable), knee injury (1 game probable), groin injury (1 game probable), ankle injury (1 game probable, 1 game questionable) Rob Gronkowski- 2012- hip injury (7 games questionable), forearm/hip injury (3 games out, 3 games questionable, 1 game probable, 1 game IR) 2011- ankle injury (1 game questionable) 2010- did not appear on injury report It seems the bulk of the argument for Gronkowski being "injury prone" and Calvin being an ironman rests on 5 missed games from an arm broken on a PAT attempt, which seems to me like perhaps the least predictive injury one could possibly get.
  24. I'm guessing I am not a troll, and I would be concerned about Gronk BECAUSE he is one of the best TE to ever play in the NFL. Want proof? Look at what NE has done.In 2011, he really had no business playing in the Super Bowl with a severe ankle injury, yet the Pats ran him out there in the hopes that he could do something. This year, he broke his arm . . . and NE rushed him back and he re-broke it. Without the second break (which sounds like it partly stemmed from the plate they inserted), he most likely would not have had infection issues either.On the surface, it appears like Gronkowski hasn't missed much time, but if he suffered the same injuries early in the season he could have missed a ton of time. If he had an injured back, ankle, or broken arm at the start of the year, he could have missed half the regular season or more.But since he is so valuable to the Patriots, they will do everything they can to get him in the lineup, which is where I get concerned. We've already seen what can happen when you try to do too much too soon. And if Gronk is beat up and not 100%, should he still be considered the #1 TE if he was playing at 75-80%?And we haven't even discussed his off the field lifestyle, which could also get him a freak injury or a suspension if he got caught doing something really out there or drug related.So yes, people should be concerned, even if he "only" missed 5 games in 3 seasons.Yes, New England rushed him back from the ankle injury... but I'm willing to say that Super Bowls are special cases, and it's exceedingly unlikely for Gronk to ever be in that position going forward. Besides, it's not as if we don't have any other examples of players rushing back for Super Bowls- did you count it as a strike against Terrell Owens, too? I'm not so sure New England rushed him back from the broken arm- there was speculation that he'd be playing for weeks before he actually was, which indicates he could possibly have been ready earlier. My impression from Dr. Bramel was less that the second break was a "he didn't have time to recover" thing and more that it was a "these things are fluky but sometimes happen" sort of thing. The fact that the break was in a different location seems to confirm that the original break had healed and was once again structurally sound. The infection is totally meaningless, unless you think Gronkowski has a predisposition to surgical infections (which is a separate argument than a predisposition towards surgery- even if we believe the broken bone is meaningful, I don't think the infection adds any additional information). I agree with you that time missed is a potentially misleading indicator (although in this case, I don't think it's off by much- if the injuries had occurred at different points of the season, he might have missed as few as 3 games or as many as 7, so 5 seems reasonable). I think number of injuries per game played would probably be a better guide, and by that metric, Gronk is doing really well- 48 career games played, and only 3 injuries which landed him on the injury report. Since one of those injuries, the broken bone, is about as non-predictive as injuries get, I'd say he's in fine shape. As for off-the-field concerns... I think those are way off base. We've never had a single whiff of drug use out of Gronk- no failed drug tests at any level. In fact, I did a quick google search and the only connection I could find between Gronk and drugs was all the time and money he donated to the DEA. Sure, he dances shirtless in establishments that permit shirtless dancing, and speaks grammatically incorrect Spanish, and wears fashion straight from the '80s, but I don't know why any of these things should lead me to conclude he's at a higher risk for suspension. You want to start worrying about TEs, let's start with ones who have actually failed a drug test before. Like the guy lining up across from Gronk who is currently the consensus #3 dynasty TE. As for whether he should still be the #1 TE at 75-80%... yes. Unequivocally yes. See weeks 4-11. If he's playing, he's #1.
  25. He only appeared on the injury report once in 19 games in 2011 (ankle injury in the SB), which is better than the vast majority of players can claim ("non-injury-prone" Calvin Johnson, for instance, also had a "questionable/ankle", but he combined that with five more "probable/ankle"s and two "probable/Achilles"s in fewer total games played). Gronk appeared questionable/hip from weeks 4-11 this year, but absolutely dominated the entire league in TE scoring over that span- he scored as many points in those 7 games as Owen Daniels, the #8 TE, scored in 15. Then he broke his forearm, which is generally a non-predictive injury. He broke it on a PAT, which says nothing about his style of play. It's very hard to look at his pro career (3 injuries in nearly 50 games, only one of which caused him to miss time) and conclude he's an elevated injury risk compared to everyone else. Sure, there's his college career, too... but we're now 3 years removed without any issues with his back. As time goes on, those injuries fade farther and farther in the rear-view mirror. Most importantly, none of his injuries have been related. What do back problems, a sprained ankle, a sore hip, and a broken arm have in common? Not much. If he were injury prone, we'd see he had a specific predisposition towards a certain type of injury- bone injuries, ligament injuries, muscle injuries, etc. The fact that his injuries, such as they are, have come from the entire constellation suggests more "bad luck" than "predisposition toward injury". The way he plays leads to all of these injuries. While he's healthy he's going to dominate but does anyone expect him to do this for even another 5 years?Again, the broken arm came on a PAT- his "style of play" had nothing to do with it. The sprained ankle was a sprained ankle- nothing about his style of play would seem to predispose him to ankle injuries, which are going to be rampant among all offensive skill players because of the frequency with which they make hard cuts. Which leaves us with a sore hip that didn't even hamper him and some back problems that haven't resurfaced once after three years in the league.
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