Monday, August 31, 2015

Best5Zach's Week 1 SEC Picks

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Hard to believe that game week is finally here! Time to make make picks!

South Carolina at North Carolina-  It's worth mentioning that the underdog visitor wins the majority of Thursday night games. The Gamecocks are holding on to a 2.5 point line, which means this game is a special team play away from a Tarheel win. Switzer had 5 punt returns for TDs as a freshman in 2013 before having none is a sophomore slump. Marquis Williams has a 65% completion ratio at home. He had 21 passing TDs and 9 INTs in 2014 while rushing for 788 yards and 13 more TDs. If he makes any strides as a passer, he could have a breakout game on Thursday night. The Tarheels have been among the very worst on defense, but they made a giant hire with former Auburn DC and head coach Chizik. All he has to do is cut down one TD to make this a very good team. South Carolina has been very quiet aside from some Spurrier one-liners. Aside from P Cooper, there seems to be a lack of playmakers on offense. The same can be said about the defense, which was dreadful in 2014, especially against the pass. I'll take North Carolina. 

Vandy vs Western Kentucky-Doughty put up 4,830 yards and 49 TDs in 2014. When playing as a visitor, he has a significantly lower completion percentage of 62%. He threw all 10 INTs in away games in 2014. He has an 80% completion percentage in season openers in the last two years with no interceptions. Vandy was near the very bottom with 13 total takeaways and sacks in 2013 with a group that returns 9 players. While the Western Kentucky defense isn't any better, the match up heavily favors WKU in all cases. Vandy opened as a slim favorite but late movement has them as 2 point dogs. I'll take the Hilltoppers and the points. 

Texas A&M vs Arizona State- Many would say that one of these teams is going to make a major statement by winning this game. I'd say that one team will prove they aren't what we thought they were. You can throw out any and all defensive stats from TAMU. Though pundits believe the Chavis hire was over-hyped, one can't discount that all these Sumlin teams were 1 touchdown from being 12-win teams, if only their defense could have made a stop. The secondary is going to continue to be a mess, but TAMU is going to be much improved in the front 7. TAMU only returns 10 starters on both sides of the ball, but keep in mind that the over-all talent level of the new starters will be higher than previous years. TAMU is going to have an incredible offense, especially in the beginning of the year before teams can watch film. TAMU has the best group of WRs in the country. They may not be as flashy as Baylor's group, but they are more physical. Arizona State returns 9 starters on a defense that was 103rd against the pass and 81st overall. That's cause for concern in and of itself. On the flip said, Becovici takes over as the starter after filling in admirably in 2014. In his 4 starts away from home, he has been slightly worse in completion percentage, but he has thrown more TDs and less INTs away from Sun Devil stadium. Some moves in the off-season sent versatile DJ Foster to WR, which could be a move to watch in fantasy land, but in this game for sure. DJ is the kind of guy who can take quick passes to negate the front seven on defense and torch the TAMU secondary. Indeed, Foster catches more passes in away games as he does in home games, making him the perfect safety net for Bercovici. TAMU is a 3-point favorite in Houston. While the Aggie defense won't be whatever everyone thinks it will be, it will be better than previous units. Additionally, the Aggie offense will be markedly better than it's mid and late-season form (think: SCAR game last year). On the flipside, I do think that ASU will put up a lot of points and Foster will have a career day. But, the Sun Devil D is just.....bad. I'll take Texas A&M and the points. 

Alabama vs Wisconsin-Though the question at who will start for Bama at QB has been the reoccurring story all throughout the off-season, my question that pertains to this game is how will the coaching turnover (3 in 4 years) affect a program that was the embodiment of stability. Paul Chryst has been to a lot of places in recent years where he has had to mold a game plan around existing players. This year will be no different. Stave was dreadful in the Outback bowl and one has to wonder how long of a leash he will have in 2015. Away from home, he has thrown 3 TDs and 7 INTs. 3 of those in neutral site games (all 3 against Auburn).  Unlike the Big 10, running the ball 60 times a game won't work against Alabama, unless you are Auburn. Alabama was 5th best in the nation against the run. Keep in mind that this Wisconsin line has been rebuilt over last year's unit. On the flipside, Alabama has potentially the best front seven in all of college and Saban's tenure. I don't but that quite yet considering that the line wasn't as productive in 2014 as many would think. Alabama's soft spot is the secondary, which won't be an issue against the Badgers who don't have a QB and don't have a returning premier deep threat, which has been the bane of the Saban secondary. While some off-site openers have been closer than they should, Saban hasn't lost one yet. The Badgers blew a massive lead to a very similar LSU team last year. The line has held steady around Alabama -10. I'll take Alabama and the points. 

Auburn vs Louisville- I called the Bill King show this morning to weigh in on this game. I am honestly concerned about this game as I wrote about on TrackEmTigers. Nobody brought in better defensive talent than Grantham and the Louisville staff. They are absolutely stacked and looking to repeat the INT and sack-happy defense of 2014.  They were especially good early in the year before closing out the year ranked 11th in the country. What concerns me the most is the 3-4 system and the affect on Auburn's first-time starting center, whoever that may be. Unlike a 4-3, he will now be hit every play from the 0 or 1 technique. Auburn has held steady as a 10-point favorite. That sounds about right, but the margin of error will be razor thin. Don't be surprised it this game is knotted up at half time thanks to a bad snap and 3 sacks. On the other side of the ball, there are few coaches in college that scare me when given all this time to prepare. Petrino is one such coach. Though a starter at QB hasn't been named, multiple RBs graduated, and Parker off the NFL, don't sleep on the Cards offense. Additionally, Muschamp may be the biggest hire of the year, but don't be surprised to see old faces playing their old games early. While I appreciate the work McKinzy and Frost have put in, ultimately I don't think they are the best fits and might be phased out. I'll take Auburn straight up for the win

Fantasy Football Average Draft Position Trends

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Best5Zach's Best 5 QBs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Receivers for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Running Backs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Tight Ends for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 DSTs for 2015

I have now completed around 5 different college football fantasy drafts and I have been very surprised by some observations. I see the same patterns during the drafts, some good, some bad. I thought I would share since this is the last week for drafts.

Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs in 2014 and being the No. 1 backs with Williams out, Collins is coming in as the 90th spot, making that in the middle of the 8th round. In other words, there has been zero movement in his projection since the Williams injury.  It's crazy that the two backs had nearly identical stats but Collins is so undervalued. Fantrax still has him projected at only 170 fantasy points and the No. 61 best back available. That's an insanely low projection. I have consistently been able to get him in the 3rd and 4th round. Only in one league did I fail to draft him and that happened when someone got smart and took him in the 5th round. Ironically, I was the very next pick and I was about to draft him. His true projection should be very close to 1,300 yards and quite possibly 20 TDs. That would put him at 250 fantasy points and right on top of the 5th best back. In other words, while Ezekiel Elliot and Nick Chubb are going 9th and 6th overall, you can get a comparable back safely at 36th-48th over all, allowing you to stockpile other picks. 

Speaking of one of the aforementioned players, Elliot is getting drafted 9th over all in non-PPR leagues. People are forgetting that Elliot didn't come on the fantasy scene until Barrett went down  before the Big10 championship. Until that game, Elliot had been a flex player AT BEST. He had exceeded 20 points only four games before the championship game. Yet, people are buying him incredibly high despite the fact that Ohio State is going to throw the ball a majority of the time AND rest him in many cupcake games. People also forget that he shared carries with Marshall and will continue to do so in 2015. 

The average 1st and 2nd QBs off the board are Russell and Prescott. These two guys are averaging around the 8th overall pick. Statistically, both are rated at scoring around 400 and 380, respectively. I buy the Russell hype, which is why I drafted him about half the time. I think Prescott is in for a very long and very underwhelming season, considering the lack of returners around him. While you may not get a Russel, Prescott, or Boykin in the first round, consider Kessler from USC. Rated as the 23rd best available QB, he is being drafted around 60th overall. If you you aren't a top 5 or so draft pick, do yourself a favor and pick two top-tier RBs in the first two rounds, then scoop this guy up. He is projected at 310 fantasy points. Depending on your scoring system, Kessler scored around 340-360 points last year. He is playing with one of the very best offensive lines in college football and has near zero running game due to injuries. Though 3800/39/5 may be tough to repeat, if he can simply average those numbers while limiting those bad games, he should score around that number. He may not score as much as those top 5 QBs, but the ability to pick up two top tier RBs for the cost of only 4 points game difference is a game-changer. Keep in mind that Kessler also has Ju-Ju Smith, one of the very best receivers in the game ,whom you can team up with. 

Going back to the discussion on Alex Collins, it amazes me that no one is drafting Walker, the 3rd string RB.  He is drafted on 5% of the time and checks in at 266th. I understand many gloss over him because he hasn't scored many points and he doesn't show up as a premier back. But, even as a handcuff to Collins, he is worth drafting. Truth be told, he is the best value in the game because he WILL rush for 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. Considering he isn't being drafted, that's a deal. 

This one may be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. UAB closed down their football program just as things were looking up. Along the way, several fantasy options emerged, namely Jordan Howard and D.J. Vinson. While most people caught on to the Howard transfer to Indiana, many didn't note the transfer of Vinson to South Alabama, nor the move to WR. That's important to note, since he was a running back at UAB. And, he is listed as a WR going into the 2015 season. A little digging online and it appears that Vinson is going to be starting. While many expect him to play WR, don't be surprised to see the 232 pound player taking handoffs. If he can be even a mediocre back, he will still be a valuable WR4. Don't be surprised by a mid-season move full time to RB. If he does, this pick last round pick will be a gold mine. 

Corey Clement has been drafted under 5th. Wow. This is a team that is on its 3rd coach in 4 years and returns only two starters on the line. While Clement is a very dangerous runner and great pass catcher, to take him that high with the questions around him is ludicrous. He is projected at 23 points per game, which is one of the highest marks. But, even if he does make that average, there are some guys hanging around that could be picked up much later. Dixon from La Tech has had 3 very good fantasy years. Now he is paired with Driskel, which should provide him some running room. Yes, his 20 point average is 5 points below Clement's projection, but you can make that up by drafting a top QB first, and maybe even two RBs including Dixon. 

Higgins is being drafted as the 6th best WR and 25th overall. While he is undoubtedly an NFL talent, he is not in a  better fantasy situation than at least 10 different WRs below him. Guys like Auburn's Williams, TCU's Doctson, Arizona State's Foster or  any Baylor WR. He is projected at 17.5 points. While I can see his value in a PPR league, keep in mind that he has a new head coach and QB. This QB won't be Greyson, so that's a negative. Truth be told, his average should be closer to 12. That puts him in the 2nd tier of WRs and around the 120th over all pick. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

College Football Fantasy Sleepers 8/27/15 Edition

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Best5Zach's Best 5 QBs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Receivers for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Running Backs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Tight Ends for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 DSTs for 2015

In case you missed it, our last edition covered several mid-round sleepers. Go read about it here.

After participating in 5 different drafts, with more to come, it becomes evident that everyone is completely at a loss after about 8-10 rounds. Wake up, folks. We're half way there (Livin' on a prayer).

I am amazed at the little value that everyone seems to get in these later rounds and just how much dirt I can pile up on everyone. Now, I understand that this is because of two reasons. 1) People don't know who to draft because players 200-Infinity all have relatively similar stats. 2)People get bored and quit drafting, letting their auto draft select three DSTs and two kickers before going alphabetically for every other player in college football.

With a little work, you can stockpile potential (key word) game breakers or potential trade bait. It's very simple, really. Most people select their draft picks based upon previous year's stats OR because of the hear-say value. But, what about those players that are next in line for a starting role which may not be oversold? In my estimation, it takes at least four RBs that score at least 15 points a game to win a league. Obviously your RB1 and RB2 are going to be 20+ point guys. But, you win leagues with two other guys (or more) that you can realistically expect 15+ each week. You may think you are grasping at straws in rounds 10+, but it's really easy to know the winners. 

Let's look at some.

Charles Jones RB Kansas State-The 'Cats lose a ton of senior. This program may not be a top offense in the country, but they are rock stead. Face it, you already have two solid RBs and a decent flex option. Am I positive this guy is going to pan out to produce 20 points? Of course not. But I know he is the penciled in starting RB on a team that lost nearly 100% of its offensive production. As a sophomore, he averaged 11.5 points per game as a second stringer on a team with a running QB. He has never rushed for over 100 yards in a game but he scored 14 TDs in 2014. The man simply has a nose for the endzone. He is drafted 88% of the time, right at pick 100. 

Wayne Gallman RB Clemson- Another penciled in starter. Yes, he will be on a throw first team with a dynamic QB. That's why he will be so vital down the stretch. This is a guy to stash. He only had 4 TDs in 2014. But, it wasn't until November when he saw his first 20+ touch game. From then on, he touched the ball at least 15 times in all but one game. Expect that to chage. He also adds significant value in PPR leagues with 24 catches and another TD. Though he is being drafted around 167th, he IS being drafted 100% of the time. So, he isn't flying under EVERYONE's radar. Make sure he doesn't fly under yours. 

Devin Chafin RB Baylor- Shock Linwood may be the flash back who gets all the love, but the 6-0 225 Chafin is worth stashing, especially as a Linwood handcuff. In the 9 games he played in 2014, he scored 8 TDs. Spread offenses struggle in the red zone. Additionally, he is a terrific pick in games where Baylor overmatches their opponent, specifically weeks two and four.  He is drafted 73% of the time at the 216 spot. 

Darrell Williams RB LSU-No other team in America has managed to spread carries around quite like LSU, while still providing viable fantasy options. Over the last 3-4 years, two or three different players have been decent options. Still without a decent QB, the Tigers will pound the rock. But, Fournette won't and can't take 30 touches every day. Just look at the week 1 matchup. Expect Williams to carry a heavy workload. Even if Purple Jesus does get 20+ carries a game, Williams is gold simply as a handcuff. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

College Football Fantasy Sleepers: 8/24/2015 Edition

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Best5Zach's Best 5 QBs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Receivers for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Running Backs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Tight Ends for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 DSTs for 2015

We had the first 10 rounds of our draft this past Saturday. It's actually not over yet, as we have 22 teams. As I watched the last few rounds, I was simply amazed at the number of players safely coasting under the radar. I guess I should hope that none of my own peeps read this before I get a chance to draft. Truth be told, I am doing well with who I have, but there is some real league-winning value out there and I thought I might talk about them.

Max Wittek QB Hawaii- The former five-star and top qb in 2011 left USC after being stuck behind Kessler, who is probably going to turn in the single best season in USC history. I sure hope so, since I drafted him in the first round. At USC, Wittek scored a total of 26 fantasy points. I would expect him to cover that in his first outing with the Warriors. He was named the starter over Liufau back in early June. He has two options at reciver, each having fantasy value in and of themselves, in Marcus Kemp and Quinton Pedroza. Fantrax says Kemp averaged 12 points per outing and Pedroza averages 9. Neither of those are going to win you any league titles in and of themselves, but paired with Wittek could turn into a good combo, as we have discussed in previous posts.

Hawaii plays an extremely difficult schedule, but that bodes well for fantasy owners. He will be throwing 50-60 times a game. Don't expect a lot of TDs, but do expect a ton of yards. Wittek is being averaged in 75% of leagues, but is drafted so low that his average draft percentage doesn't show up at all. 

Jeff Driskel QB La Tech-After having an up and down tenure at Florida that ended with a broken leg, Driskel escaped the Swamp and headed to La Tech. This will be a fantastic fit for him and his ability. While his arm has been questioned, he has more than enough arm. Though the Bulldogs struggled last year, Sokol, a QB with far less talent than Driskel, was still a viable option at times. Driskel benefits from having a top points producer at RB in Dixon and two different fantasy receivers. Henderson and Taylor combined for 250 points last season. Again, not world-shattering numbers, but two guys who can fill a WR2 or flex position with Driskel. Driskel has averaged 22 points a game in his time with the Gators, which really isn't too bad considering how dreadful they were. Recall that this was less a reflection on him but on his offensive line, which has been among the very worst in college football. He is getting drafted at 220, which is essentially everyone's 3rd QB spot in a 20-man league. You may be able to get him in free agency, but I wouldn't skip on him late. This is a guy that you can start down the stretch or in bye weeks while hocking that No. 2 QB you drafted in the fourth round for much better talent. Sure, it may cost you 5 points one week, but think of what you can do with selling that other QB high. 

Braxton Deaver TE Duke- Out of sight, out of mind? Deaver missed all of 2014, but was given an extra year of eligibility. In 2013, he scored points in every single matchup, recording at least two catches in every game and 4 TDs. Is he an Evan Engram or a Junno Smith? No. But, he isn't going to cost you a Fifth round draft pick, either. Everyone will bypass him because they are drafting with last year's point totals. With Boone and Crowder gone, Deaver remains the only veteran playmaker under an offensive genius. The 6-5 245 Deaver is an absolute steal. While everyone is drafting kickers in round 10, you can quietly snap up this guy. He is only 38% drafted and averages beyond pick 253 when he is drafted. 

Kody Walker RB Arkansas- The needle hasn't really blipped on this guy, despite having Willams out for the entire season. Even if only for handcuffing Collins, who will become the Hogs feature back, Walker will looks to have 1,000 rushing yards if history can be trusted...and it can. Go watch Walker's spring game performance and try not to smile. While Collins became an instant second round pick and one of the very first backs off the board. Walker was granted another year of eligibility and he must be thanking the football gods about his opportunity. Don't miss the train on this guy. Though he may not be a top 25 fantasy RB, who cares? You can have a guy that hasn't been drafted in any leagues that will end up scoring you over 20 points a game. You cannot beat that. 

Ryan Switzer WR UNC- Last month, I created a grading system in Excel that would rank players, not by points produced, but by quality factors like the offensive system, returning quarterback, and competition for targets.

Switzer came out as one of the very top guys, despite averaging under 10 points per game in 2014. But, one of my rules is always to expect sophomore slumps. In this case, Switzer's catches went up in 2014, but he had no punt return TDs, which limited his value. As a freshman, he had FIVE. Switzer led the Tar Heels in catches in 2014 and looks to further that. If you already own Marquis Williams, then he is a must have. The ability to score 60-80 points in two players every single game is almost a reality. Luckily, he drafted only 41% and checks in under the 200 mark. He is an an incredible steal after the seventh round. 

Keon Hatcher WR Arkansas- Few WRs made the most of their limited targets as Hatcher. Despite having only 43 receptions, he averaged a career-best 13 yards per catch and a TD every seven catches. He averaged right at 43 points per game in 2014 while scoring points every week of the season. Granted, he had slumps, but he went for over 10 points in five different contests. Not great, but neither was his offensive system. Here's the deal: pounding the rock will keep you in every game, and the Hogs will no doubt be a national contender in rushing the ball. But, to win, you have to throw at some point. Allen has progressed to the point where he can take 17-20 pass attempts and connect on 11-15 of those, especially play action passes. If he does that, the Hogs will win a lot of games in 2015. More importantly, the strong run game in combination of Allen's ability to connect on play action pass will benefit Hatcher's owners mightily. Though Hunter Henry will vulture a lot of redzone action, it is of no consequence to owners who will really benefit from those 3rd and short play action passes from the Hog 40 yard line which will turn into 60-yard and a TD 13-point plays.  Realistically, owners should expect 55-60 catches for 700 yards and 10 TDs. That puts him on par with the 50th ranked WR on the list, but instead of costing you a 8th round pick, he won't cost you anything. He is currently drafted 38% of the time without an ADP. 

Saban Names Co-Starters at QB for Crimson Tide, Revolutionizes Tide Offense

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The people who first reported the Tide's Starter being named last year, we bring you breaking news on the Tide's new offensive system and depth chart.

Few people question Nick Saban's ability as a defensive genius. His stops around the country at Michigan State, LSU, and Alabama have been marked with some of the very best defensive units and a laundry list of NFL draft picks. He is one of only two active coaches to win a Championship at two different schools. 

However, in what has become a calling card of the fans from Tuscaloosa, winning is never good enough. Sure, the Tide have three National Championships since Saban arrived in 2008. Sure, they have spent more time at Number One than every other team combined. And despite the fact that the Tide has almost as many homes losses as national championships, fans just can't be made happy. The defense isn't good enough. The offense isn't good enough. The special teams? Just take a look at their field goal statistics in the last few years, culminating in the epic Kick-Six fiasco in 2014. 

For this reason, many pundits have speculated that coach Saban was "burning out" on coaching in Tuscaloosa. The pressure from the fanbase to be perfect each and every year was becoming more than he could stand. It's true that the pressure seems to have gotten to the Tide head coach at times, leading to some baffling defensive breakdowns on defense so epic and strange that an outsider may question if he really is the best defensive mind in the game.

While most fans couldn't tell you the over-all win-loss record of each of his years at the Capstone, the number of times the Tide defense has been ranked as the best in the country, they can tell you all about his shortcomings in the 2013 Iron Bowl, or the 2010 Meltdown in T-Town, or the most recent travesty that was the College Football Playoff Semi-Final game. 

Even though the man is the most powerful person in the state, it would appear that he is cowering to his fans. Instead of sticking with what works, the fanbase wants what everyone else has: an innovative offense from the last millennium, despite having more wins and championships than anyone else in the last 20 years. It isn't good enough just to win with dominating defensive performances to the tune of 24-10. They want epic beatdowns every week. Points. And lots of them. 

It is ironic that the fans have clamored for offensive change as opposed to a defensive retooling. The change began in 2014 when coach Saban hosted recently-told-to-find-another-ride-home Lane Kiffin. Just weeks into the bromance, Kiffin was hired to become the Tide's offensive coordinator. Yet, after the beat down at the hands of Ohio State and its third-string QB, just weeks removed from giving up a record 630 yards to a struggling Auburn team, fans wanted MORE offensive change. It's almost like they didn't realize that the 2014 offensive unit WASN'T one of the very worst in Alabama's history and was instead the very best in the modern era. They certainly have no respect for "that good for nothing Sims" who set almost every offensive record at Alabama including the "most undervalued" and "most despised" quarterback. And, instead of blaming the defense and the man at the helm of it who is supposedly the very best in the game, they want MORE changes on offense. 

Coach Saban's style of coaching, with monstrously sized defenders, down-hill rushing attack and game-managing quarterback has been called archaic, despite having won so many games that the current generation of Alabama fans don't know what losing back-to-back games is like. As mentioned, fans don't remember the wins. They only remember the losses. And, most surprisingly, they want to be more like the few teams that beat the Tide rather than to continue being the team that typically wins. 

Coach Saban's thoughts on the hurry up no huddle offense have been widely publicized. When he couldn't legislate around the apparent advantage that only some teams employed, he went to the presses with ideals on player safety. Amazingly, the only other coach in his corner was Brett "the whiner" Bilema. 

Yet, in 2014, the Kiffin hire found the Tide offense operating more like the offenses he hates than the methodical plodding offenses he had employed. But, the transition wasn't complete. Winning wasn't good enough. Having seen other teams with electric offenses play, they wanted more change. They want to see the multi-picture signs, though that may be more an indictment on their predispositions as simpletons similar to a Labrador chasing a squirrel than understanding the in-game aspect. Indeed, those very signs began to show up in practices in scrimmages. 

2015 has been marked with little movement in the depth chart at the quarterback position. In 2014, Coker was a sure-fire Heisman finalist. Instead of booking tickets to New York, he was stuck holding the play book in between garbage time appearances for one-time running back Sims. Along the way, he managed to throw to the other team more than his own. Cornwell and "that other guy" haven't made any moves to supplant Coker. Barnett, a true freshman, has made headway despite his little time on campus. Yet, there is a bottle neck at the top between this collection of four and five star players from across the nation. It's simply amazing that a collection of star heavy players, all specifically recruited to be the next superstar in Tuscaloosa, have been unable to replace a converted running back who is currently seeking out a team in the CFL in any capacity possible. Something has to change. Fans aren't going to stand for another game manager who manages to make all the right calls, limit turnovers, and move the team efficiently down the field, albeit slowly. 

That change has arrived in the fall camp of 2015, and not just the multi-picture signs featuring Paul Finebaum rubbing Saban's shoulders, Big Al's flaccid trunk and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority complete with  a pair of brown bro-girl boots, quasi-maxi dress/shirt? and seven different varieties of houndstooth Louis Vuitton knock-off purses.  

Coach Saban, in a massive role reversal, won't be the imitator anymore. Instead, he will be the innovator. Where dual threat QBs have been all the rage across the country, and the downfall to many a Tide team, Saban will take the dual-threat offense to the next level.

That's where Kiffin's genius comes in. Alabama's recruiting has been the very best in the nation since Saban arrived in Northport. While it hasn't managed to translate to the dominance on the field that it is on Rivals, Kiffin believes that it must be a product of misusing talent. Kiffin came up with an ingenious idea. 

Why not put them all on the field TOGETHER? 

With the Tide's number of recruiting stars at the QB position, there is no chance that opposing teams can defend against 16-18 recruiting stars at the same time. And, in typical Tide fashion, a team should never misuse scholarships. There are ten greyshirt players waiting for their chance. Why spend full rides on a QB who sits the bench for four years? Redshirting? That's for suckers. It keeps players from entering the NFL as early as possible wqhile limiting their ability to get an education and develop their skills. By the way, players in the NFL is another made up championship the Tide claims on top of their made up National Championships and National Signing Day Championships. They are typically used in years when Alabama doesn't win a National Championship and quickly forgotten, as are their NFL draft picks. Lastly, all of the QBs inability to be decisisve in the pocket can be solved. Though not a single one has a QBs head on their shoulders, together the five make up at least the decision making ability of Nick Marshall, who couldn't seem to make a wrong call in his two years against the Tide, despite being oft criticized by Tide fans as, shall we say, not so smart. 

Coker has the strongest arm of the group, but he lacks the ability to check down after his first and second progression. Cornwell doesn't have a great arm, but he doesn't throw it to the other team quite as much as Coker. "That other guy" is somewhat in the middle of the two, so snapping to him will really throw defenses off. Having Barnett on the field will give him the best "birds-eye view" for learning the system so that he can become the next Heisman bust like Coker. If you are going to emulate, emulate the best. That's why they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Defenses won't know where the ball is going. Only that it is going to a defender...somewhere. 

How will they field all four or five quarterbacks and still only have eleven players on the field? Simple. They will take all the receivers off the field. After all, Amari Cooper is in the NFL, there isn't any consistent player to replace him, and the QBs have thrown more INTs in one scrimmage than the converted running back threw all year in 2014. And, in 3rd and long, they will pull OJ Howard off the field, since he doesn't really want to catch the ball anyway. Just see the Ole Miss loss last year. 

Saban has so much faith in his defense that if Kiffin can't get a first down running Derrick Henry up the middle on first and second down, Kiffin will strategize which QB to utilize to throw an INT to the other team, based on their throwing ability.  God knows they don't want to kick the ball. 

For more hilarity, read  Why Aubie is a Better Mascot than Big AL

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fishing Report for Wheeler/Ingall's Harbor 8/15/15

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With a club tournament the next day, Brad and I got out Friday to do some prefishing. Though Brad couldn't fish it with me, he wanted Josh and I to win, so he broke his cardinal rule of avoiding Wheeler and took me out.

We started out fishing deep. The first place we stopped was a set of hard placements on rip ramp banks just upriver from the marina. Things started out pretty well as Brad caught 4 smallmouth on a PTL 7" Stickler and magnum shakey head. You will recall that the magnum shakey head has easily been our best bait in 2015. You can read about the technique here.

Around 8am, the bite died drastically. We tried to flip some grass as well as hit the edges with a variety of top water baits without a single hit. When the sun got high, we hit the ledges. Using the Lowerance electronics, we scanned around 3 miles of ledges, fishing around 5 different spots. Bait was plenty and we were graphing what we thought were bass. But, they were hugging the bottom, a classic sign that they would not be actively feeding.  

Dialing in Your Humminbird Sonar / Down Imaging / Side Scan Unit

Eventually, we determined that the fish simply weren't going to be biting. Though the water temp was down to around 83, there was no current. We packed it in early. 

I traded texts with Josh that night where I told him that we needed to avoid Decatur all together. I felt like we needed to head to 1st Creek where Brad and I had caught a lot of fish earlier in the year. 

Fishing Report for Wheeler Lake 4/25/15

But, Josh convinced me that we should stay tight to Decatur and use a series of small spots that we had exploited in 2014 to cash a good check in a very similar circumstance. Not only was the weather and lake conditions similar, but the competition was almost identical. You can read about that and watch the video in the link below. 

Fishing Report for Wheeler/ Army PEO Org 2nd Annual Bass Classic

I bought in to his recommendation. We would flip and throw frogs all day. But, first we started at the hard placements Brad and I had caught fish the day before. It produced one small fish and we quickly left. We ran further up river and fished a series of scattered grass. 

Each patch failed to produce until Josh snagged one out of a particular patch. I fished around the edges with a Spro frog before one nailed it. A few casts later, I had another blow up, but the fish didn't connect. With the spot only a few feet away, Josh flipped his creature bait into the grass. The fish hit, but didn't connect. He threw in again and the fish bit hard. We had 3 keepers for around 6 pounds. Not a bad start.  These were the quality fish we would need. 

We headed down river to the spot we had success fishing. 

The bites were quick as we covered a whole bank of scattered grass. On one of the very first casts, Josh slammed back the rod and the fish came flying out of the grass. From the corner of my eye, I saw a really long fish. I was excited until I realized it was a gar. I have to admit, catching a gar while flipping is pretty impressive.

Josh caught another fish flipping.  

I fished a shoreline on the other side of the boat, paralleling the grass. I burned the frog over the thick stuff and hit the brakes at the transition of the thick grass and scattered grass. BOOM! It resulted in fish #5. 

We had a good limit, for Wheeler. But, the last keeper was small. The other 4 were solid fish. We felt like a 5-pounder would probably win the tournament. So, we pounded the same cove until it was obvious that it wasn't going to yield more fish. 

We tried another spot by Hard Dock that had yielded fish. It produced another keeper sized fish to Josh as he flipped, but nothing else.

Meanwhile, I couldn't buy a bite...once again. It seems like the fish don't want me to have any confidence in flipping. 

At 9 AM, we had a limit, but we hadn't had a bite in an hour. No worries, right? Just needed one more. 

At 12PM storms began rolling up the lake. We tried to idle some ledges, hoping to find an active school. TVA had kicked the current up to 20,000, and while that isn't nearly enough, we hoped it would at least spur a bite. But, the win and lightening ran us back up river. 

At 1PM the lightening was 3 miles away. At 115, the lightening was within half a mile so we headed to Ingall's. 

Apparently around 10 of the 18 boats had already called it quits and went home. We weighed in 9.5 pounds and it began to rain. I was ready to head home, but they informed us that we were in 3rd place. Alas, the last boat weighed in 11 pounds. 

The winning boat had almost 20 pounds. 2nd had 14. I wish I knew how they did it! 

From those that I talked to, their bite had also been shallow and had also dried up at 8AM. It leads me to believe that the winning bags were caught on either ledges or bluffs down by first creek. 3rd place weighed in 2 smallies, which is a good tipoff. 

We ended up catching only 7 bass all day. Ugh.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Systems You Can Trust: Drafting First-Time Starters Based on Systems

You can find links to all of my Auburn Realist Blog posts here.The Auburn Realist: OverviewFollow me on Facebook, YouTube,  and Twitter!

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Quarterbacks for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Running Backs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 DSTs for Fantasy College Football

Best5Zach's Best 5 Tight Ends for 2015

Face the facts: You can't always draft based upon last year's stats. Not only does past performance fail to dictate future worth, but the nature of college football means that there is a lot of turnover year to year, unlike the NFL. I saw it just the other day in my first fantasy draft of 2015. There were some very.....questionable...draft picks that were made based upon last year's fantasy value. But, what amazed me most were the picks that were NOT made. 

In the later rounds, especially, when there are the most value-oriented gains to be made, I was able to draft players that shouldn't have been on the board. Take a read and see if you can spot the players. 

Best5Zach's First Draft of College Fantasy Football 

That made me think: maybe people don't understand the value of drafting a player based upon the system he plays in. My first example is Auburn's Jeremy Johnson. I don't think there is any doubt that Johnson is going to be one of the SEC's, and maybe the NCAA's, very best QBs. And yet, he will available in the 12th round? Sure, as an Auburn fan, I knew who he was and had seem him play. I know the system under which he plays. But, he isn't the only guy I drafted based upon that. So, let's take a look at some systems you can trust to draft a first year starter or potential break-out player. 

Quarterback: Auburn's Gus Malzhan hasn't struggled to put out fantasy monsters. It didn't matter if it was a major or minor program, either.  Tulsa and Arkansas State enjoyed high-power offenses that set the bar. Only in 2011 at Auburn did he have a legitimate issue in producing a QB that could light it up. But, there were some significant issues that most any fantasy guy could see, namely the lack of talent at the position and near zero career starts for the offensive line. 

Dana Holgerson's Mountainers are one of the very best first half of the season's offense.  In my 5 years of playing fantasy college football, he has turned each and every QB into a legitimate fantasy starter, despite the QBs different abilities. But, just as he is trust-worthy in the first half to produce big numbers, he also is good for a late season meltdown. 

Obviously any Urban Meyer QB makes the list, as it was evident in last years season when three different guys put up video game numbers.

Art Briles has translated the high-tempo high school offense to the big stage. Although some high volume, big stat teams from smaller conferences (AAC, Sunbelt) may struggled against premier competition, the Briles system succeeds even on the big stage. His last two QBs have been among the very best fantasy options. Whoever takes over as a first time starter will surely be in the top 20 as well. 

Honorable mentions to Washington State and Texas Tech. My issue with them is that the air raid attack means big yardage, but the point swings week to week are wild. 60 attempts mean lots of yardage, but against better competition it rarely means more TDs and it certainly means more INTs. Use these systems at your own risk. 

What about a fantasy scoring system that handicaps throwing TDs? No problem. Look no further than Georgia Tech and Navy. It doesn't matter who is at QB, these two teams are going to run the ball. Georgia Tech was the No. 1 rushing team in America. While Navy's Reynolds had more rushing TDs than any QB, Tech's Thomas added a throwing dimension that Reynolds lacked. 

Running Back: No other coach in America can openly admit that he is going to pound the rock each and every week and actually go through with it more than Brett Bielema and the Arkansas Razorbacks. As long as he is coaching, you can safely pick up his lead back or backs. There isn't a team in America aside from his time in Wisconsin where you could draft two different backs from the same team and safely assume that you are going to get fantasy-worthy stats. Are you going to get 30 or more points? No. But the chances of you getting less than 20 are virtually non-existent. Winning a league is about consistency. 

Additionally, Alabama is a team with a ton of consistency at running back. You can trust Saban to pound the rock.  Though total yardage may not always be favorable, you can expect great field position and running inside the ten yard line. What's not to like? 

Bob Davie has been at New Mexico for three years. Each year, he has had a running back go for over 1,000 and a secondary back with over 700. In each of those years, the newcomer usually had a 500 yard performance the year before. This team averages over 3,000 yards rushing each year and over six yards per carry. It doesn't matter who they play and if they lose, they are as stead as you will find. 

Michigan State is going to have a potent pro-style system that will be fairly balanced. But Dantonio, like Saban, really likes to run the ball when it comes down to it. The run sets up the pass in his system and the system hasn't been player dependent. Whoever the No. 1 guy is, he is going to rush for 1,500 yards. It's awfully hard on passing up an MSU back. 

Receiver: No program in America produces top fantasy WRs, regardless of coaching, than USC. Even at the end of the Kiffin era, when the offense seemed to sputter, USC still had at least one WR that was a top producer. The nature of the talent pool in southern California means that USC will always have an NFL prospect playing. Even when the QBs struggle, the coaching staff will still get the ball in whomever that lead WR is. 

Big Game Bob Stoops always has a lead WR that is going to get a plethora of catches. Whether it is a pesky slot slot receiver or a down-field bully, the nature of his high-powered offense means there will be one major beneficiary at WR. What I REALLY like about his offense is that there is always one WR that stands above the rest in terms of over-all touches. While his offense will spread the ball to as many as seven different players per game, one guy will have double the touches of anyone else.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can draft two receivers from Baylor with little to no worry about competition for touches. The Baylor offense is already one of the very best annually. While five different receivers having 30 or more catches concerns some potential fantasy owners, understand that even the 4th best receiver had over 600 yards and 6 TDs. To put that in perspective, Auburn's Duke Williams is projected to be one of the very best WRs in fantasy land, yet he had 700 yards and 5 TDs. 

Mike Leech's air raid offense is going to translate to 60 attempts and around 35-40 completions per game. Most notably, it will involved seven or eight different guys. You can reasonably expect three different receivers to have 7 or more TDs a year. In a PPR league, up to five different guys are worth owning, especially against inferior competition. You will have a minimum of 40 catches. The only issue is, against Pac-12 opponents, who do you start? The WRs are very streaky. But, guessing right each week means big payouts. 

DST: Despite playing in the wide-open Mountain West, Utah State consistently has one of the very best overall DSTs in fantasy land.Yet, the average draft position is past 100. This is a unit that has finished in the top 12 over the last 3 years (And as high as 5th). With a consistent crop of talent and stable coaching, this unit will perennially be among the best. Not only are they a fantastic defensive unit, but the special teams can explode on anyone and at any time. It is hard to believe that they are such a high value sleeper each year. 

It's hard to overlook Michigan State. They have been at the top for a very long time. Though they aren't as likely to score defensive TDs as Utah State, they are hard-nosed, sack heavy, and don't give up points. 

Alabama is very similar to the Michigan State. If you play in a league the scores heavily on points allowed, this is your team. But, the Tide was one of the very worst in terms of turnovers and touchdowns. Again, it's hard to argue against this unit as it is as stable as there is. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Best5Zach's First Draft of College Fantasy Football

You can find links to all of my Auburn Realist Blog posts here.
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Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Quarterbacks for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Running Backs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 DSTs for Fantasy College Football

Best5Zach's Best 5 Tight Ends for 2015

I decided to participate in a free 10 man league. The draft just started.

I am pick #9 and we have a snake draft, so I will be pick #2 in the 2nd round. I noticed right before the draft that the scoring system is 4 points for a passing TD and 6 for a rushing, putting a major benefit on rushing QBs.  As expected, Boykin is the first off the board with the first pick. I immediately think about drafting Doctson early, as I can handcuff the opponent with Boykin.

Lots of autodrafts follow, which I laugh about. Prescott, Clement, Fournette and Adams (transfer to Oregon) are already gone.

Doughty picked #6....interesting. Not saying I wouldn't have done it, but at least one other person isn't autodrafting.

James Connor drafted. I had moved him down. That's a really high position. When I applied my quality factors, it moved him down substantially.

Using Quality Factors in Your Pre-Draft Statistical Analysis

Devon Johnson next. He was high on average draft position. Ugh. Someone will get a stud. Unfortunately, he won't be listed as a tight end this year. And, he doesn't have a great passing game around him. He could struggle.

I get Keenan Reynolds, the running QB for Navy. This is exactly who I wanted. I have a guy that I know is going to run the ball a lot. He had 10 more rushing TDs than any returning QB.

I back that up with Marquis Wilson from UNC who had 13 rushing touchdowns of his own. This is purely a market value guy that I plan to sell. He has a ton of value for throwing the ball, too.

I will have to make a decision now, based upon how everyone else drafts. Do I want bag a throwing QB with a top reciever or go after running backs?

Samaje Perine and Ezekiel Elliot come off the board followed by Texas Tech QB hopeful Mahomes.

Someone takes Taysome Hill. I almost took him in the 2nd round.

Derrick Henry comes off.

Deshaun Watson drafted and we start the 3rd round.

Jarvion Franklin drafted. Dangit. I was hoping to get him this round. It's clear that RBs are going to come off the board early.

Coleman is the first WR off the board. (Cannon went soon afterwards)

McGuire and Booker are two solid backs that are taken. I am really going to struggle if the 5 picks in front of me go to RBs.

Keevan Lucas WR from Tulsa? Interesting. I am wondering if this guy is going to try and steal Dane Evans late. (Evans did end up going very late)

I get Dixon from La Tech. He was a guy that I brought up based upon the quality factor matrix I had put together. He is fantastic catching the ball out of the backfield.

I went ahead and took DJ Foster, the WR who moved from RB with Arizona State. He could be a game breaker as he will take handoffs. I will have to snag a RB next round.

Pharoah Cooper finally gets picked up as does Boyd from Pitt. Cox from Appalachian State is a highly rated guy that I had questions about, but he gets picked anyway.

Duke Willams and Higgins, the two best NFL type receivers, finally get picked up. Here comes another round of WRs.

Next, I make a very risky pick and take UAB transfer to Indiana Howard. Again, a risky play. But, Coleman was a top rusher last year and he is in the NFL now. The line, coach, and system are still in place. Howard was solid at UAB. He is a big dude.

I back that up with another fairly risky play and take Michael Thomas, WR from Ohio State. The way I figure it, whoever plays QB can't throw to Devon Smith anymore. So, I snap him up.

Now is when it gets tough. Everyone is digging. Do you take the next man up at the big point positions or do you start taking the best at kicker/DST/TE?

It would appear the later as several of each come off the board. I am waiting for Duke's TE Deaver, who missed all of last year but was a stud the year before. Two straight DSTs come off the board. Michigan State and TCU. I have a long way to go before I am back up.

Although I had moved him down the boards a good bit, I couldn't pass Matt Breida up when the time came. If he had any of last year's line coming back, I would have taken him a lot sooner. But, he was still there and I do believe in him. Plus, Deaver isn't even rated, so no risk of autodraft.

I had to take another WR and Mike Williams from Clemson was still available. With Watson's ability, I think he is going to get a heavy work load.

Amazingly, there are some real quality QBs still on the board.

At the last second, I couldn't pull the trigger on Deaver because I think i can get him really late. Instead, I took Jovon Robinson from Auburn...couldn't help it. He was just sitting there. While he hasn't been named the starter, most of us believe he will be.

The Battle in Auburn's Backfield: Who is the Real Winner

And, I took Sharp, the WR from Utah State that has done me a solid in the last few years.

Time limit was shifted to 1 minute and I couldn't fit Gordon Micheal from Ark State in time. So, I had to go ahead and take Deaver. I am glad to have Deaver but I want either Lasco or Gordon. I moved some things around so I can fit them next round.

I went ahead and took Jeremy Johnson in the 12th round. Why he is still there, I don't know. But, I had to take him. I may try and trade off someone to get Duke. I understand that the scoring system is wack and benefits running QBs, specifically TDs. But, he will get his.

I have to take a DST and a Kicker, so I go ahead and take Utah State. Not only are they always one of the best defenses, but they have Natson, an explosive returner.

Daniel Carlson (Auburn) is on the board. I take him.

Now, I have two more spots. I cannot have any more QBs or RBs.

I have to choose between Wilson (Miss St) or Reynolds (TAMU) as I think they are the two best guys on the board. Wilson has his ups and downs, but Reynolds has been a behavioral issue. So, Wilson it is.

I am forced to choose between another TE or DST. As TEs don't add value to a team, I decide on Temple's DST.

After free agency, I moved Thomas (Ohio State) to injured reserve, as he shows up as injured. This alowed me to add another player via free agency. So, I picked up Ryan Switzer from UNC. Though he hasn't been a stat monster, he is a great slot receiver who gets a lot of work. Additionally, he will pair up with Marquis Wilson to give me the teammate double up.

Best5Zach's Best Fantasy College Football Tips: Top 2015 Teammate Double Ups

Here is my current lineup.

Reynolds, Keenan (Sr) QB - NavyAct
Williams, Marquise (Sr) QB - UNC Act
Dixon, Kenneth (Sr) RB - LaTecAct
Howard, Jordan (Jr) RB - Ind Act
Foster, D.J. (Sr) WR - AzStAct
Switzer, Ryan - WR - UNCAct
Williams, Mike (Jr) WR - ClemAct
Wilson, De'Runnya (Jr) WR - MisStAct
Deaver, Braxton (Sr) TE - DukeAct
Carlson, Daniel (So) K - AubAct
Utah State D/STAct
Johnson, Jeremy (Jr) QB - Aub Res
Breida, Matt (Jr) RB - GaSoRes
Robinson, Jovon (Jr) RB - AubRes
Sharp, Hunter (Sr) WR - UtStRes
Temple D/STRes
Thomas, Michael (Jr) WR - OHSt