The Matt Flynn Experience…

Seeing the news that Matt Flynn signed with Green Bay today, it made us try to recount what all has happened with Flynn the past few years. It’s been a whirlwind. Has any player been such a desired commodity recently, only to be rejected soon after…multiple times?

– 2007 National Champs at LSU. Flynn completed a whopping 56.3% of his passes in leading the team to the title.

– 7th-round draft pick by Green Bay in 2008, became the backup to Aaron Rodgers, beating out Brian Brohm.

– Free Agent in 2012. Flynn signs a $20M/3 yr. deal with $9M guaranteed. The suddenly ‘smartest’ team in football(now), at one time/on purpose traded for Charlie Whitehurst, signed Tavaris Jackson, then signed a big deal for Matt Flynn…leading up to falling A-backwards into Russell Wilson.

Flynn was named starter upon signing with Seattle, and never started.

– The following year, Flynn was traded to Oakland for a 5th-round pick + a conditional pick.

He was named the starter, and ended up losing the job within a few weeks of the regular season to Terrelle Pryor.

– CUT by Oakland in-season 2013 (wonder if they’d like those draft picks back?), and catches on with Buffalo due to injury emergency, and cannot beat out Jeff Tuel. He was released a few weeks later.

– CUT by Buffalo in-season 2013, and signs with Green Bay due to their rash of QB injuries.

– After a stint as a free agent this 2014 off-season. He’s back home, again, in Green Bay.

You wonder why I arrogantly think most of us are “Smarter than an NFL General Manager?” I give to you Exhibit A…Matt Flynn.

 

Posted in Green Bay Packers, QB | Leave a comment

Five 2014 Dynasty-Fantasy RBs Who Could Have a Major Value Drop Post-NFL Draft…

tags — 2014 Fantasy Football Chris Johnson dynasty Darren McFadden dynasty Toby Gerhart keeper Giovanni Bernard dynasty Andre Ellington sleeper Donald Brown handcuff Ben Tate dynasty Joseph Randle handcuff Demarco Murray keeper MJD dynasty Stevan Ridley handcuff Shane Vereen keeper Carlos Hyde dynasty rookie Bishop Sankey draft Tre Mason dynasty rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro rookie draft Tyler Gaffney sleeper Andre Williams dynasty
 

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Chris Johnson, kinda recent 2,000+ yard rusher, was unceremoniously cut…and is not seen as a ‘must-have’ on the market right now.

Darren McFadden is, essentially, playing for peanuts this year.

MJD could barely find a suitor in free agency.

In coming years, you will see advertisements with pictures of free agent RBs on the NFL Network, while a sad Sarah McLachlan song plays hauntingly in the background. “For just the price of a cup of coffee per day, you can put these abused-mistreated-unwanted NFL RBs to work…

The decline in value and status of NFL RBs is something everyone now sees clearly. Most NFL teams have now realized that RBs are not the centerpiece of their offense or franchise, and are no longer worth the huge contracts given in the past. These teams understand that the best way to construct a team is by having several moderate-to-low paid RB options working as a group…except for the Carolina Panthers ($14.2M cap hit on top-3 RBs this season).

On this ‘cheap RB’ theory, several NFL teams are going to add to their RB-arsenal by drafting a RB in 2014, because the RB-economic-decline has extended to the NFL Draft. There will likely not be a RB taken in the 1st-round this year. As RB-value drops in the draft, then bigger-names are available in the 2nd and 3rd-round. This RB valuation drop allows teams that are not desperate for a RB to still add a quality one inexpensively. Example: Carlos Hyde is not automatically going to the most NFL-desperate RB situation (like a Tennessee). Hyde may go to a team that just wants depth, and/or as a specialist to meld into their current RB situation.

Many NFL teams that you assume would not have a RB priority might take one between rounds 2-4 this year, and plenty of good options will be available. If/when that happens…it could totally ruin one of your currently rostered Dynasty-Fantasy Football RB hopefuls.

One day, you’re strolling along all happy with Le’Veon Bell, thinking you are all set for this year, and then ‘boom’…LeGarrette Blount is signed, and dampers your day-week-season plans. The same thing can/will happen when some of the 2014 rookie RBs are taken in a few weeks.

I was looking over the NFL RB depth charts and was noting team situations where I could see a bigger-name RB being added in the draft, and thus sucker-punching the value of the currently beloved Dynasty RB. Here are the five current NFL/FF RBs I think are on ‘high alert’ for a post-draft, Dynasty-Fantasy valuation tumble because their team took a certain RB:

 

#5) Stevan Ridley and/or Shane Vereen, New England

I see you thinking over there…thinking you got the “all clear” to re-love Stevan Ridley now that LeGarrette Blount is gone. I see your logic. You know I am not a Ridley-guy, but I get the BenJarvus Green-Ellis-like groove being the top power-RB on the Patriots. I can dig it.

Then there is my kind of ‘peeps’…the Shane Vereen lovers. He’s going to have 100+ catches this year, right? He is exponentially better than Ridley…we can all agree? The issue here, besides the fact that Bill Belichick is RB-unpredictable, is that both Ridley and Vereen were drafted in 2011. This is their final year of their rookie contract.

Do you really think Belichick is going to give a big contract extension for either? This could be the final year as Patriots for both of them. More so Ridley, who is beyond easily replaceable. If Belichick is planning ahead (and that’s so unlike him) nabs a 4th or 5th-round RB with name-appeal, then its’ going to scare Ridley-Vereen Dynasty-Fantasy owners. Let’s say the Pats grab a Tyler Gaffney, Andre Williams or Lorenzo Taliaferro…Fantasy Football minds are going to race with the possibilities. If the Pats draft a physically big RB (like the three just mentioned), then the next day, the articles are going to hit about how Ridley is being pushed out the door. In an instant, Ridley is going to go from a savvy “Blount is gone” FF-value to “Oh, crap they are replacing Ridley already!” FF-value.

In a Dynasty League, Ridley probably has sleeper value to someone…today. The memories of his 2013 can be erased, and recollections of 2012 can dance in their heads at this very moment. However, if a bigger RB is drafted by the Patriots in a few weeks…2013′s Ridley debacle is going to come roaring back to the forefront. He will have his FF-value cut in half at minimum on May 10th.

As for Vereen…he is a much more unique talent, and harder to replace. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Pats signed him to an under-market extension to try to get a deal done before he embarks on a ‘special’ season. If I were Vereen, I wouldn’t sign it…I would want to leave New England to go play as the main-carry, three-down RB he is capable of being. Vereen is so unique that a newly drafted Patriots RB probably doesn’t affect his value as much, but it will have some value affect if the Pats reach for a ‘name’ RB mid-draft.

 

#4) DeMarco Murray, Dallas

It’s all clear for DeMarco to be the main-carry RB, again, right? Who’s going to stop him…Joseph Randle? What will stop Murray’s 2014 good vibes is Dallas drafting another RB. Only this time it won’t be a late-round flyer. Maybe, this year they take a RB in the 2nd-round? Why? Murray’s contract is up at the end of this year. Do you see Dallas paying dollars to a RB who cannot stay healthy for a full-season? Perhaps, that was a stupid question…anything is possible with Dallas.

The wise thing for the Cowboys to do would be to prepare for life without Murray after this season. They could begin the planning by drafting a RB who Mr. Jones falls in love with. Imagine the FF-value hit Murray takes if an RB like Bishop Sankey or Tre Mason are added. It looks ‘all clear’ now with Murray for FF-2014, but his contract (and injury) situation should/could force a RB to be selected 2nd or 3rd-round, and that RB addition could jolt everyone’s thoughts on Murray for 2014.

 

#3) Ben Tate, Cleveland

The Browns barely committed to Ben Tate in free agency. Toby Gerhart and Donald Brown received much more free agent love this off-season. As much as I like Ben Tate, he really hasn’t proven a whole lot…except for proving he is often injured.

If I were the Browns GM, I would be thrilled with my savvy deal for Tate. I’d be looking forward to him having a big year. I’d also be lining up the other RB who will be going to work with him; splitting time and touches…and was my inexpensive Tate-insurance policy. I’d never enter a season depending upon Ben Tate and Edwin Baker as my 1-2 punch. I’d never enter a season with Edwin Baker, but that’s besides the point.

If one of Hyde, Mason, Sankey, et al lands in Cleveland, then the worry will begin on Tate and start to knock his current #25-30 ADP down a few pegs.

 

#2) Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati

Gio Bernard is a 200-205 pound RB who does not have a main-carry RB profile. He is not a physical bruiser, nor a fleet speedster. He is a nice 7-12 carry and 3-5 target per game guy at best. Gio is not built for heavy goal-line work. What 200 +/- pound RB is? Bernard had a two rushing-TD game on a THU night in Week 9 versus Miami, and oh how heart’s swooned in Fantasy-land that the BJGE takeover was ‘game-on’ finally with Gio. From that Miami game on, Bernard posted 10.0 FF PPG (13.7 PPR) on 47.7 yards rushing (3.8 ypc), 83.0 total yards, 0.28 TDs per game for the rest of the regular season (16-game extrapolation: 763 rushing yards, 4.5 TDs, 1,328 total yards).

Those are solid ‘Flex’-option numbers from Gio, but not worthy of his current #14-20 ADP. Part of why I have Gio so high on this list is that Dynasty-Fantasy GMs are going early 2nd-round on Bernard in many recent start-up drafts…his value is white hot right now, which makes a potential value fall even more painful.

What’s that? It doesn’t matter what happened late last year with Gio? Why is that? Oh, because BenJarvus Green-Ellis stinks, and they are going to turn it all over to Gio…that’s your theory? What if the Bengals draft beloved state of Ohio RB Carlos Hyde, and ditch the more expensive ($3M per year with one year remaining), aging, underwhelming (3.4 ypc last season) RB in Green-Ellis? What if Green-Ellis stays? Do you think he just sits on the sidelines all game?  The Bengals are going with a 1-2 punch of RBs with Giovanni Bernard, one way or the other…which bottles up Bernard’s Fantasy ‘upside’ in 2014.

**See the NFL Draft, and the Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before with our Moneyball-style scouting reports. Go to www.collegefootballmetrics.com ** 

 

#1) Andre Ellington, Arizona

You know you’re ‘high’, right? I see you. You actually think Andre Ellington is going to take 15-20+ carries a game as the Arizona Cardinals main RB this year, don’t you? “Well, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news…Andre Ellington will not intentionally be the Cardinals’ main-carry RB in 2014, or any season.

First, Andre Ellington is becoming somewhat of a myth that I’m not sure really exists. Why are you editing history into thinking Ellington had such an awesome 2013? Oh, I know. He had that one game in Week 8 against Atlanta where he started and rushed for 154 yards…and had that neat 80-yard TD run. What did Ellington produce for the rest of the season after his breakout performance? 7.9 FF PPG (10.3 PPR) on 12.3 carries, 53.2 rushing yards, 0.17 TDs, 2.8 rec., 28.8 rec. yards per game. That’s a decent ‘Flex’ FF-option in a given week, but not a main-carry RB who is worth his current #20-25 (ADP) #25-30 (standard) ADP.

Ellington is a nice RB to have as part of a duo or trio in the NFL, but not the main guy. He has NFL value as a 5-10 carry a game guy with 3-5 targets per game. Ellington is not a ‘grinder’; he is not a goal-line threat. He is going to live off of making a ‘big play’…and you might go 2-3-4 weeks between big plays.

Ellington is the kind of RB you start for Fantasy Football each week, and he muddles around with 40-50-60 yards and no TDs per game, then you get pissed and start someone else over him out of frustration, then he has his big play and goes for 140+ yards in a game (on your bench), then you jump back on him just in time for 2-3-4 more weeks of 40-50-60 yards and no TDs. Ellington does not have the size or speed/agility profile to be a main-carry RB. There is no way Arizona is going to let him be the goal-line guy.

If Arizona drafts a physically bigger RB, like a Carlos Hyde or Andre Williams, then Ellington’s FF-value is going to spiral. One way or the other, via draft or free agency, Arizona has to add a legit big-body runner, and that runner will take FF-value from Ellington. If it is a big name RB from the draft, Ellington’s FF-value is going to drop quickly. 

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Posted in RB | Leave a comment

Did you see the Tom Savage news today?

Twitter @CFBmetrics @FFMetrics

I was just reading a clip in Pro Football Talk where Pitt QB Tom Savage is the new belle of the ball with teams falling all over themselves to meet with him. He is now projecting as a possible 2nd-round pick…maybe even late 1st-round. 

College Football Metrics is starting to move the needle in the NFL scouting world. Lurking in the shadows…not discussed in public…secret handshakes and all. You can see our scouting report on Tom Savage at CFM, a report written well ahead of it’s time, but what else is new…

Like I keep saying. You want to see the NFL Draft like never before. You want to enjoy 1-3 days in May, even making the 6th and 7th-rounds a treat/interesting…subscribe to College Football Metrics.com

From January 29, 2014: 

NFL Draft 2014: Statistical Analysis of QB Tom Savage, Pittsburgh

Well, let’s play this card now. When we do so, please note that no major (public) scouting service of note has anywhere this high of a rating on Pitt QB Tom Savage today. In fact, I think there was legislation written in Congress that Savage must be ranked between #15-17 in this 2014 QB class. The same people who claim that there is “no science to this” (QB scouting) somehow all have the same exact ranking range on Savage…coincidence?

We feel, at this stage of the evaluation period, that Tom Savage is a top-5 QB prospect in this draft class. He makes a strong case as a top-3. I could see the world looking back in time and saying Savage was the best QB from this class. Sound crazy, perhaps it is? Those in the media that will now start claiming Savage as their “sleeper”–please give us some credit over here! You want 2,500+ words laying out a case for Tom Savage…you got it. See our full report at College Football Metrics.com:

http://www.metricsfootballmedia.com/cfmsubscriber/2014/QB_Savage_Tom.html

 tags — 2014 NFL Draft Tom Savage Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft 2014
Posted in 2014 NFL Draft, QB | Leave a comment

Why The Wonderlic Matters in NFL Draft Scouting (2014 Version)…

Twitter @FFMetrics

It’s my favorite time of the year!

It’s the time of the year when the Wonderlic scores are leaked!

My favorite part of the Wonderlic scores being posted is the negative reaction to the test itself by three classes of football people: Writers, ‘Chat room kings”, and ‘Super-stat guys’. I’ll be one of the only to defend it (again), and get a bunch of “you’re an idiot” emails in the process. I do this for you America…

Let’s take a look at those three classes of reactions to the leaked Wonderlic test results:

1) Writers

Writers report the scores with a nonsensical/dismissive, “…whatever these scores are supposed to mean anyway?” type of commentary wedged in their reporting…in the sense of, “this test is a waste of all our time and energy.” If a writer is feeling really frisky, they’ll call for the Wonderlic test to be done away with on moral or social grounds. To me, you could take their same argument and apply it to the 40-yard dash or vertical leap. In fact, why test anything? Because there’s no instant 1-to-1 correlation with anything these players are measured on…so when some guys do better than others…who cares? If any of these things (pre-draft testing) were 100% predictive, then the NFL Draft would not be butchered by analysts, fans, and NFL war rooms year after year.

Writers, in my opinion, in general (not all), are fairly lazy. They do not explore issues like the Wonderlic test very deeply. It’s easier to just have a throwaway, one sentence slam of the test they do not understand, and then just move on to the next cliché. They do not do the Wonderlic (or any topic) issue any justice at all. They shape the reader’s mindset subliminally that “the test is stupid.” They are doing readers a major disservice.

2) ‘Chat Rooms Kings’

Chat rooms go wild when one person in the group reports the leaked test numbers, and shows skepticism of a beloved prospect because of the low score. The chat room bully then comes in to piss all over the Wonderlic scores with something along the lines of, “Football is played on the field. Who cares about this stupid test? Did you see the questions? They’re all ridiculous. I watch football. I can tell if a player is good without that silly test.

You could find out a lot about the psychology of an individual human/football fan by getting their reaction to the Wonderlic test and what they perceive its value to be in football scouting. When a human “doth protest too much,” about the Wonderlic test, then you are probably looking at a window into his or her soul.

The word ‘test’, generically, represents scholastic endeavors…a way smart people are judged from dumb people in High School and College. If you are more in the average-to-‘dumb’ camp, like me, you have to hope these ‘tests’ really don’t predict the future. For a period of time in our lives, the average-to-dumb are ‘losing’ early on in life…and we resent it.

The average-to-dumb, normally, cannot go to a better college. We do not win awards for education. We then have to start out at a lower position in whatever career we chose, and we have to bust are butts a little harder to move up a longer ladder. There is time to make up that slow-start up, but average-to-dumb people definitely start out their career-life in a hole to dig out of…sometimes literally. Psychologically, the average-to-dumb will always remember not being a ‘wizard’ at school, or being goofy in High School, or couldn’t get a date, etc. If you go on, years later, to overcome things and become successful, and/or better-looking and marry well…you will likely still have that chip on your shoulder from your school days decades later. It’s natural throughout history.

To me, those of us with a ‘chip’ or even those who never dug out of the hole…they tend to hate the Wonderlic test and what it stands for. Many ‘anti-testers’ have no idea what the Wonderlic test is really about, or its functionality, or its correlation, but they hear the word “test,” and it is a ‘trigger’ of negative feelings.

Dismissing the Wonderlic test because of a gut feeling that they “make no sense in football scouting” is naïve. It’s a tool. It’s a piece of data to consider. People who do not study the subject deeply, but dismiss it with uber-confidence and snarky-ness are revealing more of their own baggage than rational thought about the subject.

3) There is a group that will study the details, and then dismiss it.

‘Super-stat guy’ goes into hyper-drive to disprove the Wonderlic test validity and correlation. They have charts and graphs of all the scores through history, and it’s all plotted out nicely and it ‘clearly’ shows Wonderlic scores do not predict success in the NFL. ‘Super-stat guy’ is super-wonky, and super-confident. There are so many neat charts and graphs that the rest of those who were on the ‘semi-could kinda care less to research it’ fence will just align with ‘super-stat guy’ because he obviously burned a lot of calories on his charts and graphs. It’s a wise thing that us ‘smarter’ average-to-dumb people do…it’s the genius of knowing you’re average-to-dumb, you cut out the middle-man and just follow the research of smart people. Let them do the work, we’ll enjoy the fruits of their labor.

‘Super-stat guy’ dismisses the Wonderlic because the plotted scores, and related QB performance, are like buck shot on a paper target. The data is all over. They will tell you that the Wonderlic does not predict future success, and they have the data to back it up.

To them, I say, again, “No ____ (fill in your own word)!”

For the millionth time, I will say, I agree with ‘super-stat guy’! The Wonderlic does not predict future success of a QB, or any other position. What it tends to predict, or correlate with is the likely failure of a QB in the NFL (and lesser correlation with some other positions). If a QB scores a 40+, like some Ivy Leaguer, I am impressed because I cannot do that, but as a draft evaluator, I do not care. A good score means the prospect is not discounted or ‘dinged’. However, when QBs score in the teens (or lower) on the Wonderlic, “I’m out.” Average, smart, and brilliant Wonderlic scoring QBs are not a red-flag. Poor scorers on the Wonderlic are the red-flag.

I have administered the Wonderlic test a number of times in a corporate setting. So with that background, I add the following commentary…

It’s not even an issue that low scorers are somehow ‘dumb’, and thus we hate dumb for the NFL Draft/QBs or for salespeople or accountants, etc. It’s not that at all. That’s another misnomer about the Wonderlic test. This test is not necessarily about who is ‘smart’ or ‘dumb’. No. It’s about how fast you think under pressure/a time limit.

If you were to take the Wonderlic with no time limit whatsoever, you could probably post a result of 30+, maybe 40+ even if you didn’t do ‘awesome’ in school. The questions are not designed to be super-complicated. The questions are designed to trip you up as you’re moving fast (or too fast) to complete as many as you can.

Under time pressure: Can you notice patterns quickly? Can you tell the difference between these shapes in a rush? With an entire day to do so, sure you can. However, trying to whip through this Wonderlic test with limited time to do it…it is more complicated. The Wonderlic test is trying to find people who cannot work/think as well under time pressure. Like the flash decisions a QB has to make in the pocket under duress of 300-pound men trying to kill them. It’s why QB prospects can look great in shorts at the NFL Combine and Pro Day, and then are complete disasters in real games. Decision-making changes under pressure. True character is revealed. The Wonderlic test is trying to give you a glimpse into that.

Some people are smart, but need time to process things properly. Others are smart, and can whip through stuff with the greatest of ease. Both groups are smart. One is more desired for the NFL, or a stock-broker, or a hostage negotiator…jobs with split-second decision-making pressure.

As a side note to ‘super-stat guy’ or chat room bully or football writer: Let’s not use Dan Marino’s low score from decades ago as the ‘end all be all’ to totally destroy the validity of the Wonderlic test with one fell Marino-stroke. I would argue that many decades ago, the pre-draft work was littered with a “who cares” attitude for many top prospects. Whether 40-times or Wonderlic, decades ago, the work was not publicized or manically trained for like it is today. Some players in the past blew off the Wonderlic test, nor did they train as heavily for the 40-yard dash, etc…OR Marino’s score could be just a simple outlier. 

Today, there are millions being made by companies who do nothing but train and prepare prospects to defeat these pre-draft athletic and mental tests. You are getting the absolute best prepared efforts on vertical leap, 40-yard dash, team sit-down interviews, and on THE WONDERLIC TEST.

On its own, the Wonderlic test result (good or bad) is not a 1-to-1 correlation for future NFL success or failure. Looking at it by itself and making a sweeping judgment is idiotic. Those who mock the Wonderlic because “it doesn’t mean anything” are also idiotic. Of course, by itself, the test results do not ‘mean’ anything. It is not a solo judge. However, take the Wonderlic test score + several other on-field and off-field factors, and it is a useful ingredient in judging the prospect’s profile.

 

WONDERLIC FINAL NOTE: Our scouting at College Football Metrics, uses the Wonderlic results along with several off-field and on-field factors in attempting to statistically grade and project NFL Draft prospects from college into the NFL with a position specific algorithm. Initially, we load in neutral Wonderlic scores for the prospects, and then change the factor/impact to their overall grade as we get the actual Wonderlic data. Being a known fan of the Wonderlic test, we now get scores leaked to us directly (by sources we want to protect). We just quietly adjust our grades as we go leading up to draft day. Now that many top QB Wonderlic test results are public, we are getting ready to do an updated 2.0 version of our QB prospect grading.

See the NFL Draft in a whole new, radically different way from the mainstream, light by subscribing to College Football Metrics.com.

Posted in 2014 NFL Draft, In the Media, QB | Leave a comment

2014 Wonderlic Scores

Tomorrow, I will have my Wonderlic diatribe/rant in defense of the test and why it has value in the NFL Draft process. For now, here are Wonderlic Scores that have floated around the internet so far this year (unconfirmed…they are all unconfirmed, always):

40 = Jeff Matthews QB, Cornell

32 = Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M

32 = Chris Borland, ILB Wisconsin

30 = Zach Mettenberger, QB LSU

28 = Blake Bortles, QB Central Florida

21 = Zack Martin, Notre Dame

20 = Teddy Bridgewater QB, Louisville

20 = Derek Carr, QB Fresno State

13 = Ra’Shede Hageman DT, Minnesota

9 = Carlos Hyde RB, Ohio State

Posted in 2014 NFL Draft, In the Media | Leave a comment

Movie Review: Draft Day (2014)

Twitter @FFMetrics

OK, a little background for me going into this movie: I was prepared to be disappointed. I thought I would be ‘thrown’ by the presence of Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, and Kevin Costner. All actors/talents who I respect, but feared would take away from a football/sports movie…that it just wouldn’t ‘feel’ right. We’ve all seen like a Tom Berenger in Major League, and instantly knew…he was not a plausible MLB catcher/thrower or baseball hitter of any kind. Al Pacino as the football coach in Any Given Sunday just looks and feels off-kilter. I thought for sure the same thing was coming with Draft Day with this cast.

I am pleased to inform you that it did not happen. I really enjoyed Draft Day.

Keep in mind: I am a serious ‘mark’ for this movie. As a football and NFL Draft fan, they were going after my wallet, and heart, directly. I was hell-bent to NOT allow it to happen. I saw the commercial/trailer 10,000-times over the last few months and started rebelling against the movie…in my mind. I was ready to hate this film, but they won. They got me. This was a good movie.

Now, it’s not so good of a movie that I will get the Draft Day deluxe DVD editor’s cut or anything. I may or may not watch and re-watch it when the NFL Network starts showing this time next year (I assume…). I see this more as a nice one-time, “I got it, let’s not ruin it experience by watching it too much” type of movie. If you are reading this as an avid-reader of the Fantasy Football Metrics, you are likely far advanced in your football understanding, and probably love the NFL Draft, and have a secret fantasy of being in a draft war room. They made this movie for you…and they got you.

You will enjoy it. Perhaps, others you go to watch it with, who are not so much into football, might semi-shrug their shoulders afterwards, but a serious NFL Draft/Fantasy Football person…you’ll very much enjoy it. I went with my parents, both avid NFL fans, and they were pleasantly surprised by how solid it was. My wife attended, who has no clue about football, and she actually enjoyed it as well. There is enough non-football side-story and simple football explanations to keep non-NFL fans in the loop. Translation: ‘Football guys’, your wife or girlfriend will enjoy it, even if they think they won’t (not to be sexist, but avid football fans are like 99% male so sorry one-percenters). 

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Draft Day does a great job in quickly setting up the simplistic back-stories of the characters, and then letting a little more character back-story reveal itself as time passes. The characters are not ‘deep’ or complex. They are more Disney-esque and standard issue: The owner is rich and full of himself. The bumbling intern…is bumbling and lovable. The ‘girl’ in a ‘man’s world’ (Jennifer Garner) is deadpan/serious, and spits out football lingo so you can believe she belongs. The Costner main character’s dilemma and conflict are made evident quickly. The characters are not too complicated to figure out, but that is not a bad thing because they play their parts well, and the story-lines move nicely.

I thought there was no way that this movie could pull off making draft picks and trades interesting on the big screen. I was dead wrong. They did a very clever and tidy job of letting you into their world, and helping the viewer understand the interwoven gravity of what was going on big-picture football-wise. My biggest ‘thumbs up’ for this movie is for having semi-clichéd characters, but then making sure the story did not go too cliché.

There are moments, or holes in this movie to nitpick at, but it was mostly just a solid, enjoyable movie executed about as well as could be expected. There will be no Oscars here, but most everyone will enjoy it the experience.

I often wonder how my wife could love any of those feel-good, ‘girl-power’, love-story movies with Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Grant, Jennifer Lopez, et al. I can mostly suffer through them, and some of them are ‘OK-good’ (from my testosterone perspective), but my wife is totally swept away in complete enjoyment…even on the 73rd viewing of any of them. As a guy, I cannot begrudge her that, because I’ll watch Goodfellas, Wall Street, Hoosiers, or Moneyball and pick them up at any point in the story and enjoy for few minutes or the rest of the movie…even on the 73rd viewing. Draft Day is targeting football fans, which are guys mostly, and they are playing to our male fairy tale vibe like the movies just mentioned.

Most women/girls, from an early age, dream of being swept off their feet by a good-looking, charming guy who goes to the ends of the earth for them…and they all live happily ever after. Most guys, at a certain age, dream of being the General Manager of a sports team (thus the high divorce rates in America). Fellas, this movie is targeting our hearts/desires…it’s trying to be our “Pretty Woman” or “The Notebook.” The director and producer of Draft Day succeeded in this, because you (football fan) will really enjoy this movie, and not regret it.  It is not an all-time classic, but you will give it a “thumbs up.”

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Side Note: I know many of you have read my diatribes on the Draft Day TV commercial and trailer that ends with a super-awkward “high-five” between Kevin Costner and non-descript, out of place ‘guy’ that happens to be near him.

Guess what? After all of my complaining about the ‘high-five’ moment for the last few months…

Apparently, all my bellyaching worked. I got this edited out of the script. I’m sure of it…because it is not in the movie. The moment was unraveling, just like in the commercial, but that dude/recipient of the ‘high-five’ was nowhere in the room when he was supposed to be (according to the commercial I saw a gazillion times). Despite that scene being deleted, I still enjoyed my movie experience.

Go enjoy!

Posted in In the Media | Leave a comment

One quick FF-note for folks who keep revising Norv Turner history…

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I just read, by accident, a snippet that Fantasy Football analysts are giddy over the prospects of Norv Turner in Minnesota, and especially what that means for Kyle Rudolph’s 2014 Fantasy Football prospects.

Folks, how long are we going to do a mental version of: “Norv Turner is a great upgrade for my (fill in team name here)!“?

How can Fantasy analysts write about Philip Rivers having been revived in 2013…without doing the math that what he was revived from was Norv Turner? How is it that Norv Turner only revives offenses…and we just overlook how he flounders with them?

The Cleveland Browns’ offense was a joke last year, until the Coach and GM were forced into using Bryan Hoyer. Both were, in part, fired after one season because of their reluctance to use Hoyer. If Norv is so smart…why was he pushing Brandon Weeden over Hoyer or Jason Campbell?

Now we get the 2014 ‘classic’: Kyle Rudolph is a 2014 Dynasty-Fantasy Football sleeper because Norv Turner is a ‘king-maker’ with TEs. What is the evidence cited of this? Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron.

Marty Schottenheimer, one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, deserves all the credit for Antonio Gates development, not Norv Turner. Gates was a basketball player turned TE, in part, due to Marty’s genius…and Gates had his most ‘special’ seasons in his four seasons with Schottenheimer. Gates was then fine under Turner, but that car was already warmed up. Giving credit to Norv Turner for Antonio Gates is like giving Bill O’Brien and Josh McDaniels credit for Tom Brady’s success…oh, wait, we do that too in the football world.

OK, Jordan Cameron had a great first four weeks of 2013, but teams adjusted, and then he became mediocre in output. I’m supposed to make Kyle Rudolph the next Jimmy Graham for FF-2014 now because of the mere presence of Norv Turner?

16.5 FF PPG (24.0 PPR) 7.5 rec., 90.0 yds, 1.3 TDs per game = Cameron ’13 Weeks 1-4

6.2 FF PPG (10.7 PPR) 4.5 rec., 50.6 yds, 0.2 TDs per game = Cameron ’13, Weeks 5-16

I could try to believe this Rudolph-Gates-Cameron linkage if I did not already know the monstrous difference in their athletic profiles. Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron are two of the most athletically gifted TEs to ever enter the NFL. Kyle Rudolph is a major stiff, athletically, by comparison…he profiles closer to an offensive tackle than a WR/TE hybrid.

Rudolph is a solid TE. He is a great blocker, and has terrific hands, but he is slow as ___. You cannot line him up in the slot, as some are suggesting. He is not going to stretch the field or rack up huge yards, etc. That’s not his game. Separating him away from the line of scrimmage takes him away from what he is great at–being big, and working as a safety valve over the middle.

If someone in your Dynasty league is buying this tired sucker’s bet of Norv Turner = Offensive gold, and TE awesome-ness…then trade Kyle Rudolph away ASAP. Sell him high now.

**See the NFL Draft, and the Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before with our Moneyball-style scouting reports. Go to www.collegefootballmetrics.com **

 

Posted in Minnesota Vikings, TE | Leave a comment

Friday Morning, I’m going to see Draft Day…for you

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As an added bonus to all the goodies we bring each week, I am also going to take it upon myself to go see the movie Draft Day with Kevin Costner on Friday morning, on your behalf…and report back to you on what to prepare for when you go.

I am not going to review it as giving you advice on whether you should go see it or not. Odds are, if you’re reading this (or writing this), then you are a ‘MARK’ for this movie.

As a prequel to my movie-going experience, and subsequent review after, I can tell you this now: I am ready NOT to like this in a major way. You would think that I would be in love with this movie concept, and I am, but I have several problems with it heading into my viewing pleasure…and it has me rattled. Those haunting issues would be:

1) I watched almost every second of the 2014 NFL Combine, and Draft Day was advertised every commercial break it seemed. A few weeks later, roll into the 2014 NCAA Basketball tournament, which I had on in the background while working quite a bit, and there it was time and time again, trading commercial time with Craig Sager and the lady from the Amazon tablet-thingy. I’m on a Draft Day overload detox as a person who watches a lot of sports on TV.

Because I watched the same commercial over and over for months, it has started to become like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I know all the lyrics and dialogue of this Draft Day commercial, and I sing along word-for-word, and make up my own jokes to go along with it.

The capper, of course, is that awkward ‘high-five’ at the end of the initial TV ad that I’ve been railing about for several weeks. I knew it was coming at the end of each commercial, and yet I could not wait for it. I have stopped total strangers on the street to ask them how they feel about that ‘high-five’. No one ever knows what I’m talking about at first, but they all come back later with “Oh my goodness, what was that?

If you don’t know the ‘high-five’ that I am speaking about…guess what? You might have to go see the movie because I think the world is being systematically scrubbed of this ‘high-five’ moment. I used to find it everywhere, and now it is disappearing from TV and online commercials. I think I might have caused ‘Project Cleanup’at Summit Entertainment. You may doubt me on this, but now I know one man CAN change the world. “Look at me Ma’…top of the world,” I had a repetitive big-budget movie commercial edited down by 1.6 seconds!

I now feel like this helpless QB with a lack of ‘high-fives’. Please watch in its entirety, it will only take a minute: 

 

I will probably be thrown out of theater for laughing hysterically when that ‘high-five’ scene does hit in the actual movie. Think of me when you see it…and by that I mean, point it out mid-movie to the strangers in front and to the sides of you. I will not rest until everyone is pleasantly annoyed with that ‘high-five’.

2) I feel like this is going to be “too star-ee” for me. Every time Costner “wants to talk football” with Jennifer Garner, I always think, “Hey, there’s Jennifer Garner. What’s she doing here?” I am going to have a hard time melting into this movie as believable football people in believable football situations having believable football conversations…I’ve already pre-psyched myself out for it.

3) I’m afraid that I won’t buy the premise either. NFL teams trade back in the draft all the time. Is trading the #6 pick really going to be the cliffhanger? They should make a movie about the day Mike Ditka traded his whole draft for Ricky Williams. The twist being he is paid to espouse football theory to the masses decades later.

Hopefully, with my lower expectations, I will actually be able to enjoy the movie. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the plot for you in my review.

This football off-season, you will see movie reviews from me from time-to-time. Why? Three reasons:

1) I need mental breaks from football, and movies are a nice way to stop thinking about football. I mostly watch offbeat movies and documentaries. I always like a trusted recommendation, so that I don’t waste my time watching garbage trying to find a gem. Perhaps, I can give a tip on a lesser-known piece of art for someone out there. If you have some recommends to watch/review…pass them on. 

2) If I write about them publicly, and the movie event cost me money to go/rent/buy, then it’s a business expense…and that’s good for business!

I will note on each review that you should rent the movie from Amazon prime, or purchase the DVD from Amazon, who is one of our main sponsors since the beginning. It’s not watching a movie…it’s and ‘Advertising Expense’. I’m serious. I hope to move you toward more Amazon media business through FFM…we all win. What about iTunes? Buy an iTunes gift card off Amazon, through FFM, and then buy/rent your movie!

3) If Mark Cuban is right, I will be out of a job in about 10 years with the collapse of the NFL, so I need to start preparing for a future career.

I hope that you enjoy me dabbling in the movie review game from time-to-time, but even if you don’t…basic mission accomplished with the IRS, so you are supporting the cause by glancing at it and moving on.

If all goes well, my Draft Day review will hit Friday evening or Saturday am. High-five to that. 

 

Posted in In the Media | Leave a comment

No More Marcus Lattimore “Redshirt” Talk, Please…

Twitter @FFMetrics

How is it everyone thinks that the 49ers drafting Marcus Lattimore, knowing full well that he would not be able to play in 2013, made any sense at all in the big picture? Not only was 2013 ‘dead money’, there are pretty good odds that he will likely never be ‘right’ for the NFL, and if he ever gets going to some degree, he carries extraordinarily high odds for more debilitating (for a RB) injuries to come?

I hope for his sake, that he claws his way back and goes on to the HOF. However, as a pragmatist…this makes no sense to me.

First, his college career is more myth than reality. We document that with more detail in his College Football Metrics scouting report 2013, but just give his college career game log an eyeball. He blows up against Georgia three times in three seasons, but is then more normal to average (for a nice college RB) for the rest of his on & off injured career.

**See the NFL Draft, and the Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before with our Moneyball-style scouting reports. Go to www.collegefootballmetrics.com **

Secondly, who cares about RBs anymore in the NFL anyway? You can find decent 220+ pound RBs all over at very reasonable prices…and ones who haven’t had multiple, debilitating leg injuries…and some that have. Give me Andre Brown today…why am I waiting on Marcus Lattimore? If you are going to waste a roster spot and/or draft pick…why not do so on the position that means EVERYTHING…the QB! Why waste the opportunity on the position that means almost NOTHING in the NFL (RB)?

I guess they thought they had QB depth issues solved by trading for Colt McCoy in 2013?

Thirdly, you already had a stocked fridge of RBs in San Francisco. Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter (underrated), LaMichael James (solid)…why do you need to use valuable time and effort on a Lattimore long-shot?

Fourthly, let’s say Lattimore is decent in 2014, and then has a nice season in 2015. What are you going to do…sign him to a long-term deal? You’re going to sign a RB, in this inflated RB-economy, a RB with known major medical issues, to a long-term deal? You’d be crazy to.

This is beyond a pipe dream for the 49ers. Which then begs the question: Are you the Dynasty GM version of this? Are you also holding onto a myth that has almost no chance at ever FF-paying off? If I drafted Lattimore in the 2013 Dynasty Rookie Draft…I’m trying to pawn him off on some sucker today.

For those of you without College Football Metrics Scouting Reports. Let me just lay this on you: In his last 13 games in college, Lattimore has produced…

946 yards rushing, 4.3 yards per carry and 14 rushing TDs = Lattimore’s last 13 games

72.7 rushing yards, 4.3 yards per carry, 1.08 rushing TDs = Lattimore per game, last 13 games

I could find a bunch of RBs with those type of numbers in a power conference…and most all of them would not get drafted.

You’re buying sizzle here…there is no steak. Even the cow tore his ACL on this one.

I really hope I am wrong about this, but I don’t think I am. I don’t want you to waste Dynasty-Fantasy Football hope here when he still has trade value…fleeting as it is. 

 

Posted in RB, San Francisco 49ers | Leave a comment

When did Gary Kubiak become an offensive genius?

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First, DeSean Jackson is turned into Jerry Rice. Now this…now, Gary Kubiak is Bill Walsh. When are these meetings taking place where we all decide this stuff? 

If I read one more piece about how the Ravens love Gary Kubiak, and how all the ex-Texans are going to help Ravens’ players learn this ‘exciting’ offense, yada yada yada…I’m going to go insane.

If I am not mistaken, Gary Kubiak went 2-11 as the O-C/HC of the Houston Texans last year…before he was fired in-season? He is 3-14 in his last 17 regular-season games coached.

Owen Daniels, Jacoby Jones, and Justin Forsett are supposed to be weapons for the team, but also mentors on this offense? On what? I can see their first meeting with the Ravens offense…”Hey, guys gather around, let us show you how an utterly boring offense looks. Oh, wait. This is the Ravens. Many of you had Cam Cameron as your O-C at one time. Think of that era only with greater use of slower, under-sized TEs.”

Owen Daniels has averaged 3.9 receptions, 46.0 yards, and 0.30 TDs per game over the past four seasons…while averaging 11.5 games played per season; and he is getting older quickly. His last four-season totals extrapolate to: 62 catches, 736 yards, and 5 TDs in a projected 16-game season.

Daniels’ season totals in TDs for his career are as follows: 5-3-2-5-2-3-6-3…Wow! It’s like Gronk, only without the catches, yards, TDs, and wins. Gary Kubiak is the master of using the TEs! Kubiak’s gaggle of 6’3″, slow TEs used as main targets instead of 5’11-6’2″ WRs running in the 4.4s is not going to electrify the NFL in 2014.

I do, however, like the possibility Bernard Pierce becomes a star in the one-cut running game of Kubiak-Shanahan lore.

**See the NFL Draft, and the Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before with our Moneyball-style scouting reports. Go to www.collegefootballmetrics.com **

 

Posted in Baltimore Ravens, TE | Leave a comment