Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vikings draftees I'm intrigued about - 2015 edition

Last year after the Vikings 2014 draft, I whipped up a quick post looking at some not-so-obvious draftees from Minnesota's class I was intrigued to see.

My list was a flop. Scott Crichton barely dressed on gamedays and was a non-factor when he did. Brandon Watts kept getting hurt. And Antone Exum played on special teams, but couldn't crack the Vikings lineup otherwise.

No matter, I'm doing this list again anyway. Here are three Vikings draftees I'm most intrigued about beyond the usual suspects (i.e. - Trae Waynes and Eric Kendricks).

T.J. Clemmings: The Vikings were able to snag a player who was projected to go in the first round or early 2nd in the 4th round. Nice. Now they've decided to move starting right guard Brandon Fusco over to left guard and had Clemmings playing at right guard and running with the first team in OTAs. Consider me officially on Clemmings fan club. Looking at Clemmings in pads, he doesn't have the typical "fat guy" build we're used to seeing from offensive lineman. He looks very athletic and sculpted for a big guy, so he should be more mobile than the typical offensive guard. This experiment may not work, and Clemmings might need more development time as a rookie. But if it does work, the interior of the Vikings offensive line will be much improved compared to 2014 when Fusco missed most of the year with a pectoral injury and Charlie Johnson dragged down the unit in general with his play. 

Stefon Diggs: I'm still not sold on the Vikings wide receiver unit. Mike Wallace will be fine but there's a lot of projection after him. Is Charles Johnson really starting material? I've always liked Jarius Wright, but his resume after three years in the league is modest. Cordarrelle Patterson? Your guess is as good as mine as to what he'll do in 2015. As for Diggs, he could add some needed juice to the WR unit. He's exactly the kind of player the Vikes need - a slot player with great quickness and the ability to generate mucho yards-after-the-catch. I picture him as sort of a Randall Cobb or Percy Harvin-lite right now. He was also a standout kick returner in college, so the Vikes have options if Patterson can't rebound in that role after a so-so 2014 season. Diggs could be an exciting find for a 5th round draft choice. I'll be watching him closely during the exhibition season.

Edmond Robinson: Yes, I know I'm highlighting another long shot 7th-round linebacker with great speed. It's quite likely Robinson won't even make the team, and if he does, won't dress in 2015. But I've written a few times on this blog that Vikings haven't had a whippet-fast linebacker-safety hybrid that is so useful in today's pass-happy NFL. Robinson's pretty green and he needs to get stronger, but he's got the speed to play that hybrid role in a nickel defense. I'll be interested to see if he shows he's got a clue during the preseason. If he does, the Vikings might have something to work with in Robinson. And we know head coach Mike Zimmer has a great reputation for developing defensive talent.    

Thursday, May 28, 2015

National Friday League: Fantasy Summer (3): The Tight End Problem

How do you solve the Tight End problem? I don't know. But I know I can look up a bunch of numbers and make a bunch of comparisons and if you see any solutions to the Tight End problem in this, then good for you! Tell me what it is!

Rob Gronkowski deserves all kinds of special attention when discussing TE strategy: whether you're targeting him or not will greatly affect the rest of your roster construction.

Using standard scoring (1 point per 10 yards, 6 points per TD, fractional scoring, non-PPR), last season Rob Gronkowski--far and away the #1 TE--scored 184.4 points. There were nine WRs with more points than that. There were also 10 RBs that scored more than that. If you're using an early draft pick or spending significant auction dollars on Gronkowski, you're doing that instead of spending it on a RB or WR. But last season there were 19 RBs and WRs that outscored Gronkowski. Before I'd draft Gronkowski, I'd rather take Antonio Brown (260.6 points), DeMaryius Thomas (229.9), ot Dez Bryant (228). There's plenty of reason to think those players will approach those numbers again, and they're simply better than Gronkowski. I'd also rather take Odell Beckham Jr. (206 points in 12 games) or Calvin Johnson (still a monster after a down/injury-plagued 2014). You might also like Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb. Looking at points, I don't think Gronkowski is a first-round fantasy pick over 10 other RBs or WRs.

If Gronkowski has value, though, it's his value over other players at his position: you essentially get to start a WR-producer at TE, which few or no other teams in your league can do. The #2-5 TEs last season averaged about 143 points. Gronkowski was about 41 points, or roughly 2.6 points per week, better than that. That's meaningful, but for the price he could command? Meh.

What's Gronkowski's value over a low-end starting TE? The low-end starting TEs (#7-12 in scoring) averaged 108.5 points. Gronkowski is worth roughly 76 points more than an low-end. That's 4.8 points per week. That's pretty significant.

How do low-end TEs stack up with low-end WRs? That depends on your league's size and lineup rules. Last season the #31-40 WRs averaged about 115 points. The #21-30 WRs averaged about 132.5 points. Low-end TEs are really not worth any sort of draft resources. If you don't draft Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, in my opinion you should be using one of your last snake draft picks or 1-2 auction dollars on a tight end. It's just not predictable or worthwhile to commit resources at the position when other positions are higher scoring, and outside of the elite, TE numbers fluctuate a lot year to year.

This season there are quite a few fantasy-relevant TEs who have switched teams, including Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, and Charles Clay. Generally, I'd shout STAY AWAY!, but given the paucity of useful fantasy TEs, not everybody can stay away from such players. When choosing between such TEs, I'd look at the QB change each guy is dealing with. From Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles? Eh, no thanks. From QB Browns (like Super Tecmo Bowl, it doesn't matter what the actual QB's name is, he'll always just be QB Browns) to Ryan Tannehill? I like the possibilities! But really, I would never bank on an increase in production when a TE switches teams.  At most, pay for the player expecting similar production as the previous season.

What about second-year TEs? In recent years there have been second-year TEs that came from seemingly nowhere (unless you are a fantasy junkie!) like Jordan Cameron (OK, third year) and Travis Kelce that became productive fantasy starters. There are also fantasy all-timers at the position like Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham that broke out in their second seasons. In my dynasty league I went out of my way to stock up on rookie TEs that would be useless in 2014 (hey there, Eric Ebron and Jace Amaro!). In a redraft league, I'd think about nabbing a second-year TE and hoping for the best. The price should be low low low, and if he stinks you just pick up a lousy free agent TE of the same caliber as a lousy late-round TE. But there's a chance of a breakout, after all. And at a position that is often low-scoring, generally unpredictable, and mostly a headache, why not try to shoot the moon?

If you read any of this and have a solution to the TE problem, lease tell me. I see a mess that I wish I could avoid.

*I'm using a Yahoo! league page for these numbers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This blog is a "no Adrian Peterson contract news" zone - until something actually happens

If you stop by this blog from time-to-time looking for our take on the Adrian Peterson saga, you'll be disappointed.

I can't speak for Pacifist Viking, but I've purposely stayed away from posting about Peterson since the draft ended because, well, I don't think I could any value to the commentary that's out there.

Besides, nothing's changed. It's pretty clear Peterson still would rather be somewhere else. It's pretty clear Ben Dogra is still a dick (but that's part of his job, so I won't demonize him for acting all agent-like.) It's pretty clear the Vikings coaching staff and front office still plan on keeping him. And it's pretty clear the players would still welcome Peterson back warmly if that's how it plays out.

Everything thing else out there is noise, and because I don't have any connections inside Peterson's or the Vikings inner circle and don't know what either side is thinking, I haven't felt the need to post about the situation (which is probably costing our site some traffic.)

The only thing I think I think is that we may eventually thank Peterson's for being absent from the team during this offseason and, perhaps, during the 2015 season. His absence allows the Vikings coaching staff - namely offensive coordinator Norv Turner - to develop an offense that leans on starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as opposed to Peterson.

That's how the offence is going to work (or not work) beyond 2015, so why not continue the journey the Vikings started in 2014 when Peterson's actions left them without their best offensive player anyway? 

I don't know how successful the Vikings offense will be in 2015 without Peterson. But I'm not afraid to find out.

Let's hope the Vikings aren't, either.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

National Friday League: Fantasy Summer (2): Maximize RB/WR

What if I told you that in your fantasy football draft, you could actually draft more players than other managers in your league? Even though you all have a standard roster with a set limit on players, some of your opponents will make moves that, in essence, give them fewer players. If you avoid their mistakes, you end up with more players, and more opportunities for fantasy success.

It's simple: do not draft a backup quarterback, and do not draft a backup tight end.

If you have a roster of 15 players, you will have to draft one kicker and one defense, and will also need one quarterback and one tight end. Then you'll have 11 roster spots left to draft only RBs and WRs. If you chase the temptation and draft a second QB, you're essentially throwing one of those 11 spots--and a potential quality RB or WR--away for a position that you don't need and likely won't use.

You don't need two quarterbacks.
It's hard to envision many scenarios where it's worthwhile to draft a backup fantasy QB. In general, they rarely elicit much interest in trades because during the season, other managers usually recognize what some don't during the draft: you can always find a quarterback.

If you're in a 10 team or smaller league, you will absolutely find another viable (even good!) fantasy QB available in free agency. If the QB you drafted stinks or gets injured, there will be somebody out there that nobody else needs. Hell, that player is usually Ben Roethlisberger, and probably will be again.

If you're in a 12 team or bigger league, you will probably be able to find another viable fantasy QB, though the options might be slimmer. But even so, to win a larger league, you need a lot of things to go right for you. Rather than trying to hedge your bets for a higher floor with a backup QB, why not chase a higher ceiling for a low-cost/no-cost RB or WR? In a larger league, you will either have a team good enough to win when you pick up the likes of Mark Sanchez, or you won't be good enough to win if a key starter gets injured. Just deal with that, and chase the highest possible point outcome.

You don't need two tight ends.
There are two elite TEs worth spending significant draft resources on: Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham (G.G.). After that, there are probably a few Tier 2 TEs that are worth having, and a lot of Tier 3 TEs. Other than G.G., these other TEs are imminently replaceable. Some will outperform others: a handful of other TEs will have, say, 800+ yards and 5-7 TEs. But you cannot guess which ones will do that, and which ones do that will fluctuate greatly from year to year. TE is one of the most difficult positions to deal with in fantasy football, but you aren't really going to help yourself by using multiple roster spots to try guess which TE will be marginally better than another TE.

Hitting on a low-cost/no-cost RB or WR can will you your league.
Everybody in your league is going to spend significant draft resources on the RBs and WRs that we believe have the best opportunity to be star fantasy producers. Some of these RBs and WRs will be stars, and some won't. But regardless whether your high-cost RBs or WRs work out, there will also be some high-production RBs and WRs that nobody saw coming. There are always surprise breakout players, or fluky good seasons. There will be low-cost/no-cost RBs and WRs that are in the top 15 or top 10 at their positions this season, as there are every season.

If nothing else, draft rookies. If you're looking at available players, and a remaining QB or TE has a more familiar name, and more general production, than any available RB or WR, just go ahead and draft a rookie RB or WR that, for whatever reason (talent, opportunity, team, whatever) you think could break out and be a fantasy starter, or even fantasy star.  There have always been rookie RBs that become fantasy stars, and in recent years it's become much more common for rookie WRs to become fantasy stars. You might as well take a shot at getting one of those rookies, rather than having Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill on your roster.

But of course...
Both of these pieces of advice are subject to asterisks if your league has unique scoring or lineup rules. If your league's scoring system highly values rushing QBs, it may be worth taking the opportunity to get two. And if you're in a league with a flex position that allows you to start two TEs, and you draft G.G., it might be worth it to to draft another TE instead of another WR (probably not though--cheap WRs tend to outproduce cheap TEs. Using standard scoring, 10 TEs had 100+ fantasy points last season, while 48 WRs topped 100. That means a lot of WRs not good enough to start in a fantasy league outscored a lot of starting fantasy TEs. 130 points essentially made a TE an elite TE--that was the top 5--while 27 WRs topped 130*).

This advice may not be valid for a dynasty league. Depending on the size of your roster, having multiple potential star QBs or star TEs might be useful for the long-term.

I think the argument doesn't change in a PPR league, though.

*I'm using a Yahoo! fantasy league page for these stats.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

National Friday League: Fantasy Summer (1): "Value" only means "Diversifying Risk"

In auction drafts, I have typically been a targeter of players I prefer, and then a builder of a "Stars and Scrubs" roster. I spend a lot of time analyzing statistics and information (especially on running backs) and listening to commentary, and then I identify my top targets and am willing to pay for them. Any success I've had in recent auction leagues has been a result of successful, accurate targeting. I've been mostly right for a few years (I identified DeMarco Murray as my top target in 2014, for example, and in 2013 drafted Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy), and if I target the right players, and do some smart (and lucky) things to build a quality roster around the expensive players, things usually go well. Of course, if I'm wrong I've spent a high percentage of my budget on one or two players, and the rest of my roster probably isn't good enough to win. And in some ways, so what! In a league of any size, you can't win the league every year. You just have to give yourself the best chance to compete year after year. Some seasons even the best fantasy managers will perform terribly. If this targeting, "stars and scrubs" strategy gives you a competitive team even more than half the time, it's probably a good one.

But I am changing my strategy. Especially after reading Joseph Stromberg's "The big mistake lots of NFL teams make in the draft, according to economists," at Vox.

Stromberg explains the work of economists Cade Massey and Justin Thaler. Essentially, they argue, teams are foolish to trade up in the draft, because the odds that the first player taken at a position will be better than, say, the second, third, or fourth player taken at his position, are extremely low. Luck plays a huge role in whether a draft pick is going to be good. Therefore it is better to trade down: if a draft pick is essentially a coin flip that you need to turn up heads, the thing to do isn't to get a bigger, shinier coin, but to get more coins. You do this, as Stromberg says, "in order to diversify risk."

Is this relevant to fantasy football, where you draft an entire team each year and can only fill in the available roster spots? It is relevant for an auction strategy when you have to allocate your draft budget, and in any league where preseason--or even early season--trades are possible.

Auction!
In an auction league, you have a fixed budget (say, $200) to fill out a fixed roster (say, 16 players). You can draft a stars and scrubs team, spending 60-80% of your budget on two-three players. But applying the logic of, oh, let's call it "coin flip logic," this isn't a good idea. If you spend that much money on two-three players, you have to be completely confident those players will be superstar producers for the season. And still, the rest of the roster will be full of cheap starters and hope-for-the-best fliers.

But what if instead of spending $150 on two Tier 1 RBs, you can spend $150 on four or five Tier 2 or Tier 3 RBs? That would diversify risk better, right? In any given year, some Tier 1 RBs are going to be massive disappointments, and some Tier 2 or Tier 3 RBs are going to produce at Tier 1 levels (and may be Tier 1 draft picks the next season). Why trust yourself that you know which expensive player to draft, when you could diversify your risk and give yourself more chances at Tier 1 producing RBs? That means not just using late, cheap flier picks on RBs and WRs that you hope emerge as Tier 1 producers. It means using your draft resources for more mid-range players that you think have the chance to be Tier 1 producers.

It's worth splitting all draftable fantasy players into two categories: Useful and Barely Useful. Players in the Useful category include anybody who could be a viable, productive starter for you: elite players, mid-tier players, whatever. The Barely Useful players are the desperation starters (players who aren't really good but you might need for a week or two in a pinch), fliers (players who could have a high possibility of doing nothing, but some possibility of being useful starters), and handcuffs (NFL backups). If you spend most of your draft resources on just a few players, you are going to have to fill your roster up with players in the Barely Useful category. If you diversity risk, that means you're spreading your money around to more players, and you'll probably be able to draft more players in the Useful category. That's how coin flip logic translates to a fantasy roster: you're going to have, say, 10-12 RBs and WRs on your roster. You can either draft a few elites and fill out your RBs and WRs with lesser starters and some Barely Useful players, or you can spread it around and end up with five or more quality RBs and WRs, and maybe more Useful players. In that sense, even though everybody has the same size roster, you end up with "more" players (another way to ensure you have theoretically more players than others in your league is to only draft one QB and one TE--but that's for another day).

Trade!
OK, that's well and good, but what about snake draft leagues? Unless you are allowed to trade picks pre-draft, this isn't useful: you get one first-round pick, one second-round pick, etc., and have to hope for the best.

True: but what you can do post-draft is trade players. And if we use coin-flip logic, you might be better off trading an elite player for multiple mid-tier players. You don't know before the season if the Tier 1 RB you drafted will be a Tier 1 performer, so trading him for, say, a Tier 2 and a Tier 3 RB plus a Tier 3 WR might have its benefits. In this way you can diversify risk, and if you trade players before the season begins, you are essentially trading down (you might trade a first round pick for a second and a fifth round pick, for example). During the season, I'd be hesitant to make a trade where I'm giving up the best player in the trade. But before the season, it's not always as clear who will really be the best players. A "trade down" trade in the offseason might make sense.

But..
Now, applying NFL draft analysis to fantasy draft analysis has its flaws.

For one thing, fantasy draft prospects have played in the NFL and built their resume. Whether a college player will develop into a quality NFL starter is a much bigger crapshoot than whether a player we've already seen produce at the NFL level can continue to produce (or improve his production) at the NFL level. You may be guessing whether a college player can become a quality NFL player. Once a player has played in the NFL, you have real data and scouting on him--it's no longer just a coin flip, or even slightly better than a coin flip.

Furthermore, to give yourself the best chance to win, it might be worth it to chase superstar performers. Again, you can't win your fantasy league every year, and you're not building a long-term roster. If every few years you get lucky and acquire--through draft and trade--a bunch of superstar performers, you probably have a better chance to win. In, say, a 10 team league, a superstar's value over the average player at his position, or the value over replacement level at his position, may be so big that you should try to stock up on as many superstars as you can and hope for the best. In fantasy football, you're not trying to build an all-around roster: you're trying to shoot the moon every hand, and hoping to get all 26 points every once in a while.

But I think this strategy is good for at least the most crapshooty of fantasy positions: running backs. Wide receiver is a fairly reliable position: sticking with your superstar WR probably means you're getting superstar production. But given the various things that make RB a riskier position, why not diversify? Use your budget assets to acquire multiple potential Tier 1 performers, rather than one player you think has a higher potential to be a Tier 1 performer.

I've been contemptuous of fantasy discussion about "value." A player who is a "good value" at the round where you draft him might still not be a player you want to be a starter on your team. That's why one of my fundamental fantasy rules is "you should chase elite producers, not 'value.'" But diversifying risk is a way to chase elite producers: you're chasing multiple players hoping that gives you better odds of hitting on an elite producer.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

National Friday League: Defense!

The 2016 Viking Defense will be a force to behold.
Let us make one assumption that is not obviously true: rookie defenders will struggle. Rookie cornerbacks can get exploited (and still develop into great players), and other rookies may struggle to get into the rotation. And let's make another assumption that is mostly true: the Vikings can retain whichever players they have that they want to retain. With these assumptions in place, I'm ready to predict that when the Vikes move into Xanadu, they'll be taking a dominant NFL defense with them.

In 2016 the Vikings' best defenders should be near the peaks of their careers: Harrison Smith will be 27, Anthony Barr 24, Everson Griffen 28, and Xavier Rhodes 26.  Sharrif Floyd will be 25 and Linval Joseph 27: they should be massive contributors in the middle of the line. And by 2016, what should the Vikings' first three draft picks be doing on the defense? Trae Waynes will need to be establishing himself as a starting cornerback, Eric Kendricks will probably already be established as a full-time starting linebacker, and Danielle Hunter will be working his way into the defensive line rotation (perhaps replacing Brian Robison?) after (I suspect) playing sparingly as a rookie. And coaching this team will be Mike Zimmer.

How many Pro Bowlers will be on the 2016 Viking defense? How will they stack up against the run and pass when they have to play the likes of the Packers, or the Seahawks? Your crazy optimistic guess is as good as mine (or better!). But this team is being built to be competitive the moment they move into their new stadium: if they're competitive before that, all the better, but I suspect 2016 is a big part of the Vikes' plan. And that plan is defense.

The Vikings still have issues at offensive line, which they did try to address in the later rounds of the draft, which is good (T.J. Clemmings will probably be starting in a year or two, either because he's good or the rest of the line is just worse). And I'm not going to hazard to guess who will either be taking handoffs or catching passes in 2016. But the defense is going make the team compete, and they'll be a pleasure for those of us Viking fans who want to see a defense play strong, fundamental football and require opponents to earn their way down the field.

Until 2016, enjoy the team, watch Teddy Bridgewater, hope for the best, and watch Star Wars movies and TV shows.

QB as #1 Overall Pick
From the NFL merger through Peyton Manning, when a QB was taken with the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft, it was reliable that the player would be a productive NFL QB at some point. That wasn't true before the merger, though, and it hasn't been true since Manning.

#1 Pick QBs, NFL, AFL, AAFC
#1 Pick QBs, NFL

From 1970 to 1998, nine QBs were taken with the #1 overall pick. Not all of them were very successful with the team that drafted them (Jim Plunkett, Vinny Testaverde, Jeff George), but six of them started in Super Bowls (Terry Bradshaw, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning--for a total of 18 Super Bowl starts), five of them won Super Bowls as starters, and four won multiple Super Bowls as starters (for a total of 12 Super Bowl wins). Two of the three who didn't make it to the Super Bowl--Vinny Testaverde and Steve Bartkowski--each made two Pro Bowls. The other is Jeff George, who is admittedly a disappointment, but had statistically good seasons with the Falcons, Raiders, and Vikings. Of course of those nine players, only six (Bradshaw, Bartkowski--who did not have an exemplary career but did actually lead the league in TD passes, passer rating, and completion percentage in separate seasons--, Elway--drafted by the Colts, but was with the Broncos from his rookie season--, Aikman, Bledsoe, and Manning) actually gave good production to the teams that drafted them. The teams that used the #1 pick on Plunkett, Testaverde, and George were probably not pleased, but the point is in the right circumstances these players did eventually produce, at least for a short period of time.

And in a shorter time period, from 1999 to 2015, more QBs have been taken #1 overall (12). Since '99 there are some total flameout busts at #1 (Tim Couch, David Carr, JaMarcus Russell), some OK QBs (Alex Smith, and the player I suspect is the next Alex Smith, Sam Bradford), some QBs who have been good at least for some stretches but who have had up and down careers (Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, and we may add Matthew Stafford to this list at some point). More recently there have been a couple who appear to be all-time talents (Cam Newton and Andrew Luck). And of these #1 overall QBs, the only one to start a Super Bowl is Eli Manning (who started and won two), though his career has also been fairly up and down.

What gives? Why have 16 years of #1 overall picks given us some legendary busts and only two Super Bowl starts?

First, some desperate teams are reaching on QBs who aren't really worthy of the #1 overall pick. With more teams, and more realistic shots at quick turnarounds, teams are looking to fill the position most likely to transform a franchise, even if they're filling it with a player incapable of transforming the franchise. And some of these QBs were drafted by very poorly run franchises, and/or were rushed into the starting job, and/or were forced to develop in terrible situations, and/or were impatiently put aside early. On a better team, with better coaching, maybe Couch or Carr could have at least had Bartkowski level success.

But it's also worth noting that 10 Super Bowls have been won with a draft pick from 1999 or later starting for the winner. It's just that those QBs--Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and Russell Wilson--were taken later in the draft. So teams are still and always pretty lousy at actually evaluating talent at what is the most important position in the game. Several of these players already are or are well on their way to being all-time greats, but NFL teams weren't apparently keen on giving them opportunities. In the post popular sports league in America, in a league where coaches are legendary for the hours they put in, and it would seem no proverbial stone is unturned to scout and vet prospects, NFL teams passed on Tom Brady for five rounds, Drew Brees for a round, Aaron Rodgers for most of the first round, and Russell Wilson for two rounds. So there's that.

Hey: I have no grand conclusions here! As I took out the garbage I started thinking about the time I wanted the Vikes to sign former #1 pick David Carr because I thought a former #1 pick would have a chance to turn his career around in the right circumstances. That's wrong, now anyway (though it may have been right 35 years ago, Jim Plunkett). So I wanted to look at what's been going on with #1 overall QBs.  Now I know.

The Vikes, by the way, have only had the #1 pick twice, the last time in 1968 when they took HOFer Ron Yary.

Fantasy Box
Now I've got to figure out what to do with this when planning a Dynasty PPR draft. Any numbers I can analyze? Not really (I don't trust college numbers to translate to NFL numbers). Any opinions drawn from experience watching the players? No: I spend my autumn Saturdays living life as fully as I can to feel less bad about watching 10 hours of football on Sundays (by the way, do any of you find it disturbing just how much fun and productivity is possible on a long offseason Sunday afternoon with no football?).

So what, now I just have to read what fantasy writers say about the players, and I can't weigh any of their assessments against my own knowledge? If an expert on a podcast says some rookie RB is going to be good, I just have to, sort of, consider that on its own? Is this how casual fantasy football enthusiasts feel, just looking at what the magazine experts have to say? It's awful!

Kick Ass Links
Three Vikings (MyCole Pruitt, T.J. Clemmings, Eric Kendricks) make Bill Barnwell's NFL Draft All-Value Team (Grantland).

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Vikings blogging during the offseason

It's early May, and with it comes not just May flowers but my annual dilemma as an amateur Minnesota Vikings blogger.

On Wednesday, ESPN's dedicated (and not amateur) Vikings blogger, Ben Goessling posted about Bud Grant joining Twitter.

This was the big news concerning the Vikings today.

Anyway, Goessling's post just drove home the problem I have every year around this time with this blog. The draft is over. The Vikings have pretty much procured every human being they are going to bring to training camp in late July. Other than signing their draft picks and some unforeseen event occurring, there's not going to be a lot to write about.

So, I'm turning to you, dear readers. What blog posts do you think I should pursue this month? I'll be thinking up my own ideas, but in times like these it always help to get outside input. Consider yourself to be Kick Ass Blog's editorial advisory board for the next little while. Fell free to write down your suggestions in the comments section below, and I'll take them into consideration.

I also want to warn you that May will probably be the last month where regular posts will be up on this site once summer arrives. I can't speak for Pacifist Viking, but June and July is even more of a dead zone for Vikings news than May. Also, because June and July are when it starts getting warm and sunny where I live, I don't want to be writing about the fucking Vikings anyway (and I'll be busy playing baseball and going to the beach.) So, expect posts to be sporadic during the June/July time period. Once August hits and the Vikings are playing exhibition games, we'll be back to full speed around here.

But I digress. If you've got any blog post ideas, float them my way.