Ask Zach: April 30 edition

Let’s try something new. I have three writing foci (focuses?) at the moment. I’m working on a manuscript called Pride of the Lions. I decided that instead of writing a novel set in a fictional 2011 season featuring a 12-team fantasy football league, I’d write a story set in the real 2011 season with an eight-team fantasy football league. Rewriting is the hardest kind of writing. Part two of my unpaid writing journey is the Bleacher Report. I got sucked into the draft coverage in a big way and posted four articles over the weekend. Last is my blog, and the key to it all is the Ask Your Fantasy Football Expert series. To say it’s been a blast would be to undersell.

Some weeks I get a great interview, like my last one with David Dodds. Some weeks, I strike out or merely forget to take the bat off my shoulder and ask. I decided to have Twitter ask me questions and see what kind of crazy queries I received. I’ll post the questions and the question-askers.

@tobypittman: Rank the titans receivers as 2012 fantasy prospects? (ppr & possibly including te & rookies)

Drafting a Tennessee Titan receiver used to be like putting up a sign that said “I don’t like winning”. Kenny Britt is going to be one of the toughest players to rank in 2012. He’s had insane games  and a lot of injuries. Remember his 7-225-3 line against the Eagles two years ago? He pulled his hamstring the following game. In terms of being fantasy useful, the only two players worth considering are Britt and Jared Cook. Cook averaged seven catches for more than 100 yards in the final three games of 2011. He had a similar hot streak at the end of 2010. Guys who are perpetual sleepers generally go the Jacoby Jones route and end up comatose. I’d take Cook as a high-end fantasy backup. If Britt’s a WR1 in your draft, let someone else take him.

Nate Washington will be useful only if Britt’s knee injury bothers him. Kendall Wright is an interesting dynasty prospect but won’t help you in a redraft. Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins are great picks if you want your league to laugh at you.

@jrnall2: If you had a pet midget, what would you name it? 

Jimmy, you are a silly man. I will post a video for you.

@PFF_ChadParsons: Forecast for CJ?

I’m going to be bullish on CJ?k. He was one of the worst fantasy disasters last year. A fantasy disaster in my opinion isn’t a guy who sucks every week. It’s a guy who has a track record, sucks most weeks, but once in a while pulls a good performance out of his keister. That was Chris Johnson last year. After destroying many a fantasy team last year, he’s still looking like a late first/early second kind of guy. I think he puts up 2010-like numbers. One easy piece of fantasy advice is to target guys who underperformed in touchdowns. CJ averaged more than 10 touchdowns his first three years and had four last year. That number should at least double.

@dexters_library: What kind of numbers will Jake Locker hang this year?

Mr. Parsons asked a similar question about Locker. People forget that while his numbers from 2011 are pretty on the surface (four tds/zero interceptions in limited time, along with one rushing TD), he came into games almost exclusively as the team was losing. His completion percentage barely topped 50% and oh yeah, the Titans lost every one of those games. If he’s the opening-day starter, I’m afraid he’s going to be somewhat overvalued as a fantasy asset. I know we all want the young guy with upside to start but I still believe that Hasselbeck wins the starting job, gets hurt during the brutal first month and Locker time begins then.

I’ll humor Mr. Dexter and say that if Locker starts all 16, he’ll put up about 3k passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and about 300 rushing yards with a couple of rushing scores. QB2 territory in fantasy and just enough potential to make Titan fans think that the number 10 will no longer be mud.

@FFRittle: What was one of your favorite interviews?

I will answer the question, after this reflection. I started my interview series because I didn’t want to write about fantasy football anymore, but I was fascinated by the people who did it. I’ve found the community to be very supportive. I’ve never had someone turn me down for an interview, although there have been a couple who have ignored my query. Good people, lots of fun, and as I found out in my Chicago meetup, they’re good folks in the flesh as well.

The interview that made me realize that fantasy folks were real people, approachable, and a lot cooler to know than to admire was Matt Waldman. He gave me the longest answers by far. I know that we could have a two-hour conversation without football coming up and it would be equally as fascinating. He’s analytical, works hard, and his wild side personna needs to come out more often.

@rocktop15: Is CJ worth a top 5 pick in 1 pt PPR redraft?

When he said CJ, I assumed Calvin Johnson, which is a hellz yeah top five selection in any format. If he’s talking Chris Johnson, I’d wait for the end of the first round in a 12-team league. I’m sorry, it’s my fault, I bought a Chris Johnson jersey after the 2009 season and he’s never been the same. There’s no other explanation to his backsliding. It’s just good science.

@Lloth (Bengals question)3rd rd pick DT Brandon Thompson a puzzler w/ Still already taken? Could have filled LB need w/ Lavonte David. Burfict ok?

The Bengals’ draft was filled with guys who went one to three rounds late. Domata Peko and Geno Atkins are solid starters at defensive tackle but there wasn’t much in the way of depth. The Giants have found a little success with rotating a bunch of guys on the DL and they keep drafting more. The Ravens and Steelers better watch out. The Bengals lose nothing but a pittance of a signing bonus if Burfict is the screwup that we’ve seen over the past few months. Upside is higher than you’ll usually get out of an undrafted guy.

@FFRittle: Football or sex?

Matt throws my most infamous question back in my face. Let’s put it this way. A lot of guys love football, but not all. All guys love sex. Maybe not Tom Cruise, but everyone else digs it. If you take either too seriously, you’re probably not enjoying it as much as you should.

I’m glad that in both cases, there really is no offseason.

That about covers it. I may make this a semi-regular feature. I will have an interview with Fantasy Douche late this week about his book Game Plan.

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