Thursday, September 6, 2012


Welcome to the CABC Preview
Alright boys and girls, this is the big one.

Let's get started:
Please take a moment to get a general feel for the league before we dive in deeper for each team

Team Overviews:
 There are colors here, MMB, I promise.
Team Offense:
These QBs could make a team by themselves.
Team Defense:
Defense wins championships.

Everybody up to speed? Good.

Here are the details:

In addition to my normal points projections for each player and team, this year I conducted a 10,000 iteration Monte Carlo simulation of our season. Each player was assigned a base per game number (usually his average points scored), and then a random increase or decrease based on the player's variance from 2011. This captures the difference in performance between a guy like Wes Welker (steady as she goes) and a guy like Brandon Marshall (great games and no shows). So each of the games in our league were played 10,000 times and the results were recorded. For each team, the results of those simulations are in the bottom right hand corner.

We'll take a look at the league results a little later, but now, the teams:

1. Empire Business, BEN
All empires end.

Much like Walter White, his hero, BEN has engaged in some high-risk, high-reward behavior. Matthew Stafford is the ultimate in risk-reward. He could end up CABC MVP or he could be out half the year with a shoulder injury. With Rivers, McFadden, Jackson, Jackson, Austin, and Witten, BEN has announced to the league: "I am not playing for second place." These are all very high risk players.

The good news for BEN is that his team is deep at RB and WR. The bad news is that he plays a very tough schedule and he only has two QBs on his roster. Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Stewart could easily be flipped for a mid-level QB, but then this team would be sacrificing the match-up depth which makes it formidable.

It cannot be overstated that these projections do not fully capture long TD points. Stafford, Rivers, Jackson, and Austin are all home-run hitters. In the simulations BEN had a tendency to blow out opponents, but lose close games. Careful roster management will be required by BEN to repeat as champion.

2. Condomgate - A Headbutt Saga, ADL
In Romo we trust.
 Let it be noted that I will never forgive ADL if Matt Ryan has a monster 2012. Ryan is in a rare situation: he has two legitimate number one receivers, a real running game, and a sure-handed tight-end. I can't remember any guy so nicely set-up for a breakout season. ADL's other QB, Tony Romo, is a hero beyond question, but with the Cowboys (hopefully) improved defense and run game, he should see his numbers slip slightly in 2012.

At WR, ADL has a nice mix of proven veterans (Jennings, Colston) and exciting young players (Decker, T. Smith). RB is a potential problem area: both Fred Jackson and Michael Turner are on the wrong side of 30, and DeAngelo Williams and Reggie Bush are unknowns at this point. I actually love the Helu pickup in the 26th round. That late in the draft, why the hell not?

Defense is a problem for this team. It would appear that ADL decided to pick great names instead of great players. He'll need to use three or four free-agency pickups just to restore this unit to replacement-player level.

At first glance this team looks like trouble, but don't forget that ADL defied the projections last year and made the championship.

3. Mammals Of The One Percent, ARB
Why aren't we at home with our mammals watching vaseball?
Waaaaaaaa!!! ARB is first in his own rankings!  This isn't fair! I don't want to go to bed! I'm not tired!

Since these are the rankings I draft with, it seems pretty obvious that I'm going to do well according to them. Yet every year, everybody complains that I'm being overly generous to myself. I usually put the ESPN ranks up as a comparison, but ESPN decided not to put up defensive projections this year, so we're stuck with mine. Also, I'll point it out again: these projections had an r-squared of .876 for last year.

It pained me deeply to not land a QB or RB that I really wanted in the first round. McCoy and Eli will be good this year, but having an Eagle and a Giant as the cornerstones of my offense just feels gross. Other than that, I'm excited to land both Hernandez and Lloyd. I predict great things for both of them.

In the simulations, I had a lot of wins and low standard deviation. Again, these are using my projections, take a deep breath. You'll make it.

4. Eloquent Assholes, JBF
If RGIII ends up being good, we nuke Ashburn, VA from orbit. Only way to be sure.
There's no other way to say it: JBF is gonna be decent this year. Brees, Griffin, and Palmer are his QBs, Victor Cruz and A.J. Green are his WRs, Vernon Davis is his TE and Chris Johnson is his lead back. The only question mark on offense is his flex slot. Can Doug Martin break out? Can Ahmad Bradshaw be serviceable? Or does JBF lurk on the waiver wire and wait for an injury to a top back?

The Assholes' defense is built with stars and scrubs, but under-performers can be replaced by waiver pickups.

A solid team all around with a high mean win-projection and a high-variance. There is real downside-risk with Johnson, Cruz, and Griffin, but the chance that all three guys are busts is low. This team is middle-of-the-road at worst and will be in the hunt for the playoffs.

5. Password is Taco, MMB
Cam'ing, in more ways than one.
I honestly don't know what to make of this offense. Newton and Schaub, MJD and Frank Gore, White and Wallace. My love of the WRs has been well documented, but Newton has no comparables, MJD is hurt, Schaub is unreliable, and Gore gets inconsistent touches in a bad offense. Again, this offense is a mystery to me.

The defense is easier to understand: it's bad. Despite MMB loading up on defensive players, he failed to pick any serious play-makers. This is going to be a problem for two reasons: MMB will have to replace these players, and he'll have to use waivers to do so (the rest of the league is relatively devoid of backup-defensive players).

Using waiver picks on defensive replacements is never great, but it's especially bad when your team only has 2 QBs, 3 RBs, and 4 WRs. Any hiccups from the starters could leave this team in serious trouble down the stretch. I suggest that MMB trade for depth whenever possible and avoid frivolous waiver pick-ups.

It should come to no surprise that this team projects for an average number of wins, but with the league's highest standard deviation. The Championship and The Taintsman are both in play.

6. Mannings and Manatees, RSR
QBs? We don't need no stinking QBs.
RSR has the best pair of RBs in the league. He also has the league's best player. He also has an incredibly strong defense. He also has an elite TE, and good WRs.

Yay!!! Championship! Book it! ...Right?

Not so fast, RSR. CABC generally requires two decent QBs to make the playoffs. But hell, with backs like yours, you could make it easily with only one!

What's that? You don't have a single decent quarterback? Ohhhh...

With names like Freeman, Dalton, Bradford, and Sanchez, RSR has amassed a collection of mediocrity rarely seen outside of College Station.

All kidding aside, this is a very good team with absolutely no depth. If Rice or Peterson goes down, Stevan Ridley is next in line to take those snaps. Good luck with that.

7. Sam Hurd Criminal Master, GMF
Cell phones do not work that way.
 With Aaron Rogers and Jay Cutler bravely leading this team, GMF will be able to breath easy at the QB position. Every other offensive position comes with serious question marks.

Andre Johnson and Brandon Marshall are, without question, two of the league's most talented WRs. Sadly, Johnson can't stay healthy, and Marshall might be clinically insane. On the other hand, GMF's second tier WRs actually look fantastic. Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas both should be great in 2012. Brown was all-world in the second half of last season, and Thomas will now be catching balls from Peyton Manning instead of Tim Tebow. In the end, WR looks risky, but there are also things to be excited about.

There's nothing to be excited about at RB. In his infinite wisdom, GMF selected only three RBs: Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram, and Isaac Redman. I actually even like Richardson just because Cleveland is going to be so terrible that he'll get a lot of touches. Ingram and Redman are the other-side of that coin. It doesn't matter how great Ingram plays, the Saints are spreading the ball to nine different guys. Redman will share his carries, too; Mendenhall and Dwyer round out the Steelers' three-man backfield.

The defense looks to be middle of the road, but very consistent. That base of points could provide the foundation to wins if GMF gets big performances from his offense.

GMF projected to slightly below average wins on the quality of his RBs and the inconsistency of his WRs. His mean-wins projection had the second highest standard deviation in the league. This team will surprise people this year, but it's hard to know in what way.

8. Taters Gonna Tate, SKR
Physician, heal thyself
If a risk averse gentleman took a look at this team, I suspect his monocle would fall out and he might need a snifter of brandy to right himself.

The offensive core of Michael Vick, three WRs, and Jamaal Charles is just tough to feel good about. Forget for a moment that the WRs are Megatron, Julio Jones, and Percy Harvin. Michael Vick is a walking injury and refuses to slide. Jamaal Charles is returning from a season-ending knee injury. As for QB and RB depth (after the inevitable injury), this team has Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andrew Luck, Willis McGahee, Ben Tate, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Woof.

The bright side of this team is that WR is incredibly strong. Megatron is Megatron. Julio Jones is going to be one half of the most unrecoverable WR duo in the league. The Vikings will be down 20 points by half, so get used to seeing Harvin targeted for half the snaps in the second half.

And do you want to hear something crazy? Despite all the trouble on offense with depth and injury risk, this team projects to produce about an average number of points.

SKR can sure up the defense with a few strategic pickups along the way, and if his players stay healthy, he'll be right in the thick of the playoff race. If he were in the NFC, I'd even say he had a decent shot at the 1 seed. However, as we'll see in just a bit, the AFC is brutal this year.

Maybe shitty jewelry will be in style by next January?

Goddamn Dreamboat
My main criticism of this team is that it's a little Patriots' heavy. This team is going to live and die with Dreamboat, Gronk, and Welker. These would normally be great guys to bet your season on, but New England plays the 5th easiest schedule this season, including Arizona, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Miami. Brady & Co. will be up by 21 at halftime during these games and running draw plays to wind down the clock.

What if the Pats have a bye locked up by week 15? How devastating will it be to make the championship game only to have your star players sitting on the bench?

Just something to keep you up at night, RER.

Forte, Sproles, Flacco, and Nicks are all above average players who will round out this Pats-fest quite nicely. QB depth is adequate with Alex Smith and Blaine Gabbert on the bench. Blackmon, Garcon, K. Wright, and Lance Moore can all be effective in spot start duty. RB depth is a concern with only David Wilson on the bench. That position might need to be beefed up in the coming weeks. That being said, with any luck at all, RER will have the premier offensive unit in CABC.

The defense is below average, but a few waiver pickups will help that tremendously.

And just to add to the embarrassment of riches, this team plays in the NFC and is almost a lock to make the playoffs.

10. Happy Valley Slapping Sounds, SKC
I looked and beheld a Manning Horse, and his name who sat on him was SKC and redemption followed with him.
Listen to these names: Arian Foster, Peyton Manning, DeMarco Murray, Larry Fitzgerald, Dez Bryant, Ryan Mathews, and Antonio Gates. SKC has a very strong offense*. (*Assuming Peyton Manning's noodle arm is a clever ruse to throw off the competition.)

The starters look good, but depth is a very serious issue. Jack Locker is the only backup QB, Ryan Williams and Cedric Benson are the only RBs, and Crabtree, T. Young, Floyd, and A. Jeffery round out this island of misfit backups.

That's OK though, it's not like Foster, Manning, Murray, Fitzgerald, Bryant, Mathews, or Gates has ever had a problem with injury, right?

Trading for a QB should be this team's biggest goal right now, but assuming no injuries to key starters, this unit actually looks very strong.

Defense looks above average, and I think Gostkowski will light it up this year.

Overall, this is an above average team with serious downside risk. Godspeed, SKC.

Best and Worst Picks by Team

The Best:
TEs got no love this year
This isn't particularly surprising. After the elite TEs went off the board, most owners shrewdly decided to just grab a guy late. This resulted in tremendous value relative to the position these players were drafted. Christian Ponder, Roy Helu, Michael Bush, Nate Washington and Lance Moore are all players with obvious warts that provide either upside, depth or injury protection.

The Worst
All safeties are effectively the same and mathematically should go in rounds 27 and 28.
Safeties just don't provide great value. They're like TEs except there is no Gronk-equivalent. Still, there are roster spots to fill, and it's hard to leave holes open.

Sean Lee is a great player, but not a great fantasy player. ADL is drafting with his heart (his dick?) instead of his brain.

The three wide receivers and Dexter McCluster likely represent owners swinging for the fences. Nothing is certain in life, but McCluster, Blackmon, Robinson, and Jeffery are very unlikely to put up great numbers in 2012.

By Position
Fucking Marty B
This is mainly for fun, but it's interesting to look at where these players were drafted. The best and the worst values were taken just picks apart.

Playoff, Championship, and Taintsman Odds

AFC ain't nothin' to fuck with
Well, there they are. My best guess at the shape of the season from the data I have.

The AFC looks very strong this year, and the NFC looks to be very competitive. All five NFC teams made the playoffs with some regularity, with only RER separating himself as slight front-runner.

Some interesting little artifacts emerged from the simulation. For instance, GMF is the favorite to win the championship as long as he makes the playoffs, but he's also the NFC's most likely Taintsman. He wasn't the only player with a bi-modal distribution, but his was by far the most pronounced.

There are some other little peccadillos that I found, but I think I'm going to save those for later.  

Alright guys, that's it for now.

Let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to take a look at before Sunday and I'll give it a go.

State of the League, Power Rankings, and much more to come!

Please leave any and all comments, questions, or demands for additional analysis below.