Chris Wesseling

Offseason Low Down

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Offseason NFL Mailbag

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Welcome to Rotoworld's first Twitter mailbag. A recovering Luddite myself, it took awhile to warm up to our newest social media phenomenon. While I can sympathize with the sentiment that "nobody cares" about the mindless trivia of daily living, what Twitter does accomplish -- quite brilliantly -- is to merge clusters of people interested in similar topics, such as fantasy football.

It's transformed the nature of sports journalism, not just in breaking news instantaneously but also in tapping into a virtual army of participants sharing the same interests. For fantasy football leaguers, it's a godsend. Ask a beat writer, former scout, NFL insider, or fantasy "expert" for advice, and there's a good chance you will hear back within hours or even minutes. Make your voice heard in the latest NFL Draft speculation, track multiple fantasy sites, and even keep tabs on NFL players. You can't find a better way to gather information or pass along opinion than Twitter.

For those interested in starting a Twitter account, Razzball's Chet Gresham (@Chetrazzball) has a handy "Twitter 101 For Fantasy Football" guide to nudge the hesitant fantasy owner out of the nest. After you have "followed" the Rotoworld football team -- @ChrisWesseling, @evansilva, @greggrosenthal, @adamlevitan, @RotoPat, and @LJ_Rader -- you can peruse my lists. I've compiled 168 of the top NFL beat writers, 65 national NFL insiders, NFL team websites, and a smorgasbord of fantasy football, baseball, and general sports writers.

On to the mailbag.

I'm going to bundle these first four questions into one answer because multiple people asked about Jordy Nelson, James Starks, and Jerome Simpson.

Q: @cleanwillyb Most legit late season star: Jordy Nelson, Jerome Simpson, or James Starks?

Q: @RyFo18 Jordy Nelson at 7.05: Too high, low, or just right? Using Pro Football Focus ADP data.

Q: @jakeallen47 Dynasty: Jerome Simpson -- the next Aromashodu or something more?

Q: @Rubideaux1 Is James Starks a keeper league option? Which Packers back do you draft first?


A: Thanks to NFL.com's Game Rewind, I went back to watch the late-season tape for all three of these players. The short answer is that all three are legit as NFL starters. From a fantasy perspective, Simpson would be my choice as the most likely to carry over reliable weekly starter status in 2011.

Pro Football Focus' ADP data has Nelson going off the boards at 7.05 while Fantasy Football Calculator sets his ADP at 10.05. Most early offseason mocks are done by serious-minded fantasy owners, many of whom work in the fantasy business, which explains the high ADP for a breakout candidate. In other words, you won't see Nelson going off the board in the seventh round of your college buddies' league this summer. Back in early February, I ranked Nelson as a top-30 Dynasty receiver and my favorite offseason "buy." I'm sky-high on Donald Driver's natural successor, but mid-seventh round (WR33) is too high in redraft leagues with Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley as Aaron Rodgers' first reads, Donald Driver still in the picture, and James Jones possibly returning. FF Calculatror's mid-tenth round (WR44) ADP is a better target for Nelson.

The Simpson-Aromashodu comparison arises because it was at this time last year that Aromashodu was oft mentioned as a chic breakout candidate at wide receiver. Rotoworld was hyping Johnny Knox over Aromashodu because we didn't expect the latter to start for the Bears. Simpson, more talented with a much better pedigree than Aromashodu, is locked in as a Bengals starter in 2011 -- and quite possibly the No. 1 receiver. The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy is betting that Simpson will start opposite A.J. Green or Julio Jones with Jordan Shipley in the slot. Quarterback questions remain, but Simpson should be heavily targeted beginning in Week 1.

After watching all of James Starks' playoff runs, I tweeted earlier in the week that the "poor man's Adrian Peterson" talk coming out of Green Bay is loco. Starks runs hard, is tough to tackle, and has three-down ability, but the explosiveness is missing. Though he was a major upgrade on Brandon Jackson, I'm not confident he can outplay Ryan Grant. Long-term, his injury history and upright running style are concerns. Short-term, I would give the advantage to the veteran Grant as the lead back in a two-back system. Bottom line: At this point, I wouldn't consider Starks a viable keeper unless you play in a league that typically keeps more than two backs per owner.


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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