“Words of Ingram”: Luck AND Ability – Andrew Luck Analysis
They say that “love” is the most feared four letter word to a man. You may find yourself saying, “Ryan, who exactly is they and why are you listening to them?” To which I respond, “I don’t know damn it, I’m just setting up my plot point.” You see, in the world of fantasy sports, there is another word that is spoken with fear, uncertainty and sometimes spite. This word has been the catalyst to a multitude of arguments, discussions and battles. Simply speaking this word will elicit a number of responses whether it’s spoken to someone with a winning record, or someone with a losing record. What is this word, this “it-which-must-not-be-said”? The word is none other than “Luck”. Why then, does such a simple word cause so much tension and generate so many diverse feelings and opinions? The definition of luck is as follows: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions. Following the above definition, why would all of fantasy sports not be determined by luck? We surely cannot control whether a player has success or not during a game. Nor can we control whether your star QB is injured during week 9 and lost for the season. By definition, success and/or failure in fantasy sports is completely out of our hands, thus its results are determined strictly by luck. Where is the debate? Why do people get so upset about luck, and what can we do to separate ourselves from those who are only lucky, and those who are truly exceptional players. Luck insinuates that you had no hand in your own success. While I agree that there is a high percentage of luck in fantasy football, it is by no means the end all barometer of your fantasy abilities. The simple fact is that we choose who is on our fantasy roster. The time that we put into our research and studying of understanding player profiles are what separate us from the “luck factor”. It is only through diligence that we are able to facilitate luck. Everything said above leads me to the real focal point of this column. Aside from discussing the luck factor, I want to also discuss a man whom I have finally turned the corner on; and that man is Andrew Luck. Andrew Luck was a bit of an enigma to me the year he entered into the NFL. I don’t follow much college football, a sin I know, but all avenues of fantasy sports were inundated with professionals proclaiming Andrew Luck to be the second coming of Peyton Manning. They stated that Luck was some sort of hybrid of Elway and Montana. Luck has been described as a perfect quarterback specimen as he combined arm strength, pass accuracy, heart, agility and instinct. For me, however, I wasn’t buying into the hype. I had been burnt too many times in recent years on believed the “next big thing” in football. I hadn’t seen a prototypical quarterback come out of college and make such an immediate impact on the fantasy world. I just couldn’t believe in the guy. This was the man who was going to replace Peyton Manning? It took my two years, but now I am 100% on board with Andrew Luck train. Why you may ask? Well allow me to explain. I’ll preface this by saying I don’t believe Andrew Luck is worthy of a first round pick, nor even possibly a second round pick. In fact, most experts are placing him as QB7 or QB8, but I am firmly in the camp of Mr. Luck being QB4 or even QB3. His rookie season was very solid, but the majority, myself included, focused on the negative side of his numbers. A 54.1% completion rate, 18 interceptions, 9 fumbles and also the often not discussed, 14 dropped interceptions. Andrew Luck, it seems, could soon find himself immortalized as an added verse in a remake of an Alanis Morrisette jam. His 2013 season produced even more favorable results, though he did see a decrease in total yards, down 550 from the previous season. Regardless of the decrease in yards, Luck saw a 6% increase in pass accuracy and 50% reduction in interceptions. Luck’s dropped interceptions also came down to 6. These improvements came despite OC Prep Hamilton stating his desire to run the ball on every down. The Colts very much believed in having a power running game, though their 21st overall rushing offensive ranking did not reflect those goals. To believe in Lucks future is to understand the offensive changes made by Pep Hamilton in late November. He recognized and abandoned the power running offense, and instead working primarily as a shotgun offense. The result was a boost in the success of the Colts offense. The plan going forward is to continue to be a more pass oriented team and allow Andrew Luck to take full control of this team. In 2012, he ranked 9th in fantasy points with 252, last year he finished 5th with 279 (these points taken from ESPN standard league scoring). The return of Reggie Wayne will allow TY Hilton to continue to develop and thrive; while adding Hakeem Nicks who always felt out-of-place in NY since the “star” emergence of Victor Cruz. Injuries also took a serious toll on the Colts who hope to rebuild and bolster their offensive line through the draft. Finally, the loss of Donald Brown is an issue, but not a devastating one. Trent Richardson should be able to do something in the running game, and Ahmad Bradshaw will be poised to put up solid numbers. I’m not saying that Andrew Luck should be taken in the first or second round; however it is my belief that Andrew Luck will sit comfortably as the 4th best fantasy quarterback, and could give a run for the #3 spot. A lot of this will depend on the regression of Peyton Manning. Yes, I said it. Here’s the thing folks, there is no chance Peyton Manning will have a repeat of last season. I don’t expect him to regress by huge steps, but I do believe that his numbers will come down noticeably. There is no data to support this, as he has been one of the most consistent QB’s of all time; however age is catching up to him and NFL defenses know what the Broncos offense will have going for it. A stronger case could be made for a decline in Aaron Rodgers numbers. His receiving core is incredibly injury prone, and he doesn’t have a strong presence at Tight End. The loss of Finley was a blessing in disguise for Rodgers, but offensive rookie MVP Eddie Lacy will truly be the one who cuts into the Aaron Rodgers workload. The Packers, for the first time in nearly a decade, will have a running threat. Teams will need to devote more time to stopping the run, which could open up the passing game, and the team has commented on wanting to be “more physical on the ground.” This doesn’t mean that Rodgers won’t have a successful season, it just means that there is fair reason to anticipate a decline in his numbers. People will still be selecting him higher than Andrew Luck in redraft leagues, and working off VBD continues to show the promise of Andrew Luck. We are all about value in the modern world, and these principles carry over and apply to fantasy sports. Regardless of your league format, you’ll always be looking to get the most for your “dollar”. When the time comes to start thinking about quarterback, look past the old and established names. They will go early, and during that time you’ll be bolstering your WR core (crazy deep) or grabbing another safe RB (not crazy deep). A strong majority of fantasy players will make decisions based on a list of rankings, but not you. Not the ones who put in the time to become a champion. Not the ones who understand Value Based Drafting. Not the ones who say, “NOT TODAY SIR!” I’m not sure how that last sentence applied but I felt pretty passionately about it. There are few things in life as gratifying as hoisting your championship trophy at the end of the season. If you listen to my words, the words of Ingram, the one holding the trophy shall be you! A big thank you to everyone who is taking the time to read the articles on this website. From myself and all the other authors, thank you. We appreciate the hits and even more so enjoy engaging in conversation with the readers. I encourage and implore you all to comment either on the main page, twitter or facebook. We want to know what you the reader think about our words. Good, bad or otherwise; exercise your voice!
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