on July 14, 2009
Mr. Hendricks should be commended for the effort that went in to this publication, but a whole lot more work was needed to make it ready for the public. There are two consistent flaws -- a lack of valuable content, and a presentation that would have been called embarrassingly amateurish ten years ago, and in this day and age simply defies description.
It begins with his summary of last year's sleeper/breakout/bust predictions. He pats himself on the back for correctly predicting breakout seasons for Ronnie Brown, Bernard Berrian, and Jason Elam. Well, Brown hit a career low in yds/game, and had a lower td/game than the previous (injury shortened) season. Bernard Berrian increased his totals by a whopping 13 yards and 2 touchdowns, while seeeing a 1/3 decrease in receptions. So, in most PPR leagues, Berrian had two more points than the previous year. Not exactly the standard definition of "breakout". Similarly for Elam, what would be a "breakout" season for a kicker who kicked 27 field goals the previous year, and who has kicked 30 or more field goals three times previously? I don't know that anybody would consider his 29 FGs to be a "breakout".
He also pats himself on the back for calling Tom Brady a "bust". Most people consider a "bust" to be somebody who actually plays a little ball and stinks out the joint. Everybody predicted Brady (like Manning, Marino, and Warner before him) would have a significant drop in touchdowns in '08, so unless he predicted an early season-ending injury for Brady, I don't know that congratulations are in order.
Then there are his predictions for next year. Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but would anybody consider a 1,000 receiver entering his prime (Vincent Jackson) to be a "sleeper"? How about a 1,000 rusher (Derrick Ward)? Or, how about a QB (Kyle Orton) who threw for 2970 yards and 18 TDs in 15 games in receiverless Chicago, who now moves to Denver and its two 1,000 yard receivers? Maybe he'll stink, maybe he'll star, but in no way is Orton a "sleeper".
Then there are his predictions for team-by-team results for 2009. Again, it's hard to fault someone for an opinion. I won't even fault him for his prediction that no team will win fewer than five games, even though it's never happened in the history of the 16, 15, or 14 game schedule (in the last group, one or more teams always finished with no more than 2 wins, so 5 in 16 would have been impossible). After all, there's an old saying that there's no such thing as a 2-14 team. There are only 4-12 teams that get unlucky. Sometimes REALLY unlucky.
What I can fault him for is that when 32 teams play 16 games, all against each other, you won't end up with 257 total wins.
As for the format, it's extremely poor. Throughout the charts and tables, there is (within the same table) a mixture of fonts, sizes, sometimes bold, mostly not. There are innumerable spelling mistakes. Some players have first names, others just have first initials. Then some apparently have joined the ranks of single name celebrities -- Prince, Madonna, Delhomme....
He reprints the league's schedules -- both by team, and by week... and takes TWENTY SIX PAGES. Most resources take one for each.
There's a large statistical section at the end, but it appears they have all simply been copied from a football website and reprinted, without any kind of credit or attribution. I say this because in most of those charts, the players' names are underlined, as are the team initials, but nothing else. The underlining strongly suggests a hyperlink. In addition, in those charts, there is complete consistency of font and naming style, full first and last name, or initials if that's how the player is commonly referred to. In charts that were generated by Hendricks, such as "Kicker Rankings 20099 (sic)", Jay Feely is just "Feely", John Kasay is just "J Kasay", while "Nate Kaeding" is fully spelled out, though it's a longer name than either of the others.
One could probably track down the precise website, based on the team initials used. Not too many sites use exclusively three letter initials for all teams -- NWE instead of NE, SFO instead of SF, for example. His tables use JAC for the Jaguars, most sites use JAX, so there's probably only one or two that fit that profile.
There is one table of the book that's of some interest -- he has a chart that shows the week-by-week defensive ranking of each team's opponents, with weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs) in bold. Defensive rankings tend to be widely inconsistent from year to year. Weather, however, isn't. All things considered I'd rather have players from a team playing the #15 defence indoors on the road than players at home in Chicago or Buffalo or New York playing the #20 ranked defence.
In any event, there's certainly some potential here. More text, fewer tables, and more in-depth analysis, combined with a more professional presentation might well justify the $12.95 price tag. But as is, you're better off with any of the fantasy magazines out there.