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Offseason Extra: Winning percentage matters

Senior Fantasy Writer

There will be a lot of debate about taking Aaron Rodgers at No. 1 overall on Draft Day. He finished as the highest scorer in standard leagues in 2011 and it makes sense to take him with the top spot if you want a quarterback in Round 1.

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For you pro-Rodgers, pro-quarterback owners, this research is right up your alley. Rodgers finished as the No. 1 player based on win percentage in leagues at 59.8 percent. And he wasn't alone. There were three quarterbacks in the Top 12 overall with Drew Brees (57.4 percent) and Tom Brady (54.8).

This study is to show how players affected Fantasy leagues and not individual performance. It is based on the winning percentage for Fantasy owners of all players owned by 80 percent or more in leagues on, which came to about 150 players. Only paid leagues were considered with at least eight Fantasy teams or more. And the results produced some interesting highlights.

For example, of the Top 12 players drafted based on Average Draft Position -- Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Rodgers, Jamaal Charles, Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Andre Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Brady and Michael Turner -- only Rodgers, McCoy (57.6), Rice (56.8), Foster (55.6) and Brady (54.8) lived up to the billing. Rob Gronkowski (58 percent) presented the best value since he was the No. 2 most successful skill player yet he was drafted the latest at 107 overall.

To fully understand this study, you have to realize that the players with the highest win percentage were all part of rosters that were likely already successful, which accounted for their high total. Those owners who drafted well then made quality additions off the waiver wire, which is why players like C.J. Spiller (54.0), Toby Gerhart (53.9) and Victor Cruz (53.4) are all in the Top 20 of win percentage.

It's not like Spiller and Gerhart were better Fantasy options than Fred Jackson and Peterson, respectively, but they helped Fantasy owners more based on their late-season success. Cruz also was a player likely added to an already-solid team and his overall production just made that roster even better.

It might seem obvious that a good draft along with the right additions off the waiver wire is the key to winning in Fantasy Football. But you'd be surprised how many owners walk away on Draft Day saying they won or lost their league based on the picks they made.

As for the quarterbacks, the old-school owner who still prefers running backs first can use Matthew Stafford (55.6 percent) as his argument against taking Rodgers or another passer in Round 1. Stafford was the No. 11 quarterback drafted at No. 68 overall, but he still finished No. 9 in win percentage based on his amazing year in 2011.

Top 50 winning percentage

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers (59.8 percent)
2. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots (58.0 percent)
3. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles (57.6 percent)
4. Drew Brees, QB, Saints (57.4 percent)
5. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots (57.2 percent)
6. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints (57.0 percent)
7. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions (56.8 percent)
8. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens (56.8 percent)
9. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (55.6 percent)
10. Arian Foster, RB, Texans (55.6 percent)
11. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (54.8 percent)
12. Seahawks, DST (54.5 percent)
13. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers (54.2 percent)
14. C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills (54.0 percent)
15. Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings (53.9 percent)
16. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks (53.7 percent)
17. Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers (53.5 percent)
18. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants (53.4 percent)
19. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars (53.2 percent)
20. Laurent Robinson, WR, Cowboys (53.1 percent)
21. 49ers, DST (53.1 percent)
22. Titans, DST (53.0 percent)
23. Michael Bush, RB, Raiders (52.9 percent)
24. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers (52.9 percent)
25. David Akers, K, 49ers (52.8 percent)
26. John Kasay, K, Saints (52.8 percent)
27. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (52.5 percent)
28. Bengals, DST (52.5 percent)
29. Ravens, DST (52.4 percent)
30. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers (52.4 percent)
31. Marques Colston, WR, Saints (52.3 percent)
32. Donald Brown, RB, Colts (52.2 percent)
33. Broncos, DST (52.2 percent)
34. Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys (52.1 percent)
35. Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings (52.1 percent)
36. Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers (52.0 percent)
37. Texans, DST (52.0 percent)
38. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals (51.9 percent)
39. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins (51.8 percent)
40. Santana Moss, WR, Redskins (51.7 percent)
41. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants (51.7 percent)
42. Malcolm Floyd, WR, Chargers (51.6 percent)
43. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers (51.6 percent)
44. Matt Forte, RB, Bears (51.6 percent)
45. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants (51.6 percent)
46. Nick Novak, K, Chargers (51.5 percent)
47. Jabar Gaffney, WR, Redskins (51.4 percent)
48. Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins (51.3 percent)
49. Darren Sproles, RB, Saints (51.3 percent)
50. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals (51.2 percent)

Biggest surprise: Usually the best waiver-wire additions or late draft picks have the highest win percentage, so it's surprising that guys like Nelson, Lynch, Cruz, Newton and Sproles weren't more successful. But you could see which late-season additions made an impact with players like Spiller, Gerhart and Robinson having a good stretch run after being added to quality rosters.
Biggest disappointment: The No. 1 overall pick based on his ADP is not in the Top 50. Peterson's win percentage was just 50.8, and he was a tremendous letdown to a lot of owners this season. The same goes for guys like Chris Johnson (47.0), Philip Rivers (46.8), DeSean Jackson (46.7), Andre Johnson (45.7) and Michael Vick (43.3). But you didn't need win percentage to tell you those players struggled in 2011.
Looking ahead to 2012: There is a lot of value in taking a quarterback in the first round since Rodgers, Brees and Brady lived up their billing as top picks. You know they will play 16 games, and they should continue to post outstanding stats. It also might be worth your while to draft Gronkowski and Graham with early-round picks because they have the chance to play at a high level, and an elite tight end clearly is a difference maker in all leagues.

Top 12 quarterbacks

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1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (59.8 percent)
2. Drew Brees, Saints (57.4 percent)
3. Matthew Stafford, Lions (55.6 percent)
4. Tom Brady, Patriots (54.8 percent)
5. Cam Newton, Panthers (52.5 percent)
6. Tony Romo, Cowboys (51.2 percent)
7. Eli Manning, Giants (51.1 percent)
8. Tim Tebow, Broncos (50.3 percent)
9. Andy Dalton, Bengals (50.0 percent)
10. Matt Ryan, Falcons (49.2 percent)
11. Alex Smith, 49ers (48.8 percent)
12. Carson Palmer, Raiders (48.6 percent)

Biggest surprise: I would have expected Ryan to be higher on the list based on how he finished the season. But the owner who drafted Ryan struggled early, and he was only started in more than 75 percent of leagues once from Week 2 to Week 9. But he finished strong even though his win percentage didn't reflect that.
Biggest disappointment: The names missing from this list illustrates the struggles of many of the top-tier quarterbacks. Vick, Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger (47.2), Josh Freeman (46.4) and Matt Schaub, who didn't even make the Top 150 of win percentage, all had losing records for Fantasy owners. They all had down seasons due to injuries or inconsistent play, and all five need to play better in 2012 to help Fantasy owners be more successful.
Looking ahead to 2012: If you draft a good quarterback it is still in your best interest to have a quality backup, even for trade bait. Tebow, Dalton, Smith and Palmer were not drafted in the majority of leagues, but they still helped owners more than Vick, Freeman, Rivers, Schaub and Roethlisberger. Again, it's all a matter of the team around them, but having a good backup quarterback can still help your Fantasy squad.

Top 12 running backs

1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles (57.6 percent)
2. Ray Rice, Ravens (56.8 percent)
3. Arian Foster, Texans (55.6 percent)
4. C.J. Spiller, Bills (54 percent)
5. Toby Gerhart, Vikings (53.9 percent)
6. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (53.7 percent)
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (53.1 percent)
8. Michael Bush, Raiders (52.9 percent)
9. Ryan Mathews, Chargers (52.4 percent)
10. Donald Brown, Colts (52.2 percent)
11. Matt Forte, Bears (51.6 percent)
12. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (51.6 percent)

Biggest surprise: Bush wasn't expected to be a starting option for many Fantasy owners, but he proved to be an excellent replacement for the injured Darren McFadden. The same goes for Spiller and Gerhart, but they came on at the end of the season. Brown also turned out to be a good flex option or No. 2 running back as he played a lot for the injured Joseph Addai. If you don't draft running backs early you can still find quality options by playing the waiver wire, which is proven here.
Biggest disappointment: Like the quarterbacks, there are many high-profile players missing with Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall (47.0), Peyton Hillis (47.5), LeGarrette Blount (47.8) and Frank Gore (49.0) all finishing with losing records. Reggie Bush (51.3) and Kevin Smith (49.4) were also surprises that they didn't finish with a better percentage given that Bush was drafted in Round 7 or later in most leagues, and Smith was a late waiver wire gem.
Looking ahead to 2012: The Top 3 running backs in win percentage this season should be the Top 3 players drafted in most leagues. Even though someone will take Rodgers with one of those picks, you still have a better chance of building a quality roster with McCoy and Stafford (average of 56.6 percent win percentage) with your first two picks then taking Rodgers and Gore (average of 54.4).

Top 12 wide receivers

1. Wes Welker, Patriots (57.2 percent)
2. Calvin Johnson, Lions (56.8 percent)
3. Jordy Nelson, Packers (54.2 percent)
4. Mike Wallace, Steelers (53.5 percent)
5. Victor Cruz, Giants (53.4 percent)
6. Laurent Robinson, Cowboys (53.1 percent)
7. Steve Smith, Panthers (52.9 percent)
8. Marques Colston, Saints (52.3 percent)
9. Percy Harvin, Vikings (52.1 percent)
10. Vincent Jackson, Chargers (52.0 percent)
11. A.J. Green, Bengals (51.8 percent)
12. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins (51.7 percent)

Biggest surprise: Nelson and Cruz were two of the best waiver wire additions this season, and Robinson came on late to help many Fantasy owners. They are great examples for owners who are against drafting receivers early. Even in 2010, the No. 1 receiver in standard leagues was another free agent in Brandon Lloyd. But still, you can see that taking Johnson as the No. 1 receiver worked out well as he finished No. 2 in win percentage at his position.
Biggest disappointment: Roddy White (50.7), like Ryan, got off to a slow start, which hurt his overall production. Andre Johnson's injury also ruined his year, and Reggie Wayne (47.0) suffered with Peyton Manning out all season. DeSean Jackson might have been the biggest disappointment since he let his contract situation impact his performance, and Fantasy owners who continued to start him likely suffered the most.
Looking ahead to 2012: Nelson and Cruz have played their way into being drafted as Top 10 receivers. They have elite quarterbacks, and their roles should only continue to expand in tremendous passing offenses. Green also has proven to be a standout Fantasy receiver even though he was just a rookie in 2011.

Top 12 tight ends

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (58.0 percent)
2. Jimmy Graham, Saints (57.0 percent)
3. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots (51.1 percent)
4. Jason Witten, Cowboys (51.0 percent)
5. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons (51.0 percent)
6. Brent Celek, Eagles (50.7 percent)
7. Antonio Gates, Chargers (50.1 percent)
8. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (49.9 percent)
9. Jermichael Finley, Packers (49.7 percent)
10. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions (49.3 percent)
11. Dustin Keller, Jets (48.7 percent)
12. Kellen Winslow, Bucs (48.4 percent)

Biggest surprise: Graham in Round 8, Gronkowski in Round 9 and Hernandez in Round 11 presented some of the best value on Draft Day at any position since they were the Top 3 tight ends in Fantasy production as well as win percentage. Gates was still helpful despite dealing with injuries most of the year, and Witten was also successful even though he struggled. Gonzalez continues to defy age by producing at a high level despite turning 36 in 2012.
Biggest disappointment: Fantasy owners watching the NFL playoffs had to be throwing things watching Vernon Davis play at an elite level after struggling during the year. He had four touchdowns against the Saints and Giants but finished with a win percentage near the bottom at 48.2. Davis should rebound in 2012, but he left a lot of production on the field until the postseason.
Looking ahead to 2012: The biggest decision facing Fantasy owners, especially early in Round 2, is when to draft Gronkowski. If you take him early and he continues to perform at a high level (he has 28 touchdowns through two seasons) then he will pay off in a big way. But if he struggles and another tight end emerges late (Gresham is a great candidate, as is Jared Cook) then you could ruin your team. We think Gronkowski is worth the risk based on how he's done so far in his career.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Chip Kelly: Eagles weren't close to trading for Dolphins' Dion Jordan
by Shawn Krest |
(5/2/2015) The Eagles were rumored to be making an offer to the Dolphins for defensive end Dion Jordan , but coach Chip Kelly denied that a deal was ever close to completion. 

"We weren't close at all to any deal or trade or player talk in terms of dealing with Dion," Kelly said, per

Kelly confirmed that Jordan's name came up in trade talks with Miami but brushed off the significance. "If you guys know how much organizations talk about trading players, it's every day," he said.  

Jordan played for Kelly in college at Oregon and is suspended for the entire 2015 season after a third violation of the league's drug policy. 

Steelers linebacker James Harrison to see less snaps in 2015
by Brandon Wise |
(5/2/2015) Steelers veteran linebacker James Harrison is expected to see less snaps in 2015, according to linebackers coach Joey Porter per the Pittsburgh Tribune.

"He knows where he is," Porter said shortly after the Steelers drafted Miami (Fla.) outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo on the final day of the NFL Draft. "I told him already, the James Harrison (of before) is over.

"He's going to play his role, and his role is going to be effective. He knows what we're asking out of him, and he's going to be ready to answer the bell."

Porter said he expects Harrison to play roughly 25 snaps per game next season. Pittsburgh took another outside linebacker in Bud Dupree from Kentucky in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

"You can never have enough pass rushers in the way the game is being played now from the outside linebacker position," Porter said. "We just made our outside linebacker tree a little deeper."

Chip Kelly: No trade offers for Eagles' Evan Mathis
by Shawn Krest |
(5/2/2015) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said that the team hasn't received any offers for disgruntled offensive lineman Evan Mathis in the last two years. 

Kelly confirmed that the team gave Mathis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, permission to seek a trade, per

"That's through his agent and him," Kelly said on Saturday. "They've asked if he could renegotiate a contract and see what he could get, and we've obliged him with that, but we've never had an offer." 

Kelly said he didn't know if Mathis would be back with the Eagles next season. "That's a question for Evan," he said.

Raiders have 'open competition' between Jon Feliciano, Khalif Barnes
by Shawn Krest |
(5/2/2015) The Raiders drafted Miami guard Jon Feliciano in the fourth round, and offensive line coach Mike Tice has him slated for right guard. 

Feliciano will need to beat out veteran Khalif Barnes to win the job. 

"Right guard and right tackle is an open competition,"  Tice said, per CSN Bay Area. "We’re pretty set on the left and in the middle, and hopefully those guys can maintain their growth. We pointed out some things they can get better at, but the right side is where the competition is."

The candidates for right tackle are Menelik Watson and Austin Howard

"All you want coming in is an opportunity to compete and get better," Feliciano said. "We have that there at the Raiders, and I know everyone is going to go in there and compete. That’s going to be awesome."

Giants' Landon Collins not worried about replacing Antrel Rolle
by Shawn Krest |
(5/2/2015) The Giants made safety Landon Collins their pick in the second round of the draft, trading up to get him. That likely means that the Alabama product will get the chance to replace Antrel Rolle, who signed with Chicago as a free agent. 

Collins thinks he's up to the challenge. 

"Starting at Dutchtown [high school], I came in right after Eric Reid," Collins said, per "Then going to Alabama I came in after Mark Barron, Ha Ha Clinton Dix, and Vinnie Sunseri, plenty of big shoes to fill. Stepping into Antrel Rolle's shoes, I'm gonna definitely fill those too and keep it on going."

Eagles' Eric Rowe plans to start, 'it's not like I'm behind Revis'
by Shawn Krest |
(5/2/2015) Eagles second-round draft pick Eric Rowe met the media, and the defensive back from Utah sounded confident he'll be able to start immediately. 

"It is a really good opportunity for me to come in and play right away," Rowe said Saturday , per "I'm kind of fortunate that it's not a situation that I'm behind [Darrell] Revis." 

Rowe could play corner or sfaety. He doesn't have a preference. 

"I hope that wherever they place me that that's where I stay the whole season," he said. "Just so I can focus on it. If it happens that I need to switch out of necessity, I'll happily do it."

Disgruntled RB Zac Stacy shipped from Rams to Jets
by Marty Gitlin |
(5/2/2015) Disenchanted running back Zac Stacy has been traded from the Rams to the Jets, a source has told ESPN. Details have yet to be revealed, though the return on the deal is considered to be minimal.

The last straw for Stacy was the first-round draft of Todd Gurley. Stacy had fallen behind Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on the depth chart a year ago. After starting 12 games and rushing for 973 yards in 2013, he started five games and rushed for 293 yards last season.

The Jets have struggled to find a featured back in recent years. Chris Ivory led the team with 821 yards in 2014.

Pete Carroll says Seahawks aren't trading Bruce Irvin
by Shawn Krest |
(5/2/2015) Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the draft, but coach Pete Carroll put them to rest. 

"Bruce has done a great job for us," Carroll told ESPN. "We love him and we want him to be here. Somebody started that rumor about us wanting to trade him. That's not what's going on."

Carroll also denied that the Seahawks' second-round pick, pass rusher Frank Clark , had anything to do with the possibility of being without Irvin. 

Report: Jets show interest in disgruntled Rams RB Zac Stacy
by Igor Mello |
(5/2/2015) The Jets have inquired about disgruntled Rams running back Zac Stacy, but have yet to make a formal trade offer, the New York Daily News reports.

Stacy fell behind Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham last season, and when the Rams selected Todd Gurley in first round of the draft, he made a public demand to leave St. Louis via trade and release. Stacy met with the Rams on Friday.

Stacy rushed for 973 yards and seven touchdowns on 250 carries in his rookie season in 2013 but managed just 293 yards and one touchdown on 76 carries last season while making just five starts.

Jets acquire WR DeVier Posey from the Texans
by Igor Mello |
(5/2/2015) The Texans traded wide receiver DeVier Posey, a third-round pick (No. 82 overall), fifth-round pick (No. 152 overall) and a seventh-round pick (No. 229 overall) to the Jets in exchange for a third-round pick (No. 70 overall) on Friday.

Posey was taken in the third round (68th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Texans and racked up only 22 catches for 272 yards and no touchdowns in his three-year run with Houston.