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Fantasy Check

Contract Year Motivation

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While the reward of a big payday often can be the single motivating factor for players in contract years, it's also a significant element to keep in mind for fantasy owners. At least that's conventional wisdom in the industry.

Shaun Alexander, for instance, was playing for a lucrative deal during 2005, and he got it after amassing 1,880 rushing yards and a then-NFL record 27 touchdowns. He also helped my fantasy team to a 15-0 season before his precipitous decline immediately thereafter became the bane of Alexander owners.

NFL.com's Michael Fabiano wrote on that fantasy angle the other day, and included on his list were three wide receivers who have had a variety of circumstances cloud their value this season: Braylon Edwards, Brandon Marshall and Terrell Owens.

The advice from experts is almost universal when it comes to those players. Get them in the middle rounds and hope the lure of a lucrative contract is enough to keep them in line throughout the season.

Other players like Ronnie Brown, Willie Parker and Vincent Jackson are a different story. Many fantasy experts, including those at Fanhouse, have elevated their value because they are free agents after this season.

But there are opinions to the contrary, most notably from the experts at FantasyFootballToolbox. In an article from 2007, FFT's Thomas Scott calculated three-year averages of free agents to-be and compared them to statistics during the final season of their contract.

The conclusion: "With very few exceptions, the idea that contract-year players outperform their three-year averages had no basis in fact last season."

So are you more inclined to draft a fantasy player who's in a contract year? Your comments are encouraged.

By Gene Wang  |  September 2, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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