We are probably doing our FFL draft this weekend (early, yes, but that's what schedules seem to permit). I have the first pick in the draft (10 team league, serpentine draft order). I'm leaning strongly towards taking Manning. ESPN reports that in all of its leagues last year, 42.9% of the winning teams in its leagues had either Manning or Culpepper. My intuition is that even though Tomlinson seems to be thought to be the consensus number 1, the drop-off from Manning and Culpepper is so large compared to the drop-off from Tomlinson to about 12 other RB's, that it is worth burning the number 1 pick on Manning.
Last year my draft didn't turn out so great--I drafted Portis, Barlow, Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, Jeremy Shockey, and David Boston with 6 of my first 7 picks (I also got Favre and Walker later, but that didn't help much). I don't recommend having your wide receiver corps completely decimated by halftime of the first week of the season. Anyway, Manning's consistency is looking pretty attractive right now too--and I'm a bit sour on the "stud RB's theory" as you might guess after "building" my team around Portis and Barlow last year.
Given that we have the smartest Comment board in town, I'll also ask if anyone has any sleeper recommendations. Also, does anyone know if Tatum Bell been given the starting job in Denver?
Also, congratulations to John Charles Bradbury, a GMU Economics PhD from a few years ago who now teaches at Sewanee (I served as the outside reader on his dissertation committee--a cool dissertation on bicameralism). More importantly, however, he makes an appearance in ESPN's Fantasy Football preview magazine as one of ther "Wise Guys," who are guys who provide advice in the issue on how to use statistics to draft more effectively. His advice: "When in doubt, default to facts, not premonitions" and gut feelings.
Wish I had read that last year before drafting Barlow in the second round...