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The Fantasy Village
Fantasy Village (Sept. 1)

The first week in September is arguably the most exciting time for fantasy sports writers. The culmination of the fantasy baseball season begins, as fantasy playoffs are in full swing and last minute waiver wire suggestions can make or break our audiences’ chances at winning their leagues. It also marks the birth of the fantasy football season; hours of preparation, analysis and predictions are put to the test for the first time. September is a fresh start for many of us, a chance to let our creative juices flow, for others it’s one last chance to flex our muscles before the winter comes. Next month, we will be retreating to our dwellings, foraging for trends, sabermetric data and possible sleepers as we prepare for the spring.

ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft has done a remarkable job scouring fantasy football data, fulfilling his search for consistent fantasy football players week-in and week-out. His system compiles three years worth of fantasy football data, fantasy points—determined by ESPN's standard scoring-- and rated players by position into charts. He also incorporates a player’s total fantasy points compared to the defense they face. For example, Michael Vick dropped 49 fantasy points on the Washington Redskins in Week 10 of last season, and the Redskins' defense allowed 16.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks; Vick therefore earned a plus-32 for that particular week. After crunching the numbers, Cockcroft believes that Josh Freeman is remarkably consistent and does not deserve the “matchup against weak pass defense” tag; others are quick to give him. An updated list will be published at ESPN.com every week as Cockcroft tries to unearth 2011’s most consistent fantasy football player at every position.

Unlike Cockcroft, RotoExperts’ Jake Ciely believes that you can forecast to some extent, a breakout player every week. Ciely doesn’t disagree with the concept of consistency, but nothing turns a fantasy owner’s stomach more than watching one of his bench players reel-off a monster game and not starting him. To avoid stockpiling on Mylanta and Tums, each week Ciely will compile a list of teams ranked from the least points allowed to the most per position (QB, RB, WR and TE). In addition, he will highlight the Top and Bottom Five, as they will present the most significant impact to weekly performance. Understanding a team’s defensive flaws is essential to determining a player’s worth for the upcoming week. Which is why Ciely is touting Eli Manning as a must start in his week 1 matchup against the Redskins.

FootballDiehards.com’s Bob Harris is breaking down all 32 NFL teams in his latest column: Week 1 Team Notes. Forget the obvious -- should Darren McFadden be a top tier running back?—or the recently hyped – is Beanie Wells a breakout running back in 2011?—Harris is answering the tough questions that usually go unanswered—can Fred Davis make a fantasy impact in week 1? Harris does a great job utilizing primary sources throughout his notes, whether it is a quote from Tampa Bay’s head coach Raheem Morris or an excerpt from the Tacoma News Tribune. Harris’ column delivers a plethora of analysis, facts and opinions; all carefully woven together to produce a tapestry of fantasy football insight.

Fantasy Shark’s Gary Davenport tackles the black art of IDP analysis for week 1 of the NFL Schedule. Davenport not only gives his readers a start em’ and sit em’ list, he also provides them with an up-to-date injury report with analysis.

Yahoo! Sports’ Brad Evans has decided to develop his “All Man-Crush “team for 2011, paying homage to the inappropriate feelings he has harbored for gridiron studs in years past. This season’s list welcomes new-comers Peyton Hillis and Kevin Kolb. Evans is excited to watch the Larry Fitzgerald and Kolb connection take flight this season for their fantasy owners. It’s no surprise Hillis made Evans’ list, especially after the Cleveland running back spent the off-season pulling fire trucks and ATVs on his back. Hillis is hoping to prove that his late season collapse last season could easily be fixed by some good old conditioning. He is a physical specimen, appealing to the eyes, especially to those who like their running backs big, bad and bruising, as Evans does.

Yahoo! Sports’ Scott Pianowski is giving his readers some last minute advice before they head into their fantasy baseball playoffs. Looking for a closer to sure up your bullpen? Pianowski recommends St. Louis’ newest closer, Jason Motte. However, if grabbing high-profiled players off the disabled list is your modus operandi, Pianowski has that covered in his “Speed Round” column; breaking down each player’s injury and their value for the rest of the season. One player Pianowski is staying away from for the remainder of the year is the Twins’ starting pitcher Francisco Liriano, especially with his current shoulder injury.

Razzball’s Grey Albright has put together another interesting fantasy baseball column, giving his readers a last minute run-down on who’s hot and who’s not in the fantasy world. For the first time this year, Alex Rios emerges as a viable option for fantasy owners, much to the dismay of Albright, and Scott Sizemore emerges as a sleeper for 2012. Razzball does a great job once again combining fact with cutting edge humor to provide its readers with unique, entertaining and useful information, just in time for the fantasy playoffs.

Fantasy Shark’s Gary Davenport tackles the black art of IDP analysis for week 1 of the NFL Schedule. Davenport not only gives his readers a start em’ and sit em’ list, he also provides them with an up-to-date injury report with analysis.

RotoWorld’s D.J Short has put together an impressive slide show, detailing possible waiver wire pickups for the remainder of the fantasy baseball season. Each of the 19 featured player profiles are delivered to the reader with a high resolution picture and Short’s personal analysis. It is an aesthetically perfect feature that provides useful substance and analysis for players trying to win their fantasy leagues.

Jonathan Leshanski from athomeplate.com has decided to spend this week featuring the Rockies’ blossoming outfielder, Dexter Fowler. Moving forward, Leshanski believes Fowler could be a sleeper for next season, as he is currently setting career highs in all major offensive categories this year, except for steals.