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Thread: Article on Conway

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm sitting here looking over the Preseason Guide that's due to come out this Friday, and I'm just blown away by the job our writers have done this year. William Del Pilar (KFFL's Fantasy Guru), Ryan Bonini (KFFL's Hot Off the Wire Senior Editor) and various of other KFFL contributors have poured hundreds and hundreds of man hours into the Preseason Guide in an attempt to bring you a product that will surpass all you're expectations. This year's Preseason Guide will have more in-depth defensive analysis and the most detailed individual player analysis that KFFL has ever released. If you loved last season's guide, you won't be disappointed with this year's product. Being the newbie, I can't praise this year's Preseason Guide enough. Players who use it will definitely have a leg up on all the competition.

    Today's article breaks down Curtis Conway's potential for the 2003 season. Signed by the NY Jets to help fill the void left by Laveranues Coles (signed in the off-season by the Washington Redskins), Conway will be expected to help carry a bulk of the receiving load. I see Conway having a solid season but I wouldn't expect No. 1 WR numbers from him. If Curtis Martin comes back 100 percent healthy this year, you can count on the Jets running the ball more then they did last year. You can also count on the Jets to look to get Santana Moss more involved in the offense this year. My predictions for Conway's stats in 2003 would be 55 receptions, 800 yards, and 5 touchdowns. I think you will be sorely let down if you have any higher expectations then that. Don't simply take my word on it, read Michael Decker's report and make your own assessments. If you enjoy reports like the ones written by Michael and want to read more, go to our KFFL subscription page, and see everything we have to offer.

    I'm pretty jazzed about the upcoming guide and we've already received quite a few emails asking about its release. William asked me to give you all a heads up, if you want a sneak peak into the Preseason Guide just read tomorrow's E-Wire and will be including snippets from KFFL's 2003 Preseason Draft Guide. Don't miss out on the chance to read the same material that's helped thousands of fantasy owners build a championship team.

    Enjoy today's article on Curtis Conway and we'll talk tomorrow.

    Andrew Langer
    Assistant Editor


    Curtis Conway, WR, New York Jets - July 8, 2003

    Curtis Conway could be a quiet steal for fantasy players this season. His age is a real concern, but he is a standout receiver who continues to put up solid numbers. Moving to New York gives him a much better QB situation and a team more dedicated to a balanced attack than in San Diego, where LaDainian Tomlinson accounted for 39.6 percent of the offense. If he stays healthy, Conway could flourish in New York as he concludes a solid, but not a spectacular career.

    However, the critics have come out en masse to attack the management of the New York Jets this season for what fans and observers perceive to be a poor job. Fans find it hard to believe that the older Conway will be asked to replace Laveranues Coles - now a Washington Redskin - one of the fastest-rising WR stars in the league. It seems that half the Jets' roster is now wearing burgundy and working inside the beltway for owner Dan Snyder and head coach Steve Spurrier.

    RB/KR Chad Morton, OG Randy Thomas, K John Hall and most importantly, Coles all landed in Washington, leaving considerable friction between the Washington and New York front offices. The Jets were certainly the losers and felt they had been raided beyond reason by a single team.

    Why should the fantasy player care whether the Jets' personnel chiefs had a hard luck run this off-season? The fact is if the Jets really did make mistakes in judging their own players needs and values, they might be similarly wrong in their assessment of talent on the open market.

    Table: Conway's recent history (San Diego Chargers)
    Year GAMES/STARTS Receptions Yards Avg TDS Rush Att
    2000 14/13 53 712 13.4 5 3
    2001 16/16 71 1125 15.8 5 7
    2002 13/13 57 852 14.9 5 7

    (1) Let's look at Conway's history. As is immediately apparent, based on past form, Conway is a consistent No. 3 fantasy wideout over the last three years as a whole but that's a bit deceiving. He's been a No. 1 or 2 fantasy receiver (depending on the size of the league) over the last two years with 6 and 8 TDs in those years. His yardage over the past few years are pretty solid overall based on where he falls in most fantasy rankings. In 2001, when he really needed an outstanding season to revive his career, Conway responded with a huge effort.

    On top of the 5 receiving TDS in each of the past two seasons, Conway had 1 rushing TD in 2001 and 2 rushing TDs in 2002. Before 2001 when the Chargers were unable to move the ball through the air and needed to use reverses to move the chains, Conway had never scored a rushing TD in his entire career. Coles, whom Conway is replacing at split end, rushed for a paltry 6 attempts for 39 yards and 0 TDs last season, 21 yards of it in the season finale against the Packers. The Jets did not have a single rushing TD from the wide receiver position last year.

    However, Coles was used 11 times to rush the ball so if the situation arises, look for Conway to be used in similar fashion. One note that should be stated, that offensive coordinator Paul Hackett has a more explosive open-field runner in the lightning-quick WR Santana Moss who runs a 4.3 forty. All things considered, Conway's running should not be counted on to boost his fantasy value when projecting his overall value. However, if it boils down to determining his value in an "everything else equal" situation on draft day, his potential rushes do give him an edge.

    (2) Can he make an easy transition from the Chargers to the Jets? Switching teams is a big step for any player. Veteran players may sometimes struggle to adapt to their new surroundings. In 2000 Conway moved from the Bears to the Chargers. He had a satisfactory season, not a great one: 53 receptions, 712 yards and 5 TDs while missing 2 games with hamstring problems. The 2000 season is a good yardstick by which to measure his 2003 campaign as he came into a pass happy complicated offense that normally takes time to learn which he was able to come in and adapt to rather quickly. Conway, with even more experience under his belt, should make a smoother transition into the Jets' lineup.

    (3) Is Conway bitten by the injury bug? Last season he again struggled with injuries (a bad shoulder), and this is a major concern for fantasy players grappling with the decision to take him. Overall, Conway has been a healthy receiver: he's started 123 of a possible 135 games. He is definitely not a fragile receiver, but at age 32, Conway is at the time of life where a lot of other dependable wide receivers faded fast - Tony Martin, Herman Moore and Jake Reed to name a few.

    In 2000 Conway missed time with chronic hamstring problems, but missed only two games. He is a tough player. His shoulder must be completely healed and his legs are apparently also no longer a concern. The best proof that Conway's healthy? The Jets ponied up a $1.2 million signing bonus. Guaranteed money is not often given to damaged players as the physical is a heavy factor in determining that health and rarely are they ever wrong. Yes, at times they can be, but rarely.

    (4) What is the outlook for Conway in light of what the Jets want to do on offense? The Jets remain a classic West Coast offense. Hackett, a first generation disciple of former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, the father of the West Coast system, loves to run the ball. In 2002 the Jets gained just 33 percent (1,552 yards) of their offense on the ground last year; this is an anomaly.

    The Jets had defensive problems, especially early in the season: in losing 3 of their first 4 games, the Jets did not have a single 100-yard rushing day. Their last 4 games, when they won 3 of 4, the offense had three 100 yard rushing games.

    In all, the first four games, the Jets ran 60 times and the final three games ran 75 times (the RB position). That averaged out to 15 rush attempts over the first four games vs. 25 rush attempts over the last three games.

    These games are probably more indicative of the Hackett West Coast offensive style: with Curtis Martin hampered by ankle problems the whole season and RB Lamont Jordan bothered by ankle troubles the last few weeks of the season, the Jets were limited somewhat in the running game. Further proof for the Jet's desire to run the ball is illustrated by the Jets' offensive production in 2001. That season, 2,054 of the Jets' total 4,772 yards (43 percent) were rushing.

    For fantasy players thinking about taking Jet's WRs, Hackett's predilection for the run is bad news. If the Martin-Jordan tandem remains healthy, expect the Jets' rushing totals to approach 2001's totals. Why? In addition to healthy backs, head coach Herman Edwards is overseeing the defense which is stronger this season with the addition of massive Kentucky DT Dewayne Robertson. The Jets traded two first-round picks to move up to No. 4 in this year's draft to select Robertson.

    What about wideout help? Beyond the starting set of Conway, speed-burner Moss and possession receiver Wayne Chrebet, the Jets really have nothing to offer: the depth chart is filled with castoffs from other teams and unproven free agents such as Kevin Swayne, Torry Woodbury and Jonathan Carter.

    The fact that Conway was the target of 104 plays and came up with 57 catches last year is more reflective of the Charger's QB Drew Brees' growing pains than anything else. The split end position got a lot of attention last season in New York: Coles was targeted 143 times and snared 89 passes good for 1,264 yards but only 5 TDs but was on the wrong end of many under and overthrown bombs when he was open.

    For Conway expect about the same level of production as 2002 in his new Big Apple home. Why? First, we mention QB Chad Pennington, who arguably at this point in his career is far superior to Brees as a QB, which points to potentially better numbers for Conway in 2002.

    Pennington vs. Brees 2002 Statistics
    Player TM G P-TD R-TD Yards Rsh Yds Comp Att Int Comp Pct Pass Rtg Rsh Att
    Pennington, Chad NYJ 15 22 2 3120 49 275 399 6 68.9 104.2 30
    Brees, Drew SD 16 17 1 3284 130 320 526 16 60.8 76.9 38

    However, this factor is negated by two items:

    First, the Jets certainly want to keep Chrebet and Moss involved in the offense (Chrebet played in 70 percent of the snaps last year) and have to get Moss (53 percent of the snaps) more involved. Moss is in his third year and could be ready for a breakout season. Both he and Chrebet will take opportunities away from Conway.

    Secondly, if the Martin-Jordan running tandem is healthy, Hackett will want to use them to establish a stronger running game more in line with 2001 numbers, as stressed above. Also, a healthy Martin will take pass receptions away as well (last season he caught 49 passes for 362 yards).

    The last consideration is how does the Jets' schedule affect what you do about Conway if you're considering him for your squad?

    Through the first few weeks of the season, Conway and his Jets face the Buffalo Bills (15), Houston Texans (18) and Philadelphia Eagles (7). Outside of Philadelphia, Conway will have the opportunity to get a quick start out of the gates this year.

    Also note how the defensive line situations are for each team, as that will better reflect a pass rush on Pennington.

    In Conway's three 100-yard performances in 2002 against the Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, the team's defenses vs. the WR position (receiving yards allowed) ranked 18, 30 and 19 respectively. However, there is no strong pattern for his worst days, though.

    Conway's bad days in 2002 were weeks 1, 7, and 10. In those games he compiled 113 yards receiving (combined) and 1 TD (39, 55 and 19 yards receiving respectively). In those contests Conway faced the Cincinnati Bengals (ranked 21 in yards allowed vs. the WR position), Oakland Raiders (24) and St. Louis Rams (9).

    History says that over the season, Conway is a good bet, but he may struggle early and that it is difficult to predict when he will have breakout games. In San Diego, a lot of that was due to poor play at the quarterback position. Pennington should greatly help his consistency. While Brees had an "ok" season, throwing for 3,284 yards and 17 TDs, Pennington was superior, with 20 TD tosses (against only 5 INTs) and 2,937 passing yards in only 14 games. What separates Pennington is his accuracy and decision making: note the 4:1 TD to INT ratio. He should be equally impressive in 2003, especially with the return of a strong running game.

    One worrying note: when he was putting up his best numbers in the second-half of the season last year, this is how Pennington fared against teams which would end the year in the top-12 vs. the QB (passing yards):

    Week Rnk vs. QB Opponent Yards TDS
    10 12 Miami Dolphins 167 0
    12 4 Buffalo Bills 178 1
    17 3 Green Bay Packers 196 4

    Obviously, the Green Bay Packers buck the trend, but recall that the Packers were playing pretty poorly at the end of last year and got knocked out of the playoffs at home vs. the Atlanta Falcons in round one.

    Given the fact that he is with a new team and given his past history, in which he has proved dependable, the best thing to do about Conway would be to keep a close eye on the Jets training camp and preseason.

    Does he stay healthy (this is more to do with age than past health)?
    Does he take the hits well on the shoulder that caused him to miss three games at the end of last season?
    Does he develop a good relationship with Pennington? Is he getting the looks from Pennington worthy of a No. 1 wideout?
    Also to watch out for: considering the fact that he is 32 years old, is he catching everything thrown his way, as a possession receiver must? Most importantly, does Chad Pennington feel comfortable with him as his No. 1 wide receiver?

    Finally, Conway may not get a great jump out of the gate as the early schedule looks murderous for the Jets. They don't face a bottom-10 (2002 rankings) pass defense until week 10 when they play the Raiders, who should have cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Phillip Buchanon healthy.

    Over the first 10 games, they face 6 of the top pass defenses of 2002. Overall, good play from the quarterback position should overcome most of this, assuming Pennington continues to progress.

    What can we project for Conway in his first season with the Jets? Given his past performance his season stats will likely look something like this:

    55-65 receptions, 855-905 receiving yards, 4-6 TDs
    Conway has always been a stable, dependable receiver who can be counted on for a good season. He has never had a 1,200 yard receiving season, never had more than 12 TDs and never even approached 100 catches. He does show up for work and brings veteran savvy, good speed and a measure of consistency: he has more than 700 yards, 50 catches and 5 TDs or more in four of his last five seasons. All things considered, Conway is a good bet to be a No. 2 fantasy wide receiver on your fantasy squad.

  2. #2
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Nice long analysis, makes my head spin. I still feel Conway is a solid addition, and will offset the loss of Coles, along with the expected increased production from Moss.

  3. #3
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Talk about OVERANALYZING.


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