Since the last fantasy piece comparing relative values of some rookies and some veterans changing scenery seemed to be popular, I thought I’d share some more ideas.
1) Last year’s studs rarely are this year’s studs – Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing. This season, he’s holding out…possibly even into the season. Hardly first-round material unless it’s resolved fast. Adrian Peterson is coming off an ACL tear in week 17. While he’s vastly ahead of schedule in his recovery, will he be the same player in week one as he was last season’s week one?
2) Even the best QBs rarely repeat a particularly good year – but the elite ones will always deliver. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, even Cam Newton should all be high-scoring fantasy players worthy of round one picks. What I’m talking about is don’t expect Matt Stafford to repeat his breakout year, although he should still be a top-ten fantasy QB. Just don’t expect quite the same big numbers in consecutive seasons from anyone…there always seems to be some variance.
3) Don’t even BOTHER drafting a kicker…from one season to another, kickers’ FP output seems random. Last year’s top kicker is rarely this year’s one, and with kickers the swings are even wilder than other positions. Instead, use that last spot to draft a sleeper. You can ALWAYS pick up a kicker off waivers just before the first game and you’ll have that last guy on the bench. Someone will eventually need to go but more often than not, it’s someone OTHER THAN the last guy you drafted. Unless there are 2 active kicker spots, in which case it’s a good idea to grab both – just do the math for your league. If there are more kicker spots open than teams in the NFL, you’ll have an advantage over those that didn’t get two. Depends on your league’s setup and rules
4) Don’t bother drafting Mike Shanahan-coached running backs. Nothing against Mike, but he uses running backs like paper towels…uses them, throws them aside when a cleaner one is ready. After Terrell Davis, he’s gone through lots and throw a dart to figure out who winds up the better fantasy player. Best just to avoid them all.
5) If you don’t get a top-6 or so QB, wait a few rounds and draft a second-tier guy. He’ll do better than you might think – after Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Rodgers, Newton, and possibly Phillip Rivers and the Manning brothers and Stafford, lots of teams have second-tier QBs that often score nearly as many FP as the big guys, or the difference isn’t worth picking them 4 or 5 picks higher. I’d take a Big Ben in round 6 or a Matt Ryan in round 5. Don’t neglect sleeper QBs either, like Chad Henne due to circumstance or a T.J. Yates in case Matt Schaub gets injured again, you just hit the jackpot. Trade bait if nothing else…but don’t count on trading to improve your team because guess what: ALL FANTASY OWNERS ALWAYS OVERVALUE ALL THEIR PLAYERS.
5a) Same for Tight Ends. The Elite ones will go in rounds 2-4, then there’s generally a bit of a lull before the “others” go – simply because of the perceived difference in numbers. Sure, it might be a good idea to get a Gronk in round 2, but again, he’s got a very high bar to reach again, and are a difference of 500 yards and 5 TDs really worth a 2nd round pick, where a 7th round pick could get you a Brandon Pettigrew? Maybe, maybe not.
6) This may be the most overlooked AND most important thing of all – READ THE LEAGUE RULES. Compare what QBs, RBs, WRs get for the same yardage gained, and how many FP for a TD. Usually it’s 4 for QBs, 6 for RBs and WRs. I won two leagues in two different seasons because I had noticed they had 2 QB spots and a hybrid QB/WR/RB spot. So my first 5 picks were QB, QB, WR, QB, RB. I picked up DeMarco Murray midway through the year and his big second half carried me to a championship, so you’ve gotta stay alert for the waiver wire. Sometimes others will waive players they have, not knowing they’re about to see a huge uptick in action. Keep an eye on that.
7) Keep in mind some players 2nd or 3rd on the depth chart that may be playing behind injury-prone guys – see the Schaub example above. Trent Richardson’s main backups may fall into this category, depending on his knee. Ryan Matthews of the Chargers, Jahvid Best of the Lions…injury-prone. So it’s a good idea sometimes to go ahead and draft a durable backup late rather than getting a fragile producer (Dez Bryant) early.
This is by no means all-inclusive, but it’s a general guide. Know your positions, know the scoring rules for your league. Draft with those rules in mind and consider the entire team as well. Offensive players on a team with a poor rush defense won’t see as many snaps as those on a team with a good defense.
Tags: Aaron Rogers Adrian Peterson Brandon Pettigrew Cam Newton Chad Henne Demarco Murray Dez Bryant Drew Brees Fantasy Football Jahvid Best Matt Schaub Matthew Stafford Maurice Jones-Drew Mike Shanahan Phillip Rivers Ryan Matthews Tom Brady