Greetings football fans,
I know the narrative is the same (and we all love exhausted narratives right?) but man we have been too long without football.
At time of writing, the first preseason game would have passed and I have various generic insights for you:
- Rookies will look, no matter the round they were drafted, like rookies. I know, I am shocked just like you.
- All hype for at least one training camp stud will be wiped away because he flaked in a relatively meaningless preseason game. More shock!
- Game plans will be as vanilla as, well, vanilla ice-cream and coaches will not want to give anything away. Therefore boring games with plenty of turnovers.
It will probably not have been much fun to watch.
BUT! it is important, These games all serve a purpose for the larger picture about those last 10-15 roster spots. One thing I have learned over the last few years, taking fantasy football slightly more seriously than I had previously, is that you can not have too much information. Follow beat writers, read up on every team you can, even if you hate them (cough, Seattle – editors note: Steelers, cough) because each team generally has a hidden gem somewhere you keep them in the back of your mind. Ready for that waiver wire pick up. Each year I look at rosters and I think, where are the waiver wire guys this year? Each and every year though there is a Alvin Kamara, an Alex Collins that breaks out and they pretty much make or break your season.
So for my first post back in a while, I didn’t want to do any top 10’s because let’s be honest, you know that the Todd Gurley’s. the Antonio Brown’s, the Rob Gronkowski’s etc etc are the top guys at the top of all boards. This year, more so than in recent years, the top 5-8 picks in 99.9% of drafts are going to be the same so thought I would open up with some general tips for your upcoming season plus a few guys that I have found interesting this summer.
Note, all average draft positions are taken from https://fantasyfootballcalculator.com/
It’s extremely useful, go use it if you aren’t already.
Talk! set up a form of communication between you and your league mates. There are countless ways of getting group chats up on all devices these days (Whatsapp, Twitter, Telegram, Groupme) so there genuinely is no excuse for having a league that does not communicate. Talking gets trades going, keeps all of you engaged and builds the banter up throughout the season. Talk smack if you want, it’s not my thing to be honest but don’t be arseholes to each other. This is just a fun game to play that enhances something that we already love. Don’t be a prick and give grief to other players when it really isn’t necessary.
Take as much information in as you can, or have time to, and compile your own rankings. Doesn’t have to be as in depth as you think. Key is that if it works for you, roll with it. Don’t stress about if you should pick Todd Gurley or Le’Veon Bell with the number 1 this year. You can make a case for any of 5 guys this year to go number 1 so don’t nitpick too much and take your guy. The key I find most years are the middle rounds because you can’t really go wrong with your first 4 picks, you will have decent starting players no matter what position you pick. Rounds 10+ are flyers that may or may not work out but they are easily dropped if they don’t pan out. Rounds 5-9 are where you can pick up that extra ‘flex’ spots that will contribute each week. Master the guys that will be in the 13-36 range for RB/WR positions and I think that gives you a good advantage.
As daft as this will sound, when you do your draft, try and make sure you have as big a screen as possible. You need as much data as possible in front of you. Primarily, so you can keep an eye on the draft but also, your teams roster AND other teams rosters. Keep an eye out on who other teams are drafting and this will give you an insight in to who you can leave 1 more round or who you have to go get sooner rather than later. If the guys picking in front of you all have their starting running backs and you don’t, but there is a top level wide receiver staring you in the face. Go get the receiver because the guys in front of you already have their starting running backs. Little things like this, being aware of roster construction of all teams, instead of just your own can give you a major advantage.
Draft Day Part 2!
Quarterbacks and tight ends are spots that can be continuously streamed throughout the year. Unless you are in a superflex league (2 QBs can start) or weird league which has 2 TE’s then you can generally get away with not drafting them till late. For QB’s, the top guys going far too early for my taste are Aaron Rodgers (ADP 3.06), Deshaun Watson (4.03), Tom Brady (5.06), Russell Wilson (5.08), Drew Brees (6.05), Carson Wentz (6.07) and Cam Newton (6.11). For me, I like to have 3 Rbs and 3 Wrs before I even look at QB. After this you have plenty of guys like Andrew Luck, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford before you hit double digit rounds in your draft. Even after that you can get Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Mariota and Alex Smith after these guys are all gone round 10 onwards. Point is, all these guys AFTER the big 6 can land as a QB1 and give you week winning performances so don’t overdraft a QB, please.
In a similar vein with tight ends, I would only take Rob Gronkowski within my first 6 picks that is not a RB or WR. Right now, Gronk is a great value around the 2.11 pick so if you wanted to pair Le’Veon Bell at the 1.02 with Gronk at the end of the second and then get a guy like Mike Evans at the 3.02 then I would be pretty happy with that. After Gronk you have Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz who are going at the round 3/4 turn respectively and after that, I honestly wouldn’t bother with TE till the later rounds. There aren’t many other genuine difference makers at the position after these three guys in my opinion and you can pick up steady guys like Kyle Rudolph and Delanie Walker in rounds 6 and 7 or high upside guys like Trey Burton in the 8th or George Kittle in the 10th. Failing that, guess what, you can stream because virtually any tight end is capable of a 50 yard/1 touchdown at any given time, you just generally can’t rely on them to do it each and every week.
Whether it be on a dynasty league and you are streamlining your rosters to get to down to the required roster limit, or midweek at any point during the season, PAY ATTENTION TO THE WAVIER WIRE. People get edgy in the first few weeks and if a highly drafted guys doesn’t perform well early on, he is a candidate to get dropped. High upside guys can get dropped due to injuries. Pay attention each Wednesday morning, or whenever your wavier wire transactions complete, and see who is there, you will find hidden treasures there that shouldn’t be there.
If you go with anything, the simplest thing that you can do is go pick guys who have high volume within their respective teams. If a player has high chances of getting lots of carries or receptions, they have a great chance of performing for you. Touchdowns are scarily unpredictable (ask Mike Evans owners. Hi, I am one!) and if you use anything, aim for as much volume as possible at each position. More touches, more chances to score. After that it is basically luck. CJ Anderson for example is a guy, who isn’t the sexiest picks but he pretty much steps on to a team, with almost guaranteed 200 carries and goal line opportunities. Did you know CJ had 1000 yards last year? Could easily do it again and his current ADP is the 8th round. EIGHTH! That’s right, in order to emphasise my point I spelt the number 8. that is a steal and a perfect example of monitoring the right guys in the middle rounds.
On to a brief section of players that I like, and don’t like for the season ahead based on their current ADP.
Melvin Gordon – going at the 1.09 you can pair him with either another RB like Devonta Freeman setting you up at the position for the whole season or go with a WR like Julio Jones or Michael Thomas. That is ridiculous value for a guy that could finish as a top 3 fantasy performer.
AJ Green – Similarly to Gordon, this is more about who you can draft alongside them. Current ADP is 2.10 so you will already have Todd Gurley, David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell as your starting RB which again, is a great start to your draft.
Larry Fitzgerald – almost done in dynasty but for re-draft this year, go get him as your second or third receiver at the 5.02 and he will not let you down. I have admittedly not bought in to Fitz’ in previous years but he has about 93 catches to move up to second all time in receptions and I can guarantee you, the entire Cardinals organisation will make that happen. Barring injury, he is locked in at minimum as a high end WR2.
Rex Burkhead – 7.04, if you go WR heavy in the first couple of rounds, Rex could eventually be the RB1 for the Patriots. He has to beat out a few other guys for touches but the Patriots paid him handsomely for his services but if he plays well in the first couple of weeks, he has a floor of an RB2. if he is your 3rd or 4th RB taken, you wouldn’t even mind if he didn’t perform each and every week (damn you Belichick!!)
CJ Anderson – as briefly mentioned, he is currently sitting at the 8.02 and is a massive upgrade over Jonathan Stewart from last year and steps in to almost guaranteed volume. Christian McCaffrey is a weapon but I just don’t see them giving him the bulk load of the running game work when he can be utilised in other spots on the field so effectively.
Robbie Anderson – at 9.02, even with any potential looming suspensions, he could get you 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns. Very low hanging fruit for a talented guy who could easily be your WR2 or flex each week. In the 9th round that’s absurd value.
Based on what I can see this year, running backs after about round 6 tend to get a bit sketchy and unpredictable. These guys would rely on injury or under performance to have a real shot at getting true opportunity at producing high scoring weeks on a consistent basis. So generally I would say, if you want to be safer, go RB heavy in the early rounds, say rounds 1-5, get three great RBs because there is insane value/upside with WRs this year in the double digit rounds
Late round WR’s I like…..
Cooper Kupp, 10th round – Jared Goffs safety net, targets missing with Sammy Watkins redzone targets all gone.
DJ Moore, Mike Williams, Cameron Meredith, all 11th round – all three guys are not necessarily the first option on their respective teams but have great opportunity to give you at least 800 yards and 5 TDs each. I’ll take that in the 11th no problem.
I don’t like….
Alvin Kamara – I know I know I am sorry. Don’t yell at me. All I want to say is that Kamara was ridiculously efficient last year, top of most major metrics last year at the RB position and I just don’t see it happening again at the same level. Add in that they have already said that just because Mark Ingram is suspended, there is no plan to give him an increased work load for the first 4 weeks. The fact they also signed Terrance West and Damien Williams, although they suck, is proof that his price is far too rich for me at the 1.07.
Derrick Henry – I LOVE Henry, and if you have seen that picture on Twitter recently of him and Dion Lewis stood next to each other, you would wonder how on earth anyone could take Henry down. But they do and they spent big money on Lewis in the off-season and Lewis is more than capable as a between the tackles rusher despite his diminutive size. Like I said, volume is key here, if you could guarantee Henry 300 touches then he is absolutely worth it at the 3.01 but with Lewis there, I struggle to see a world where he gets close to that. If you have him as your second or third RB though, the hurt isn’t going to sting as much.
Rashaad Penny – 4.04. Sorry Seattle fans, this isn’t even because I dislike all things bearing the Seahawk name. Penny is a great RB and excelled in college but he is playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and has had virtually zero praise from Pete Carroll who is seemingly BFF’s with Chris Carson. Add in to the mix JD Mckissic on passing downs, all the other departures on offence AND a new offensive coordinator and the outlook is bleak. If he was there rounds 6-8 then I would snap him up as the potential is there but taking him as one of your starters, when there is a high chance he doesn’t even start for his own team, it would be a foolish investment.
Jimmy Graham – Yes, you will hear that Jimmy will get red zone targets, even if he doesn’t get the same yards he used to. He led the league with 16 red zone targets last year and converted 8 in to touchdowns. Yes Aaron Rodgers is good for 30+ Tds a year, I get that but he has so many other weapons and he has only produced 1 top 10 TE finish and that was Jermichael Finlay many many moons ago. I find it hard to see more than 500 yards and 5 scores so at the 5.01, you can get Alshon Jeffrey, Larry Fitzgerald or Allen Robinson instead. It’s an honest no brainer but again, hopefully he stays up that high and you enjoy the spoils elsewhere.
Will Fuller – If you are lucky, so many people will take Fuller in the 6th round and you can laugh your ass off as you take guys like Chris Hogan, Golden Tate, Jarvis Landry and Corey Davis instead. Fuller was electric last year, but like Kamara, he won’t repeat the insane efficiency he had last year. For me he is a guy who will have you a few big games but just won’t be that consistent for you. Volume again is key and all the other guys are almost certainly going to have more targets than Fuller who at best will play second fiddle to DeAndre Hopkins, and we all know how many targets he rightfully soaks up each year. Drafting Fuller at a starting player price, no thanks.
Last thought from me is back on the research side of things. Get on twitter and follow NFL writers, listen to Podcasts, bookmark sites like the Fantasy Footballers, NFL and ESPN and do mock drafts. Absorb information!
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.