Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome to 2010

So, I have decided that I want to blog about fantasy football again. Hopefully I have the time and desire to keep up with the weekly posts this year. I joined a league this year with my dad and some other fantasy football virgins and it got me thinking that I want to do a draft strategy article for this years fantasy football year.

When I first started playing fantasy football it was all about the running backs. Rb/rb in rounds one and two or bust. The days of rb/rb draft day are all but gone. I have done a lot of mock drafts over at ESPN and I have yet to see a team go rb/rb that ended up with a decent team. The league is no longer a rush first league. This year, more than ever, is a running back by committee year. There are six guys that I view as traditional "work horse" backs this year. Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Frank Gore, Michael Turner and Steven Jackson. If you don't get one of those guys this is the year to wait on running backs.

Looking at the average draft position at ESPN you will notice that of the top 40 players taken in drafts this year 14 are wide receivers. In other words, if you take rb/rb in rounds 1 and 2 you will be left receivers like Anquan Boldin and Chad Ochocinco as your #1 receivers.

Go further in the draft and you see an even further drop off. Rounds 5 and beyond feature guys like Vincent Jackson and Hakeem Nicks. You are looking at starting Mike Wallace and Santana Moss if you draft rb/rb/qb in the first 3 rounds. To show the disparity look at the running backs available in the 5-7 rounds. Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Felix Jones, Justin Forsett, C.J. Spiller, Jerome Harrions, Marion Barber and Arian Foster. While none of these names are sexy they are mostly #1 backs on their respective teams or part of a legitimate time share.

Lets show an example of how a draft may look if you go rb/rb. I'll assume that you are pick #5, right in the middle of a 10 team league.

At pick #1 you go Frank Gore, Steven Jackson or Michael Turner,
At pick #2 you go Ryan Grant or Rashard Mendenhall
At pick #3 the best receiver on the board is Steve Smith of Caroline. While this isn't a terrible pick the value of Philip Rivers, Tony Romo or Matt Shaub may be tempting you.
At pick #4 you have to go reeciver. At that point the best receivers on the board are Steve Smith of the Giants or Chad Ochocinco.
At pick #5 you still need another WR so you look at Hines Ward or Dwayne Bowe.
At pick #6 you can start looking for WR/RB or TE. Brent Celek or Tony Gonazalez would still be available at TE, but if you think TE is deep (I think it is deep this year) you can go for a C.J. Spiller or Justin Forsett type as your flex position.

Lets now compare an example where you take a WR in your second round.

#1 Frank Gore
#2 Reggie Wayne/Larry Fitzgerald/Brandon Marshall/Miles Austion (take your pick)
#3 Roddie White/Miles Austin/Brandon Marshall or whoever is left
#4 Either Romo/Rivers if they have fallen this far or a Pierre Thomas/LeSean McCoy type
#5 You can either go an elite TE like Clark or Gates or you can grab a #3 receiver/running back here.
#6 If you were able to grab Romo/Rivers in round 4 then go RB/WR here if not you can look for a Flacco type and then grab McNabb or another 10-15 QB in round 8 or 10.

If you do not grab two elite WR's in the first four rounds you are going to be stuck. Look at the RB's that are still available in rounds 7-9. Reggie Bush, Justin Forsett, C.J. Spiller, Jahvid Best, Jerome Harrison, Marion Barber, Arian Foster. Even in the 10th round you can take LT, Darren McFadden, Thomas Jones, Clinton Portis or Michael Bush. While none of these guys are sexy picks they are all low end #2's or flex options and each of them have extreme value in the late rounds.

In rounds 7-10 the WR's you will be drafting are Santana Moss, Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, Braylon Edwards, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Dez Bryant and Robert Meachem.

The RB position this year is deep. I would have no problem starting Michael Bush as my flex, especially if my rb's/wr's are two of the three listed in our rounds 1-3 above. There are a lot of guys this year that have fallen too far thus giving you the ability to draft value in later rounds and pick your elite WR's early on. Clinton Portis and Thomas Jones both belong on the list of RB's that run better than their age. Over Mike Shanahan's coaching history he ranks in the top 5 in both overall rushing attempts and red zone rushing attempts. He will be taking this team back to the ground. Clinton Portis is not going to be a top 5 back but he will be a guy that gets you 5-15 points a week and can be drafted in the 9th or 10th round.

This year is the year of drafting WR's. Take them often and take them early.

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