Every fantasy player comes into his/her season thinking this is it, they’ll finally draft a solid team and make the fantasy playoffs and win their fantasy league. You probably won’t though – and, this article probably won’t even help you take 2nd place. But, take it from me, I finished 3rd in my league last year and 5th the year before that. And, that makes me just about as qualified to give you advice on fantasy football as Matthew Berry or some other guy. Here’s the thing though – opportunities in fantasy football mean points. And, points in fantasy football mean championships.
So, you’re in a league with 11 other buddies you have the occasional beer with and exchange inappropriate e-mails with during the offseason. The downfall here is that all your buddies know more about football than you do. Big problem, right? Couldn’t be further from the truth. Your August fantasy draft is important to the well-being of your team, but it won’t win you that coveted championship you’ve been drooling over. Instead, draft a solid mix of players who will be on the field consistantly and performing for you.
So when it comes to draft day…
A quarterback is important to your fantasy franchise. A quarterback will most likely lead your team in fantasy points. A quarterback should not be your first priority. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are great and get a lot of points, but be patient. No quarterback is worth stretching for over the top runners in the game. With that said, here are some guys to consider (or avoid) this upcoming season (after you pick a RB of course):
LOVE – Aaron Rodgers: Come on… This guy is as close to a sure-thing as it gets, he’ll get you plenty of TD’s and passing yards while minimizing turnovers.
LOVE – Matt Ryan: This only makes sense, Matty Ice is throwing to Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez and backed up by a running game featuring Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers.
LIKE – Matt Stafford: I think any QB in Detroit will be putting up numbers throwing the ball to Megatron. But, Stafford does like getting boo-boos.
LIKE – Drew Brees: I think he’s going to begin the downward spiral sooner or later, but it’s tough to predict when that will happen. I’d be hesitant be optimistic about Breesy.
DISLIKE – Tom Brady: I know… Most people think this is a no-brainer and Brady will again kill it this season. But, it’s tough to say what will happen to an aging Brady who loses his top 5 receivers who combined for over 4,000 yards of his passing yards.
HATE – Carson Palmer: I don’t think his head is in it, I don’t think his line will hold, but I do love his receivers.
HATE – Joe Flacco: Super Bowl hangover, no more Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith will see double coverage every snap now that Pitta is hurt. I don’t think Flacco sees the same success as 2012.
Now, just because I don’t mention the Manning brothers or RG3 here doesn’t mean they’re good or bad, I just don’t think much will change from last season. You’ll do OK with any of last season’s top QB’s. For crying out loud, 11 guys threw for more than 4,000 yards anyway.
The heart and soul of your team should lie in the running game. No fantasy team is complete without it’s feature back. In this case, you might want two, three or even four. They might not get as many points as the QB does, but there’s fewer guys who can get the job done. For instance, there’s only 32 teams in the league and not every one will give you a back you can rely on. Look at Jacksonville when MJD went down, who knew what was coming each week. I urge you to look at RB early and choose wisely. I love the combo-backs. If his team is out of the game he still can play a part in the passing game, and vice versa, if they’re crushing their opponent you can run free. Remember, Michael Turner is a free agent too. Here are some thoughts:
LOVE – Matt Forte: I’ve been saying it for years, this guy is a horse. If he doesn’t do it on the ground, he will through the air. Like I said, I love these combo-types.
LOVE – C.J. Spiller: This guy has been featured as a runner and receiver and can play special teams (although he probably won’t). I think Spiller is poised to break loose and put up big numbers this year.
LIKE – Ray Rice: Disappointing season last year, but still racked up 1,143 yard and 9 TD’s on the ground, not to mention he snagged 61 catches for 478 more yards and a TD. I think the offense will struggle though without Pitta and Boldin.
LIKE – Doug Martin: I only “Like” Martin because I don’t think he repeats last year, but he will still produce high volumes in a weak offense.
DISLIKE – Stevan Ridley: For the same reason Brady will struggle, I think Ridley will. Although, he will see more sets splitting out catching balls because of the receivers.
HATE – Frank Gore: I think the 49ers are passing the torch and Gore will be phased out.
HATE – BenJarvus Green-Ellis: Have you seen Hard Knocks? Gio Bernard can move.
Again, I think it’s obvious Adrian Peterson is a stud, so don’t go saying I forgot him. I don’t think there’s much else to note without rambling.
I like guys who touch the ball a lot, a receiver needs to earn the trust of their quarterback. No quarterback is throwing at a receiver just because he thinks his wide-out is a nice guy, it’s because he’s open and confident that his man can catch the ball. Don’t waste your time with the boom or bust players who might catch an 85-yard bomb one week. Instead, look to players who get targets. More targets mean more opportunities. With that said, look into:
LOVE – Larry Fitzgerald: We all know he’s good. We all know he had a bad 2012. We all know he’s capable of more and that’s why it won’t take much to have a better 2013.
LOVE – Vincent Jackson: V-Jax had 147 targets last year and only caught 72 balls. If he could catch 10% more that’d be a BIG season.
LOVE – T.Y. Hilton: Just watch… He’ll be the #1 guy in Indy. He’s so dynamic.
LIKE – A.J. Green: I loved him until he got hurt. I think he rebounds from it and still plays great.
LIKE – Dez Bryant: I would love him if he stopped getting hurt or in trouble. Second to Calvin Johnson in skill and talent, but sometimes appears to be 22nd.
DISLIKE – Reggie Wayne: I think Wayne is getting old and will give way to Hilton.
DISLIKE – Marques Colston: Still capable of 80/1,000/10 season with Brees, but see above for Breesy.
DISLIKE – Mike Wallace: I’m not convinced Tannehill can do it.
HATE – Jacksonville Jaguar Receivers: I was going to say Justin Blackmon, but I think all of them will struggle. I see Cecil Shorts as the #1 guy, but until a competent QB is there… struggles.
Megatron will most likely threaten the 2,000 barrier again and Julio Jones will continue to rise.
The tight end position was led by New England Patriot’s Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski last season. Neither will be a factor come Week 1. Might be a year worth stretching for a tight end, but aside from Jimmy Graham, take a look at some of the below and shy away from the others:
LOVE – Ed Dickson: Hear me out… Pitta is gone and so is Boldin. Flacco needs a target he can rely on for short passes and in red zone. He probably isn’t going to win you a championship, but he’ll be a solid pick late in your draft that will overperform.
LOVE – Brandon Myers: New offense and this kid flourished in Oakland of all places. I foresee big things.
LIKE – Martellus Bennett: See above, minus the Oakland part.
DISLIKE – Jermaine Gresham: I think Eifert hurts his production.
HATE – Jermichael Finley: Every year I feel like he’s on my roster, overpaid and underproducing.
Jason Witten should continue his HOF career and shy away from the obvious ones in Pitta, Hernandez, etc… Gronkowski may be a steal late.
As for kickers… please make him your last pick.
The defense is up to you. I like to pick a team with a late bye week and ride them through their first half of the season. After the bye, I like to use the waiver wire to make my weekly defensive pick based on matchups.
Late bye week teams include:
Seattle Seahawks (12), San Francisco 49ers (9), Chicago Bears (8), Houston Texans (8)
So that’s it. Feel free to contact us @TheQBblog or firstname.lastname@example.org for more or weekly advice. Good luck this upcoming season and share your draft picks with us!