I finished my 4th draft tonight and wanted to share my thoughts. I don’t claim to be the best manager but I pay attention every week and have developed various strategies over the years. I want to start with a recap of the 4 drafts and ideas that used I throughout. My main resources are rotoworld (if you don’t use this you shouldn’t be playing), Nathan Zegura from CBS on Twitter, and random articles from Yahoo and Google. The new Yahoo interface isn’t a great improvement but it’s still better than ESPN.
Round 1 Draft Thoughts
The top 9 picks of the draft weren’t all that challenging because aside from A-Pete, all the RB’s have proven themselves to a certain extent. Wasting a pick on a QB at any of these picks is ludicrous. At 10 you jump into the Alfred Morris / Matt Forte area where things start becoming hazy. The obvious part of fantasy football is getting as many running backs who touch the ball as possible. I wouldn’t draft Alfred Morris because he doesn’t have break out speed and he has 1 season of proven football behind him. I’d rather chance Forte, Steven Jackson, or David Wilson who are all guaranteed to get carries on decent teams. Guys like Gore, MJD, and CJ2k and older backs who will see touches but you know what you are going to get from them (1,000 yards and 7 TDs). A guy like Steven Ridley isn’t someone I want because he’s had 1 breakout season. The season before he was primarily used as a goal line back. So with all of those guys being thrown out there, if I drafted late into the first round, I was coming back with an RB2 who I wasn’t ecstatic about (unless I could get Wilson).
I see Calvin go at the end of Round 1 and I think that’s fine. I wouldn’t get him earlier because good RB’s are too hard to come by. I’m still not wasting my QB pick in RD2 on anyone. I also saw Dez being drafted at the beginning of 2 and that was a bit high for my tastes. I absolutely love Dez Bryant but I wasn’t using my high round 2 pick on him because the value just isn’t there. I also saw Jimmy Graham being picked up around this area and I don’t think there was anything wrong with that but his season last year wasn’t worthy of a 2nd round pick (982 yards and 7 tds). I would 100% rather have Gronk in the 4th round than Graham in the 2nd. The idea of passing on an elite WR1 (Bryant, Green, Julio, or Marshall) didn’t make sense to me to warrant a Graham pick. A Steven Jackson or David Wilson pick in rd 2 was an ideal spot for me here.
I don’t like picking backs who have never played in the 3nd round like Lamar Miller, Lacy, and Bernard. I’m not a fan of Demarco Murray after the way he treated me last year and would rather have guys like Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles, or Darren McFadden. Most people won’t roll the dice on McFadden because he’s made of glass but I’ll take potential with chance of injury over steady any day of the week. The strategy in 3 is still get that 2nd RB if you haven’t already or try to land a guy like Fitz, A Johnson, or Randall Cobb. More than likely it’d be closer to Bowe, Cruz, Roddy, or V Jack. I don’t want D. Thomas because he’s competing for targets now with 2 other good receivers. Colston, Wayne, and Amendola don’t thrill me either. I”m still passing on a QB.
At this point I’m thinking about a QB but still not taking one unless I have to. Most likely Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Peyton are off the board at this point. I’m jumping on Cam if I can because he has something other QB’s don’t and that’s durability and a proven track record. He doesn’t throw many passing TD’s and plays on an improving team but he uses his legs to get points and that’s big. I’m staying away from Kapernick and R. Wilson because they aren’t proven. Their ceiling may be high but just last season I remember saying the Wilson was the worst QB statistically and you’d have to be moron to play him early on. It was only until the end that he lit it up and that’s not a big enough sample size with no receivers surrounding him. The sample size of Kap is also too small to instill confidence. If I thought I could wait until round 5 to get a Stafford or Ryan I would, otherwise I’d try to nail Romo in 6. I would stay away from RGNoKnee and Andrew Luck for reasons of a perhaps “lucky” rookie season.
Simplest key to fantasy football, get players who touch the ball a lot. I’d much prefer a guy like Chris Ivory over Shane Vereen. Shane Vereen is better but his touches are dependent on whether Tom Brady is throwing the ball his way. Ivory will get 15 hand offs which all lead to opportunity. Daryl Richardson is a perfect example of getting touches as their starting RB. If he sucks Isiah Pead will step in but at least he has the opportunity. I wonder why people draft the Denver RB’s so early? There are 3 of them and none are better than the other. A guy like Ahmad Bradshaw is what you want in these rounds. Mark Ingram isn’t shit unless the Saints change their way of doing things. Also, why would I draft backups unless I need them as a handcuff? They are just going to sit on my bench and it essentially means I didn’t do my job in the earlier rounds drafting running backs. It translates to passing too. Would I rather have DeSean Jackson or Chris Givens? Givens! Why? He gets targets. Would you rather have a guy who gets 5 targets a game or 10? It’s simple math. I check the target report after every week to make sure my guys are seeing the ball. If they don’t, cut em. Guys like Josh Gordon, T.Y Hilton, and Cecil Shorts kill at this spot. You don’t want guys like Stevie Johnson who have no QB. I assume the same case could be made for Cecil but he somehow did it last year. If I haven’t gotten a TE yet I’ll try to grab a guy like Jared Cook, Jermikes, or Greg Olsen. Vernon Davis would be ideal but that’s reaching.
The Final Rounds
I see people draft defenses early and I understand the logic behind not having to worry about changing a good defense, and it does work out, but I’m not sure you give up such an edge that it’s worth giving up your 9th round pick or so. Am I willing to take the Bears in place of Rueben Randle or Kendrell Thompkins? No chance in hell. I’ll reiterate that fantasy football is all about potential. You know what you get from a Lance Moore type guy but have no idea what DeAndre Hopkins could give you. I’d rather take flyers in the later rounds instead of use my picks on defenses and kickers.
My basic principals are draft guys who get the touches. I’d rather have the best player on a bad team than a good player on a great team. This goes against trying to pick players from the strongest teams but they are the strongest teams because they have the strongest players which means they spread the ball around. I’m not drafting Jordy Nelson or James Jones when I know Randall Cobb is the new #1. Thomas, Decker, and Welker are going to be a crap shoot. Give me Mike Wallace from Miami, Garcon from Washington or Torrey Smith from Baltimore. They are THE GUY.
Draft RB’s early and get the go to guys who touch the ball. I also am in a few auction type waiver wire situations and I only think it will only help my cause. I’m the most active person on the waiver wire each year but I only pick up free agents. My goal is to get that waiver priority to #1 and scoop the back up when a starter goes down. My point is that I’m not going to use my money until the later parts of the season. Any veteran player knows that the only part of the regular season is making it to the playoffs. The beginning means very little compared to the end.