The Fantasy 3: Edition 1

8-le-veon-bell-pittsburgh-steelers-2013-171-90-points_pg_600I’m adding a new format to my blog – The Fantasy 3, where I make 3 statements or observations or questions and then put my own spin on addressing them. I will post new editions from now until fantasy football season wraps up in December. (Of course, I will continue posting other articles as I’ve been doing on all other sports-related topics aside from just fantasy football.) Hope everyone enjoys! Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed — @brian22goodwin.

Let’s play a little game of “True of False”. I’ll lay out 3 statements and tell you my thoughts. You may agree or disagree – feel free to jump in the conversation and make these games fun!

Statement 1: A Running Back should be the first position off the board on Draft Day.

False. Two reasons why I feel this way: (1) the RB position has become so injury-prone that it’s become a major risk to use a high draft pick on a running back only to see them tear an MCL and miss the remainder of the year; and (2) so many teams nowadays are using the running back by committee that RB stats suffer thus decreasing their fantasy value.

Look at the top picks who came off the board last season – Jamaal Charles, Leveon Bell, CJ Anderson, LeSean McCoy – all got hurt at some point (some more severe than others). People last year could have made the case that Bell and Charles were the top 2 players in the entire draft. Even the guys at the position who you know will get the rock all the time need to be looked at with skepticism. Is it worth taking Bell or Peterson or David Johnson this year at number 1?

There is a slew of solid backs that are probably worthy of a high selection – Charles, Devonta Freeman, Demarco Murray – but these guys also face competition within their own backfield. There’s no saying how many touches these players will get week-to-week or if they should fall out of favor with the coach or the system. You can’t take a guy like Charles number 1 overall this year because Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West proved to be viable options in Kansas City last season.

Now the argument that comes up is a valid one: RB is a required position (2 in fact are needed in most leagues) so it puts more value on the RBs at the top of the list. In other words, if you don’t grab a top 6 or 8 RB, forget it – the drop off is like falling off a cliff. I would counter by explaining that those points you lose by settling for a tier 2 RB later in rounds 3 -6 as opposed to a Todd Gurley-type in Round 1, are more than offset by taking multiple top tier WRs in the opening rounds. (This is a fascinating topic and will be focused on a lot more in upcoming posts.)

Statement 2: Cam Newton was great last year. I need to grab him early – Round 1 or 2.

False. No one needs to grab Cam Newton (or any other QB for that matter) this early in the draft. Streaming quarterbacks is a very interesting theory and I tried it last year with varying degrees of success. But the theory itself definitely holds water. (My shortcomings last year with it were more user-error than problems with the actual strategy.) Check out Andrew Luck last year. He was a top ranked QB prior to many drafts. He gets hurt, under-produces, goes on IR, and forces the fantasy owner to scramble for another available signal-caller. Compare that to the owner who stockpiled RBs and WRs and decided in the 16th round to snag his QB. Who did he draft, you ask? Oh. Cam Newton.

I know that’s a perfect storm sort of example for me to give. But it’s those types of situations that have given birth to the idea of streaming your quarterback, like you do your defense or kicker. For example, I rode Kirk Cousins for the final month or so of the season after playing around with QBs like Sam Bradford, Nick Foles, Carson Palmer, and Jameis Winston for the better part of the year. That paid off for me and worked – at least in the end it did.

I don’t recommend ever taking a QB before the 6th or 7th round (and that’s being generous). I won’t even look at QB names until round 10 and, likely ,won’t draft one until the 12th round at the earliest.

Statement 3: Building depth is the only thing you should worry about in the middle rounds (5 thru 10).

True. After talking starters at WR and RB in rounds 1 through 4, your next 5, 6, 7, picks ought to follow suit as well. I already talked about how RBs get injured faster and more often than Mike Carey gets a call on the field wrong for CBS. So it would behoove you to draft many backups at the position. With WRs, you typically start 2 or 3 so you better have 2 on your bench at the very minimum. There is no rush drafting any other position until you have built some ample depth at those 2 positions. Quarterbacks can wait until the 12th round and beyond, a defense should go in the 15th round with kickers all going in the final round. Squeeze your tight end selection in somewhere around the 11th to 13th rounds and you should have set yourself up pretty nicely – a good balance of depth at the most critical positions mixed with value talent at the other positions.

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Author: Brian Goodwin

An educator for 15 years. I have a passion for sports and a passion for writing about sports. I'm very excited to run this blog and have conversations with people about relevant topics, mostly pertaining to sports but also in all aspects of life.

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