Editor’s note: This is the second part of a series of recommendations for your Fantasy Football 2010 draft. The series will run until the NFL kicks off on September 9th.
Okay, now you know how the league works and you won’t get stuck wondering why Matt Forte was taken 40 spots earlier than you expected (you can read about this explanation in Dr. Z’s Rule #1). So what do you in the first few rounds?
Rule #2: In the early rounds, don’t draft above value. This is one of the toughest rules to keep. The best way to catch yourself before falling off the deep-end is by grouping your players, according to position, into tiers of value before you draft. Group players by position according to how many fantasy points you think they will accrue throughout the season. If you believe that the points of a group of, say, five running backs will be comparable, then you group them together into a tier. Unless you are in love with a wide receiver in your third tier, don’t draft him if most of the receivers in tier 2 are still available. In this case I would question why that player is in tier three and not tier two.
If you aren’t sure how to create a tier system, a quick Google of “Fantasy Football Tier” brings up a few good places to start. The first few rounds are the most important picks of the draft because this is when the top performers are usually picked. There are a few choices: The stable, elite players, who have been there, done that, year after year: the Andre Johnsons, Adrian Petersons, and Chris Johnsons of the league; and the elite players “of new” who have had “breakout” seasons, phenomenal catches, and exciting runs: the Rashard Mendenhalls and DesSean Jacksons. Although I had Jackson on my team last year (as a mid-round addition mind you), I wouldn’t bet on him in the first two rounds, where I have seen him taken too many times this year. It is crucial to pick players who will stabilize your team (more on consistency in an upcoming column). You don’t want to rock the boat by taking a guy who could flame out. If you’re taking him because of two seasons, or fewer, of elite success, you should be questioning the pick and seriously considering someone else. It’s easy to fall into the trap and draft on hype and excitement instead of performance and value. Young “studs” like Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, and rookie “phenoms” like San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews, tend to get a lot of hype that, in my opinion, they don’t deserve. I’m not saying that they won’t have stellar, or even elite, years. But they have not earned the high pick of a first or second rounder. There are just too many question marks.
Last season, the Chargers had the 22nd best (read: 10thworst) run offensive line according to profootballfocus.com’s film analysis. This is not surprising given the stats. The Chargers ranked second to last in yards per game (only the Colts were worse). Their 19th most rushing attempts per game of 26.7 averaged them 88.7 yards per game. Their only saving grace for fantasy owners was LaDainian Tomlinson’s 12 TDs, which was a result of the strong passing game. That comes out to a league worst 3.3 yards per carry. And this is with the speedy Darren Sproles and the elusive, yet aging, LT. Why would rookie Mathews fare better, at least enough to grant him a late first round or early second round pick?
As for DeSean Jackson, the man is a serious deep threat with killer speed. But his numbers are much more than likely to regress. I seriously question if he is worth the value of a first or second round pick. Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Steven Jackson, and Adrian Peterson: these are the type of guys to draft early. It’s okay if you draft three wide receivers in a row before draft a running back, just as long as the guys are solid and consistent. Being flexible with the positions you draft early while sticking to value is key.
I’ve told you what to do in the pre-draft (know everything about your league!) and what to do in the first few rounds (draft based on proven production, not hype). Look out for the next in the series in which I tell you what to do next.
Contact: If you have a fantasy football question, comment, insult, or compliment for Dr. Z, send it to [email protected] or call in to The Nightcap on KSPC Mondays 8-10 PM at (909) 626-KSPC. No inquiry is too big or small. It might even be featured in Dr. Z’s next column! Please include your first name and from which city you are writing.
Editor’s Note: This sports column is a regular feature from “The Nightcap” crew, a group of 5Cers who air a weekly radio sports talk show on KSPC. You can listen in online at KSPCstream.com or KSPC.org (click “Hear us Online via Live365”) every Monday from 8-10 PM. Want to join the radio show this year? We are looking for new people! Email us at [email protected]!