Though this column may fall under the category of “a day late and a dollar short,” now that I’ve had my big fantasy football draft, I thought that was important to share the wealth a little bit by giving you loyal Friends of the Mog some strategy for your fantasy drafts, along with some random thoughts on some selected players. Remember, this is coming from a guy who used to proof and index the draft guide for the Sporting News for a little extra pocket change over the summer (though unfortunately they wouldn’t let me correct their atrocious player rankings). Here goes:
-Always draft one more starting running back than you have slots to start them in
For example, if you play in a league where you start 2 RBs and a WR/RB, draft 4 RBs. Inevitably one of them will either get hurt or totally fucking suck. Don’t be that guy picking up Mike Anderson in Week 10 just because you think he might get some goal-line carries for the Ravens.
-It is wise to spend late round picks on backups to the big time running backs over lesser QBs and WRs
Think about it: if you draft a middle-of-the road WR toward the end of the draft, the 4 points or so a week that he’s going to get you are just going to be wasted on your bench. At least if you take Michael Turner, you’re making an investment, even if that investment is in LaDanian Tomlinson suffering a catastrophic injury at some point this season. One super sleeper: Brian Leonard of my very own Rams. Not only is he a “Rut-gahs” guy, but Steven Jackson is about as fragile as that egg in Risky Business, despite his big-time year last season. Remember where you heard it first…
-A top-flight WR is the least of your worries
I’ve crunched the numbers on this one, and to be honest, there really are a lot more palatable wideouts out there than QBs or RBs. Don’t be “that guy” who takes Marvin Harrison at the end of the first round. You’re much better off taking a running back or elite QB.
-If you don’t get Antonio Gates, forget about the TE position
You can snag a guy like Jason Witten this year at the very end of the draft. He’s just as good (if not better) than anyone behind Antonio Gates. Trust me.
-Defenses and Kickers are for pussies
My league doesn’t even use them any more, but if you must continue to, wait until the end, then try to pick the best defense left. There will often be defenses that improve because of new personnel (Patrick Willis in San Fran, anyone?) or a coordinator’s new scheme. Besides, if you’re relying on your defense for big points, your team has much bigger problems.
Kickers are even more volatile. Aside from maybe Jeff Wilkins, there isn’t really a sure thing out there. Stay away from these guys; God knows their teammates do.
-Get at least a second tier QB in the first 4 rounds
If it’s Peyton Manning in the first, good luck. If not, be sure to get Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, or Marc Bulger. After that, you’re kind of screwed (sorry Jamie…)
Random Thoughts on Players
LaDanian Tomlinson, RB SD
If he’s not picked first overall in your league, you need to get some new friends. He is far and away the most consistent, durable, and just flat-out best running back out there. LT’s back is still sore from carrying so many fantasy teams last year (including mine).
Steven Jackson, RB STL
Mike Martz’s only successful first round draft pick. Steve-O, as we affectionately call him, absolutely blew up last year. His only question is durability. To re-iterate, if you pick him, you absolutely must take Brian Leonard in the late rounds.
Larry Johnson, RB KC
Do the insane number of carries, the holdout, and the somewhat effeminate low-cut, v-neck shirt that he was wearing on Hard Knocks scare me? Sure, they’d frighten anyone. Still, as my brother pointed out, he has a chance to be “the best fantasy player of 2007.” And he’s really the last option on the board that you can really say that about with a straight face.
Frank Gore, RB SF
He’s damned good, even if he didn’t have many touchdowns this past year. Again, though, he is an injury concern, to the point where Jamie has been able to get him as low as 7th in one of his drafts. Still, as long as Alex Smith is under center in Frisco, the Niners have no choice but to run Gore to death and hope that Patrick Willis rips the ball from skill players and runs for 20 TDs. As a back up, I think it’s that Michael Robinson guy who played QB at
Joseph Addai, RB
I had Addai last year, and I think he started from about week 3 on for my team. He was always a solid, if unspectacular, performer for my squad, but he’ll be asked to shoulder the load this year in Indy. Can anyone say, “Young Edge James minus the thuggery?” He is a solid pick at 5 or 6.
Shaun Alexander, RB SEA
I personally dislike Alexander because he’s on the Seahawks, and because he bitched at Mike Holmgren a couple years ago for falling a yard short of the rushing title. Uh, sorry Shaun, but it’s not Holmgren’s fault that you couldn’t grind out another measly yard ON ANY OTHER PLAY THE REST OF THE FUCKING SEASON!!! Still, though, he’s a good fantasy player. When you take a guy like Shaun-A in a draft, you often feel like you’re making a deal with the devil. Because he’s coming off foot surgery, think long and hard before shaking that hot red outstretched hand in front of you.
Willie Parker, RB PIT
Fast Willie had some absolute monster games last year. Unfortunately, his overall numbers place him squarely in the middle of the second tier of RBs, which means that he’s fairly inconsistent. Still, he’s on a team where he is one long Ben Roethlisberger motorcycle ride away from becoming “the offense,” so keep an eye on him.
Brian Westbrook, RB PHI
Another “deal-with-the-devil” guy because of the Rams’ early-century (how the fuck else are you supposed to say it? 00s? That just doesn’t sound right) clashes with them, you know, when the Rams were still actually a good team. Also, I think that every fantasy magazine in the country has a little red cross next to his profile because he’s such an injury risk. That said, when he does play, the “glorified third down back,” as I call him, actually puts up some points.
Rudi Johnson, RB CIN
Eh. He’s a starting running back, but other than that, you can take him or leave him. I wouldn’t be too excited about having him on my team.
Reggie Bush, RB NO
He is lightning in a bottle, and he’ll get his touches for sure, even if he’s split out wide half the time. In one of Jamie’s drafts, he went as high as 2nd, and no, it wasn’t a league full of 5-year olds. As I understand it, they draft this Saturday. By the way, do you notice how I keep saying “one of Jamie’s drafts?” That’s because the kid is in like 14,562 leagues this year. It’s nuts. Every time I ask him if he wants to have dinner with the crew or get drunk, the answer is always, “Maybe. I have my football draft in an hour.” Unreal…
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX
Absolutely lightning in a bottle. What a steal for the Jags. Plus he has a cool nickname (MoJo) that makes it sound like he’s doing some kind of weird voodoo shit. You know the drill: Fred Taylor’s the starter at the beginning of the year, he gets hurt in week 2, MoJo owners ride him all the way to their league titles. Good stuff.
Peyton Manning, QB
The best QB out there, hands-down. Plus he has the added benefit of a greater range of motion from finally getting that monkey off his back by winning the Super Bowl. He should go in the 7-8 range.
He rebounded strong from injuries last year. An elite passer because of the weapons around him. You should look for him to be available late second early third.
Drew Brees, QB NO
His career was really teetering on the toilet seat there for a while in
Marc Bulger, QB STL
I had Bulger on my team for like 5 years in a row before I took Brees over him this year. Everyone always belittled my selection, but the numbers didn’t lie then, and they certainly don’t lie now. You wouldn’t believe some of the shit that Grant and I have heard hoosiers yell at Bulger in
Tom Brady, QB NE
Tom Brady is not actually perfect, folks. As Rob Lowe in Wayne’s World might say, sure a solid arm, great accuracy, a penchant for coming up in the clutch and boyish good looks will get you far in life, almost to the top. But the fact of the matter is, Tom Brady is a third-tier fantasy QB. I can now no longer come within 50 miles of
Donovan McNabb, QB PHI
Jamie will be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge McNabb fan. I sided with T.O. in the whole feud because, quite frankly, T.O. wasn’t the one who got tired on the last drive of the Super Bowl. Even if he is an obnoxious asshole as a person and an even worse teammate, he did his job. In professional sports, all of this bullshit about teamwork and camaraderie only matters if you win championships. And guess what? D-Mac wilted when it mattered most. I think that that’s far more detrimental to the team than someone bitching about teammates in the media.
That said, people forget what D-Mac was doing last year before he got hurt and half of the city of
Michael Vick, QB ATL
Oops, I’m going off of an old magazine here. If you have a Virginia Penal League league, though, he’ll probably go first overall.
Jon Kitna, QB DET
Ugh. Repeat after me: Jon Kitna is not Kurt Warner. I don’t think he’s ever come close to completing 60% of his passes, which doesn’t fly in a Mike Martz offense. Until they ditch him, they’ll be left on the ground.
J.P. Losman, QB BUF
Grow up already. What an embarrassment.
Eli Manning, QB NYG
Just seeing if you’re still paying attention…
Marvin Harrison, WR
Before every member of the media puts him up for sainthood, I’ve read things ranging from “boring” to “asshole” about him, so don’t get caught up in the hype. Besides, he’s no spring chicken anymore. This could be the year that he really steps back and Reggie Wayne Steps up.
By the way, since the Colts are such a boring team, and Reggie Wayne is from the U, Grant and I have often speculated that he is the one who always does some outlandish shit at victory parties. I imagine that their Super Bowl party was a nice, quiet couples potluck dinner before Reggie Wayne came roller-skating in, walking four alligators on leashes and carrying a keg on his back. All these
Steve Smith, WR CAR
Awesome when he plays. Terrible when he’s out with a devastating injury.
Awesome wideout. The Bengals get a lot of national TV because they’re an exciting team to watch, so there’s nothing more satisfying in a football game than to have Chad J on your team, then watch him score a big touchdown on the opposition, then do a bad ass celebration. You really should try it sometime.
Torry Holt, WR STL
Very good, solid wideout. I had him and Bulger last year, so he was a “bonus points” guy for me, meaning that every Bulger-to-Holt TD last year was essentially a double touchdown. Still in the prime of his career, and the featured receiver in
Terrell Owens, WR DAL
T.O. is obnoxious and a terrible teammate “in the room.” That said, on the field, he’s a terrific teammate, so long as his teammates want him to score fucking touchdowns. His hand problem from last year is probably better now, so he should put up big numbers, so long as Romo keeps him happy.
That’s about it for now. MLB Stuff coming soon…
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