Imagine this: You’re at a bar with some friends. Or maybe you’re alone, I’m not judging. Anyway, a five-star smoke-show walks into the bar and sits next to you. You end up flirting and buying her drinks all night. When the bar is closing, you whisper, “Do you want to get out of here?” She replies, “Sorry, I’m not really interested.”
It’s pretty hard to find something as frustrating as a situation like that. At least I imagine. It’s never happened to me personally (I’m terrible at social situations), but I can imagine that it’s very similar to other facets of life, one of which being fantasy football. The smoke-show walking into the bar, taking up your time, money, and expectations, represents that one player that is taken too high in fantasy football drafts every year. The player everyone overvalues: the Sexy Pick. Let’s go over some recent history.
In 2013, Doug Martin was a consensus first round pick after a strong and surprising rookie year totaling 1,454 yards rushing, 49 catches for 472 yards, and 12 total touchdowns. He was the Sexy Pick. Finding a skeptic was hard to come by. Some, including myself, were not ready to spend a first round pick on a second year player on such a bad team. For those who do not know, Doug Martin played in only 6 games in 2013. He rushed for a total of 456 yards, 12 catches, and 1 touchdown. Maybe my hunch was pure luck?
Then the 2014 fantasy football drafts had begun. Montee Ball was a second year running back for the Denver Broncos. He was a player going anywhere between picks 4-7 in most drafts. Ball was supposed to step right into the Knowshon Moreno roll and dominate the backfield touches. Why wouldn’t he? ESPN, Yahoo, and every other fantasy sports outlet were telling us! Montee Ball, the sexy pick of 2014, played in just 5 games and rushed for a measly 172 yards and 1 touchdown. I couldn’t have been the only one to see this coming, right?
Would you believe that we had another Bronco running back as the sexy pick of the 2015 draft? CJ Anderson had taken over the backfield duties in the second half of 2014 for the Denver Broncos after Montee Ball was hurt and replacement Ronnie Hillman also got banged up. Anderson took the fantasy world by storm in the latter half of 2014, rushing for 767 yards and 8 touchdowns to go along with 30 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns over the Broncos last 8 games of the season.
He had to be a first round pick in 2015, especially after the Broncos cut Montee Ball and demoted Ronnie Hillman to the change-of-pace back, right? Nope! Anderson finished the 2015 season with 720 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns to go along with 25 receptions for 185 yards. Certainly not terrible numbers for a running back, but definitely not what you want out of your first round pick.
All of this brings me to the upcoming 2016 fantasy football drafting season. Using some clues from above, we can conjure up the idea that the 2016 Sexy pick of the season will be a running back, but which one. I tossed and turned (not really) about which running back I thought was severely overvalued in the first round and could only come to one conclusion: Ezekiel Elliott. Listen, I get it, the guy is good. He’s quick, strong, has the one-step cut, and not to mention the league’s best offensive line.
“But Mike, if Darren McFadden stayed healthy behind this line, Elliott will be able to duplicate Demarco Murray type numbers, right?”
Wrong, and here’s why:
All in all, I’m not saying that Ezekiel Elliot will perform poorly this year. I’m merely suggesting you let him drop to the second-third round range. He’s worth a risk, but I wouldn’t put my money on him carrying you to the fantasy championship.