I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed the first annual Fantasy Fusion Draft Kit. It was a historic week for us, albeit in our very short history, but I hope you’ve seen enough quality to realize that we aren’t complete idiots all the time…just most of it.
Check out FantasyJocks for all of your drafting needs. I NEED the coffee mug. And the jacket. Everything really.
This is my final piece in the Draft Kit, and it’s going to be a big one. This is the piece where you really learn how to draft. If I had to pick any article that I’ve written that’s going to help you as you sit in front of that empty white board on draft day, this is undoubtedly the one. Rankings help too.
As a very brief overview, quarterbacks and wide receivers are crazy deep. Running backs and tight ends not so much.
We’re going to go position by position, and I’ll let you know exactly how to approach those positions on draft day. It’ll be a good time. I’m going to cover these in a strange order, but you’ll see why at the end.
Okay, my quarterback strategy is one that almost all fantasy experts will agree with, though not everyone employs it. Everyone, myself definitely included, will tell you to wait to draft a quarterback.
Quarterbacks get the most points in fantasy football in standard leagues – by a mile. In points-per-reception (PPR) leagues, the gap definitely closes a bit, but quarterbacks still rack up fantasy points. This is why you may be tempted to take one early. Don’t.
According to FantasyPros ADP, Cam Newton is the first QB being drafted at pick 22, followed by Aaron Rodgers (28), Russell Wilson (40), Andrew Luck (43), Ben Roethlisberger (52), and Drew Brees (54). I’ll stop there.
Cam Newton lit the fantasy world on fire last year, which is why he’s going first among quarterbacks – that’s fine. He had 3,837 yards (fine, not great) and 35 touchdowns (tied for 2nd in the league) through the air. He added another 636 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground, which really sent him above the competition.
Now look down at Drew Brees going 30 picks later. Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees’ lowest passing yard total is 4,418, and his lowest touchdown total is 26 – they were both in 2006. Over the last five years, Brees averages 5,127 passing yards and just under 39 touchdowns per year. What’s your point?
Is the difference between Newton and Brees really worth 32 picks? I don’t think so. Is the difference between Newton and Luck worth 21 picks? I still don’t really think so. I’d much rather use my second or third round picks somewhere else, and grab one of these other guys in the fifth or sixth round.
Alright, Donald, ya idiot, you only accounted for six quarterbacks. What about the others?
Okay 1. Rude. 2. I’m getting there.
All of my quarterbacks after number six (Wilson for me), are pretty much the same. I’d be as comfortable with Blake Bortles (7th) as I would be with Matthew Stafford (13th).
Keep in mind that Tom Brady (ranked QB11) is suspended for the first four weeks.
Check my rankings for the full list, but for me it’s probably going to go this way:
If I don’t get Luck in the fifth (and I’m not really targeting him), I’ll probably consider Roethlisberger or Brees after that. If I don’t get them, I’m probably going to end up with Tony Romo or Matthew Stafford. Romo is being drafted as QB11 and Stafford as QB17. I have no problem waiting that long.
There’s really nothing wrong with taking a quarterback early. I just generally wouldn’t do it. If they fall, go for it. Otherwise, there’s so much depth that you can wait and get basically the same quality. On top of that, there are always free agent quarterbacks that come out of the woodwork (see Palmer, Carson and Bortles, Blake in 2015). Don’t feel like getting an excellent quarterback is absolutely crucial.
Simply put, it isn’t.
Tight Ends are stinky.
Tight End is a very annoying position. You have Rob Gronkowski at the top, probably followed by Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed in some order, then the next bunch of guys are all pretty similar.
Drafting a tight end early (namely Gronk) is never a bad idea. You get a weekly advantage of the position, and that’s great.
I’m just not going to do it.
The gap between Gronk and the rest of the tight ends isn’t as gigantic as it used to be. Gronk did lead the league in receiving yards last year (1,176) and tied for second in touchdowns (11), but he was eighth in terms of catches (72). Believe it or not, there were seven tight ends who had more catches than Gronk. Those guys are Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed, Gary Barnidge, Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, Zach Ertz, and Benjamin Watson. Travis Kelce tied Gronk.
I’m not going to use a pick on Gronk when I can wait 2-5 rounds and get a guy who may not be as good, but may be good enough. It’s really the same concept as Cam and the quarterbacks (above). I’m not necessarily opposed to taking Jordan Reed (currently going 38th) or Greg Olsen (44th) for the right price. If I don’t get them, I have no problem sitting back and taking Delanie Walker (65th), Coby Fleener (75th), or hell even Jimmy Graham (108).
If you don’t want to sacrifice an early pick for the top one or two (or three in this case), just wait for a while. It’s fine.
There are two separate schools of thought on running backs, and they’re pretty simple.
Get them early or get them late.
I belong to the “get them early” demographic.
Members of the “get them late” group are very intense about it and it scares me.
Okay, so looking at my rankings, I feel very comfortable until RB9 (Eddie Lacy), then slightly comfortable until RB12 (C.J. Anderson), then slightly uncomfortable until RB20 (Latavius Murray), then having the cold sweats after that (RB21: Jonathan Stewart on).
I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the top nine – keeping in mind that Le’Veon Bell (RB8) is suspended for the first four weeks. If I can get one or two of those guys, I’m happy.
Moving to the next tiny group comprised of Mark Ingram, Doug Martin, and C.J. Anderson, I’d be content with them also. They have their doubts, and I’m worried about the handcuffs taking work from all of them (yes, even Tim Hightower), but I’d be content having them on my drafts.
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to start anyone in the next group. I see the potential across the board, and I wouldn’t mind owning them, but in terms of having to start them, I’d rather have a better insurance policy.
As mentioned before, having to start anyone after that is nauseating.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to skip to wide receivers, then come back and address running backs and receivers together. Oh, you do mind? Oh well.
As mentioned above, wide receivers are very deep, just like any other year. You have to go all the way to WR26 (Doug Baldwin) to find a receiver that I wouldn’t like to start. Everyone in front of that is fine.
In terms of tiers, I see them like this
Tier 1: Brown, Beckham, Jones
Tier 2: Bryant, Green
Tier 3: Robinson, Cooks, Nelson, Evans
Tier 4: Marshall, Hilton, Allen, Cooper, Jeffery, Tate, Thomas, Watkins
Tier 5: Edelman, Cobb, Landry, Benjamin
Tier 6: Decker, Maclin, Sanders
So obviously there are some very good players at the top, then everyone after that is fairly similar.
It’s crucial that you take advantage of the depth at receiver.
Running Backs and Wide Receivers
Okay, we’re back. How do we address these two?
In terms of who I feel comfortable with, the running back list ended at RB12 (C.J. Anderson) and the receiver list ended at WR25 (Emmanuel Sanders). Where are those two being drafted?
C.J. Anderson is currently going with the 35th pick, and Emmanuel Sanders at the 63rd. What’s that mean? Essentially, in order for me to be entirely comfortable with my running back situation, I need to have two of them by roughly pick 35. In a 10-team league, that means two of the first four rounds. Not a huge deal.
If it was up to me, I’d probably take receivers in the other two rounds.
In case you haven't noticed yet, I focus heavily on running backs and receivers in the first four-five rounds - and most fantasy experts will tell you the same thing. They're the bread and butter.
Bringing It All Together
Okay, I’ve briefly laid out my perception of each position, so let’s quickly run through the first few rounds of a draft.
Assumptions: 3rd pick (just because), standard 10-team league, other players will be drafted at their ADP (obviously wouldn’t happen in a real draft)
First pick (3rd): Julio Jones
This is going to be the best left of the top three receivers.
Second pick (18th): Eddie Lacy
In terms of ADP, we’re looking at Brandon Marshall, Doug Martin, Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Lacy, Cam Newton, or Mark Ingram. I personally have Brandin Cooks (ADP: 27th) ranked higher than Marshall, and I know that in this mock draft vacuum, we can get Cooks with our next pick if we want to. Let’s go RB.
Third pick (23rd): LeSean McCoy
This is the time that strategy comes into play. Would you rather a) take Evans, Cooper, or Cooks and be left with Latavius or DeMarco Murray as your other RB? Or b) take Ingram or McCoy and be left with Edelman or Cobb as your other WR? Personally, I have to go RB.
Fourth pick (38th): Julian Edelman
Edelman or Cobb as discussed above. Cobb is dead to me after last year so…
Beyond (43rd forward)
At this point, we can start exploring quarterbacks (Roethlisberger coming up) or tight ends (maybe Olsen is still available). If that isn’t your thing, just keep drafting running backs and receivers. In most of the drafts I’ve done, I’ve started filling my bench before filling my starters. It might feel a little weird, but depth at running back and receiver is what wins you fantasy titles.
That’s it! I’ve let you into my mind. Use it wisely.
Never hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter @DonaldGibsonFF for LITERALLY ANYTHING.
Fantasy football is the most successful fantasy sport in the world. Whether it’s because you only have to set your lineup once a week or because it’s the perfect way to get together with some friends to eat and drink, fantasy football is played by millions of players with multiple teams across the world. While it may be difficult to make the actual games better, there are a few ways to make your league better.
1. Pick the right competition
There is NOTHING worse than joining a league, doing your research, making your draft selections, and then realizing that half of the league does not care about fantasy football as much as you do. Whether it be making ridiculous transactions or not setting a lineup correctly, playing with the wrong people can sour your fantasy experience. Make sure you pick the right league with the right people to match your level of competitiveness.
2. Pick the right time
Do you know what half of the fun in drafting is? It’s being around people where you can talk shit, get drunk, and binge too much pizza. This one seems a little self-explanatory, but don’t plan your draft at a time where people have to rush. Relax, it’s supposed to be fun!
3.Get the right supplies!
Whether you plan on doing an online draft or a live draft, you’ll need the right supplies. Remember to print off some rankings and articles on players to help your decision making. If you plan on doing a live draft, make sure to visit FantasyJocks get your draft kit. It really does make a difference in the quality of your live draft and it’s completely affordable.
4. Don’t be a dickhead
No one likes it when someone mocks your selection. While it’s fair to spark up conversation debating projections, there’s no reason to be a jerk about it. If you come to the point where you’re legitimately arguing about fantasy football, maybe you all should take a time-out and eat more pizza.
5. Find a good punishment
This is my favorite part. Maybe it’s me being a little sadistic, but there’s nothing better than watching the last place team take part in an agreed-upon punishment. Whether it be a tattoo, wearing a monkey suit during the draft, or doing a photo-shoot calendar with the last place team posing in a different dress for each month, make sure you pick something fun and funny for the entire league. And don’t be a sore loser, if you agree to the punishment, man-up and do it.
Have any other suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @FFMilkman. Maybe we'll even work you into this article.
After suggesting to my colleague that he write a piece called “Fantasy Garbage Pile” consisting of players that he hated, I decided to have some fun with it as well. He already took my obvious choice in Ted Ginn, but I’ll see what else I can do.
I’ve spent most of this draft kit talking about players I don’t like and players whose value is inflated. Well, nothing’s really changing here. I’m just going to try to avoid talking about the people that I already mentioned.
I had a good number of Palmer shares last year, and it was lovely. I’m not sure if it’s the age and durability or the regression or what, but I’m not really on board in 2015. I would love to throw some statistics to back that up, but I don’t have any other than his age: 36 and number of knees: likely 0. Palmer is being drafted as QB7 on FantasyPros, and I have him at QB12.
There’s a good chance that he won’t be drafted as he is currently QB21, but I want no part of Bridgewater in two QB leagues either. Bridgewater, coincidentally, had the 21st most pass attempts last season. He also had 14 touchdowns to nine interceptions.
The volume simply just isn’t there. This is Adrian Peterson’s offense, and I don’t see that changing unless there’s a major injury. Even then, I can’t see Teddy slingin’ it. He’s QB31 for me.
I really have no idea how anyone can comfortably draft Jeremy Hill in 2016. I didn’t have him on any teams last year, but I know he had to be incredibly frustrating to own. We all knew that he would be splitting fairly evenly with Gio Bernard, but it was ugly.
Bernard out-snapped Hill 580 (56%) to 458 (44%) in 2015. Hill never broke 100 yards rushing, averaged 3.6 yards per carry on the season, and caught a WHOPPING 15 balls. I really don’t know what there is to like.
Hill is being drafted at the 47th pick in front of guys like Jonathan Stewart, Ryan Mathews, Dion Lewis, and Matt Jones, all of whom I like more than Hill. You do get the touchdowns with Hill (11 in 2015), but I absolutely hate having a touchdown dependent team.
Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon
Even though Yeldon wasn’t great last year, he was still a quasi-workhorse. Not anymore. Chris Ivory came in and ruined it.
This is a good move for the Jags offense, but I don’t want any part of it. They were extremely successful through the air last season (Blake Bortles was tied for second with 35 passing TDs), and, while I do expect regression there, that may be their crutch in games when they’re losing.
There’s a good chance that one of Ivory and Yeldon is good. If I had to pick…I don’t know which one I would pick. If you’re looking for RB depth, feel free to take a shot on one of them. I just don’t know which one so I’m probably going to pass across the board.
I’m part of the group that thinks that Murray will absolutely be the workhorse on this team, and Henry will spell him occasionally and probably in the red-zone. I’m envisioning at least a 75-25 split in favor of Murray. Henry is currently being drafted at pick 98, and I think that is way too high.
Let me be clear. I do like Robinson. I do expect him to do well in 2016. He isn’t really in the garbage pile. More like sitting on top of the recycle bin.
I’m afraid that I won’t be able to pull the trigger on Robinson in drafts this year because there will most likely be touchdown regression, and there’s a stigma in my head that everyone on the Jaguars is bad – though cognitively I know that isn’t even slightly true.
If Robinson is the best receiver on the board, I have a feeling I’m going to instinctively lean running back or just take Brandin Cooks because I’m a savage.
I know I said I wasn’t going to mention people I already mentioned, but shut up.
Jeffery is being drafted as WR9 in front of Brandon Marshall, Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Keenan Allen, and T.Y. Hilton. I have every single one of those receivers in front of Jeffery.
He’s already injured, he’s on an iffy offense, and the Kevin White storm is coming. I would need excellent value to draft him.
Travis Kelce and Gary Barnidge
The reasoning behind these two is pretty similar.
They were both very good last year, but I just can’t trust the offenses. I’ll always see the Chiefs as a run-first, run in the red-zone, run on your own 20, run to the sidelines, run to the hotel, run back to Kansas City team.
The Browns are the Browns.
A big issue with these two is the tight ends being drafted around them. FantasyPros ADP currently has Kelce at TE4 followed by Tyler Eifert, Delanie Walker, Coby Fleener, Gary Barnidge, and Ladarius Green.
I’m not a huge fan of Eifert, especially considering his injury, but I’d be more inclined to buy into Walker (94 catches last season), Fleener (now on the pass-heavy Saints), or Green (now on the pass-heavyish Steelers). When in doubt, I side with the offenses I trust.
Follow me on Twitter @DonaldGibsonFF. You may or may not regret it.
Recently, Donald wrote an article titled “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.” Unfortunately, sometimes in life you have to accept the purely negative side of things. This article is simply about the fantasy trash that will be drafted too high this season. I can guarantee that none of these players will be on any of my teams this season, despite having some high praises from the fantasy community.
If you know me, you know that one of my favorite shows is Seinfeld. If you are a fan of the show, you will undoubtedly recall the episode in which George saw a half-eaten chocolate éclair in the garbage can and decided to eat it. This metaphor is pretty simple to understand; even if something looks delicious, it’s still trash, so don’t eat it.
Let’s talk about the trash you may find to look good enough to pick out of the garbage can.
Bortles had an outstanding year in 2015, throwing for over 4,400 yards and 35 TDs. He has a great duo of receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns and a solid tight end in Julius Thomas. He’s currently a top 10 QB for most fantasy outlets including ESPN (10th) and my esteemed colleague’s rankings (7th). While I do believe Bortles can be a solid fantasy starter in 2016, I’m not so sure he’s worth picking over established veterans such as Tony Romo, Eli Manning, or Philip Rivers, or even newcomers such as Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor.
Bortles can sling the ball, that’s for sure, but it’s fair to say that there is more than a little suspicion that his stats will regress in 2016. So while I don’t hate the idea of drafting Bortles in general, I do hate his asking price.
Murray is a relative newcomer in the fantasy world, as this will only be his third year in the league. Last season, he finished the 2015 campaign with 1,066 yards, six TDs, and 41 receptions. Those are solid numbers for a running back projected in the RB20 range, but I will not be drafting him.
Murray slowed down last year and there are serious concerns out of Oakland that he can’t be a 3-down back. He also averaged a shaky-at-best 4.0 yards per carry last season. Rookie running back Deandre Washington is getting a lot of looks early in training camp and word on the street (Twitter) is that Washington may even take over by the end of the year.
As Ravens fans remember, Forsett’s season came to an end last year after landing on the IR - like most of the starting team. This gave the Ravens a look at Buck Allen who, aside from fumbling issues, compiled some pretty decent fantasy stats for owners who were fortunate enoug to scoop him off of the waiver wire.
Forsett is getting old and the Ravens backfield may just be the most crowded in the league. Buck Allen is still pushing for the starting role, rookie back Kenneth Dixon is expected to get some opportunities, as the coaching staff seems incredibly excited about him. We can’t forget Towson University Alumni Terrance West (I may have gone there) as a candidate to steal some carries, who apparently has been a pleasant surprise thus far in training camp. The starting gig seems to be a committee at the very minimum this season, so I will be steering clear of all of the above.
I don’t understand this year’s hype behind Baldwin. Yes, he finished the season with 78 receptions for 1,069 yards and 14 TDs, but do you realize his production by game value? In weeks 3-8, he caught no more than 3 passes in a game and had 1 total TD over that period.
It was only after Jimmy Graham was hurt and the offensive scheme began to change that Baldwin exploded. In weeks 10-17, he caught at least 4 passes each game, with an average of almost 6 each week. But the real fantasy value came in his 12 TDs in that timeframe. That has touchdown regression written all over it. With the return of Jimmy Graham, Baldwin will see some more targets than pre-Graham injury, but to expect Baldwin to repeat last year’s success in asinine.
Ted Ginn Jr.
TED GINN IS NOT A REAL RECEIVER. His hands are made of stone and he runs terrible routes. I have no idea how Ginn managed 10 TDs. I guess the defense just decided not to cover him because they assumed he would drop every pass? 'Cause that’s what I’d do.
Regardless, there will be that one person in your league who takes Ginn as a top 40 WR and fully expects to have his TD production of last year. Just promise me not to be that guy. Save him for WR7 for your own team.
As always, feel free to comment, tweet, call, or dm me your innermost thoughts at @FFMilkman.
We're about halfway through the first annual Fantasy Fusion Draft Kit, and I hope you're satisfied with the content that we've been churning out. As always, don't hesitate to reach out to me via the Contact page or via Twitter @DonaldGibsonFF or @FantasyFusionFF. Oh yeah, and don't hesitate to follow @FFMilkman either.
Okay, this article is simple. I'm going to run down the FantasyPros standard league Average Draft Position (ADP) list (as of 8/2/16) and point out the things that I think are nonsense. By "nonsense," I mean situations that you should either avoid or use to your advantage. Shall we?
Hey! Check out FantasyJocks for all of your draft and league needs. Just take a gander.
Todd Gurley: ADP: 3
Okay. I'm not sure where I've been the last few days. I feel like the last time I checked, Gurley was around pick 7, which is where I think he should be. He's currently the highest-ranked running back, but I prefer David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott over him. I also prefer Julio Jones in terms of overall players.
It's hard for me to embrace drafting players on generally bad offenses, and the Rams offense has definitely not given me much confidence in the last, oh I don't know, decade or so. The idea of defenses stacking the box constantly makes me run away with my pants around my ankles. It doesn't always matter, though: see Peterson, Adrian, 2012. If you love Gurley, have at it. I won't be.
Jamaal Charles: ADP: 16
I've written about Charles in what seems like every article. I don't want him unless it's the fourth round, and that's not going to happen. Moving on.
Alshon Jeffery: ADP: 20
I'm a little hesitant about Jeffery this year. The Bears offense looked pitiful last season, and I don't think the likely emergence of Kevin White helps Jeffery's case. I'd be more comfortable a little later than this pick.
Cam Newton: ADP: 22
I've already written about this. You don't need to take a quarterback this early. You can, and you might be happy about it, but you can get very similar production 2-3 rounds later.
Brandin Cooks: ADP: 27
Should be number one.
I love Cooks. Most people know that I love Cooks. I do prefer him to some of the guys around him like Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, and even Alshon Jeffery (above). Honestly, though, this slot is where he should be. I just wanted to talk about him.
Kelvin Benjamin: ADP: 37
I do think Benjamin will have a solid year. That isn't my issue.
The odd thing is that this team's number one pass-catcher is going seven picks later and plays a much scarcer position - that would be Greg Olsen: ADP: 44. I'd prefer to swap these two..
Ryan Mathews: ADP: 53
Already covered this one on FantasyPros!
Jeremy Langford: ADP: 57
Keep an eye on this one. There's a lot of chatter that 1) Jeremy Langford just isn't good at football and 1a) Jordan Howard is going to take his job. Look out.
Michael Floyd: ADP: 58, Larry Fitzgerald: ADP: 60, John Brown: ADP: 72
I'm planning on just avoiding all of these guys. It's a constant cycle of excitement and disappointment because you never know which one will be the most productive week by week. Count me out across the board.
Melvin Gordon: ADP: 70
Okay, Gordon was supposed to be good last year, and ended up not scoring a single touchdown. Eek.
I expect a major bounce-back year from Gordon in 2016, and that potential is enough for me to jump all over him at pick 70. He's one of the mid-round guys I'll be targeting.
Ameer Abdullah: ADP: 77
Just go ahead and take Melvin Gordon's description above and replace 1. "Gordon" with "Abdullah", 2. "not scoring a single touchdown" with "scored a measly three touchdowns", and 3. "70" with "77". Pretty easy, huh?
Seattle Seahawks: ADP: 91 and Denver Broncos: ADP: 92
Guys, come on. I get that you want a good defense, but the tenth round? At least wait until the 12th.
Ladarius Green: ADP: 93
Tight ends are awful. You can do a lot worse than Green. I'm expecting a solid season from him, so don't overlook him because he was vastly unproductive behind Antonio Gates in San Diego.
Stephen Gostkowski: ADP: 114
Matthew Stafford: ADP: 142
Would you like to guess how many times since 2011 Stafford has thrown for less than 4,257 yards? YUP, YOU GOT IT. Zero. I get that he lost his major weapon in Calvin Johnson, but he's still going to come out slinging. Stafford sneakily had a solid campaign in 2015: 67.2% completion percentage (fifth in the NFL), 32 touchdowns (t-seventh) and 13 interceptions for 4,262 yards (eighth). I'm not saying he's amazing, but he shouldn't be going among the kickers.
Eric Ebron: ADP: 160
"Oh, hey Matthew! Didn't expect to see you here," Eric exclaims as he stares up into teammate Matthew Stafford's undercarriage 18 floors above him.
There has been a lot of chatter about Ebron as a viable tight end breakout candidate, including from our very own Mike Streb. Stafford's Megatron-less production should leak into Ebron's stat line. Leak? Why did I use that word?
Ted Ginn: ADP: 172
The only time you can draft him is if you're in a 28-team, 64-round draft. That's it.