TFF Writing Contest Round 3, 1st Place Finish: Brian Grow July 20, 2015  |  Chet


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Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Brian Grow who finished in first place for Round 3 of The Fake Football Writing Contest Sponsored by Victiv with the following piece.

 

What is your draft strategy going into this season?

 

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” -Mike Tyson

 

Who knew Mr. Tyson was such an authority on fantasy football drafts? When planning or strategizing for fantasy football drafts, after an unexpected run of running backs, much of the time the punch to the face is self-inflicted by reaching for the next highest rated RB. My strategy, for this year and for every year, is to not box myself into rules, but to follow a few guidelines. People over-prepare for drafts all the time by saying they’d never draft a TE in the first round, or that they’ll only draft RBs in the first 2 rounds, and these hard and fast rules end up blinding people to opportunities that open up to them, especially when league mates apply the same rules. So, for this year, let me provide you with guidelines and trends that I see going into the 2015 draft season.

 

Running back is deep this year

 

This year might not be the worst year to spend premium capital on positions other than running back. Taking Rob Gronkowski or Dez Bryant late in the first round may not seem like such a reach if you really look at the questions that every RB in the first round has weighing on them, and see what value you can get instead. Using Fantasy Pro’s Draft Wizard, I was able to demonstrate what kind of team you could end up with by following a semi zero RB strategy:

 

grow1

 

That’s a running back who finished as the RB 9 last season (Miller), a running back who posted 1,000+ yards, facing the highest percentage of 8+ defenders in the box (per Pro Football Focus), who has moved to one of the highest powered offenses in the league (Gore), one who averaged 5.1 yards per carry from Week 14 on and has the talent to put up RB1 numbers when healthy (Stewart), and a rookie who should step into a 3 down role from day 1 (Yeldon). All in the 5th round or later! While I got these guys much later than their ADP (all ADP data comes from Fantasy Football Calculator) here is a list of my favorite guys you can get in corresponding rounds who will provide you with very solid options in your own RBBC:

 

4th Round

5th Round 6th Round 7th Round or Later

Alfred Morris

Jonathan Stewart TJ Yeldon Rashad Jennings

Lamar Miller

Andre Ellington LeGarrette Blount

Ameer Abdullah

Mark Ingram CJ Spiller

Giovanni Bernard

Carlos Hyde

Isaiah Crowell (8th)

Latavius Murray

Chris Ivory (9th)

Ryan Matthews (10th)

David Cobb (11th)

Danny Woodhead (14th)

 

This list shows me just how deep RB can be if you can get starting RBs or guys with big roles within their offense later in your draft. Many NFL teams are turning to RBBCs and your fantasy team can have success doing the same thing.

 

Don’t forget the vets!

 

New and shiny rookies or 2nd year players get us excited, and their average draft positions prove it. It may only my perception, but it seems there are many aging vets that fantasy players are putting out to pasture before their time of usefulness is past. Use it to your advantage. Here are a list of young players that are being drafted too high and players who you can get after them that I’d rather have on my fantasy team.

 

Young Stud Aging Vet

Todd Gurley (ADP RB22, 5th Round)

Gurley has talent; that is not in question. Until we know that he is over his ACL injury, this price is too high. With Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham, the Rams could opt to keep Gurley out and extended period.

CJ Spiller (ADP RB24, 5th round)

Spiller was misused ever since Chan Gailey left Buffalo. He was asked to become something he wasn’t. Sean Payton will quickly remedy that by plugging Spiller into the role he was meant for. RB 2 isn’t out of the question for him on the team that had the most passes to running backs in 2014.

Odell Beckham (ADP WR4, 1st Round)

OBJ was spectacular last year, but his current price is maxed out. You have to have him play at his ceiling to break even on his price. Hamstring issues and never knowing what Eli Manning is going to bring you are a couple reasons I won’t own Beckham.

Jordy Nelson (ADP WR7, 2nd Round)

The favorite WR of the best QB in football is consistently disrespected when talking about elite WRs. The WR3 from last year can be had for a 2nd round price is like getting 2 1st round picks in the same draft.

Sammy Watkins (ADP WR21, 6th Round)

I love Sammy Watkins. I really do. I think he is the real deal and there is a chance he overcome the horrendous QB trio that Buffalo has assembled, but it’s a small chance. Looks like Bills are going to grind it out to win, which doesn’t bode well for the 2nd year WR.

Brandon Marshall (WR23, 6th Round)

Many are avoiding the Jets offense because of QB issues. Whether Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center, they will have success because of Chan Gailey (who had Fitzy in his heyday, if you want to call it that). Marshall can still be a top 20 WR for your fantasy team as the focal point of the Jets passing game.

Kevin White (ADP WR33, 8th Round)

Kevin White is a raw prospect with a lot of talent and athleticism. The mistake people are making is that he will be handed the No 2 WR role in the Bear’s offense. John Fox seems to rely more on his veteran players than throw rookies into the fire (Cody Latimer only had 4 targets last year with the Broncos). Let someone else pay the price for him this year, sour on him for next year, so you can reap the benefits.

Steve Smith (WR39, 10th Round)

I can imagine Steve Smith Sr, sitting at his computer, lip snarled and everything, when looking at what the fantasy football community thinks of him. With 134 targets last year, he rewarded fantasy owners who believed in him with 1,065 yards and 6 TDs. He has built rapport with Joe Flacco and with Marc Trestman coming to Baltimore, he could see a bump in production. He’s Flacco’s No. 1 that can be had in the 10th round!

Devante Adams (WR38, 10th Round)

Devante Adams is behind two spectacular WRs. I expect his ADP to rise higher after Aaron Rodgers has gushed over him in offseason workouts, calling him a “star”. Without an injury to Cobb or Nelson, he will put up similar stats to this year. He may have some great games, but they will be random enough that it will be frustrating trying to guess when he’ll erupt.

Pierre Garcon (WR44, 11th Round)

Garcon was Robert Griffin III’s favorite target in 2013. After the QB carousel in 2014 (in which Garcon still has 105 targets), Griffin looks to be the starting QB and is slowly changing Jay Gruden’s offseason tone. Garcon, who will turn 29 before the start of the season, still has the starting role and the skillset for a major bounce back in 2015.

Breshad Perriman (WR43, 11th Round)

Perriman is being drafted as if he were the WR 2 in Baltimore already. While early OTA reports were void of his drop bug, they began to start later in the offseason. He is another people are just plugging into Torrey Smith’s old job, which is a recipe for a letdown. I’m avoiding him in 2015.

Anquan Boldin (WR49, 13th Round)

WR21, WR15, WR 31, WR 34, WR 24. Those are the last 5 finishes of Mr. Boldin. He has been consistent as the favorite WR of Kaepernick. The 49ers are a team who I believe will throw a lot due to the hit their defense has taken. Boldin will no doubt outperform his current ADP.

 

These two trends in 2015 are ones to remember for this season that can give you the edge above your league mates. Allow your strategy to remain fluid so that you can see the big picture throughout your draft so you can snatch the opportunities when they are presented to you. This will be you and your computer screen after your draft: (Thanks Mike! This article would have gone nowhere without you)

 

 

grow2

 

 

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