Mock drafts over the past couple weeks have taught me two things: People use draft rooms to scream at each other in all caps about Chik Fil A sandwiches, and I can never draft Brandon Lloyd and Percy Harvin.
It’s always one or the other. Never both.
My mocking raises two questions: Is there a delectable chicken sandwich I can eat as an expression of hatred for my fantasy football league members, and who, exactly, should I take between Harvin, who finished white hot last season and will be force fed the ball on a potentially crappy offense, or Lloyd, whose training camp performance has inspired limericks, sonnets, songs, and poems from Patriots beat writers enamored of his confounding chemistry with Tom Brady.
In last week’s #HateMock2012 – a practice draft inspired by undying animus between me and a longtime league mate – I came to the end of the fourth round with both Lloyd and Harvin still on the board. I’d give at least one big toe to have both guys on my squad this year, but I knew, at that point in the proceedings, that I could choose one, and only one. I chose Harvin with the 39th pick. Lloyd went three picks later – a far cry from mid-July, when Lloyd was regularly going in the high-70s. Oh, for those days.
And yes, I realize I could have both players if I had invested a late second or early third round pick on one of these guys. That often means taking Harvin or Lloyd over proven, somewhat safer pass gobblers like Hakeem Nicks, A.J. Green, Greg Jennings, and Julio Jones. I’m not doing that.
For the record: Harvin’s current average draft position is 43. Lloyd’s is 61.
The consensus, when I pitched this grating First World Problem to fantasy ballers on Twitter, seemed to be Lloyd. In an offense led by a quarterback who will surely throw for 5,000 yards this year, Lloyd is the guy. A small contingent, including Chet Gresham, that wizard of all fake sports, sided with Harvin.
The argument against taking Lloyd high this summer goes a little something like this. Brady, like Travis Henry, has too many mouths to feed. He has Gronk and Hernandez and Welker. He likes to spread it around. So, the thinking goes, Lloyd’s production will bounce like the Richter scale. In fact, James Walker, ESPN’s AFC East blogger, has warned fantasy fiends not to expect 80 receptions from Lloyd this year.
It’s damn near impossible to ignore the training camp reports describing the easy connection between Brady and Lloyd, who all but guaranteed during the offseason that he would follow Josh McDaniels anywhere he went. Lloyd’s career year came in 2010 in McDaniels’ offensive scheme, then in Denver. Lloyd, according to all accounts, knows McD’s system like the Rainman knows blackjack.
The warnings against going all in on Harvin are centered entirely on the guy who throws the pigskin for Minnesota, Christian Ponder. He’s no Brady. Hell, he might not even be as good as Andy Dalton. But where Lloyd has competition for throws on a field full of studly pass catchers, Harvin has none. The Vikings showed late last year that they were in the Percy Harvin business, force-feeding the rock to Harvin on reverses, pitches, handoffs, bubble screens, and the old-fashioned downfield pass. Harvin shredded the league in last season’s final seven weeks, racking up 723 yards and seven touchdowns while receiving an average of nine touches a contest.
Harvin was tied with Larry Fitzgerald for third in wide receiver targets in the final five weeks of the 2011 regular season. He was four targets ahead of Megatron, and five ahead of Nicks. But as any 2011 Harvin owner will tell you with unsoothed rage in his eyes, Harvin was often — and inexplicably — yanked from the game in the red zone, a disturbing trend that fantasy footballers should monitor during the preseason.
I hope you target both Lloyd and Harvin over the next few weeks, unless their ADPs skyrocket and destroy their fantasy values. Harvin is certainly the safer pick. He’s bust proof, with so many touches coming his way every week. Lloyd though has a chance to be the mini-Moss some have dubbed him this summer. That ain’t bad. He could be spectacular, leading the league in catches or receiving yards or both, in which case I’d like you to tweet this article with the hashtags #FantasyFootballFail #CDCarterIsATool and #LongLiveLloyd.
As for me, I’m taking Harvin. I want my fantasy stars with their gloves around the pigskin early and often.