Fantasy football draft advices and recommendations
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 00:08
When your insider football magazine becomes your second Bible and you start hanging on to every last word ESPN’s Matthew Berry utters, you know it’s time for your fantasy football draft.
Every August, pigskin enthusiasts prepare for their drafts, hoping to take back bragging rights, and to win the league title amongst peers and enemies alike. Personally, I spent a good part of the month in full fantasy mode: sacrificing work productivity and sleep for mock drafts, listening to podcasts to get the latest on those flying under the radar, memorizing depth charts and making note of new offensive schemes. I was doing all I could to make sure the league trophies would be engraved with my squad’s name come winter.
Lucky for you, I have a burning desire to share my wealth of knowledge to the rest of the fantasy football universe. If you’re reading this article needing confirmation to draft Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson and Aaron Rodgers, please stop. I’m not here to tell you that these guys are great, or that others such as Philip Rivers, Jonathan Stewart, and pretty much every single New York Jet are best left untouched.
No, drafting surefire studs and ignoring insignificant duds are not what gets you the fame, glory, and payout at the end of the season. Rather, it’s taking a flier on the guys that are undervalued, while letting the scandalously overvalued players become someone else’s headache. In the past, I’ve had big-time success resting on the shoulders of guys like Steve Slaton and Alfred Morris. Of course, I’ve also been known to put up stinkers week after week thanks to clowns like Darren McFadden, Greg Jennings and Michael Vick.
This year is totally different. I am more prepared than ever. I toss and turn at night wondering if Jamaal Charles has a true backup out in Kansas City, if Matt Stafford is going to be more like the 2011 version or 2012 version of himself and who in the world is going to be catching passes from Colin Kaepernick. All joking aside, I am currently the Daily Campus’ version of Mr. Matthew Berry himself. So, until I let you down (I’m setting the over/under at about 2 weeks), consider me your fantasy football expert. And don’t forget to bring this article to your drafts!
Early Rounds: Reggie Bush, RB, Lions
In his first five professional seasons, the most rushing yards Bush ever had in a single year was 581. In his last two years with the Dolphins, Bush averaged a very respectable 1,036 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. While his receiving numbers decreased dramatically in Miami (he hasn’t had a 50-catch year since 2008), the former USC Trojan now plays in an extremely pass-happy offense led by Matt Stafford. Aside from Calvin Johnson, the Lions have no established targets that can change a game on a single play like Bush can. In 2012, the duo of Joique Bell and Mikel LeShoure hauled in a staggering 86 catches on 116 targets. The bulk of those go to Bush now, especially considering how often Stafford elects to check down when Megatron is blanketed. In PPR (points per reception) leagues, it wouldn’t be ludicrous to call out Reggie’s name in the early 2nd round. Granted he’s healthy, 1,600 total yards and around 8 touchdowns are not out of the question.
Middle/Late Rounds: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
I’m driving the T.Y. Hilton bandwagon, and you’ll really be regretting it if you don’t hop on soon. As a rookie last season, Hilton hid in the shadows of Reggie Wayne before breaking out in the second half of the year. In the last 7 weeks, Hilton went for 506 yards and five touchdowns, sneakily becoming Andrew Luck’s new favorite target. In the Colts playoff loss to the Ravens, the deep threat was targeted 13 times by Luck, catching eight balls for 66 yards. I consider this performance the outlier, as Hilton only averaged a little over three grabs per game during the regular season. He may have around 60 catches in Year No. 2, which isn’t overly attractive in a PPR-league, but some of those will be 70-yard bombs for scores. Think DeSean Jackson with more of an upside. And, when T.Y. Hilton is putting your fantasy team on his back as your third wideout, remember to say T.Y. to me–as in thank you.
Early Rounds: Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
I called him a clown, and that’s a great description of McFadden for the circus that is the Oakland Raiders. Look, if you take a running back in the first round of your fantasy draft, I’m all for following that up with two elite wide receivers in hopes that you can find a second tailback in Round four or five. Don’t make the mistake of choosing McFadden, though–I’d feel more comfortable with Darren Sproles (if he’s even still there), Ryan Mathews (yes, he’s still alive), or even Daryl Richardson in that spot. For one, McFadden sees team doctors almost as much as he sees the field. He has missed 23 games in five seasons due to an array of issues, and it’s not as if he was killing it in 2012 when healthy–he averaged a lousy 3.3 yards per rush. To further take shots at Run DMC, Jared Veldheer, Oakland’s offensive tackle whom many consider the best player on the roster, tore his tricep in training camp. The offensive line is now suspect at best, and opponents are going to load the box knowing it’s either Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor under center, neither or whom will make defensive coordinators lose sleep at night. It all spells doom for McFadden, who will impress me this year just if he plays in 14 or 15 games.