Category Archives: Uncategorized

UPDATED: Top 50 WR Rankings

2017 Wide Receiver Rankings

Updated June 8th, 2017

Antonio Brown, PIT (E)
Julio Jones, ATL (E)
Mike Evans, TB (E)
Odell Beckham Jr, NYG (E)
Jordy Nelson, GB (+1)
A.J. Green, CIN (+1)
T.Y. Hilton, IND (-2)
Michael Thomas, NO (E)
Amari Cooper, OAK (+1)
Doug Baldwin, SEA (+1)
Dez Bryant, DAL (-2)
Alshon Jeffrey, PHI (+1)
Sammy Watkins, BUF (+2)
Allen Robinson, JAC (E)
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (-3)
Brandon Cooks, NE (E)
Demaryius Thomas, DEN (E)
Keenan Allen, LAC (E)
Michael Crabtree, OAK (+2)
Davante Adams, GB (-2)
Jarvis Landry, MIA (+1)
Golden Tate, DET (+2)
Terrelle Pryor, CLE (-3)
Julian Edelman, NE (+1)
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (+1)
Tyreek Hill, KC (+3)
Stefon Diggs, MIN (+1)
Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (+3)
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (-6)
DeSean Jackson, TB (E)
Jamison Crowder, WAS (+1)
Willie Snead, NO (+4)
Eric Decker, TEN (+2)
Brandon Marshall, NYG (E)
Martavis Bryant, PIT (-2)
Pierre Garcon, SF (+3)
Donte Moncrief, IND (-10)
Corey Davis, TEN (-1)
Devante Parker, MIA (+2)
Rishard Matthews, TEN (-2)
Cameron Mereditch, CHI (+1)
Kenny Britt, CLE (+1)
Randall Cobb, GB (+1)
Jordan Matthews, PHI (+1)
Adam Thielen, MIN (+1)
Corey Coleman, CLE (-5)
Jeremy Maclin, BAL (+4)
John Brown, ARI (E)
Mike Wallace, BAL (-2)
Marvin Jones, DET (+2)
Josh Doctson, WAS (+4)
Kevin White, CHI (+5)
Sterling Shepard, NYG (+1)
Mike Williams, LAC (-1)
John Ross, CIN (+3)
Robert Woods, LAR (+4)
Quincy Enunwa, NYJ (+5)
Taylor Gabriel, ATL (+6)
Kenny Stills, MIA (+2)
Tyrell Williams, LAC (-11)

Drafting a QB / RB Combo

 

So you’re willing to get creative to produce a roster that maximizes the plays on the field. Drafting a valuable QB/RB combo is one of the easiest ways to ensure that every point is wrung from the towel that is fantasy scoring. Carr Cooper

Skip the Early Rounds

I’d argue that drafting a duo over the first four rounds is foolhardy, as it requires you to either reach for a player to ensure you get them, or overlook a player who may be much more valuable. Pairs like Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are a perfect example as they’re both being drafted in the 2nd round. Do you really want to spend a first round pick on either of them? The same goes for Brady and Gronk; it’s just too hard to organize your targets to ensure you get them both.

I’m not saying that if they fall to you don’t take them; hell you’d be insane not to take advantage. But you’re playing a game of chicken that you’ll lose more often than not.

First Round WRs

Looking at current draft data, it appears that the easiest way to secure a potent duo is to select a stud WR in the first round. Here’s the first round receivers and their corresponding QB.

  • Antonio Brown, PIT (Ben Roethlisburger, ADP 89)
  • Julio Jones, ATL (Matt Ryan, ADP 45)
  • Odell Beckham Jr, NYG (Eli Manning, ADP 130)
  • A.J. Green, CIN (Andy Dalton, ADP 148)
  • Mike Evans, TB (Jameis Winston, ADP 93)

As you can see, all five projected first round WR’s can be paired with their starting QB without much effort. Of course, maybe one of these duo’s features a player you loathe, or maybe you draft at the end of the first and you feel that you missed your chance. I’d argue that the real value of the strategy is in the meat of the draft

Middle Round Finds

If you’re like me, you see a draft with maybe a dozen safe backs and a wealth of top end talent at WR. So you want to draft a RB in the first and piece together your roster later? Not a problem, there’s even more valuable combinations to be had outside of the first round.

Amari Cooper – OAK, ADP 24 – So you drafted to RB’s and you’re looking to add a WR. Amari Cooper is one of those young, high volume WR’s that commands the ball. Having him on your roster is a boon, especially considering that Derek Carr is being drafted currently in the 9th round. Sure, you may have to stab a bit early, but with his upside, there’s very little risk and the reward could be fantastic.

Doug Baldwin – SEA, ADP 30 – Now we’re in the fourth round and you find yourself drafting the under valued Baldwin… great, he’s a wonderful fantasy asset. So is his starting QB. Russell Wilson is being drafted criminally late; current ADP data shows him going in the 8th round. Not bad when every catch counts double for your team.

Terrell Pryor – WAS, ADP 48 – There’s some questions surrounding the former QB, but his athleticism and ability to read a defense makes him an intriguing WR1 for the Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins seems to be perpetually in a contract year so drafting him between rounds 8-10 serves up some serious upside when these two are clicking. Expect some huge weeks.

Golden Tate – DET, ADP 54 – Tate continues to be viewed with skeptisism even after he proved when he’s on the field he’s every bit the number one receiver Detroit envisioned when Calvin Johnson retired. He’s also a great option if you like to wait on your QB’s considering that, despite off-season praise from owners and coaches, Matt Stafford (and his 600+ attempts) are being drafted as late as the 12-13th rounds!

I’d caution against hitching your wagon to QB/WR combo’s for teams that don’t consistently produce through the air. While the options above feature offenses built around their respective stars, there are several teams that don’t offer much in terms of added value. Chicago, the Jets, Houston, or Cleveland are all obvious choices to avoid.

As always, do your research and think as abstractly as you can; it’s important to adjust on the fly and not be too dialed into any strategy going into the draft. Do you agree with our pairs above or have a different strategy that’s worked for you? Well feel free to let us know; leave a comment or send us an e-mail. As always, happy drafting!

 

Sparknotes: AFC West

Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players. 

Turnover amongst the skill positions is a constant concern for Fantasy owners, but no division embodies this in the AFC as completely as the AFC West. Denver looks like it will continue to toil at the bottom of the division with the Chargers looking improved and the Chiefs and Raiders set to slug it out again for the division title.

Kansas City Chiefs

Notable Fantasy Stars: Travis Kelce (TE2)m Spencer Ware (RB19), Tyreek Hill (WR29), Alex Smith (QB 23), Chris Conley (WR75),

Synopsis – This ain’t your grandfathers Chiefs team now that Maclin and Charles are both gone. Sliding into the starter roles are Tyreek Hill and Spencer Ware, both who should be drafted with confidence as the methodical KC offense is very consistent. Chris Conley gets the largest bump (from WR115 to WR75) and could see even more attention as the season gets closer. Of course, Travis Kelce is the defacto #1 in this passing offense, and could see a bump into the Gronk range with even more responsibility. Ware may not be as flashy a name as Charles was, but he has a firm grip on the starting gig, and I expect him to man all three downs at least until he proves he can’t handle it.

Oakland Raiders

Notable Fantasy Stars: Amari Cooper (WR10), Derek Carr (QB12), Marshawn Lynch (RB15), Michael Crabtree (WR21), Jared Cook (TE24) DeAndre Washington (RB66)

Synopsis – While it appears Derek Carr is making a full recovery following his season ending leg break, wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree would both take a major hit if Connor Cook (or god forbid E.J. Manuel) was forced to start. Jared Cook will likely be targeted as a third option again this year so he’s no more than a late round flier. The biggest question mark in Oakland remains it’s running game as the team parted ways with Latavius Murray and added the un-retired Marshawn Lynch to the roster. Will Beast Mode return to form? If not, DeAndre Washington is an intriguing handcuff for Lynch owners as he could have mid to late season value.

Denver Broncos

Notable Fantasy Stars: Damaryius Thomas (WR17) C.J. Anderson (RB17), Emmanuel Sanders (WR23), Paxton Lynch (QB28), Jamaal Charles (RB45)

Synopsis – I hardly think I’m going out on a ledge by ranking Paxton Lynch over Trevor Semien in my rankings; I can’t see Denver not giving Lynch a chance after trading up to pick the young QB at this point, so take the depth charts with a grain of salt. Regardless of who is under center, Demaryius Thomas is going to be the focal point of the passing game. Sanders will see his fair share of targets, but he may fall short of the season’s we’ve grown accustomed to. With the addition of Jamaal Charles, the backfield gets a little murky. Anderson should still handle the lion’s share of carries, but Charles will more than likely steal the passing downs, and if Anderson struggles, Charles could very easily jump him on the depth chart.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Notable Fantasy Stars: Melvin Gordon (RB8), Hunter Henry (TE11), Philip Rivers (QB14), Keenan Allen (WR19), Mike Williams (WR53), Tyrell Williams (WR59)

Synopsis – New home; same old gunslinger in Philip Rivers. The biggest concern coming into the season is whether or not Keenan Allen can stay healthy. Despite his absence, Rivers put together a decent season, and the Charger’s rewarded him by adding Mike Williams in the draft. I’d expect Tyrell Williams to come back to earth a bit if Allen is healthy, and all signs point to the affirmative. With the added weapons, last year’s breakout star Melvin Gordon is in line for some big numbers. His value suffers a bit in PPR leagues as he’s TD heavy but should return most 2-3rd round investments.

Sparknotes: AFC South

Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players. 

The 2016 season was a mess for the AFC South as the sole representative in the playoffs was the underwhelming Houston Texans. Another year of heavy turnover and all four teams are hoping for a change in fortunes in 2017.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Notable Fantasy Stars: Leonard Fournette (RB13), Allen Robinson (WR14),  Blake Bortles (QB18), Marcedes Lewis (TE48),  Marquise Lee (WR66), Allen Hurns (WR70), T.J. Yeldon (RB74)

Synopsis: Trying to predict where Bortles likely 600+ pass attempts will be headed is enough to give anyone a headache. Allen Robinson is a shoe in for 125-150 targets, but Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are going to have to fight it out to be the #2. Hurns defenitely has the history but Lee’s pedigree is hard to ignore. In the backfield, Leonard Fournette adds the element of a battering ram who can scorch you in the open field as well. His presence should limit Yeldon’s fantasy yield while opening up space for Bortles to bounce back.

Houston Texans

Notable Fantasy Stars: Lamar Miller (RB11, DeAndre Hopkins (WR12), C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE15, Deshaun Watson (QB25), Will Fuller (WR67).

Synopsis: Houston struggled last year with injuries and the inconsistent play of newly-departed Brock Osweiler, prompting them to add Clemson QB Deshaun Watson at the draft. It’s worth noting that while Savage may occupy the #1 spot on the depth chart, this team will be Watson’s sooner rather than later. His arrival should mean a return to the top 10 for both Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins, while Will Fuller and Fiedorowicz remain just outside of the circle of fantasy relevance.

Indianapolis Colts

Notable Fantasy Stars: Andrew Luck (QB5), T.Y. Hilton (WR5), Jack Doyle (TE13) Frank Gore (RB25), Donte Moncrief (WR27), Erik Swoope (TE37)

Synopsis: There are major concerns at the moment that Luck will be 100% at the start of the season, and this casts doubt on every major player on this offense. Hilton would suffer the least, as his role is clearly defined and any QB under center would likely look his way often, but Moncrief was dismal even with Luck on the field. It’s been common practice to write Frank Gore off over the last few years, but I think he has enough in the tank to remain relevant, especially as the 25th RB selected. While those positions are set in stone, Jack Doyle continues to lead the TE column despite the buzzy off season that Erik Swoope is having.

Tennessee Titans

Notable Fantasy Stars: DeMarco Murray (RB 7), Delanie Walker (TE7), Marcus Mariota (QB15), Corey Davis (WR37), Derrick Henry (RB38), Rishard Mathews (WR38)

Synopsis: Assuming Mariota returns at close to 100%, he should be in line to have his breakout season with newly aquired Corey Davis providing a transendent pass catching weapon to this offense. Rishard Matthews may have fewer opportunities but will still command a large portion of the offense. DeMarco Murray is the day one starter but with Henry looming in the background he’ll have to stay healthy and effective to stave off the talented 2nd year player. Probably the most consistent member of the offense is the consistent, if not un-sexy, Delanie Walker. His production as a TE1 is a bargain as he generally falls in early drafts.

Sparknotes: AFC North

Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players. 

After a timultuous regular season, the lone AFC North representative to qualify for the playoffs was dispatched by the eventual Superbowl champion Patriots in the AFC championship game. This year, three teams not named the Cleveland Browns have aspirations for their own big games.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable Fantasy Stars: Antonio Brown (WR1), Le’Veon Bell (RB2), Ben Roethlisberger (QB13), Jesse James (TE33), Martavius Bryant (WR33), Eli Rodgers (WR79)

Synopsis: Pittsburgh is a perennial fantasy powerhouse, and the 2017 season looks to continue on that trend. Big Ben falls in my rankings due to injuries and age; the guy has taken a ton of damage over his storied career, but Brown and Bell are the most potent skill position due on the NFL. Part of their allure is the lack of reliable stars around them. Bryant figures to carve a nice little WR4 role for himself, but Rodgers and Jesse James offer little value for this year.

Baltimore Ravens

Notable Fantasy Stars: Joe Flacco (QB22), Benjamin Watson (TE30), Danny Woodhead (RB32),  Kenneth Dixon (RB42), Mike Wallace (WR47), Breshard Perriman (WR50)

Synopsis: It should be an interesting year in Baltimore, as the team no longer features the ageless Steve Smith (retired) or TE Dennis Pitta (released). Flacco aims to bounce back in a big way this year, but his targets will be redistributed in a way that makes predicting this offense difficult. Danny Woodhead may be the back that sees the largest spike in value as he’ll man the passing downs exclusively and youngster Kenneth Dixon takes over goal line and short distance duties. Mike Wallace will continue to be a 15+YPC guy but Perriman is a conundrum: do the Ravens bring in a Decker or Maclin to be the #2 or do they trust Breshard to make the leap?

Cincinatti Bengals

Notable Fantasy Stars: Tyler Eifert (TE4), A.J. Green (WR7), Andy Dalton (QB17) Joe Mixon (RB21), Giovani Bernard (RB46), Jeremy Hill (RB47), John Ross (WR58)

Synopsis: Going in 2017, the one sure thing on the Bengals roster is that Green and Eifert are going to see a ton of looks. John Ross figures to factor in to a much smaller degree, but his speed and ability should warrant him as a flier pick, especially in deeper leagues or keeper formats. The running back situation is where it gets muddled. They didn’t add Mixon to take a back seat to the previous two-headed monster. All signs point to Mixon being something closely resembling a workhorse, but Hill and Bernard present a conundrum. I expect Bernard to remain in the pass catching role potentially leaving Hill as the odd man out, but this is an interesting one to watch going into the season.

Cleveland Browns

Notable Fantasy Stars: Isaiah Crowell (RB14), David Njoku (TE19), DeShone Kizer (QB26), Corey Coleman (WR41), Kenny Britt (WR43)

Synopsis: Truthfully, no one knows exactly who’s going to be calling plays from under center. I assumed by now Brock Osweiller would have been cut, but he continues to take starter reps even as draft pick DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler both garner support as the starting QB. Neither Corey Coleman nor Kenny Britt offer much upside at this point, but either could be intriguing once some clarity forms from the passing game. One thing for certain is that The Crow should see the bulk of the reps at RB, with Duke Johnson Jr’s only real value coming in deeper PPR leagues.

 

Updated Rankings

We (I) here at DRF are pleased to announce that our WAY TOO EARLY rankings for 2017 are up on the site. I don’t have a top 250 put together yet but each skill position has been ranked with mini break-downs of each ranking.

Kickers and Defenses ranked but no additional information at this time.

So kick back, peruse the rankings, and feel free to shoot us a an e-mail with any questions or suggestions at drfantasy@zoho.com

Hidden Gems (QB)

EvRG3ery year we spend our fantasy prep time pouring through periodicals and compiling statistics based off of “expert” analysis. And while this information is invaluable, we often times ignore the most important players to a championship team: The Bench.

Finding these hidden gems can be difficult but rewarding when your first and second round picks start experiencing the injuries that come with playing as often as elite NFL players do. We’ll examine who from the bargain barrel section of the drafts can help you when they inevitably enter the fray.

Surest Thing – Ryan Tannehill: While it’s always been a rule of thumb to wait on a QB, Tannehill is being drafted far later than his recent performances would dictate in my opinion. As a passer, he’s averaged nearly 4,000 yards and 25 TD’s following his rookie season, and he’s a good bet to add 200 yards on the ground to that. Coupled with the fact that Adam Gase got decent fantasy numbers out of Jay Cutler and he’s returning a talented WR group that will likely be better this year and you have a case for Tannehill to be the best bet amongst the late round picks this year.

Highest Risk Reward – Brock Osweiler: Being drafted in the last rounds of drafts, Osweiler has a lot to prove after only 8 starts last year for the eventual Superbowl Champion Broncos. Now he’s got the offense to himself and he’s playing under Bill O’Brien who has managed to squeeze more out of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet than maybe we expected. With a go-and-get it WR in Hopkins as a saftey blanket, it’s just as easy to envision 4,000 yards and 25 TDs as it is a complete flameout as a starter. At pick 200, he’s worth a shot though.

Big Ole’ Bust – Kirk Cousins: If you’re a Kirk Cousins fans, I’ll forgive your outrage. And as a disclaimer, I think he’s a fine player, but he’s not worth drafting at his current ADP while other quarterbacks named Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford are still on the board. Cousins will likely be fine over the course of 16 games, but he’s proven much less than he’s being given credit for and he’s throwing to a collection of talented but often injuried wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. If he falls another few rounds he’d likely be be a better value, but in the 10th and 11th rounds I’ll take my chances elsewhere.

BONUS – Robert Griffin III… Going into the offseason I felt that Cleveland was taking a huge chance bringing in another potential headache to replace the departed Johnny Manziel. Now they’ve announced their handing over the key to the Winnebego. So here we are, asking the same question again; does RG3 have any football left in him? It’s likely in shallow leagues he’ll spend a week or two riding the waiver bus, but in deeper leagues he may be worth a late (and I do mean late) flier. If he is on your roster watch the waivers in case he does flame out spectacularly (as I see him doing).

Kelvin Benjamin Out For The Year

KelvinA tough blow came today as reports centered around a season ending ACL tear for Panthers star WR Kelvin Benjamin. After lighting up the league as a rookie, he’ll be sideline for the entire 2015 season, throwing further shadow across an already tough-to-gauge roster.

Cam Newton Impact: Don’t expect him to throw for 4,500 yards even with Benjamin in the line up. You can expect maybe a bit of a down turn passing yards, but he still has two towering red zone targets in Greg Olsen (6’5″) and rookie WR Devin Funchess (6’4″) so TD’s won’t be an issue.

Devin Funchess Impact: Temper your expectations! Obviously he’ll be in line to receive a bulk of the 140 targets that went to Benjamin last year, but he’s still a rookie, and he doesn’t have the pedigree of an Amari Cooper or Nelson Agholor. He’ll produce at a level acceptable of a fantasy WR3 but be mindful of over drafting just because of the injury to Benjamin.

Greg Olsen Impact: As a receiving tight end, there’s only a few more prolific in the league. This injury should make Olsen the #1 option for Cam Newton on most weeks, I’d expect a top 5 season from the big man.

Jonathan Stewart Impact: This should help Stewart early as the team may lean on the run a bit more than usual. If the usage increases for Stewart, expect injuries to follow.

Bonus Impact: For those who have Cameron Artis-Payne flagged as a late round flier, this is great news. A team that has been committed to the run for years is down it’s best receiver and will likely integrate more Artis-Payne than over using it’s aging RB1. Although Stewart still sits atop the depth chart, as a cuff, he’ll be far more productive than other backups in the league.

Keeper Strategies

A frequently asked question around Fantasy Football forums and circles is “who do I keep? Player A or Player B?” and the resulting “advice” can range between sound advice and foolhardy optimism. If you’re offering the former, then odds are you’re presenting a scenario in which the player your suggesting is going to provide better value than the player you’re putting back into the draft pool. This is a result of quality strategy; and concept I’d like to share below for those just learning.

1. Understand your leagues format:

Year in and year out it’s painfully obvious which players gloss over this important piece of information. When selecting your keepers start here. Is it a two quarterback league? full point PPR? Do you have 3 WR spots or an extra flex? All of these factors would adjust the “value scale” on a player prior to submitting keepers.

Scenario: I recently replied to a forum post where an owner couldn’t decide between Russel Wilson, Julio Jones, and DeMarco Murray. He described his league as half point PPR with two starting QB slots. Right away I’d eliminate DeMarco Murray, at his current ADP and expecting the draft to be heavily geared towards QB’s, he’ll be available in the middle rounds anyways if you’d really like to have him. This leads us to Wilson or Jones… Two things to consider; one, do you expect your fellow owners to keep QBs? And if so, do you expect the first round to feature QB’s heavily? This is important because you’re likely going to have to draft a QB in the first round if you keep Jones. My argument (and personal opinion) centers around having clear cut tiers to your positions. Wilson is securely in my 2nd tier because of his reliance on his legs and Julio Jones is securely in my top WR tier. Consider the .5 points for receptions and the fact that the 2nd tier of QB’s features far greater numbers and you have your answer: Julio Jones. It’s more likely you can replicate Wilson’s production if you miss out on him than Jones’.

2. Understand your fellow owners: 

Put yourself in your fellow owners shoes prior to making your selections; check their final rosters and determine if you think a certain position may be more (or less) scarce at the top of the pile. This will lead you to possibly keep a player with less perceived value in standard formats.

Scenario: This falls to my own experience to explain. After a successful year, I was considering who my 3rd keeper would be. I already had Le’Veon Bell and Mike Evans kept in the 6th and 8th rounds respectively… that left me with Tannehill in the 11th, Lamar Miller in the 7th, and Travis Kelce in the 21th. Our league starts two QB’s, and a look at potential keepers showed that several teams had high value QB’s in the middle to late rounds; I expected a large number of QB’s to be kept and opted for Tannehill as my 3rd. When the list of keepers was revealed, I was pleased to find that nearly every team kept a QB, further depleting a position I would need to roster 3 players at. Based purely on value, Kelce would have been my third keeper, but knowing I’d be drafting at a disadvantage for the entire draft, I kept the QB I knew I’d have to reach on early just to have.

3. Keep your eye on the future: 

Some of this advice seems fairly obvious, and this section will not be any different. When fleshing out your keepers for the following year it’s important to factor in how your league processes the keepers during the draft. Do you have a finite time on keepers? Does your pick degrade over time (10th round becomes 8th round etc, etc.)? This becomes important when considering between two players who offer similar value but age or round drafted become a mitigating factor.

Scenario: We’ve already seen this following piece of advice bear fruit. You’re deciding wether or not to keep Arian Foster (pre-injury) and have narrowed it down to him in the 5th round or Carlos Hyde in the 8th. At the time you’d be thinking “I’m a fool to pass up a first round RB in the 5th round” knowing Carlos Hyde would likely be available in the 3rd or 4th rounds of your draft; but I’d caution you to consider both the age of either player, and their ability to stay healthy. All of these scenarios require several “what if” statements but I’d argue that keeping Hyde with the potential to have a top 10-15 back in the 8th round for the next several years trumps the value of an oft-injured Arian Foster a few rounds earlier knowing he’ll eventually not be worth drafting.

4. Keeping to Create Balance: 

Although this may sound like it runs contrary to the first piece of advice, it’s important to consider balance when keeping your players. To me, this is a puzzle piece that fits tightly together bullet point 2. above. Despite how you may feel about a certain player, if you’ve narrowed it down to a few, it’s important to consider how you’ll build around your core. Does keeping three backs set you up for failure but being too unbalanced going into the draft? I’d argue it does. Ideally you’d like to keep three players who can dominate or offer top value at their positions, rather than the “bulk up on one position” strategy I’ve seen so many times.

Scenario: You’ve been lucky enough to draft several players who would be keepers on other teams but you know you’re going to have to throw a few back. You’ve got Andrew Luck and Marshawn Lynch already set aside as keepers and you have several to chose between for your final spot. You have Mike Evans in the 6th round, Latavius Murray in the 16th, and Lamar Miller in the 9th. You consider for a moment what it’d be like to pair Marshawn with another RB, it sounds like a nice advantage, but I’d argue that you’re missing the boat. Sure, RB is a shallow position, but I’d argue to keep Mike Evans would allow you to target players more liberally in the draft rather than putting yourself in a position to have to react to other players. This becomes and issue early when you have to draft a WR instead of a back that you really like because you have a spot you need to fill. Suddenly you find yourself drafting C.J. Spiller three rounds early because you missed on Carlos Hyde, and this can spiral into a middle round disaster where you draft players purely because you think you have to, rather than because you think that player is the best player available. Keeping Evans allows you to skip a WR to draft a RB or vice versa if you don’t like the players at your pick.

NFL Injury Round Up

nilespaulEvaluating injuries prior to your draft? We’ll attempt to break down how they may affect your teams and strategies.

  • Michael Floyd – WR / Arizona Cardinals (Hand) – I expect Floyd to be ready for week one, but it’s clear the door is open for John Brown to ascend to push Floyd further down on our rankings. Unless he gets meaningful preseason reps, I’d expect him to open as the WR3 in Arizona.
  • Kevin White – WR / Chicago Bears (Shin) – 6 weeks minimum is the expected time missed for the rookie as his shin injury required surgery. He could be on the shelf longer, but even when he returns it’s unlikely he’ll provide much fantasy help. Eddie Royal is looking like gold right now…
  • Darren McFadden – RB / Dallas (Hamstring) – Although it’s not nearly as severe as the other injuries on this list, the mere mention of yet another injury in the long litany of them DMC has suffered should give owners pause. Draft with extreme caution, primarily as the cuff to Joseph Randle who now owns the keys to the kingdom.
  • Joique Bell – RB / Detroit Lions (Knee) – Bell is working hard to find his way back on to the field, but it may be too little too late for the ageing veteran. Ameer Abdullah’s hype train seems unstoppable at this point, and while Bell won’t be kicked to the curb completely, it’s hard to expect him to handle a larger portion of the snaps.
  • Arian Foster – RB / Houston (Groin) – It’s looking like half the season or more after groin surgery to repair the most recent injury to Foster. I argued to look past the injury history with Foster earlier in the off season, but it’s hard to ignore the facts; Foster is an injury waiting to happen, and as such needs to be handled with kid gloves. The fear with Foster is that even when he does play it’ll be a wait and see approach if he’s even worth starting. More of a last round flier than anything else with his history.
  • Devante Parker – WR / Miami (Foot) – He showed flashes earlier in the off season and looked to fill a role on a team with several diminutive possession receivers. He should be ready for week one, but it may take him some time to get going, and Miami has a lot of mouths to feed. Be mindful he won’t be impact-full for several weeks at best to start the season.
  • Brandon LaFell – WR / New England Patriots (Foot) – What exactly does his injury report mean? Not much considering that New England is the masters at giving just enough information to seem forthcoming but really say nothing. He may be hobbled to a bit to start the season, but without Brady, his numbers should be stunted anyways.
  • CJ Spiller – RB / New Orleans Saints (Knee) – Spiller’s injury likely won’t cost him regular season playing time but it’s worth noting that Spiller has had troubles staying healthy in the past. When he’s on the field he’s electric, and his ability to play 3rd and passing downs makes him a valuable asset, but keep a close eye on his health going into your drafts, and have a backup plan for if (when) he becomes injured.
  • Zach Ertz – TE / Philadelphia Eagles (Torso) – Ertz had a relatively minor surgery on his core, so expect him to be ready for week one. Not nearly as concerning as a head, knee, or foot injury, I’d ignore this one as a real threat to his ascension into the elite ranks of  TE’s. Expect him utilized early and often in Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense.
  • Niles Paul – TE / Washington Redskins (Ankle) – At one point, the question of which Washington TE would get the bulk of looks was a real one. Now we know it won’t be Paul. The out-of-no-where contributor will be on the shelf for the 2015 season after breaking his ankle in the preseason. If Jordan Reed is healthy ( and they’re a concern there as well ) he could be worthy of a later round flier.