5 Ways to Gain an Edge in Your Fantasy Football Draft
Draft Ezekiel Elliot- Nothing against Doug Baldwin, but DOUG BALDWIN is ahead of Zeke in ESPN’s ADP (Average Draft Position) at the 25th overall average selection versus Elliot’s average of 28th position overall… DOUG BALDWIN. The opportunity to get a player that led the NFL in rushing by more than 300 yards along with 16 total touchdowns in the third round is clearly created for only one reason- the six game suspension. To ease owners worry about drafting a player that will be inactive for almost half of the Fantasy Football season, think Deangelo Williams last year backing up Le’veon Bell. Rushing Statistics can be influenced by extraordinary talent, but blocking schemes and team’s overall rushing style overwhelmingly determine fantasy output. Because of guys like David Decastro and Maurkice Pouncey, Deangelo Williams led the league in rushing yards during Le’veon Bell’s 3 game suspension. Surely, Bell’s dynamic elusiveness and pass catching ability provided a huge plus over Deangelo Williams as the season progressed, but Deangelo Williams was more than serviceable. In this similar situation, the Cowboys have the undisputed best run blocking line in the NFL, which means that Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden will also likely run wild in the first 6 weeks. Thusly, Draft Elliot in the 2nd round and then stash Morris and McFadden late and guarantee yourself the starting Dallas Cowboys Running Back for every week of the 2017 Fantasy Football season for an extremely low price for what you’re getting. When the playoffs roll around, and your third round pick is jumping into The Salvation Army pot for his third TD of the evening- you’re gonna like the way your team looks,I guarantee it- (Shoutout to Men’s Warehouse). The KEY to this move is getting Morris AND McFadden. If you are unable to get Elliot, still draft Morris and McFadden to leverage an advantageous trade with whoever gets ZEKE.
Defenses Win Championships- Year to Year, the most common “you would not believe how I lost in the fantasy playoffs story” revolves around how the opponents Defense threw up 20 plus points and caused their team to lose by a small margin, shockingly. For some reason, we treat Defenses as if they are some toss up category similar to kickers. The truth is matchups are extraordinarily projectable and create HUGE expected value over opponents defense if you have a favorable matchup against a poor offensive team. For example, last year the Los Angeles Rams scored an average of 12 points letting up 5 interceptions 9 sacks and 4 touchdowns to opposing defenses along the way in the fantasy playoffs last year. So, this year let’s not wait until the Falcons throw up 40 on us week 1 of the playoffs and let’s look ahead to how we can prepare ourselves for the money weeks. I believe we need to start with the Denver Broncos hosting the New York Jets in the altitude in blustery December Colorado weather in week 14- that should net you a minimum of ten points on your opponent. In week 15, we need to have the Seahawks on our roster as they host the Rams at Century Link field with the 12’s on hand. For the championship week, we are going to have to play it by ear because those teams are highly positive in expected value and we do not want to carry three defenses if at all avoidable. It is a must to draft both Denver and Seattle as it is unlikely they ever appear on the waiver wire, and it is highly unlikely to realize higher expected values over the course of the season from bench players drafted past the 10th round or so- with zero injury risk especially!
Find Value in Rookies in the later rounds- We all remember the rookie breakouts of Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliot, and David Johnson. They all provided huge value over expected output for their given ADP, as rookies commonly do because of the innate uncertainty a rookie provides. Let’s identify some rookies in this year’s draft to yield us some return on our high risk selection. Christian McCaffery, Jamaal Williams, Mike Williams, and Corey Davis are all rookies that have an opportunity to be top fantasy players by year’s end. McCaffery has displayed extreme elusiveness at camp and is already considered the Panthers top Running Back, who will surely get 50 plus catches given his receiving prowess and the Panthers initiative to keep Cam Newton clean, and on his feet. If you’re looking to buy a little lower at running back, Jamaal Williams’s intrigue is undeniable as he looks to be the starting running back for a Super Bowl contender in the Green Bay Packers amidst Ty Montgomery’s recent injury. Williams may fall down the depth chart if Montgomery recovers as expected, but either way the opportunity to gain carries seems very plausible and can be stashed as an RB4 comfortably. Mike Williams and Corey Davis’s situation is uncanny as they are both top ten picks in the draft, who likely would have been the top target for quality fringe playoff quarterbacks if it weren’t for their unfortunate injuries. If they end up being healthy, their value is as high as a fantasy WR1 or at the lowest Fantasy WR2, but the injury situation seems to be more than a smoke screen. Both these talented wide-outs have the potential to yield quite the return, but it is essential to track their injury statuses closely leading up to your draft day decision if you look to pull the trigger on these wideouts.
Don’t Draft a Player from a Terrible Team- Todd Gurley (LAR), Allen Robinson(JAX), Brandon Marshall(NYJ), Chris Ivory(JAX), Deandre Hopkins(HOU), Alshon Jeffery(CHI) all seemed to have a relatively gallant time wrecking many financial futures of young and old gentlemen alike across the United Nation of Fantasy Football Players. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Deandre Hopkins or any of these other players didn’t suddenly become terrible but that Brock Osweiler, Blake Bortles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Matt Barkley may have something to do with this. Furthermore, their teams created very few red zone and overall advantageous situations for them to compete in. It’s logical to reason that if a team does not score many points or record many yards throughout the season that the players on their roster will subsequently do the same. We know without much doubt these teams are as follows- Rams, Jaguars, Bears, Niners, Jets, Browns. If you must pick someone from these teams, please pick them later rather than sooner. Please avoid Jordan Howard, Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette. It’s possible they may breakout but it’s too high of a risk given the team they play for.
Discount Double Check– If you have a chance in the late 2nd or early third round, taking Aaron Rodgers is a pretty sound play. The conventional fantasy theory is that you don’t draft fantasy QB’s until later where you can still get a Matthew Stafford or Kirk Cousins and substitute that early round pick for a stud running back or wide receiver and theoretically you will be in a better collective position than if you had Rodgers and a mediocre skill position player. I think this year is slightly different because A-Rod is so clearly the number one given the fact he has a completely healthy Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb with a bad defense behind him that should force him to put up massive numbers to compete in games throughout the season. I also believe that the Quarterback position is weakest top to bottom that it has been in recent years, which bolsters Rodgers value even further. Looking at last year, we can see that Rodgers(Top QB) outperformed the 10th best fantasy QB (Russell Wilson) by over 100 points over the course of the season. Given his late second round grade, I think it’s almost absurd not to take the guy who will almost surely lead all of fantasy in total fantasy points across all positions.