Fantasy football season is upon us
We have you covered with capsules, cheat sheets and position rankings. Hint: Cardinals RB David Johnson, left, is a no-brainer.
Fantasy football, like life, is always easier when you know what is going to happen.
Nice to know that a certain stock will rise or that it is past time to replace that water heater in your attic. And it is good to know how you can make optimal positional picks in your fantasy draft.
Each new season is tied to the previous one. Most drafters assume last season repeats, and they draft accordingly.
As a result, drafts unfold in reliable ways, which can help you make better decisions about your roster.
Let’s see what the 2017 trends are for each of the primary fantasy positions.
There are really only two flavors of league rules that matter here — can you start two of them? If so, then they will be going hot and heavy, with likely the top 12 gone by the end of the third round, if not earlier.
For the majority of leagues, quarterbacks are both one of the highest scorers and one of the easiest positions to fill. In standard scoring, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees were tops and yet differed in per-game score by only about one point. The delta between the No. 4 and No. 16 was about three fantasy points a game.
How that usually shakes out in drafts is that someone takes Rodgers around the third round. Tom Brady goes next as a hat tip to the second half of the Super Bowl and not so much from what he has done lately career-wise. Then Brees tags along in the fourth, if not fifth round. The gates don’t really open until the sixth to eighth rounds. Consider Ryan the key here. He usually leads the later run on quarterbacks.
In most leagues, it just makes good sense to wait on a quarterback, though grabbing a second one early is never a bad idea.
Trend advantage: Waiting until the sixth to eighth round for a quarterback allows you to load up on running backs and wideouts with minimal if any penalty.
There is no disagreement on the top two: David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell. Ezekiel Elliott was third until the NFL stepped in with the suspension that might have a resolution soon. He’s currently going near the start of the second round and will end up at the end of the first if the suspension is lowered to three games or so. Bell lasted to around that spot last year when he missed the first two games.
LeSean McCoy leads a group with DeMarco Murray, Melvin Gordon, Devonta Freeman and Jordan Howard in the second tier. It is a repeat of the top 10 of 2016, even though only half usually make it back.
Expect the third round to drain the top 15. This is where the rookie backs typically go — Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon — as well as Isaiah Crowell and Ty Montgomery.
Quality extends out through the eighth round. Waiting on a running back can produce players such as Doug Martin, Frank Gore, Eddie Lacy, Rob Kelley, Derrick Henry, Adrian Peterson and Duke Johnson, who all have upside but come with risk. Many teams grab one back early and fill up on wideouts before returning to running backs from Rounds 6 to 8.
Trend advantage: A top-10 back offers much more consistency and lower risk than the rest. But they will only last until the middle of the second round. If possible, get one and then load up in the later rounds on higher-risk players. Own three backs by the end of the seventh round if possible.
In standard scoring leagues, wideouts are still taken in early rounds. The top 10 are all gone by the third round. With points awarded for receptions, there will be 12 to 14 already claimed. After the first two running backs are gone, the block of Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones goes next.
Not surprisingly, the top 10 wideouts also mirror the position’s final rankings from last season. Expect Mike Evans, A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Michael Thomas and T.Y. Hilton to go by the end of the second round. If
In 2017 fantasy drafts, the selection of the Falcons’ Matt Ryan has been an indicator that a rush on quarterbacks is coming.