Hear That? Fantasy Football Season Is Knocking On The Door.

Featured, Sports and Bets — June 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm by

by Babes

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again when I start talking about his upcoming fantasy football season entirely too early.  But fuck it, I’m already excited!  Today I want to talk first round strategy for 2014 and compare this year’s top of the board to last year’s.

Generally I’m old school when it comes to first round strategy in the fact that I love to draft running backs early.  Usually I try to draft at least two backs in the first three rounds, but this year I’m seriously considering adapting my strategy.  First and foremost, running backs have a much greater risk of injury than receivers or quarterbacks.  If you look at last year’s top twelve fantasy rankings, five of the running backs on that list missed time due to injury.  Arian Foster, CJ Spiller, Ray Rice, Steven Jackson, and Doug Martin were all first round picks last year that severely disappointed their owners, and the majority of that disappointment was due to injury.  Of the top ten wide receivers last year only two spent significant time injured, Julio Jones and Roddy White.  With the pounding that running backs take it becomes much more likely for fantasy owners to lose a back to injury than a receiver.

Also, and maybe more importantly this year, the top of the running back board is far from cut and dry. This year there are far less backs than normal who you can feel comfortable drafting in the first round.  I’m sorry, but there is no way in hell I’m taking DeMarco Murray in the first round and that’s where multiple publications have him ranked.  Yes, he is extremely talented and he plays on a good offense that will be smack dab in the middle of ten shootouts this season, but he is a walking (or not walking) injury report.  I’ll take Demaryius Thomas over any back like that and sleep like a baby, as the fantasy guru John Hansen so aptly puts it.

This will also mark the first year that I will have no problem taking Jimmy Graham in the back half of the first round.  He finally has me convinced that he merits a first round pick.  He provides such a wide margin of position dominance and he is virtually guaranteed to find the end zone digit times this season.  Also, Graham is again playing in a contract year, as he is on the franchise tag.  There is no reason to suspect that Graham won’t put up close to 1100 yards and well over ten touchdowns.  Of course you can never predict injuries, but Graham is as close to a sure thing as you can get in fantasy.

I see three running backs as the first three picks this year.  LeSean McCoy at one, AP at two, and Jamaal Charles at three.  All three backs are clearly elite bell cows who will exceed twenty touches per game.  At four I see the earliest possible selection of Calvin Johnson.  Megatron will once again push the 1800 yard receiving barrier with digit touchdowns.  At five and six the next two backs I would feel comfortable taking are Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch.  Forte is the focal point in a octane offense, his only drawback being that his touchdown total is usually low.  Hopefully, without Michael Bush vulturing away red zone touches, Forte will get in the end zone more often.  Lynch has been fantasy gold ever since he arrived in Seattle, but he is another year older and surrounded by other younger and talented backs.  Robert Turbin and Christine Michael are going to garner some touches in what could be a little more of a committee than what we’ve become accustomed to as Lynch fantasy owners.

In the back half of the first round I see at least two more wide outs being drafted and then Jimmy Graham being taken. Most likely at least one quarterback will round out Round One.  I already mentioned D. Thomas, and I’m also taking AJ Green over any of the next tier of running backs.  This is also where I’m seriously considering Graham over any back.  In fact, the next spot I would select another back would be at ten.  This is where Eddie Lacy, LeVeon Bell, and Arian Foster come into play, along with the possibility of Peyton Manning.  The quarterback debate of fantasy value is for another day, but you would be hard pressed to find a league where somebody hasn’t taken Manning or Drew Brees in round one.

So rounding out the first round, I have one QB, one tight end, three wide outs, and seven backs.  That is significantly different than last yea’s running back rich Round One.  Ideally I would still love to have two backs in the first three rounds, but you can be assured I’ll have a top WR1 or Jimmy Graham to go along with them.

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