Photo Credit: sconniesportstalk.com
By: Adam Cohen
It’s the first round of your 2015 fantasy league draft. You and your friends are sitting around a table, all holding a sheet of paper with players names on it you have never heard of before. You think you are safe making a pick in the first round because hey, you know all the players! It is your turn to pick now, you want to go with the STUD running back that everyone is talking about, but is it really the best option? Do you really know this player?
The first round is about as huge as it comes in Fantasy drafts. ESPN’s Fantasy Analyst, Matthew Berry, concluded that your first two players selected in your draft are about 30.5% of your points scored per week! 30.5%?!? 30.5?!? That’s huge! Berry also mentioned that if you were to score 95 points a week, you would have won 11 out of 13 games against the fifth-placed team in your league, meaning it is almost the formula to winning your fantasy league. Let us now put that in perspective and say your first round pick last year was Montee Ball.
Last season, Ball accumulated 172 rushing yard, 62 receiving yards, one touchdown, and one fumble (really good stats, I know). In standard leagues (one point per 10 yards, 6 for a touchdown, and -2 for a fumble) Ball totaled 27 fantasy points last season. Then say you drafted Doug Martin in the second round last season as well. Doug Martin, in standard scoring, totaled 58 points. If we are following the 95 points a week formula for success, that would mean you would have totaled 1,235 points all season. Your first two players selected should total 376.675 points (30.5%). Instead, if you drafted this “deadly combo” of players, you instead total only a misley 85 points, 291.675 fantasy points less than what your duo of first round picks should have totaled. No matter what you did from that point on during the draft and regular fantasy season, I would bet you did not win your league.
It is crucial that you don’t make a mistake in your first two rounds of your fantasy draft. It is very hard to win your league in the first two rounds of the draft, and easy to lose it. Now lets take a look at the this years projected first round picks based on ADP (Average Draft Position) this fantasy season so far.
According to FantasyFootballCalculator, these are the top 12 picks based on ADP:
Now me go back to what I previously said, “It is very hard to win your league in the first two rounds of the draft, and easy to lose it.” This simply means to limit your risk and don’t focus as much on the upside players have, at least in the first two rounds. Let us look at some players I would Avoid and pick in the first round, based on their risk.
Avoid: Adrian Peterson
Well would you look at who came in at number one, Adrian Peterson. Yeah he could be good but would I pick him if I had the first overall pick? No way. Lets just talk about the fact that he did not play in a year and he also got a year older. Wayyyyy too much risk involved to take him where he is going right now, I will go into the Peterson situation in a later article that will talk about fantasy running backs. Anyway, I kind of got side tracked, but Adrian Peterson has too much risk involved to warrant a first overall pick selection.
Avoid: C.J. Anderson
Another player that I feel you should avoid in the first round is RB C.J. Anderson. Talk about risk, this guy became the starter of the Broncos after they had two other starters that same season! No I do not doubt that a Bronco running back will have a productive season in fantasy, you just cannot trust that that player will be Anderson from the way they turnover running backs out there.
Pick: Eddie Lacy
So now you are probably thinking, “who does this guy like?” Well, “this guy” thinks Eddie Lacy is worthy of a number one pick this fantasy season. Very low risk involved and he is in a high powered offense in which the opposing defense cannot afford to focus on just stopping Lacy. Lacy will get the touchdowns, he will get the yards, and he has an easy name you can cheer for! What else do you want?
Now let us look at the most and least risky players going right now in the second round. Again, courtesy of FantasyFootballCalculator, these are the order players are going in the second round based on their ADP:
There are definitely a lot more players I find to be, “safe,” picks in this group. Here are a few:
Pick: Andrew Luck
Every since Luck entered the league, everyone knew this guy would be special. Last year though, Luck really flourished as he took a huge step forward in his career. In 2013, Luck threw for 3,822 and last season he threw for almost 1,000 more yards! His receivers hauled in 4,761 yards worth of Luck’s passes last year! Luck finished second in fantasy points last season to Aaron Rodgers, and that was only his third season in the league! Luck is just beginning his career in the NFL and I would say even with his ADP of 15, you get this guy and sit back this fantasy season with a fine young QB that will not disappoint.
Pick: Jordy Nelson
Nelson has been a silent killer in fantasy. Having just missed four games in his last five season, you know Nelson will be out playing every Sunday (except for his bye week). Coming off of his second consecutive 1,000 yard receiving season, Nelson is someone you can trust this season. His current ADP is 20 and I think that’s a good spot to take him (give or take 3 picks). As long as Rodgers is throwing to Nelson, expect Nelson to be a star fantasy wide receiver.
Avoid: Odell Beckham Jr.
I’m sorry Big Blue Nation, but you can’t trust Beckham, as a fantasy player. Odell was GREAT last season, better yet, Odell was the New York Giants last season. He lifted that team, he energized that team, and he put up impressive stats even with missing the first four games of last season because of a hamstring injury. A hamstring injury, I hate to say it but these do tend to linger around. I’m not saying he will miss games because of it, but he won’t be 100% that often. Also, is it a coincidence that at the same time Beckham’s stock rose, Victor Cruz went down with an injury? Now Cruz is back, and according to Prince Amukamara, he’s faster than ever. We also have to remember, that was Beckham’s ROOKIE season. Team’s now will have a whole offseason to look at films of Odell, and did you ever hear of the sophomore slump in every porfessional sport? Players usually dip in production in their second season, teams better know the player and more information is usually presented to the player. This is just a rollercoaster that I do not want to ride, I would avoid Beckham, at his current ADP and maybe even in the second round. Beckham is currently going at the 14th overall pick. I would personally rank Beckham as a late second, early third round pick because of the risk involved.
Before you select your first pick this fantasy season, remember to limit your risk. Think about which two players do you trust the most to help you reach those 291.675 fantasy points this season. Good luck in your fantasy draft and come back and check out my other articles I will be posting about fantasy football this season!