Fantasy Football Focus – The Least Important Top Overall Pick in Recent History
Some years the question of which player belongs on the top of fantasy football draft boards is an absolute no-brainer. Take LaDanian Tomlinson. Don’t even think about passing on Adrian Peterson. Marshall Faulk? Priest Holmes? Yes and yes please.
In other seasons, fantasy football owners would much rather be picking outside of the top three, four, or even five spots. While having the top overall pick has its advantages, I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to potentially land two top-10-to-15 guys (depending on league size) by selecting in the middle or near the end of the first round.
Those draft positions give my teams balance and versatility while usually working out better in the long run–as long as I wasn’t missing out on LT, or Emmitt Smith, or anyone else deemed “my guy.’
I’m not so sure that I would want the top overall pick this upcoming season though. There’s no consensus number one or two guy. There are many more questions and variables than definitive answers, especially in mid-February. Right now fantasy owners don’t know if free agents will re-sign with their current teams. We don’t know if suspensions will be handed down or which players will screw up in the offseason then face lengthy recoveries from preseason injuries.
Right now, there’s not a clear cut top overall pick, but that only makes it more entertaining and interesting to project how they’ll fall.
Without a consensus first few picks, the 2015 Fantasy Football season promises to be one of the most interesting and wide-open competitions in recent memory. Don’t worry about not having a top pick, maximize your roster’s potential by selecting performers and studs and following the advice of @TodaysPigskin experts.
Elite running backs are the heart and soul of fantasy football success. The issue however is that the pure number of truly elite guys drops every year. The days of RBs garnering 25+ touches and multiple red zone or goal line opportunities every week is nearly nonexistent. Trust these three backs above all others, but weigh their risks.
1. DeMarco Murray: If Murray stays in Big D, he’ll be the safest (and best) option to go No. 1 overall. But if he’s not playing his home games in JerryWorld his production could be all over the board.
2. Le’Veon Bell: This PPR-monster could very well be suspended for the first two games causing owners to not be so high on him.
3. Jamaal Charles: His production is bound to drop off at some point, but Charles is only 28-years old and isn’t receiving an over-abundance of touches.
Great Alternatives or Too Early?
Selecting an elite WR is becoming an increasingly popular and beneficial move. While Megatron didn’t exactly reward his fantasy owners with top-end production in 2014, it’s awfully hard to pass on the enormous potential in the draft.
4. Calvin Johnson: A more well-balanced Lions attack is only go to spike Johnson’s numbers. After the Wild Card game against the Cowboys, Detroit’s Jim Caldwell will almost always look to No. 81 in the red zone.
5. Dez Bryant: Depite being an impending free agent, don’t expect No. 88 to play for anyone that doesn’t wear a star on their helmets in 2015–Dallas will re-sign or tag Bryant. Watch closely how it all shakes out. If the Cowboys re-sign Bryant he’ll be happy and strive to become the league’s best. If Dallas places the franchise tag on him however, he could become aggravated and vow not to sign a long term deal while setting up would be a bitter departure.
The Top Guns
Depth at the position doesn’t scream out “Grab one in the first round,” but upon further inspection, there’s not an abundance of can’t miss QBs in 2015. One look at the way Peyton Manning was throwing the ball in the Divisional Round will scare most fantasy owners away from selecting No. 18 until the mid-rounds. The numbers from Drew Brees were down last season and as great as Tom Brady was in the playoffs, he’s not a 4500+ yard guy anymore.
6. Aaron Rodgers: The MVP does it with his arm, intense preparation, and his legs. Every week Rodgers is capable of throwing for 350+ yards and accumulating four or more touchdowns without turning the ball over. Unparalleled production will put fantasy owners in a position for the ultimate prize.
7. Andrew Luck: After eclipsing 4700 yards passing and throwing 40 TDs in his third NFL season fantasy owners won’t bypass Luck in 2015 drafts. One of the knocks on Luck has been his propensity to make mistakes, but he only tossed 16 interceptions in 2014 and more than makes up for mistakes by making plays and scoring TDs with his legs.
Every fantasy football owner aims for consistently high production from their top RB/WR picks and these guys could easily figure into the top five rankings both at their positions and across the board.
8. Demaryius Thomas: Denver isn’t about to let one of the best young WRs in the NFL walk.
9. Antonio Brown: The Steelers WR doesn’t have elite speed or size, but fantasy owners will be hard-pressed to find better, more consistent production from any position.
10. Eddie Lacy: From mid-October on, no RB was as consistently productive as the Packers workhorse.
11. LeSean McCoy: After a lackluster season by Shady’s standards, look for a big bounce back season for the Eagles top option.
Where’s the League HQ?
12. Marshawn Lynch: Beast Mode is said to be contemplating retirement. Beast Mode doesn’t retire, he runs over opponents and rewards fantasy owners.
13. Rob Gronkowski: Gronk is the biggest difference-maker in fantasy football and plays a shallow position. Grab him before he’s gone.
14. Julio Jones: If Jones can stay healthy he’ll be an absolute monster across all formats.
15. Odell Beckham, Jr: This is not an overreaction to an impressive rookie campaign. Beckham is only going to get better and the presence of Victor Cruz will take away some double-coverage schemes.
Oldies but Goodies in the Second Round
Advancing age often scares fantasy owners away from selecting consistent production. Don’t forget about these three backs which will look even better as the second part of the tried and true RB-RB method.
16. Matt Forte: New offensive coordinator Adam Gase isn’t about to let Jay Cutler throw the ball all over the field. The Bears will run the ball more consistently while fantasy owners and Forte will reap the benefits.
17. Adrian Peterson: After sitting most of the 2014 season out, Peterson will come back with a vengeance and produce elite RB numbers again.
18. Arian Foster: The all-purpose back rewarded fantasy owners that selected him in 2014, look for more of the same non-flashy but consistent production again in 2015.
Top Options for Their Teams and Yours
Targets are very important when deciding which WRs to select early in fantasy drafts. The players on this list won’t be first-round names but could easily be top-five at the position by season’s end.
19. Jordy Nelson: Nelson gets loose at least once nearly every single game and the chemistry between him and Aaron Rodgers makes back-shoulder throws impossible to defend.
20. A.J. Green: Andy Dalton disappoints, but he also looks in Green’s direction, a ton.
21. T.Y. Hilton: An explosive playmaker on an improving team. The sky’s the limit for Hilton and Luck.
22. Brandon Marshall: The presence of other big targets in Chicago has not resulted in a decline from Marshall; he’s a solid No.1 and an incredible WR2.
Worth the Risk?
23. Randall Cobb: If he stays in Green Bay he can be bumped up into another category. The same can be said if he joins another top flight offense.
24. C.J. Anderson: Montee Ball is still around, but Anderson proved his worth and should enter Training Camp as the Broncos top running option.
25. Jeremy Hill: The Bengals will give Giovani Bernard touches as well, but Hill is the bellcow fantasy owners should target.
FanRag Sports Wants to Know:
Which player would you take with the first overall fantasy pick in 2015?
When is it too early to take a QB?
Which players did we hit on and which ones did we miss?
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