Ah. We are approaching one of my favorite times of the year. Each year I look forward to setting up my fantasy football draft station, consisting of a multitude of snacks and alcoholic beverages, as well as a laptop with many open lines of analysis. There are few things I enjoy more than a good, competitive fantasy football draft.
Like me, many of you even have multiple leagues going at one time, and may even manage one or two. You may even have two drafts going at once. Maybe you play for money, maybe for fun. Either way, my weekly fantasy report will give you some insights and analysis from a ten-year veteran with multiple championships under his belt, including this past season.
I’d like to begin this weekly column with tips on how to have a successful draft. These tips have helped me to succeed year in and year out.
Quarterbacks, Quarterbacks, Quarterbacks
Somewhere along the line, the general public was told, by some smug ESPN analyst I’m guessing, that running backs are the premium position in fantasy football. Adrian Peterson this and Chris Johnson that. Even as recently as today, I read an article that Arian Foster and Ray Rice should be your first and second choice on draft day, should you be fortunate enough to land an early draft spot. My question is, why?
As a fantasy football participant, I urge you to do your own stat analysis before deciding who to draft in the first round. For example, a quick look at the nfl.com fantasy stats will show yearly leaders in fantasy points scored. The results of this simple analysis are telling.
Here’s what I mean: In 2011, 17 quarterbacks scored over 200 fantasy points for the season. Five of those quarterbacks scored over 300 points. In comparison, only six running backs scored over 200 points. And NONE scored over 300 points, with Ray Rice coming the closest. Shocking as it may seem, Matt Stafford scored 47 more points than the leader, Ray Rice, and Eli Manning had equally as many points as the second leading running back, Lesean McCoy. Since the 2009 season, only two running backs have eclipsed the 300 point mark, compared to eight quarterbacks.
Amazingly, since 2009, quarterbacks earned over 200 fantasy points 52 times. In this same span, only 26 times have running backs eclipsed that mark. So why all the love for the running backs? Last year, in my money fantasy league, I drafted Aaron Rodgers second overall and left Adrian Peterson on the board. The next guy took him, and proceeded to mock me in the draft room for letting him have Peterson. At the end of the season, Aaron Rodgers had thoroughly crushed everyone in points scored, especially Peterson. My point is this; somewhere along the line this bozo heard that running backs were premium. They’re not. Maybe they were back in the day, but this is a new era. They are important, but nowhere near as important as your quarterback. It is very hard to win a league title with a mediocre quarterback.
Now I can hear you asking: “But Ken, what if I am drafting 12th? Shouldn’t I take a running back or wide receiver?” Let’s examine.
Last year, the 13th best quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, scored as many points as the fifth best running back, Marshawn Lynch. Therefore, your answer is clear. Rest assured that there will be a few knuckleheads who draft Jamal Charles and Darren McFadden in the mid-first round. This should leave you open to snatch up a top 10 quarterback. This is a passing league now. The quarterbacks are the stars. They touch the ball every play, and they don’t split touches, except for Mark Sanchez …
Next week I will be examining fantasy sleepers. Stay tuned.