Only a handful of days remain until the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos kick off a brand new NFL season, and with the window closing on the preseason, this means a flurry of Fantasy Football drafts are about to be completed.
Some commissioners procrastinate on their draft times, while others intentionally wait for the end of the preseason, in hopes to see position battles get resolved.
So, as you ponder which players you plan to add to your roster, you should consider the following options. Take, for example, the QB position, comparing the average draft position (ADP) in ESPN Fantasy leagues. For QB’s with a similar ADP, here’s who you should select, and why:
Draft Him, NOT Him – Quarterback Edition
Draft Robert Griffin III (ADP: 46.7) and NOT Colin Kaepernick (ADP: 39.3)
The similarities are there, with each able to sling the ball downfield, while also being a major running threat. One hit the ground and was “Griffining”, while the other kissed his bicep, and was “Kaepernicking”. RGIII is coming off knee surgery, and is an injury risk. However, many are comparing RGIII to Adrian Peterson, pointing out a freakish recovery. Starting in approximately half of last year’s games, Kaepernick was great, yet managed 20-plus Fantasy points just one time. RGIII topped 30 points three times. If he can stay healthy, I like Robert Griffin III’s ability to light up the Fantasy scoreboards. The Redskins will be more cautious with him, and have the weapons to make big plays. I nabbed him at the beginning of the fifth round. Be safe and also add either Kirk Cousins or another solid starting QB.
Draft Carson Palmer (ADP: 126.5) and NOT Jay Cutler (ADP: 126.1)
Now in Arizona, Carson Palmer has Bruce Arians as a head coach, who had Andrew Luck throwing the ball all over the field in Indianapolis last season. Palmer also has one of the best receivers in football in Larry Fitzgerald, and a number of other targets that are more talented than what he had in Oakland last year.
Cutler, meanwhile, has talent around him, but few know what Chicago’s offense will be like under new head coach Marc Trestman. Carson Palmer could be a solid backup and has a great shot to finish in the top ten among fantasy quarterbacks this season.
Draft Philip Rivers (ADP: 131.5) and NOT Josh Freeman (ADP: 131.6)
A solid backup is a good thing to have, but in the later rounds, they can be hard to find. Many are picking Josh Freeman over Philip Rivers, especially with how the Chargers faded away last season. But Freeman only had four games in which he posted 20-plus points last year. As for Rivers and the team’s new offense, in a recent interview with ESPN the Magazine, Rivers said the team would “still push the ball downfield, but you’ll also see more high-percentage passes and intermediate throws than in the past”. This should mean fewer interceptions. At this point in the draft, Rivers is a decent gamble.
Draft EJ Manuel (ADP: 141.1) and NOT Ryan Tannehill (ADP: 135.1)
Neither of the two quarterbacks is owned in more than 15% of ESPN leagues, and if you’re adding one of them, it should be as a deep sleeper, or a possible third string QB. Many look to Tannehill, who has a year of experience over the rookie in Buffalo. Tannehill also now has Mike Wallace to throw deep balls to. Still, he lost his tight end (Keller) for the season.
Manuel will not start the first week, due to injury, but it’s said that he will be the starter once he’s healthy. The Bills also have weapons, and Manuel has the ability with his feet, and could add some significant rushing yards and touchdowns to his stats. Keep an eye on him. Because of the injury, you can likely wait ‘til the last round, unless you’re drafting with a slew of Bills fans.
Kevin Paul is a freelance sportswriter that is also a Fantasy Football regular. He is a regularly league winner, including last season. Last year’s team featured a roster of Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson and Wes Welker. He’s also posted a combined 417 victories against the spread over the last three NFL seasons.