Fantasy football for the last ten years plus has been a who’s who of top elite players. From LaDanian Tomlinson to Stephen Alexander, from Peyton Manning to Tom Brady. One guy has always stood out at the top as the must pick player in each years draft. Having the number 1 pick overall often meant a no-brainer selection or a valuable spot to trade down with. Not so much this year as the top of every fantasy football draft is marred with more questions than any real answers.
Last year teams at the top had their picks of Kansas City Chiefs RB Larry Johnson, Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson, or San Diego stallwart Tomlinson. This year, only Peterson is a lock for a top 3 pick and in the case of Johnson, a drop all the way down to the 5th round. Tomlinson? Well, he is averaging around the 5 and 6 range. So who’s at the top?
According to the so called experts who write all the “FF Mags” and website rankings, this years honors belong to Peterson, Matt Forte of Chicago, Michael Turner of Atlanta, De’Angelo Williams of Carolina, and Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville. Anyone there you want in the top 5?
Adrian Peterson makes sense as this years top fantasy choice. He has the speed and surrounding cast to continue to play solid football, however, will his game be improved if the Vikings do indeed add Brett Favre? Or will he lose touches in favor of Favre’s interceptions? Do the questions in the “Land of the Lakes” make you have second thoughts about spending the dough on number 1? Does having only one possible player worth the number 1 overall spot warrant making a trade up to that position? The answer to both is of course no.
Immediately after Peterson is gone at number 1…and he will be…the talent groups together from 2 to 10. Is Matt Forte better than Steve Slaton of Houston? Is De’Angelo Williams going to do what he did last year or will he share more carries with the younger fresher legs of Jonathan Stewart? Is Steven Jackson finally going to break out or just simply break down? How can anyone truly justify taking Maurice Jones-Drew in the top 5 after the horrid offensive production from the team last year?
Michael Turner in Atlanta is probably the safest gamble at the top of the draft. He will enter his 2nd year in Atlanta and the Falcons are a well rounded team offensively. He warrants a number 2 overall pick and in some cases should seriously be considered for that number 1 overall. Still, whether it’s Peterson or Turner at number 1, does this year still feel kind of…boring?
Where is the advantage to having the first pick? Or the disadvantage of years past where you drafted the big top guy like LT and then waited 22 picks to make your next one? This year it’s almost a double whammy. Get the top slot and draft from the top 5 and still wait 22 picks for your next one. The value is gone.
If names like Peterson, Forte, Chris Johnson, Jones-Drew, and Steven Jackson have replaced La’Danian Tomlinson, then what does that say about the already thinned history of RB’s in fantasy drafts? What’s left if that is the best of the best? Does taking Steve Slaton in round 1 make complete sense? Do you pass on RB’s early to grab a guy like Ronnie Brown in round 2 or 3 in favor of Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, or a QB?
That is only a portion of the dilemma’s facing fantasy footballer’s this season. With two back offenses and mediocre or unproven talent listed in the top 10, FF’ers are going to have to lean on their abilities to draft solid well rounded teams with a mixture of solid depth and starters. No luck in these draft slots
Fantasy football season has started and it’s only natural to want to rush in and make your picks, get it done, and get to the next live draft. The problem is that this year poses, as mentioned above, more questions than can be answered by simply flipping through a magazine or relying on last years now outdated statistics. Perhaps more this year than any other, luck will play a larger factor in the winners circles across the FF universe.
Here are my top 10 overall players for this years draft if I were picking in all ten slots for 10 different teams:
1: Michael Turner - Solid offensive system with little question marks. LaDanian Tomlinson back-up is now the prize a year later.
2: Adrian Peterson - Should probably go number 1 and in 99% of drafts will. Health and Favre however make me wonder.
3: LaDanian Tomlinson – Sure he was hurt last year but he is still LT and until Forte, Drew, or anyone else proves otherwise, Tomlinson is still the better back…sans the above mentioned two.
4: De’Angelo Williams – Jonathan Stewart when healthy couldn’t overcome what Williams did last year and the Carolina offense will probably be better.
5: Matt Forte – not sure I like Forte this high, but RB is highly needed position and the depth sucks
6: Steven Jackson – The Rams still need to run the ball and Jackson is all they have
7: Maurice Jones-Drew – If Jax gets slammed with Oline injuries again then it won’t matter when you took him, it’s still going to be a wasted pick.
8: Larry Fitzgerald - Probably should be higher but with the lack of elite RB’s and a more comprised list of WR’s with talent, it’s hard to put LF any higher.
9: Drew Brees – There is always a QB on the list somewhere and Brees is the “IT” guy this season…sorry but he breaks the yardage mark for a season this year.
10: Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe one of the others above falls to 10, 11, or 12