Last night, I was watching the movie Draft Day. It’s focused on a fictional version of the 2014 NFL Draft, and followed the story of Cleveland Browns GM Sonny Weaver Jr., played by Kevin Costner.
Weaver Jr decides early on in the movie that he’s going all in for the draft, thanks to some peer pressure from his owner, and acquires the number one overall pick. The man in charge of the Browns then has to navigate a maze that includes the following obstacles- Should we pick the Heisman Trophy winner that has some pretty big red flags both on and off the field? Should we pick the guy that we could have gotten without trading three first round picks over the next three years? Should I, Sonny Weaver Jr, smile on occasion?
The maze needed to be navigated before the draft, and the clock was ticking down.
Chances are, you don’t have to determine whether to draft Bo Callahan in eleven hours. That said, you might have more in common with Mr. Weaver Jr. than you think… especially if you have a Fantasy Football draft coming up.
I assume you do, considering you clicked on this article. That means you have to navigate a maze approaching your draft as well, and this maze also has obstacles. Sure, you probably won’t have to deal with an irritating Head Coach that really wants you to trade the first overall pick, but you will have to decide what players are worthy of your roster spots, and pick wisely right from the first round.
No one has a perfect map to the maze. However, thanks to many factors, we can draw a prediction of where the exit is. Outside that exit? Your fantasy football championship title. Also, many adoring fans.
Fantasy Football Top 10
1- David Johnson, RB (ARZ)
2- Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)
3- Le’Veon Bell, RB (PIT)
4- Ezekiel Elliott, RB (DAL)
5- Odell Beckham, WR (NYG)
6- Julio Jones, WR (ATL)
7- Mike Evans, WR (TB)
8- Lamar Miller, RB (HOU)
9- Jordy Nelson, WR (GB)
10- LeSean McCoy, RB (BUF)
DRAFT or AVOID — Fantasy Football Quarterbacks
It’s a common saying in Fantasy Football- wait on your quarterback. And while it might be really satisfying to have Aaron Rodgers lead your team to a championship, quarterback is pretty deep again this season. Chances are, there’s one you have your eye on from the beginning.
Last year, I was high on Bortles, Rivers, Carr, and Prescott (in no particular order). Bortles didn’t really work out, which was fine because Prescott was on the waiver wire early in the year and I picked him up right before the hype really started on the guy. Rivers didn’t lead me to a championship in the league I picked him in, but he was pretty good all year and it generally wasn’t him to blame.
Then there’s Derek Carr — and to say he worked out an understatement. Carr was very, very good last year, and I expect it to continue this year…
DRAFT — Derek Carr, Raiders
Carr scored 20 or more points eight times last season, and this year he adds Marshawn Lynch and Jared Cook to an offense that already had Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. I expect Carr to not only be a QB1, but also in the discussion to be a Top 5 QB in the league next year.
DRAFT— Cam Newton, Panthers
Let’s not let last year disappoint us too much when it comes to Cam. With the addition of Christian McCaffrey and the motivation to return to form this season, I see a strong year for both Newton and the Panthers. I doubt he’s the top quarterback ever again, but I see a QB1 season with Top 5 QB potential.
AVOID — Matt Ryan, Falcons
Before anyone yells too much, I don’t expect Ryan to fall too much. But Kyle Shanahan is in San Fran now, and there’s going to be regression in the Falcons offence. I wouldn’t actively avoid having Ryan on your team, but if you’re looking QB and Ryan’s on the board, chances are that one of Carr and Newton are as well, and I’d rather take my chances on one of those two this season.
More QB’s to Draft — Matthew Stafford (DET), Kirk Cousins (WAS)
More QB’s to Avoid — Andy Dalton (CIN), Joe Flacco (BAL)
DRAFT or AVOID — Fantasy Football Running Backs
Generally, I have more fun experimenting with wide receivers because having at least one reliable running back is almost a necessity to win your league. Out of Johnson, Bell, Elliott, and Miller, the four RB’s in my Top 10 overall, the only one with a slight chance to be a bust at the ADP is Miller. I, as you can probably assume based on the rating, don’t think this will happen. If you can grab one of these four in your first round, you’re set at RB1. If you don’t? Then you’ll have to experiment a bit. Here are some mid-to-late RB picks that I definitely like this season.
DRAFT — Danny Woodhead, BAL
When Woodhead is on the field, he’s one of my favourite fantasy running backs. Now that he’s in Baltimore and Kenneth Dixon is out, his ADP should be skyrocketing. His injury history also doesn’t scare me as much as it scares some others. Don’t worry about Terrance West.
DRAFT — Christian McCaffrey, CAR
I’m going to be honest. I think Christian McCaffrey, NOT Jonathan Stewart, is the Carolina RB to own this season. I like the player a lot, but I also love the situation with Carolina’s run based offence.
DRAFT — Ty Montgomery, GB
All I’ve heard this offseason is that the Packers should look for a running back, because all they have is a converted receiver. I disagree. I don’t necessarily believe that Montgomery is the long term answer at RB, but I do like him there. Since arriving, Montgomery has looked for a role. The Packers liked him, but he was blocked at WR from a prominent role due to the depth — Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Allison, Janis, Davis. The depth may have been there for the receivers, but mid season last year he shifted over to RB because the depth certainly wasn’t there for the backs. Lacy and Starks failed, so Montgomery had to step up. He did, and this year his only backups are rookies. I expect him to be a bargain at the late rounds.
AVOID — Adrian Peterson, NO
I don’t see Peterson making much of a contribution to this offence this season. The Saints RB to own remains Mark Ingram.
More RB’s to Draft — Todd Gurley (LAR), Jay Ajayi (MIA)
More RB’s to Avoid — Jonathan Stewart (CAR), Latavius Murray (MIN)
DRAFT or AVOID — Fantasy Football Wide Receivers
There are so many fascinating receivers this year. It’s also another year where you could totally justify taking Antonio Brown first overall in your draft. That said, they occasionally miss — DeAndre Hopkins was most notable of the misses from players drafted in the Top 15. I expect Hopkins to have a big year this year.
DRAFT — Martavis Bryant, PIT
Remember this guy? He missed last season due to that suspension, but he’s still that hugely talented receiver playing alongside Ben and the rest of that Pittsburgh offence. I’m watching the story about his “conditional reinstatement,” but if he’s on the field, draft him and start him.
DRAFT— Terrelle Pryor Sr., WAS
Pryor Sr was a great breakout player last year… and he did it in Cleveland! Sure, Washington isn’t that much better, but he’ll be playing with Kirk Cousins instead of Cody Kessler, and he’s the one of the two best receiving options in that offence alongside Jordan Reed at tight end.
AVOID — Jarvis Landry, MIA
I thought he had potential to be a Top 10 receiver. Then Jay Cutler happened. Then the potential suspension happened. If you pick up a Miami receiver, go for DeVante Parker.
AVOID — Julian Edelman, NE
The Pats traded for Brandin Cooks, and that’s where I think the majority of the fantasy points will go. Edelman’s a late rounder, and even when you get to those late rounds… there are probably better options.
More WR’s to Draft — DeAndre Hopkins (HOU), Sammy Watkins (BUF)
More WR’s to Avoid — Keenan Allen (LAC)
DRAFT or AVOID — Fantasy Football Tight Ends
Tight end is the shallowest position we’ve talked about so far. Only a handful are seen as elite, and they tend to be pretty unpredictable. No one would blame you if you jumped for Gronk early, but I’m concerned about his injury history.
DRAFT — Jimmy Graham, SEA
Last season was more what we expected from Graham in Seattle, and I don’t see much reason for decline. He looked good last season, and he’s a huge talent. He should be drafted in the mid rounds.
AVOID — Jared Cook, OAK
Cook probably isn’t at the top of your list, but after that big playoff game last season, I just wanted to emphasize that Cook’s probably not going to do a ton this year. Yes, I like Carr, but I’m not sold on Cook.
More TE’s to Draft — OJ Howard (TB), David Njoku (CLE)
More TE’s to Avoid —Gary Barnidge (FA), Antonio Gates (LAC)