I see it happen every year. People come into the fantasy draft for your league unprepared. All they have is a cheat sheet and expect to do well at the draft. They don't look at articles during the off season and pay no attention to what happens at training camp or OTAs because they think it is to0 early. Then they have the nerve to ask you about updates and say they heard nothing about it. I am here to give you a plan to have when you do your draft and give you a leg up on your competition.
Did you know that the amount of passing plays has gone up each of the past 5 years?? That led to 2011 being labeled "The Year of the Quarterback". I have never been real high on taking a quarterback early in the draft. In fact, most of the time I will wait and see which one falls to me and load up on running backs and wide receivers. That way of thinking my have to come to an end this year. With 5 quarterbacks in the top 10 in the 2011 most valuable fantasy player rankings from last year, you have to put more urgency on getting a quarterback early in your drafts. The top 3 quarterbacks, and maybe the top 5, could all go in the first round of your fantasy draft this year. The hopes of getting a "stud" quarterback in the 3rd or 4th rounds is a thing of the past my friends. If you want Aaron Rodgers , Tom Brady, or Drew Brees you are going to have to pay a premium price for them this year. If you decide to wait and not get one early, you will probably have to get yours by the 5th round because they will go very quick. I do think that 13 quarterbacks are "starter" level for your teams this year, but I do think some could be drafted as backups early to cover for injuries and bye-week replacements. You know Michael Vick is always an injury risk and that Peyton Manning is now on a different team and coming back from injury as well. I think for the most part, do not draft a 2nd quarterback and use that pick to load up on running backs.
The day of the "workhorse" running back has come and gone. It is now more common for teams to use more of a "committee" type approach. Because of this change, the thinking of fantasy owners has to change as well. To land a running back that gets 250+ touches will be a hard thing to do this season. The top 3 running backs should be the first 3 picks in your draft this year because they will be so much more reliable than other running backs because of the workload or because of concerns surrounding the other running backs. The first concern is injuries. Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Rashard Mendenhall, Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden, Fred Jackson, & DeMarco Murray all are big name running backs who were injured last year. How will they look?? Can they be relied on again?? The 2nd concern is age and amount of use. Michael Turner, Stephen Jackson, & Frank Gore are no "spring chickens" and each has had a great deal of usage. When will they break down?? The 3rd concern is the great unknown. Can Chris Johnson bounce back?? Can Ryan Mathews handle the workload alone?? When will his aggressive running finally get Marshawn Lynch ?? Will Maurice Jones-Drew be able to do it again?? How will Trent Richardson handle the tough AFC North?? Because of so many questions, my advice is to draft as many running backs as possible and hope that you strike gold once or twice. It happens every year; why not let it happen to you??
There are not many early round picks for wide receiver this year, but it is crazy deep this year. There are 30 wide receivers that I would be very comfortable with as my #1 or #2, 30!!! There are many more that also have upside that I would consider. It is so high because of the increase in the passing game. You will be able to find a good option in the 8th or 9th round this year. There is also much less of an injury concern than with running backs. Let's also not forget that players can come from nowhere and become studs more easily at the wide receiver position. Just remember back to last year with Victor Cruz and Laurent Robinson; It happens every year. In past years it happened with players like Marques Colston, Brandon Stokley, & Wes Welker. My advice to you is to let the wide receivers come to you in your draft, do not reach for them. The injury concern is so big with running backs that I don't think you need more than 5 wide receivers on your team and to load up on your backs.
The single best 2 seasons for tight ends both happened last season. Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham changed the way the NFL (and fantasy owners) needs to think about tight ends. I have never seen a tight end go earlier than round 3 of any fantasy draft, this year those 2 might both be gone in the 2nd round. If you want one of them, you had better plan accordingly. After those 2, there seems to be a logjam that occurs with 5 tight ends starting in the 5th round. If you decide to wait, I do see several guys with upside that you can get very late. Do not bother with a backup, you can pick one up on the waiver wire for your bye week. The biggest issue here is if you get one of the big 2 you will be golden at tight end, but may suffer at one of the other positions.
DEFENSE AND KICKER
I will make this very short and sweet. The amount of points scored by your defense and kicker compared to your opponents is minimal every week. 17 points separated the top 10 defenses in my league. 17 points!!! That is 1 point a week. Normally kickers have the same type of scoring difference. It just isn't worth it. Use your last 2 picks on a defense and kicker, not 1 spot earlier!!