Fantasy Football: The All-Patience Team

This year, there seems to be an unusually high number of valuable players, who for one reason or another, injury in some cases and suspension in others, will miss games to start the year. Drafting these players is not without risk, especially for those guys whose season openers are being postponed due to injury, but can also put you in prime position at the end of the season. Of course, for the games at the end of the year to be meaningful, you have to rack up enough wins, so it would probably not be a good idea to load up on these guys. But draft and stash one or two of them on your bench, and by the end of September, your lineup should be in great position.

QB – Tom Brady, New England Patriots
This one is obvious. Brady will miss the first four games of the season for his Deflategate suspension. That means a potentially top 5 QB is slipping in drafts to the 7th round or later in most drafts. If you take Brady, you’ll have to draft another QB like Phillip Rivers or Eli Manning a few rounds later to fill in for the first month of the year. But, once Brady is back, expect his usual output. He still has Gronk, he still has Edelman, and he should be more motivated than ever.  Continue reading

Fantasy Football: Overrated and Underrated in the Early Rounds

The most important selections you make in your fantasy draft are the first few ones. It is very difficult to overcome poor selections in the first couple rounds. The players you select in the first three or so rounds should be stalwarts, who you are consistent and reliable. For that reason, a swing and a miss with your first or second pick can spell doom for fantasy owners. Whether a player is underrated or overrated depends on where he is being picked. For example, I believe DeMarco Murray is overrated. In ESPN drafts, he is being taken 7th right now, and that’s too high for my liking. I would not take him inside the top 20 – I’d rather take one of the top tier WRs: Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, or Demaryius Thomas for example. If Murray was available (he would not be) in the mid-20s, I would have no problem taking him. This is all to say, a player being deemed overrated does not mean “Avoid player at all costs.” I am simply measuring a player’s value, price, whatever you want to call it.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys – Overrated (selected 7th)
Everyone knows the knock on Murray is not ability. It is durability and workload. For the longest time, Murray couldn’t stay healthy for a full season. Last season he did, he had nearly 400 carries, and won the rushing crown by almost 500 yards. He was as good as it gets last year, regularly exceeding the century mark. But the historic workload does not fare well for Murray’s durability this year. It was nothing short of a miracle that Murray made it through last season unscathed. It’s difficult to envision another fully healthy season, off the heels of the bone-crushing toll Murray took last year. What’s more, Murray is in a new system, and while Chip Kelly’s offense is very fantasy friendly, it is still unclear how much fellow incomer Ryan Matthews will be used. Murray is the much more talented back, but the Eagles could bring Matthews in for third-down duties to preserve Murray.

Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears – Overrated (selected 9th)
Coach Marc Trestman is gone, and that should decrease Forte’s receptions. Forte had yet another impressive fantasy season, but that had to do more with the quantity, and not quality, of his touches. He was the only RB who finished in the top ten of rushing yards, without gaining at least 4 YPC, a fairly average number. This is an average offense, with a heavily turnover-prone QB, and an ultra-conservative coach in John Fox. Continue reading