Fantasy Draft Day Strategies: Load Up on Stud WRs

Draft Strategy

Like all things, change is inevitable and your draft strategy is no different.  The days of loading up on running backs has long past.  I have been a proponent of drafting stud wide outs for years now for a number of factors.  First off, many teams are using running back by committee and secondly the NFL has evolved into a passing league.

My case in point as far as fantasy football in 2014, the fact there are so many outstanding wide receivers that are going to go off  this year in fantasy football. Most teams like the Eagles are switching to an up-tempo offensive attack in a passing-dominated league, and the addition of cushy rules benefitting wide receivers are making wideouts look more like studs.

While I don’t  believe the NFL will be as strict with calling illegal contact and holding penalties once the regular season starts, im betting  that many corners and safeties will be hesitant hold and contact receivers.

So why do I like wide receivers so much?  Wide receivers are scoring more points than ever. Look how many receivers were around the 200 fantasy point make last year.  Remember when only running backs were hitting that level?.

So what does this mean as your fantasy draft strategy? Well much of your strategy should be based on your leagues own scoring system as well as by its starting roster.  For example, do you have to start 3 WR’s or just 2 WR’s?  Is it a PPR league?  These factors will dictate which strategy will work the best.  In any case I believe in drafting Studs/ Home Run hitters first before filling needs.  Yesterday, a friend of mine was drafting late in the first round.  If you’re drafting in the first five picks getting a stud running back is easily accomplished. But we really consider Alfred Morris, Le’Veon Bell or Montee Ball as true studs worthy of a first-round pick? I sure don’t. That’s why if you’re picking at the end of the first round, I think it’s smart to target stud pass-catchers instead.  If you cant get a stud running back, get a stud wide receiver or tight end and pick up running backs later.  Running backs are prone to injury and if you get a goal line back you’r e in good shape.  Another thing to consider is the drop off in consistent receivers after the first 3 rounds.  Let’s dive into which wide receivers are worthy of your first two picks.

If you cant get one of the top 4 running backs, Calvin Johnson is the best wide out  to take in the first round of your fantasy draft. He’s a proven stud  year after year, and now the Lions finally paired him with a suitable No. 2 wide receiver in Golden Tate. He’s the most consistent wide receiver in fantasy averaging in the neighborhood of 15 fantasy points per game the last 3 years and leads his position in scoring every year. He’s the only no-brainer first-round pick.

Sifting through the rest of the crop becomes difficult, but only because there are so many players worth drafting in the next two rounds. In many of my recent NFL Fantasy drafts, the next five wide receivers selected are. Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas,Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall.  All of these receivers have scored in the areas of 200 fantasy points over the last few years.

The next tier of WR’s drops off a bit, but they include Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffery,Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson and Keenan Allen.

While all of these guys look like studs while you’ve watching the games, not all are top teir fantasy football studs.

So how should you proceed with your wide receivers come draft day?

1)    Draft a stud top tier

2)    Draft another top tier stud if available

3)    Draft a tier 2 or 3 WR, if none available grab an RB

4)    Take long shot WR’s in the later rounds

Don’t be afraid to draft deep at wide receiver spot especially if you are starting 3 WR’s. The number of consistant double digit wide outs is less than that of RB’s. With that said the idea that it’s better to use a running back at the flex isn’t without merit, but it also isn’t the only way to win, especially if you have 4 good wide receivers

The middle rounds are the hard part.. If your left with a number of backs used in a committee, or a wide out like Michael Floyd, Cordarrelle Patterson or T.Y. Hilton, it’s a no brainers, take the wide receiver! If these guys will fill your WR3 or Flex spot, you’re in really good shape.

Now the real question,

Who should you pick late in drafts?

Here are some names to look for as a WR4 or WR5 with loads of upside (all currently have an NFL.com ADP of Round 13 or later):

Justin Hunter
Kenbrell Thompkins
Markus Wheaton
Andrew Hawkins
Jarrett Boykin
Jordan Matthews
Hakeem Nicks
Kelvin Benjamin

In closing, when it comes to drafting wide receivers, try your best to get two studs. Then fill out your roster with home run hitters, guys with upside in 2014. Don’t waste roster space on big names like Steve Smith or Greg Jennings. Invest in the fantasy players who have a chance to explode this season.

Most importantly have fun, learn and get improve your team!.

Wavier Wire Pickups

Pickups Of The Week

Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions : I was going to put him away on my bench last week but I didnt have room, but Smith is a good waiver add, Considering his 201 yards from scrimmage Sunday versus the terrible Carolina Panthers run D. He’s your obvious No. 1 add this week, though  he has a much tougher matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, Smith has a chance to stick as the Lions’ starter.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson won’t play in Week 12, making Gerhart an option for AP owners Sunday against a strong Atlanta Falcons run D. Im concerned about the Vikings offense, but he should have a full workload to himself, and that’s worth something.

Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers: I figured I’d mention him just in case he’s been dropped in your league. James Starks suffered injury last week, and considering the Packers get only three days off Starts will most likely be out. That likely means Grant gets the most backfield touches Thursday.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills: Fred Jackson reportedly will be out Week 12 against the New York Jets. That would likely mean Spiller gets the start. The Buffalo offense looks just awful these days and with the Jets playing the run quite well, between touches from scrimmage and catching passes he should put up some numbers.  He also has some good matchups coming up.

Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns: Chris Ogbonnaya has submitted two good games in a row, racking up 243 yards from scrimmage in Weeks 10 and 11 combined.  But Hardesty is a stronger, tougher runner, and would definately get some of the touches.

Jerome Simpson, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Simpson’s 152 yards receiving on eight grabs versus the Baltimore Ravens last week got peoples attention. With A.J. Green out of the lineup,  Simpson got bumped up to the No. 1 receiver role,.  Simpson could get Andy Dalton‘s primary looks again.

Start’ Em Sit’ Em Week 6

Fantasy Football

Its time for another week of Start’ em sit’ em so that must mean the weekend’s almost here ( Thank God!).

Before I get into the week 6 fantasy recommendations, I want to take a quick look at last weeks studs and dudes.

Cam Newton, Pierre Garcon performed very well, but Tennasee Def, Owen Daniels, Giants Def, Steven Ridley did not show up last Sunday.  In Owen Daniels defense all the balls went to the OTHER tight end Dreessen so I was close on that one.

Start’ em

Cam Newton QB, Panthers – I have to recommend him again, and I am recommending you start him over every big-time stud you might have other than maybe Rodgers or Brady. Good matchup; the Falcons are allowing the ninth-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but come on. The stats on Cam are just ridiculous

Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: One of my better calls this year  I’ve loved him for two weeks straight and he keeps making me look great.  Anyway, he leads the team in targets since Painter took over and I expect Leon Hall to be on Reggie Wayne enough that the trend continues.

Earnest Graham RB Buccaneers: Blount doesn’t seem like he will be playing the next 2 weeks so Graham is a great replacement.  Even if the Buc’s get behind, Graham is good catching the ball outta the backfield.

Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: As a Mike Wallace owner this has been annoying me, but Brown is still second to Wallace in targets (only one fewer this year), and , the Jags are fourth-best in the NFL against No. 1 receivers, but just 21st against No. 2’s.

Tim Hightower and Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: I dont know who will be the main guy for Washington this week, so make sure to watch the injury reports on Sunday as we try to make more sense of this situation. The way the Bills ran on the Eagles last week, i think the Redskins will try to run the ball as well.  The other option, Let Grossman throw?  Ouch, noooooo!

Greg Little, WR, Browns: For those of you who have players on a bye or are desperate, this may be a good WR3 option this week., Little moved into the starting lineup over the bye, had six catches for 57 yards on eight targets in Week 4,.

Ted Ginn, WR, 49ers: Ginn could get a decent amount of looks given how much the 49ers are banged up at WR, how much scoring I am expecting them to have to do, and that the Lions aren’t entirely sold on its own special teams.

Daniel Thomas, Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins (19, 20): A bit of a stretch here, but is Matt Moore really gonna throw it? Exactly. Jets are actually 26th against the run, allow the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and on the road, on “Monday Night Football,” the Dolphins will try to take the crowd out of it by controlling the clock.

Sit’ Em – Players I hate

Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins (19, 15): Revis Island. With Matt Moore at quarterback.

Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter, WR, Texans: On the road, at Baltimore? The Ravens have allowed one offensive touchdown at home all year. It’s gonna be Arian Foster and Owen Daniels in the pass game, and no big numbers from either of those receivers..

Houston Texans Def Another one that I think I’m a little too low on, but the loss of Mario Williams is huge. Houston’s secondary has improved but it’s not great.

Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em

Fantasy Football

START’ EM

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: He has been putting up big numbers every week and probably will again in this match up. Cam is obviously comfortable in the shotgun and, against the Saints blitzing D, he will have enough time to throw and, of course, make the occasional run. Saints allow 17.5 points per game to opposing quarterbacks (ninth most).

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: Given this match up and how bad the Packers pass defense has been this year, you should start Ryan. The Packers score a lot so it will probably be a shootout (great for fantasy owners).

Curtis Painter, QB, Colts: OK, I’ll say it. When he actually got time to throw on Monday night, I thought he looked all right. (ducking) They need to do a better job of protecting him (he was terrible when faced with pressure), but only the Bills (four) have fewer sacks this year than Kansas City’s five. Given time, at home, he’s a decent bye week fill-in in a deep league.

Darren Sproles, RB, Saints: I’m just a surprised as you, he is getting a lot more touches than I thought he would this year, at the expence of Piere Thomas.  He has been pretty consistent, with games of 13, 11, 14 and 12 fantasy points.. Against the Panthers (fourth-most points allowed to opposing running backs), Sproles is a very safe start.

Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers: I picked him up for my team.  Likely to get a start with Rashard Mendenhall banged up and Moore hurt as well.  The fact that Ben is hurt could mean they will rely on the run a bit more.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: Mentioned this on “Fantasy Football Now” this past weekend and again on Twitter before the “Monday Night Football” game, but since Curtis Painter took over as the Colts’ QB, Reggie Wayne has gotten 23.1 percent of the targets compared with Garcon’s 30.8 percent. Now, he still has bricks for hands and his big Monday night score was the result of blown coverage and poor tackling, but still. At home, against the Chiefs? In a bye week, you could do worse and probably have. Good motto to remember at closing time.

Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: The cries of agony were from Andre Johnson’s owners. The muted and respectful squeals of joy were from Owen Daniels’ owners.

Tennessee Titans D/ST : We’re all on the Titans’ D this week, going against that porous Steelers line that helps allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing D/ST. Tennessee is available in almost 75 percent of leagues, is the seventh-highest-scoring defense in fantasy and is averaging more than 11 points a game the past three weeks. What are you waiting for?

New York Giants D/ST : Happiness is Tarvaris Jackson traveling east to face your defense. Available in 46 percent of leagues. I like the Titans and the Giants better than the highly drafted defenses of the Steelers or Jets this weekend.

Stevan Ridlely, RB, Patriots:  A good pickup this week and after a great performance last week and Danny Woodhead injured I would say he has pretty good upside, even against the Jets.

Sit’ Em

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: So what do you get when you take the most sacked quarterback since 2009 and you pair him with Ndamukong Suh and the Detriot Lions? Not a whole lotta good that’s for sure!

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: He’s hurt; Mendenhall  and Moore are banged up; the line is a mess; and the Titans have the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL.

Jacoby Jones, WR, Texans: A good pickup if you need a WR, but I’ve been burned by this guy!

Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots (40, 34): Jets secondary is good and they are pretty quiet when they play the Jets.

My Favorite Free Agent Pickups of Week 3

Pickups Of The Week

If you are looking to try to improve your fantasy football team, or just block others from getting good free agents, these would be my favorite fantasy free agent pickups for this week :

David Nelson (Duf – WR) –  With Roscoe Parrish going down and the Bills showing this high powered offence, someone is going to have to pick up the slack.

Fred Davis (Was – TE) –  Cooley has been hurt and Davis seems to be getting open.

Denarius Moore (Oak – WR) –  Last week Moore looked like Campbells new favorite target.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buf – QB) –  Fitzpatricks fantasy numbers have been crazy, at the very least he would make a good back up, not to mention prevent another team in your league from getting him to replace a bad starting QB they have.

Eric Decker (Den – WR) –  Eddie Royal got hurt and Decker filled in nicely.  A lot of upside to this guy!

The NFL Finally Embraces Fantasy Footbal

Fantasy Football Latest NFL News and Commentary

The NFL finally embraces fantasy football…  now when you’re in the stands at an NFL stadium, and you left your handheld device in the car and you have no idea how your fantasy football team is doing.

If only they’d show out-of-town fantasy football statistics on the scoreboard.

A Fantasy? Not anymore.

Starting with Thursday’s New Orleans Saints-Green Bay Packers season opener at Lambeau Field, all NFL teams have been directed to show real-time fantasy football statistics on their scoreboards, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said, USA Today reported.

Previously, it was at the discretion of the league’s 32 teams whether to display out-of-town individual statistics on stadium video boards.

While many fans do follow their fantasy teams on their phone or handheld device, the league — aware that fans can choose their living room, high-definition television and the Internet over paying for tickets, parking, food and drinks at the stadium — wants fans to feel connected to the fantasy football experience in the stands.

“We know we have to continue to do more to keep fans coming to our games.,” McCarthy said, according to the report. “We’re looking at ways to further replicate the at-home experience in the stadium.”

Fatasy Football Tips – My First Round Selections and Projections

Fantasy Football

After winning my Fatasy Football Leagues a number of times and placing in the top 3 the others, I get asked how do I do it.  What are some tips and advice I can pass on.

For starters, it starts with getting quality players in the first few rounds.  Today I want to list my top fantasy football running backs.

1.  Adrian Perterson

2. Adrian Foster

3.  Chris Johnson

4.  Jamal Charles

5.  LeSean McCoy

But with the injury to Foster and Johnson’s Hold out, I would be worried about taking them so early.  If you feel like I do here are some other good options

Ray Rice, Darren McFadden and Rashard Mendenhall

Top Fantasy Football Wide Receivers

1.  Andre Johnson

2.  Roddy White

3.  Calvin Johnson

4.  Vincent Jackson

5   Mike Wallace

Some runners up:

Greg Jennings-  Great but not always reliable because of all the weapons on that team

Hakeem Nicks –  Seems to be Mannings new favorite target

Miles Austin

Mike Tolbert likely to start for Chargers, Mathews sits

Latest NFL News and Commentary

It’s semi-official: San Diego running back Ryan Mathews(notes) is “almost certain to be inactive” at Seattle on Sunday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Details here…

Mathews ran on a treadmill Thursday and still held out hope, but indications are that Mike Tolbert(notes), who replaced Mathews against the Jaguars and ran 16 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns, will start in Mathews’ place.

Mathews suffered a high ankle sprain in the victory over Jacksonville in Week 2. Despite the rookie’s well-documented desire to return to action, it appears the Chargers will shelve him this Sunday, in a game they should be able to win without his services. Tolbert immediately becomes a viable fantasy option in standard formats, and he’ll continue to have at least modest value when Mathews returns. The 243-pound Tolbert has clearly claimed a role in goal-to-go situations.

Top Fantasy Football Wide Receivers

Fantasy Football

1.  Andre Johnson –  Again Andre is at the top of the fantasy football, wide receivers list.  thanks to Houston’s passheavyoffense — and the frequency with which the wideout is targeted by QB Matt Schaub, Johnson should have another great year.

2.  Randy Moss –  Now that Brady has played a year with after his injury, I expect him and Moss to be  closer to their 2007 days.

3.  Larry Fitzgerald – After losing Kurt Warner to retirement and Anquan Boldin to the Ravens, Fitzgerald’s numbers are bound to take a hit.  Especially now it looks like the Cardinals are trying to get their run game going since they dont know what they got in Matt Leinhart.

4.  Calvin Johnson –  Was a top receiver in TD’s two years ago and put up good numbers last year on a bad team WITH a ROOKIE quarterback.  Expect Megatron’s number to inprove now that Stafford has a year under his belt.