It's time once again for NFL dorks the world over to start perusing training camp reports, finding out who's "in the best shape of their lives," and seeking for the sleepers that will more than likely never awaken (Jared Cook).
It's time to sit online and do mock drafts in leagues that in no way resemble your own. It's time to buy shamefully outdated fantasy football magazines because you failed to sufficiently do your homework before your draft, and your printer is broken, and you need a cheat sheet. It's time to then "donate" that magazine from June to the guy in your league who's even more clueless than you, and watch him take Josh Gordon in the second round.
It's time to pony up several (hundred) dollars that you'll likely never see again. You'd be better off buying lottery tickets. It's time to rediscover your love of Matthew Berry and Scott Pianowski and twenty other dudes just like us except for their work ethic and willingness to perform under deadline pressure.
FANTASY FOOTBALL IS BACK!
To be perfectly honest, my main motivation for writing this piece is to bury Ryan's World Cup trash talk, and that's almost good enough justification even if I don't write another word. Never mind that, let's talk drafting.
Since the dawn of fake football time, the conventional wisdom held that with your first two picks, you needed to take two running backs. "RB-RB" remains a decent strategy, if you're fifty. Maybe I'm biased because I always end up with low picks in every draft since I was a teenager and Priest Holmes was unstoppable. But look, the failure rate of highly drafted running backs has been on the rise for many years. RBs these days are mostly a disposable commodity in the NFL. It sucks (for them), but that's the reality.
I feel like the better approach with running backs is to try to get one 'bell-cow' type dude, and then a WHOLE BUNCH of lottery tickets late - your Carlos Hydes (though I still think Frank Gore is immortal), your Devonta Freemans, your [fill in the blank with this year's Zac Stacy] on waivers after Week 6.
More and more, I've been leaning towards the stud wideouts and quarterbacks in the first two rounds. I'll take at most one running back, unless somebody drops. With pick 10, for example, I've been doing a whole lot of drafting Demaryius Thomas or AJ Green, followed by Aaron Rodgers early in the second. An alternative using RB-RB would have me taking Demarco Murray and Giovani Bernard. I feel a lot safer with the true blue-chippers early, regardless of position. Safety with high picks, risks with low picks.
If you have a very high first round selection, however, you should totally go RB first. Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, and Adrian Peterson shouldn't be passed up for anybody except maybe Jimmy Graham or Calvin Johnson. Basically, those should be your top six picks in virtually any draft, in virtually any order. I would then follow up late in the second by getting a top notch guy at a different position from your first guy, whatever that happens to be. Go for value.
I will have more thoughts and some love-hates as D(raft)-Day approaches. My drafts for my three conventional leagues are August 23, 24, and 25. And the defense only league (hell yeah the defense only league) drafts September 1. Please comment if you have more thoughts, requests on specific topics of discussion, or just want to thank me for burying Ryan.