Heed these hints and you’re destined for victory (we hope)
Author: jae won hur — op-ed editor
Fantasy football is a cruel, cruel sport. Your league champion may have randomly picked up an unknown Odell Beckham Jr., you may have drafted Zac Stacy in the second round (hurts me still), or your knee-jerk reaction may have forced you to trade Brady after one of his worst games of his career (I needed to make a move, okay?). The cruel fate of fantasy football is impossible to forecast, however, there are a couple things that you may want to know to avoid a disaster – or to stick it to your league and reclaim glory this year.
Take a chance on a Dallas RB
Dallas retained all of its offensive linemen (likes of Smith, Fredrick, Martin and Free) which was the best in the NFL last year, while supplementing it by stealing La’el Collins from LSU via free agency. Many suspected La’el Collins to be a first round pick, even a top-10 pick before his troubles with the law (he wasn’t even charged). It seems likely that Joseph Randle will start in the backfield behind that incredible offensive line. Joseph Randle showed potential, averaging 6.7 YPC as backup to Demarco Murray who ran for 1845 yards and 13 TDs last season.
But owners, especially those who draft Randle for his upside, should also draft Darren McFadden, the expected backup. Randle is an unproven running back (playing a high injury-risk position) that has had trouble with the law, most notably his shoplifting incident involving colognes. Darren McFadden has shown flashes of stardom when he wasn’t injured in Oakland as he ran for 1157 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010.
The latest ESPN expert mock drafts have Randle going in the fifth round. Presuming shared sentiment that Dallas will start Randle and steers away from a RB-by-committee, I would draft him as low as the fourth round. Without question, if I owned Randle, I would draft McFadden in the latter rounds (eighth or ninth) for insurance and to ensure nobody else takes advantage of that incredibly talented offensive line if Randle is injured or replaced. Even without Randle ownership, if McFadden is available in the mid-latter rounds, owners should draft him for potential FLEX coverage and trade leverage.
Draft a Class of 2012 Quarterback
No, this doesn’t mean that you should draft Kirk Cousins because he was part of the incredible QB draft class of 2012. It means quarterbacks of 2012 should have circles around strategy books for every owner. Experience serves as the main factor for this point, as these young quarterbacks have another year for maturation and experience. Luck, in my opinion, is the number one or two 2015 fantasy quarterback. He threw for 4761 yards and 40 touchdowns and has a revitalized supporting cast that will supplement the stud wideout TY Hilton with Andre Johnson, Duron Carter and Frank Gore. Russell Wilson, a dual fantasy-friendly rush/pass threat, finally gained a credible catch-passing threat in stud tight end Jimmy Graham while regaining the 2014 first round pick wide receiver Paul Richardson from his ACL injury. Tannehill, coming off of a breakout season of 27 TD’s, 66.4 completion percentage and 4045 yards, gained two dangerous threats in TE Jordan Cameron and WR Kenny Stills (deep threat) to complement wideout Jarvis Landry who was overshadowed by the greatest class of rookie wide receivers last year. Foles, the new starting quarterback of the Rams, will lead an offense that’ll be spearheaded by the best D-line in the NFL and rookie running back phenom Todd Gurley. Even RGIII, who has half a knee at this point, has a great supporting cast of DeSean Jackson, Alfred Morris, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul and Pierre Garcon who will help his dual pass/rush threat. All and all, for an overvalued and crowded position, I would keep an eye out for these quarterbacks. If Andrew Luck is available in the second round, start thanking the Gods. Aim for Russell or Tannehill to be your QB2 and draft Foles/RGIII as your sleeper pick in the latter rounds.
Travis Kelce. Remember that name.
To me, the tight end position is an intriguing position that bears quite a bit of contrast. For a position that gives defenses such matchup nightmares is quite shallow in terms of fantasy production. Besides Gronkowski (editor’s note: YO SOY FIESTA!), Graham and Olsen, no tight end can be expected to consistently produce 10+ points a game. Last season’s number two fantasy tight end, Antonio Gates has been suspended for four games of the season while Julius Thomas is no longer being thrown at by Peyton, but rather, an unreliable Blake Bortles. This is why you need to draft Travis Kelce on your team. First off, Kelce has an abundance of potential weighing in at 260 pounds and 6 foot 6 inches. He had five touchdowns and 67 receptions while being thrown to only 87 times on a team that had no wide receiver catch a touchdown the entire year. His upside will only increase with KC’s newly-acquired stud wide receiver Jeremy Maclin spreading the field for Kelce, while Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles’ play action will exacerbate his ceiling. ESPN ranks Kelce as the number four fantasy tight end while Matthew Berry has him ranked 44th within his rankings and ESPN’s latest expert mock draft has him going in the seventh round, which for me, is a great price for someone with such great upside.
I can’t promise you that these moves will guarantee a victory for you this year, however, in a cruel world in fantasy football, you may want to give these tips a go. Good luck ladies and gentlemen and see you on the other side.