So here we are July 1st, which to many signifies that summer is in full swing and football is right around the corner. And if football is right around the corner then that means Fantasy football drafts are even closer. Including my first draft of three that I will partake in over the next eight weeks. I always hate my first draft because it is usually the one that I mess up the worst but in this league I cannot wait because this is the first draft of a dynasty league that begins this year. The other two leagues are family and friend leagues so this is going to be the one that is super competitive. Now what I have learned by being involved in three leagues is every league is different so in this edition of Monday Morning Hangover I will take a look at my preferences as well as my Slam Dunk pick, my sleeper pick and my do not draft which I’ll give you a hint his name may or may not be A’a’ron.
#3: PPR vs. Non PPR- Now most leagues at this point have moved towards the PPR (Point Per Reception) scoring system and if you listen to XM Fantasy Sports radio then you realize how much this scoring choice changes draft strategies as well as lineup choices on a weekly basis. For instance lets look at Darren Sproles who is currently getting drafted with an ADP of 44.7 on ESPN. Well in a PPR league last season Sproles was a bit more valuable scoring 216.1 in leagues with a 1 point PPR or about 85.1 points better than his performance in Non-PPR leagues. Now as someone who tries to watch every game during the week I can tell you that Darren Sproles may be one of the more exciting players in the league and many times his yardage could be because he grabbed 6 or 7 receptions during a game, it would be a shame to have him as one of the most exciting players but no value in Fantasy Football. Another player that really has his true value added by a PPR league is Peyton Manning’s new weapon Wes Welker who in a PPR league was able to score 118 points more lifting him to the 7th best receiver in football. Welker should thrive in Denver and in PPR leagues again this season. His average draft position is 38.6 according to ESPN. And in my opinion if you are drafting it should be in a PPR league.
#2: QB 4 or 6- This is one that I have seen debated over and over again. Should a QB get 4 points or 6 points for a Touchdown pass? Now I guess that all depends on your view of the QB position and its importance on the game itself. Now in a standard league where the QB is awarded 4 points per TD a player like Matt Ryan who threw for 4700 yards and 33 touchdowns lower ranked than RG III who threw for 3000 yards and 17 touchdowns but rushed for 6. Change the format to 6 points for a Touchdown and Ryan moves ahead of RG III which is where a QB who throws for 4000+ and double the Touchdowns should be. Go with QB for 6 not 4 this season.
#3: Team Defense vs. IDP- Of the 3 leagues I partake in only one is an IDP league and it is my Favorite league by far. Now in my one league I had the Cincinnati Bengals Defense which ranked fourth out of all the teams last season. They managed to put up 160 points for the year for an average score of 10 a game, typical for a top 5 defense. Of course 57 points were put up by the Bengals in the final 3 weeks of the season which since I was out of the playoffs had no bearing on my season but the Bengals D did put up double figure points in 8 out of 16 games last year. Now in an IDP league it is a little different as in most cases a defensive lineman, linebacker and a corner/safety make up your defense. This makes sure players such as Luke Kuechly a member of the 22nd ranked Panther defense have an effect on Fantasy Football seasons. Kuechly scored a whopping 156 points last year in IDP formats making him the fourth best defensive option in the league. Another performer who plays on the 28th ranked defensive team Jacksonville’s Paul Posluszny managed to make himself one of the better names in IDP formats scoring 143 points as the 6th best defender in all of football. How many of you got points from Jacksonville’s D last year? Probably not many but for those in IDP formats Posluszny was a beast. If you have the chance IDP is the way to go.
Now for the 3 picks that everyone out there should make sure to pay attention to leading up to the season. This is something I will revisit for the next few weeks leading up to week 1 of the NFL season.
Sure Thing or Slam Dunk- The Muscle Hamster, Doug Martin. The name on everyone’s lips leading up to draft’s this season is that of Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin. Martin who cemented himself atop the draft boards when he torched Oakland for 251 yards in week 9 has found himself with an ADP of 5.5 this season. The fun part about the second year player is that he can catch the ball for all you PPR leagues out there and with Josh Freeman inconsistently playing QB for Tampa I am sure Greg Schiano will have one goal feed the Hamster.
Sleeper Pick- Chris Ivory. This is a player to keep an eye on should you take a QB early in the draft because you will need to find some runners that are reliable past round 1. For Ivory he could not have had a better offseason leaving the Saints where he was the number 4 runner and then getting traded to New York to be the Jets number 1 runner after the departure of Shonn Greene. With the Jets he will find himself on a much worse offense then he did in New Orleans but when you play on a bad offense you may get to handle the ball quite a bit as a runner. Look for Ivory to be a top 15 back if he can stay healthy and best case scenario a top 8 guy. Currently Ivory is drafted around 57.5.
DO NOT DRAFT- A.A.RON HERNANDEZ. I find it funny how many people are coming out saying how shocked they are that Hernandez would end up in trouble like this. I mean maybe the Bloods tattoo on his hand should have given it away or the several pictures of him throwing gang signs or holding guns. The crazy thing about this is New England which had the best TE tandem in football now will line up Jake Ballard and some rookies. Hernandez was getting drafted around the mid 40’s before this event and since has only dropped to 68.4 ADP. I would imagine he will continue to plummet unless many people just let auto pick ruin their teams.