Let’s just say, for arguments sake, that you are in a non-keeper league. Let us also say that you had the good fortune of drafting Peyton Manning last year. Oh God were you a happy pup, from his Opening Day 7 TD throttling of the Reigning Superbowl champion Ravens, to his wooden, bootleg scamper TD against the Dallas Cowboys and every record breaking TD in-between, it was an unforgettable wave of euphoria.
Let’s just say that you want that feeling again in 2014.
Now, keeping that in mind, let us turn our attention to the running backs. I submit that there is a complete dearth of quality starting bell cows and it is imperative to take two of this dying breed in the first 3 Rounds of your draft because if you choose to neglect, the quality gets grim in a hurry.
It is with this mentality that I will be going into this draft with the full intention of selecting RB QB RB.
The QB is most certainly going to be Peyton, Rodgers or Brees and of all the mocks I’ve seen this year all three are gone by the end of the second round. The Sheriff will be gone by the end of round 1, Rodgers most likely by mid second and Brees near the end, so my draft pick will play an important factor but whatever the outcome, I want my first three selections to look something like this:
Peyton, Morris, Bush
Lynch, Rodgers, CJ Spiller
Forte, Brees, Ellington.
The dropoff in RB talent after this third round is substantial so I consider it very wise to strike while the iron is hot.
This method, however, does not come without its own pitfalls. The glaring obvious one is that you can kiss goodbye to those stand out, beastly blue-chip receivers. You can forget all about Megatron, wave to AJ Green as he floats off the draft board and keep a stiff upper lip when one of your enemies provides Dez Bryant with a loving new home.
Now, as I lock the metaphorical doors to keep the disgruntled fantasy football old timers from storming out en masse, let me just draw your attention to the sheer depth of the receiving class and I believe calm will be restored.
So let’s say by now you are sitting pretty with Peyton Manning, a man whose most ardent critics still hail as the best “regular season” quarterback of all time and of course you’re as giddy as a school girl because regular season is all we care about in fantasy land.
You are also equipped with your two powerhouse running backs that you will trot out every week for a glorious return. Be it Jamaal Charles and CJ Spiller, Arian Foster and Reggie Bush or Eddie Lacy and Gio Bernard. Any combination is a winner.
It is at this point we turn our attention to the remaining receivers and, I envision, we will be pleasantly surprised at the pool of pass catchers that still await our greedy fingers.
I will now go through the different rounds and highlight my favourite WR’s that should still be hanging around.
Pierre Garcon. Victor Cruz. Keenan Allen. Larry Fitzgerald. Percy Harvin. Andre Johnston
Now it would be silly to assume those players will all be there, especially in a 12 man league but some of them definitely will be. My personal favourite here would be Pierre Garcon. When I watched him last year, he must have been the most targeted receiver in the league bar maybe Megatron. He made catch after catch and seemed to always end up with stellar yardage. His only downfall was his low TD return but I can forgive that, I suppose, because Washington’s offense was decidedly rancid. It seemed to me like RG3 was running for his life on almost every down. I say with better O-Line play and the addition of DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon becomes freed up to post points-a-plenty.
Michael Crabtree. Torrey Smith. Michael Floyd. TY Hilton. Jeremy Maclin.
By this point it becomes clear to me that there are still real studs available for the taking and by looking even further down the list I know there will be for quite some time. So if it snakes around to me in the 5th and Vernon Davis still happens to be around (as he was in most mock drafts I participated in) then I would hold no scruple against snapping him up, instantly alleviating my TE worries.
If however, you are happy to wait for your Tight End then by all means snap up another receiver. I would be happy with any one of these receivers but if I was pushed for a preference I think I would have to go with Maclin. There’s really nothing in it but I always thought he was a much better receiver than DeSean Jackson and after seeing those numbers DeSean was able to put up in Chip Kellys offense under Nick Foles, the sky is the limit. I think a healthy Maclin puts up a monstrous return especially with two games against each of those Dallas and Washington secondaries.
Emmanuel Sanders. Julien Edelman. Roddy White. Wes Welker. Cordarelle Patterson.
I must say I have no idea what to expect from Roddy White this year. Can he put up the highlight reel plays of yore or is he ready for the scrap heap? You’ll almost certainly get him around the 6th round if you are interested in the risk but then again, if you are partial to a bit of a gamble; Sammy Watkins will be going at this point. I shall not be looking to the rookies this year however, as I was one of the sorry individuals who placed his trust in both Tavon Austin and DeAndre Hopkins last season.
I’m torn between Emmanuel Sanders and Julien Edelman here. I feel with Peyton throwing the ball to an athlete like Sanders, it can only produce big numbers. From what I observed of Sanders last year in Pittsburgh, I guess he has slight hand issues, he will drop the odd pass but with his ability to get open and Peytons ability to get the ball out to him quickly I see no reason he won’t put up the numbers Decker put up last year…maybe even better.
I love Julien Edelman. He is the very definition of scrappy. Tom Brady loves him too and always does his best to get him the rock. You can never let up on Edelman as he will always be a threat. He works ten times harder than any other receiver and he catches EVERYTHING. I had to play against him twice last year and both times he put up next to nothing in the first half then came out in the second and absolutely killed it.
Golden Tate. Eric Decker. Reggie Wayne. Tavon Austin. Cecil Shorts. Riley Cooper. Mike Wallace
By this stage you will realize the talent pool isn’t letting up and there are still home run threats all over the place. I had Riley Cooper last year during his 3 TD game…albeit he was on my bench but that was a mistake I never made again as he put up great numbers for the rest of the season. Tavon showed the world what he could do near the end of the year when the Rams finally decided to start using him and boy was I sorry I had cut him loose.
I fancy a big year for Golden Tate with the Lions. That team has been crying out for a legitimate No.2 receiver across from Megatron for years and I think they’ve finally found it. With Calvin always drawing the double team, Tate should be getting all the joy on the other side. He no longer carries the responsibility of being the Seahawks No.1 and I think this should enable him to relax and enjoy his game.
As we get to this point you should be coming to the realisation that this list goes on and on but the only running backs left are career backups and spare parts. My method will allow you to lock up that golden quarterback and two stud running backs and in turn free you up to go receiver shopping.
I’ve always had an eye for a good bargain, and like a realtor buying a cheap house then flipping it for huge profits I see the potential in fixer uppers like Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith. These are the type of receiver still out there in the late rounds just waiting for your selection and with a little bit of luck they’ll be starting alongside your two powerhouse running backs in your fantasy playoffs.