Does anyone remember that song “Crossover” by EPMD? Hip-hop, much like the Old Gray Mare, certainly ain’t what it used to be! Why do I mention “Crossover” and EPMD? I have absolutely no idea, but the song has been running through my head for a few hours now. Perhaps if we were discussing basketball, crossover would be more apropos (raise your hand if you knew how to spell that), however we’re here to talk about fantasy football.
This weekend will be one of the busiest draft days in the community and we have everything you need right here, at Majorleaguefantasysports.com! My intention was to sound like Mic Foley generating cheap heat by mentioning the city he’d be performing in, so hopefully some of you wrasslin fans will recognize the methodology.
Last week, I mentioned that I would be discussing mandatory handcuffs in addition to some players I really felt needed to be owned. However, Bryan Robinson thieved my thunder and delivered a great article on solid handcuffs. Rather than appear unoriginal, I’ve opted to play a little “Would you Rather?” The purpose of this exercise is to present you with a few scenarios that I’ve encountered in mock drafts that caused me to use the entire 45 seconds as I attempted to make the best possible decision for my team. Everyone will face tough decisions in nearly every round and my hope is to help make some of these scenarios a bit easier for you.
So, as chairman Kaga loves to say, “Allez cuisine!”
Adrian Peterson vs. Lesean McCoy
I am an unabashed Vikings fans and absolutely worship Adrian Peterson. I think he is one of the top 5 running backs of all time, though I could comfortably put him in the top 4 at any moment. For the record: Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith. Peterson is a player who dominates at his position, averages over 1000 yards rushing in every season and comfortably posts double-digit touchdowns year in, and year out. Peterson is as elite as they come at the running back position.
Lesean McCoy is a local boy, well, local to my home town of Dover, PA. McCoy hails from the capital of Pennsylvania and went to high school not too far from where I grew up. That sort of makes us related, right? McCoy made a name for himself in 2010 racking up 1600 total yards and 9 touchdowns; and has since then become one of the most entertaining and productive all-purpose running backs. Last season McCoy exceeded expectations with 2100 total yards and 11 touchdowns. This season, he enters the fantasy year as arguably the top pick in all fantasy drafts.
So, with the number one pick, would you rather Adrian Peterson or Lesean McCoy?
I would rather Adrian Peterson: To me, there is absolutely no wiggle room in this decision. I recognize the value of McCoy in the high-powered, up-tempo Chip Kelly offense; however I do not see him out scoring AP. McCoy will actually suffer from the loss of Desean Jackson, as the Eagles now lack a major threat at the WR position which will result in more defenders in the box. As the old saying goes (if there is an old saying), “You stop McCoy, you stop the Eagles.” If that isn’t a thing, it really should be. The addition of Darren Sproles will also represent a reduction in touches for McCoy and reduce Lesean’s 3rd down utilization. The Eagles seemingly love Sproles’ ability out of the backfield, and plan to utilize a multitude of two-back sets to exploit the wily veteran’s explosive abilities. With teams stacking the box and focusing more on McCoy, I imagine we’ll see a reduction in fantasy points.
Peterson benefits from the inclusion of Norv Turner. Turner has expressed his desire to “get Peterson the ball in space” and utilize him more as a receiving option. Peterson is a violent runner who enjoys the physicality of the position. He is bruising, upright and a powerful back that thrives on making contact. It’s not to say he isn’t shifty, as Peterson has some of the best moves this side of Sanders. The last time Adrian Peterson was given 40 or more receptions; he had his two best fantasy seasons of his career, and the Vikings are hoping to get him 50-60 receptions. Turner historically has utilized his running backs (see LT) to their maximum potential, and there is no reason to think he won’t do the same with one of the greatest of all times. Peterson is your number 1 back in fantasy football, and is a no brainer at #1.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Vincent Jackson
It’s almost a sad tale, that of Larry Fitzgerald, as the former elite WR continues to see a major regression in statistical output since 2011 when he was last considered a first round WR. There have been plenty of theories on why his production has declined: Undisclosed injury (though he’s only missed 5 games in his 10 year career), a lack of a high level quarterback (we all remember the debacle of 2012) or maybe father time has caught up to the 30-year-old wide out. Regardless, we can unanimously state the old Fitz is gone. The writing is on the wall for Fitzgerald and most likely he’ll never see another Super Bowl; at best he has 3 more very good years. He’s a perennial favorite and incredibly talented receiver who has an amazing knack for making spectacular plays, however he’s now flanked by Michael Floyd, whom some believe will surpass Fitz in 2014. Carson Palmer remains a big armed QB who is willing to give his primary option plenty of opportunities, but what will that mean for Fitz in terms of fantasy value?
Vincent Jackson may be one of the more underrated high-end receivers currently playing in the NFL. He’s a player who consistently averages 68 receptions per year, 9 touchdowns and 1250 yards; and has never been a player on a high-powered offense. Jackson is a huge specimen of a player, standing at 6-5 241 and is a tremendous yards per reception threat. Jackson is one of the best players at picking up yards, as well as touchdowns, after the catch. In Tampa, he will continue to be the primary option and will benefit from rookie Mike Evans. Teams will initially double team Jackson, however Evans will emerge and open up more opportunities to make the big play. I’m a big believer in Josh McCown and expect him to utilize Jackson the same way he utilized Alshon Jeffery in Chicago in 2013. The big concern with Jackson is his week to week average. Jackson lives and dies by the big play, and as a low-end RB1, that is a major concern.
In the fourth round, would you rather Vincent Jackson or Larry Fitzgerald?
I would rather Vincent Jackson. I believe in Josh McCown, I believe in the Bucs offense, and I believe in Vincent Jackson. They will air the ball out a great deal and Jackson will benefit. Those who believe McCown were a one hit wonder are gravely mistaken. Mike Evans is the type of player who is going to surprise defense and draw coverage off Jackson. I wouldn’t feel great having Jackson as my primary, but in a 16 team league you could certainly do worse. He has immense upside and I completely see him finishing as a top 10 WR, with a 14th finish as the low-end. Fitzgerald’s age, Carson Palmers inconsistency and the rumors of Michael Floyd becoming the primary receiver tip the scales in the favor of Jackson. While Fitz should still have a very solid year, I can’t see him cracking the top 10. There is a fair chance that Fitzgerald regains the form that made him one of the best wide receivers in fantasy; but there is too much uncertainty in Arizona as to who the real number one option will be. I love Fitzgerald, but he won’t be on any of my fantasy teams this season.
Tom Brady vs. Colin Kaepernick
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and own draft strategy, let’s make that perfectly clear before I go even further. I would also like to make it perfectly clear, that I feel everyone should be waiting on QB this season. There is tremendous depth at the position and, as a result of that depth, the early rounds should be spent stockpiling your other positions. To note, the two aforementioned players are being drafted, on average, in the 7th round. They are at the bottom of the majority top 10, and even directly behind them are Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo. Those players are easy top 10 choices, but being drafted in the 9th, 10th and sometimes 11th round. Hell, Jay Cutler is going in the 11th and he’s set to have a potentially top 5 season. Please see my rankings for my real feelings on Jay Cutler.
Having said all of that, the question at hand becomes Colin vs. Tom. Brady vs. Kaepernick. The greatest of all time or the treacherous villain. If you haven’t gathered, I’m not the biggest fan of Kaepernick. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about the guy I don’t like. With Tom Brady, well, I used to have some beef with him; but now we’re besties and Giselle makes me sandwiches on the weekend. God if only that were true. If I had photoshop right now, I’d create an image of Tom and myself laying pool side while Ms. Bundchen winks at me mischievously while Mr. Brady gives me a nod. You know how THAT couple get down. Anway, let’s escape that fantasy and get back to a more reality based fantasy.
Tom Brady finished 13th in fantasy points last season, primarily as a result of an incredibly inexperienced set of receivers. For poops and chortles, let’s list his starting options: Julian Edleman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dropson, Kembrell Thompkins and a portion of Rob Gronkowski. Edleman and Amendola have a combined 10 years “NFL experience”, but they certainly have not seen a vast amount of play. Amendola stays on the IR list, and Gronk didn’t show up until week 7 (then subsequently missed weeks 15/16/17). The one positive note from 2013 was Brady being a top 4 quarterback if you only count weeks 9-17. He began to gel with his receivers, Gronkowski returned and the Patriots, quite figuratively got their stuff together.
Colin Kaepernick finished the year as the #9 QB in fantasy sports, outscoring Brady by only 12 points. ONLY 12 POINTS. Please loyal readers, keep that figure in mind and know that we will reference it. Kaepernick has never had the “elite” tag spoken when his value is discussed, and most likely it never will be. He’s a very good quarterback with a solid arm and a great ability to scramble. The 49ers bolstered their offense with addition of Stevie Johnson, and drafting of Carlos Hyde. Michael Crabtree will be healthy and available to Kaepernick, and Vernon Davis continues to be one of the best in the business. Kaepernick carries huge value because of his ability to make plays with his feet and pickup touchdowns on the ground. If Kaepernick had scored more than single digit in 3 of his first 5 games; he very well could have been a top 5 fantasy QB (and that’s without Crabtree).
In the 7th round, would I rather Colin Kaepernick or Tom Brady?
I would rather Tom Brady. Tom Brady is one of, if not the, greatest quarterback of all time. Yes, yes, roll your eyes readers; but we’re all entitled to our opinions and mine happens to be the one smack dab in front of you. Brady was nearly a top 10 back with one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Go ahead, throw another team at me which had worse options at WR. I would accept a few teams having worse: Bills, Jets, Raiders, Rams; but after that the Patriots are right there. Even with scrubby receivers and missing their star TE; Brady still was only 12 points away from being in the top 10.
I will relent to the fact that, if Kaepernick had Crabrtree for the season he would have scored more points on the year and most likely been a top 5-6 QB; however skill at the position will be the main factor in deciding who I want on my team. Brady has a second year of developing a rapport with his players and his favorite target (Gronkowski) is healthy again. I am anticipating a huge rebound for Tom Brady, and have him ranked ahead of Kaepernick in my rankings. This is one that I certainly could see going the other direction, but I must have the courage of my convictions and go with Tom Terrific.
Hopefully everyone found a little value in these three assessments, as it’s something I plan on continuing next week. I’ll go a little deeper into the draft and hopefully help the readers make the correct decisions.
Oh, that reminds me. Here’s something to keep in mind everyone. The rankings on this website were created prior to the preseason, and as such are subject to plenty of alterations. Injuries, starting decisions, or a plethora of other options will diminish or increase the value for a variety of players. Our rankings are a baseline, but they are ever-changing. It is important to remain diligent in your research and trust your instincts when you see changes to the dynamics of an organization. Always put in the work if you want positive results.
Good luck to everyone drafting this weekend!