Have Some Cojones; Reach for Your Guys

Sweat is dripping down your forehead. You look up and eleven of your closest friends are in a dead stare aimed right at you. One of them gently taps his finger against a sheet of paper while another one blows bubble after bubble with his gum. Finally, one of them speaks.

“Are you ever going to make a pick? Your two minutes are up.”

Of course you’re going to pick. I mean, this is a draft isn’t it? Don’t worry about him. You’ve always been bothered by that guy anyways. Obviously, the question is who you are going to pick. The inner struggle has been eating at your insides for the past few minutes because of this common thought process: your draft guide ranks a player as best available that you have no interest in. Let’s call this player Chris Johnson. Instead, the guy you’re staring at is someone like unknown commodity Lamar Miller. While you value your instincts, there’s always that inner conflict that these football writers know better.

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Let me let you in on a little secret: everyone is guessing. The worst feeling in all of fantasy sports is just taking the guy you’re supposed to take, who you have no interest in, and he fails miserably. This is fantasy football: the one chance most of us will ever get to simulate being a NFL general manager. I say have some cojones! Take the guy you believe in. Reach for the player you want even if it is over someone that the general consensus believes in. Nobody in the National Football League is a sure thing. Want proof? No problem.

Here’s a list of 2012 ADP’s, according to MyFantasyLeague.com, of players drafted highly who did not perform to their draft position (PPR format):

LeSean McCoy – ADP 3rd among RB (Finished 16 overall among RB)

Maurice Jones-Drew – ADP 7th among RB (Finished 52nd overall among RB)

Ryan Mathews – ADP 11th among RB (Finished 30 overall among RB)

Larry Fitzgerald – ADP 2nd among WR (Finished 33 overall among WR)

Greg Jennings – ADP 8th among WR (Finished 76 overall among WR)

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If you took any of these players last season “where they were supposed to go,” you received nowhere near the returns of what you drafted. Personally I was staying away from Jones-Drew with the hold out. Almost any other running back that I took in the second round ended up out-producing MJD even though ADP would say that he was “the right pick.” What good does being conservative do if “sure things” such as Maurice Jones-Drew and Larry Fitzgerald couldn’t even finish top 30 at their position? They are supposed to be fantasy rocks year after year without falter.

The answer is there is no such thing as a fantasy rock. Any player can get hurt on any play moreso than any other sport. How many first rounders actually produced first round value in twelve team leagues last year? Five. Seven out of twelve players drafted in the first round in 2012 didn’t produce like a first rounder. So why would you stick to any one draft sheet? Why would you consider any player safe? If history were to repeat itself, more than half of the guys you have ranked in your top twelve will fail. Just take the ones you have the most faith in. If you’re deciding between A.J. Green and Dez Bryant and you really feel that A.J. hit his peak last year, why would you go that way? You don’t draft for past numbers. Taking A.J. Green does not assure you his 1350 yards and 11 touchdowns from 2012. Stats are not transferable like money in a bank or a stock. Year after year they must be earned. If something deep inside your stomach is telling you Dez Bryant is the move, it’s likely for a reason.

The same can be said for taking players at a different position. This season, I have been criticized time and time again for picking Calvin Johnson in the first round that is “filled with running back talent.” I heard these same voices last year. If I had taken any back in the first round instead of Megatron, I would have lost out on a minimum of 42 points. The highest point total a first round running back compiled was 305 in PPR by Arian Foster, while Calvin finished with 347. Don’t look at everyone’s twitter feeds this year and take to heart people criticizing others over their RB2. What they say doesn’t matter. People’s words do not transfer into final numbers. If you think Jimmy Graham is a first rounder because he’s the elite tight end, then do it. As long as you think the situation through, I say go crazy! If you believe your first round Calvin/Jimmy Graham plus a second round Steven Jackson will out-duel the production of a first round Marshawn Lynch and second round Demaryius Thomas, do it. Conservative is not a strategy suited best for fantasy football.

When you go to draft, just remember, the players most commonly on winning fantasy teams last year were Randall Cobb and Alfred Morris. Neither of them were anything more than late round draft picks in even the deepest of leagues. If guys like this can be the key to your fantasy victory, then nothing is for certain. Don’t let someone else’s strong opinion fool you for fact. Think outside the box and go for the gold. For if you don’t, you will look back and call yourself chicken for not making the move you wanted to. Fantasy football requires a thing called intestinal fortitude, so prove to yourself you have it. Quit sweating, open your mouth and announce you’ll be taking Lamar Miller (and not Chris Johnson). Let’s face it, you never really wanted CJ anyways!


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