There is a fine line between doing your homework, being prepared and flat out over-thinking. Too many fantasy owners put too much stock in deep diving in the weeks leading up to draft day, only to find themselves marooned on WTF Island after all is said and done. Analysis is smart, but over-analysis can out-fox even the savviest of fantasy owners.
Folks that have read my pieces in the past know that I am a HUGE proponent of preparedness. There is a value to knowing just a little more than the other ownerâ€™s sitting around the league draft room. It is most definitely important in the NFL and it is important in the realm of fantasy football as well. Â But over doing it can backfire on you in an instant, much to the delight of the combatants around you.
Injuries. While certainly worthy of your attention, injuries must not cause you so much worry that you find yourself shying away from pure talent for fear of the dreaded â€œWhat if???â€ factor. Fact is, football is a contact sport, with more collisions than I-95 in Florida and guys can and do get hurt. However, if Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is any indication, todayâ€™s athletes are a different breed. Combined with top notch medical procedures, players heal faster and get back on the field quicker than ever before. That said, in drafts from coast to coast we’re seeing Houston Texans RB Arian Foster fall to the latter stages of the first round, and in some cases into the early second round. This folks, is ridiculous. Has he taken a monster workload over the past three seasons? Of course, but heâ€™s averaged over 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns over the last three seasons. You would no doubt match the insanity of those numbers by passing up that incredible production because of some August soreness. Crazy. Don’t be an alarmist.
Is there a risk? Sure, but to allow yourself to succumb fantasy Traumatophobia??? (Google it) I implore you to not allow irrational thinking to rule the day. Rest assured that will NOT win you a Fantasy Championship anytime soon.
Draft Foster with confidence, but wisely draft for depth, as even though fellow Texans RB Ben Tate,Â touted as the obvious handcuff, is not without challenges of his own. If another owner wants to â€œone-upâ€ the Foster owner and grab Tate too early, donâ€™t fret. Tate is no Emmitt Smith. Bottom line? Draft Foster – he’s earned the respect of fantasy owners.
Other players youâ€™ll want to seriously consider despite the injury panic: Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Tennessee Titans WR Kenny Britt, New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola, Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson,Â Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon and San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates to name a few. Issues yes, but run and hide scenarios? Certainly not. Those would fall to the likes of Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden and Arizona Cardinals RB Rashard Mendenhall. Injuries coupled with terrible offensive line play are perfect reasons to pass, no pun intended.
Yes, that is a LOT of injured guys, but remember it is FOOTBALL, not water polo.
Positional Battles. Â Donâ€™t kid yourself, the stud players will start period, paragraph. Solid stat lines in the pre-season are great, but remember, many coaches are just analyzing each and every player on the roster as they cut down to the final squad. Also, in the latter
stages of pre-season games, your 3rd and 4th tier players take the stage, so ultimate performance can be skewed. It is not to say you wonâ€™t find a diamond in the rough, i.e. New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins, but the key is to draft him accordingly. In other words, he might be a solid player as things develop, but donâ€™t out-fox yourself by selecting him over more proven talent. Draft your hidden gems in the later rounds, and in the case of an injury to a starting player, you are a step ahead of the waiver wire insanity that will undoubtedly ensue.
Prior Season Disappointments. This is another big one. Remember, donâ€™t think that teams are ignorant to the reason or reasons these once-heralded players turned in disappointing seasons. In many cases, deficiencies are identified and attempts are made to remedy them. Case in point, Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson. The glaring deficiency was the offensive line, and in response the Titans re-tooled top to bottom. As a result, you will see a decided upswing in Johnsonâ€™s overall performance as well as the performance of the aforementioned Kenny Britt and their young QB Jake Locker. Same could be said for Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, who should return to fantasy prominence with an upgrade at the quarterback position, and San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis, who should be more of a focal point down field than he was in 2012.
In conclusion, while you want to be mindful of a variety of factors in regards to personnel, schemes, and injuries, you donâ€™t want fear to paralyze you when you are ON THE CLOCK!
Best of luck as drafting mania is in full swing!
Drop me a line here or on Twitter – @djleason
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