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Welcome to a May edition of the Brew Crew Corner. It was really great to have the NFL draft as everyone wants to get the lockout situation resolved so that teams can get back to training and we can have great football games. This isn't going to be a draft recap article but I will say I was generally pleased with how my Giants drafted. I hope they are able to get more linebacker help from free agency and maybe add to the offensive line. I watched as much of the draft as I could and I'm eager to start analyzing the rookies and how they fit into fantasy football.
We will usher in a new decade of football and also a new decade of fantasy leagues. We've all had great players from year to year and some of us have had the privilege of drafting a player the year he lit up fantasy leagues. I've broken down the skill position players from 2001-2010. In this edition of the BCC I've noted some trends that may help for this years draft as well as strategies that I will use for my draft. I'd also like to introduce the All-Decade Team. These are the top 5 players at each position that dominated the decade. These players have been a critical part of fantasy championships over the past 10 years.
If you had a chance for the most dominating fantasy season, this would have been the ultimate line-up. Imagine drafting a lineup like this. This team would average 122.4 FTPs not counting the kicker and defense.
Let us look at the top players at each position from 2001-2010. There are surprising trends that we should consider when drafting players this season. This information could be very helpful in putting together a draft list and deciding from to similar players at a position. I used standard non-PPR scoring in a 12 team league format.
The first thing I notice is that the top 2 quarterbacks on this list had Randy Moss as a receiver. Of the top 20 quarterbacks, only Dante Culpepper in 2002 and Aaron Rodgers in 2010 were 25 years old. There were 9 quarterbacks between ages 26-29 as well as 9 quarterbacks 30 and older. Rich Gannon is only quarterback to make the top 20 after age 35. He was 37 in 2002 (RK 9). Note that Peyton Manning turns 35 this year.
Here is a list of quarterbacks that will be 30 or older this season.
We all covet the next best running back coming out of college. We've seen in fantasy drafts where rookies are selected in the first three rounds but looking over the past decade, only Clinton Portis in 2002 (RK 22) has made the top 50 overall. A bigger discovery was that 5 of the top 10 running backs were in years 6 or 7. Chris Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Arian Foster were the only running backs to rank in the top 20 in year 2. As good as Adrian Peterson has been, his best season ranks 21st among running backs. Priest Holmes in 2003 (RK 2) and Tiki Barber in 2005 (RK 19) are the only running backs age 30 or over to rank in the top 20. So this year it would be wise to check the list of running backs that will be drafted in the first few rounds and avoid the rookies and tailbacks 30 and older early.
Here is a list of running backs that will be 30 or older this season as well as the running backs that will be in their 6th or 7th year in the league.
There is always a debate about wide receivers in their 3rd year, the rule where receivers are expected to breakout. However, looking over the stats, there are only three players to rank in the top 20 that were in their 3rd year. They are Braylan Edwards in 2007 (RK 10), David Boston in 2001 (RK 16) and Javon Walker in 2004 (RK 17). Chad Ochocinco is the only other wide receiver in the top 50 that was in year 3. Rand Moss (RK 1, 2, 25), Marvin Harrison (RK 6, 7, 11) and Terrell Owens (RK 5, 9, 11) hold 3 spots each in the top 25. Andre Johnson (RK 14, 22) and Larry Fitzgerald (RK 13, 23) hold 2 spots each. This year I am targeting receivers in their 5th or 6th season as they have dominated the past decade. Seven out of the top 20 best fantasy individual seasons were from receivers in their 5th and 6th year. Five of them were in the top 10. Sixteen of the top 20 receivers were in year 5 or later. Anquan Bolden in 2003 (RK 45) is the only rookie in the top 50. There are no receivers in the top 20 in their 2nd year, but 4 in the top 50. They are Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace. So don't draft a rookie as your starter and be cautious of taking a receiver in his 2nd year. For receivers such as Hakeem Nicks, Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin, chances are that a veteran in his 5th or 6th year will out perform them.
Here is a list of wide receivers that will be 30 or older this season as well as the widereceiver that will be in their 5th or 6th year in the league.
The tight end position is pretty straight forward. The past decade has been dominated by Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez. Gates has ranked 4 times in the top 10 and has ranked 6 times in the top 20 (RK 2, 4, 7,10, 13, 16). Gonzalez also ranked 2 times in the top 10 and 5 times in the top 20 (RK 5, 6, 11, 12, 20). Jason Witten has ranked 3 times in the top 20 (RK 8, 9, 17) and Vernon Davis has ranked twice in the top 20, especially #1 overall with his 2009 performance (RK 1, 18). It is surprising that Dallas Clark was ranked once in the top 20 (RK 3). Rob Gronkowski is the only rookie to rank in the top 50 (RK 41). Gates, Gonzalez and Clark are the only tight ends to rank in the top 20 at age 30 or older. Shannan Sharp is the oldest to make the top 50, in 2003 he was 35 (RK 26). Selecting a tight end is simple, avoid rookies as your starter and try to get one of the top 5 at that position.
Here is a list of tight ends that will be 30 or older this season.
The past decade has produced great studs at the skill positions and I look forward to seeing which players will dominate for the next 10 years. When preparing for your draft this year, consider all these factors as well as the lockout situation. Only the players selected in the first round were given playbooks and if the lockout drags on it will really hurt the development of younger players or free agents, if they have free agency, that are joining new teams. It is a good year to play it conservative.
Thanks for reading. Follow me @BrewCrewCorner
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