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We all know him. Every draft has at least one. That guy who takes seemingly forever to select when it’s his turn. Nervously flipping through fantasy magazines he bought in June. Yeah, he’s the reason some of you put a time limit on your picks. Don’t be that guy.
OK, so your draft is almost here. No need to panic, I say, as you quickly begin printing all the positional rankings you can find, as well as all the position tiers. Hey, I enjoy checking out the latest rankings and tiers as much as the next guy. Yes, I do like to be prepared. But here is my thing, we over tier! And I’m all tiered out.
Truth is, we can pretty much agree on the Top 3 at each position, if not the Top 5. Albeit, in no particular order, but Top 5 nonetheless. In fact, the difference in points, from the alleged No. 1 to No. 5, in the end, will be negligible. So, don’t stress. Don’t overanalyze. No more tears — it goes against guy code, you know. So, go ahead, take Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy or Ray Rice with that first pick. You’ll be fine. It is what you do with the entire draft that matters, every round. After that Top 3 or 5, truth is, it is one big question mark — a crap shoot. A long shot. No one really knows who that No. 6 or No. 20 wide receiver might be. So, what can you do?
Well, this is where the fantasy part comes in. As well as some luck. But, what you can do is minimize the risk. Have a game plan, a strategy. Target some guys, but be flexible. I like the second- or third-year guys that have some experience, with youth and upside. Think of all those tiers and rankings as merely a guide, not the fantasy bible — something to give you some sense of direction.
For example, I recently read a tier on Wide Receivers that had Julio Jones in Tier 3, with Marques Colston, Dez Bryant, Mike Wallace, Victor Cruz and Jordy Nelson. That might deter some from picking Jones as a WR1 in, say, Round 3. But I would have no problem taking Jones in that spot. Jones could easily outproduce teammate Roddy White (Tier 2). Or even Wes Welker (Tier 1). This same tier sheet had Miles Austin with Robert Meachem in Tier 4, right next to Brandon Lloyd, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. I’m not so sure Tony Romo’s top dog and No. 1 wide receiver, Miles Austin, should be next to the big question mark that is Meachem (a former No. 2 or 3 wide receiver for Drew Brees). And we all have high hopes for Peyton Manning’s new toys (Decker and Thomas), but I don’t see both of them reaping all the benefits. Lloyd remains intriguing in that New England offense, but mysterious too. A lot of risk there.
What about the running back tiers? Well, same holds true. I’ve read a running back tier sheet that had Jamaal Charles in Tier 2 with Ryan Mathews and Chris Johnson, but I don’t see Charles as belonging quite that high. Why? He has been out for almost a year with a major injury, he is a year older now, but more than anything I think Peyton Hillis’ best year could still be coming. Whether it does or not, he’ll be the goal-line guy. He will get the lion’s share of touchdowns. I also see Ryan Mathews and Chris Johnson as Tier 1 guys this year.
Point being, use the tiers, use the rankings, but as a guide, a point of reference only. Do not lock yourself into someone else’s playbook. Be flexible. And if there must be tiers, make them your own.
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