Bold moves win championships. Even though I’m relatively new to fantasy football (I’ve only been playing for the past five years), I’ve won my league twice. And so, this two-time champion has been known to make a bold move or two.
I am an incessant planner. I already have the skeleton of my draft board for this year. My league is a keeper league. That being said, much thought goes into which players will be kept and how that’s going to affect both draft position and who will be available. The studs are gone, so if you don’t have anyone worth keeping or are the new guy, you’re behind before we even start.
Last year, the keepers in our 12-team league were Ray Rice (my keeper), Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Michael Vick, and Calvin Johnson. We had one guy not keep anyone who drafted Maurice Jones-Drew, and a new guy who drafted Matthew Stafford. Seeing as all of the big dog running backs and quarterbacks were off the board, I was bold and grabbed Jimmy Graham with my second-round pick (18th overall). I was laughed at. “You’re taking a tight end in the second round?” Now, he ended up with the wrist injury and was a bit sporadic for part of the year, but as the 18th pick that would get me almost 1,000 yards, it was a value. They laughed, but it also changed the culture of the draft. It got people thinking about snagging the best available tight ends and wide receivers. Next to go were Rob Gronkowski, Larry Fitzgerald and Victor Cruz. It was because of this that I was able to squeak out Jamaal Charles in the third round and Matt Ryan in the fourth round. Big cogs in my championship run.
What’s my bold move for this year? It’s still early, but, as of now, I’m keeping Charles. That’s right, sorry Rice, it’s been fun, but it’s time to move on. In an effort to dump salary, the Baltimore Ravens released fullback Vonta Leach, who has been blocking for Rice for the past two years. A rookie is replacing him. Meanwhile, Kansas City has revamped its offense in the offseason. The Chiefs beefed up the offensive line with first round draft pick Eric Fisher, added an actual passing threat with Alex Smith (compared to Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn), and we all know how running backs thrive under Andy Reid. Not to mention the fact that Charles had 1,509 yards last year coming off ACL injury in a completely anemic offense.
Not everyone will have the luxury of deciding between Rice and Charles as their keeper this year, but, if you’re bold in 2013, you just might set yourself up for greatness.