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Draft Lesson: The Middle

In life, the middle is often the best. The best part about a cream puff is the fluffy white frosting sandwiched in between the airy bland pieces of bendable pastry. If you don’t believe me just ask your nearest 5-year old. A messy face demonstration might even ensue. The best brother or sister to be in a pecking order of siblings is the middle one, as you get to be the younger protected, and the older protector. And the best part of a lazily watched football game is halftime. Because at halftime you can finally focus on getting that six pack you have been thirsting for before continuing to mold your butt cheeks in to the leather sofa for another 90 minutes real time.


Yes, being in the middle is indeed the best when it comes to life’s simplest things. In terms of fantasy football, though, being in the middle of the drafting order is like being in the middle of a bad dinner at an expensive restaurant.

You don’t want to ruin your wife’s time, but damn the shrimp she desires is pricy and portioned so small that a Chihuahua couldn’t even feel full. You want to punch the guy who is loudly bragging in his snooty British accent about how many different shades of Corvettes and Roadsters he has stretched along his 90-foot long driveway; a Daniel Craig wannabe. You start turning about as red as a tomato trying to figure out which silverware to use without getting an earful; you just need one fork and one knife. By the end of dinner you beg for Vin Diesel to get you to the nearest pharmacy before your head transforms in to the insides of Mr. Potato Head.

This is what it is like making decisions in the middle of the drafting order. You’ll develop a nervous twitch, because you won’t be able to stand the thought of Doug Martin being selected by anyone but you, let alone by the guy who drinks whiskey like it‘s grape Kool-Aid. You’ll start feeling green like the Hulk upon seeing Jamaal Charles slide off the draft board one pick ahead of you, as the guy with that snooty accent starts stating the obvious — “Charles is fast.” And you’ll find yourself down on one knee literally praying as you try to choose from the names of Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller and Trent Richardson listed on your “running back only” cheat sheet.

The easy thing for me to say here is: “don’t draft from the middle.” However, it is not that simple. Someone has to select from the core of the apple. The good news for you is that the proceeding text will confidently help you clear your head and prevent it from feeling like mashed potatoes. Yeah. I have already had the experience this offseason of that bad dinner.

FIRST-ROUND VALUE DROP

The first thing you need to know is that after the first five running backs, the value in the first round drops like a bad stock. That’s unless Calvin Johnson is still gleaming “pick me” on your draft board. You have to make a decision. You either take the easy road and select a running back like the above mentioned Ray Rice, ensuring you get at least one formidable starter while taking a value hit, or you take the leap with Johnson.

In the latest Fantasy Sharks Draft Champions (DC-3) League I selected Johnson at pick 1.06. The reason was clear-cut. According to his current Myfantasyleague.com average draft position he was the most valuable player left and has a distinguished consistent ceiling set for 2013. The remainder of the running backs that were still on the board at the time have similar skill sets, and safe expectations, but don’t glisten first round value like Johnson does.

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