Every year, if your league is anything like my leagues, we anticipate two things. The first is our draw number, in other words the number of the position we will be picking, and then of course, the draft itself. We yell or moan once we receive our drafting orders, like a bunch of half-crazed wolves. I’ve seen owners actually give up their second-round pick just to move up, because they knew for sure they could get better positioning and a certain player, and that player would put them over the top, regardless of not having a second-round pick. It’s a crazy move. That’s all I got to say.
Now I’ve heard arguments, debates and theories on both ways on positioning of your draft picks. Some owners will tell you that you’ve got to be at the front of the draft to win. Another one will tell will you that it’s better to be in the back of the draft order. It can get to be a deep subject, almost as deep as Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. It can make your head spin, especially if you’re new to fantasy football. It seems everyone has a opinion. Well after countless years of playing fantasy football and being in the front of the pack and the back of the pack, guess what? It’s a virtual tie in my opinion.
Now I know that makes some guys mad because they got it all figured out. Well, this I can tell you for sure from my experiences. I’ve won in the front countless times and believe it or not, the last two years I’ve won back-to-back championships, in a 12-man league, with the 11th and 12th draft pick. So my point is, you can win from anywhere and with a few basic strategies. Know your league scoring system and know your players and basically where they should be taken. Knowing your players and the average draft position of every player can be a big tool in helping you pull one out of the bag.
The first point is about knowing your players and where to take them. The average draft position (ADP) has become the fantasy owner’s helper in predicting, on average, where each player will be taken. It’s the closest thing we can use to try and tap into another owner’s mind so you can basically predict what they will do. If you know the average draft position, you can hold off on picking a super sleeper many times or you can trade up or move down in certain situations. That said, it’s not fool proof, as somebody will always throw a monkey in the wrench and pull some crazy move that you didn’t account for, but it’s still a handy tool and at times will pay off.
The next point, as I preached in an earlier article, is that you need to know your players. This point is what I call the X-factor. Each player is worth X number of points. Now, of course the X-factor will vary in each league, as your scoring system dictates. In other words, if you’re in a points per reception league, you’re probably going to want someone who catches a lot of balls, wherein a touchdown only league, you want a guy that can take it to the house. In short, players vary in different systems.
I’ve seen players take stats from the year before and totally base everything on that. Only problem with that? It hardly ever pans out. Sure, sometimes you can get a guy that’s going to put out pretty consistently for a number of years. I call it the five-year rule and will go into more detail another time with you on it. But for the most part, each year there’s a new rushing leader and a new receiving leader. This brings me to an interesting theory about this year, and about using the average draft position and studying a player. For example, if you have entered into any mock drafts or have seen any real drafts done online this year, the average draft position of the Top 4 picks is: (1) Adrian Peterson, (2) Arian Foster, (3) Chris Johnson, (4) Jamaal Charles. Now this can vary of course, but for the most part the average guy believes this is the way it will play out. Now here is the pitch. By spending 10-15 minutes of stat study and reading a few articles and figuring the average draft position, I was able to come up with an amazing hopeful discovery. Enter one Jamaal Charles.
Fantasy History Lesson 101
Charles was drafted in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. In his first year, he was the backup running back to Larry Johnson; he only rushed 67 times for 357 yards.
In his second year, he rushed 190 times for 1,120 yards despite playing in only 10 games due to the fact Johnson was suspended. Charles also rushed 25 times for 259 yards in one game against the Denver Broncos, breaking the Chiefs’ single-game rushing record. Charles also became the only player in NFL history to have a 6.1 yards per carry average rush and rush for more than 1,000 yards and catch 40 balls. With those stats from Charles, it signified the writing on the wall for Johnson’s career. Isn’t it amazing how if you drop the ball in life, your loss can easily become someone else’s gain?
You would think with those kinds of numbers Charles would have been a slam-dunk as a starter in the 2010 season! But no. He had to play second string to Thomas Jones. Say what, you ask? I was totally blown away myself. Now don’t get me wrong – Jones is a good back and a tough guy, but he’s not a great back like Charles. Jones doesn’t have the explosiveness or skill set anymore to even be compared to Charles. It didn’t take long for the Chiefs to finally wake up and smell the roses. They finally gave Charles the nod at starter and guess what happened? Just 230 carries for 1,467 yards. Only the second highest yards per carry in the history of the NFL, only second to a Hall of Famer in Jim Brown, and believe it or not Charles’ 6.38 per carry was only off Brown’s record by two one hundredths of a yard. Wake up, people! Do you see where I’m going? This guy has never been the starter in a season yet, but I guarantee you the Chiefs will start Charles this year.
You can only show yourself the door. You must choose whether to open door and whether to enter.