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Trash & Treasure in the NFL Draft


very year it happens.
  After weeks of excitement, you and the guys (and girls, if you’ve got the guts) pay homage to the fantasy gods and begin another draft.
  Your buddies all gather around the mountains of potato chips and buffalo wings as they each explain how they should have been last years champ.
  After a lot of grunting and chest thumping, the draft gets underway.

No one is surprised by the first couple picks as usual.

  Late in the first round or maybe the second, your buddy leans in and instead of taking a proven stud guaranteed to have an above average year, he gambles the entire season and takes the top rookie running back.

  Everyone else in the room laughs.

  The sarcastic one of the bunch congratulates him on an “awesome pick” with a smirk on his face.

  The next guy to pick exhales, uncrosses his fingers, and celebrates in amazement that his dream player is still available.



The question to ask is:

  How wise is it to make the top drafted rookie running back the foundation for your keeper league team?


Not to jump the gun, but this year it’s looking like Darren McFadden is going to be that guy in many leagues.

  Are you willing to take him as a 1st round pick?

  2nd round?

  Is he a bargain if he falls to the 3rd?


Before you get too eager, let’s jump in the time machine to see how this exact situation would have played out the past couple years.


First stop, 2005.

  You’ve just taken Ronnie Brown.

  Before you get to excited… remember that after a great start to the 2007 season, you dropped him due to frustration with his injuries and his below average team and picked up undrafted Ryan Grant to help continue your domination.

  Lucked out on that one…


2005 Draft Place



Ronnie Brown


Frank Gore


Marion Barber


Brandon Jacobs


Oh yeah, the rest of the people in your draft didn’t waste their early pick on a rookie running back, although this year, their keepers are Frank Gore, Marion Barber, and Brandon Jacobs.

  All starters for their teams, all healthy, and all drafted way after Ronnie Brown in the class of 2005.



  Avoid the 1st running back and see who rises to the top during the season.

  Waivers can be your best friend.


Wind back the clock to 2006.

  You’ve taken the highly touted Reggie Bush who was the 2nd pick of the NFL draft this year.

  Confident in your selection you spend the next 2 hours reminding everyone how great your pick was.

  Then they remind you the entire season how awful it was as Reggie is still slowly fazing into the Saint’s game plan, splitting time, and being forgotten when they need a player to score to this day.


2006 Draft Place



Reggie Bush


Laurency Maroney


Joseph Addai


LenDale White


Maurice Jones-Drew


Ever heard of Laurence Maroney or Joseph Addai?

  Yeah, oops!

  Bet you wish you would have taken these guys instead.

  To bad other teams in your league have a death grip on them and made them their keepers.

 You may recognize LenDale White and MJD too.

  All of these went later than Reggie Bush that year.


Result: With great risk come great rewards or average fantasy stats… be prepared for either.


Here we are in 2007.

  It seems like just a year ago… (insert chirping crickets here)

  After checking your favorite magazines and websites, you decide to take Adrian Peterson.

  Everyone at the draft was excited that they now could name on player on the Vikings team.

  One guy didn’t realize they were still a team in the NFL.

  He thought they just hosted boat parties.



2007 Draft Place



Adrian Peterson


Marshawn Lynch


Well, Marshawn came a little later in the draft, but this year the strategy worked!


Adrian made all his owners very happy last year, and has them drooling for 2008.

  If he maintains his health, he may very likely be a Top 5 running back this coming season.


Result: Congrats!

  You scored a fantasy star this year.




Final thoughts: You take a calculated risk going after an unproven NFL player as the anchor to your fantasy team’s running game.

  It’s been proven to be a genius move and it’s also been proven to be a fantasy nightmare.

  But every year, there will always be one willing to take the risk.


For me, I’m jumping back in the time machine and traveling to 2001 so I can draft Tomlinson!


Here are some other recent hits and misses from the past:

NFL Draft Year

1st rookie RB drafted

Studs drafted later…


Steven Jackson



Willis McGahee

Larry Johnson


William Green



Brian Westbrook


Ladanian Tomlinson



Jamal Lewis


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