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Ultimate Betrayal: Fantasy Football Magazines

It starts off casually. You find yourself in a bookstore and you’re in the magazine section. You innocently walk over to the sports section and you’re surprised to see quite a few fantasy football magazines already on the stands. “This early in the summer? But, training camp hasn’t even started yet,” you think to yourself.

Still, you are intrigued. You haven’t thought about fantasy football in a while and your interest is suddenly piqued. There’s many to choose from, but you finally settle on one. You bring it home. At first it’s just an innocent curiosity … a fling, if you will. It’s fun to look at and it’s great to be thinking about fantasy football again. What could possibly be so wrong about that?

And as time goes on, you reread the articles, make notes about the rankings and start to build your own draft cheat sheet. By the time your draft finally arrives, you walk into the draft room with confidence, trusted magazine in hand. You’re about to draft a championship team.

You look at your fantasy football magazine and notice that it has a shiny thing in its left hand, but it’s holding it behind his back and you can’t really tell what it is. You turn around to make your next pick and suddenly, out of nowhere, your fantasy football magazine stabs you in the back. The one thing you trusted the most has just betrayed you and potentially ruined your team. Ultimate betrayal.  

Anatomy of a Betrayal

If you were a stockbroker, would you buy a stock based on outdated information? Of course not. It seems like a pretty simple question. And yet, year after year, fantasy football owners rely on outdated and many times, inaccurate information from magazines.

And, yet it’s hard to blame the magazines for this. We’re talking about magazines that are printed, best case scenario, right after organized team activities are finished, and many times even before that. At this point, depth charts haven’t been set in stone, free agency is still going on and injuries haven’t happened yet.    

The grand conclusion of the NFL offseason is training camp and the preseason, where depth charts are finally settled. The vast majority of fantasy magazines on the stands are published before training camp even starts. If you’re basing all of your information on your fantasy magazine and especially its outdated rankings, you’re asking for trouble.

It’s like being asked to do a book report on a book you’ve only read the first three chapters of. Even if you’re an owner that keeps current on fantasy news, in the heat of the moment with less than a minute to make your next pick, it’s easy to quickly look at a magazine and make a quick decision based on what its outdated projections say.

The only way to stay ahead of the game is to keep yourself constantly updated on the changing values of players. I’ve made a brief list of players whose fantasy value has significantly changed since these magazines were published in June and early July. I’m not necessarily saying these are players to avoid but you should definitely proceed with caution.


4 Players to Reconsider

Ben Tate  

After finishing a pretty dominant senior year at

Auburn
, Tate was drafted by the Houston Texans, one of the NFL’s highest-scoring teams. His situation seemed even better when you consider all the issues the Texans have had at the runningback position. Between Steve Slaton being one of last year’s biggest busts and Arian Foster having a resume about as short as Jerome Harrison’s, Tate seemed primed to take over the Texans runningback position and emerge as a fantasy star.

The only problem is that the underappreciated Foster, apparently didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to step aside for Tate. Foster’s been impressing everybody in organized team activities and training camp. According to Texans’ beat writer Nick Scurfield, Foster’s been getting the first-team reps and seems poised to get the starting runningback job in


Houston
.

What’s fantasy football magazine darling Tate been up to lately? Oh, you mean besides missing most of organized team activities with a hamstring injury? Let’s see, he’s had his struggles in training camp. Why listen to me though? Coach Gary Kubiak has already dropped gems like the time he said “Tate has a long way to go” and also the gem he dropped about Tate being “behind the team because of the stuff he missed in the offseason.”

I’ve found in most fantasy magazines that Tate is usually ranked ahead of Jahvid Best and C.J. Spiller, which I think is ridiculous. Best is looking to be the sole runner in
Detroit and has his coach is apparently planning on using him like he used Chris Johnson when he coached him in

Tennessee
.

Spiller isn’t in as good of a situation as Best is playing for the lowly Buffalo Bills.  Still, recent reports out of

Buffalo
have Spiller playing a large role in the offense and in training camp he’s been running with the first team. This puts Best and Spiller firmly above Tate. Best and Spiller will play immediately this year but Tate’s status is a lot more precarious. These are things to remember when you start itching to draft a rookie runningback and look to your fantasy magazine for guidance.

Julian Edelman

I was a huge fan of Edelman in the offseason. He had late-round steal written all over him and many fantasy football magazines were pushing him as one of their top sleepers. Unfortunately for Edelman, the resilient and fast healing points per reception legend Wes Welker is in the midst of an amazing comeback and might be even ready for week 1.

At this point in the offseason, Edelman seems more like a handcuff for those ballsy owners willing to roll the dice on Welker. I’m not one of them. Welker is one of my all-time favorite fantasy football players but I wouldn’t touch him or Edelman this year. I’m not willing to put myself through the torture of Bill Belicheck’s consistently vague injury reports to see which slot receiver will get the nod on any given week.

It’s impossible to predict what the real value of both Welker and Edelman will be this season, so it might be the wise move for owners to sit this one out. If Welker ends up playing early though, Edelman becomes completely worthless, and that’s a lot to risk for a sleeper.

Knowshon Moreno

I would put

Moreno
on this list even if he hadn’t recently torn his hamstring and is projected to miss 2-3 weeks. He would’ve made the list even if I ignored the Broncos’ increasingly large backfield, which includes Correll Buckhalter and now LenDale White.

The reason

Moreno i
s on this list is because, simply put, I’m predicting the Denver Broncos will be the worst team in the NFL this year. Think of all the playmakers they’ve lost the last two years: Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and now defensive MVP Elvis Dumervil. With Dumervil gone and the Broncos’ pass rush now non-existent, teams will be passing all over the Broncos.

I’m predicting the Broncos will be playing from behind in most games and be forced to abandon the run. Since the Broncos have no proven receivers to speak of, teams will easily stack the line against

Moreno
on every down. At least with Dumervil there, the Broncos had a pretty solid defense and they could keep games close. Now that Elvis has left the building, the Broncos are in a lot of trouble and

Moreno
’s value takes a nose dive.



Moreno
i
s just not good enough in the way that Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are, to be able to consistently produce stats while playing in an anemic offense. I’d stay away from all Broncos at this point, especially

Moreno
, who is being drafted as a No. 2 runningback. There are some mistakes you can make in a draft and still find a way to succeed. Wasting a high draft pick on a runningback can be fatal though. If you don’t believe me, just ask Matt Forte and Steve Slaton owners from last year.

Final Analysis: How to Avoid the Ultimate Betrayal

Look, no one likes to have their heart broken into a million pieces. Following a fantasy football magazine’s advice, though, can lead to intense heartbreak, and owners need to be careful not to follow religiously what their magazines outdated projections are.

The best way to avoid the ultimate betrayal is to stay current on all NFL players. We still have about a month left of updates, depth chart moves, injuries, surprise comebacks and the preseason. Owners still have a lot of work to do and getting lazy as you approach the finish line is just what your traitorous fantasy football magazine is waiting for you to do.

Remember, it is not a gift or another beer that your fantasy magazine is hiding behind his back. That’s a knife, friends. Prepare accordingly.

Good hunting!

Ed Bonfanti 

Follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/edbonfanti

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