The NFL season starts in two weeks. That means two weeks before the absolute mayhem of fantasy football descends on the Average Joe who thinks they can be a better general manager than Seattle’s John Schneider.
It also means that, for a second year, Terrible Fantasy Advice returns. But before we dive too deep into this draft day special…
Is there a reason that this is called Terrible Fantasy Advice? Yes.
Is there a reason this column was misspelled for a couple of weeks last year? Maybe less so.
But still, it is no surprise that fantasy football is as predictable as Mitch Trubisky. Hence, any sort of advice is going to be terrible, and it is just easier to accept it.
Moving forward, most of the stats this column will use over the course of the season will be based off of ESPN standard scoring for a non-PPR league. For you PPR players, there will be some info here, and I will try to keep up with those stats as well.
And now, onto the actual advice.
Know your league
It is really simple, isn’t it?
How many teams? How big is a roster? What kind of draft? One quarterback or two? PPR or not? Any scoring changes? Trade deadlines? Are the players in the league trustworthy? Is collusion allowed?
I can answer the last one for anyone wondering. If players are not trustworthy and you want glorious chaos, then yes.
Once you have a basic understanding of how the league works then you can come up with a draft day plan.
Come with a plan, but be ready to leave it
I wrote last year how a draft is pure chaos and to rise above that it is worth coming into the draft with a plan.
Whether you plan to go with two running backs, two wide receivers or a combo, have an idea.
Thinking long term, it may be wise to leave that idea. Say you plan to take a pair of receivers early as the third pick in the draft.
Sadly, Antonio Brown was taken second, and now you have David Johnson sitting in your lap. For all that is good, take Johnson. Just do it, don’t question it.
Second year quarterbacks’ progression
Excusing the homer bias here, but the Wentz Wagon just got upgraded to four-wheel drive.
It is worth a reminder that last season, the Eagles were sixth in the NFL in passing attempts. That is with a rookie quarterback that was labeled unproven and with just one weapon (Jordan Matthews, who has since been traded to the Jets).
Now, Philadelphia has added a pair of veteran receivers, Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery, and last season’s league leader in rushing touchdowns, LeGarrette Blount.
If the offensive line can give Wentz some time, expect his number to grow quickly. As is, he makes a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2.
Speaking of offensive lines, Dak Prescott will likely have himself a nice season, but there are two real concerns for Prescott.
First, how will Prescott adapt to the disappearance of Ezekiel Elliot in the backfield? Expect teams to play more pass defense for the first six games of the season due to Elliot’s suspension.
Second, what happens if that offensive line suffers some injuries? Injuries are a real possibility in football, and a few on a Dallas offensive line could spell disaster.
Perhaps one of the funniest, but true, jokes about an NFL player I have ever heard was about Matt Asiata. Of the former Vikings running back, “If you need three yards, he gets you three. If you need four yards, he gets you three.”
But what if you just need one?
Answer, LeGarrette Blount and Jonathan Stewart.
Seeing as Blount is now in a more pass-happy offense and Christian McCaffery is emerging in Carolina, this is less about the players. Rather, this is more about what type of owner you want to be.
As an owner of both last season, it is hard to deal with a pair of backs who acquire points mainly from touchdowns. If you want to deal with that stress and the scorn of the rest of the league, take this gamble.
However, anytime you get a pair of running backs with 27 touchdowns, then you can’t gripe that much.
Rookies to watch
Twice in two sections a comment about home team bias? I should really branch out more.
That said, Dalvin Cook might just become the monster that Adrian Peterson used to be for the Minnesota Vikings. The Florida State product looks good in the preseason and looks set to start in front of Latavius Murray at the start of the season.
Cook’s aggressive style of attack and his solid hands out of the backfield make him a must own in all league formats, especially in PPR, with Sam Bradford known to keep it simple on offense.
The other two rookie runners can also draw some attention. McCaffery is the likely starter in Carolina this season. The former Stanford man has similar skills as Cook and just as much upside. However, he may have points taken from him with Stewart on goal line duty.
Leonard Fournette is a skilled player, but is stuck to start in Jacksonville. It is not hard to imagine a difficult rookie campaign for him, mainly due to the Jaguars’ ineffectiveness on offense.
On the outside, may it be worth to take Cooper Kupp? NDSU fans will remember him and his skills from three quarters of football at the FargoDome last year.
Kupp has traded a red field for the Los Angeles Rams, where he sits at number three on the depth chart. If he is still sitting around at the end of the draft, take the risk and pick him up.