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August 07, 2013

Playing With The Big Boys


When you play fantasy football with the big boys, you have to learn not to believe everything the big boys say.

Most of the professional Fantasy Football pundits feed off each other. Therefore, the "now" players are hyped so much that the rest of us tend to pick them too early come draft day. Conversely, when the big shots are down on a player, that player tends to become undervalued in draft.

One such player this year is Antoine Foster. He has been ranked among the top four fantasy backs in each of the past four years. He was number one a couple years ago and number two last year. Yet people are passing on him this year. Why? Because the so-called experts are telling us to.

The feeling is Foster carried the ball too many times last season and that injuries are going to take a toll on him. But he's not injured. More to the point, in the playoffs last year, despite his grueling regular season workload, he had two great games. There is absolutely no reason why he shouldn't be picked second or third this year.

So it was when I participated in the National Fantasy Football Online Championship draft Saturday. I requested the seventh overall pick, and that's what I got.

If you are allowed to pick a draft spot, that's the place to be this year: mid pack. That's because there are eight really good running backs and Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver who puts up monster numbers. More important, in a snake draft, picking in the middle of each round keeps you in the action. Put another way, the guy with the first pick in a 12-man draft will have to wait 22 picks before he picks again. That's a long time.

Consider my draft: Foster fell to me at #7 overall; I grabbed him. I took Jimmy Graham, a tight end, in the second round because he is so much better than all the others. My game plan was to wait until the seventh or eighth round to take a quarterback – I figure there are 12 good fantasy quarterbacks, and they are so closely bunched at the back end that I'm not even sure which one I want most.

But lo and behold, there was a quarterback run in the sixth round. Five teams took QBs, and four others had gone earlier. If I did not have a pick in the middle of the next round, I would have lost out on one of the good QBs. The truth is, I would have been screwed.

As it turned out I ended up with Robert Griffin III in the seventh, and backed him up with Eli Manning in the ninth. As extra insurance I took Michael Vick in the 16th.

In addition to Foster, I picked up David Wilson and Run DMC (Darren McFadden) at running back. Because DMC is injury prone, I handcuffed him with Marcel Reese later in the draft.

Once I picked Graham, I knew I would be light at wide receiver, so I reached for Tavon Austin, the explosive Rams rookie, in the sixth round. The Rams loved him so much, they traded two first round picks in this week's draft to move up and get him. If he delivers, I'm primed for a big year.

Important tip: Know your league's scoring settings. This particular league gives one point for every pass reception. That means running backs like Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris lose value – neither catches many passes On the other hand, a guy like Darren Sproles moves way up.

In CBS leagues, QBs get six points for passing TDs, so scoring machines like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning need to be bumped up in drafts, to the late first or early second rounds.

Yes, listen to the experts and pundits. But it's YOUR team. Don't let them dictate what you do.

"Skippy Brown" recently won the Draft King Spring Fling contest, besting over 1000 other professional fantasy baseball players. For comments, tips, advice, rants, or just to annoy him you can now contact the Skipper via email: skippybrown@yahoo.com.

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