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Generals Always Fight the Last War; Subtitle: Going Back to the Trent Richardson Well

Probably the one thing that I’m most hyper-aware of in fantasy football is that every year drafters will try to win this year’s leagues by implementing the winning strategy from the previous year. It’s as reliable as Adam Sandler releasing movies I don’t give a shit about.

But I thought an interesting thought exercise would be to try to take last year’s pre-season strategy for winning a league and try to see what kind of team it would give you in 2014. Actually there were a bunch of strategies, so this is just one. But Trent Richardson and Lamar Miller were both players that we liked last year. They both pretty much shit the bed. So they weren’t league winners. They were just expected league winners. We were wrong, you were right. We’re dumb, you’re smart1.

But I don’t carry grudges, so just because I missed on Richardson especially (I had him on about 30% of my teams, whereas I didn’t have Miller on any despite the fact that I did think he looked good), doesn’t mean I won’t go back to the well.

Here’s a lineup I generated using the Snake Draft Planner.


I should mention that Evan Silva made a great case for Lamar Miller on a recent episode of On the Couch. I’m pretty sure he singlehandedly moved Miller’s ADP by about four rounds. But the basic play for Miller is that you’re probably getting the youngest, freshest legs in that backfield. Knowshon Moreno just played a game in February and as Sigmund Bloom points out in that episode of On the Couch, Moreno might not have been the same after his high volume game against New England. I should note that in the case of the Miller/Moreno camp battle, I am not on board with the crowd that says that Miller is inherently more talented. I don’t think that makes sense based on Moreno having been an earlier NFL draft selection in his class, and the fact that Moreno is coming off a very good fantasy season while Miller is coming off a bad one. But I still think there’s a ton of value here and Miller could win the job.

The other component of this strategy is just rolling the dice on Trent Richardson. It’s worth remembering that while T-Rich wasn’t lighting the world on fire before he was traded, he was on a 56 catch pace for the season in Cleveland. Also, he finished the regular season with Indy on a 56 catch pace over his final four games. Maybe you just draft him as if he’s like a change of pace PPR back (Shane Vereen was going in the fourth round of drafts last year) and then if he becomes an actual real RB1, you made out like a bandit. The natural reaction to that idea is to say that we’ve seen enough from Richardson to know that’s not going to happen. Maybe that’s the case. But when all you have to spend on a guy is a 5th round pick, and he was a top 5 pick in the NFL draft, he’s all his team really has at RB, and has ability to catch the ball, I feel like there’s value there.

The receivers on this team probably represent varying levels of value. Maybe Julian Edelman gives back some of his volume, so maybe you would go Michael Floyd in the fourth instead. I don’t think I’ll pass on Eric Decker ever this year if his ADP stays in the WR30 range. James Jones is probably the best WR on his team. You could probably swap out Antonio Gates in the 11th for Greg Jennings if you’re on board with the articles that we’ve written about him lately. In terms of the first round, I actually think there’s probably a case to be made for Demaryius Thomas as the first overall WR this year, so getting him at the 5th overall works for me. Andre Johnson is just straight age arbitrage.

I realize I just did the day-after-the-draft “I really like my team” thing on a team I didn’t even actually draft. But I wanted to do a test run through the Snake Draft Planner and this was a good opportunity.

  1. Happy Gilmore, FTW  (back)

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