5 Fantasy Draft Ideas to Win Your League

There has been a lot of great content at RotoViz lately. So much so that your head may be swirling with different ideas. I wanted to help sort through the noise of all the information, and give you my five best fantasy draft ideas right now to win your re-draft leagues.

Stick With Zero RB

When Shawn Siegele penned his original piece on the Zero RB strategy, he painted a picture of a game plan that was anti-fragile and took advantage of what is a constantly changing NFL environment. This year, the RB position seems as fragile as ever, making Zero RB an even stronger strategy than it was when Siegele wrote his piece almost two years ago. Seriously, almost every RB has some kind of legitimate question mark, even at the top. Here’s a rundown (inspired by James Todd in our RotoViz email thread) of the top 12 RB according to the Best Ball ADP App:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Suspended for three games. Is he worth waiting for?
  2. Jamaal Charles – Older and rushing yards have decreased each of the last two seasons.
  3. Eddie Lacy – Can he maintain his much improved efficiency from last season? Only saw 246 carries last season.
  4. Adrian Peterson – 30 years old and played in just one game last season. His status with the Vikings is still up in the air.
  5. Marshawn Lynch – Over 2,000 career carries, and has a chronic back issue. Will Seattle throw more in the red zone?
  6. Matt Forte – Older and just lost Marc Trestman. He should see a decline in receptions and wasn’t an efficient rusher in 2014.
  7. DeMarco Murray – Coming off a monstrous 436 carries including playoffs. Workload sure to decline, can he make it up with efficiency?
  8. LeSean McCoy – Leaving Chip Kelly for a slow paced Greg Roman system that never afforded Frank Gore more than 28 receptions.
  9. Arian Foster – Hasn’t stayed healthy in two seasons and will be 29 by Week 1.
  10. C.J. Anderson – Will he be able to hold down the starting job? Will he be a workhorse? Is he talented or did he catch lightning in a bottle in 2014?
  11. Jeremy Hill – Will play in a committee with Gio Bernard. Will the Bengals play with enough leads to lean on him?
  12. Justin Forsett – A career journeyman, has he found a home in Baltimore? Wasn’t payed a ton and faces quality competition.

These are supposed to be the 12 best RBs to draft, and yet I’m not sure I would feel comfortable drafting any of them except maybe Bell if his suspension is reduced. As a result, I think that drafters would be best suited taking pass catchers and RBs who could benefit the most from the noise of the NFL season.

Invest in Rookie RBs (Except Todd Gurley)

Rookie RBs are typical targets for a Zero RB strategy, but can provide value regardless of draft approach. Last season, we were let down by top rookie RB Bishop Sankey, but Tre Mason, Isaiah Crowell, and Andre Williams all provided solid production at certain parts of the season. Oh, and Jeremy Hill was an absolute beast. Here’s the best part for 2015: the RB talent is better than last year’s. Case in point, when Ameer Abdullah went with pick 54 overall in the 2015 draft, the same position as Sankey did in 2014, he was the fourth RB off the board. I’m not interested in top 10 pick Todd Gurley, since he may (should?) miss the first six games of the year while rehabbing a torn ACL, but there are plenty other rookie options available:

I’m not thrilled with Melvin Gordon’s ADP of RB13 right now in MFL10’s, but considering that the back right before him is Forsett and the RB right after him (Mark Ingram) has never rushed for 1,000 yards and faces competition from a free agent signee making more guaranteed money, I don’t hate it either. The Chargers have a pretty good offense and traded up to nab the former Badger. Also, he has a great chance to exceed 250 touches as a rookie.

Continuing, there are even more rookies worth drafting. T.J. Yeldon has a great chance to be successful this season considering his size and destination, and is going off the board at RB22. Tevin Coleman should have no trouble beating out Devonta Freeman:

CaF

Freeman wasn’t  a great athlete despite his size, and wasn’t much of a workhorse at Florida State. He was also drafted 30 picks later than Coleman was, and the coaching staff that drafted him is out. At RB27, Coleman is dripping with value.

Later in drafts, Jay Ajayi could be the perfect Zero RB value, coming it at RB38 off the board. There are also four late round re-draft options worth looking at. Rookie RBs exist all over the board that should help fantasy owners in 2015.

Avoid Rookie WR (Except Breshad Perriman)

Take a look at how the ADP for the top five rookie WRs from last year compares to this year (ADP data from My Fantasy League):

PlayerYearPos RankADP
Sammy Watkins20143374.46
Mike Evans20144096.78
Kelvin Benjamin201444106.09
Brandin Cooks20143682.99
Jordan Matthews201449119.10
Average201440.4095.88

PlayerYearPos RankADP
Amari Cooper20152150.81
Kevin White20152965.66
Nelson Agholor20153476.73
Breshad Perriman20153988.01
DeVante Parker20154193.81
Average201532.8075.00

It would appear that the efforts of the incredible 2014 WR class has impacted how the 2015 crop of rookies are being drafted. A snapshot of this is given in the top five rookies off the board, as 2015 draftees are going about eight spots earlier among WRs, and a whopping 20 spots overall. This makes the rookie WRs a hard sell for me right now, as they don’t present the same kind of value as they did last year. My lone exception to this is Breshad Perriman, who has perhaps the highest ceiling of any rookie WR. He is being taken fourth among rookie WR and mostly in line with last year’s class, so I think he could still end up a major value this year.

Draft Eli Manning

I could have titled this “wait forever on quarterback”, but it made more sense to highlight my favorite late QB target. My first contribution to RotoViz is a stance that I am sticking to this draft season. Eli Manning is still going as just QB13 despite his resurgence under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Justin Winn did the math on Odell Beckham, and determined that while he is primed to regress, he could do so significantly and still finish as THE WR1. The Giants also have another undervalued WR on their roster to go along with proven pass-catching RBs Shane Vereen and Rashad Jennings. The best arbitrage on all of this talent, especially Beckham, is to draft Manning. If you’re going to wait on QB, there is perhaps no better target.

Wait on Tight End

I should note that Siegele recommends taking an elite player at one of the “onesie” positions, so I will probably still own some shares of Rob Gronkowski this season. That said, think about how much has changed with regards to Gronk in the last year. Coming off of an ACL tear suffered during the 2013 season, there was some speculation on what he could do for 2014. As a result, he was a late second/early third round pick in MFL10’s last season. He then put in a dominant season, playing in the most games he has since 2011 (15), and averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game in PPR formats.

Fast forward to 2015 and Gronk is the fifth player off the board. This despite being without QB Tom Brady for the first four games of the season. And despite his 15 game season last year, Gronk has still missed another 15 the last three seasons. I think drafters would be better off waiting at the position this season and snagging late values like Josh HillKyle Rudolph, and Virgil Green. You could even stream the position as outlined by C.D Carter.

Anthony Amico

Anthony is a football coach who possesses two different mathematics degrees. He uses his combined knowledge in those two fields to attack the fantasy landscape across a variety of formats, including daily fantasy, dynasty, and 2QB. He lives to be contrarian. In addition to RotoViz, Anthony is currently a contributor for Fantasy Insiders, TwoQBs, and numberFire.
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