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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Fantasy Man: Stuck with the 8th Pick in the Draft?

As if the fantasy gods are beside me every year routing for me to lose, I can't help but notice that I seem to land the 7th, 8th or 9th pick every freakin' year in just about every draft. Never fails. Last night, I participated in a $100 money league with yup, you guessed it, the 8th pick in the draft. This is a PPR league so strategy changes a bit. I am splitting this team with a friend so it's good that we can bounce ideas off each other which ended up being the inspiration of this post.  This post is more about deciding what to do with an 8th pick in a PPR league specifically.

It's no secret that the talent drops off dramatically in the first round at running back once Frank Gore, Stephen Jackson, and Michael Turner are gone because after that every running back you look at either has a huge question mark, is unproven, or is stuck in a platoon role. So what do you do?

We had the 8th pick, it's PPR and we new in advance that Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, and Frank Gore were definitely going to be picked first leaving us to choose from Michael Turner, Stephen Jackson or Andre Johnson. Here's the problem with each....
Turner - He doesn't catch passes but he'll score more TD's
Jackson - Catches passes but how many more TD's than 4 will he score this year?
Johnson - There's more solid upside receivers later on than there are full-time running backs.

Next, we was between Jackson or Turner, but who would be the best option in our league. Using the average of typical fantasy projections from various sites, here's a summary of our thoughts...
- Turner in a better offense, should have more running opportunities with team playing ahead.
- Jackson quite the opposite as the Rams offense looks to be slightly better than last year but overall, not great so they'll probably play from behind a lot.
- Jackson will be the main focus in the offense, so he'll get a majority of the opportunities. On the flip side, defenses will forcus more on stopping him.
- A new quarterback will depend on Jackson for depenability and will look more his way in short passing situations which will help rack up more than the expected amount of catches.

When you break down the projected numbers assuming 6 points for TD's, 1 point, 1 point for catches and 1 point per 10 yards for running and receiveing, the numbers look like this.....
- Turner doesn't catch passes but will score about 15 TDs (90 points) on 1500 (150 pts) yards and lets say he catches 5 passes (5 pts). That puts Turner at about 245 total fantasy points give or take a few.
- Jackson does it all on a bad team. Assuming the Rams are slightly better than last year and given that S-Jax runs for about 1400 yards (140 pts) and 300 (30 pts) yards receiving with say 40 (40 pts) catches and 10 TD total (60 pts) that gives us about 270 points total.

So there you have it. If the average projection is right, Stephen Jackson will prove more valuable. Plus, we decided that in a PPR, the extra catches Jackson gets will outweigh Turners TD production. Of course, Turner can come out and score 20 TD's and we'll look like idiots. But at the same time, Stephen Jackson can stay healthy and rack up 1800 yards and 10 + total TD's! So Stephen Jackson was our target with the 8th pick.

As it turned out, it went Johnson, Peterson, Rice, MJD, Gore, Johnson, Turner and then we took Jackson... so our mind was made up for us anyway. In a PPR league, if you're going to go RB with that first pick, you really want a guy who's going to catch passes. Plain and simple. If you steer clear of the the non-catcher and the platoon guys, you'll be better off overall. Good luck in your draft!

The Fantasy Man
Fantasy Football Express

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