Saturday, August 31 – 2:36 PM
Look, it’s nearly impossible to draft four completely different fantasy football rosters. At least it is not possible when your primary goal is to win every one of your leagues. After all, you’ve done your research and you’ve got your favorite players, so it makes no sense to purposely avoid them just for the sake of being different. But at the same time, if all of your guys turn out to be busts, well, you’ll be in store for one long season. Anyway, as I discussed last week, my mindset heading into drafting season was to be as different as possible without getting carried away and passing up on bargain opportunities. And through three-and-a-half drafts (NAIFFL, the league I participate in with fellow Mastersballers Todd, Lawr and Rob, conducts a slow e-mail snake draft), I think I’ve done a fairly decent job. Four different No. 1 running backs, three different No. 2 RBs, three different starting quarterbacks and so on. But even more importantly, the players who I did draft in multiple leagues (there are only six) are guys who I feel very good about. Who are they? Great question. Let’s take a look.
I’ve never been one to invest heavily in quarterbacks, and this year was no different, with the position being particularly deep. Romo may be a better fantasy QB than real-life QB, as Marc Meltzer suggested in his preseason positional rankings, but I could care less about real-life football. This s fantasy football, and the Cowboys’ signal caller has thrown at least 26 touchdowns while racking up no fewer than 4,184 passing yards in each of his last three full seasons. Marc had him ranked at No. 8, which seems about right. Other sites rank him as low as No. 12, behind less proven guys like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. I understand that the latter duo offer a little more upside, mostly due to their running ability, but give me Romo. Did I mention that the QB position is particularly deep this year?
All four of my leagues award points for receptions. Enough said. In two seasons with the Saints, Sproles has averaged 81 catches and 689 receiving yards to go along with more than 400 rushing yards. The only risk with Sproles is that he’s prone to the occasional down week due to his modest rushing totals. But in a PPR league, he’s a safe bet for big time production as a key cog in a high-octane Saints’ offense. And what did he cost me? 22 bucks in one league and what amounts to a fourth-round pick (NAIFFL is a keeper league) in the other. That’s what I call value.
Just three days after overpaying for Fitz in one auction, I felt a whole lot better when I snagged him for a reasonable 28 bucks in my third and final auction. Among wideouts, Calvin Johnson is in his own stratosphere, but would I be shocked if Fitzgerald, who should benefit significantly from finally having a real quarterback throwing to him, re-enters the 1A group that includes the likes of A.J. Green, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall? Not really. At $28, there’s plenty of profit potential here. At $41? Not so much.
Yeah, he’s probably past his prime, but White is still awfully good. And in a PPR league, I’m talking top-5 WR good. Julio Jones gets all the attention in Atlanta these days, but White is as reliable as they come. Oh yeah, and he hasn’t missed a single game in his NFL career. Preseason ankle injury? No big deal. He’ll be out there for the regular season opener. You can count on it.
His injury history has kept his price down to the level that you could even draft him as a WR3 in some 12-team leagues. I got him for ten bucks in one league, and in my other two auctions, he went for $12 and $15. But Garcon’s talent is unquestioned, and as Robert Griffin’s top target, WR1 type production could follow. One of these years, he’ll make it through the entire season healthy. I’m hoping it’s this year.
Vereen is no Darren Sproles, at least not yet. But he is a PPR specialist, and he’s expected to play a major role in the Patriots’ short passing attack now that Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez are gone and Rob Gronkowski is far from 100 percent healthy. Vereen is my Flex in the two leagues I own him, and that suits me just fine. There might be a few games where he disappears, as he’s certainly not New England’s feature back. But then again, there might not. Maybe he will ascend to PPR RB2 status by year’s end. Not a crazy thought. Tom Brady is pretty accurate with those short passes.