Every day we are getting closer and closer to the 2011 NFL season, which means that we are definitely getting closer and closer to your fantasy football draft. For the next few weeks we will be updating the player rankings as preseason statistics come in. We’ll also be providing you with more draft analysis and strategies so you get the most out of your 2011 fantasy football selections. If you have an idea for a draft strategy article or something you would like to know more about in the preseason, give us a comment and we’ll provide our expertise.
Something that I have been talking about a lot is the need to draft your running backs early. There is a dwindling number of elite talent at the running back position, so taking them with your first couple picks is a pretty simple way to a successful season. However, in larger leagues, this sometimes poses a problem for those with early picks.
If you are in a 12 team league and hold one of the first four picks, there is a chance that you will be left in an awkward situation when your turn comes around in Round 2. A lot of the elite running back talent will be gone and if you want to pick up a second RB, then you will be forced to reach for him. But there is another strategy for these types of picks that has worked for me in the past.
The 2011 fantasy football draft is unique in that there is a wide gap between the elite running backs and the value sleepers. From late round 2 to around round 4, you can pick up a solid running back, but they are largely unproven. So it might be a better option to load up with high end receivers or even get one of the higher quarterbacks to anchor your team.
The real uniqueness of this year’s fantasy football draft comes around round 5 when we see a group of running backs that could easily work as your RB2 or Flex, and you can get them fairly cheap, making it a smart move to go RB/WR in the first two rounds rather than reaching out of your comfort zone for an unproven round 2 RB.
So, hypothetically, say that you are the second pick in a 12 team league. You take Arian Foster as your RB1. When the second round selection rolls around and you are pick 23, the vast majority of late, top running backs (Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Peyton Hillis and Matt Forte) have been taken. If you stuck to the policy of taking a second RB right away, you would be forced to reach for Blount or Bradshaw or Greene, which is too high for them. Go Wide Receiver! By taking a combo including Greg Jennings, DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace or Reggie Wayne with your second and third round picks, you are getting two very elite receivers instead of reaching at RB.
The best part is, when rounds four and five roll around, you can truly solidify your team by taking a value sleeper running back and a quarterback.
An ideal scenario for an owner with the second pick in a 12-team league would look something like this:
Round 1: Arian Foster
Round 2: Greg Jennings
Round 3: Mike Wallace
Round 4: Tony Romo
Round 5: Felix Jones
Good running back selections in mid to late round 4 and early round 5 include: Jahvid Best, Ryan Mathews, DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Grant and Felix Jones.
With such a gap between the elite running backs and the second tier running backs, anyone with an early pick would be wise to wait til round 4 or 5 to select their running back. And by getting big names at receiver, you can rest assured that your team will not be hurt by this decision.
As always, comments are more than welcome. Please feel free to request an article topic and let me know what you, the readers, want to hear about. Comments are also open if you have any specific questions about your own draft. And make sure you follow us on Twitter @godhateslosers as we will be using that a lot more once the season begins!