The NFL season is now just less than 3 weeks away from kicking off. With that said, it’s time to build a winning fantasy football team for the season. With injuries, suspensions, and young players rising to stardom, here are a few things to know going into your league draft.
Rookies: It’s in your best interest to not stockpile your team with rookies that are fighting for starting jobs. Always go with the guy who has experience in the league. Quarterback, Jared Goff might’ve gone #1 to the Rams back in April, but don’t expect to see him as #1 on the team’s depth chart. He’ll probably start a game or two, but don’t expect him to have an impact fantasy wise until next season. The same thing goes for Carson Wentz. He would’ve been a good backup Quarterback in fantasy, but an injury to the ribs will be a setback for him and give Sam Bradford the starting job come Week 1. One rookie I believe will have a big impact in fantasy leagues is Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot went fourth in the NFL draft and with an injury prone Tony Romo and a strong offensive line, expect a solid season from the former Ohio State standout.
Suspensions: The NFL has been suspending players left and right, forcing some of the game’s biggest stars to sit out. This opens the door for some players to make a name for themselves that usually don’t see the field often, but it also brings more opportunites to established starters. Antonio Brown will be a guy that you should seriously consider if you are able to pick him. With Martavis Bryant facing a season long suspension and Le’Veon Bell facing a three game ban, Brown will be the go to guy for the Steelers. A suspended player that you should take in your draft is Tom Brady, under one circumstance. Quarterbacks usually don’t get picked until around the third or fourth round. With Brady being suspended, he will likely be available in the seventh or eight round this year. Once you’ve got your top back and receiver, take the Quarterback with the high value, such as Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers. So when Week 6 rolls around and you have both Brady and another top tier Quarterback, you can deal one of the two to the team whose Quarterback is out with a torn ACL or broken collarbone, and get a player in return to bolster your depth for your running backs and wide receivers.
Sleepers: If you would rather pass on the Brady experiment, here are a couple of on the rise players that you can pick late in your draft. After dealing with an MCL injury late last season, expect big things from Titans Quarterback, Marcus Mariota. He can pick up yards in the air and on the ground. He has plenty of options with Rishard Matthews and Harry Douglas out wide, Derrick Henry on the read option, and a dump out back in DeMarco Murray. Expect a big year from the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner. Another player to watch out for is Seahawks running back, Thomas Rawls. Rawls will takeover for Marshawn Lynch after hanging up the cleats back in February. Rawls played well last year when BeastMode was down, and with being the primary back this year, Rawls will turn a lot of heads doing it.
Defense: I don’t know why this is the case in fantasy football, but the defense position is always available late in the draft. I recommend taking a defense once you’ve got your four or five guys that will rack up the majority of your team’s points, go after a solid defense. I’d recommend going after Denver, Seattle, or Arizona’s defense. Defense is very crucial in fantasy. Defenses are scored based on points allowed and takeaways. If you don’t have a good defense, you’re in trouble. In the situation in which your defense is facing an offensive scoring machine like the Packers or Patriots, look into picking up a defense that is facing a team with bad offense such as the Browns or the 49ers.