Since we last talked, a ton of fantasy football action has taken place and I've had two drafts. So, let's get into it and I think you notice right off that there are a few players that I am targeting this year. I think that is what we should all do as fantasy owners, focus in on a few players that we feel will have big seasons and stick with them.
Too many times, I see owners taking all kinds of different players in different leagues and end up with no clear core of players that will dictate our season. Sure, it's nice to have options so if one or two of the players we like going into the season don't pan out, but it's easy to spread our teams so thin that no matter what happens in NFL games we end up being kind of hurt and helped.
If your goal is to finish .500, then that's a perfectly legitimate strategy. But .500 won't get into the playoffs and won't win you any leagues. You have to chose, do I want to play it safe and be able to find something good in every NFL box score or do I want to go lock in a core group of players who I am willing to stand behind for the 2008 season? I think the answer should be pretty obvious. Go for it! You might be wrong and your players may not perform like you thought, but at at least you took your shot.
The best scenario is of course that your core players do well and you win your league(s). If not, you'll still benefit because whatever it is you use to formulate your core players will be able to be scrutinized and you'll enhance your ability to determine why or why not your core players ended up with the final stats that they did. For instance, if you decide that Brian Westbrook will be one of your targeted players and he performs well for 6 weeks then suffers a season-ending injury, even if you don't succeed this year, you'll be able to come away from a losing season with a sense of gratification knowing your analysis of Westbrook was accurate.
That's what great about fantasy sports as a whole. It's a on-going educational process. Similar to playing poker, the longer you play the more exposure you have to different situations, but it doesn't automatically ensure you will win every hand. The fantasy landscape is an ever-evolving picture that is only predictable in that every year will be unpredictable. Just ask those who had the number #1 overall pick last year and drafted KC RB Larry Johnson.
Speaking of Larry Johnson, let's look at my drafts. You'll notice that I selected Johnson with both of my #1 picks, which incidentally both happened to be number 12 overall. I think there are a ton of disgruntled Johnson former owners who are bitter this year and decided that last year was the beginning to the end of Johnson's run as a productive career. Rudi Johnson was also a guy who I think is capable of a nice rebound season in Cincy.
CBS 12-Team Free League - My Top 5 Picks
#12 - Larry Johnson RB KC
#13 - Terrell Owens WR DAL
#36 - Rudi Johnson RB CIN
#37 - Darren McFadden RB OAK
#60 - Thomas Jones - RB NYJ
Fantasy Football Search Expert 14-team - My Top 5 Picks
#12 - Larry Johnson RB KC
#17 - McGahee, Willis RB BAL
#40 - Johnson, Rudi RB CIN
#45 - Graham, Earnest RB TB
#68 - Donovan McNabb QB PHI
As you can see, I am from the old school and I still feel RBs are king. I know there are alot of people and stats out there that show that in 2007 that was not the case. Okay, and here's what I would say that -- 1 season does not make a trend. Even if again 2008 ends up being kind of a down year for RBs, I still won't be convinced that the strategy of building around Rbs is dead.
I'm sorry, but I've seen too many seasons where the team with the best gaggle of RBs ends up on top to abandon ship without it being proven to me over a long period of time, at least more then 1 or 2 seasons.
Sometimes a player having an off year, like was the case with both Johnson running backs I drafted, you can get tremendous value the following year. Both Larry and Rudi are still on the right side of 30. L-J somehow has a reputation of being a worn down, older back who is in the midst of a decline, and I don't really know why. Remember, he spent the first couple of seasons in the NFL doing nothing more then standing on the sidelines and rooting for Priest Holmes.
It is true that the KC RB has been dominant for many years, and maybe the offensive line is not as good as it once was, but that doesn't mean Johnson cannot be a very productive RB in the NFL. Even if L-J doesn't exceed his top numbers, he'll be a top back just simply because of the system he's in. Does the lack of a top QB system hurt him some, yes, I think it does, but those young QBs are a year older and hopefully there will be more life in the passing game this year.
It's kinda funny, but during the draft last night, I heard people make a few comments about my choices and many didn't think my drafting of RBs was a good idea. Fair enough, I normally take players others overlook and thus I am usually the target of comments bewildered as to my thinking. What was funny to me though was in the case of L-J he wasn't going to be good because KC doesn't have a good enough QB, but at the same time R-J was "too risky" because his QB was too good and Cincy won't run enough.
During the 2004-2006 seasons R-J ran for 12 TDs and 1300+ yards as an underrated RB in a great passing offense. Last year, I think the Bengal team was dysfunctional overall and most of their skill players were affected. Plus, the off-season was filled with a bunch of negative media attention mainly centered around high-profile WR Chad Johnson, so there wasn't much reason to be optimistic about the 2008 season. But in the last couple of months things have died down. 85 has reported to camp and is being pretty quiet so far, as he keeps his focus on football.
What does that mean for R-J? Well, if things return to normal in Cincinnati it seems the norm is double-digit TDs and a 1,000+ yard season for Johnson.
Again, I understand that Larry and Rudi have rubbed a lot of fantasy owners the wrong way with their production, or lack there of, in 2007. But there are several good products on the market that can help with rough spots...many made by the Johnson & Johnson company. Hehe, pun intended.
I'll be back soon with more insight on my draft choices and on who you should and shouldn't draft this year in your fantasy football draft.
Don't forget the podcast this Friday August 15th at BlogTalkRadio.com. The show is called Friday Night Football and the fun starts live at 9:30PM ET. Consider this your personal invitation!
Okay, that's all for now. Have a great day!