By Joe Osborne
With fantasy football drafts right around the corner, I’ve got a list of interesting facts that might help you when choosing who to pick and where to pick them. Let me first say, if you’ve already had your draft, your league is drafting too early. There’s still two pre-season games to be played, meaning some starters are yet to be determined, and injuries can happen. With that said, here’s some stuff that should help you with your draft.
- Both history and common sense would tell us that more carries for a running back would equal more production. This isn’t the case for Marion Barber. In 2006, Barber only averaged 8.43 carries per game. As a
result, he averaged 4.8 yards per rush and scored 14 touchdowns. That’s pretty good. Over the past two season, Barber has averaged 15 carries per game. As a result, his average yards per game dipped to 4.05 and he rushed for seven touchdowns each season. We often hear the expression ‘less is more’, and this certainly seems to be the case with Barber. His work load should decrease this season with the emergence of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, which could mean less time being sore and injured and more time in the endzone. Barber should by no means be your top running back, but he will make an excellent addition to any team.
- In the second half of last season, guess who the second best fantasy running back was. Adrian Peterson? Nope. Ray Rice? Think again. It’s gotta be MJD? Wrong again. The second best running back in the second half was Jamaal Charles, who finished the season with four straight 100 + yard games, including a 259 yard, two touchdown performance. With that said, the Chiefs signed Thomas Jones who is coming off of a 1402 yard, 14 touchdown season with the Jets. So what does all this mean? I think Charles is still the man. Thomas Jones is 32 years old, and we all know what happens to running backs after they hit 30; they start to break down. So what should you do? If Charles is available to you in the middle of the second round grab him. His second half last season shows what he’s capable of, and offensive minded Chiefs head coach Todd Hailey will let him run wild.
- Don’t reach when choosing an defense. Often during a fantasy draft, someone will pick the top rated defense way too early. Don’t do this. Over the last five seasons, the #1 projected defense failed to finish in the top 12.
- There seems to be a lot of hype around Jay Cutler this season based on the fact that pass happy offensive guru Mike Martz is the new Offensive Coordinator in Chicago. Don’t buy into the hype. Last season, Culter finished fourth among QB’s in pass attempts. You’d think throwing so many passes would result in some pretty good production, but this wasn’t the case. Culter finished 13th in passing yards and finished the season as the league’s 21st rated passer. Last years stats, tied in with the fact that his best receivers are Johnny Knox and Devin Hester means that Cutler is nothing more than a high level back-up in fantasy football. If Cutler’s your starter, you might be in trouble.
- Vernon Davis busted out big time last year to finish the season as fantasy’s top tight end. Davis finished the year with 13 touchdowns, but don’t expect a repeat this season. In the history of the NFL, no tight end has ever had back to back double digit touchdown seasons. Not to say that he won’t have a good season, just don’t expect a record breaking season.
- With Sidney Rice expected to miss half the season, and Percy Harvin’s unclear status due to severe migraine head aches, Bernard Berrian should move way up your wide receiver rankings. In both 2007 and 2008, Berrian was a few yards short of 1000. Expect him to surpass that this season as he steps into the #1 receiver role for the Vikings.
- One thing that’s consistent in all big money sports is that players tend to play better in the last season of a contract. They’re basically playing for a new contract, so they’ll be extra motivated to play their absolute best. I’m not saying that these players will have career years, but they’ll certainly be trying to. Here’s the list of top players who will be looking to parlay a big season into a big time contract: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Cedric Benson, Ricky Williams, Josepth Addai, DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, Randy Moss, Braylon Edwards, Miles Austin, Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis. Those are some pretty big names. Keep in mind that a new collective bargaining agreement is expected to be signed after the season, but either way, these guy will be looking to get paid.
If you keep these facts in mind when you’re drafting, you’re guaranteed to win your league. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you’ll be guaranteed to draft smarter. People can make predictions all they want, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the facts.
Joe Osborne is a sports and entertainment enthusiast who resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. To read more stories like this, visit WhatUpSports.wordpress.com, or you can follow Joe on Twitter @TheJoeOsborne.