When I first started in fantasy football a decade or so ago, I salivated at the thought of drafting in the #1 slot in my fantasy football draft and taking the then #1 fantasy footballer Marshall Faulk.
In the years since then, I have come to realize that you don’t want to draft in the first position or even in the first 4-5 picks of a fantasy football draft unless you must. Why is that novices might ask? Because if you draft in the #1 spot in a fantasy draft, that means you don’t get to choose another player until the 20th pick in a 10 team league.
A few years back, when guys like Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes were doing their thing, getting the vast majority of their teams’ rushing attempts and also catching a lot of passes, it was good to have that top pick. Then came the running-back-by-committee approach which is employed by nearly every NFL team these days.
The RBBC has changed the game of fantasy football about as much as it has changed the real game on the field, making drafting early in the first round much trickier. Some fantasy owners might prefer Adrian Peterson, but to me drafting Chris Johnson, he of the 2,000 yard rushing season in 2009, is a no-brainer.
It has been my experience that the holder of the #1 pick does not usually win his or her fantasy football league championship. You can win it, however, if you make the most of your other draft choices.
If you go with a running back with your first pick, which you certainly should without exception, most of the top players are gone at the running back and quarterback positions when you finally get around to making your 2nd round pick.
Of course in the serpentine draft concept, which nearly all fantasy football leagues use, you will have the 21st pick also.
However, you don’t get to choose where you pick, it’s normally the result of a blind draw. So, if you are slotted in the first pick of your league’s fantasy draft, the key to whether you beat the odds and win your league are what you do with your other picks, the last pick of the 2nd round and the first pick of the 3rd round especially.
I recommend going with a 2nd tier QB with the 2nd round pick. Peyton Manning and Tony Romo are two who may still be available at the end of the 2nd round.
Then, to open the third round go with the best player available between WR and RB. Then fill out your other WR and RB positions before selecting a TE. TEs don’t normally go before rounds 4-5, as even the best players at the position lack the consistent production of the top WRs and lag well behind the top backs.
Kickers and team defenses should be selected only after filling all your other starting positions and even adding some depth at RB and WR to cover injuries and bye weeks.
If you do have the #1 pick in your 2010 fantasy football draft, the odds may be against your winning the championship, but do not worry too much. You may have to work the waiver wire a bit after the season starts to make up for not having a pick between 1 and 20, but you can still win your league.
I have won leagues drafting #1 and I’ve won drafting last in the first round. The key is taking a different approach and doing your homework on players with new teams and players who have emerged from relative obscurity in mini-camps and preseason.
One such player is Arian Foster of Houston. Foster started for the Texans late in the 2009 season. Ben Tate was drafted to be the starter at RB due to fumbling by Steve Slaton. With the season ending injury to Tate and Slaton being ticketed to be a third down back due to his receiving ability, Foster figures to be a breakthrough player in 2010.
Foster averaged 4.8 yards per carry and had 97 and 119 yards for 3 total TDs in the Texans last two games in 2009.
Next: using the waiver wire. Thanks and happy drafting!