Soon Fantasy Football season is going to start up for many of us and for those of us not in a Denver Broncos fan-heavy league, who should we be looking at drafting and when should we be looking to pick them up?
A little about me when it comes to Fantasy Football, I played on fleaflicker.com from 2006-2012, but switched over to Yahoo when a fellow MHR writer, Jess Place, invited me to his annual keeper league. I do pretty well most years and I basically follow these basic principals when drafting a team:
- Elite Quarterbacks are rare, so get one early.
- Running backs are not as important as people think.
- Never draft more than two players from the same team.
- Focus on players from strong offensive teams.
That's basically it. I have a few other less important principals like drafting a tight end as soon as the best one comes off the board, because there just aren't that many pass catching tight ends out there. Also, finding a kicker that is both accurate and plays a lot of games indoors.
The idea of Fantasy Football is to score points. Having one great player is not as good as having a slew of consistent second-tier players, because one great player can have a few bad games. This strategy has worked well for me over the years - to the tune of a .600 winning percentage and 10+ championships.
So which Broncos players am I going to personally target in 2015? Let's list them in my own order of importance.
1. Peyton Manning
I don't care what any expert says, Peyton Manning is still going to get 4,000 yards passing and 35 touchdowns in 2015. That will be good enough for Top 5 statistically in the league and when it comes to Fantasy Football points, you won't have a higher scorer on your team than an elite quarterback like Manning.
His age is a concern, though, and a body can give out unpredictably once an NFL player gets near 40. If you do pick up Manning in the first or early second round, then definitely snag a middle-tier quarterback in later rounds. I know we all hate these guys, but a Jay Cutler or Philip Rivers would fit the bill nicely.
If disaster does strike, at least you'll have a guy who could have a good game or two late in the season.
2. C.J. Anderson
If Gary Kubiak sticks to form, then C.J. Anderson will get plenty of touches in the red zone, which means plenty of opportunities to score touchdowns. However, running backs are rarely scoring touchdowns every single week, which is why C.J. is #2 on my list. I think he will be good for about a 90 yards per game average and around ten touchdowns for the year.
In other words, Anderson is a solid #1 running back option. If you miss out on Peyton Manning, then definitely grab him early.
For me personally, I prefer to take running backs with multiple years of consistency under their belt as this tends to be the most volatile fantasy position. However, if I'm drafting late second or early third and C.J. Anderson is still on the board, he's mine. Any earlier than that and I'll be looking for guys that have gotten it done multiple years in a row.
3. Demaryius Thomas
An elite wide receiver is also worth taking in the first two rounds, especially if the run on running backs leaves you with a slew of "maybes" at the position. A guy like Demaryius Thomas puts up elite running back kind of stats, snagging 90+ catches for 1400+ yards and 10+ touchdowns over each of the last three seasons.
With Peyton Manning still throwing the ball, expect that stat line to continue into 2015. Thomas is also underrated by most non-Broncos fans, so he should still be available later in the second or early third rounds. Even other players underrate Thomas, as he was voted as the sixth best wide receiver in the league. Thomas responded to that saying, "It’s their opinion. I don’t care, because I know what I can do. As long as I can go out there and be healthy and help my team win, I’m fine."
Let them underrate Thomas, while we rack up the fantasy points.
For your #2 options, there are really only two guys I'd consider as potential every-week starters from Week 1. The first is Emmanuel Sanders who is going to likely put up some huge numbers again in 2015. If I missed out on the three guys above, then I will definitely be looking for Sanders in rounds 4-6. I'd be an idiot not to have my fantasy team boosted by one of the best offenses in the NFL.
The other options are all on defense, since I do play on fantasy teams that include defensive players. I almost always go for linebackers who average 7-10 tackles a game, which means Brandon Marshall the linebacker might be a good option. Von Miller would be the homer pick, but sacks are feast or famine and you really want your team to be consistent week in and week out. I had Luke Kuechly on my fantasy team last season and he almost always put up 8-10 points a game for me. I'll take that over a 30 point game one week and a .5 the next.
Lastly, give me Connor Barth. Or any kicker from a team that's going to score north of 500 points in a season. Ignore kicker names and look at the kicker's team. If nothing is available, then pick a guy who plays in a dome!
That's my fantasy advice for 2015. Any of you have any tips or tricks you use that has brought you success over the years playing fantasy football? I'm always down to try different strategies.