Last season when it came time to select my fantasy football players, I thought I had picked the worst players possible. After all, I had the fourth pick in the draft of the league in which I participated. With a dozen people involved, that meant I had the fourth pick and then did not pick again until like 17 picks later. So, I tried to make the best of my selections.
In the end, I was second overall in the league. How? I will never know.
But since I did so well last season, I thought I would share how I see the top players at each position this year. It is really not that hard to do with all the cheat sheets around and such to help you out. Sometime though I just do not agree with who the “experts” say are the top players.
If I had the first pick in the draft this year, I would not select running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott is a great back and I expect him to have a great season. I just think Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams is a better pick. Gurley probably could have won the league MVP award last season if he had played in the final week of the season. If Gurley was gone, I would select Elliott followed by Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers or David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson was last year’s top back on the cheat sheets.
One running back I would avoid is Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints. Yes, Kamara was great last year. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per reception. Do not expect that from him in his second season. Of all the running back since the NFL and AFL merged, only about eight have averaged 6.0 yards per carry or better and none did it two seasons in a row. And I am talking about Hall of Fame running backs like O.J. Simpson and Barry Sanders. Kamara will get a lot of carries early because Mark Ingram will be suspended the first four games. Can he take the punishment that he will have to endure through those four games? We will see.
Other running backs I would consider drafting with my first selection include Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley and Devonta Freeman. Stock up on running backs if you can.
At wide receiver, I had to go with Mike Evans last season. That is one of the few picks besides at quarterback that I remember. I might select him again this season if Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown and Atlanta’s Julio Jones are gone when I get to picking receivers. My next two favorite wide receivers would be Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans.
After them, go after Michael Thomas, A.J. Green, Keenan Allen and Mike Evans.
The tight end position has been my bane each season. I never get the top names. I usually wind up dropping one and picking up another as the season goes along. I would trade for one, but most people do not trade in the league in which I play. So, I have to go to the list of available players and take a guess.
The top tight end listed this season is Kansas City’s Travis Kelce. I would skip him and go after New England’s Rob Gronkowski first. Kelce would be my second choice if he were available. After that, go after Zach Ertz and Jimmy Graham. The next two would be Evan Engram and Delanie Walker. I think I had Delanie Walker last year for a period of time.
Surprise, surprise, surprise – the top quarterbacks on the cheat sheets are Green Bay’s Aaron Rogers, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and New England’s Tom Brady. Of the three, I would most like to have Aaron Rogers and then Tom Brady. After those two, I would skip Russell Wilson to take Deshaun Watson of Houston or Carson Wentz of Philadelphia. In reality, I will probably wind up with Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles who falls behind Carolina’s Cam Newton, Detroit’s Mathew Stafford, New Orleans’ Drew Brees, San Diego’s Phillip Rivers, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Los Angeles’ Jeff Goff, Dallas’ Dak Prescott, Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, Oakland’s Derek Carr, San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes II, Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, Washington’s Alex Smith, Tampa Bay’s early season suspended Jameis Winston, Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky, New York’s Eli Manning and Denver’s Case Keenum. That’s okay though. I have had him the last two seasons and I placed high in the league standings each season. This year, he is pretty much said to be “pain free” and playing like a new quarterback. I just hope he meets the numbers he produced in the last two seasons.
After all those positions are locked up, we select a flex player who can be a wide receiver, running back or tight end – just not a quarterback. Just pick the next available player is my strategy.
And finally get a kicker or two. You can always drop one after the open week of your regular kicker and pick up another flex player.
That’s how I see things. I am not the best at selecting the best players, but I have picked some winners.
Mark Clark is a local sports writer for
The Citizen of East Alabama.