Fantasy Football is here again. While I haven't made the final decision on whether to launch our internal TST leagues yet again, you need to get a move on is a few Mock Drafts. It was a monster success in 2012, with over 400 TSTers taking part. But it's extremely time consuming for me, and if I run it again, Ryan is footing my Tylenol bill. If we don't run the program this year, you can still go to Yahoo FF and re-activate your leagues from last year. Once you do, simply send out an e-mail to the guys who were in the league with you and ask if they'd like to have another go in 2013.
Things have changed since last season - as they do every year. The interesting twist this year in 10 team leagues is running backs(RBs). In Mocks I've been in of late, they account for nine of the first ten picks more often than not. Everyone is looking for that 300 carry RB, who'll garner at least 10 points each week during the upcoming season. Some running backs have fallen out of favor since last year( See: Maurice Jones Drew and Ryan Matthews). If you haven't read or watched the "Live" Mock Draft over at CBS Sports - who I think have the best FF analysts - you really should drop in. If you have time, the video of the actual draft includes rational for their picks, as well as thoughts on why certain players should rise or fall this year.
Last season - in the four leagues I participated in - I had two 1st place finished, one 3rd place and a 6th place in the 8 team league. Pretty good, considering the amount of time I had for my own leagues was minimal. No bad, eh? I hope the guys in leagues with me last year enjoyed by rather free-wheeling trading style. OK, probably not, but it's what I do. I LOVE to make trades. I'll trade anyone. In fact, make me an offer right now and I'll trade DC for Yugo hood ornament and a bag of Cheetos...
Some sage advice from me this year:
1\ Don't draft a quarterback in early rounds. In mocks I've seen lately, QBs like Tom Brady and Cam Newton are going in the 5 to 7 round range. This has more to do with the parity at the position than it does a drop in a player's FF stock.
2\ Draft against early trends and fill key roster spots. Time and again, I see a mini-trends blossom in a mock draft. If a guy grabs a TE early, it starts a run at the position. Use this trending glitch to your advantage.
3\ Grab a running back in round one, and don't be afraid to go RB/RB with your first two picks. This is hard to do for some, but this season will be the "Year of the RB". Plus, there are a virtual cloud of top flight receivers not named Calvin Johnson who'll perform for your FF team this year. I've seen lots of guys reaching for an A.J. Green or Julio Jones in the first round, and it costs them by the end of their drafts.
4\ Top tight ends are few and far between. Jimmy Graham is considered - by many - to be the only "elite" TE this year. Whether he is, or isn't, doesn't really matter. To my mind, if you waste a first or second round pick on him, your team is going to suffer. Graham's totals in 2012 didn't hit Top 10 status for wide receivers, so why wouldn't you go WR, and then grab a Vernon Davis or Kyle Rudolf in rounds 4 or 5? OK, this is just the way my mind works, but I'll bet anyone a bag of Cheetos I'm right. I'd rather have a A.J Green in the 2nd round with Davis in the 5th and a second running back in the third, than a Jimmy Graham, a WR2-ish guy and a third tier RB. Don't shake your head at me!
5\ Don't run after last year's top names. This is a completely different FF year, and teams are morphing constantly. Some good examples are Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy. Baltimore used Rice far less than most thought they would last season, so his stock has dropped from top 2 or 3 status to low 8, 9, or 10 in ten team leagues. McCoy is in a new offense, so we really don't know how many touches he'll get. Arian Foster is a tough one, in that you really need to grab Ben Tate in a later round as a handcuff. This can hamstring your draft as you try to fill other key position.
We'll be seeing some great FF advice from Mike D and Brandon Bate here on Turf Show Times very soon. They'll scoff at most of my input here. It's what FF gurus do. Until then, take my advice and hit a few Mock Draft to see if I'm right.