When it comes to fantasy football drafts, everyone's an expert, and everyone's got their own 'gameplan' for building a squad that'll ultimately lead to printable trophy, bragging rights, or maybe make you a cash money millionaire.
Depending on where you fall in the random order of draft choices will ultimately be the deciding factor of what position you're going to be selecting. Running backs and wide receivers tend to be the first off the board, and if you're picking late in the first, you may not want to be a selecting a Ryan Mathews or a Darren McFadden. If you're not down with either of those fellas, then sit tight, and scoop up a WR first. You'll have your shot at a RB with dreads in the late 2nd or early 3rd. Make sure you take Trent Richardson, not Steven Jackson, if he's there…that's right, I said it!
Please know that I come in peace. Before you headbutt your keyboard, or prep your fingers for a lengthy email filled with expletives, just hear me out. After all, fantasy football isn't about your favorite players, or your favorite team for that matter…It's about trying to make informed decisions on a players ability to get into the end zone, hopefully on very very long plays. There aren't many certainties though, in a sport where one play can end your [fantasy] season. A special shout out to Jamaal Charles and Kenny Britt….Thanks for last year guys!
Steven will enter the season at the age of 29, and looking to chalk up his 8th straight season at 1,000+ rushing yards. There's little to suggest that he won't get there. A no doubt future HOFer, Jackson has all the physical and mental characteristics you want in a football player. But he also has a rookie in Isiah Pead who will look to lighten the load for SJAX. Trent Richardson will not have a handcuff like that in Cleveland...
The Cleveland Browns allowed Peyton Hillis to walk last year, where in his own right, will be a handcuff for the aforementioned (and well rested) Jamaal Charles. In Cleveland though, rookie Trent Richardson will look to carry the bulk of the workload, and fantasy owners will have very little to worry about if/when the Browns get near the goal line. Drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson should speak volumes about Richardson's potential - and not only in fantasy football. If Trent's rookie campaign looks anything like AP's (1300+ yards and 12 TD's), then having chosen him in the 2nd, possibly 3rd, would make you look like a fantasy genius, and you'd find yourself in the playoffs before you know it. Though achieving Peterson's numbers is probably unlikely, SJAX has made it into the endzone only 11 times in the past two seasons (6 in 2010, and 5 in 2011).
Blame it on the O-line, right? Well, in both players cases, there's uncertainty. Outside of Joe Thomas, the Browns line is shaky at best. The Ram's O-line, who appear to be upgraded both in talent and league tenure, still need to prove they can collectively get the job done. It's difficult to say whether or not the Browns ground game woes are a result of poor line or inadequate backs. In 2010 though, Peyton Hillis was able to rush for almost 1200 yards, and score 11 TD's. 2011's numbers were skewed by the absence of Hillis for six games, and Montario Hardesty wasn't worth picking up on bye weeks.
Fellow rookie Brandon Weeden looks to be the starter in Cleveland, and though it's still unknown whether the results will prove better, my guess is that the Browns intend on going run-heavy in 2012. Let's face it, the Browns did very little to upgrade their WR's (which are probably the worst group in the NFL), and they're not going to win games in that division by throwing, because a lot of those balls will be caught by the opposition's corners and safeties.
So there you have it. Most likely SJAX and T. Rich will be drafted closely in whatever draft you find yourself, but in my opinion, if you allow yourself to momentarily set your homerism aside, Richardson is going to be the better draft choice in 2012. Both will eclipse 1000 yards, but TD's by TR is what will have you thanking me at season's end. What say you?