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Who Should I Pick?
by Hans Steiniger, Posted: June 6, 2010
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Now thatís an interesting question. When I look across the draft board for the 2010 fantasy football season there are all types of guys I like and dislike this year in fantasy football.  Selecting players in the draft is all a function of position.  Who is there that can help my team? What players are good value at the spot Iím looking to select them?  How can I maximize value for each pick throughout the draft?  On this yearís board, there are several players that stick out as great fantasy value picks and some that Iíd just as soon let someone else take the gamble on. 

The top six quarterbacks in this year's fantasy crop look incredible.  With the recent rule changes instituted by the NFL intended to protect the quarterback position, along with limiting what a defense can do both at the line of scrimmage and in coverage, scoring from the quarterback position is up throughout the league.   To be competitive this year, you must have a solid QB on your roster and there's lots of them available.  Brees, Rodgers, Manning, Brady, Favre, Schaub ... all of these guys passed for over 4000 yards and close to thirty touchdowns.  These guys will have big years and could lead you to the fantasy promised land, plus one of these guys is going to be available late in the draft.   If I can grab one of these guys this year to anchor a lineup after selecting
a stud running back or two, Iím pulling the trigger immediately.  Especially in leagues that allow quarterbacks to have six points for touchdowns and no negative points for interceptions, the top seven guys are great value picks for their touchdown to interception ratio alone. 

The next tier of quarterbacks, your Rivers, Romo, Eli Manning, Palmer should also have solid years.  Theyíre great value picks after about round four or five and will score plenty of touchdowns, but they're just a notch below the premiere guys I mentioned earlier.  Your next tier begins to get kind of questionable; and if I have to depend on Flacco, Ryan, Orton, or Young to lead me to a title, I hope I've drafted some studs at the running back and wide receiver positions to anchor my fantasy team.  The talent drop off in the next tier is even sharper, with lots of question marks heading into 2010.  Can Matt Leinart lead the Arizona Aerial attack?  Will Mark Sanchez be able to step up and join the ranks of the elite at his position?  Will Matt Hasselbeck even rebound from the injuries that have plagued him the last several seasons?   Is Matthew Stafford ready to lead the Lions back toward respectability?  Can McNabb succeed in Washington with some seemingly average talent at the wide receiver position?  If you can hit on one of these guys, you might have a fantasy stud at the Quarterback position.  If you miss with no backup plan, you could be looking at a long season.  I like Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford as backups with upside.  Iím not too high on David Garrard (who's on a short leash in Jacksonville), Alex Smith (who still needs to prove his worth as the top pick of the 2005 NFL draft) or Jake Delhomme (another retread for Cleveland).  Joe Flacco intrigues me Ö . 

Running backs
Sitting alone on top of the draft running back draft board is Chris Johnson.  With over 2000 yards last year and a strangle hold on the top spot on the depth chart in Tennessee, Johnson is poised for another record-breaking year.  Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson and Ray Rice should pick up where they left off.  The limited touchdown production of both Steven Jackson and Ray Rice is a concern, but in 2010, I expect that number to increase pulling them closer to AP and MJD.  Fantasy owners can expect 20 - 30 point producers out of this group every week.  The next group of guys are solid performers with a lot of upside sure to make a great addition to any fantasy squad.  DeAngelo Williams, Cedric Benson, and Michael Turner are each poised for monster fantasy years, cementing their legacy as fantasy football superstars.  Last year's rookie performers, Shonn Greene and LeSean McCoy, find themselves in the starter role this season so it should be interesting to see how they perform getting the loin's share of the carries for their respective offenses.  I would also expect better production out of Rashard Mendenhall and Knowshon Moreno having cemented themselves and the clear cut starter at the running back position for their organization. Marion Barber continues to disappoint, I expect that he will be supplanted by the quicker and more elusive Felix Jones and Brandon Jacobs is beginning to show the signs of wear and tear of a big back approaching 30.   I expect big things out of Chris "Beanie" Wells and Ryan Matthews.  

Wide Receivers
Andre Johnson, Miles Austin, Sidney Rice and DeSean Jackson, these guys are widely considered the premiere pass catchers of the 2009 season and should continue their incredible production as primary targets in the NFL's most productive offenses.  Andre Johnson should continue to lead the explosive Houston Texans attack, as Miles Austin looks to point his  Cowboys in the direction of the Super Bowl that Dallas will be hosting in early 2011.  I like Sydney Rice, he's in a great situation in Minnesota on an offense that's as dangerous on the ground as it is through the air.  DeSean Jackson's blazing speed will continue to exploit inferior coverages and with the continued development of Jeremy Maclin, he'll find more room to run in 2010.    Receivers like Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Marques Colston should be solid performers again this year, but there are question marks that place them in the next tier of receivers.  I really like Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, and Roddy White.  Fantasy owners should expect consistent production out of each of these guys again this year.  In the later rounds, I really like Mike Sims-Walker, Kenny Britt, and Eddie Royal as receivers with upside that can grabbed a bit later in the draft.   This year is a banner year for third year receivers.  Wide Receivers entering their third year in the NFL typically blow up, and this year has more third year receivers as the #1 or #2 on their team's depth chart than I can remember.  A couple of these guys are sure to break into the ranks of the elite, so choose wisely.  Eddie Royal,  Davone Bess, Pierre Garcon, Early Doucet, Devin Thomas, these guys among others are all entering their third year at wide receiver.

This is a good year for wideouts and I expect several of them to produce big numbers this year with lots of value to be had in later rounds.  Do yourself a favor, try to grab two of the top fifteen  wideouts with early picks, concentrate on getting a top notch QB and a stud running back, and then load up in the later rounds wide receivers and running backs.  You're sure to hit on a few that will round out a solid fantasy lineup.

Tight Ends, Defenses, and Kickers
Unless youíre grabbing the elite, and I mean Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, you donít need to be looking at these lists anytime before about the tenth round.  TEís, Dís, and Kís are all available late in the draft that can get you strong enough production to propel your team into the fantasy football playoffs and beyond.  Donít bypass good value at the top three point- producing positions to take a flyer on the defense that is just like all the rest.  Wait to address these positions with later round picks.  Every year I find premiere performers on the waiver wire to address these spots on my fantasy roster.

Follow these keys throughout your fantasy football draft and I guarantee you will field a strong fantasy football contender.  Stay away from guys with nagging injuries or guys that are sharing the football in running back by committee backfields.   Remember to focus on grabbing solid producers at each round.  Donít grab guys that are suspended or injured hoping that they can turn it on later in the season.  By the time they do, youíll already be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.  Good Luck!



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