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Fantasy Football Draft Guide 2013: Past results vs. future production


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Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Part I of a six-part series in which we will touch on tips and tricks to hopefully help you evaluate the 2013 fantasy football season.

With the preseason having wrapped up on Thursday night, a lot of you are undoubtedly preparing for a fantasy football draft this weekend. Whether you go all in and set up a miniature war room in your den or just take a cursory survey of “Who supposed to be good this year?” from your fellow bar flies, you are about to be judged, and probably ridiculed, by fellow league members for the choices you make during the draft for an entire season. So, let’s put at least a little thought into this.

Past Results Are Not Indicative of Future Results

It’s not just a financial disclaimer, it’s a fairly sound principle when evaluating anything of risk. In fantasy football, risk surrounds players coming off of injury, players switching teams, and players riding high after a breakout year.

Let’s run down a handful of high-profile players who fall under this category and evaluate whether or not you should draft them.

Adrian Peterson

I have the first pick in a draft this Monday. I don’t want it. It’s not a prize. It’s a shackle. Why? Because I have to take AP. Not “should.” Have to. My commissioner has literally said those exact words to me. Like it’s a part of our league rules. Or the US Constitution. “The player awarded the first pick in the draft must select Adrian Peterson or he forfeits the league and his manhood.” Don’t get me wrong, he’ll be good. Very good. But he’s not running for 2,000 yards again. Last I checked, Christian Ponder was still the quarterback. They replaced Percy Harvin with Greg Jennings, who I’m told has spent so much time criticizing his old team that he hasn’t had time to learn the playbook yet. Bottom line is 8-man fronts will continue and there’s only so much pounding one back can take. There’s going to be a drop-off when you set the bar that high. Don’t believe me? Shaun Alexander, Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, Jamal Lewis… do I need to continue? That being said. I’m taking him first and so should you. There’s just as much uncertainty around Jamaal Charles and Lesean McCoy that it’s not worth the potential ridicule that goes with not taking the first guy ever to potentially run for 2,000 yards in back to back years.

Maurice Jones-Drew

Hi, my name is Danny and I’m a Jaguars fan. There I said it. I watch their games. My old roommate and I might be the only people to ever illegally stream a Jaguars game over the internet. Maybe now you’ll believe my when I tell you MJD is done. This time next year, he’s going to be a part of some running back-by-committee scrum with the Jets, Saints, Broncos, etc. He’s an oft-injured, 30 year-old malcontent. He’s going to want the big money, multi-year deal and he’s not getting in Jacksonville. He’s not getting anywhere after this year. His burst is gone. He is still decent but he leaves a lot of yards on the field. Too many of his 8 yard runs should be 20 yarders. I wouldn’t run out and draft his handcuff Justin Forsett just yet either considering he’s been hurt most of the preseason. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon are your only fantasy-relevant Jaguars at this point.

Rob Gronkowski

The back injury is way scarier than the arm one. He’s not playing week 1 and I wouldn’t put money on week 2 either. You should still draft him. With Aaron Hernandez in the hole, he’s not going to be splitting endzone targets anymore. Remember that tight end revolution we had a few years back? Well that’s over. I just drafted in a two TE league and, trust me, it is a sharp drop after Jimmy Graham and Gronk and even sharper drop after the top 10. Do you really want to find yourself sitting at your computer on Sunday morning researching the playing time split between Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. No, you don’t. If you don’t get Graham, take Gronk. Reach a little if you have to.

Steven Jackson

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why people are so jazzed about this. This has LaDainian Tomlinson with the Jets written all over it and Steven Jackson wasn’t even as good as Tomlinson to begin with. Michael Turner’s numbers were not very good in this offense last year and I don’t see Jackson’s being any better. I’m taking Jacquizz Rodgers late and stashing him.

Alex Smith

I’ve never been high on Alex Smith but Andy Reid is a good coach who has more talent than you’d think to work with in Kansas City. He also likes to throw the ball. I watched a little of their first preseason game and his opening drive was impressive. It was nothing spectacular but it was smooth and effective. If you find yourself looking for backup QB late, Alex Smith may not be a bad option.

Danny Amendola

Let’s get this out of the way right now. He is not a younger version of Wes Welker. I got bit by Patriots, big free-agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd last year. I’m not falling for it again. As we’ve seen in the preseason, Tom Brady could care less about the name on the back of the jersey he’s throwing to. Belichick will design a play to get you open and Brady will find you once you are. That’s all there is to it. Also, Amendola is probably getting hurt… again.

RGIII

Adrian Peterson really threw every guy to tear an ACL ever again under the bus didn’t he? There’s no guarantee RGIII has the same magical healing powers that AP does, but, that offense runs through him. If he’s really ready to play again, he’s definitely worthy of a QB1 spot.

2013 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE KIT

Part I: Past results vs. future production
Part II: That ex-girlfriend you just keep going back to
Part III: Last Call, Sleepers and Drafting the Late Rounds
Part IV: Gentlemen, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention
Part V: Don’t do it, don’t you take these players
Part VI: I really hope my league doesn’t see this list

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