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What’s that coming around the corner?  Is it a bird?  A plane?  No!  It’s a poorly constructed segue to our 2012 Fantasy Football rankings!  If you wanna know where to find these tasty little morsels of information over the course of the season, you just need to click on that link.  It will remember where to go so you don’t have to!  If you’re more of a do-it-yourself’er, you can find this link up next to the home tab or under ’2012 Fantasy Football Features’ section on the left hand side.  Then you can show your mom you did it all by yourself like a big boy/girl (my wife says I shouldn’t put ‘big’ next to ‘girl’ in any of my writings but I’m a glutton for punishment).  We’ll follow this top 10 with the remaining top 20 and then be well on our way to positions…woah, not those kind of positions.  See above in the parentheses I have a wife?  Keep in mind I have to get up real early to write these and by early I mean some of this was written in May.  I can’t help if Chad Ochocinco goes bullriding and shatters his femur in July (though that might have helped fantasy owners last year who drafted him in August).  I follow the Razzball mantra of tiers for fears that you won’t get the gist of me saying ‘this guy, this guy, this guy and that guy(girl?) are really all the same player when it comes to drafting’.  With all that said and out of the way, let’s see what crazy ideas I have bouncing around in my head for the top 10 for fantasy football, shall we?

Projections: Running back stats are based on rushing yards/rushing TDs/receptions/receiving yards/receiving TDs.  Quarterbacks based on passing yards/passing TDs/INTs/Rushing Yards/Rushing TDs.  Wide Receivers and Tight Ends are based on receptions/receiving yards/receiving TDs/rushing yards/rushing TDs.  Finally, Kickers are based on…come on seriously, why would that happen?

1. Ray Rice – And with the first pick of the 2012 Fantasy Football Rankings, Sky selects ‘alienate all razzball readers.’  This is the first tier and it goes from Rice to McCoy.  I call this tier ‘Run to your nearest Running Back’ because this position gets worrisome fast and if you have a pick in the top 3, you’ll want to have one of these guys.  Maybe 2009 and 2010 have permanently scarred people from seeing him as a #1 pick.  Maybe it’s McCoy having a monster 2011 season or Foster’s 2010.  Whatever the case may be, Rice was finally freed from touchdown purgatory and I’m buying.  To make his 2012 season look even better, he no longer has to contend with ayurvedic hash brownie specialist Ricky Williams when it comes to first and goal.  In fantasy football, being the team’s number one option with no true poachers to contend with makes getting TDs a bit easier.  Add in that sucking sound that comes from Baltimore’s QB position and you have a guy destined to take the team on his shoulderpads in the redzone.  2012 Projections: 1450/13/65/600/2

2. Arian Foster – Like I said, guys come in tiers so I won’t argue with you if you want Foster ahead of Rice.  If you do want to argue because that’s how you are, there’s a comments section below.  Just keep in mind I’m a lover not a fighter.  When healthy, Foster can turn in his 2011 line and that’s pretty awesome.  Heck, I’d move to Utah with my wife and marry that line but I see some cracks in the Foster story that pushes him down below Rice for me.  First off, he’s only had one full season in his career.  Secondly, while he was on hiatus, a guy by the name of Ben Tate filled in admirably for him.  Thricely, as Foster goes, so goes the Texans.  This matters because he has such a good back-up in Tate, Foster might cede some touches to him for precautionary reasons over the course of the season.  With all that said, heck he’s in the same tier and we know he can be a fantasy monster.  Stop shaking your fist at me!  2012 Projections: 1500/10/55/500/6

3. LeSean McCoy - Rumble, young man, rumble!  McCoy lit the fantasy world on fire with 20 total touchdowns, 17 of them on the ground and by far surpassing his previous career highs in rushing yards.  When you factor in he’s only 23 and on what should be a strong offensive team for 2012, you have yourself a good candidate to jump over both guys I have listed above him.  Overall, I think part of his emergence had a lot to do with a Michael Vick submergence in 2011.  If Vick gets back on track – and I do believe he will – a few more of those goal line touches go back to Michael and away from LeSean.  The flip side is with a closer to 2010 Vick, LeSean catches more passes and gets more chances for receiving TDs.  Meanwhile, the third dimensional side says LeSean is not the real McCoy and that Colt is.  Let us be thankful for this dimension.  2012 Projections: 1350/10/60/400/5

4. Aaron Rodgers – This is a new tier that goes to Rodgers and Rodgers alone.  I call this tier ‘where the top QB is’.  Admittedly, I don’t want Rodgers but not due to lack of ability.  Quarterback is a pretty easy position to fill this year and I don’t want to waste a top pick on it in a 1 QB league.  As you know, Rodgers had a season for the ages in 2011 and only did it in 15 games.  Thankfully we only need him for 15 games, right?  Heck, he sat out some second halfs and still put up video game numbers.  It is scary to think what Aaron could’ve done if Mike McCarthy coached like Captain Insano.  Well, that’s neither here nor there.  What is here is the top QB for 2012 and I’m not drafting him…so there.  2012 Projections: 4200/40/5/200/2

5. Maurice Jones-Drew - This is a new tier and it goes to Johnson.  I call this tier ‘Skills that pay the bills’ as it’s the final set of skilled position players before we get bombarded by more QBs I won’t draft.  Even after what was a bit of a down year, crazy old Maurice still found a way to be the 12th best player in 2011.  I’m not all googly eyes for him but that’s because my eyes weren’t glued on.  Just because I’m from the internet doesn’t mean I’m not a real boy!  But I digress, Maurice probably won’t give you another 15 rushing TD season any time soon but he’s going to be a solid RB1 to hang your hat on.  Why you’d hang your hat on him is beyond me but you do what you feel is necessary.  2012 Projections: 1550/10/40/350/2

6. Calvin Johnson - The other most famous Calvin outside of Calvin & Hobbes had himself a great 2011 setting career highs in receptions (96), receiving yards (1,681) and touchdown receptions (16) all while putting himself well ahead of the wide receiver crop.  That said, he was only the 11th best player last year as he was totally Scooby Doo’ed; he would’ve gotten away with a top 10 finish if it weren’t for those rotten Quarterbacks!  He’d go higher if I didn’t believe there was depth at WR but if he’s my first player off the board, I won’t cry about it.  I mean, it’s not like he’s spilt milk.  2012 Projections: 90/1550/14/20/0

7. Tom Brady - This is the next tier.  This tier stretches from here to Stafford and is called the ‘QB for every first round occasion’ tier.  This is where I put a bunch of quarterbacks that I won’t be drafting because if I wasn’t drafting Aaron at pick number 4, why would I do it around pick number 7?  Brady has been at or near the top of fantasy QB ratings for as long as the ravine that is his cleft chin is deep.  I see no reason to go against the grain with Tom.  Even with a receiving corps of Wes Welker, Deion Branch and the zombified corpse of Chad EightFive, Brady made adjustments and ho-hummed himself into almost breaking Marino’s single season passing record.  Let’s face facts, with a healthy Aaron Hernandez, new comer Brandon Lloyd and a more focused Gronkowski, Brady could have Michael Irvin come out of retirement and still throw 35 touchdowns.  And that’s just what he’ll do.  2012 Projections: 4500/35/10/100/1

8. Drew Brees - Fo sheezy, D. Breezee had himself a banner 2011 season, throwing 46 TDs while breaking Dan Marino’s heart 27 year old record for passing yards in a single season with 5,476.  That said, I think we can safely say a repeat is going to be hard to accomplish.  His previous career highs in both stats were 34 and 5,069, both set back in 2008.  That’s good enough to stay in the top 10 as a quarterback but not enough to go Neil Armstrong and make any giant leaps for mankind.  Just sit back and enjoy the cool Brees if you draft Drew and ignore that bad pun while you do.  2012 Projections: 4400/35/15/60/0

9. Matthew Stafford - Almost ignored behind all the talk about Brady and Brees breaking Marino’s record, Stafford had his own thrilling season for passing yards in 2011 with 5,038, good enough for 5th all time for a single season.  Of all the guys I have in this tier of QBs, Stafford has the most potential to jump up but since I’m not drafting him it won’t matter for me.  2012 Projections: 4500/35/15/50/0

10. Ryan Matthews - This is the next tier and it stretches into the top 20.  I call this the ‘slap chop’ tier because I’m not gonna lie to you, this is where it gets dicey for me.  Matthews has the same great set up as Ray Rice being the master of his backfield domain so he has to be up here but there are blemishes.  Blemish numero uno, he’s never played a full season.  Blemish part deux, he has a slight case of the fumblies in his brief career with 10 total, 5 of which were lost.  Blemish part third, I got some acne medication from skinID so there’s no more blemishes.  Thanks Hayden Panettiere!  There are lower risk running backs later in the draft and I won’t fault you for not drafting Matthews but I can’t ignore his set up for this season when doing rankings.  2012 Projections: 1350/10/45/400/2

46 Responses

  1. Steve says:
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    Hey Boss,

    Looks like I am one of a handful of guys who are nerdy enough to read/comment all that stuff in early “summertime” (well, I start when the season ends. Special note: no summer yet, April arriving in late June).

    I’m kinda surprised you’ve got 4 QBs in the Top10, it’s a lot and the most I’ve seen so far, as far as I can remember (sure, there can’t be more…wait, Cam is knocking on the door).

    Anyway, I thought I’d give you some work.

    Since I have three top backs (Foster, McCoy, Mathews) plus S.Jax and Starks (and Richardson is smiling to me, although Griffin is there aswell) I consider to trade one for a Wide Receiver. Heck, I have to do that because my WR 3 is…no, it’s too painful to tell anybody.
    Well, I am not sure I’d get the best value for Foster. He’s probably too expensive, I think I don’t want to deal him and others would consider McCoy over him. Best chance might be Mathews or even my pick (which would be Richardson if nothing crazy happens). Who would you go for, when you trade Mathews/Richardson?
    Wide Receiver position is deep, specially in the Tier 2/3 section. Is Maclin and another Top10 pick (Meachem is possible) enough for Mathews or should I get more – I feel like it’s not enough!?
    Or I’m trying to use my new toy, LeSean, (in the non-sexual way or how the Razzball phrase is!) for “a big one” (again non-sexual way).

    I think I am in a good position for a trade, it’s still no guarantee to get rid of one (that sounds harsh for these guys).

    You know my situation, you know what to do – because, I don’t! If I am somehow successful this season, you get a piece of my cake.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, I’m surprised Stafford didn’t get more love now that I’m looking around at other rankers. I mean, he threw for 5K & 40TD last year and finished 5th overall for fantasy last year behind 4 QBs. It’s weird not seeing him getting the same treatment that Drew & Tom are getting. Maybe there aren’t many believers he can repeat or at the very least keep pace.

      Ha! Though I ranked Matthews higher, I’d be willing to trade him and draft Richardson if I were choosing between the two. That said, your suggestions don’t move me with regards to your WR options; Matthews should be a top 5 back this year. I’d lean more towards an A.J. Green or a Mike Wallace. Or Julio Jones (whom – spoilers! – I truly love this year).

      I’d only trade LeSean for Calvin and even then I’d probably question whether or not I should. Larry is a beast but is hooked up with questionable QBs. I don’t consider Andre and his injury history a top guy at this point, unlike most people. Too much risk associated with him at this point.

      PS, I prefer DQ Ice Cream cake, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

      • Steve says:
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        @Sky,
        Brady is still Brady, as is Brees. And Stafford is…not hard to guess. He’s still young and he has “injury” written on his head in some fantasy minds I think *looking at me*. Actually I said that before last season, the season before and the season before (did he play then? Oh yeah, Rookie!). Maybe it’s because last year was his first full season while the “B’s” threw for about 80000 yards and 600 Touchdowns in their career.

        I’d do too, but it can be pretty hard to trade in my league and because of the dynasty factor it’s even harder to get someone like AJ or Julio (teams in rebuild mode aswell). Luckily some of the guys you mentioned are on teams with RB-needs.

        The Beast or how I call him, King Larry, is on my team (and B-Marsh).

        I’d be rich now if I’d have put some money on DQ Ice Cream cake and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups in Vegas, so close, so close.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Haha!

          For sure there’s a bad history there and seeing as it was his first full year, I don’t disapprove of the caution by others but the numbers are just too similar last year for me to ignore.

          Dang, nice to have King Larry and B-Marsh. Is this a PPR league? I forgot to ask. Good luck with getting a studly WR3 to go with that tandem.

          • Steve says:
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            @Sky,

            Nope, it’s more or less standard scoring. We get 6 points for each passing TD (-4 for INT) for example.

            Any chance to get a “sleeper” post about Torrey Smith? Or just your special opinion, hah.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Non-PPR then you best be getting your money’s worth on Ryan Matthews!

              There may be one but for now, I can say I like him, I just don’t really like his QB. We’ll be producing some rankings for WRs and their stats here shortly.

              • David_KOA says:
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                @Sky & Steve,
                I am a fan of one Torrey Smith in 2012. Just one of what seems a hundred or so WRs that get me excited. You have to like the connection Flacco seemed to be getting with Smith in 2nd half of last year.

                Target breakdown for Torrey Smith
                Weeks 1-8(6 games); 34 targets(5.6)
                Weeks 9-17; 61 targets(6.7)
                In the 2nd half of 2011 he saw at least 7 targets in seven of those nine games.

                He finished last year as a very bottom WR2. I would think that is his floor with room to be a top 20 WR in 2012.

                Right now over at FFC he is coming off the board at 7.02(29th) WR off the board. He is just another reason you can go RB-RB or RB-TE in the first two rounds come draft day.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Agreed.

  2. jdbus says:
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    Glad to see someone giving Rice respect as the #1 overall player. Your post bascially took the words right of your mouth. Everywhere I’ve looked I’ve seen foster as the number 1, which never really made sense to me. He has injury history and Ben Tate taking some of his carries, while Rice has neither of those problems. Looking forward to the rest of your rankings.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah overall Rice has the better health history. I really liked his set up more with Ricky gone. Glad you liked the rankings!

  3. David_KOA says:
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    @Sky,
    Maybe I am missing somethig here in your post. I see that you have four QB’s in the top 10. Yet, you say that you will not be drafting any of them. Why place players like Brees and Stafford so high then?

    I don’t see the reason you would want to pick or place(in top 10) a player(stafford) who before last year missed 19 games(injury). Considering his(Stafford) history(injury) & position depth, I don’t see how you can really consider him in the first couple rounds of fantasy drafts(1QB & 12 team leagues).

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Rankings aren’t necessarily based on how I want to draft players, it’s a recognition of what they can do. The top 5 players last year on ESPN’s player rater were QBs. Stafford was the 5th. I don’t want to draft Ryan Matthews who can be seen as an injury risk and has a questionable history himself with regards to hanging onto the ball, but I can’t not rank him in the top 20 because of it. Me saying I’m not drafting them is me pointing out what we both know: QB is deep, let someone else overspend at QB while we draft RBs.

      • David_KOA says:
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        @Sky,
        I guess when it comes to ranking players, I would rather put players in the spots, in which I would feel comfortable drafting them.

        That is the beauty of this game we love(fantasy football). Not really a right or wrong way in setting up your draft board.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Yeah, it’s a tricky thing having to balance a recognition of where their fantasy points are going to put them by the end of the year vs where they should be ranked.

  4. The Wickler says:
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    Seeing as your board has the players you are not going to draft (re: QBs) right where I am picking at 7, who would you recommend targeting? Its a PPR league and I am assuming, Rice, McCoy, Foster, MJD, Aaron and Megatron will all be gone.

    Thoughts?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’d take Matthews if he’s still available or maybe CJ.

  5. Dave says:
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    First time reader, Sky. I enjoy your insight and wit. I’m in a keeper league. We’re allowed to retain up to two players. We keep those players in the round that we drafted them, but in the second year, we move down two rounds. For example, if I drafted Stafford in the eleventh last year, which I did, then I can keep him in the eleventh this year, and in the ninth next year. Go ahead, call me a genius. Then I have to release him. Anyway, I’m definitely going to keep the aforementioned Stafford with my eleventh pick. I picked up DeMarco Murray in the sixteenth, but cut him before he got hot. Go ahead, call me an idiot. My question is which of the following players, if any, should be my second retained player? Run DMC in the second or Big Ben in the ninth. We had only eight owners last year, but we’re probably going to expand to ten or twelve owners this season. Keeping DMC would guarantee me a stud back (IF he doesn’t get injured) but keeping Ben may cause a run on quarterbacks since several other quarterbacks will be retained. One more thing . . . GO DUCKS!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Thanks for the kind words! Gotta love those draft drops who turn it around just when you didn’t think they’d amount to anything. Is this a one or two QB league? I like the idea of pairing them in a two QB league but if it’s not, I’d rather take DMC, regardless of the injury risk.

      And an alma mater GO DUCKS right back atcha.

  6. Dave says:
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    One QB league. I love DMC, when he’s healthy, but whether I keep him or Ben may decide on my draft position in the second round. He looks great if I’m picking near the end of the second round, but not quite as good if I’m picking in the beginning.

    By the way, I’m not a UO alumnus, but I spend a lot of time on campus. You know who I am. Need another hint?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I could see that then. DMC is a major health risk. Would depend on what is available out there.

      Dave! Oh wait, you already told me that. I do indeed :) See you at the gym!

  7. Dave says:
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    The problem is that I have to declare who I’m retaining before I know who else is being retained. In any event, you have Megatron ranked as the sixth player off the board non-PPR. Where do you put him in a PPR format?

    In my main ten team PPR league, we’re allowed to keep a player at every position, plus a flex player. I’m keeping Brees, Rice, CJ and Welker. If you were in my size 13 Kobes, would you keep Gates as your fifth round pick (49th pick overall)?

    #I should have been taller.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      This year is a mish-mash since I started here in late-April/early-May. Next year we’ll have PPR vs Non. That said, he was 3rd in rec last year. His spot is still right as the #1 WR and for a mid-1st round pick.

      Depends on my other options. Gates has such a hard time keeping healthy and he’s not getting any young in terms of playing football. I could see it in a vaccuum as he finished 10th in rec for TE last year. Tight End is fairly deep this year so I’m kinda on the fence on that idea.

      Speaking of health, I’ve heard you’re laid out right now? Hope you’re doing alright.

  8. Dave says:
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    Hey, thanks. Yup, I wasn’t paying attention and rode my bike off the path by the river. Six or seven broken ribs, a separated shoulder and a punctured lung. I’d like to say that I was looking at a young lady’s posterior, but that would be lying. I was checking my cell phone to see what time it was. It’s been exactly a month and I think I’ll be close to 100% in another month.

    As for Gates, I’ll probably drop him and pick up a Jermaine Gresham or your boy, Tamme, in the ninth or tenth (or later) round.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Well for gym time stories, we’ll just say it was the young lady looking at your posterior who whistled at you which got you into the crash :) Heal up and read up on fantasy football. Sounds like you have a bit of time on your hands!

  9. Dave says:
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    That must have been it, but please don’t tell my wife.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Haha, will do.

  10. AdamH says:
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    I think the most helpful rankings are in the order of draft rankings (ie where WOULD you draft them). Just a thought…

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Just because I’m not going after Aaron Rodgers in the first round doesn’t mean he isn’t a first round caliber player, if that’s what you’re meaning.

      • AdamH says:
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        @Sky, What I mean is, for instance, who are you taking with the 4th pick of the draft?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I’d rather stay skill player. At this point, Calvin Johnson due to the MJD issues.

  11. UW says:
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    QB, WR, WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, W/R/T, Q/W/R/T, K, DEF, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN

    New roster for an old league. I have never done a flex where a QB could play. My initial reaction is to go QB/QB in the draft unless everyone else does too just because of the points a QB could put up. This goes against my morals because I traditionally do well in this league because I ALWAYS wait on QB. Is there any reason to not play two QB’s every week with 3 RBs in this system? Standard scoring.
    Would you pick A Rodgers first in this format?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Sorry for delay, travel day yesterday. I’m assuming 10 team. If you do go with a top guy, your QB2 should be from the freeman or Palmer area. Personally would try and wait for a Ryan rivers or romo. Then aim for a cutler, big Ben or RG3.

      • UW says:
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        @Sky, So you are saying (8 team by the way) draft “normal” which for me is RB/WR for two picks then get two midlevel QB’s when the time is right? My question with that is the point differential between the top couple of QB’s vs other positions. If a guy went QB then QB he could really stack the points with some upside RB/WR’s. I am not saying I like it but it has crossed my mind.

        Optimal starting line up with this roster… 2QB/3RB/3WR/1TE on a normal week correct?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Ah didn’t know it was 8 team. Then I would target top tier. QB is deep but that league setting changes the approach

          • UW says:
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            @Sky, Thanks…. like I said I did not like it but that is where I was headed as well. If 3 QB’s go early I may go RB or WR first but it is hard to ignore Rodgers, Brady early. Other draft tips for a league like this?

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              8 team leagues means you always want to try and have one top 5 guy at each position. There should always be talent on the FA market because of league size so be ready to make moves a lot.

  12. Ray K says:
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    Hi,
    First time in a league. It’s 16 teams qb,rb,rb,wr,wr,te,we/te,k,d/st, 6 bench. It’s ppr. Return yardage 20yards 1 point and 3 points at 100.
    Do I draft a wr or flex player based on return yardage? If so who do you recommend. What do you think about targeting RB, RB, WR, WR, then TE or QB?
    What is a good strategy for drafting in a 16 team league ?

    Thank very much,
    Ray

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      16 team is a mad scramble. It’s a good strategy, but don’t overspend on an RB to make it work.

      Return guys are usually good but target the WR ones and don’t overspend. Aim for the players on bad defensive ballclubs. It’s all about volume. Easy to get 100 return yards when you get 5 or 6 tries at it.

  13. Jay says:
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    Do you thing Ryan Matthews is worth a gamble as a 3rd rb?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Depends what I’m paying for him. My Overall rankings have him pretty far down at this point. Clavicle injuries are hard to heal from.

  14. Jill says:
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    Hey Sky-
    I am in a 8 league normal draft with 1 QB/ 2RB/ 2WR/ TE/k. I get 1st-16th-17th pick-
    Do you think Brees or Mccoy/Rice for first pick?
    Thanks so much!!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Rice

  15. DP says:
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    How do you put MJD at 5 without even mentioning his holdout?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Please take a look at the Overall Rankings which I’ve stated are the updated rankings. He’s slipped but he’s still up there fairly high.

  16. DP says:
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    Thanks. What week do you think he’ll start playing this year?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I want to believe he’ll be back within the first 4 weeks with an outside chance we see him week 2. It’s hard, if DMC starts strong but gets hurt when the playoffs hit and MJD is healthy and running strong during that time, which one was more helpful? This time of year is so hard to predict the use of a guy when it comes to viewing injuries/holdouts.

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