By Cris Benson
While most of us are watching the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup Finals (congrats Kings fans), and even some MLB a crazy few of us fantasy football junkies are looking for an advantage come August and September for the 2012 NFL Fantasy Football Season.
Right now your fantasy football junkie friends are mock drafting and planning in detail for the upcoming 2012 fantasy football draft. By the end of this June the Fantasy Football magazines are hitting the shelf and some are already on the shelf now and the junkies already bought one. Yet all their planning will not give them any advantage.
Why? Because The FF Informer Blog is all about the slackers who don’t have the time to go researching every fantasy football stat, fantasy football article, and news update that will have little or no impact on your fantasy football draft. The word slacker is really not appropriate but let’s just says you have lives and not a lot of time to waste on fantasy football detailed research. Besides do the junkies really have an advantage?
I think junkies read way too much into all these offseason moves especially mini camps that reveal very little or nothing. So keep enjoying your fantasy baseball, enjoy real sports like the NBA, NHL, and MLB. Rest easy slackers The FF Informer will provide links to articles, twitter news feed that follows all the best NFL insiders and fantasy experts, draft tools, my own articles and updates, videos, podcast, my own short 10 minute fantasy football podcast, and all the free info to help you plan for the upcoming 2012 fantasy football draft.
So now that my sales pitch is over let’s get to what matters and that is the current fantasy football mock drafts that are going on right now.
The great thing about mock drafts is they reveal what most people think a fantasy players ADP (Average Draft Position) is. Why is that important? Well this gives you insight to who is going to be taken too high in the draft and who will be taken to low in the draft. Now let’s focus on the fifteen impact players who are undervalued in this year’s fantasy football mock drafts.
I will be taking my information on the ADP from a trusted site called Fantasy Football Calculator and please stop and try their easy and fast fantasy football mock drafts. The drafts (several hundred already) I am reviewing are the 12 teams and the scoring is standard. The results of every draft are compiled and added to a data base that is a tabulation of information.
First let me begin with a runningback who is clearly undervalued.
ATL RB Michael Turner (301 Rush Attempts, 1340 Yards Rushing, and 11 Rushing TD’s)
ADP 28 overall and goes as late as the 4th round in some drafts. Stock Watch up and down.
Michael Turner is done! Yes done! That is exactly what most fantasy football experts claimed last season and then Turner went on to become the third best rusher in the NFL. It appears we are having a repeat of bad advice this year as RB’s Fred Jackson (broken leg), Adrian Peterson (torn ACL and MCL), Jamal Charles (torn ACL), Matt Forte (sprained MCL), who all sustained significant injuries are all being drafted ahead of Turner who is labeled an old man at thirty. That is crazy.
First Turner a nine year veteran who started his career behind NFL legend Ladainian Tomlinson saw no more than 228 carries in those four years in San Diego before joining the Atlanta Falcons. So why do junkies treat him as if his wheels are going to all the sudden come off?
Last year we saw the injury plague attack young players just as much as older players. We have no reasons for biased when a rusher is receiving over 300 attempts in three years and manages to stay healthy. Turner also plays through injuries such as the groin injury he suffered late last season yet still manage to produce rather than sit.
Strategy- The word is the Falcons want to go to a heavier passing attack which could bring Turners carries down under 300 but if he carries the ball over 200 times I believe his goal line value alone will still be worth more than his current value in mock drafts.
Turner has great return value in the third round but there is no shame in taking him in the 2nd round.
GB WR Jordy Nelson (68 Receptions, 1263 Yards Receiving, and 15 TD’s)
ADP 38.0 overall and goes between the early 3rd and 5th rounds. Stock Watch slipping.
If Michael Turner is too old Jordy Nelson is not recognized as his QB Aaron Rodgers favorite option. While Greg Jennings was injured last season Nelson stepped in and produced out gaining his teammates and winning over his head coach.
Nelson has a huge catching radius and with an impressive 18.57 yards after the catch!
However the junkies can’t seem to get passed WR Greg Jennings and TE Jermichael Finley.
McCarthy rewards his players for production with more touches of the football and it is clear Nelson won over McCarthy.
Strategy- Take Nelson as a number one receiver after drafting Aaron Rodgers with your first overall pick in the late 1st round this will be a scoring duo! The draft will have valuable RB’s in the 2nd round then snag Nelson in the third while everyone wonders what just happened you will be sailing to the fantasy finals. If possible you could wait to the 4th round and grab two great backs but Nelson will be less likely to be available.
PHI WR DeSean Jackson (58 Receptions, 961 Yards Receiving, and 4 TD’s)
ADP 51.8 overall and goes the early 4th round and early 6th round. Stock Watch rising.
This is one of those players that we have to take as a casualty of the NFL CBA lockout. Jackson was looking for a long term deal last season which he now has but at a time when the rules changed in the CBA. Jackson allowed that long term deal to become distraction on the field and while Jackson struggled his talent is something we cannot ignore.
Jackson has a talent that is beyond just being a receiver from stretching the field and fighting off double coverage to catching a ball in the flat and making moves like a runningback. Look for Jackson to be the teams go to receiver again. Whatever you do don’t buy into the suggestion that WR Jeremy Maclin is now the go to receiver on this Eagles team. Maclin is a capable receiver himself but Jackson is a special receiver. Maclin didn’t produce great numbers when needed late last season and is simply not as talented as Jackson.
Strategy- Jackson’s overall value has slipped but not for long especially if the Eagles uses him heavily in the preseason. Look for most to draft Jackson in the 5th round I just don’t see him being available in the 6th unless he is dropping passes in the preseason but I seriously doubt that. Taking Jackson in the 4th round is less risky then fantasy GM’s think. Jackson’s true dilemma is Michael Vick not DeSean Jackson but I believe the Eagles made an investment in Jackon (5 years 51million dollars) instead of letting him walk and the Eagles are seeking a large return.
ATL QB Matt Ryan (Attempts 556, Completions 347, Pass% 61.3, Pass Yards 4177, TD Pass 29, RTD 2)
ADP 78.8 overall and goes as early in the 5th but as late as the 9th round. Stock Watch erratic.
Did some people not watch Matt Ryan last year? He was a top eight overall scoring leader in most leagues at QB much less a top 12 in the entire league in scoring. For some reason though people consider Ryan a second tier QB but the question is why? Is there something I am missing here? Did Ryan not have targets that could catch the ball? Did he not have a running game to back him up?
The questions of why almost always leads us back to the Atlanta Falcons offensive line which gave up 26 sacks making some wonder if Ryan was heading for a serious injury.
Ryan has only expressed his confidence with the offensive line this offseason, “…I like the guys we have up front. They play hard. They play physical.” ProFootballWeekly
Consider this Ryan has outperformed others who are being drafted ahead of him in mock drafts including PHI QB Michael Vick and SD QB Phillip Rivers. In CBSsports ADP they have HOU QB Matt Schaub ahead of Ryan. The only reasonable argument is taking DEN QB Peyton Manning ahead of Ryan however I don’t agree with that either based on team schedules.
The Atlanta Falcons have the easiest passing schedule overall with an abundance of indoor games in November and December setting Ryan up for a very good season. In addition the coaching staff is committed to passing the ball this season last year the ratio was 58% pass and 42% run it appears that pass ratio could grow to greater than 60% pass in 2012.
Strategy- While some are smart enough to grab Ryan early most are willing to take him later in the draft that leaves you time to grab top tier picks at other positions and lock up a seriously good fantasy QB in the seventh round. While you could take a gamble and wait longer I would say playing the middle ground (between rounds 5-9) is the safest place. Also look to pickup either ATL wide receivers Roddy White or Julio Jones both are being selected in the second too third rounds. You won’t need both just one for a scoring combo that will double you some points on game day.
While the most drafts are not until late August or early September it never hurts to keep a close eye on those trends in fantasy football. Keep an eye on my blog as I hope to have another podcast up soon and look for more links and articles from The FF Informer blog.