It’s inevitable. Get past the first two rounds of a redraft and panic ensues. Managers who were all psyched up by their first two sexy picks lose the ability to stick to the plan, if there was one, or just make a mistake on that third pick and then disappear into the quicksand with subsequently worse makeup picks that have little chance to make a contribution. This is not uncommon and it happens in big money dynasty leagues, as well. Someone has to finish last and the stronger teams are all too happy to take that money and the trophy and bounce. Peace Bro. Good Season. Have your thousand bucks ready next year.
It’s pretty obvious to everyone in the league who the patsy is, or are. And if you don’t know, then it’s you. Bill Parcells once said, and I’m sure it’s youtube-able, “When you don’t know that you don’t know, it’s a lot different than when you do know that you don’t know.” If your’re a first part person, your draft and season is a guaranteed disaster. If you reside in the second part, knowing that you don’t know, it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. It means you have a better chance to avoid mistakes.This can only be attained through rigorous study of the available players. The conditions of the team, O-line, strength of schedule, do the coaches know what they’re doing and of course who’s injured are all critical factors that must be understood before the draft if you want your fantasy team to have a chance. For example, if you didn’t know that Jonathan Cooper broke his leg and you draft Rashard Mendenhall in the third round, you screwed up. Cooper was playing great in the preseason. The Cardinals actually had some fantasy owners excited about the prospect of relevant players and moved both Mendenhall and Michael Floyd up their draft boards. It even gave hope to Carson Palmer‘s prospects. Cooper was considered by some the best lineman in the draft and projected to be a better pick than Chance Warmack, who is also excellent. Mayock wouldn’t stop talking about him. The Cardinals were desperate to fix that line and they were well on the way with the Cooper pick and Eric Winston signing. Teams are cutting down their rosters right now, so there’s a chance the Cards can find someone adequate. There’s no chance to find an equal replacement for Cooper. If you know that you don’t know, then you know, and perhaps sidestepped a mistake.
Over in Buffalo, the inimitable fantasy gurus have C.J. Spiller ranked as high as third overall. It’s probably not a huge mistake to take him there, but… If you don’t know that you don’t know that the Bills lost pro-bowl guard Andy Levitre to the Titans, they just IR’d their starting right tackle as well as starting guard Doug Legursky and Matt Leinert may be their starting QB, then temper your victory dance and humble yourself before you get too excited there, zippy. The defenses in the AFC east are pretty good up front. The Bills are going in to this season with a very banged up offense, young and untested WRs and no QB. What do you think defenses are going to do?
They’re going to sell out on the run and dare Leinert or E.J. Manuel to beat them with the pass. Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan know how to seriously harsh the gig of a rookie QB with a suspect line. It’ll be even uglier if Leinert’s stay is extended. Just ask Andrew Luck how that went for him last season. He had 2 TD’s and 5 INT’s combined against both teams and spent most of those games running for his life. The 2012 Colt offense was far superior then the Bills are now , and Luck is light years better than anyone Buffalo will start at QB.
I’m not saying to avoid Spiller, just temper the enthusiasm a tad, consider the conditions and look for an alternative at 1-3 to 1-6.
On the flip side of the gloom and doom, there is light and a pleasantness that takes us to a happy place where everyone sings “Zippity Do Da” and bluebirds sew ribbons in our hair. That place is Jacksonville where Maurice Jones – Drew resides. He looks as healthy and fresh as ever. He has a serious line in front of him with two exceptional tackles. The QB is not very good, so they will run the ball, a lot. Don’t be fooled by Denard Robinson taking touches away. Not gonna happen. MJD is also an excellent pass catcher. Draft him in the late first – early second round and be confident he’ll be back at 12+ ppg. I prefer him to Spiller for this season and would trade down for him in a nanosecond.
Another happy joy-joy place is New England. They are sporting one RB who gets drafted too low and another who is drafted too high. Stevan Ridley goes off the board all over the place from mid first to early third. Shane Vereen is a bit over-drafted in rounds 4-5, but his situation is very favorable to have a Sprolesian year. The Pats run the ball 450+ times a year and we all know how great Tom Brady is behind another excellent line. Both backs have a lot of value. Maybe the most valuable as a combo given the general awesomeness of their offense. They’re going to run away with the AFC east.
These are just a few examples where consideration of the circumstances has affected my draft decisions. They can be applied across the board. There’s no crystal ball. The healthiest teams win. Circumstances matter. Some are more obvious than others, but there’s no substitute for doing homework and knowing that you don’t know.