With the running back position losing its value in the NFL. Is the quarterback position more important in todays fantasy football? My first fantasy football draft ever was in 2001. I drafted Peyton Manning with my first pick and then selected Marvin Harrison with my next pick. Everyone in the draft laughed at me and shook their heads. You see I had never been in fantasy football before. I had no idea who I was supposed to draft and where. I just figured I would double up on touchdown points with Manning and Harrison. I would go on to lose in the championship game that year. I did get lucky too, because a little known back up running back in Seattle named Shaun Alexander took over for Ricky Watters, and I was able to pick him up off the waiver wire.
Many magazines and experts will tell you that drafting 2 quality running backs is the way to go when drafting a winning fantasy football team. But if you’re picking 10 and Eddie Lacy, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, and Peyton Manning are on the board, Manning has to be the pick. Now I know that it will be hard for Manning to repeat his performance in 2013, but what if he throws for 45 touchdowns and 4,800 yards? Arian Foster is coming of an injury plagued season, Eddie Lacy has tremendous upside after a great rookie year, but will the return of Aaron Rodgers take away from his production? Alfred Morris has a new pass happy head coach and a new system to learn. Peyton Manning is the best player at the quarterback position and getting him late in the first round would be an absolute steal.
My colleague Andy Schmidt wrote an article last week that there is a chance that Drew Brees is going to be better this year than Manning. You can read it right here. If that’s the case and if Manning is already gone, Brees may be a great pick at the end of round one as well. Now some will argue that waiting to take a quarterback in the later rounds and adding 2 quality running backs and maybe getting a decent wide receiver is the best way to go to add depth. My rebuttal to that argument is, wouldn’t you rather have the best player at the most important position in football rather than the 8 or 9th best player at a position that isn’t as important in the NFL as it was 10 years ago? The only player that touches the ball more than a running back on the team is the quarterback, and getting a guy that ran the most potent offense in NFL history with your first pick may carry you to fantasy supremacy.
In standard league scoring, the only running back to crack the top 10 in points per game was Jamaal Charles, the rest were quarterbacks. Now I understand that you can only play one quarterback at a time and you play 2 running backs at a time. That is why running backs are so valuable in fantasy leagues. Everyone knows that good NFL teams usually have consistent quarterback play, and it definitely correlates to a good fantasy football team. For instance, back in 2008, I joined a new league and I drafted a team that I thought would be unstoppable. I had Marshawn Lynch, Marion Barber, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, and I picked up a rookie running back in the 10th round, Chris Johnson. I smiled when I was done. Thought no one had a chance to touch me. My team was really good that year, I had the second most points in the league, but I made the playoffs as the 5 seed (8 out of the 12 teams made it) and was knocked out in the first round by the eventual champion. My team was good, but because of the inconsistent quarterback play, I didn’t make it very far in the playoffs. Had I taken a better quarterback with one of my first 3 picks, I might have won the league that year.
I’m not saying that this is a sure fire way to win at fantasy football. I think everyone knows that you have to draft well and you have to get a little lucky every once in awhile. I have done everything you can think of in a fantasy draft. I’ve drafted Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison in the same draft. I’ve also drafted Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens with back to back picks. In one draft, I got the 12th pick in round 1. There weren’t many top tier running backs left so instead taking a lower tiered running back, I drafted Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. After that draft, a guy in my league said that it was either the dumbest thing he had ever seen or the most genius pick he had ever seen. I looked like a genius until about week 8, when Owens got hurt and Moss decided he didn’t want to play for the Oakland Raiders anymore. My point is, not everyone’s draft theory is the right one and don’t be afraid to take risks to make your team better. Making safe picks will make your team very consistent, but the people that take chances are the ones that become champions.