Having one of the top picks in your fantasy football draft is a privilege, not a right. This season having the first pick seems to be a more difficult decision than falling at the number two spot. But with names out there such as Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Drew Brees and Maurice Jones-Drew, many people are confused on whom to take in what spot; well this is the article for you. Here is the list of the top picks in this years fantasy football draft:
1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings-
WARNING: Please do not adjust your computer screens… I did just pick AP over the king-like Chris Johnson. What is my reason for this unthinkable act? Two names: Chester Taylor and Brett Favre. I think Adrian Peterson will be the best player in fantasy football this year because of the loss of Chester Taylor to their Midwest rival the Chicago Bears and because Brett Favre just returned to the gridiron and can now create the threat of a passing game. With the loss of Chester, I think AP is going to get even more carries than he got in the previous three seasons [I know he got 363 in 2008, but if Favre struggles or shows his age its possible], especially if Brad Childress feels his seat getting hot [hard to see with such a good team, but definitely possible]. I just cannot see a scenario where Peterson does not carry the ball at least 20 times a game for sixteen weeks [math test… X>320 carries], and does not accumulate some of the 21 total touchdowns AP lost to Chester Taylor over the past four seasons. I have yet to mention the most recent injury to the Vikings core of their offense in Sidney Rice. With their top receiver gone for the first half of the season it is going to be tough to replace a big threat like that, but with the addition of former Favre teammate Javon Walker, I do still think AP will have a tremendous season. If you have the number one pick in your fantasy football draft this season, take AP.
2. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans-
On many fans top picks list, the name Chris Johnson usually comes up before any other player; but on this list, Johnson comes in at number two. Tennessee is a run first team with very little experience in the aerial attack, which is the reason why I like Peterson better than Johnson. I just think there is going to be too much attention spent on stopping the running game in Tennessee for Johnson to even close to repeat what he did last year. If you are adding up the amounts of touches Johnson got last season, including rushing attempts and catches, he touched the ball over 400 times. The number 400 really scares me, especially when you are dealing with running backs, the reason for this is wear and tear usually affects these type of backs more than any other position on the field. Running backs that have to carry that much of the load are extremely prone to nagging or serious injuries the next season. Even if Chris Johnson does play 16 games this season, I simply do not expect him to even close to produce the ridiculous year he just had. The two most recent examples of backs having great seasons, then being hit by the injury/poor season bug were Matt Forte in 2008 and Michael Turner in 2009. I really do not think you can go bad with Chris Johnson this year, I just think you can do better in AP.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars-
For a team who went 7-9 last season, I just do not see the Jaguars doing much worse than they did last year, and with that being said I just do not see how people are not extremely high on MJD. I can understand there being some angst about the fact he is only 5’7”, but you just cannot argue with statistics and production. Accumulating almost 1,800 yards last season with 16 touchdowns, MJD was statistically on par with Adrian Peterson and I think this season will be no different. With the additions on the defensive side of the ball for the Jaguars, I think it will just improve the output on the offensive side this year. No questions asked, if the Jaguars succeed in any way this season, so will Maurice Jones-Drew and that is why I would take him 3rd behind Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson.
4. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens-
Most people will think the fact I put Ray Rice at the four spot means I am not very high on him this season, but that is totally wrong. Will Ray Rice have a good, productive year? Of course he will, I just think there is too much surrounding him in their offensive scheme for him to be taken above MJD. This running back out of Rutgers is an absolute speed demon that will catch a ton of balls out of the backfield this year from Joe Flacco. My problem just lies in that I saw at the beginning of last year for the Ravens; Willis McGahee started the season off with seven touchdowns by week 5, and people all over the fantasy world were so extremely high on Willis and his resurgence; but as the weeks went by all we saw was less McGahee and more Rice. This season I think will be different, Ray Rice is going to be the feature back without a doubt in Baltimore, but what will happen this year is the continual subbing of McGahee and Leron McClain to make sure Rice does not get over worked. The absolute last thing the Ravens want to see happen is the wearing down of Ray Rice, he is their franchise running back in his second year, they know this is not the time for him to be getting his 400 touches both rushing and receiving for the time being and that is why I prefer MJD to Rice if picking 3rd in my fantasy football draft.
5. Here is where the scoring settings in your league determines whom to choose…
A. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers-
If the settings in your league do not lean you towards having to take a quarterback early to succeed, Frank Gore is a perfect option in the number five position. With the addition of Brian Westbrook to the offense, I think Gore will have an even better year than people projected him to have with Glen Coffee back there before he retired. Westbrook will bring a sense of toughness and veracity that Mike Singletary looks for in his players and I think his veteran leadership will go a long way in shaping Frank Gore into an even better running back. With the 49ers playing in one of the easiest divisions in football, and having as a result of that one of the easiest schedules, Gore will get a ton of opportunities to show off his skills and put numbers on the board, and that is why I like Frank Gore this upcoming fantasy football season.
B. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans-
Andre Johnson is flat out the best talent at his position, hands down. But it really matters what the settings are in your league if you are considering taking him at this point in your draft. Settings such as receptions and the amount of yards per point for WR in your league are things you need to be paying attention to when making this pick in your draft. Another big point that needs to be discussed about Andre Johnson is the departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. If this in anyway ends up affecting Matt Schaubs’ effectiveness, than it will without a doubt affect Andre Johnsons’ statistics this upcoming season. In the past three seasons, Johnsons has scored a total of 25 touchdowns in 41 games, with over 3,000 yards receiving in the past two seasons combined. So as you can see the production is there, the question just lies in the value in your specific league.
C. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers or Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints-
The topic of quarterback in fantasy football leagues is an age long debate of who and when to pull the trigger. Put the conversation again has to start with the specific settings in your league. If quarterbacks are getting 6 points for each touchdown [and no more than -2 for interceptions] than taking a quarterback needs to be an absolute priority walking into draft day. But lately I have noticed many leagues transforming their statistics to 4 points per touchdown pass, and in that case taking a quarterback this early is not a good buy in my opinion and here is why.
- Aaron Rodgers, 2009 season statistics: 30 TD, 7 INT around 4,500 yards passing
- Chris Johnson, 2009 season statistics: 16 TD total, 2.000 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving
If you were using a 6-point per passing touchdown format Rodgers would have scored approximately 350 total fantasy points and Johnson would have scored around 360 total fantasy points. The point I am trying to make here is that Chris Johnson had a season last year that pretty much cannot be compared to any other running back in the history of the game and he only scored 10 more points than Rodgers if using this certain format and that is why paying attention to your scoring settings can be the difference between taking Aaron Rodgers with the 5th pick and going after someone like Frank Gore.
When comparing Aaron Rodgers to Drew Brees it is really like picking between Dom Perignon and Cristal, it’s a personal choice. But when it comes down to draft day and you have to choose between the two of them, I think it really comes down to picking the teams more than it is picking the player with these two. It comes down to asking yourself both which offensive scheme you would rather have as well as which defense is going to give your perspective quarterback the most and best opportunities to put up points. If you ask me, I like Aaron Rodgers more than Brees, and the reason for this is because I like Green Bay to win their division this year and I think the combination of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will take away certain chances for Brees that I do not think Ryan Grant will take away from Aaron Rodgers’ production.