Fantasy Football: If You Want Tom Brady, How Early Will You Have to Draft Him?

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Fantasy Football: If You Want Tom Brady, How Early Will You Have to Draft Him?
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Despite all of his success, Tom Brady has rarely been a first round draft pick in fantasy leagues. Will that change in 2012?

No matter what how you spin it, it looks bad when you are doing a fantasy football draft in May. I try to explain the advantages of drafting so early, but it doesn't matter. I might as well be explaining my alien abduction experience while holding a half-finished bottle of cheap vodka.

I did a draft back in April. Yep, the end of April during the weekend of the NFL draft. Literally, only the first-round draft picks from 2012 were even in the draft pool. I drafted Tom Brady in Round 5.

I did a draft on Wednesday (August 8th). I drafted Tom Brady with the ninth pick of the first round.

Now, not every change in draft trends is so dramatic. For instance, over the past two weeks, Issac Redman and Kevin Smith have both improved their ADP (average draft position) by more than two rounds. Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch and James Starks have each tumbled down at least one round via their ADPs.

This season is shaping up to be "The Fantasy Year of the QB," which is surprising, because last season seemed to be all about the QB position.

But this is different. The draft I did last night was for a 12-team, redraft, PPR league for actual stakes. Five QBs went in Round 1. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford were all drafted in the first round.

One of the most popular strategies out there this year is to draft a "stud" QB early. This is an interesting contrast from most fantasy seasons where the "experts" would tell you to wait on drafting a QB.

How early are you willing to draft a QB?

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This is due to a combination of factors.

Last season, we saw the top QBs provide incredible stats for their fantasy owners as they breezed past 5,000 yards passing and threw TDs better than I can playing with them in Madden. So having a top QB is a big advantage. Combine this with the relative lack of depth at the RB position and the excellent depth at the WR and TE positions and there you go. If you don't get one of the top RBs early, why not go with the stud QB?

 

I'm not knocking the strategy. I drafted Tom Brady in Round 1. And I was happy to do so. Had Ryan Matthews or Chris Johnson been available, I might have gone with a RB. But after the first three RBs (Arian Foster, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy), it seems like every other potential Round 1 RB has major question marks or red flags.

If Calvin Johnson is off of the board, you basically can take a RB with questions, a stud QB or a stud TE. I'm taking the QB in that scenario.

What you should take away from this is, if you're planning on drafting a QB early, be ready for somebody to screw you over. I've seen Aaron Rodgers be drafted No. 1 overall. I've seen three QBs drafted in the first five picks. Getting the eighth-12th pick in Round 1 won't guarantee you one of the "Big 3" (Rodgers, Brady, Brees) QBs.

If the "Big 3" are off of the board when I pick in Round 1, I will go with Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski (in PPR leagues) over taking Cam Newton or Matthew Stafford in Round 1. I'm not nearly as comfortable with those two as I am with the top-three at the position.

Which QB will score the most fantasy points in 2012?

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Late in Round 2, I might consider drafting Stafford or Newton. From Round 3 on, I would definitely take one of them. They just don't have enough of a track record for me to feel comfortable taking them in Round 1.

I could be wrong. I remember people making the same argument about Aaron Rodgers when he was entering his second season as a starter. It was awesome, because I got Rodgers in Round 3 or 4 in pretty much every draft I did. He's been a first-round pick ever since.

But don't forget the Michael Vick debacle from last season. He went as early as No. 1 overall in some leagues and it absolutely killed some teams.

Go for the stud QBs if you can get them. If not, that's okay too. Don't overreact by reaching for a QB, there will be plenty of interesting options available later on. You're better off with two of those than reaching for Peyton Manning in Round 3 because QBs are flying off of the board.

Let the draft come to you. Every draft is different. It's important to have a plan, but it's just as important to be flexible.

 

How early are you willing to draft a QB? Would you consider taking a QB with the No. 1 overall pick? Did some obscene number of QBs get drafted in the first round of your league? Use the comments and let me know.

Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

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