Fantasy Football: 11 Stars Who Ended Up on 4 of My Fantasy Teams

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterSeptember 6, 2012

Fantasy Football: 11 Stars Who Ended Up on 4 of My Fantasy Teams

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    I may be knee-deep in the fantasy realm this time of year, but I'm also savvy enough to know that nobody cares to read a point-by-point listing of my 11 fantasy drafts.

    But there is some value in finding unique angles to the 11 drafts (one keeper/auction, 10 serpentine), namely detailing the star players who ended up on at least four of my clubs.

    The following slideshow touts 11 big-time assets who were drafted (or immediately traded) onto four, five or six of my fantasy squads. For the record, of the 10 snake drafts, I had the No. 1 slot once, No. 3 twice, No. 6 twice, No. 7 once, No. 9 once, No. 10 twice and No. 11 once.

    And as a general rule, I'll move heaven and earth to land a running back at the top of drafts—unless the NFL's best QB/WR combo is there for the taking.

    Enjoy the show!

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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    2011 Stats: 5,038 Yards Passing, 41 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 5

    Skinny: It really doesn't matter if you prefer Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Cam Newton or Drew Brees at the tail end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2.

    Just grab an elite quarterback early and then concentrate on the truly vital components of a standard-scoring or points-per-reception draft—the five running backs and five receivers.

    There is nothing to dislike about Stafford's fantasy profile.

    He crossed the magical threshold of 5,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns before his 24th birthday. He threw at least one touchdown in all 16 games. And he amassed 350-plus passing yards seven times last season—including four straight to finish the year.

    Even in moments of failure last season, Stafford still reigned supreme on the fantasy end. In his four-interception clunker against Chicago, the Lions star threw for 308 yards, one touchdown and helped "Bears D/ST" owners everywhere with a pair of interception-return TDs (or pick-sixes).

    In other words, he's the fantasy gift that keeps on giving.

Quarterback: Eli Manning, New York Giants

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    2011 Stats: 4,933 Yards Passing, 30 TD (1 Rushing)

    Number Of Times Drafted: 4

    Skinny: From Weeks 4-15 last year (spanning 11 games), Eli Manning averaged 40.36 passes per outing, a dream figure for fantasy owners who worship at the church of More Reps, Bigger Numbers with quarterbacks.

    On that alone, Eli deserves to be recognized as a top-six quarterback and top-30 overall asset in drafts, regardless of scoring or how the Giants might handle the rigors of repeating as Super Bowl champs.

    Obviously, if Manning wasn't an efficient passer, we wouldn't put so much stock in attempts. But he had nine separate games of 60 percent proficiency last year.

    Of equal importance, Eli crossed the weekly star threshold of 275 total yards and/or three touchdowns 10 times—the requisite amount of an elite passer.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders

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    2011 Stats: 2,753 Yards Passing, 14 TD (1 Rushing)

    Number Of Times Drafted: 4

    Skinny: Carson Palmer acquitted himself nicely last year with the Raiders, averaging 293 yards passing in nine starts despite little practice time or intimate knowledge of his receivers before the Cincinnati-Oakland trade.

    The main source of our 2012 optimism lies with burgeoning talents like Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Mike Goodson, Jacoby Ford and Palmer's annual knack for eclipsing the 60 percent passing mark.

    For my money, Palmer and Jay Cutler are the best backup QBs in 12-team leagues. He was a superb pickup in Round 9 or 10.

Running Back: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

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    2011 Stats: 1,465 Total Yards (1,047 Rushing), 4 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 5

    Skinny: Most fantasy owners would throw a parade for a running back with 1,465 total yards, but that was hardly the case with Chris Johnson's 2011 campaign.

    From his high-profile holdout and lack of conditioning during the preseason to the September slump and four total touchdowns, it was a turbulent season full of sound and fury, but ultimately signifying nothing.

    But the year was not a total loss. Johnson posted seven games of 100 total yards or more; he also recorded career highs in targets (79) and receptions (57).

    Put it all together, and it's enough to make one believe the 26-year-old speedster will rebound in a major way this season. He simply has too much talent to be...just above-average.

    Targets: 1,743 total yards and 11 touchdowns

Running Back: Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

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    2011 Stats: 1,487 Total Yards (997 Rushing), 4 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 4

    Skinny: Of my 11 drafts, I don't recall Matt Forte going earlier than No. 10 overall more than once.

    Perhaps that was a product of Forte missing the Bears' final four games last year with a knee injury. Or maybe it has to do with his non-elite tally of four touchdowns in the 12 healthy games.

    Either way, I was thrilled to snag one of the NFL's most versatile backs for a reasonable price in Round 2.

    I was similarly stoked to land a star who was on pace for 1,982 total yards last year.

Running Back: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams

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    2011 Stats: 1,478 Total Yards (1,145 Rushing), 6 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 5

    Skinny: The Rams should be commended for drafting University of Cincinnati standout Isaiah Pead (1,578 total yards, 15 TD last year) in April, creating the illusion that Steven Jackson's per-game workload would be reduced in his ninth NFL season.

    But we all know where things are headed for 2012.

    While the Rams sort out their huddled mass of receiving candidates—it's anyone's guess for Nos. 1 through 6 on the depth chart—they'll ultimately lean on S-Jax for another season.

    And why wouldn't they? Jackson is easily their most reliable weapon in the red zone. He'd also be a good bet for 50 catches if the Rams chose to prioritize him in the passing game (again).

Running Back: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

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    2010 Stats: 1,935 Total Yards, 8 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 4

    Skinny: On pure talent alone, Jamaal Charles is a Round 1 fixture. But some owners were skittish to reach for him on draft day, citing his ACL tear in Week 2 against Detroit last year while also wondering how RB Peyton Hillis (free-agent acquisition) might cut into Charles' rushing and receiving attempts.

    Of course, these might have been the same owners champing at the bit for Adrian Peterson's return, even though Charles had a three-month head start of recovery time. Go figure.

    Two years ago, Charles tallied 100-plus total yards 13 times—a stunning feat when realizing he only registered 275 touches (230 rushing) for that magical season.

Running Back: Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

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    2011 Stats: 1,376 Total Yards (934 Rushing), 6 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 6

    Skinny: Fred Jackson (who slid to Round 3 or 4 in nine drafts) was the AFC's leading rusher at the time of his season-ending injury (leg), a setback that helped perpetuate the Bills' late slide in 2011.

    Backup C.J. Spiller filled the void admirably, leading some to wonder if he was finally ready to assume the No. 1 rushing duties.

    That sounds great for offseason chatter, but Buffalo execs are probably more comfortable with a two-back attack, with Jackson having the bigger name on the marquee for now.

    After all, that should always be a courtesy extended to backs averaging 137.6 total yards per game—a figure that trumped Ray Rice in his 2,000-yard campaign.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

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    2011 Stats: 96 Catches, 1,681 Yards, 16 TD

    Number Of Times Drafted: 3

    Number Of Times Acquired, Via Trade: 1

    Skinny: When owning a draft pick outside the top four, I traditionally would prefer to start building with a high-end running back (LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Ray Rice) or top-dog quarterback like Aaron Rodgers.

    But after that, there's no recourse for passing on a mega-talent like Megatron, who is unquestionably the premier player at his position.

    Last season, Johnson passed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 100 yards and/or one touchdown 14 times last season—tops among all NFL receivers.

    Going one step further, Johnson led the NFL with eight games of 100-plus receiving yards last season. In fact, for three of the Lions' final four games—including the playoff loss to New Orleans—Calvin ridiculously amassed 200 yards.

    Interestingly, I didn't own the No. 5 pick in any of the drafts I landed Johnson. He just inexplicably fell into my lap each time.

Wide Receiver: Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans

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    2011 Stats: 17 Catches, 289 Yards, 3 TD, 26 Targets

    Number Of Times Drafted: 6

    Skinny: In his first two games last season, Kenny Britt totaled 14 catches, 23 targets, 271 yards receiving and three touchdowns. At the time, he was the No. 2-ranked receiver in fantasy (behind Calvin Johnson).

    And for Weeks 3-7 of the 2010 campaign, Britt had a five-game scoring streak that resulted in 18 catches, 30 targets, 393 yards receiving and seven touchdowns!

    All this begs the question: What's the downside of investing a Round 8, 9 or 10 pick on a supreme talent with a high ceiling, especially after the NFL has already doled out a one-game suspension to Britt for a litany of off-field transgressions (including a July DUI arrest)?

    Bottom line: I'll happily pay a mid-round price for Britt. I'll even take the time to buttress that selection with a fellow Titans receiver—either Nate Washington (74 catches/1,023 yards/7 TD last year) or lighting-fast rookie Kendall Wright—in the latter rounds.

Tight End: Fred Davis, Washington Redskins

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    2011 Stats: 59 Catches, 796 Yards, 3 TD, 88 Targets

    Number Of Times Drafted: 5

    Skinny: Fred Davis posted solid stats in just 12 games last season (missed four to suspension).

    That's a per-outing average of 4.9 catches, 66.3 yards, 0.25 TDs and 7.33 targets.

    Of the 12 games, Davis had a 75 percent success rate of reaching the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 75 yards and/or one touchdown.

    Verdict: I have Davis tabbed for 70 catches, 900 yards and six touchdowns in a 16-game campaign. If he should reach these attainable but impressive levels, his Round 10 draft-day price would rate as a certifiable heist.