2013 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Players to Avoid Reaching for on Draft Day

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 06:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass against the Washington Redskins during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Now that the NFL preseason is at its halfway point, fans need to know how to plan their fantasy drafts in order to avoid reaching for players.

Certain players had breakout seasons last year, and owners are going to want to take them early. However, reaching for a player can be a costly mistake.

Quarterbacks are the easiest to overreach for because they have such an impact on the team. There are so many quarterbacks who can put up big numbers that it's important not to rush to draft one.

Every position has a couple of guys that are risky picks but could pay off. 

Championships are won with a combination of strategy and luck. Reaching for a player is one way to hurt your team.

Here is a list of players at some of the offensive skill positions to avoid drafting too early.


Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

By now, the 2012 rookie class has gotten so much attention that fantasy owners are going to be looking to grab one of the talented quarterbacks. Russell Wilson is the quarterback from last year's draft class that owners should not draft too early.

Quarterbacks rack up tons of fantasy points, but owners don't need to draft passers early in the early rounds just to get one. There will be plenty quarterbacks available in the middle rounds.

Elite quarterbacks are worth taking in the first round. Mobile quarterbacks like Cam Newton are smart to take late in the first round or in one of the next few rounds. Wilson doesn't fall into the category, so wait a few rounds to draft him.

It's not a knock on Wilson, but he doesn't put up big fantasy numbers.

As a rookie, Wilson threw for 3,118 yards and ran for 489 yards. He did have 30 total touchdowns, but he also threw 13 interceptions and lost three fumbles.

His numbers were solid in his first season. They weren't anything special, so don't draft him in the second or third round. According to ESPN.com, 11 other quarterbacks put up more points than Russell last season. 

To go with his numbers, his supporting cast doesn't make him stand out. Marshawn Lynch is a stud at running back and will try to top the 1,590 yards he put up last year. 

Wilson doesn't have a great receiver to work with. Percy Harvin won't be suiting up for a while. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are good receivers, but they won't put up elite numbers.

The rest of the league has had a full offseason to study Wilson and the other rookies, so it will interesting to see how effective they will be this season. 

Wilson would be a good pick in the middle of your draft, but don't take him in the first few rounds.


Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

Despite showing flashes of greatness again, owners need to avoid picking Chris Johnson early.

Johnson got off to a terrible start last season. Owners everywhere were wondering what happened to the star running back, but he finally picked it up in the middle of the season.

He ended the season with only five games over 100 rushing yards, and he rushed for at least 120 yards in each of those games. He had at least one touchdown in four of those games.

However, Johnson had eight games with fewer than 60 rushing yards and scored only one touchdown in those games.

He ended the season with 1,243 rushing yards, six touchdowns and four lost fumbles.

Johnson has the potential to put up points in any week, but he couldn't do it consistently last season. He had six straight games putting up double-digit points, but he could cost owners late in the season with his inconsistent performances.

Every owner sees his talent and wants to take him in the early rounds. Instead, look for young players who put up consistent numbers. Taking a rookie, like Doug Martin last year, could also pay off. 

Johnson put up 2,000 yards in 2009, but he hasn't reached 1,400 yards in any of the last three seasons. He has 10 touchdowns since 2011.

The running back could have a big year, but owners should avoid drafting him and hoping that he returns to being a superstar.


James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers

Now that Greg Jennings is with the Minnesota Vikings, many owners will expect James Jones to have a monster year. 

Jones is going to put up good numbers. Now that he is going to be a bigger part of the offense, teams will be trying to stop Jones.

The biggest reason to not reach for is the system that he is in. 

Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback. He gets the ball to his receivers and gets everyone involved. The Packers don't have much of a run game, so drafting Green Bay receivers at some point is a good idea.

Jones finished last season with 784 yards but managed 14 touchdowns on 64 catches. It would be tough to be that efficient again this season.

Drafting Jones in the first couple of rounds is a reach. The Packers have plenty of weapons. With Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, Rodgers has many options.

Rodgers seemed to alternate who his favorite target on a weekly basis. Jones could have a few monster weeks this year, but Rodgers gets too many players involved to draft Jones in the first three rounds.

Feel free to take advice from one of Jones' teammates, Cobb, in the video above.


*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com