Need a fantasy team name? Need a plan for structuring your draft strategy this year?
Well, you've come to the right place. Consider this article your one-stop shop for advice on constructing a solid team name and starting with a bang in your draft. While I can't guide you all of the way through—like all of those unique snowflakes your mom told you about, no two fantasy drafts are exactly the same—I can get you started on the right path.
Speaking of getting started, let's get to it.
Fantasy Mock Draft
|1||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||RB|
|2||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||RB|
|3||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||RB|
|4||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||RB|
|5||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||QB|
|6||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||RB|
|7||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||TE|
|8||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||WR|
|9||Eddie Lacy||Green Bay Packers||RB|
|10||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||QB|
|11||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||QB|
|12||Arian Foster||Houston Texans||RB|
|13||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||WR|
|14||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||WR|
|15||Zac Stacy||St. Louis Rams||RB|
|16||Doug Martin||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||RB|
|17||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||WR|
|18||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||WR|
|19||DeMarco Murray||Dallas Cowboys||RB|
|21||Julio Jones||Atlanta Falcons||WR|
|22||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||QB|
|23||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||QB|
|24||Le'Veon Bell||Pittsburgh Steelers||RB|
|25||Jordy Nelson||Green Bay Packers||WR|
Before we get into the top 25, I want to break down a key pillar of my drafting strategy. I believe very firmly in breaking players down into tiers, and in the first two rounds, I'm trying to do one of two things: either nab players in the top tiers in my rankings or draft players from a position seriously lacking in depth.
Hardly revolutionary, I know, but nothing is more dangerous than entering a draft without a defined strategy.
This year, the latter strategy might win out, simply because running back is such a question mark again. On the other hand, it's really risky to pass up trusted point-earners in the first two rounds.
Here's how I've broken up my top tiers at each position this season:
- Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers
- Running Back: LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch
- Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall
- Tight End: Jimmy Graham
Of all of those players, the guy I'm most worried about is Lynch, believe it or not. He's averaged 329 touches the past three seasons, and the Seattle Seahawks have great depth behind him in Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, so they don't need him to be quite the same workhorse he's been in years past.
Lynch is still just 28 years old, but the age of death for running backs, 30, is approaching, and given his workload, a downturn may come earlier than it would for most. There is reason for caution this year, but you also shouldn't be bumping him out of your top 10. He should still be a consistent RB1 this year.
In case you were wondering why McCoy is my No. 1 selection, I think he should actually be better in the second year under Chip Kelly, even with Darren Sproles in town. Oh, and there is this from Paul Domowitch of Philly.com:
LeSean McCoy has dropped 5 pounds, from 215 to 210. Expects to be quicker this season. "The quicker you are the better you are,'' he said.— Paul Domowitch (@pdomo) July 31, 2014
More than ever, this season feels like an important year to grab a top-six running back. There is really solid mid-round depth at quarterback and wide receiver, but there are major questions marks at running back once you get past Eddie Lacy.
Will Arian Foster and DeMarco Murray stay healthy? Are Zac Stacy and Le'Veon Bell legit? Is Doug Martin going to be the player we saw in his rookie season or the less productive sophomore version of himself? Will Montee Ball step up? What are we to make of free-agent signings like Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings and Toby Gerhart? How much will timeshares kill Giovani Bernard, Reggie Bush, Ryan Mathews, Andre Ellington and C.J. Spiller?
One player I think could really recover nicely from a terrible sophomore season is Trent Richardson, though his shoddy performance from last year makes him too risky to use a top-25 pick on. Still, he could be a mid-round sleeper who could really blow up. Mike Wells of ESPN has more:
It’s been obvious Richardson is more comfortable in the system. He has gone from thinking too much after taking the handoff to running off his natural instincts and with explosion.
'He’s getting back to 100 percent, so I think some of those runs you’re starting to see, the hard work, the full offseason, the comfort with the scheme, the terminology, being around the offensive guys, the guys that are lined up in front of him blocking and seeing him starting to put a foot in the ground, see a hole, burst through the line of scrimmage, all that stuff is coming,' [head coach Chuck] Pagano said. 'It’s only going to get better, too, as he gets closer to 100 percent health-wise. Again, he’s on track, he’s on track.'
Both quarterback and wide receiver are really loaded in the middle rounds, so even if you miss out on a top-tier player at either position, you can still nab a potentially nice value later on. Guys like Matt Ryan and Tony Romo will produce for your team and be available later on, for instance.
Oh, and Jimmy Graham is absolutely a first-round selection. Very few players, if any, have as much value compared to other players at their position as Graham does. Keep in mind, just five running backs (Charles, McCoy, Forte, Lynch, Knowshon Moreno) and three wide receivers (Josh Gordon, Thomas, Megatron) had more than the 211 fantasy points Graham accumulated in standard-scoring leagues last year.
And keep in mind, that was with a plantar fascia injury. Graham is a legitimate first-round selection.
Fantasy Football Team Names
When creating your fantasy name this season, there are several tried-and-true approaches you can take. The first and most exercised option is the name pun. These include classics like Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe, Pimpin' Ain't Breesy and Forte Ounces to Freedom, to name a few. Newer ones that seem popular are NickFolesean Dynamite, Orange Julius and King Ndamukong.
Remembering funny or memorable moments from the past season or offseason can also be incorporated. For example, my league name last year was the Butt Fumble Memorial League. Matt Schaub's Pick-Six Emporium could work. Mike Tomlin's Sunday Stroll will bring up some memories for any Baltimore Ravens fans in your league. Or you could keep it simple with Don't Talk About Richard Sherman.
Or you can have fun with preexisting nicknames. "Johnny Football" Manziel should give us plenty of memorable moments this year, on and off the field. Evolve with him. Start the season with your team named as Johnny Budweiser. Upgrade him at some point to Johnny Sidelines. Maybe he's Johnny Holder for the Browns. Eventually he might become Johnny Starter. Use your imagination.
And that brings us to the rookies, always a source of a creative team name, because any rookie puns you come up with likely haven't been used before. There's Dr. Jekyll and Carlos Hyde. Or Clowney Question, Bro. And you can use your own imagination for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Or you could be hopeful. I've always liked Red Head Redemption as a nickname for Andy Dalton and a tribute to the classic video game. After completely choking in the playoffs against the San Diego Chargers, well, he could use some redemption.
You have options, folks. Or you could always use one of these.