More than in years past, I've been struggling to decide what order everyone should go in for the first round in drafts this year. It also seems like nobody else can come close to an agreement on, not only what order players should go in the first round, but even who should be a first rounder. While some websites and experts are identifying DeAngelo Williams, Chris Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson as possible mid or even early 1st round picks, others see them as 2nd round picks. Another thing I've noticed this year is multiple receivers being listed as first rounders. Many rankings have guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and maybe even Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson listed as 1st rounders. I've also seen Tom Brady and Drew Brees being taken in the first round in some drafts I've participated in so far.
All these different options and varying opinions lead to unpredictable fantasy first rounds for 2009. Let me give you my top 12 first and then we'll look at the reasons that led me to this order:
1) Adrian Peterson
2) Maurice Jones-Drew
3) Matt Forte
4) Frank Gore
5) Steven Jackson
6) Michael Turner
7) LaDainian Tomlinson
8) Chris Johnson
9) DeAngelo Williams
10) Steve Slaton
11) Larry Fitzgerald
12) Brandon Jacobs
#13 would be Andre Johnson, with Westbrook at 14.
After the first 3, it might not be the worst idea to start flipping a coin. I feel confident about my rankings, but I also have to admit that on certain days, I might not completely adhere to them, that's how tough this round is this season.
A lot of people are including Turner in that top tier, and although I very much appreciated what he did for my fantasy teams last year, it's a new year and we have to move on and realize the ramifications of that season, mostly the ramifications of 376 carries. If that's not enough to get you to drop him a couple spots, you could use the tougher schedule, the fact that Atlanta should throw more, or his inconsistencies on a week-by-week basis.
I like Gore a lot this year. San Francisco is going to rely heavily on him so I see him as one of the safer picks. S-Jax has always been a favorite of mine and I have trouble looking past his talent-level. LT is someone who every manager is going to have decide on for themselves. For me, I'm not going to use a top 5 pick on him, but I find myself hoping I get a late 1st round pick in every draft so I get the chance of LT falling to me.
Chris Johnson is a stud, but LenDale White will steal around a dozen touchdowns, and the Titans will probably not rush for over two dozen TDs again this season. But Johnson is good enough that he'll accumulate enough stats to give you a return investment on your 1st round pick. DeAngelo will not have the same stats as his career season last year. But Jonathan Stewart is already stumbling out of the gates this season with injuries and you know Carolina is going to run the ball heavily. Slaton has some of the least competition of any RB in this age of running back by committees, which makes him one of the safer picks.
After the top 10 picks, I think it's time to start considering the top wideouts. I definitely don't agree with the notion of taking a receiver earlier than that or taking a quarterback in the first round or early second. Some people will point out that all the RB committees means there are more value at RB in the mid-rounds. the way I interpret it though is that the committees mean that the three down stud backs are even that much more valuable, when you can't find any of them after the first and maybe second round. It still holds true that the drop in production from the best back to the 24th best back is much larger than it is for wideouts, and especially quarterbacks. Yes receivers might be safer picks, and the chances of Fitzgerlad or one of the Johnsons having a good year are higher than the RBs I listed in the first round, but that kind of thinking will get you 3rd place in your league. And if you're like me, that's not good enough, I want to win the league. And a great year from Fitzgerald is not going to help you win the title as much as a great year from Steven Jackson or LT. Take a chance with the riskier position (RB) that offers higher rewards and try to identify the safer picks within that position (the guys who have the better chance of having that amazing year from a RB like DeAngelo and Turner had last year). That's the formula that will lead to a championship, remember, 2nd place is the first loser, that's all... Another tip for anyone picking in Fantasy Football is think about who will be getting the most touches. When a team has a new QB most likely, they will try to throw as much as possible, so look for a WR like Brandon Loyld, since the bears have a new QB (Cutler), most likely he will be throwing the ball a lot so look for Loyld to get a lot of touches.
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