Fantasy Football Rankings: The Biggest Risks in the First 20 Rounds

Ken KellyContributor IIISeptember 1, 2010

Fantasy Football Rankings: The Biggest Risks in the First 20 Rounds

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    Followers of DLF know we focus our energy year round on dynasty leagues. However, we still have a high level of respect for the redraft format.

    New league drafts are being facilitated all over the country, so it’s time to take a final look at the average draft positions for players.

    Earlier today, we brought you 20 rounds of redraft value.

    Now, we flip the coin over and identify the riskiest choices in each round.

    I took a second look at the average draft position of players from over 5,000 completed drafts of the past week. As I took a fresh perspective in analyzing this information, I was surprised at how high some players were going.

    This column is designed to help fantasy football owners plan wisely as they map out their 2010 strategies for a redraft league.

    While many of these players will be good performers, there are many other choices who should merit more consideration at the same draft slot.

    Keep in mind, this information is based on a standard lineup and a PPR (points per reception) format for a 12-team league.

    Just remember, once you have this redraft fantasy football thing figured out, it’s time to try a dynasty league.

    Until then, I'd advise against taking these players as high as most others have in your own upcoming drafts.

Round One: Michael Turner, RB, ATL

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    ADP: 1.09 (No. 9 overall)

    Turner is just one year removed from a monster season where he posted 1,699 yards, and 17 touchdowns. 

    Last year was a nightmare as he injuries limited him to just 871 yards, and 10 scores.

    The ninth spot is a very difficult one, as the elite running backs will all be taken ahead of you.

    I'd lean more towards an elite wideout at this spot, then take the likes of DeAngelo Williams or Ryan Mathews early in round two.

    It's quite simply a very big leap of faith to hope for the 2008 version of Turner. While any pick in the top 12 is likely a good one, I'd be very concerned about him breaking down.

Round Two: Tony Romo, QB, DAL

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    ADP: 2.12 (No. 24 overall)

    Romo could be a very good option at quarterback this year.

    In fact, this could be the year he vaults himself into the upper tier with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning.

    I'd just rather take my second running back or first wide receiver here.

    Other quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub, and maybe even Tom Brady could be available in round three.

Round Three: Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL

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    ADP: 3.09 (No. 33 overall)

    I'm still surprised Boldin is being taken this high.

    Baltimore could air it out more this season, but I'd be much more comfortable with some other receivers on the board like Marques Colston, DeSean Jackson, or Steve Smith (NYG) in a PPR league.

    Boldin's injury history is just too long to take him over some of the others.

Round Four: Chad Ochocinco, WR, CIN

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    ADP: 4.08 (No. 44 overall)

    Two things are very clear in Cincinnati.

    First, Carson Palmer's arm isn't the same as it once was. He's yet to show the elite arm strength he possessed before his shoulder injury. That would concern me when drafting Bengal receivers.

    Second, Palmer is quickly developing a rapport with both Terrell Owens and Jermaine Gresham. That doesn't help the Ocho.

    In a 12 team league, I just wouldn't be comfortable with Ochocinco as my No. 1 receiver this season.

Round Five: Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC

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    ADP: 5.07 (No. 55 overall)

    Bowe is a candidate for comeback player of the year, but that's certainly far from a guarantee. 

    Followers of DLF know we're not the biggest fans of Matt Cassell as well.

    With players like Hakeem Nicks, Hines Ward, Percy Harvin, and Arian Foster on the board, I'd pass on Bowe.

Round Six: Donald Driver, WR, GB

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    ADP: 6.09 (No. 69 overall)

    There's little doubt the Packers will be an explosive offense this season. Driver has been extremely consistent over the past five years as well.

    With his recent knee issues and the emergence of Jermichael Finley, the sixth round is just a little too risky for Driver this season.

Round Seven: Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG

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    ADP: 7.10 (No. 82 overall)

    Ahmad Bradshaw looks to be the best Giants running back to own this season, and he's going just five or six spots before Jacobs.

    If Bradshaw is gone in round seven, I'd just steer clear of New York completely.

Round Eight: Robert Meachem, WR, NO

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    ADP: 8.05 (No. 89 overall)

    Lance Moore, Marques Colston, and Devery Henderson could all outperform Meachem this season.

    While Meachem may have more talent than some of the other wideouts on the New Orleans roster, his inconsistency and offseason toe surgery are worrisome.

Round Nine: Steve Breaston, WR, ARI

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    ADP: 9.09 (No. 105 overall)

    The Cardinals offense is a mess right now.

    Expect Coach Whisenhunt to run the ball much more frequently since Kurt Warner will be starring on ABC's Dancing with the Stars instead of leading his offense.

    The changes certianly don't help Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, or Breaston.

    Stephen Williams has also made a case for playing time as of late.

Round 10: Derrick Mason, WR, BAL

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    ADP: 10.02 (No. 110 overall)

    Mason had a great season in 2009, but will find it very difficult to repeat those numbers in 2010.

    He's a clear No. 3 option behind Ray Rice, and Anquan Boldin.

Round 11: Kenny Britt, WR, TEN

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    ADP: 11.05 (No. 125 overall)

    You have to love Britt's talent.

    You have to hate the baggage he brings.

    He's just not mature enough to be counted on at this point in fantasy leagues. He's certainly not worthy of a pick in the middle rounds.

Round 12: Garrett Harley, PK, NO

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    ADP: 12.04 (No. 138 overall)

    Any round before the last one is just too early for a kicker.

    Child, please.

Round 13: Jeremy Shockey, TE, NO

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    ADP: 13.05 (No. 149 overall)

    Outside of Vernon Davis, there haven’t been too many TEs who have generated the buzz that Shockey did coming out of college.

    Most fantasy owners recall him mowing down defenders in one of his first preseason games and salivating over his potential.

    Unfortunately, injuries have decimated what could have been a very productive career. 

    He’s simply not going to reach elite TE status again, especially not with Jimmy Graham in the fold.

Round 14: Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

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    ADP: 14.08 (No. 164 overall)

    While Thomas could be a dynasty league hero one day, his foot injury is going to severely limit his year one production.

    See you next season.

Round 15: Matt Leinart, QB, ARI

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    ADP: 15.12 (No. 180 overall)

    A lack of arm strength combined with a perceived lack of leadership ability has landed Leinart on the roster bubble.

    Don't let him be on yours.

Round 16: Kevin Smith, RB, DET

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    ADP: 16.04 (No. 184 overall)

    If you drafted Jahvid Best early and are looking for a handcuff, I could justify taking Smith.

    However, if you expect Smith to be a significant performer for you this year, it's going to take an injury to Best to make that happen.

    The difference between the two this preseason has been very apparent.

Round 17: Devin Thomas, WR, WAS

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    ADP: 17.04 (No. 196 overall)

    Dynasty league owners have long waited for Thomas to evolve into a dynamic fantasy performer.

    It may be time to give up hope.

Round 18: Nate Washington, WR, TEN

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    ADP: 18.12 (No. 216 overall)

    Washington was a high profile free agent last year.  His 569 yards, and six touchdowns didn't really fit his price tag.

    At this point in the draft, I'd rather take my chances on some sleepers.

Round19: Arrelious Benn, WR, TB

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    ADP: 19.08 (No. 224 overall)

    Mike Williams has outplayed Benn from day one in camp. Unfortunately for Benn, so has Sammie Stroughter.

    It's going to be a steep learning curve for Benn.

    Expecting meaningful production this year is asking a little too much.

Round 20: Darrius Heyward-Bey

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    ADP: 20.12 (No. 240 overall)

    It's a mess in Oakland.

    I'd be more than happy to have Louis Murphy or Zach Miller on my fantasy team. Outside of those two, I'll let other teams roll the dice.

    Heyward-Bey's offseason hype has yet to translate on the field.


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    Avoiding mistakes in a redraft league is crucial to your success.

    Don't get too caught up with that shiny new rookie or assume past performance guarantees future success with veterans.

    Formulate a strategy for success and prepare for round by round decisions like these ahead of time.

    The question is, are you now ready to take it to the next level and try a dynasty league?



    Don't know what a dynasty league is? Click here.

    For the complete set of strategic 2010 dynasty rankings, click below:

    Strategic Quarterback Rankings
    Strategic Running Back Rankings
    Strategic Wide Receiver Rankings
    Strategic Tight End Rankings
    Strategic IDP Rankings

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