Fantasy Football: Jamaal Charles and 5 Guys To Draft Earlier Than Experts Think

Nick MarroCorrespondent IIAugust 14, 2011

Fantasy Football: Jamaal Charles and 5 Guys To Draft Earlier Than Experts Think

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    The term "fantasy football expert" is completely subjective. There are infinite ways to go about drafting your team, and no matter how well you could have always done better. It's a frustrating reality, but something you need to accept if you plan on winning your league this season. 

    Every year, thousands of guys just like you and me surf the internet for countless hours, searching for some expert advice to put us over the edge and into fantasy football folklore. The problem with this is we are just collecting other people's opinions and passing them off as our own.

    We need to do our research, find the trends, but above all...GO WITH OUR GUTS. If you think someone is going to get hurt, don't waste the pick. If they have a low ceiling, why should you pass on potential in a backup for a lackluster starter?

    I've provided five guys I think the "experts" are severely underrating. I've combined research with common sense to provide you with a few guys I think WILL help you win your leagues in 2011. 

    But then again, I'm just another guy with an opinion. Proceed with caution!



    Follow me on twitter: @Nick_Marro

5. Rob Gronkowski TE New England Patriots

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    If you aren’t going to land Gates or Finley, I’d suggest waiting on a TE in 2011. The class is deep, and other positions need to be addressed before you focus on your big fella.

    Gronkowski has been going very late in most drafts and has even gone undrafted in some 12-team standard leagues. This is beyond unacceptable. Any time a rookie catches 10 TDs, you need to pay attention.

    The Patriots will have an explosive offense in 2011; the main target in the red zone will be “Big Gronk.” This team's going to drive down the field time and time again. Ochocinco, Deion Branch and Wes Welker will be great weapons for Brady, but none of the three embellish the qualities of a true red-zone target.  

    He’s ranked outside the top 10 by virtually everyone. If I’m not getting one of the top guys, I’m going to sit around and wait for Gronkowski. If he goes, the Titans’ Jared Cook is an excellent backup plan. 

4. Percy Harvin WR Minnesota Vikings

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    Donovan McNabb will show up to play in Minnesota; he’s not the sleeper here though. The guy to target is his primary receiver, Percy Harvin.  

    Harvin has No. 1 talent, and with the departure of Sidney Rice, he’s bound to shine. He showed flashes of greatness in 2010, despite catching his passes from a carousel of struggling quarterbacks, headlined by Brett Favre’s corpse.

    If Harvin takes his Excedrin, he could emerge as a top 15 talent at the position in 2011.

    Experts have Harvin as low as the 30th overall WR. If he’s slipping this far in your draft, address your Flex/third RB first, and then, pounce on this purple-wearing potential to solidify your receiving corps.

3. LeGarrette Blount RB Tamp Bay Buccaneers

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    LeGarrette Blount’s stock has been rising, but I still think he’s underrated. Perhaps I’m a little biased.

    When I benched Peyton Hillis for Blount in my fantasy championship last season, a lot of the guys thought I was throwing the game. Blount ended up rushing for 164 yards, and I won my league by a point, Hillis had 54 yards and a TD. The five-point swing won me my league.

    This decision wasn’t that difficult, considering Blount was facing Seattle, and Hillis was on a steep decline, but without Blount, I’m without bragging rights, and the lockout-riddled offseason would have been a lot more difficult to deal with.

    As for Blount, the guy is an absolute beast and built to carry the ball 300-plus times. He’s young, strong and a focal point of an ever-improving Tampa Bay offense. Some experts are turned off by his attitude, but that’s what I like about him. (Open fist punches are just stiff-arms, after all)

    It may come as a shock to some, but I like him more than Ahmad Bradshaw, Peyton Hillis and Matt Forte. The guys got fresh legs, and he can flat out run. I expect a breakout season in 2011 and a preseason first-round pick in 2012. 

2. Felix Jones RB Dallas Cowboys

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    Felix Jones could be this season’s Arian Foster.  With Marion “the road block” Barber shipped off to Chicago and Jason Garrett implementing an offense that doesn’t involve a teary-eyed Wade Phillips, Jones will have a great chance to succeed in 2011. 

    Experts have been leery of Jones, mainly because Tashard Choice is waiting in the wings. What they forget to mention is that Jones is already cemented into the starting slot for Week 1. Choice will remain a secondary option as long as Jones can maintain his 2010 form of 4.3 YPC,  which came with question marks across the Dallas offense.  With Tony Romo returning, the Cowboys will finally feature a balanced attack, which they severely lacked in 2010. (Sorry, Jon Kitna)

    Experts have him ranked behind guys like Knowshon Moreno, Cedric Benson, Joseph Addai, Mark Ingram, Fred Jackson and even Daniel Thomas. I’d take him over all six. This year’s RB class also features high risk/high reward guys like Deangelo Williams, MJD and Frank Gore.

    When healthy, all three are stronger plays, but you could just as easily draft value at another position when these high-risk guys come up and address the void with a guy like Jones a couple rounds later.

1. Jamaal Charles RB Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jamaal Charles isn’t a sleeper, he’s a top five pick, and everyone knows about him. He’s a top-tier guy with top-tier talent, and he’s gone in the first round in every single draft that has taken place thus far. So why am I including him as part of this list?

    HE’S THE BEST PICK AVAILABLE AND SHOULD BE GOING FIRST OVERALL. Arian Foster is an excellent pick and the upside is obvious; Adrian Peterson radiates consistency and is as solid as you could ask for. However, Charles is the guy to own in 2011.

    He averaged a ridiculous 6.4 YPC in 2010 and rushed for nearly 1,500 yards while sharing the backfield with Thomas Jones.  Jones will still be a factor in 2011, but his role will decrease.

    It won’t be easy to pull the trigger if you have the No. 1 overall pick, but I am fully convinced that Charles will be the top ranked RB when 2011 is said and done. With an upside of 2,000-plus yards rushing, 500-plus receiving and 10-plus TDs.

    Charles is in charge. (Scott Baio, less so)