Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Why You Shouldn't Draft Top 10 Players No. 1

Joe PetruloCorrespondent IIIAugust 22, 2011

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Why You Shouldn't Draft Top 10 Players No. 1

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    In fantasy football, there are always first-round picks like DeAngelo Williams in 2010 that disappoint owners.

    This year, there are a number of players that could hurt your team if you select them as your leader in the first round.

    Nonetheless, all of these players have tons of upside as well.

    Let's take a look at the top 10 players in fantasy football for 2011 and analyze a legitimate reason not to draft them.

10. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

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    Andre Johnson has been the most consistent part of the Houston Texans franchise, but he hasn't been the same for fantasy football owners.

    Yes, Johnson has been rated as one of the top fantasy wide receivers over the past few years.

    Still, it has been marked by surprising inconsistency.

    He has his huge games. Week 14 against Baltimore in 2010 is a great example.

    As a wide receiver Johnson is more consistent than most.

    He won't, however, win you games with his 11-point average

    Injuries have hurt him as well, which adds to his risk as a high pick.

    The reason: Johnson will be great in 2011, but he won't give you enough of an advantage at wide receiver to warrant a first-round selection.

9. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Roddy White has turned into one of the best receivers in the NFL, but the Atlanta Falcons' schedule may not allow him to play up to expectations this season.

    The Falcons play in a pretty tough division that lacks an extremely susceptible defense.

    Their schedule may seem easy upon first glance, highlighted by back-to-back games against terrible pass defenses in Minnesota and Houston.

    Yet, tells us different. According to last year's fantasy points against, the Falcons have the 29th most difficult schedule for wide receiver.

    Atlanta's offense is primed to perform in 2011 with the addition of Julio Jones and growth of the young core.

    Still, White could struggle against a difficult schedule for wide receivers.

    The reason: The schedule is not setting him up for success. 

8. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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    Aaron Rodgers distinguished himself as one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in football as he led the Green Bay Packers to team success.

    His advantage comes on the ground, racking up a couple hundred yards rushing the ball.

    There is no doubt that he will be one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football this season.

    Still, we don't know that he will distinguish himself as worthy of the number one pick.

    Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Peyton Manning all have the potential to outscore Rodgers this year.

    You can get one of those quarterbacks in the second or third round. When you are selecting running backs, there are only a handful in the first round that are expected to contend for the top spot in fantasy football.

    The reason: You can get similar value in the second or third round.

7. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    LeSean McCoy broke through in 2010 as an elite fantasy player, but the Philadelphia Eagles' offense built around him may turn out to be a one-time success story.

    The Eagles were fantastic last season, but a number of those individual's seasons could be viewed as a fluke.

    That includes McCoy.

    He had a decent rookie season, but his improvement last year could have been progression or simply an aberration. 

    McCoy will likely have a stellar season in 2011.

    Still, he is very risky considering we only have one great year to base our opinions on.

    The reason: McCoy's great 2010 season that is pushing us to select him early could have been an aberration.

6. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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    The Baltimore Ravens's Ray Rice took a vary long time to satisfy fantasy owners in 2010, and his tendency to randomly burst out for a big game is scary for fantasy owners.

    Rice was all over the board last year.

    He had six games of less than 10 points, but only two over 18 in ESPN standard leagues.

    So, in 14 of his 16 games he had between two and 18 points.

    That sounds like a perfect second running back to me.

    Plus, it doesn't help that he has to play the Steelers twice (his two lowest point-performances last year).

    The reason: Rice is consistently average, and might not be worth a first-round pick. 

5. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Vick could easily turn out to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to team success and become the best fantasy football player in the NFL for the second straight year.

    On the other hand, he could get hurt, or play like he did in Atlanta, and become a liability to your fantasy team.

    Vick is the riskiest player you can take in the first round at any position.


    There are quarterbacks that are almost guaranteed to end up in the top five or six that you are passing on to take Vick.

    So, make your decision on Vick and stick to it.

    Just make sure you realize the risk that you're taking.

    The reason: Vick is the riskiest player you can take in the first round, and there are safer options available in the next round.

4. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Kansas City Chiefs surprised everyone in 2010 with a 10-6 campaign, but they may not be able to repeat the performance, which may impact Jamaal Charles.

    Kansas City's offensive line took major steps, providing holes for Charles to showcase his speed and lead the league in yards per carry (for running backs).

    This year, after winning the division, they will have a much tougher schedule.

    The Chiefs are set to face one of the more difficult schedules in the league, highlighted by a stretch from Week 11 to 15 that includes the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Jets and Packers.

    Charles will have to be on his "A" game each week to meet expectations.

    So, you should know the risk that you are taking when selecting Charles.

    The reason: No matter how good of a player he is, the Chiefs have a brutal schedule that might bar him from success. 

3. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    Arian Foster exploded onto the scene last season, but his 2010 campaign is the only evidence we have to trust him with.

    He was decent as a rookie, but last season he turned from a middle-round selection into the top scoring fantasy player of any position in standard scoring leagues.

    The problem with Foster is that his offense has had a pass-first focus for a number of years.

    He is the first above average running back they have had since Domanick Davis (now Domanick Williams).

    Yet, we have to trust that his breakthrough season was legitimate.

    That is a little bit scary when using a top-five pick on him.

    The reason: We are trusting that last season was not an anomaly, and he is part of a historically pass-first offense.

2. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

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    Chris Johnson is primed to perform with the Tennessee Titans in 2011.

    That is, if he shows up to play.

    He finally has a quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, which should take the pressure off the offensive line and Johnson himself.

    Tennessee's schedule is perfectly set up for a great fantasy season at all positions.

    So, what is the problem for Johnson?

    He is still holding out and there is no end in sight.

    If he does play, he should be considered a top-five pick. Still, he is quite the risk to take.

    The reason: Johnson is holding out and could miss games.

1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

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    Adrian Peterson is what makes the Minnesota Vikings go, which may be his downfall in fantasy football.

    Donovan McNabb is no longer near the elite level of quarterbacks, and the passing games are likely to be moderately better than last season.

    So, that leaves most of the pressure on Peterson.

    The fact is, if Peterson cannot get going, the Vikings offense will not.

    His offensive line is one of the worst in the league, and the negative three yard rushes are a fantasy owner's biggest pet peeve.

    Peterson had injury problems in his college career at Oklahoma, and shouldering this enormous load in the NFL for the fifth year in a row is potentially dangerous.

    Nonetheless, he might be the safest running back of all the top running backs.

    The reason: Peterson has a huge workload to carry which could lead to injury, and his offensive line is brutal.