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Fantasy Football 2016: Funniest Team Names and Mock-Draft Strategy at Key Spots

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2016

Positional strategy is one of the most critical parts of a successful fantasy draft.
Positional strategy is one of the most critical parts of a successful fantasy draft.Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows the fantasy owner who reaches for a quarterback in the first round of a fantasy football draft, causing a cringe from everyone else.

Not really a cringe—more like a fist pump because a whole lot of value just fell down the board.

Don't be that owner. Understanding the right strategy in fantasy football in live drafts is the most important part of the whole thing. There's no making up for a poor draft due to a lack of fundamental standard-league strategy.

With such a theme in mind, let's take a look at a few of the tougher positions to strategize after a glance at a sample mock draft.

     

Draft Strategy for Key Spots

Sample 2-Round Mock Draft
PickPlayerPositionTeam
Round 1
1.01Antonio BrownWRPIT
1.02Odell Beckham Jr.WRNYG
1.03Todd GurleyRBLA
1.04Julio JonesWRATL
1.05Adrian PetersonRBMIN
1.06DeAndre HopkinsWRHOU
1.07Ezekiel ElliottRBDAL
1.08A.J. GreenWRCIN
1.09Rob GronkowskiTENE
1.10Le'Veon BellRBPIT
1.11Dez BryantWRDAL
1.12David JohnsonRBARI
Round 2
2.01Jamaal CharlesRBKC
2.02Devonta FreemanRBATL
2.03Allen RobinsonWRJAC
2.04Lamar MillerRBHOU
2.05Jordy NelsonWRGB
2.06Alshon JefferyWRCHI
2.07Doug MartinRBTB
2.08Brandon MarshallWRNYJ
2.09LeSean McCoyRBBUF
2.10Cam NewtonQBCAR
2.11Mark IngramRBNO
2.12Mike EvansWRTB
Author's opinion

QB

Notice something about the sample mock draft above?

There's only one quarterback taken over the first two rounds, and it's Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. But it requires the majority of the biggest names at wideout and running back to come off the board first.

Always, always wait on quarterback. Last year, Newton led the way with 373 points and only five quarterbacks scored 300 or more. But 12 quarterbacks scored 272 or more—meaning there's a starter available for each owner in a 12-team league.

Quarterbacks are generally extremely easy to predict on a weekly basis and there's 32 starters in the league to choose from. Why take a guy who might score 300 points when better running backs and wide receivers are on the board and a platoon of guys with predictable outputs could get an owner to the same year-end total?

Besides, banking on 300 or more from a single guy is silly. For example, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck were some of the notables who didn't break into the mentioned 272-point category. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blake Bortles and Kirk Cousins did.

Quarterback is best drafted when an owner has a comfortable platoon of backs and wideouts first. The rest will fall into place—because it simply always has in standard format. 

     

RB

Wideout is much easier to figure out than running back. Target reliable producers in offenses that simply feed the receiver the ball, meaning Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.

Drafting running backs is much more difficult. Not only do owners have to take into account scheme, the position requires worrying about the offensive line in front of the back, a committee approach, the effectiveness of the passing game, prior usage and injury histories.

That's a lot, but like securing quality quarterbacks later in drafts, one rule has always remained the same with running backs—opportunity equals production.

Jul 31, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) carries the ball at training camp at UC Irvine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This rule has remained the same, but evolved. The opportunity needs to come on the ground and through the air these days. Last year, one back (Todd Gurley) among the top 13 scorers had fewer than 30 receptions.

That list spans backs who scored 145 or more points and doesn't discriminate one way or the other. Adrian Peterson only caught 30 passes but ran for 1,485 yards and 11 scores. Danny Woodhead only ran for 335 yards and three scores but caught 81 passes for 756 yards and six scores.

Ideally, owners will find a back with good hands who can see targets in the passing game to make up for opportunities lost on the ground in what is a pass-happy league. A three-down back who doesn't leave the field in almost any situation takes precedence over most wideouts too as they'll see more scoring opportunities.

              

Funniest Team Names

Suh-icide Squad

Dec 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA;  Miami Dolphins defensive end Ndamukong Suh stretches before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

It's a shame Ndamukong Suh of the Miami Dolphins plays defensive tackle because he sure makes for some outstanding fantasy football name combinations. 

An owner doesn't have to play in an IDP (individual defensive player) league to capitalize on Suh's name, though.

This one in particular takes Suh's name and pairs it with a smooth pop-culture reference, the recently released Suicide Squad movie.

Sometimes a recognizable name and pop culture trump everything else when it comes to getting points for naming a team.

      

Almost Jameis

Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass before game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is almost famous from a fantasy standpoint.

Winston fell short of the aforementioned 272 mark as a rookie, scoring 261 points by way of 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.

With Mike Evans on board and provided Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins can stay healthy (the former played 10 games in 2015, the latter seven), Winston should find himself among the top-12 scorers in 2016.

Then he'll be fantasy famous. And still Jameis.

     

Make America Gronk Again

Jul 28, 2016; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) takes the field for training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Who wouldn't want to Make America Gronk Again?

Forget a pop-culture reference, how about a political one? Bonus points, especially when it features a guy in Rob Gronkowski who is the lone player at his position to break into the mock draft above.

It's not hard to see why. Gronkowski scored 176 points last year with the next closest tight end (Jordan Reed) coming in at 150. With such a large gap, it only makes sense to roll the dice if the rest of the board at wideout and running back hasn't shaken out as anticipated.

Nobody needs to make Gronk great again, but American fantasy owners could always use more.

      

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com. Average draft position (ADP) courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.

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