The NFL and fantasy landscapes change quickly these days, so if you have a draft strategy, it had better be year-specific. I have already done several mock and real drafts for various publications, and the 2013 trends are pretty clear – so they dominate the following 10 draft tips.
Try to hold off a little before drafting a QB – To summarize the best 2013 draft approach in a word, it’s “patience,” and that specifically applies to the QB position. Just 2-3 years ago, I was all about getting as many impact players as possible, regardless of position, and QB was a big part of that approach. After the passing game bonanza that we saw in 2011, you’d think that I’d be all over the signal-callers as rock-solid early picks. I do still believe in the BPA approach (best player available), and the top QBs are almost always safe and extremely productive options. But in 2013, it doesn’t make nearly as much sense taking a QB early as it did even just one year ago. There are many paths to a championship, and there’s nothing wrong with using a No.1 pick on Aaron Rodgers, or a 2nd-round snag of Drew Brees. [...]
In about a month, I will be whipping up my initial and early Draft Plan, which will simply cover all the positions and how to approach them. In the summer, I’ll tweak that and quadruple the size of the article, as I always do in the summer. That will cover a plan of action by position, go pick-by-pick through the first 10 rounds, and much more.
But in order to formulate my Draft Plan, I have to actually draft, and I have been doing that this month. Today I did my second mock draft for a magazine, this one for USA Today’s fantasy magazine. I can’t share all the results, but I can share my picks and some general thoughts.
As you may recall, I thought last year a good way to zig when everyone zagged in a draft was to, as I put it, “kick it old school” and go RB-RB. That actually might have been bad advice, thanks to some RB injuries/poor play from namely Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray. But I always try to be ahead of the curve, and it appears I was because going old school looks like a great way to go this year, since QB [...]
5/1 Edit: I have made a few small but key changes to the early rankings, as expected, so I’ve removed them in case someone stops by here and thinks these are the latest and (at least for now) final rankings. You can find our updated keeper rankings, including all the rookies, here:
There have been years in the recent past when our SOS analysis has been really strong and looking at strength of schedule has been very useful for fantasy purposes. This is always an element to inspect closely, but I have to say that looking back at least year’s coverage, the impact of SOS in 2012 was negligible. I’d say in terms of accuracy that it leaned to the positive, but overall the schedule’s impact was minor last year.
But certainly, inspecting each team’s schedule is something that absolutely has to be done, especially the key playoff weeks, when 1-2 good or bad matchups can mean the difference between merely making the fantasy playoffs and winning it all.
As we always do, we project the upcoming season’s SOS by assigning a number grade for each defense against the run and the pass. We then compare those grades for all 32 teams’ 16 matchups and attempt to predict SOS rather than go strictly off of 2012’s numbers.
We’ll do that after the draft, when we can properly grade each defense against the run and the pass, but for now here are some quick thoughts on the 2013 schedule.
Arizona – Their SOS will be tougher simply due [...]
It is amazing how quickly fantasy fortunes can change for those in keeper or dynasty leagues. Just a few days ago, those who owned wideout Larry Fitzgerald really did not know what they had in the future Hall of Famer, which was a sad statement because he is still in his prime and is, you know, a future Hall of Famer.
I’m not saying his new QB Carson Palmer is unquestionably a savior, but Palmer landing in Arizona is pretty news for this offense. Yes, the OL is a major concern, but let’s keep in mind it was pretty bad in Oakland, too, and Palmer managed to throw for over 4000 yards with a lesser receiving corps and a crappy running game.
I particularly like the fit with Bruce Arians, who is as proven an offensive coordinator as there is in the league. Arians has had particular success with big, strong-armed QBs like Palmer in Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. Palmer doesn’t move as well as those two, but he’s not a total statue in the pocket, either. And I LOVED what Arians did last year with Reggie Wayne, particularly how he moved him around to find good matchups. I said on [...]