10 Draft Tips for 2013

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. [...]

RB Keeper Overviews

Note: Ages are accurate as of midseason 2010.

What’s interesting about this position is how watered down it is. Because so many backfield are utilizing two (even three) players in a rotation, the number of clear studs is low. And while there are more players these days than usual who do have some value now due to a fairly large role, they’re still in situations that prevent major fantasy production. We’ve also seen fewer legitimate developmental prospects at the position and a lot of players who are kind of in limbo, with little long-term potential and even questionable short-term potential.

I’ll start off this section with the (surprisingly few) players who are clearly slam-dunks for those in keeper leagues: Adrian Peterson (Min, 25), Steven Jackson (Stl, 27), Chris Johnson (Ten, 24), Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac, 25), and Ray Rice (Bal, 23).

It's probably a little early to proclaim Ray Rice as a legit fantasy stud for the long-term, but the guy was incredibly impressive in 2009 – and he's very young

These five players are clearly the cream of the crop, and with youth on their side. Rice may not be a legit top-5 overall RB over the next few years, as the [...]

Free Agency Thoughts

It’s been a fairly quiet and pretty anticlimactic free agent period so far. The one thing I’ve learned over the years about free agency is that its impact is pretty top-heavy, and overall overrated – at least when it comes to fantasy football. There are usually 3-4 major moves that have big impacts, and there are always a few moves that appear to be under-the-radar, yet wind up being key. But for the most part, the excitement some people feel in March and April dwindles down to next to nothing come September.

That said, I still have some thoughts on what’s gone down the last 5-7 days or so, and here’s a quick review. If you’re interested, we are keeping up on all the moves each day with our 2010 Free Agent Tracker.

The Chester Taylor signing by Chicago still boggles my mind a little bit. I understand you can never have too many quality veterans like Taylor, but let me put it this way: I don’t think he would have been much better than a healthy Matt Forte behind that terrible [...]

Tracking First Expert Draft

It’s been a hectic day. Just after wrapping up the 90-minute podcast with Adam Caplan and Greg Cosell, I went right to the first expert draft of the year. This is for Fantasy Sports Magazine, always the first draft of the year. I won this league last year, and I’m trying to repeat.

The scoring here is very typical, so all you need to know is that it was a PPR league. I drafted 3rd. I’ll list the whole draft in a reply post, and Adam Caplan, who also participated in the draft. But here’s my drafted team in the order in which the players were selected.

Matt Forte – Picking 3rd, I figured he’d be my pick, with AP and MJD going 1-2. Forte was actually the #1 fantasy back in a PPR league last year, and I see no reason why his production won’t be as good or even better with Jay Cutler on the team.
Steve Smith – Not a particularly gutsy or great pick, but I’ve always loved Smith and I’m always [...]

First look at the RBs

As the draft quickly approaches, we’re trying to bang out as much of the magazine writeups as we possibly can, and I’ve just completed about the top-50 RBs. Of course, the draft will change a lot of things, so it’s hard to rank any player for certain. We have also not yet plugged in projections, which can change things once you see the raw numbers. But I do have some rankings and comments on the top-50 guys now, and I’m pretty comfortable with this list, knowing it’s very early.

So here’s what I got at this early stage.

1. Adrian Peterson, MIN – Has to be top dog this year given youth and talent but more action in the passing game would be nice.

2. Michael Turner, ATL – Carried the load all season with great effectiveness in run-heavy offense and was money near the goal so a no-brainer.

3. Maurice Drew, JAC – Major jump in receptions key for 3rd straight strong season and now he truly carries the load plus Holt will help their shaky team.

4. Matt Forte, CHI – Addition of Cutler should help them move the ball and create more opportunities for the slick and productive runner and receiver.

5. LaDainian [...]

About John Hansen

John Hansen

Specializing in football, Hansen is one of the most connected fantasy writers in the country.

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