We are right in the thick of fantasy football draft season, with this upcoming weekend being perhaps the busiest one of all. Making sure I have a quick turn around answering questions from Draft Buddy customers is putting pressure on my ability to update my player rankings.
This morning I did manage an update however, which you can see all at once on the one-page cheatsheet. Quite a few changes based on recent news, including:
- New England Patriots RB Dion Lewis requiring a second surgery on his knee
- positive reports for Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess
- positive vibes for Cleveland Browns offense including QB Robert Griffin III – say what?
- Denver Broncos QB situation a complete mess to figure out
And numerous other things from the last week. Plus, some of the bigger changes to my rankings are as a result of impressions and strategy considerations from drafting my own leagues the last few weeks. Here goes:
Rob Gronkowski is no longer in Tier 1 at TE by himself
The feeling here is, I am probably not drafting Gronk this season, and I hope showing him in the same tier as the next three – Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce – indicates that recommendation to not draft him. Not for a first round or early second round pick. He is dinged up currently, apparently not serious, but it gives us a small reminder he does carry some more injury risk than most with the pounding he takes. He is obviously great when going full steam, but I worry the risk-reward just isn’t worth it to grab Gronk where you need to for his services. Give me one of my other Tier 1 tight ends at a decent discount off the Gronk rate.
Todd Gurley is no longer in Tier 1 at RB by himself
Kicking myself a little here this was even necessary. Originally, it was Gurley plus Le’Veon Bell. Okay, so Bell gets suspended four games (now three), so he drops out of Tier 1. I did feel each of the other closely ranked RB had some small warts, such as Adrian Peterson (age, wear and tear), David Johnson (partial season), Lamar Miller (limited prior workload), but doesn’t Gurley too? His team is going to be starting Case Keenum and a rookie Jared Goff this season, the receivers are dismal, so how much can we expect this guy to do? Lots of carries is great but highly efficient carries are better. I still have him number one, but am I so convinced he is deserving Tier 1 treatment alone versus the other three? No. Lets put them all in Tier 1, which goes to the nature of running the football in today’s NFL anyway, the position is devalued.
More emphasis on young, potential breakout WR in the later tiers
While I’ve always believed this, to draft young, upside wide receivers late in drafts as the fourth, fifth and sixth wideout spots on your roster, I thought my rankings were a bit off in this regard. Perhaps the rankings are supposed to reflect where a player will finish the season, and in that case it makes some sense to rank a veteran player who is mostly ho-hum, like Pierre Garcon, Robert Woods and Cincinnati Bengals “starter” Brandon LaFell (ugh) above Bengals rookie Tyler Boyd or projected San Francisco 49ers slot receiver Bruce Ellington.
For drafting purposes though, and especially drafting this late, lets go for upside. A host of players have it at wide receiver – Boyd, Ellington, Tajae Sharpe, Jaelen Strong, etc. If they work out, great! If they don’t, it cost you little and you can throw them back. Put it this way, are you going to win your fantasy football league championship with Brandon LaFell on your roster? Maybe, but I think the odds are extremely low he contributes to help you get there.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to post your own comments agreeing or constructively disagreeing with these opinions or any of the rankings. There is a scheduled update for Draft Buddy late tonight, available tomorrow morning. Happy drafting!