So much of fantasy football strategy is predicated around finding players that are going to maximize your potential to score points.
The other part is having the ability to determine players that are going to regress away from the mean.
This can be for any number of reasons.
A few I like to focus on are injury potential, role in the offense, and ADP – or “Average Draft Position.” ADP is an aggregate ranking of where a specific player is being drafted in fantasy football drafts on the web.
It’s fairly simple — a high-upside player in a good situation with a low ADP represents good value, while an aging stud with injury concern with a high ADP indicates ‘bust’ potential.
It’s not a certainty (nothing in fantasy football is) but a general guideline.
DeMarco Murray is my first example, as he’s going to enter 2015 as fantasy football’s most polarizing player. Breaking him down analytically feels a lot like an instruction manual to a desk from Ikea.
First off, he’s the rushing champ from 2014, amassing 1,800 yards behind the NFL’s best offensive line. Moving away from the security of the ‘Boys O-line isn’t my biggest concern.
In fact, I’m more fretful of where Murray is headed more than I am him leaving Dallas, if that makes sense.
I’m not buying into the “new team, even better” DeMarco narrative. I don’t think moving to a guy like Chip Kelly benefits him whatsoever. I think it actually hurts him.
He’ll be sharing a backfield with two other running backs — Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles — talented enough to steal touches, and Chip Kelly is completely unpredictable when it comes his dispersal of carries.
Murray is a prime example of what one massive, massive year can do for you. His ADP isn’t terrible at RB9, but I would much rather own Jeremy Hill or CJ Anderson.
I won’t have any shares of DeMarco Murray but I can’t fault you if you do.
On the flip side, if you own shares of either Andre Ellington or Bishop Sankey then I won’t feel bad for you when your team falls flat on its face.
There’s virtually no upside to owning either. You’re not going to get Ellington any lower than the fourth round which, for me, is about two rounds too high.
Not only is Ellington injury prone, but he’s not an every down back and will continue to lose work around the goal line.
As for Sankey, he’s just not that good. The Tennessee offense is mediocre at best and the offensive line is best suited for a power runner, not a ‘scatback’ like Sankey. For that reason, he has rookie David Cobb breathing down his neck for carries.
I mean, is 569 yards and two touchdowns on 3.7 yards per carry good? I don’t think that’s good.
Pass on Bishop Sankey and let someone else shoot their own foot. The same goes for Giovani Bernard. This one is simple because Jeremy Hill is clearly ahead of him.
But here’s a rabbit hole I feel too many people are going to fall into and I want to do everything in my power to help.
Melvin Gordon. The No. 1 running back taken in the 2015 NFL Draft is also slated to be the starter for the San Diego Chargers with Ryan Mathews in Philadelphia.
But let me make this abundantly clear:
JUST BECAUSE A TEAM USES A HIGH DRAFT PICK ON A PLAYER, AND THAT PLAYER IS THE STARTER BY DEFAULT, DOES NOT MEAN HE’S GOING TO BE GOOD.
I call it “being Trent Richardson.” Melvin Gordon isn’t Trent Richardson, except for the fact that he’s basically Trent Richardson. He’s experiencing a lot of the early issues T-Rich had — trouble pass blocking, tentatively hitting holes and missing cut back lanes. All three are problems, but the fact he can’t pass block will effectively sideline him in the Chargers’ pass-heavy offense.
Philip Rivers didn’t just sign a $68 million contract to hand the ball off.
Stray away from Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker when making decisions on wide receivers. The Jets quarterback situation is about as bad as it gets in fantasy football. That’s reason enough for me to stay far, far away.
That, and Brandon Marshall is a 31-year-old head case that’s never gotten along with a quarterback in his life.
Former Clemson teammates Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins also have murky quarterback situations, but my interest in them is predicated on ADP. Watkins and Hopkins are coming off the board in the third and fourth respectively, which might be too high for my taste if they’re not throwing the ball to themselves.
And now to the part where I make you really mad.
I am not drafting Odell Beckham, Jr. this year. Grill me if you want, I don’t care. If I’m wrong, so be it. But there are a lot of reasons why I think a regression is inevitable.
If you want to read more of my Odell Beckham, Jr. hate then click here. My twitter handle is @BlenBeans if you wanna send me hateful comments, too.
Those are some of the big-name players going off that I’m staying away from.
Matthew Stafford and Nick Foles headline my quarterback hate. Matt Forte due for a regression as much as I hate to admit it.
So is Calvin Johnson.
The Joseph Randle love is quite perplexing to me. And don’t fall for the LaGarrette Blount trap either.
I’m not fond of Zach Ertz, Martellus Bennett, or Delanie Walker at tight end. And I think the New York Jets defense is going to give up a whole lot of points despite adding 100 pro bowlers in the secondary.
Also, the Minnesota Vikings are going to be really good this year.