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This question has been pondered by scholars and other great literary minds since…well, when player rankings came out a few months ago. Picture this scenario: you are “rewarded” with a top-5 pick in a fantasy football draft. Unfortunately, this is 2009 and you have the fifth overall pick. Let’s face it, you were banking on landing Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Matt Forte, or Maurice Jones-Drew.
Now, you have no f**king clue who to take. My man Brian has already touched briefly upon what to do in his “Mock Talk” piece. However, I never actually took it too close to heart until I had my first football draft of the season last Tuesday. Yes, by the luck of the draw, I drew pick number five, and throughout the weeks leading up to the draft, I had no idea what to do.
Fast-forward to Monday night before the draft and I am frantically searching the ‘net and reading through my Rotoworld magazine to see who I can take and not look stupid while doing it. I naturally planned my strategy around what I thought the first four people in front of me would do. I should have known to expect the unexpected.
Since I have my SportsofBoston football draft coming up this Sunday (full recap next week), I will not tell you who I finally set my sights on at pick five. All you should know is that I had him selected in my Yahoo draft room browser and had my finger ready to click his name. However, I forgot to take into account two very important things…
1. This league requires you to start two QB’s.
2. One of the owners in the league was not present for the draft and hence, had his team auto selected.
3. When it comes to fantasy football, most of the owners I compete with are bat-shit crazy.
Obviously, Adrian Peterson went first off the board, followed by Matt Forte. Time to pump the brakes, because here comes the plot twist. At third overall, this owner decided to skip over Michael Turner and Maurice Jones-Drew and headed right for Saints’ QB Drew Brees.
WHY? Well, I understand the pick. Considering we require two QB’s to start every week, they really become just as valuable as RB’s. So naturally, he decided to jump on the best QB in football.
The next owner was the auto drafter. He must have screwed up his pre-rankings really bad because with Turner and MJD still on the board, he took Philadelphia’s Brian Westbrook. Seriously, if you can’t do a simple pre-rank correctly, you probably need to be taken out back and beaten with a hammer.
Alas, it was my turn to choose and I shockingly, at pick five, had a choice between Turner and MJD. Not being one to fall subject to curses and other supernatural phenomena (Turner’s curse of 370 carries), I went against my instinct and took MJD.
Ok, I know I have crapped on MJD in earlier writings, but hey, I felt like being a hypocrite. Taking MJD over Turner may seem stupid, but the fact is that if both guys play the full season, Turner will have more rushing yds, but Turner doesn’t catch the ball out of the backfield. MJD will have just as many, if not more TOTAL yds as Turner. Plus, MJD has more upside with his aforementioned catching ability and easier schedule in 2009.
For those of you not in a two QB league or don’t have owners who should be commited to the “Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane” (Wow, huge nerd reference. I need to sit down for a minute), you really need to just take whoever the hell you want regardless of where your league says they should be taken. Even though they aren’t ranked at number five, you should think about the following players.
Ran for 1,282 yds last season and is a threat as a receiver since he racked up 50 receptions last year. After week 12, he started averaging over 21 carries per game and had 508 rush yds in four games in December. Playing for the juggernaut Texans’ offense is icing on the cake.
He used to be the first player taken in drafts. Now after a less than stellar 2008 season, he slips to the middle of the first round. LT says he is feeling excellent and healthy with no nagging injuries. Come on, the man isn’t washed up yet. You can still bank on 1,100 rush yds, double digit TD’s, and 50+ catches.
We can’t realistically expect another 1,500 yds and 18 rushing TD’s. However, he is still an explosive runner who has averaged over 5.0 yds per carry in his career. Let’s be honest, QB Jake Delhomme won’t set the world on fire with his passing game (15 TD’s in ’08) even with All-Pro WR Steve Smith on the field. Carolina should be a run-first offense.
Teammate Jonathan Stewart is probably going to miss the entire pre-season with an achilles injury. Injuries are a big part of Stewart’s past, so do not be surprised if it lingers all season. That just means more carries for Williams.
Blessed with incredible speed and great hands, Johnson is being called the next LaDainian Tomlinson. Before we get ahead of ourselves, we must recognize that Johnson has LenDale White stealing the goal-line carries which resulted in White rushing for an obscene 15 TD’s last season. Considering Johnson had nine rushing TD’s, you can only imagine how high he would be ranked if he had the abilty to bruise through a defenesive line.
Anyway, don’t worry about LenDale White too much. Yes, he will take some goal-line carries. However, Johnson is a seasoned player now and he will most likely get more chances with the ball whether it be in the red zone or through the air (43 catches last season).
If you want to grab him on the way back in round two, then be my guest. Just don’t waste pick five on him. Everybody is waiting for another season like 2006 where he had 2,334 total yds and 16 TD’s. Look, it’s not going to happen!
St. Louis doesn’t have a defense. This means that they are behind in every game and are forced to throw the ball thus excluding Steven Jackson from the playbook. Even if he manages to not get injured again (missed eight game over the past two seasons), he won’t get enough carries on a bad offense to justify choosing him with your fifth pick.
I made this argument before and I will make it again. Don’t take a WR in the first round regardless of skill. You can get more points from RB’s in the second round that you could get from Fitzgerald in round one. Don’t take him in the first round, let alone with the fifth pick.
Yeah, it makes sense. What you shouldn’t do is panic. So you’ve missed out on the big four, now what do you do? The answer is simple: Do whatever the hell you want. So what if Yahoo!, CBS, NFL.com, or whatever website you use says that you should take a certain player at a certain time? Frankly, at the fifth spot, nobody is going to give you any grief about what pick you make because everyone is just as easily dumbfounded.
I got lucky with my fifth spot, and I know not everyone is in the same boat. Say no to Steven Jackson and any wide receivers and other than that, take who you want. At least I don’t have to make this choice again…
Oh crap, I have the fifth pick again in the SportsofBoston draft this Sunday. Will I get lucky again? Tune in next week to find out, Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel.
Update, (11:29 AM): I traded out of the 5th spot and I am now drafting 9th overall. I’m still not taking Steven Jackson.