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One housekeeping note, and then I’ll get into some of what I’m looking at. The Beat Chris Liss 1 league has a lot of spots left — too many in fact, and I’m hoping it actually fills by tomorrow afternoon (2 ET.)
There’s probably a reason the NFFC only offers contests Saturday nights in June because (a) it’s earlier than most people want to draft; and (b) it’s right in the middle of the day on a Saturday. But I had to do it early because of the time zone I’m in.
That said, I often hear from some of you that you’re disappointed you didn’t get into one of these leagues, so if you want to, now’s your chance:
The link to sign up is here:
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You should typically be risk-averse in the first round. The lowest risk picks, in my opinion for Rd 1 are Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Bijan Robinson and CeeDee Lamb. Receivers (other than Cooper Kupp) are safer, and younger backs, with no mileage, are safer than older ones.
The highest upside player is Christian McCaffrey, then maybe Travis Kelce, given his positional advantage.
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A lot of what passes for analysis in fantasy football is inductive reasoning, e.g., only X running backs over 28 have finished in the top-Y spots for the last 10 years, so don’t take McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler. But as Bertrand Russell said about inductive reasoning:
It’s like jumping off the Empire State Building, counting the windows as you go down and when you get to 80, saying “So far, so good!”
You could be 80 for 80 and facing certain doom, if you set the parameters right. Or imagine arguing LeBron James would never average seven assists for his career at 250 pounds. No one at that weight had ever had more than five. (Nicola Jokic now has 6.6 at 284, too.)
So don’t get too caught up in the specific age of the back. Assess the risk based on the individual in his circumstances. McCaffrey, Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler are all fairly unique profiles, as opposed to the Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon types who were of more typical dimensions and usage patterns.
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Two hard calls for me will be Josh Jacobs (best all-around RB in the league last year) and Davante Adams (massive season with Derek Carr.) Jacobs had 340 carries, and inductive reasoning says fade hard after that workload. But he’s fetching a third-round price tag for a first-round stat line. My gut says fade, but my brain says buy.
Adams was a monster without Aaron Rodgers, and I had to take the L on my “mediocre talent for a (fantasy) first rounder” comment from a few years ago at the FSTA draft. But he’s 30 and gets a gimpy Jimmy Garoppolo at best, and remember, he had a rapport with Carr in college. I’d definitely take AJ Brown over him, but Brown is going 12th and Adams 16th, so that’s not the choice you’ll have. It’ll be more like Garrett Wilson (17), and I might gamble on Wilson.
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I can’t see myself taking a QB in the top two rounds, and I don’t like the receivers (Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Chris Olave) at the back end of the second, either. So it’s either gamble that Nick Chubb catches passes, hope Henry has another year in him or skip to Tee Higgins/DK Metcalf. I’d also consider Rhamondre Stevenson (potential three-down workhorse) and Najee Harris too. My lean is probably Higgins/Metcalf, late second.
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I drafted a lot of Travis Etienne the last couple years, but I think I’m out. Just seems skinny and fragile to me, despite being 5-10, 215 which is stout enough for a full workload. Plus, they didn’t really unleash him in the passing game last year. I might change my mind on this, though.
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I’ll gamble on Calvin Ridley (for real), but I’d probably have to massage my ranking on Deshaun Watson a bit (74 overall seems pricey.)
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If Danny Dimes stays at 132, I expect to have him on most of my teams.
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Receivers fly off the board in the NFFC like pitchers in the NFBC. In the top six rounds, all things being roughly equal, take the receiver.