NFL training camps are just around the bend, so it’s time to start preparing for that other all-important season: Fantasy Football Season. And nothing is more crucial to your fantasy team’s success than a good draft. Yahoo! Fantasy Football Expert Brandon Funston gives inside info on how to outwit, outsmart and out-draft your buddies and roll up the W’s this year. Read more from Brandon and join the fantasy fun at fantasyfootball.yahoo.com.
Know Who Is Coaching Whom
There were seven head coaching changes this off-season, and there will be just as many new offensive schemes to go with them. A change at the helm could leave last year’s all-everything running back looking for carries as the new coach airs it out. For example, Bill Lazor, who’s running the offense for the Miami Dolphins now, was under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia. If Lazor brings the Eagles’ breakneck speed O to the Fish, it could mean big things for guys like Mike Wallace and Lamar Miller.
Running Backs Still Rule
Although the running back position doesn’t hold the prestige it used to in the NFL, the workhorse back still reigns supreme in the fantasy realm. With fewer and fewer backs getting 300 carriers or more each year, those who do—like Adrian Peterson and Eddie Lacy—are even more valuable.
Don’t Fall for Big Names
We know. It’s tempting to use your first pick on a marquee guy like Peyton Manning or DeSean Jackson, but those big names may disappoint you—especially if they’re coming off a banner year. Manning dropped off quite a bit after the first time he set the record for touchdowns. And DeSean Jackson? He couldn’t have asked for a better system for his talents than the one Kelly had in Philadelphia. Expect things to be different in Washington, where the team will still be pass-happy but likely not as fast-paced and prolific as the Eagles.
Draft day sleepers really make your team powerful. This year, watch out for someone like Toby Gearhart in Jacksonville, who’s not listed in most people’s top 20 running backs but will probably get 300 carries and catch the ball.
Bishop Sankey, the running back for Tennessee, is also worth watching. And if Jeremy Maclin stays healthy, he should put up a lot of points for the Eagles.
Watch Out for Rookies
A few young guns take the league by storm each year, so don’t miss out. As a running quarterback, Johnny Manziel may have a big impact this year, especially when you consider that Terrelle Pryor was a top-15 fantasy quarterback last year and he barely threw the ball at all. Brandin Cooks should get a lot of looks from the New Orleans Saints, especially now that Darren Sproles is gone.
Be Flexible and Draft the Talent Available
Just like the NFL Draft, fantasy football picks can take surprising turns. You might’ve wanted to take two running backs with your top two picks, but if a top-5 wide receiver is sitting on the board in the second round, be ready to call an audible. Who knows, someone might pass on Calvin Johnson, leaving him for you to pick up in the second round.