As fantasy football team managers, we have to weigh many pieces
of information when making decisions with drafting, trades, waiver-wire
transactions, and lineup choices. In this piece I look specifically
at the draft and highlight a few players that stand out as some
of the more interesting, as well as some complicated players who
we should all think twice about before selecting, especially when
compared to their current ADP.
Note: ADP based on 12-team, standard scoring leagues.
Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III will be a steal at his
current ADP if he can remain healthy for an entire season.
Risk: The first and foremost risk with GR3 is the obvious: the injury
concern and how soon he can be back to 100 percent after tearing
his ACL just eight months ago. After hearing how much he's ahead
of schedule and witnessing Adrian
Peterson’s remarkable comeback a year ago, it's easy to dismiss
the injury as a non-issue, but we must remind ourselves that it
was not that long ago that tearing an ACL could be a career-ending
injury, not just a minor problem. Even if Griffin is ahead of schedule
recovery-wise, it will be hard to totally trust him until we see
him playing at a high level for the first few weeks of the regular
season, which of course is many weeks after your fantasy drafts.
If RG3 does actually make it back to 100 percent by the first week,
we still have worry if he becomes an injury prone type player, especially
because his body type is more Michael
Vick than Cam
Newton. In addition, one must wonder if the coaching staff will
cut down a lot on using RG3’s legs in order to prolong his career.
This of course would severely hurt his fantasy value. Finally, even
if health is not a concern, there is the threat of a sophomore slump
and the fact that Griffin had more games where he threw for less
than 200 yards (6) than he did 300-plus-yard days (3). If defenses
adjust and take away his legs, it may not be a good thing for RG3’s
Reward: Before getting hurt last year, RG3 looked like an absolute
stud, scoring seven rushing touchdowns and rushing for the fifth
most yards by a quarterback in a single season. As a passer, RG3
was very efficient, throwing just five interceptions versus 20 touchdowns.
While the Redskins passing playbook relied mostly on shorter passes,
Griffin certainly has the arm strength to open up the field, and
with a full season under his belt, it is likely the coaching staff
will let him do more of just that. To add to the exciting possibilities
this year, RG3 should have two of his most talented pass catchers
(Garcon and Davis) back from injuries that limited them to just
17 games combined last season. With elite running ability, efficiency
in the passing game, more experience, and better weapons, RG3 might
actually outperform what he did last year, making him a draft day
steal in relation to where he is being drafted right now.
Buy or Sell: I’m not totally sold on RG3 right now, but as
the ninth or tenth QB currently being drafted, I am a buyer. That's
partly because I think he presents a very good value at that point
in the draft and has the upside to outperform four or five of the
QBs taken ahead of him. I also like him at his current ADP because
I see a drop in the quality of both RBs and WRs right around where
RG3 is being drafted. This means that if you load up on RB/WR for
the first six rounds and then take RG3—rather than grabbing
a higher-ranked QB a few rounds earlier and risking missing out
on a quality RB or WR, which are not very deep positions this year
at the top of the spectrum—you should have a very solid and
relatively deep team. If you do draft RG3, however, be sure to back
him up with a more predictable/reliable QB (with less upside, most
likely) in the later rounds (Cutler? Flacco?), just in case RG3’s
recovery hits a speed bump, or worse.
Risk: Michael Vick is a risky fantasy pick this year mainly because
of his injury history and high risk for continuing that history.
In Vick’s 11-year career, he has started 16 games just once and
has started 12 or fewer games six times due to injury, including
last year when he started just 10 games. Vick’s style of play combined
with his stature make him vulnerable to big hits and, thus, he is
always one play away from holding the clipboard on the sideline.
Add this to the fact that even when healthy last year Vick looked
like he took a step back, and now he will have to learn a new system.
And he's not even guaranteed the starting job. While Vick’s raw
athleticism and explosiveness is very enticing, there are way safer
options out there this year.
Reward: Before Chip Kelly was hired as Eagles coach, it looked as
though Vick would be without a job, much less be a starting quarterback.
But with his history of wanting athletic and mobile quarterbacks,
Kelly decided to keep Vick around to see if he would fit his system.
The jury is out on exactly what Kelly’s offense will look
like, but early word is that it will be very fast-paced and up-tempo,
a style that would seem to fit Vick perfectly. Whether Vick can
stay healthy long enough and grasp the system remains to be seen,
but the upside is certainly there for a monster season if the cards
fall the right way.
Buy or Sell: Currently Vick is being taken as the 14th QB on average
in 12-team leagues, meaning that unless some team drafts two QBs
before you draft your first, Vick is nothing more than a backup
option if you take him. In this scenario, as a backup, I am actually
buying Vick as one of the biggest boom-or-bust candidates this year.
My reasoning is this: if you draft Vick as a backup and he either
gets injured or busts, you should know this by the time you will
actually have to use him (on your starter’s bye). If this
happens, you simply pick up a QB off waivers for a week and continue
with your starter the rest of the season. Sure, you wasted a pick
on Vick, but at that point in the draft (late 10th round) you are
probably not drafting any starters anyway. If, on the other hand,
Vick stays healthy and all cylinders are firing on Kelly’s
new offense, you not only have an awesome backup, you may be able
to play the matchups on your starting QB, or trade Vick to a team
whose starter may be having a down year. The bottom line is, with
not a lot of investment needed to get Vick, he provides one of the
best values for managers looking for a possible stud in the later
rounds, but without the risk of relying on him as a starter.
Suggestions, comments? E-mail