First round draft strategy
It's the moment that every fantasy player looks forward to and often spends weeks or months ahead of time thinking about: The first round of your fantasy football draft for the new season. One person will get the opportunity to be the envy of the rest of the league for a day, as every other fantasy player wants to be the one who has the first overall selection. No matter where you pick, though, you can make a solid decision and lay the foundation for a championship team. Here's an in-depth look at what you should be thinking at every spot in the first round and who your ideal selections should be, with some other thoughts and alternatives added in.
In most cases, this selection comes down to a choice between the established fantasy superstar and the one with outstanding upside. This year, it's simply
I'm still not thinking Peterson yet. Last year, everyone wanted to own Brady, as his '07 owners well know. They were besieged by trade offers so often that they had to disconnect their phones and log off the computers just for some peace and quiet. This early in the selection process, I'm still looking for sure things, regardless of whether Peterson excites me with his upside. If I can't get Tomlinson, I want Brady, who is nearly certain to deliver stellar fantasy numbers again. Sure, the quarterback position is one on which you can wait until the middle rounds and still get a pretty good starter, but why not take the opportunity to own the guy who may be the most productive player in fantasy football in '08?
Nope, no Peterson yet. While injuries have been an issue for him, I believe Steven Jackson is set for a big year. Not only is he the most difficult player in the NFL for defenders to corral when he reaches the second level, he's a major force in the red zone and also catches passes. New offensive coordinator
Peterson finally goes off the board here. If he actually falls to you in this spot in any draft, you should be pretty excited. In the NFL, you can't assume that putting "eight in the box" will stifle the running game in every situation where the passing game is shaky. Not when you have a dominant offensive line that tramples opponents and a running back who makes defenders often look foolish, even when they're prepared to stop him. Peterson is going to have a few disappointing outings, but his best games will drive you to some certain victories.
This early, you often have to make the decision between huge upside and excellent annual production. Now that Peterson is off the board, there's no other guy available who offers so much promise that he is more enticing than the one elite "safe" pick left. I don't care if he doesn't outperform Brady; Manning has been the closest thing you can get to peace of mind in fantasy football for years now. In a game where there are few actual reassurances and seemingly no sure things, Manning is the closest thing you'll find to a guarantee. No one matches him for regularly outstanding numbers, and you'll never second-guess yourself for picking him.
Joseph Addai doesn't get the ink like Peterson, but he is another guy who has quickly become worthy of an early pick due to his huge promise. While he is not as exciting or as spectacular as Peterson, Addai is on the verge of major superstardom in fantasy football. He is a prime weapon on a powerful offense, and he's also one of the best receiving running backs in the NFL. He will finish off a lot of scoring drives for the Colts, and I really wouldn't worry about any other Colts RB stealing away a few carries. They'll just ensure that Addai stays fresh, and Addai will still be on the field for most of the team's important plays with respect to fantasy statistics.
I would not argue with anyone who takes Westbrook a pick earlier, but I slightly prefer Addai as a pure runner and love his receiving skills, too. Westbrook, however, is the best receiving running back in the NFL and will rarely, if ever, let you down. He is ultra-tough, and even when he is listed as questionable, he'll overcome the pain and still play up to expectations. Despite an inconsistent supporting cast and the fact that defenses prepare to stop him every week, they usually can't. Westbrook may go as early as fourth in some leagues, and this is the absolute lowest he should drop.
With the two superstar quarterbacks gone, I'm not about to grab
There is one surefire mega-star left at this point, and it's clearly Moss. Like Brady, everyone wanted to own Moss last season, once it became apparent that he was far from finished. Sure, wide receiver is a deep position, but there's no way I can pass on the best player at a position here, especially when he is destined for another amazing statistical season.
If you play in a 12-team league, the next two picks should come down to a decision between