Many fantasy football beginners think winning their league simply comes down to picking the best players. However, judging NFL talent is just one aspect of this wonderful game.
After all, if the best NFL players made the best fantasy players, why would a perennial MVP candidate like Tom Brady (QB, Patriots) have an average fantasy football draft position in the fourth round, while the 173rd rookie selected in last year’s NFL draft, Alfred Morris (RB, Redskins), goes in the first round?
One reason for this is that opportunity, scheme and surrounding talent have a huge influence on the statistical performance of which a player is capable.
Morris benefits from a lack of competition in Washington’s backfield, a scheme that emphasizes the power running game and a unique QB talent in Robert Griffin III drawing most of the defense’s attention. Meanwhile, Brady will be without his top five receiving targets from last year until talented tight end Rob Gronkowski returns from a back injury.
However, the most important and often overlooked factor is the value a player provides relative to the alternative options available at their position.
Due to an influx of young talent, the QB position has never been more loaded. And as QB play improves, a higher number of WRs become capable of high-level production. As a result, you would be wise to wait on players at the QB and WR positions this year.
Meanwhile, the workhorse RB is becoming extinct as more teams opt for multiple, complementary backs. This is why top tier RBs like Adrian Peterson (RB, Vikings) and Doug Martin (RB, Bucs) should go at the top of every draft.
With that said, no position is more shallow this year than TE, where you would be wise to target the only player you can rely upon every week: Jimmy Graham (TE, Saints).
Alex Case is amNY’s fantasy football columnist.