The NFL season starts soon, and it’s time to start thinking about fantasy football. You might not be able to start drafting your daily fantasy football team yet, and you certainly do not want to use the same strategy for your season long league as you do with your daily team, but there’s good reason to start thinking about stars that you would like to get on your team if at all possible.
First, look to the players that are going to put up big numbers without worrying about what their salaries will be for a daily league. You should be starting with the big 3 positions: quarterback, wide receiver, and running back. Look to last year, see who the big names were, and then see who looks like they are in similar or better situations this coming year.
The top 3 quarterbacks from last year, as portrayed by QB Rating were Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger. Getting one of these in on your fantasy team would be huge, assuming that the price was worthwhile. However, if you have to have a focus right from Week #1, the first and second choices might not be the best for you. Romo had a high completion rate, as did Rodgers, but Roethlisberger actually threw the highest number of yards last year. In most leagues, yards are rewarded far more heavily than a lower completion rate, so while Big Ben might not have been the #1 QB in the league last year, he has the opportunity to be the best fantasy QB this year.
The top 3 wide receivers last year, as determined by yards were Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, and Julio Jones. Jones had over 100 yards less than Brown, but played in one less game. He ended up having a slightly higher yards/game average, and this makes him the best choice of the three of these players. The biggest issue with this is the fact that he had only 6 touchdowns. The higher the yards, though, the higher the potential for TDs. So, while he had 7 fewer TDs than Brown and 5 fewer than Thomas, he has more upward momentum than the other two, and will be cheaper during Week #1 as a result of this. He’s demonstrated that he’s a top contender in the NFL, but will likely not even be in the top 5 as far as most expensive WRs go, making him a high value player.
The top 3 running backs of 2014 were DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and LeSean McCoy as determined by their total yards run. Murray is far and away the best in terms of yards here, with almost 500 more yards than Bell. He also had 13 TDs, while Bell had 8 and McCoy only had 5. Murray is a top pick here, but will also be quite expensive in every daily fantasy football league that you join. He might be worth the price, though, depending upon the QB matchups for your top picks. If you figure he’s too expensive, dropping down to the #4 slot at Marshawn Lynch could give you similar TD numbers (Lynch had 13 last year, but far fewer yards), at a fraction of the price.
If you want a top QB at a top price, Romo and Rodgers are good choices. A good QB at a lesser price will be Roethlisberger, and statistically speaking, he might be your top choice for Week #1 based upon probabilities of success and value. Julio Jones presents a similar situation at WR. However, there’s no clear value at RB. DeMarco Murray will give you lots of points here, but he will be pricy.