2014 fantasy football tips

Justin Harned Columnist

Talent wins fantasy football leagues, not hopes and dreams.

It’s that time of the year again, school, football, cold weather and of course, fantasy football. Before I get to any tips, I’d like to welcome back all the students to Brookings as well as new students. Make sure to keep up with The Collegian for all your SDSU news and sports news.

Just have fun

Let’s keep in mind that fantasy is for fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. However, I do take fantasy very seriously, in a fun kind of way. This will be my fifth year at SDSU and my last year getting to watch football with my close friends before the real world claims us and we go our separate ways. Talking trash on Sundays, watching the NFL Redzone channel and of course our favorite teams, make it seem like Christmas once a day every week until the Super Bowl. So I urge you to enjoy your time in college and the people you spend it with. 

Enough with the sappy stuff, let’s get on with it. Who will have the most points this season and why? Do I look like a fortuneteller? I am just a college kid like you. But what I can tell you are some strategies and players you may want to consider while drafting your fantasy team this season. What you do with this information is up to you.

Draft on value

It’s all about value and where you can find it. To beat opponents in your league, you must hold a weekly positional advantage over them. There are no guarantees in fantasy football. Absolutely do not fall in love with one player in particular. 

Draft based on your position and what’s available. Your first three picks might not win you the league, but they can lose it. Fantasy football is a weekly game and there are multiple ways to win. You just have to beat teams on a weekly basis.

Draft day is the most important day of the fantasy season. The waiver wire is also very important in the first couple of weeks as unknown fantasy superstars may appear. Every year there are a handful of players that will significantly help you win consistently.

This year’s draft, whether you play on NFL.com, ESPN, Yahoo or draft in person depends on your cheat sheet. They all vary, some significantly. That’s how you determine where the valuable players are and at what cost. It also comes down to how the draft unfolds, but here is what you need to consider based on your draft position in a 10-team standard fantasy football league.

Draft based on position

Again, draft talented players that can stay healthy. Draft the best players at the weakest positions. Meaning, draft elite fantasy players at positions that don’t provide depth. Grabbing a running back in the first round is essential to a winning team. 

If you’re not first in drafting a quarterback or tight end, draft them in later rounds. There are only two elite tight ends worth taking in the first three rounds and they Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Although Gronk has issues staying on the field, the guy is dynamite when healthy, giving you a huge advantage every week, he should be drafted in the second round. 

Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers are the only tier one quarterbacks that should be taken in rounds 2-4. Peyton Manning will not repeat last year, I think 40 touchdowns is a bit generous. Only Brees has thrown 40 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. There are a lot of quarterbacks to like this year. 

Wide receivers are as deep as ever, keep in mind, the NFL is a passing league now. Having Megatron and Dez Bryant is great, but doesn’t really give you an edge on your opponent on a weekly basis.

Jamaal Charles is my sure-fire number one pick. Sorry, Vikings fans. The Chiefs may have lost some key players on their O-line, but Charles is the smoothest running back in the league and entering his prime. I am pretty sure Adrian Peterson is an alien from another planet, but this year I like LeSean McCoy over AP. McCoy is younger and in his second year under Chip Kelly with Nick Foles under center after having a full offseason to improve. McCoy plays for a better team with a better coach. However, they are the best three running backs in the league. Eddie Lacy and Matt Forte are also low-end top tier running backs that should be taken in the top five and will help you win each week.

OK, so the top five picks should all be running backs. Drafting Graham wouldn’t be outrageous at pick number 6-10. The running backs get less reliable towards the end of the first round, so grab one. Don’t rely on the running-back-by-committee approach exchanging running backs week-to-week. Don’t do that to yourself.

Like I said, there are multiple ways to win in fantasy and what you do with the information I’ve given, is up to you. But in the first three rounds, think running back and one elite wide receiver or tight end. Pick talent.