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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2015: Latest Mock Draft, Analysis and Tips

Fantasy Football
August 26, 2015

There you go, incessantly scouring the Internet trying to find that perfect player who is going to finally put you over the top in your fantasy football league. After all, this is your year. Whether it’s dethroning your best friend who has not stopped talking about his title since December or letting your friends know that you do, in fact, know the difference between Charles Clay and Clay Matthews, you have a fantasy football league to win, and we are here to help.

So to get ready for your fantasy draft, let’s take a look at the first 10 rounds of my latest mock draft, as I randomly selected at the eighth position in a 10-team standard league. This mock draft is based off of a mixture of ESPN’s fantasy average draft positions, along with my own rankings. I willy solely focus on skill players, so don’t go asking for kickers and defenses because they’ll come in the later rounds of your draft anyway.

It isn’t the perfect situation to be drafting eighth, but it isn’t a death sentence for your team. If I can give you one piece of advice, let it be this: Stay on your course.

You’re the only one who knows what your team needs. So if all your friends are drafting kickers in the third round for some reason, don’t panic. Just build the team to your ideals.

Obviously, the first-round is an all-out scramble for the best possible talent, and it’s usually coming in the backfield. While the game’s top rushers might be off of the board by the eighth pick, the league is deep enough that you are going to get a stud at running back.

No Lynch, no Lacy, no Peterson, no Bell, no problem. Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray is going to be available, and he still is going to put up big-time numbers even if he isn’t getting 449 touches in 2015.

In fact, many fantasy owners are showing concern because Murray will give up carries to Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. To PennLive.com’s Dustin Hockensmith, that won’t matter at all:

Stylistically, Murray is a superior fit in Kelly’s offense, which played a part in the coach jettisoning franchise rushing leader LeSean McCoy at the start of a busy offseason. Murray is the one-cut, north-south runner that Kelly prefers, more often avoiding negative-yardage plays while busting the second-most 20-plus yard rushing plays (15) in the NFL in 2014.

If Murray does not put up monster numbers, be sure to surround him on your team with backs that can. After getting my explosive No. 1 receiver in the second round with Odell Beckham Jr. at 13, Lamar Miller was waiting in the third round.

According to Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Beller, Miller is worth it:

He has a reliably high floor for fantasy production, and you likely won’t have to use anything more than a late-third- or early-fourth-round pick to get him. That may not feel exciting in August, but it will September through December, and that’s what truly matters.

Make sure you have your top two wide receivers and running backs set early on. Don’t let the occasional early quarterback deter you from getting away from that strategy. If your heart is set on drafting Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck but you don’t want to take him in the first three rounds, I have bad news for you. One of your friends/peers is going to take them early.

This is where it gets tricky. In some leagues, when one quarterback goes off the shelf, they all do. In others, they are spread throughout. Follow the trends and look to get your quarterback in the fifth or sixth round.

I like a quarterback who has the wheels to run but stays in the pocket, which is why Cam Newton was a solid choice given the circumstances. He is a bit of a risky pick this year with his top receiver out in Kelvin Benjamin, but the presence of Greg Olsen and up-and-coming rookie Devin Funchess should allow him to further develop his game.

Heath Cummings of CBS Sports delves into Newton’s situation further and explains why it’s a safe bet to take him as your fantasy starter:

Newton has played 16 games three times in his career, and has been a top-six quarterback all three. He’s never had what we could consider to be a good WR corps. Yes, he had aging Steve Smith and raw Kelvin Benjamin, but it’s largely been Newton and Olsen. If anything I would guess the Benjamin news spells more runs for Newton, and he’s more efficient on the ground.

If you do pick Newton and you have a change of heart or want to solidify your options at the position in case he has a slow start, use that ninth- or 10th-round pick to take a very solid backup quarterback option.

There is an entire second tier of very good quarterbacks who can add depth to your roster. It was no question when I saw him available that Eli Manning was my pick. The true definition of a pocket passer, Manning is going to put up some big numbers in his second year with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the West Coast offense.

With a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz, along with a backfield of Rashad Jennings and screen-man extraordinaire Shane Vereen, Manning is going to have options, which means you are going to get points.

Before worrying about backup quarterbacks, though, get that starting lineup all set before you go for bench depth. That means: Don’t wait too long on a tight end or that third or fourth wide receiver; they are going to be in your lineup every week. And getting burned by that one player on your roster that just can’t get you more than six points per week will get real irksome after three or four games.

Come selection day, don’t use your draft position as an excuse for why you couldn’t build a winner. A contender is right around the corner if you just play your own game and pick to the best of your ability. Don’t just blindly pick the next-best available player, and for everything that is righteous about football, please make sure the player is healthy before you choose him.

Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com


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