2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Decoding the Past

2012-08-02 21:18:14
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Stafford was difference maker

When it comes to drafting, the '12 season seems about as debatable as any. Many of the so-called experts this year are stating you need to act early on a quarterback. It isn't time to wait to grab a signal caller anymore. Others are saying getting one of the elite backs early is the only way to go this year. And we can't forget the other sentiment that going elite receiver is the way to winning your fantasy championship.

With that all said, we thought it would be a good time to examine last year before making a call on the coming season. Using the data from our money league games, below is a look at the players owned on the most championship teams on our site. Some of the data might be a bit surprising.

   NAME               PCT OWN
1. Kahlil Bell, RB	25%
2. Sammy Morris, RB	20%
3. M. Stafford, QB	18%
4. Wes Welker, WR	17%
   C. Johnson, WR	17%
6. Drew Brees, QB	15%
   Arian Foster, RB	15%
   Tom Brady, QB	15%
   Jimmy Graham, TE	15%
   D. Thomas, WR	15%
11. Roddy White, WR	13%
12. Darren Sproles, RB	12%
    R. Gronkowski, TE	12%
    Reggie Bush, RB	12%
    M. Lynch, RB	12%
    Victor Cruz, WR	12%
17. A. Bradshaw, RB	11%
    M. Jones-Drew, RB	11%
    Donald Driver, WR	11%
    Julio Jones, WR	11%
    Ray Rice, RB	11%
    B. Marshall, WR	11%
23. Evan Royster, RB	10%
    Ryan Mathews, RB	10%
    Cam Newton, QB	10%
    A. Hernandez, TE	10%
    Jordy Nelson, WR	10%
    C.J. Spiller, RB	10%
    Percy Harvin, WR	10%
    M. Colston, WR	10%
    LeSean McCoy, RB	10%

First off, you can throw out the first two guys on the list. Both Bell and Morris were one-week grabs for the championship games, which is why they were on so many rosters. So that leaves Stafford as the player owned on most of the championship teams. This isn't overly surprising if you consider he had an ADP of 85 (seventh-round pick). Stafford was near the top of all fantasy scoring and was taken later than many of the other top quarterbacks. He was great value for fantasy teams.

But this gets us back to the quarterback dilemma. What does this data tell us? Well, here is a look at the top five scoring quarterbacks last season with the percentage of championship teams that owned them.

RK NAME       PCT OWN
1. D. Brees	15%
2. Rodgers	9%
3. T. Brady	15%
4. Newton	10%
5. Stafford	18%

If you add that up, it means 67 percent of championship teams had a top-five scoring quarterback last season. That is a pretty high number if you consider all the options at quarterback. This could speak to the strategy of acting early on a quarterback this season. It made a big difference for fantasy teams last season and could be much of the same this year with the NFL so pass first.

But the big key is identifying those top scorers, which is no easy task. Brees, Rodgers and Brady were top five on about all draft boards last season but Newton and Stafford weren't. Guys like Michael Vick, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo were all drafted ahead of Newton and Stafford in 2011. As we all know, the preseason rankings don't always match up with the end of season rankings. But if you can identify and obtain a top-five quarterback, this data clearly shows you have a much better chance at winning your league.

Let's take a look at the top running backs now.

RK NAME       PCT OWN
1. Ray Rice	11%
2. McCoy	10%
3. Foster	15%
4. Jones-Drew	11%
5. Sproles	12%
6. Lynch	12%
7. Mathews	10%
8. Turner	5%
9. C. Johnson	5%
10. S. Jackson	9%

Rice led all backs in scoring and didn't finish first in most owned at running back but was a solid third. It was a little surprising to see McCoy not owned on more teams as he had a huge season, finishing right behind Rice but he still did well as third most owned at running back. Foster was the most owned of the group, which does make some sense as he missed a few games early in the year but still finished third in scoring. So he produced big numbers when playing and helped a ton of teams when championships with his big finish to the year.

This data does show having an elite back does make a difference but as you can see at the end of the top-10 scorers, two players were owned on just five percent of teams. So the running back spot remains a little top heavy. The elite guys make a big difference but there is a drop off from the top. Keep this in mind come draft day when trying to figure out what position to target early in your draft.

Now it is time to examine the receiver spot.

RK NAME       PCT OWN
1. C. Johnson	17%
2. Welker	17%
3. Cruz	        12%
4. Nelson	10%
5. R. White	13%
6. Harvin	10%
7. Fitzgerald	9%
8. S. Smith	8%
9. Wallace	7%
10. Colston	10%

With more leagues going PPR, including this league data, having a top-scoring receiver is almost a must for fantasy teams. And this data clearly shows that as the top two scorers at receiver (Calvin Johnson and Welker) finished tied for first in most owned by championship teams. If you had either Johnson or Welker last season, there was a good chance you did well in your league.

There wasn't a huge drop off between the third rated receiver and the 10th in terms of owned by winner, but you have to remember the position is very deep so these numbers are skewed some because of that. This league starts two receivers and a flex, which is normally a receiver. The position is deep with a lot of quality players that can serve as a No. 1. It still helps to get the cream of the crop, though, as evident by Johnson and Welker's high percentage.

And finally, a look at the tight end position.

RK NAME       PCT OWN
1. Gronkowski	12%
2. Graham	15%
3. Hernandez	10%
4. Gonzalez	8%
5. Witten	6%

This might have been the most surprising data of the group. You would have thought with the huge, monster seasons both Gronkowski and Graham had at a pretty thin position that the percentage owned by champions would be very high, especially if you consider you start just one tight end. But kind of by surprise, Gronkowski wasn't even first overall in percentage owned despite leading tight ends in scoring. Graham finished three percentage points higher than Gronk. And just three tight ends in all were owned by at least 10 percent of champions. So a lot of championship teams won their leagues will all sorts of combinations at tight end.

The tight end spot isn't a throwaway position anymore but using an early pick on the top guys can make a difference for fantasy teams. While the numbers of Gronkowski and Graham weren't off the charts for percentage owned by winners, they were still very good. They were top 12 overall, which means they were on a lot of championship teams. There is a reason both these guys will go in the first or second round of drafts this season. But after the elite guys, it seems a good idea to wait to grab your starting tight end. Don't reach too early after the top guys are gone.

In closing, what the heck does all this data mean? Well, for us, it still means you must draft well and identify the breakout players and good values. That means as much as anything. But this data also shows that getting the best of the best at any of the positions is almost essential to winning a championship. You can't have guys at the top of all the positions, but getting one or two of the top scorers likely gets you a ton of wins. This isn't shocking news by any means but we think it shows that all the key positions carry value and none are positions you can ignore anymore. The top guys at any of the spots can lead you to a fantasy championship.

We don't think there is a set in stone strategy for winning (i.e. drafting a QB first), but getting a top-level, elite player at a position or two seems the way to go. So if you are picking at the end of the first round and all the elite running backs and quarterbacks are gone, feel free targeting that top receiver with your first pick and follow that up with an elite tight end. That seems the way to go to building a championship team. You can't ignore position runs but don't reach for a position too soon if you can get elite players at other positions.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group