Posted June 30, 2017
Fantasy degenerates agonize over it as the summer wanes away: what strategy to employ in their re-draft league. Should they go ZeroRB? Take a balanced approach? Employ VBD? Maybe consult their local psychic?
Let’s make it sweet and simple. Who do you take when it’s your turn? You take the best damn player on the board. I’m not kidding. If that sounds stupidly simple, overly reductionist, good. That’s the way it should be. Your job is to be Michael Irvin in the NFL Network studio and just do the frigging obvious thing. That’s the fastest way to fantasy success.
Heck, let’s call this the Irvin approach. It ain’t complex. It ain’t technical. In every round, you take the dude who has the best shot at wearing the gold jacket, got it? So here we go. Let’s test this with eight rounds from the #2 spot, randomly selected, in a 12-team PPR draft, with a little assistance from the mock drafting software on Fantasypros.com.
The Choices — David Johnson, Antonio Brown, Zeke Elliott
The Pick: Antonio Brown
Blasphemy, right? In 2017, you’re a fool if you don’t take RB as one of the top three picks, just like in 2016 when you were a fool if you DID take an RB anywhere in the first round. The Irvin strategy dictates we take the closest thing to an HoFer with this pick, and that’s clearly AB. In standard, I’d suck it up and take Johnson. But no need to in PPR.
The Choices — Todd Gurley, Doug Baldwin, Demaryius Thomas, Aaron Rodgers
We’re going to commit a fantasy football faux pas once more. In PPR I’m tempted to go with Demaryius here, but the best player on the board, by a wide margin, is the gunslinger, Aaron Rodgers. He’s our man.
The Choices — Demaryius Thomas, Alshon Jeffrey, Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson
To an analysis-focused fantasy footballer, this might be a tougher decision. But based upon our criteria it’s easy. One of these guys is, and has been, a beast. The others are varying degrees of nice. It’s DT all day.
The Choices — Golden Tate, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Crabtree, Mark IngramThis decision is a little bit tougher. Tate is significantly younger than Fitz, and he’s shown consistency throughout his career. But although 2017 might be his last year in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald has been a consistent PPR monster, and he has one more year to burnish his HoF resume with Carson Palmer. Fitz it is.
The Choices — Golden Tate, Mark Ingram, Emmanuel Sanders, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Marshall
In about this round it becomes difficult to find truly Hall-level talent, so you just have to go with the talent here and, if possible, with the proven studs. I think Marshall will surprise a lot of people in New York — he’s flying much further beneath our line of attention than he should. But Golden Tate is too sweet of a value, and too sweet of a player, to pass up in round 5 in PPR. Give me Tate.
The Choices — Mark Ingram, C.J. Anderson, Eddie Lacy, Ameer Abdullah, Frank Gore, Donte Moncrief
Draftniks would have you take Lacy or Abdullah here, or maybe even dip back into the Moncrief waters for another year. Not me. There’s a clear choice here, somebody who is practically guaranteed 250 carries and 30 catches, with no one behind him to protect Andrew Luck but a mere babe of a rookie. Exploit the age-ism. Frank Gore is an easy call.
The Choices — Mark Ingram, C.J. Anderson, Eddie Lacy, Ameer Abdullah, Randall Cobb
I’m tempted to take Abdullah here and hope for the best — I believe in his talent — but there’s a clear stud on the board, in my opinion. He struggled some last year, but Randall Cobb has the proven talent the other players don’t quite.
The Choices — Mark Ingram, Eric Ebron, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles
In standard leagues, and if I didn’t need a running back, I would be pulled toward DeSean with this pick. But in this circumstance once again give me the supreme talent at an age discount. Jamaal Charles is motivated and, by all reports, healthy. I’ll take him in a landslide to beat out former 7th rounder C.J. Anderson and second-year bust Devontae Booker.
The Team, through 8 Rounds:
QB — Aaron Rodgers
WR — Antonio Brown
WR — Demaryius Thomas
WR — Larry Fitzgerald
WR — Golden Tate
WR — Randall Cobb
RB — Frank Gore
RB — Jamaal Charles
The lesson here? In 2017, you become a wild outlier, a completely divergent thinker, just by taking the best player on the board each round. We analyze and chart ourselves to death in fantasy football.
My contention is this: if you just shut up, trust your gut, and take the most talented guy in every round, you will have an easier path to victory.