Buck the Trend, Grab ‘em Early
By Eddie Mayrose
If you’re a Wagstaff follower, you’ve heard this refrain before. “Grab the best Fantasy Receivers as early as possible.” It’s a theory put into practice every year by the Professor as he constructs his Fantasy Football Roster; one that has annually provided a tremendous edge over Fantasy Owners locked into the standard system of front-loading running backs. Here’s why.
It’s a widely accepted (yet flawed) idea that the elite ball carriers produce more than the best wideouts. While I’ll agree that running backs are guaranteed significantly more touches, it doesn’t guarantee better production. Texans’ star Andre Johnson was a Wagstaff first rounder in every draft. Compare his 1,500 YDS and 9 TD to Stephen Jackson’s 1,300 YDS and 4 TD. Now, it’d be crazy to pass on Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson or Maurice Jones-Drew with any of the first three picks but, after that, guys like Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss are way more likely to deliver their career averages than what’s left in the backfield. Not to mention that running backs are infinitely more likely to get hurt.
So, take advantage of those in your Fantasy Football League that are mired in the conventional wisdom. Stockpile two of the elite receivers before anyone realizes how that the position has thinned out and then scoop up mid-round running backs who’ll still help your team.
Fantasy Football Star
We’ve already mentioned Johnson, Fitzgerald and Moss. The next guy on the Wagstaff list is Lions’ WR Calvin Johnson. He actually may be the most talented guy on our list and with QB Matt Stafford gaining experience behind an improved offensive line, Calvin is ready to explode.
Fantasy Football Stiff
Don’t get trapped by the notion that Santonio Holmes is a bargain because he’ll go late in your draft. He’ll miss four weeks, more than a third of your Fantasy Football season, and come back to an unfamiliar offensive scheme led by the erratic Mark Sanchez. Holmes is likely to struggle into November.
Fantasy Football Sleeper
One of the best NCAA receivers in the last decade, Michael Crabtree never really got cooking last year after a long contract holdout. In 2010, with a full training camp under his belt, Crabtree will make Frank Gore the Niners’ second-most important player.
Fantasy Football Slipper
While San Diego’s Vincent Jackson is one of the league’s rising stars, his contract holdout as well as the Chargers’ depleted offensive line will likely take his production down a few notches. Don’t get caught paying 2010 prices for his 2009 stats.