The first-round pick is the biggest obsession among men in the months of August and September. Ladies, it’s not the other woman they have been thinking about. It’s the other guy, the one in the Minnesota Vikings helmet. Most Fantasy players and experts have always agreed that you cannot win your draft/league in the first round, but you can often lose it there. The first pick is considered the anchor player of most Fantasy Football teams, and the first-round selection process truly signals the beginning of a new Fantasy Football season. So to quench your Fantasy thirst, here is a cool glass of expert Fantasy analysis on the first round. It’s a quick-hitting look at who you should look to take at every spot.
Analysis is based on a standard format, with four points for a TD pass and one point for each reception. We’ll be using a 12-team first round as our basis.
First Pick – Arian Foster
This is where the first debate of the season starts up. Which running back to take, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson or Houston’s Arian Foster? Peterson is more proven than any other top-tier RB, but there are concerns about his supporting cast.
Foster is coming off a major breakout season, and there is little doubt he can soar again.
Second Pick – Adrian Peterson
You may be tempted to go with Ray Rice or Jamaal Charles here, but Rice still has to prove he can score TDs more often, and Charles certainly does not have the look of a runner who can score consistently as the other top-shelf RBs. Peterson is a safer pick and should not fall any further than here.
Third Pick – Ray Rice
The Ravens are going to give Ray Rice the opportunity to become a goal-line runner this year, and they have added stud fullback Vonta Leach to pave the way for him. Rice could become the next Maurice Jones-Drew this year, a versatile player who also plays bigger than his size (5-8, 212). He still has to show us he can cash in consistently from near the stripe, but there’s major upside here with this pick.
Fourth Pick – Jamaal Charles
Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs is one of this season’s sexiest picks, and I have seen him go as high as No. 1 overall. He makes the most of every touch and is line for another terrific return in combined yardage from scrimmage. But Thomas Jones will still be around to take the short-yardage scores. Charles is well worth the selection here, but don’t overrate him by taking him in the Top Three.
Fifth Pick – LeSean McCoy
You could make a case for taking LeSean McCoy of Philadelphia over Charles. He’s also a great threat as both a runner and passer. In my personal ranks in the RotoExperts.com Xclusive Edge package I have Charles and McCoy ranked next to each other. Charles’ numbers were slightly more impressive in 2010, though, and the presence of Michael Vick in Philly also hurts McCoy as a goal-line presence at times.
Sixth Pick – Chris Johnson
Every day that he holds out, Chris Johnson is in danger of seeing his Fantasy appeal fall further. The lockout and missed time in the preseason makes him a risk to not be in proper condition and also marks him as a potential injury risk. His ceiling remains very high, but no one would blame you passing on him for now.
Seventh Pick – Andre Johnson
If you play in a league that does not award points for receptions, Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall will be the ideal pick here. But the majority of leagues now seem to use the PPR format, and with the very best six RBs off the board, and good depth at quarterback overall, it’s time to nab the top wide receiver off the board. In PPR formats, Houston’s Andre Johnson is the best of the “Big Three” over Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Roddy White.
Eighth Pick – Calvin Johnson
You can put Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Roddy White pretty much in any order in terms of rank, but Andre and Calvin have more upside appeal to the average Fantasy player, and White can be nabbed a few picks later, sometimes even in the second round. If you want Calvin Johnson, who can have a monster season if Matthew Stafford stays healthy, you’ll have to take him here.
Ninth Pick – Aaron Rodgers
This is where you can start thinking about quarterbacks if the top two are still on the board. Of course, someone may leap earlier for Aaron Rodgers or Michael Vick, bumping one of the possible Top Eight picks back to you here. Don’t be surprised to see Vick become the first QB taken, leaving the more dependable and proven Aaron Rodgers here for the taking.
Tenth Pick – Michael Vick
It’s very unlikely that Vick will fall this far in many drafts because of his huge potential to carry a Fantasy team in any given week. Personally, I would not take him any higher than this slot. He still has not delivered a complete season of consistently outstanding play. If he isn’t available by this point, you have a nice crack at Rodgers or a top WR.
Eleventh Pick – Maurice Jones-Drew
Peyton Hillis is actually my next RB on the board in PPR formats to tab, but you can wait until the second round to grab him. So this is where I start thinking Maurice Jones-Drew, who is scaring some owners off because of a surgically-repiared knee. MJD has looked fine in camp recently, though, and can be a nice bargain by this point. He is also going in the second round of many drafts. This is where you will have to surely take Darren McFadden or Rashard Mendenhall if you want them, so while MJD is where I am going here, I’m not locked into it.
Twelfth Pick – Roddy White
Rodgers has fallen to me here in many drafts as well, and he would be the clichéd “no brainer” at this point. Otherwise, I would not want to wait for Roddy White very much longer. To be assured of having the most productive WR in Fantasy last year, this is where I would take him. Some will get lucky, though, and see him fall to the second round. In fact, every draft can be different. So while I have laid out the ideal scenarios this week, be ready to adjust on the run as the first round moves on.
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