By Zac Bellman
Special to the Tribune
It’s that glorious time of year once again. Whether it’s with friends from home, floor-mates at your new dorm, or even co-workers; whether their league is for money or bragging rights, Marquette students are preparing for fantasy football drafts and setting their week one lineups. The right advice this year can mean the difference between eating Jimmy John’s Sandwiches or Ramen Noodles at the start of second semester. Have no fear Marquette fantasy footballers, because Whole Nine Yards is back with the goal of setting you on pace to win your league this year, unless of course you’re in a league with me. Whole Nine Yards will return as a “Sit, Start, Sleeper Start” column next week, but this week I’m going to give you a few players to look out for in the later rounds of your draft as well as some drafting tips. If you’ve already drafted, the way this preseason has gone you’ve more than likely lost a player or two to injury, and these alternatives may be available.
QB Carson Palmer- It really baffles me why a quarterback like Palmer that threw for 4,000 yards in 15 games last year is being drafted in about half of Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues. With a pass-heavy system under new coach Bruce Arians and the most talented group of receivers Palmer has worked with since Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, this should be a no brainer. The only knock on Palmer is the offensive line he’s working with that gave up a league worst 58 sacks last year. Injuries left that line in shambles however, and the line has shown improvement in the preseason, giving up only 7 total sacks in three games. The divisional matchups with the 49ers and Seahawks will be daunting, but Palmer is a solid backup option if you plan to play the matchups with two middle tier quarterbacks.
WR’s Ryan Broyles, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Floyd and Cordarrelle Patterson- It can be sink or swim with number two wide receivers, because ultimately the number one guy is the guy who gets the end zone targets. However, the modern NFL places an emphasis not only on the passing game, but the use of the slot receiver in the passing game. That is the position each of these sleepers will find themselves in. All four of these wide outs are young, quick pass catchers who will have opportunities to make plays when the number one guy draws a double team. Look for any one of these guys in the later third of your draft.
RB Giovani Bernard- If his preseason numbers are any indication of how the Bengals will use Bernard, he figures to be the goal line option in Cincinnati. Also, look for him to potentially take the starting role later in the year, right around fantasy playoff time, from Ben-Jarvis Green-Eliis. Despite the huge upside he is still going in the 11th round on average in Yahoo! Leagues. The way backs are breaking down already in the preseason, it is only increasing the need for a backup plan.
General tips for your draft:
- Know the score settings before your draft starts. This can severely impact the value of positions and various players.
- Do not draft a kicker before the final round. The disparity between kickers is often not what some may believe, stock up on running backs and wide receivers and you can still find a good kicker in the last round.
- Do not follow “runs” on positions, especially kickers, tight ends, and defenses. If five of the last six picks before yours are all tight ends, that doesn’t mean you need to reach for a mid-tier player. Just continue to look for the best player available, most likely the run will die out and the same players at that position will still be available in the coming rounds.
- Do a quick internet search on any player you are considering drafting. You never want to be the guy who drafts a player who suffered an injury the night before or isn’t signed to a team this year. If you have a few extra seconds during the draft also look up recent news on that player to see how their training camp has been. This can help you from drafting a bust that you’ll unload by Week 3.
Good luck this season Marquette fantasy football players! Follow @ZacBellman_WNY for fantasy news and notes.