Happy Draft Week! If you’re like us, you spent the weekend neglecting familial duties and receiving disapproving glances from your spouse as you pour over preseason game tape and review player stats from the past 3 years (chances of getting action from Mrs. Machine: Zero). But all that hard work is about to payoff, as you approach your fantasy draft.
Ok, so you’ve done your research. You may have even bought yourself a fancy fantasy football magazine (you know that shit was written in May, right?). The truly devoted (and smartest and prettiest) have been checking in with The Machine for their fantasy hook ups. And let us be your wingmen for success.
First up, our Top Fantasy Must (Not) Haves. These are guys that either (a) we think are going to flame out this season, (b) are being drafted too high, or (c) we don’t like. Let the other suckers in your league take these guys, unless they’re readers of The Machine too…then they’re cool.
Mike Wallace, WR Miami. Two words: Ryan Tannehill. Did you see that clip Roid Rage threw up of Dustin Keller blowing out his knee? 100% Tannehill’s fault. A well placed ball (hell, even a reasonably placed ball) and Keller still has his ACL attached to his knee. And that, friends, is what Mike Wallace will be dealing with all year. Wallace will have a Larry Fitzgerald-like drop in production, for exactly the same reason Fitz did: inconsistency at the QB position. It certainly won’t be for lack of talent. Wallace is a legit 1WR with speed to burn, but will produce like a 2WR because of the offensive limitations.
Arian Foster, RB Houston. We’re believing Dr. Mike and his injury concerns with Foster (even if he’s been widely discredited by other Physical Therapists at major sports outlets). More so than the injury concern, is his production. Foster has decreased YPC in each of the past 3 years, 4.9, 4.4, and 4.1. Compare that with Adrian Peterson – 4.6, 4.7, 6.0. That puts Foster at or below 4.0 YPC this year, not what you want for someone that is trending at an average pick of 2.7. Believe us, Foster shouldn’t slip out of the Top 6, but he just may not be the lock at 2 that he once was. Handcuffing with Ben Tate is a must.
Darren McFadden, RB Oakland. Perhaps it’s because The Machine’s been burned by Run DMC each of the past two years, but dammit we’re not falling for this again. McFadden is too fragile to be consistently counted on and, if you believe Shaun King, could care less about playing. Either way, stay far, far away from McFadden (and really anyone in a Raiders uniform).
Hakeem Nicks, WR New York Giants. When healthy, Nicks is a Top 5 WR. Problem is, he’s never healthy. Nicks has played a full season…um…never, and he’s already had multiple injuries (groin, knee, foot) this offseason. Further complicating matters is that Eli has multiple weapons to throw to, including Victor Cruz, who has replaced Nicks as the G-Men’s 1WR. If you draft Nicks, you must handcuff him with Reuben Randle.
Joe Flacco, QB Baltimore. What? The defending Super Bowl winning QB’s on your list? Indeed. The Ravens have been decimated this offseason by injuries and departures, especially at the receiver position. This leaves Flacco with the one-two punch of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. What this means is the offense will flow through Ray Rice even more than before, which will lead to mediocre (at best) fantasy numbers for Flacco. Flacco should never see the light of day in any lineup this year.
Dis-honorable Mentions: Ron Gronkowski, Tavon Austin, Chris Ivory, Russell Wilson.